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Heathfield Castle Adventures

Date: 11-21-10
Poster: Aaric the Black
Post # 21

"Once down to where this leads, check out that source if you would please, Desiree." He took the lit lantern from Orlaith as he passed it to Desiree who could then pass it to Darragh as he took up being the caboose. Soon they were all entering the passage with Tykir in the lead.

Yes, that...He nodded to the voices behind him and the request that was made for that further search once they reached the bottom. Tykir was careful with his steps, the stairway was narrow and the stone had worn away, making some of the foot landings precarious and unpredictable. One hand held the lantern high, the other still gripped his dagger but brushed against the stone of the wall as they made their descent. Blood raced through his veins, and the blood was just as much Fae as it was human. He picked up the scent of something foul, and he sniffed in attempt to clear it from his senses. It didn't work and he frowned, glancing back over his shoulder to see if anyone else looked as if they smelled it. He didn't get to study long, the last step came and opened out into a larger corridor, almost the size of a room, leading to a door which was chained and locked from the outside. Someone didn't want anyone getting in ... or didn't want something getting out. "Holy..fu...furry mammoth." Tykir caught himself quick, changing his original whisper to something more appropriate in his present company. He stepped aside. He knew when to allow those more experienced to take control. As if they weren't already.

She followed the young prince diligently. Ready to lend him a hand if he faltered but he was agile as she made a mental note. That Fae quality in him was starting to be recognized. Well, well, well, no wonder Andrew wanted his brother to head this mission without him. No wonder the King had assigned him to it. She too had a good whiff of that smell as she wrinkled her nose. "Something is afoot and it seems we have come to an impasse," stepping near then around Tykir as she examined the bolted door. "Desiree, I could use some of your help here." The while she had placed her hand on the lock as it started to glow like lava. "If you could put an ice pack on it next." Knowing the tremendous heat followed immediately by tremendous cold would make the metal brittle. Once Desiree stepped up, she would take her hand away so she could do the second part.

He was down the steps behind the others as he made note of the lock door then stepped aside so Desiree could get through as needed.

Darragh accepted the lantern and stayed quiet as they made their way down the stairs. He was checking the area below to make sure of its strength. Holding the lantern a touch higher, he too, took note of the smell and shook his head as if to clear the smell. The expression Tykir use had him smiling as he stepped up beside the Prince. "It's sound." Informing Aaric quietly, he then watched the two women.

"Aye, I will." She nodded as she answered then fell silent. The smell had her making a face too. Nasty! "Be ready, gentlemen." She cast a look over her shoulder at the Prince and the two men, then used ice as suggested. It only took a moment or two for the heat and cold to do their work, destroying the lock and part of the chain. Stepping back from the door, she studied it then looked at the Prince.

What did she look at him for? Advice? An order? He wasn't going to suggest any of them enter in there! Didn't they smell that? Ew! His chin rose, and he passed a glance over the other four before he nodded. "Well then." Was all he said, stepping up to pull the remainder of the chain away with a echoing rattle. If there was anything alive inside, it knew they were coming. He tucked the dagger between his teeth and gripped the handle with both hands, giving it a mighty heave. It was the grunt that did it, and the fact he nearly bit the metal of his blade in two! But the door swung inward and the nose-hair-dissolving waft of a room closed off and unused for a while, and misused while being occupied, rushed out. The dagger dropped to the floor with a clank and Tykir slapped his hand over his mouth and nose. The lantern in his hand revealed much too much to the young prince in that first glimpse and along with the smell, it almost did him in. Good thing that nothing alive struck out at them, for Tykir was not ready at all! He had shuffled to the side, leaning for a moment against the door which was pressed to the wall behind.  His eyes scanned the area, and the words slipped out even without him trying to avoid or change them. "Fuck me." He muttered from behind his hand.

She was right there to protect the prince even if he was not aware of it. That was part of her assignment in all of this. She didn't wear a weapon because she was the weapon. "Mother have mercy," as she was nearly undone by the smell. A kind that hit you in the face and near suffocated you on the spot. Much like getting sprayed in the face by a skunk. Eyes were watering as she covered her mouth and nose with a hand as if that could take away the stench or even dull it some. Her ears were working just fine as she heard the prince and laughed, smothering it against the palm of her hand instead. She had a hanky, lightly scented with perfume she offered him as she made her way around the young prince. About the only thing living down here were mice and rats that were scavenging. She was over to where there were a few basement windows hidden behind shrubs outside, kind that were thick and thorny. Nothing would try penetrating them and for what? No clue to outsiders there were small windows along this side. Dragging over a stool she was quickly up to unlatch the first one and press it open. She was at the point that if they gave her any problem in opening.. she would break the glass.

He had smelled some pretty bad things in his life but this one took the prize. If one would give a prize for the most foul smell that could be conjured up, it was in this lab. He was noticing all the jars that had something in them as he found a rag and wiped one of them off. It was full of eyeballs, animal by the looks of them. Well, that made his day.

"Little bit of air might help," he muttered to Aaric as he figured on doing the same as Orlaith. Once it seemed that it was safe enough and nothing attacked, he started to look around. Didn't quite laugh out loud when he saw the reaction to the eyeballs. "There were definitely some unsavory people here," he spoke very dryly as he was over to help open windows. Wouldn't matter much if more critters got in at this point.

Are you kidding me? Are those eyeballs? And...over there, in that jar, what is that? It looked like a brain. Nah. Yes? Ohhellnah, yes? "What sort of lab is this?" Came the muffled question since he hadn't let loose of the tight press of hand to mouth. He retrieved his dagger and started looking around too, stopping to open a large, leather bound book on a table. The table was smeared with ... ugh ... who knew and Tykir wasn't even going to let his imagination go there. He used the tip of his blade to flip over the thick cover, then leaned in to read, holding the lantern high over the pages.

The prince was well guarded and once it was clear there was nothing alive in that room, Desiree returned to the outer room where she started to search for the source of water. It was directly below the room, and yes, there was a small trap door that led down. Clean water now, but she imagined that at one time it was used for disposable more than an escape route.

"They've got their eye on you Aaric, all of them." She found that funny .. yes she did as she was down from the stool to look around. The smell was getting less and less. "If you're missing a part, you'd probably find a replacement here.." she nudged Darragh because he happened to be closest.

"You know, there are tribes that would consider these a delicacy?" Setting it back to the shelf he got it from. "I don't think I need to find out what is in the other jars, a good guess would be accurate enough." Then he turned to Tykir. "It seems this was a laboratory were they did experiments on living things. Most looks like animals. So the rumors had a lot of truth to them about this place." Some of the jars were shattered on the floor or cracked on the shelves. Now that the other smell was subsiding, he picked up the tint of gun powder residue. That's when he spotted the doorway, minus the door, leading into another room. Borrowing the lantern from Darragh, he held it up. "This is the room where there was an explosion." For what reason still remained a mystery.

He was intrigued, and he placed the lantern on the shelf just above the book without even looking up. The lantern clunked against glass which drew Tykir's flickering gaze, not really wanting to take his attention from the findings on the page. His gaze shot back up again when he saw the microscope and stacks of glass slides, each labeled in its stack according to species. "Uhm..." He said aloud when the word 'human' was found within the specimen labels. He heard the others talking, knew what they were saying, but nothing else really sunk in. He reached up as if in a daze and gently brought the microscope down, then with just as much reverence, he slid the first few of the nearest stack of small, thin, rectangular glass plates down next to it.

He chuckled when Orlaith nudged him, shaking his head. "That was terrible," but then Aaric caught his attention and he followed him to the other door. "Maybe that's why they left here." There were several possibilities. He checked the integrity of this room too though he would have noticed any danger of it falling in earlier.

Desiree returned to the room to inform the others of the underground river but she paused when she noticed Tykir. Instead of disturbing the young Prince, she watched him. He looked quite intrigued by those slides.

"Looks like we have a bit to bring back with us and I suggest we do so soon. If those pages in the book can tell us what we are up against, then we can come back and address whatever is wandering around this place at night." She was over to take a look as she noted the scientific findings between glass plates to be viewed under the microscope. "We should probably find a box to put all that in and bring back with us too."

He was over by Tykir to check out his find. "I will say that King Karl is going to be very pleased as well your brother Andrew in all of this." Crediting him with the find.

What had intrigued Tykir more than anything was the fact that some of them had two species mentioned. Bat/Horse. Wolf/Porcupine. Goat/Human. What did it mean? He had his forehead pressed to the viewing box lost in the tiny cells captured and magnified under the glass. They didn't move anymore but they still held their shape. The voices neared and it was the mention of Karl and Andrew that snapped Tykir out of his study, causing him to straighten almost abruptly. "We should bring this back today, if we are unable to bring anything else." He set the microscope aside, closing the book and giving it a pat to indicate what he spoke of. Hey, it didn't burn his eyes and nose to breathe anymore. Was he used to it or were they actually here long enough for the stench to seep out of the windows and Tykir had lost track of time?

"If there's any left to carry them in." He looked again at the Prince as he spoke. "Maybe there's a box especially for the book." It didn't look frail but one never knew. He spotted a box thrown to the side and picked it up. It was padded. "This might do for what you were looking through and the glass." Having no idea what either were, he didn't try to give them a name.

"There is an underground river directly beneath the first room." She gave her bit of news. "If we're going to return now, I can follow it from here to see where it empties." If it came out into the sea or into an underground lake, it might be a good thing to know. "Then I'll meet up with you all at the castle.

Orlaith was rooting through some of the cabinets when she came across a metal box that was empty. "Hey, I think it was kept in this, the microscope et all would fit in here," as she was over to set it on the table. She would help Tykir put the scope and slides inside carefully.

"I will go with you just in case," he wasn't going to let her go by herself in case there was some kind of hideout for the creatures along this river. "We will meet you up in the courtyard. We'll also bring back what is left of the groups belongings." Being Orlaith had seen to the clean up and stuff in bags that would be brought back with them.

Tykir almost regretted not being able to read through the book more, study the slides, but with Orlaith's assistance, they packed things up and prepared to return to the castle with their findings. The remainder of the slides were eased into the box Darragh had provided and Tykir tucked the lid this way and that to keep it from popping open. The book was large, and crusted with some of what plastered the room, but Tykir didn't even care at this point. He slid the leather band through the loop which sealed the pages safely within and then hefted it up to tuck under his arm.

If there was anything he could carry, he would offer to do so. Everything noted so they could give exact details and then he was moving toward the door. He'd go first to run interference just in case any of the creatures here got brave.

"Hope you can keep up." She teased then looked at the others. "We'll see you at the courtyard." Repeating before she was over to the trapdoor and disappearing into the darkness below. Water her element, she'd be traveling easily enough to wherever it went.

Orlaith would have Tykir follow behind Darragh as she took up the rear, keeping the prince well guarded even if it didn't appear so. The look on her face was praise in itself for how he conducted himself. It would be mentioned when she was questioned about the whole time spent here in this adventure, solving of a mystery.

"I'll be the wind at your heels, urging you onward." Giving a wink as he watched the others retreat. He took a jar or two so they had samples of what was down here. Although he left the eyeballs, the two jars in samples would be a mystery for they were dirt and soot coated. He was right behind her, down through the trap door which was closed then off on her heels.



Date: 11-26-10
Poster: Andrew MacNeil
Post # 22

Secret Revealed


Although Andrew had his own suite consisting of the West Tower in the castle, he also had an office on the second floor near the Solarium: a place he took refuge in as well many others of his family from time to time, especially in the winter. There were times he was not walking the planes and available to those who sought him. One need only to ask one of the guards who would be able to tell who was in or not. Today Andrew was in his office for a specific reason. A room that was made comfortable by his presence for the tranquility he gave off. There were wingbacks in front of a hearth with a peat fire burning to keep out any chill this early winter would bring. It had been snowing out, the first snowfall and cold enough it actually created a layer of white over the lands, not a deep one nor would it stay past the next morning. He was at the tall window watching the drift of flakes as it was a way of scrying for him. Papers on his desk showed not only the reports back on Ashford Island from his four but the findings of Tykir's. A report from there he had sent to Karl although he had not added what he intended to do with the Island's secret. Attired in a white tunic with gold inlay over black pants and boots, he looked the Druid Priest he was more than the Crown Prince. Hands tucked behind his back, feet slightly apart and waiting for the knock on his door from the guard outside signifying the King of Heathfield had arrived. There were always one or two guards posted at the door of the royals so a wanderer could not just barge in. Karl would be admitted immediately after the knock, more like a knock as the door was opened to the king.

Karl was removing the heavy mantel of wool and fur as the guard knock and opened up to the door to the room beyond. He thanked the man with a nod and continued forward, draping the weight of his cloak over his left arm and extending his right hand out to Andrew as he approached the prince. "Andrew, good to see you."

Andrew was around as if on cue when Karl came through the door and approached, meeting that approach with two steps of his own as hands clasped, the left then crossing over to grasp his forearm before both were released. ".. as it is always good to see you Karl. Although we reside in the same domain, we sometimes only see each other in passing. All goes well, have you talked to my younger brother, Tykir? You know how he looks up to you." Which was a good thing in his book.

Karl provided a nod to begin. "Yes, the reason I sent word I'd like to speak with you." He reached out and transferred the weight of the cloak from arm to back of chair. "I trust your four have given you a full report, and provided the things that Tykir told me were found?" Karl held the greatest of respect for the Crown Prince. As did the Four because of the Prince's reputation. Guard or not, there were few but family that would dare interrupt when these two men were in counsel one with the other. "Tykir has a noble future ahead of him, Andrew and is well on his way. And though I am honored with your words, it is you he looks up to more than to me." The king smiled, the expression easing the frown lines of concern away from his brow in place of those fine lines at the corners of his eyes. "But I'm sure you know this as well." And in Karl's opinion, that was the way it should be. Andrew was the hero of many a young man's tale and his younger brothers were no different.

"Aye, my four and Tykir." Giving a nod as he indicated the evidence from which he drew his conclusions setting on a table next to his desk; along with the reports should Karl wish to go over them. "Tykir needed this feather in his cap. I went there this morning and found out more." Which he had planned to do. "There were three scientists, two males and a female. They played with DNA in altering it with humans' DNA. To their credit they used samples of their own DNA than taking unwilling victims into this mess they created. The first experiments went array as in the oversized raven that decided the manor was his domain and although it only watched creatures of land come and go, it felt threatened when another bird rose amongst them, Rina, hence the attack on her. It had not tried to attack her beforehand even though her wings were not hidden." There was more but he was soaking in what Karl had said about Tykir looking up to him. "He is indeed headed for a noble future and makes me proud of him in who he is. I will search out as he becomes of age of what natural abilities he may have inherited and nurture them." He had moved over to the table with all the evidence there before he would continue instead of continuing to rattle on. Give Karl the opportunity to comment or question.

While Andrew spoke, Karl had moved over to the table and started leafing through the reports. An ear on Andrew's explanation, an eye on the papers before him. The mention of Rina had a dark gaze lifting from the words to Andrew, a brief nod, then looking back down again. The papers were lifted, scanned and then turned over, beginning a second stack there. "So we're not dealing with something evil but rather creatures who may be frustrated and confused." As Andrew joined him there at the table, his reading paused, and he looked over to him. "Do we know what sort of animals besides the bird? From what I've read there is mention of successful cross-breeding, but how do we know which of these still inhabit the island? I don't see anything from your four that any contact was made with the animals yet."

"Exactly. They are no longer animals as we define them but yet they are not human either. Some are such fabled creatures as the satyr for the crossing. Some looking human but smaller and with scales. I walked amongst them where they hide and learned of their thoughts. Confusion is a good word and hungry. They find little to eat and the winter will make it even harder. They are naturally confined to the area of the manor of which is their birthplace. I have seen to having provisions sent along with having the manor fixed up. All broken windows repaired. There is the matter of the room off the laboratory where something exploded ending the experiments. It seems it was an accident but left the creatures parentless. I got the impression they treated them well and were taking care of them as one would family pets." So that was essentially the summary of Ashford's secret and what happened. "The ground will be marked off to leave these creatures in peace and I will see from there on some caretakers not afraid of their differences." Possibly the Natives on the island but that remained to be talked upon with them.

And there was his answer. Karl lifted the pages he had read and placed them back on the original stack. Andrew's details were all that he needed. "I appreciate you taking this on, Andrew." A hand extended and the two men grasped forearms in the handshake of warriors.

"As always when I can be of service to my mother, to the Crown, to my fellow man." Taking the grasp as family would for he considered such of Karl not just because he had married his mother but made her happy. "If there is anything else I can be of service, don't hesitate to ask. Once we settle the creatures and have them less timid, I shall bring Tykir to see them as they really are, if he wishes." He almost faltered and said after Tykir returns from Kildare but there was an element there he was not to give away the wish of his younger brother. Letting it be without intrusion and altering the path of the future. "They will be quite different after having food and shown they are not in danger from us. On another matter, it will be soon that word comes from Kildare, Leoric has learned what he needed and seeks the one as we speak."

Karl smiled, a dip of eyelashes in appreciation of that last bit of news. "Then we shall soon be on our way to Kildare." Honeee and the children had settled the warrior, and though he would always serve Heathfield, leaving had become extremely difficult where once the battle-raised warlord longed to feel the sweat and grime of a heated conflict. He started around Andrew, placing a hand on the man's shoulder in passing. "I'm sure your mother feels the impending departure, but I'll share this with her as well." He collected his cloak, and with a sweep, donned it.

"Give my tidings, perhaps the four of us can share dinner and speak on pleasant things." Smile swept of a kind to reach the piercing blue of his eyes. Normality was sought to offset the other, keeping him well balance in things he needed to do. Hardest part was knowing the difference and having to stand on the sidelines only to watch.

"I'll look forward to it." And he would. But for now, as they both knew, duty called and could be most persistent in that calling.

Date: 11-27-10
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 23

The Halflings


It was heartbreaking to watch them go but Kuwan was resolved with her decision even if she would miss them. The only one she would wish to see again had been her adopted father but even there it was an estranged world between them. He had fulfilled a duty to her parents when they were taken from this life. That was how he saw her and she had been the dutiful daughter he didn't have. One that took care of him when his wife passed, doing all that had been required of her except one, sharing his bed. At least that had not been pressed upon her but there were times he eyed her in such a way that made her heart pound; not in a good way. Luckily he was a good man and didn't pursue any thoughts that might have plagued him. The glance would pass as would the fear in that moment that made her wonder if she had even been correct in what she saw. So her one reason was not a very good one to return to their homelands. Other than Yas, Mat, Kali and Patwin, those that had loved her had passed on and she kept their spirits alive in her heart. Had Kali not been with Patwin, she would have gone to keep her company. There were other thoughts that plagued her while at the same time wished such ideas and thoughts could be gone from her mind. If she longed for what Kali had, it was not borne of jealously on Patwin in particular but more a relationship in general. It was only the curiosity a young woman had, wondering if there would be a man in her life one day not that she would pursue a man in that way. To have the days pass quickly that would bring it to the day they would return, she busied herself with the daily routines and working on their camp to have it ready for many if they should return with her friends. She was adding small touches that would make them more like home and welcoming to them. Beaded designs to hang on the wall or small paintings of their tribe's past in stories that were told her.


There were the dogs to be taken care of and she set to naming them, hoping that Mat didn't mind. It was done by their antics as she played with them the hours she had for rest. Her meals shared with them on this quiet island. It was quiet other than the sounds of birds and small animals. There were plenty of rabbits to catch and make into pies. Some of which she planned to take to the Thistle when she made a trip. She also spent the hours gathering medicinal herbs that were needed along with spices for cooking. The biggest husky, a male, was named Oak for his strength. He would be the one that would lead the team of dogs, even if there were only three so far. The second largest was a female that she named Dragonfly for her fierce competition with Oak even when he was much stronger and bigger than she. There were times the match was more a stalemate between the two when Dragonfly out maneuvered Oak. It was this persistence that she earned the name Dragonfly, Dragon after the myth and fly for her size in comparison. The last was another female that bowed to both, passive yet there was a strength in her nonetheless. She named her Cloud for her coloring was mostly white and she usually looked down upon the other two from an area above them yet didn't join in; like the clouds that passed on high above. Since Kuwan was the one seeing to their care, even brushing out their fur at night with a loving strokes,  they followed her everywhere on the island. Except, she didn't take them when she went across the waters to get any supplies from the mainland, or just to be amongst other human beings.


Andrew appeared at the edge of the woods from the Tribe's campsite. He didn't wish to startle nor alarm Kuwan since he decided to seek her out to ask a favor. She was busy with the campfire as twilight had set in. The dogs would be the first to alert her there was someone near but they didn't bark. Instead they whined as if one they knew had come home. They were over to go down on their bellies, a sign of submission to the one that stood there. He was surrounded in a golden aura much like the hair that flowed loosely about his shoulders. A tunic of a deep purple, almost black, worn over black pants. Arms bared that showed off the gold bands encircling his biceps. Two small braids that trailed down past his waist, far longer than the cut of the rest of his hair. It was the piercing blue eyes that captured those first meeting him. Their intensity sometimes startling yet there was a calming feel about this man, he gave off tranquility, like the sun gave off its rays, with a touch of peace to reach one's heart. "Kuwan, I am Andrew." Only giving the one name should alert her to whom he was and that he would know who she was even if they had never formally met. His appearance and that otherworldly quality of the Druid King would give away the rest. For he was not only the Crown Prince of these lands, Druid in the mystics of life, he was King of the Sylvan Elves that live secluded in the royal forests, his grandmother's people.


The fact that anyone showed up on the island she had gotten use to being alone on, surprised her short of startled for the way the huskies gave a clue there was one here and not one that would be an enemy. She had been setting a kettle to boil for some tea on the fire she built, rising as she turned, she thought maybe the others were back but instead she saw a sight like from one of her better visions. One that would be forever imprinted on her mind. She knew who he was, one of the great chiefs of these people and earned a lot of respect. To her, he was a Great Shaman just by the way he appeared and that otherworldly quality she recognized. She immediately went to her knees and bowed her head. "I am greatly honored, Shaman Andrew," giving him the title she knew to respect in her language.


"Please rise Kuwan," stepping forward as he took the moment to pet each of the huskies. Fingers delving into their fur, "you may come along with us but mind yourselves," spoken in an ancient language they understood. A time when such a language was understood by all before the Great Changes. They were up from their bellies as he moved to pet each before they went bounding back to Kuwan. "I wish to show you something of these lands and ask that, for the kindness in your heart, you will see to these unfortunate Halflings, neither man nor beast for the experiments conducted on them converting their original forms." By this time he was near as he waited for her to rise and come with him.


She was quickly up to her feet once asked to do so. A blink of large brown eyes as he spoke on a favor, "anything you ask of me that I am able, I will willingly do for you." A smile came when the huskies were all but dancing around her, petting each before she stepped away to follow diligently. She was very curious on what Andrew spoke about but couldn't imagine no matter how much she tried on what it could be. Although she knew she'd find out soon about these Halflings.


Andrew led the way as it seemed the path smoothed out before them than being so rough otherwise. A good part of the walk was along the shore as the huskies ran circles around them before rushing into the cold ocean and out, shaking off before dashing up the sands into the woods after something they caught wind of. Most likely a rabbit. They walked in a comfortable silence as focus was on getting to their destination with the huskies as their entertainment and distraction. They were no sooner into the woods with the rush of brush, snap of twigs and back out again chasing each other instead of some hapless rabbit. It wasn't long that they reached the perimeter of Ashford manor, where he came to a stop and waited. The sky above was starting to show the twinkle of stars against a royal blue, the horizon still showing the rays of the sun mixed in purples down to pinks and cream. A wintry sky. He waited a few moments before the tenor of his voice rose in an ancient tongue, the words flowing as in song like a lone nightingale from deep in a forest calling out to any within earshot.


Kuwan followed dutifully, her steps quick and silent by the Druid Prince's side, not too close but as one being accompanied. She couldn't stop the laughter that would roll up for the antics of the huskies indeed would have it so. There was a lot of personality to the three that Mat had picked out. Somehow that didn't surprise her when she reflected. She was content to go without conversation unless the Prince initiated it, the time passing quickly as they came to their destination. The manor loomed up ominously with such the backdrop of a winter sunset that had her in awe as well the song that rose from the prince. She had never heard such a song nor such a beautiful sound. It had her watching him before focus switched out over the woods and lawn that made up the manor's front. She blinked as she noted shadows that were moving and taking form. She would be a liar if she denied the trickle of fear that rose up but she felt safe for who she was with.


Andrew sensed her fear, not unusual for the circumstances as he laid a hand upon her shoulder. The touch alone would send a calming effect as he spoke. "Fear not they are as lambs, fearful of humans that they might be harmed." The touch relinquished as the timid beasts came forward for his calling. He once more spoke in an ancient tongue for their benefit, explaining that the woman at his side would be one of the ones to see to their comfort and food brought. Most were Satyrs that had survived as some of the experimental species had died off. He spoke in Kuwan's tongue next explaining of the creatures she was seeing. Most had gained more intelligence than their original species and a few a lot more intelligence. Enough to learn how to talk and communicate in time. Someone or ones would need to take the patience and time to teach them but until then, seeing to them receiving food, blankets and clothing was more important presently. The supplies would be sent over weekly or bi-weekly depending on the weather but enough to see to time between deliveries. He also explained that the ones that were taking care of them had passed some time ago in an accidental explosion. For this favor, she would get to name the Island once she decided on a name.


She listened as the Prince talked, giving her a history of these strange creatures. Most were part human and part goat and they wore tattered pieces of clothing that they probably found in the manor. She would start making them tunics. There were lambs that had cherubic baby faces that were endearing, they were much smaller than the goat people. The ones with the scales reminded her of snakes even with a human formed head with no hair and almost no ears. They had regular tongues luckily or she would have been hesitant to be near them. They too were smaller in statue compared to the satyrs as Andrew gave her a name to use for those. There was another that looked like a very hairy human. More hair on their face and body much like the Sasquatch except there were not more than six foot tall. In spite of their more beastly appearance they had soulful eyes. Some of them were taller than the Satyrs. They were all timid at best although they seemed not afraid of Andrew and seemed to understand him as she noticed while watching. They would look from him only to stare upon her. Even the huskies behaved around the Prince for they had returned from their great hunt to sit calmly between he and she.


His smile reached piercing blue eyes as he watched her gradual reaction to the unfortunate creatures. "In time you will become friends with them and any from your tribe that helps you. I have already brought them food and the rest will be brought to your camp by a ship that will send a dinghy to leave the supplies on the shore there. Other times it will be brought from the mainland and carried here for you to disperse. Clothing, blankets and food as needed." She would find that the food was vegetarian base as none of the creatures had been meat eating ones. Although some meat would not harm them such as in her rabbit pies being they also had some human DNA. From there they left the Halflings in peace, a name he gave to them in general. Andrew saw Kuwan back to her campsite, assuring her it would not be too many more weeks before her friends returned with many others. He didn't tell her anything more of what he might see beyond the norm, for he didn't wish to unduly worry her. Leaving her at the comfort of a fire and tea kettle, he once more headed into the woods, disappearing through an astral door once the shadows consumed his form.


Kuwan watched as the Prince took his leave before smiling to herself that he trusted her to see to this favor. She could almost question if the whole scene had been a dream and she asleep. Except the pinch she gave herself had a little yelp bringing the huskies over in concern. Oak started licking her face as if that would chase any pain away but only had her laughing. Tomorrow she would start her new chore, adding it into her routine. "Should I name the island Kwa'yo for all the rabbits do you think, Oak? Dragonfly, and what do you think Cloud?" Cloud gave the first bark before over to get in some petting by nudging his nose under her elbow which she had the kettle in hand splashing water onto the coals with a hiss. "Careful there," except she was laughing again as she set it aside and petted up Cloud. Oak and Dragonfly were right over to get their share. Once they were finally all sated with affection, they wandered off to their spot to lay for the night. Finally Kuwan would have her cup of tea then turn in for the night as well.



Date: 12-11-10
Poster: Black Doom
Post # 24

Black and Black


The night was dreary and colder than the norm for the area of Tunis, Tunisia. Perhaps it had nothing to do with the acutal weather. There was a fog rolling in off the sea that was dense making visibility poor. The kind of night men disappeared in never to be found again. Some putting it to superstitions while others did their darker deeds. A kind of night that Percivil looked forward to. This one found him in a port tavern called the Banshee and certainly the howling of the wind outside gave credence to its name. A corner table had been confiscated by him and was his any time he came here. The owner, Manfred, was convinced of this for the threat of his throat being slit in some alleyway. There was something about Doom that was very convincing. Because he became too well known over time, he was going by an alias to keep suspicion down. Especially after their attacks on at least three ships that gained them enough wealth that Eric could get his own ship. Except they decided not to part with the money and took a ship instead. A lot of work had to be done on it which he left Eric to his task, change it enough that it would not be recognized as one of the Spain's own brigantines and gain a crew that was of like mind. They had separated after that last and basically disappeared off the face of the earth, just like the brigantine and its crew had. Some say that the ship had sailed into a fog that had settled over the waters and went through some vortex or window in time. Much like tonight's fog. Such rumors were encouraged. If Eric wanted to find him, he knew of a few haunts that Duncan kept to. His new alias was Owen Doherty, a dull enough name that no one would suspect the black hearted blackguard behind it. His ale had been served by a comely wench and his meal was to follow. The place had few within this particular night and that suited him best. The lighting was dim and there was a thick greasy oil scent to the place. Sawdust on the floor only got muddied especially around the entrance. The place had dark shadows where ones could find privacy, those of a kind that didn't want to be noticed. The owner was tough as he'd need be but there were ones he would bend to their will. There were the few that were tougher.

Eric Westmoreland could hide away about as successfully as a rhino in a crystal shop so the black-hearted bastid didn't even try. He could lay low, and that had not been difficult, what with a new ship under repair. The pirate had rented an apartment with a view of the water. All the easier to keep a wary eye on any coming or going, and he had taken up the guise of life on land. Not that most didn't recognize him. He didn't even feign to be other than what he was: Ruthless, soulless and just as quick to slit a slender, delicate throat as he was to suckle against it. He had frequented the repairs being made on his new vessel, the paint, the sails, every last detail down to the gypsum embedded in the floor board at his cabin door. Pleased that his presence had sped along the progress and now the lady just awaited his hands on her directing her every move, demanding of her what she didn't even know she was capable of...indeed...Eric was ready to set to sea again. Tonight, however, he pulled his oilskin tight against his chest and went in search of a drink to celebrate. As fate would have it, he entered the very tavern which boasted the likes of Percivil Duncan Graham, aka Black Doom, aka Owen Doherty. No, he wasn't aware of the pirate at first, he was more intent on a drink and the sway of skirts as the maid hurried out of his path to continue with her other customers.

Hair was slicked back tight and tied off in a tail at the nape of his neck. A style more of a sailor but not one Graham had taken on before. Beard and moustache were shaved leaving only a shadow where they had been and a patch over his left eye that was not needed. There was actually a pin hole in it he could see through. All in the name of not wanting to be bothered. There was only one that could bother him and live, that was the scarred face Westmoreland. They tolerated each other for one reason only, the same greed and need to destroy in the worse ways possible. Something to do with a twisted mind and their twisted minds went along the same lines. He caught sight of Eric coming in while he was in the middle of eating his meal. Hungrily too. Not a word, just a tracking of eyes that Manfred caught onto and looked hurriedly from this new man to Owen at the corner table encased in shadows.

Men of this ilk did not live for long if they did not catch the smallest of cues. The darting of eyes, the tensing of shoulders both good examples of a possible problem. Eric turned slowly, easing the blade at his hip from its leather case, the flat of blade pressed against the length of his inner forearm. He squinted through the dim light, into the shadows, scanning, searching and then, a smile. A smile so filled with malice it resembled more of a grimace than the facial features of a man amused, though amused he was to some degree. He gave a motion of arm that indicated he would be found - over there - when his drink was poured. He strolled over to the table in the shadows. "Well, aren't you the pretty boy?" He didn't wait for an invitation, it may or may not be forthcoming, he pulled around a chair and positioned it so he could keep an eye on Duncan and the room. "Enjoying your vacation, Old friend?" Friends. Not at all what these two men were one to the other. Neither of them pretended to like the other, but there was an odd version of respectful distrust between them.

It was disguises like these that got him into Heathfield lands undetected to gain information when hunting down something or someone. If he curtailed his usual ways he could come and go without notice. Although his rapport had spread to a few families along with individuals so to do so, was taking a greater risk as time went on. Certainly not to their Thistle Tavern where the tender had too good of a trained eye. No, Percivil wasn't dumb even if he liked taking risks. "As pretty as they get, tell that to Alice at the bottom of the sea." His latest woman that when he decided to part, she threatened to expose his whereabouts. She could try from the bottom of the ocean and the other side of life. "Aye, but the holiday is over. Wind has the scent of a Scourge emerging." How he found that out, well, not something he would divulge. Obvious leaving Jon on a deserted bit of island wasn't the end of it. Which in Duncan's book was a thumbs up in the lad's favor not that he still wouldn't slit his throat in a blink of an eye if so moved. It would have more impact on Eric than he. Something that amused him so he'd keep Jon alive just for that purpose. He was not surprised that Eric had recognized who he was no matter beardless and slicked hair. He motioned with his eating knife to the loaf of bread if he wanted any. Good homemade bread that this place could actually boast on.

"Well. Well. Well." Eric chortled, leaning in to pinch off a chunk of the bread and then relaxed back. His other hand slipped the blade back into the protection of leather. He bit off a piece with a tight clamp of teeth and a jerking twist of hand. He sat quietly for a moment, considering the news just shared. "I'd ask what wind brought in that scent, but that really isn't of importance. It's the putrescence of possible truth to that claim that spoils the contents of my gut." He chewed some more, swallowed. Jon Sterling was as a rotting tooth, annoying as hell but damn if you didn't continue poking it with your tongue and keep it aching.

He was right in that it wasn't of importance where that bit of news was obtained or at least rumor of it. Duncan didn't take what he heard as absolute truth even form those that got the closest positions under him in his enterprises. He had a few of those. Always. His greed and need to suppress if not torture spread in many directions. "Is your lady ready to ride the high seas?" Which meant she was changed over well enough not to be discovered. Plus, Eric didn't get her for free being it was his ship they used, so he took the greater portion of the loot. Albeit the fact his ship had originally been Jon Stirling's was of no matter. No, he and Eric were not friends but business rivals. Sad part of it, they worked far too well together to kill the other. One of the reasons Jon wanted to become such a partner or so Duncan believed. He too had the disease of greed, the need to be feared. "If she is, time to see if what the winds blow brings us truth or deceit."

Oh, the ship was ready. Painted to blend with the water's surface from a distance, the sails the same with extra sets rolled and stored below to match the night sky or a misty, gray day such as this. She was ready. And he was ready to see how well she moved beneath him. "She's a whore for the water, Duncan." He wasn't aware the man went by a different name in this place. To Eric, he was Duncan or Doom. "She is happiest when a experienced hand can keep her wet and that man rides her hard." He popped the last of the bread into his mouth, reached for the glass of spirits that had arrived a few moments before, and washed down the both of them with a single swallow. He stood, leaning forward with a brace of hand on the table toward Duncan. "I've an urge to see just how willingly she can moan with what will be demanded of her." He twitched off a wink to the patched version of his business partner, knocked his knuckles against the wooden table top then stood away with a chuckle filled with sinister undertones.

"Owen," which came in a gruff correction as he glance towards the tender who could give a description of him and name. Neither of which would fit the man known as Doom. At least Manfred was smart enough to be about his own business than watching them at all. The least he knew about Owen Doherty the better off he would be. Probably why he was still alive and still in business. Otherwise he'd be dead before the night's end. Although with Eric coming in, that would most likely blow his cover, why it was time to move onto adventures back on the high seas. He'd been on land far too long although he had spent it well in the possibility of acquiring an island to start up his slave colony again. Something he miss no thanks to the Frasier family. He may or may not tell Eric about the island. All depended on if it gained him something by doing so. "Wet and hard will be the days to come in keeping our ladies happy." He was finished with his meal as he shelled out a few coins to cover it and the comely wench that served it. He was half considering taking her as his prisoner, but women had a way of slowing or twisting the outcome of a good business venture. "The tide has changed and with it we'll go, as good a time as any. We can talk more at my place or yours if it is not too far or sit here and have a few more tankards."

And Eric may or may not care about that island. It all depended on if it gained him something by doing so. "I'm Owen you nothing, Pirate." He was laughing low, the sound seeping into his words. "Let's climb aboard my Putain d'eau." For that is what Eric had renamed the ship: His water Whore. The figurehead Eric had crafted matched the name as well.

Which had his beady eyes narrow on Eric, "you have been land bound too long." If he was coming up with such jokes and amused by them too. Which in turn had him gruff a laugh. He was up to spear what was left of the loaf to take with them. It had a taste he found he liked that such didn't come often. Which would be a fitting name having the likes of two of them aboard. He was interested in the condition of this ship they confiscated.

"Aye, ye bastid, I have been! But not for much longer...not for much longer at all." As the two men left, the atmosphere of the establishment most likely changed. Without even knowing the reason, the tension had cleared, the unaccounted for sensation of fear dissipated and the patrons all breathed a collective sigh of relief.



Date: 12-26-10
Poster: Rory McAndrews
Post # 25

High Adventure

Rory stuck his head in from the side door to see if his brother was about but the look he got from Alex had the young man in all the way and closing the door behind him.

"Does she fuss more on a holiday?" That would drive him crazy! He grinned at Rory and waved. "There you are." Now they just needed the third!

Cold air. Tykir glanced in that direction. "Rory!" He shouted, waving the fellow-adventurer in.

She paused to think for a moment, then smiled. "That she does. But I'd not want her any other way." Hearing the new entrant, she turned and waved. "Evening."

The fellow adventurer needed a new adventure, something to get in trouble, get his heart pumping and a story to look back fondly upon, provided he survived it. Smile dashed seeing  his friend as he was already shrugging out of his jacket, hat, scarf and mittens. "'ello Tykir," dimples coming with his smile as blue eyes danced over Fawn. Alex set out a tumbler for him which he was not going to refuse, taking it up as he reached the bar and saluted with it before kicking it back.

Waggle of fingers to Rory, then she politely excused herself and dashed to the ladies room! Must have gotten snow down her dress.

"You managed to make it in without getting pelted." He noticed, looked to Fawn.  Seemed that Johnny and Billy preferred to bombard females than any male that might make more of it than a few snowballs tossed.

"Aye, I came in the side door," he'd been smart. He was outnumbered by himself even if he could take on the group waylaying others. Which had him whip a glance over his brother, many a time the tactic of confusion worked with mirror images. "I think I scared Fawn away..." as she had run off soon as he got in but then his brother looked just like him!

"She excused herself." Which could mean a number of things. "Where's Bry?"

He shook his head as Alex filled his glass again and left a partial bottle for him. Like it contained what he figured he was allowed this evening. He almost blurted out this thanks like a kid not expecting it but caught himself and gave that solemn nod of thanks. Back to his brother, "haven't seen him about, thought he might be with you."

"You know he won't come into the library." He was kidding and grinned to show it. "We were talking about the grand holiday we had. Santa and all."

"Heck, Santa has his sleigh full just with McAndrews." Tykir took another drink, allowing that one to settle a minute before taking a breath.

Ten degrees warmer without snow down her dress, Fawn came back to reclaim her seat and finally pick up her drink for a small sip.

"Feeling better?" Tykir gave her a once over, but nothing more than to pretend to look to see if she was better than when she had left their company.

"I am." She smiled and cupped her hands around her mug. She hadn't really meant to run off like that, but ice down the spine was just far too cold to ignore.

"So..." He slapped the flat of his hand to the top of his thigh. "Now that we have Santa out of the way for this year, what mischief can we get ourselves into?" Although they were all too old to have to be good for Santa, for some of them, Tykir for one mainly!, he had to listen to it all the same for the sakes of his brother and sister.

He was grinning just reflecting on the chaos on Christmas morning in Ballicastle. Dipping glance swept over Fawn as she came back. He took another drink. At least he had not really scared her off.

"Hmm. There should be something ... " Trailing off as he thought. And thought.

Took more than that to scare Fawn away. She smiled to Rory when he glanced her way, then went thoughtfully quiet.

If anyone could 'think', it was Charles. Tykir waited, and as he did, he reached for the bottle and added more to his glass. Just so he'd be ready for whatever Charles came up with!

Which had more of a smile, one that reached his eyes a moment and the dimples coming out again before drawing his focus on his brother who was having that look about him.

A very quiet little giggle, she quietly considered what little she knew of as far as things to do in the area. Which...sadly wasn't much.

One could hear a pin drop as they waited... and waited.  Well, there was the giggle!

He was coming up with ... nothing!

Was the ice slide created this year? Not that Fawn would know. It was oddly quietly. Another small sip, then she whistled softly.

His idea was so daring he had to whisper it when Alex had gone to the storage room, "we could invade Hazel's kitchen..."

"Fuuuuu..." Tykir glanced to the kitchen doors, then back to Rory. That was by far the most daring, dangerous thing that Rory could suggest.

Indeed it was as he almost leaped from his lean when Alex appeared back behind the bar and hoped to any deities above he had not heard him!

"What if ..." It was very dangerous and daring! He hid a grin by taking a drink when Alex reappeared.

They all three shot up straight as arrows and all prim and proper as a ladies closed umbrella.

Brow quirked to the suggestion, she looked between the three gents and then Alex with a grin. And couldn't help but giggle at their sudden pin-perfect posture. Amateurs. That was such a give-away!

Alex wouldn't suspect a thing! Nah. Not Alex! Not at all. So much so the tender turned to see to the lines of glasses along the wall. And he wasn't smiling either as he did it. Nah. Not at all that either.

He gave a roll of his shoulders as a wicked gleam shot up in blue eyes turned on Fawn, "what do you do to get into trouble?"

Good question! Tykir shifted his gaze to Fawn and rested it there.  Tykir was still fidgeting to hear what Charles had to say!

Charles was stumped for once!

"Me?" She pretended to be shocked by such a question. "It's not really all that hard for me to get in trouble. I get yelled at and reprimanded for climbing around on the roof." Not hard at all to get in trouble.

Which had an unbelievable look travel over Rory's expression, "for the roof .. of a house? You should try climbing around the roof of a castle." Which had all kinds of dips and leaps, shape and sizes.

A quizzical look at Rory, she smirked. "I probably would if I had a castle to climb on. All I have is the manor at the moment." Fiona would no doubt have a heart-attack if she found Fawn climbing around on castle roof-tops.

Climbing about on a roof, with all that snow? What were they waiting for?! "Now there's an idea."

"We could get you there if you wanted?" Peering at her in just as much a quizzical way before the smile inched its way up.

Not much of a challenge for Tykir, but fun all the same. "Care to try, Fawn? Castle right down the way here...with many a turret and snowy slant to challenge you." He stood, placing his glass aside just incase she was up for the 'trouble' of it.

He had not climbed the castle roofs here as that would be enough of a challenge to get him to explore. "What is the greatest part, is the view."

That sounded like a challenge! Setting her cup aside, she nodded. "As long as you're not going to leave me to climbing alone." Not much fun in that if Fiona wasn't there to yell and chirp at her at least. "Then we can find a kitchen to raid!"

"We could raid the castle kitchen there," being it might be a little more accessible and maybe not get whacked over the noggin for it.

"There's that there as well." Tykir laughed, looking to Rory and Charles to see if they were up for this wintry escapade.

He was ready! And he straightened from the bar, rubbing his hands together. "Let's go."

This wouldn't be dangerous for Tykir, but for the other three, the risks were high! He glanced to Alex. The tender didn't seem to be paying them much attention but Tykir had to wonder what news would reach the castle.

It was more fun if they might risk getting whacked over the noggin for it! Fawn hopped off her seat and reached to pull her gloves from her pocket to pull on.

"Grab your coats, then..." He started for the side door, better to go that way and avoid any possible ambush from the front.

Having not yet removed her cloak, she was ready and turned to follow! She was more worried about Fiona finding out! Nothing worse than a nanny on a rampage.

Wanna bet!

He was quick to one of the storage rooms, tying up a good amount of looped rope to his belt then back out to cover it up with his cloak. Next came the hat, scarf and gloves as he was quick to head out through the side door, easiest route.

Tykir didn't live with Fiona!

Fawn didn't live with the Black Griffon!

Not sure who that is, but Fawn was sure Fiona's reprimands were worse!

Rory and Charles were staying at the castle. Maybe they wouldn't have anyone to fuss at them. He pulled on his cloak, gloves, hat and headed out after Rory.

That's because she had never had to endure a lecture or 'lesson' from the King! They'd hurry through to the castle by way of the back alleys. More exciting that way.

Fawn was right there with them!


Castle Rooftops


They only got passing looks from the guards, many of whom bowed their heads enough to the young princes. One of this royal family and two of a sister castle. Certainly they didn't look like they were up to anything more than the usual. Tykir would need to lead the way for he knew the quickest way through the castle, passable that they could go undetected. Or at least meet the challenge of sneaking through.

Tykir was quick inside, darting along the wide corridors, down one and along another until he came to a tapestry that hung floor to ceiling. With a grunt of effort he shoved aside the edge of it and pressed against the stone behind opening up a passage way beyond. "Hurry through." He waved his friends past him into the darker confines. There were several torches soaked with resin and ready for lighting with the flint in the nook beside them. He watched up and down the hall to make sure no one saw them and waited for the last of the three to slip beyond the stitched work of art.

Charles grinned at Tykir, glad he knew all the nooks and crannies of the castle. He slipped through, waiting to light a torch. Didn't need to alert anyone. He pressed against the wall so the others could pass.


She looked at the guards curiously in passing, and for the first time, realized whose company she was in! With a smirk, she continued to follow along and slipped into the corridor with the others, glancing around and waiting for light and a lead.



Date: 12-26-10
Poster: Rory McAndrews
Post # 26

That had him grinning as this old castle had such hidden away places. Taking up the rear after his brother and Oisin and lighting one of the torches once he was through. That would give them enough light as he started to follow the corridor that led to steps. There would be quite a few corridors and steps to gradually make their way up to the top.

Tykir remained at the tail, closing off the corridor with a grinding of stone against stone. He turned and shot off after the fading light, knowing these hidden passages as well as the main ones. He and Rina used them just as often as the other. All the way up, to the point of the lungs aching with the effort and the legs demanding they go no farther. Hope they still worked for the more challenging trek to come. "Through that opening." He called to  Rory who remained in the lead. "Put that torch out first!" They didn't need a beacon to alert the guards below. "And be careful, you'll be out on the eastern turret, we can climb over from there."

He thought he was in great shape but still, Charles was huffing and puffing. He hoped they could catch their breath once out on the roof.  It would be extra cold out there, up high and more exposed to the wind. Anticipation had him grinning  though.


Fiona would have a fit if she found out about this! No...wait. She'd actually probably want to know more and prod to see if Fawn had any more-than-friend interest in any of the three. The thought had her snickering to herself as she continued to go along with the three. Pause to catch a deep breath, she looked around Rory to where Tykir was directing them. All the climbing and running around she did, she was glad for it now! Looking over to Charles she
smiled. "Gonna be alright?"

He gave a nod as he doused the torch in a bucket of sand next to the opening. He crawled through, not huffing and puffing as much as his brother and then offered a hand to Fawn to help her through.

Good thing she had warm leggings on! Hems were gathered up so she could crawl, she took the offered hand and went through, then dropped the hems with a glance around and step out of the way of the others.

"Fine." He answered shortly then followed them through. He was a normal teen, not one who ran up and down steps all day.  Once outside, he forgot all that.  What a view! Even at night.

Well, Tykir was a bit winded for sure! He wasn't used to all this running, especially up stairs! He followed on out after the other three, standing out in the wind to assess their next move. "Fawn, if you grab the back hem and pull it under, you can tie up your skirts like a pair of britches." It would work better for what they were about to attempt. Rina had done it a few times when she was in a gown and needed to keep up with a brother in pants.

Certainly was as the lights speckled over the lands and if they looked in the opposite direction it was sea as far as they could see. He was taking in the view with a low whistle under his breath.

"Yes, yes." She laughed, wondering how he knew so much about skirts, and went about pulling and tucking hers so she could keep up with the climbing and whatever else they would be doing. Then paused to take in the view! "Beautiful..."

Seen it. Done it. Enjoyed it. But the view never ceased to mesmerize from this height. Standing here wasn't getting anything done though, he shouldered his way through and climbed over the stone railing onto the snow covered roof beyond. He paused a moment to scuff a boot through the layer of white, loose and fluffy, which was good, they were less likely to slip but it made for more of a chance than dry shingles. The roofing was steep and quite expansive. To get from one side to the other would be quite the feat for the three of them, and quite the effort for the fourth not to use his birthright to aid him.

"Aye," almost distractedly before dipping a blue eyed glance down upon Fawn, dimples showing as he might have been looking at her for the first time then distracted to the adventure before them before he was left behind. He was soon climbing over onto the part of roof that Tykir seemed to know well.

Movement drew her attention to what they were doing, watching Tykir as he went over onto the roof. Gloves were pulled on a bit tighter, she waited for Rory to climb over, then followed, mindful of her steps.

He wouldn't blame Tykir if he did use his wings. He waited for the other three, then followed, scrambling over the stone railing. It was a little easier to follow the footprints but might have made the roof more slick in spots. Still, so far, so good.

With a foot on either side of the roof, he eased his way across, the occasional teeter from side to side as the wind pressed against his body. The more he tilted, the tighter he flattened his wings. If his friends could do it, so could he. At one point, they came to the junction of two roofs. He paused, looked back to his accomplices, then grinned. This would be just above his parent's rooms, their windows but two stories down. That realized, the teen grit his teeth and leapt, arms out in front of him and caught hold of the flag pole, the gold and purple flapping in his face for a moment before he could gain his footing and get free of it.

It was a LONG way down and certainly not a fall they would survive, if they fell. Rory knew enough not to goof around on the castle roof tops. They were a train going along the alps, one following the other in a straight line, mimicking the leader, unless he fell! One leap for mankind as he was next to follow Tykir except he wasn't quite free and sent Rory sliding down that 45 degree angle and stopped by fancy fencing along the edge. Had him flying over it but his hands gripped on while his body dangled from the edge if anyone looked up. Snow was slipping through as he managed to swing a leg up and pull himself up again. He laid there winded a few minutes.

The snow filtered down and any looking out the windows might even think it was snowing again. Tykir knew immediately that Rory had slid. He felt the thud of Rory's body knocking the wind out of him, then nothing. He swatted at the flag, desperate to see where Rory was and had started to dive after him but saw him grappling back over the rail.


This was definitely NOT the top roof of the manor. She thanked the stars she wasn't afraid of heights and continued along slow and careful. Teetering herself due to the wind, she gathered her cloak tighter around herself to keep the wind from grabbing her cloak. No sooner was she situated, she felt a thump at her feet when Rory hit the roof and slid. "Rory!" It wasn't excessively loud, but drew focus and she slipped but caught herself on the peak of the roof with a grunt and a little laugh followed with a, "Whew..."

Being he was last in the row, he got to see it all. His breath caught in his throat until he saw Rory had pulled himself up.  He couldn't reach Rory but he did offer his hand to Fawn. Just in case she needed extra help up. "Rory, you all right?" Trying not to yell too loud, but enough to be heard over the wind, he watched his brother.

Once he caught his breath but then he heard hollering down below. Couldn't make out what they were saying but certainly it looked like one of the guards caught sight of something amiss on the roof. He slowly slid up using the strength of hands and arms, then his knees to press in against shingle as he worked his way up out of sight from any below. His breath frosted as he addressed Tykir. "How good are the guards in getting up here?" Which would mean they better get off the roof when they did.

Tykir, holding the pole still, leaned way out to look as best as he could down to the ground. Torches were beginning to gather and move around with a little more haste. "Rather good at it." They had to be, it was their duty to be good at it. And may the Deity help them if any of the Four were notified of the concern above. "Get up here, Rory, we need to get moving..." And get somewhere out of view. Their path would be marked by the snow but better they NOT be caught up here in person!

She watched Rory for a moment before looking up to Charles and accepting the hand with a smile. "Thanks." That was going to leave a bruise come morning. Once on her feet, she dusted snow from herself, glanced back the way they came and moved closer to where Rory had been standing before his fall, but wasn't going anywhere until Rory rejoined them.

The wind whipped, whistled and wailed at this height giving them a warning in itself.

The disturbance of snow would verify someone or ones had been up on the castle roofs but not who. Although the ones were either insane or teens that might be deduced. If there were teens up on the roof then most likely Tykir would know something about it! The guards would be figuring it out. He was half up but on all fours still to get to the top and keep a good enough grip to get there. Time was of the essence.

He was strong enough to get her up, not letting go until she was secure. Then he waited for Rory to get to the top. Now all they needed was for them to get out of there. "Back the way we came?" He was hoping not.

"No, come this way." They were closer to the attic windows, a row of glass that they could wedge open from the outside and drop through.  If...they could wedge them open from the outside. In the summer, most times those windows were propped open to allow the heat out. In the winter, however .... He just hoped the guards didn't have the same set of mind, knowing those windows would give access to the roof beyond.

This was all part of the adventure, right? Of course it was! Since Rory was secure and making his way back up, she turned attention to the path Tykir had taken and followed suit, jumping over to grab onto the flagpole.

If it was the only access they knew about then most likely a few were headed for the attic as they were. He was back up to the top where Fawn had just landed, not getting in her way but finally able to stand and make sure she didn't slide. A strong hand to secure before released once she was and he was on his way after Tykir in the direction of the attic windows.

He squatted near the first window, his wings spreading out at last as he swiped his hand along the glass in search of edge. This one...locked. He edged on. Swipe. Test. Locked. Scoot, flutter, balance...swipe...test, and he lurched backwards as the glass lifted out at an angle. The prince was ready though, a swoosh of wings against the emptiness of air and he found purchase with the roof again. It would take some time for the guards to race up those many stories to the attic, if they hurried, they could get inside and into the corridor, and into a room to avoid them! "Come on, if you dangle with your hands, you can drop to the crates below, it's not far down." He looked to Fawn, she would be the one that might have the most difficulty with the length of fall before hitting bottom.

Either way was good, just so they didn't get caught! He followed after, catching hold of the flagpole,though his hands were near frozen by then.  He needed better gloves. He  then scurried along the roof to catch up. Pausing while Tykir tested the windows, he glanced behind. Nothing yet, thank the heavens above. What he wouldn't give to have wings himself right now!

She smiled to Rory and continued to follow, only to pause long enough for Tykir to find their open window. Once Tykir had given their instructions, she scooted along to the window that was no propped open. Getting in wasn't a problem for her. The drop down was a little more than she expected, so when she dangled on the inside and let go, she landed and tumbled back off the crate and just kind of laid there for a minute, watching the window. "This would be so much more effective during the summer...." Climbing on rooftops, that is.

He was right there to help as Tykir had one open. "I can catch her," words spoken to Tykir but Fawn was quick and so he was slipping through to follow, landing next to her with the bend of knees, for his height it wasn't that much of a drop! Next she was up into his arms as he moved her away so that neither of the other two landed on top of her. Once that distance, he would set her back down. He would wait on Tykir to show them an escape out from here that didn't involve the steps the guards would be coming up from.

Charles waited to the count of three once Rory had disappeared through the window. He didn't want to land on his brother. He landed lightly enough, then grinned as he waited for Tykir. Should he move a crate over so he could close the window or would Ty do that?

Tykir had it. He slipped through and reached over, using what strength he had to hold to the large crank on the other window as he lowered their escape route closed. Then he gave a push off with his feet and did a back flip, not showing off by any means, more to avoid his friends below as he slowly drifted to the floor. "There, behind that mirror I think." He hoped he remembered right. They probably all moved at the same time in that direction, Tykir flattening his wings again to his back as they raced that way. He eased behind the large mirror and dropped to a knee, pulling up a square of wooden planks from the floor. "It will be tight for a while but will open up into another corridor beyond." A shout could be heard coming from beyond the attic door. "Crap. Hurry up and get through!" If Tykir was caught, that would be fine with him. They were probably suspecting it was him anyway. He just didn't want his friends to get nabbed in the process.


Fawn wasn't afraid of a few bumps and bruises. She smiled to Rory when he picked her up, once he set her down, she waited for the others and then followed around to the mirror. She wasn't overly worried about getting caught. Unless of course that meant imprisonment. Even then she was more worried about Fiona and what she'd say. Her brothers would probably just laugh and ask her about the adventure! Once the opening was shown, she gave Rory a little urging push. He could go first!

They would all take the fall for her, land in more trouble if needed and say they dragged her along if they had to! He went first as he squeezed through, more like a tall wiggling worm a moment before disappearing, a hand to help her in and she could do the same with the next and he was moving as quickly as he could so they could all get in, and the planks back in place before the guards were searching the attic. Certainly there was snow below the window even if closed again, where they had dropped and probably clumps that had stuck to their boots showing where they went if they noticed soon enough or if not, small puddles of water.

It didn't take much urging for Charles to move, though he waited for Rory and Fawn of course. Once inside the corridor, he grunted. "Get moving, Rory."  Not really grumpy.  The adventure was still continuing. The question was, would they make a perfect get-away?



Date: 12-26-10
Poster: Rory McAndrews
Post # 27

It would seem the trail of water and snow just vanished except for the privileged ones who knew this particular route. Any that did know, would also know where the four would exit from! Tykir practically dived within, reaching around with a groan of effort to pull the planks back onto place. He slithered for a little until the way opened up, then weaseled around to stand. The way was pitch dark, not a sliver of light to mark their way. "Use the wall and follow it forward." He slapped his own hand to the wall and started forward, not realizing the group hadn't yet moved. He slammed hard into Charles' back nearly knocking himself backwards again.

No no, she was perfectly capable and willing to take her share of the blame. She was oddly more amused with the thought of Fiona finding out about this than scared. She was waiting there because it was hard to move forward with Rory standing there. This place was like a maze! She wanted a castle just for all the secret passages now! One hand on the wall and one on Rory's back to keep from running into him once he was moving, should he stop, she followed.


As Tykir shoved into Charles, it pitted him against Fawn who then bumped into him which got him going forward fast so they didn't end up in a pile on the floor. Hard to see but luckily there was nothing in the way, so far. Down, down, down, the pitch of the corridor had them gradually headed in that way.

He grunted in surprise, half laughing as he bumped into Fawn. "Sorry."  Funny how one kept trying to see, even when they couldn't. Finally, he closed his eyes, keeping his hand on the wall while they walked

Fawn had no idea. The four continued in the darkness until there was nowhere else to go but out. They'd smush up close when Rory came to that stopping point and bounce back to avoid the tight quarters. "There's a latch, about hip you...a little lower." Since the McAndrews was a good tad taller than most. "Lift it slow or it will have the door spring open."

Which had him laugh, trying to muffle it, "like the need to adjust myself?" It was out without thinking of how Fawn would take it and if there had been light, it would have looked like Rory was adjusting himself discreetly facing the wall. The latch clicked as the door sprung forward so quickly it had Rory spilling out into the hall beyond. What was that about slow?

Fawn giggled being squished between the two before Rory started to move. "This would be really spooky for All Hallows Eve." Spoken offhandedly while following still. Then again was squished between the brothers before taking a step back in time for Rory's comment. Good thing it was dark enough and his back to her, for the look he would have gotten! Men. Once he unlatched the door and went stumbling out, she had to muffle her laugh before peeking her head out to look around the corridor.

Squish! And before he could comment, there went Rory.  "Smooth, Rory." He snickered as his brother tumbled out into the hall. And then he waited for Fawn to step out, glancing back over his shoulder at Tykir. He gave his friend a thumb's up.  Now this had been an adventure!

Leaning against the wall opposite that very entrance was none other than one of the privileged ones. Vincent de Beauvais waited with his arms crossed over his chest, his boots crossed at the ankles until the one lad came rolling free of the secret passage and the lass poked her head out. He pushed up from his lean, bending to assist Rory by taking his elbow and helping the lad up. "How many more mice are in the hole?" He practically growled out his question, using the motion of his head to order the lass out and allow the others inside to follow her lead. Their clothes were wet with melted snow, and their bodies smelled of the outdoors, proof they were the ones out on the roof. He released Rory because he knew the McAndrews was honorable enough not to flee, though had he, the Dragon could have stopped him in his tracks with just a look.

"Holy smelly gonzolies," as that catching of balance shooting him forward had him face to face with one stern looking man with a help of his hand. He might not recognize the man but the man would recognize a McAndrews anywhere. He had a mirror image just behind Fawn too. To his growled question as he turned a look over his shoulder as the hairs stood up on the back of his neck, "err.." how many were out? He didn't try to escape the grip, no, that would not be good. This he instinctively knew but then the man released him as he stepped away nearer his friends.

Charles' comment had her laughing aloud, but quietly, until she noticed the figure standing across the hall from the door. Lips pursed to hold in her laughter, she stepped out into the hall and away from the door, out of the way so the others could step out, closer to Rory.

How could Rory not recognize Vincent de Beauvais?! The man was on the field nearly every morning. He stepped out, chin lifted just a touch. There wouldn't be any point in running. They were too well known. But he was determined not to look guilty.  Even if they were.

What was the hold up? Tykir started to give a shove, knowing that would start them all forward from just the domino affect until he heard that ... voice. Shit fire and save flint! He glanced behind him, then in front again, there would be no escaping now, not with de Beauvais out there. Charlie moved out, and then, blastitalltohadesandback, so did Tykir. He dipped his head to the King's Man. "Sir."

Hey, no pushing. That ruined his defiant look!

"You're the last of them, Tykir?" He knew that he was though, the heat of bodies no longer marked the narrow corridor behind. "Shut the door." He ordered, none others needed to know of this passageway. He waited until the prince did that, then looked over the four. "You have a good number of the castle guards in a frenzy up there." He gave a lift of chin to indicate the attic.

Probably because Rory hadn't been out on the field every morning like his brother had been. Bryan was probably lucky he hadn't joined them tonight but then he could pretend to be Bryan!

Fawn remained quiet, trying to get rid of her smirk, but she couldn't help it. At least it didn't show outwardly. She had no idea who this man was, but he obviously was someone of authority.

Charles wanted to say something, anything, but somehow he had a feeling it was best to say as little as possible. He glanced at the others then looked at Sir Vincent. Rory might be confident enough about his skills. Charles wasn't! Besides, up until now, he had been looking forward to maybe training with the Four, or at least, get to watch them go against one another.

Tykir closed the door with a click of latch on the inside, then turned back to face the warrior. He faced him fully but his gaze never lifted to the meet the dark intensity that he knew he would find there. He desperately wanted to glance to his friends but didn't dare. "Yes, but really they didn't need to be..." Knowing full well that was so not what he should have said, even as the words fell from his lips. A flicker of gaze up, then he cleared his throat and looked away quick.

"Didn't need?" Vincent nodded slow, looking away from the Heathfield prince to the Balli princes. "You two I know, who are you?" He looked directly at the lass whose aura was far from serious. She didn't need to show anything physically for the King's man to pick up on her flippant attitude to the situation. These four had been scaling the roofs of  Heathfield's castle. Three of them more likely to meet their deaths with a fall with the slightest misstep or slip. The castle guards were unaware of their undertaking, and could take their little fun as a threat to the royals who reside here. And there she stood, all smug and smirking in the presence of the Dragon himself. Silly little girl. This wasn't a fussy little Nanny she was dealing with.

Oh...she wasn't amused as she had been, but she didn't shy away from the man. Guess it helped to not know who he was. Or maybe it really didn't matter. Chin notching up a bit, she eyed the man briefly. "Fawn Quinn. And the idea of climbing rooftops was my own." Well, climbing rooftops had been mentioned first by her. It was enough that she could claim the idea as her own.

Lips were pressed tight so he didn't say anything for a McAndrews mouth would likely get him in even more Trouble. He stepped closer to Fawn in a protective gesture as it dawned on him who this man was. Well at least one of four he heard tell of.

"I'm the oldest." Charles did speak up. "If anyone should have spoken up against it, it was me." He squared his shoulders as he continued. "In any case, we weren't thinking about the trouble we'd cause, only that it be an adventure."

Charles just saved Fawn the heated wrath of the Dragon when he spoke up. "The most important part of that comment, Prince McAndrews, that I hear is that you weren't thinking." He looked directly at Tykir. "Do you think if any of  your friends would have fallen, that you could have saved them? Have you tested that yet, the strength of your wings, Tykir?" He shook his head, looking back to the McAndrews princes. "See her safely home, My Lords, via the castle corridors. Tykir, you will come with me. I'm sure Karl is waiting to hear what has been found...I'll allow you to tell him."

And he almost plummet off the side of the roof. No. That would not be mentioned! Words came low to Tykir, "talk to you tomorrow." A noticeable pause before adding quickly, "what's left," then he was ushering Fawn down the corridor in the direction indicated to get her out and home. They would be back later being they were staying here in the suites reserved for their family as needed.

Tykir, like Rory, kept his mouth shut since his last statement. When the King's Man mentioned his strength, his skill at flying, he looked up to him, but still didn't say anything. His friends were on their way out and he would looked to their departure. Dang, but he wished he was going with them and not to address the King who had, without doubt, been roused from his bed for this! Not good! Crappolla tenfold! He lifted a hand in farewell to his comrades and knew they wouldn't be continuing on until the three of them had made the corner of the corridor. The path they would take was most likely another secret passage directly to the King's office.

Fawn listened quietly to what the others had to say, still eying the man of authority. She huffed when the man suggested the twin princes escort her home and started to be ushered away. "No. It isn't right that he should have to explain this himself. The blame is not his alone." She stopped walking and looked back to the man. Good time for her to be stubborn, huh?

Ohdungheapbeetlesno! Fawn needed to keep on walking!

He hated leaving Tykir to talk to the King alone but there was nothing to be done for it after Sir Vincent made the decision. He looked at Ty, apology in his eyes, then he turned and followed after his brother and Fawn. Then he stopped and looked at Fawn, just stopping himself from slapping his hand over his eyes. Maybe Rory better sling her over a shoulder.

He pressed a finger to his lips and turned the corner, that's when he stopped, one glance to his brother and Fawn before he was in stealth mode shadowing to follow Tykir and the King's man. Going back when they would not be expecting him.

Vincent watched as the girl stopped and looked back. A dark brow arched, but his darker eyes narrowed. "Tykir..." He growled, the prince would not want Vincent to handle this.

And Vincent knew Tykir well. He glanced up to Vincent, swallowed and hurried down the hall to where the three had halted. "It's cool as day old toast, really. It's not the first time nor will it be the last I have explaining to do. This is more because of the danger you were in, and I was not...we'll talk tomorrow. Fawn, really, thanks, I appreciate what you're doing...but I am the one who is going to be held responsible, regardless of what you think.  Use this time to ... " And his voice lowered. "Come up with another scheme for an adventure. I had a grand time, but I'm off to do what I do best from with the consequences of my actions." He offered her a half grin, placed his fisted hand on his chest for the McAndrews and spun on a heel, hurrying back to the King's Man that waited for him, not even daring to give the spirited lass a chance to sound off to him. Best the McAndrews hush her up and quick, even if Rory had to kiss her into silence!

Vincent, of all people, had to admire their loyalty even if they were all in trouble for certainly this would leak back to Chadrick. Still, better him than their mother! Chad would have a stern word with them but how could he say more when he did worse at their age? Oh yeah, get Rory into trouble and his middle name should have been Jon then! There really wasn't much more they could do there so it would have to be retreat, regroup and find another adventure to be had. Rory was the one that has spoken up with ideas.. starting with the invasion of Hazel's kitchen then brought up the idea of castle roof climbing!

He gave Tykir a half smile, saluted him in the same manner and did the same to Vincent, even in the man thought he was being cocky.  He wasn't. Then he looked at Fawn. "Let it go. Ty will likely have to do extra rounds on the field tomorrow." Which might not seem like much, but it was!

Fawn did not like the idea of someone else taking the blame in whole! or at least her part of it. That man didn't scare her. Probably should have, but he didn't. Eyes narrowed at the man then turned attention to Tykir as he approached. Arms folded over her chest defiantly, but she didn't get a chance to argue the point any further. "Hmph." It wasn't fair that Tykir take the blame. Or most of it. The twin princes might catch a little hell for it, too, but what about her?! A sigh of defeat, she grumbled and turned to follow. Her brothers might catch wind of this, but she doubted she'd get more than a stern talking to from them.

Yes, it had been Rory! But this was Tykir's castle, and Tykir's roof, and Tykir's responsibility as the prince of this castle. It was an honor thing after all. The McAndrews would have done the same for him had the castles been switched. It was the way of royals...and the reasonability that came with that title.

Once the three turned the corner, Vincent motioned with a wave of hand for Tykir to go...and he did, right to that secret entrance and then on to the office of the King.



Date: 01-09-11
Poster: Eric Westmoreland
Post # 28

Note: This SL.. containing these characters of Duncan, Jon and Eric will contain rough language, situations, ideas and may not be for those of delicate constitution.

Tracking down the Scourge: Tarifa

It was a distance from Tunis to where Jon was holding out, or so rumors leaked that Duncan got wind of. Wind he shared with Eric since they were such close buddies. It was said, keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. They were short of being bed buddies if that were held to. One got the idea. It was time for Eric to test out his new ho as they set sail down the Mediterranean Sea heading for the village of Tarifia on the coast of Spain.  It was a blizzard kind of day but that didn't stop Duncan, one who felt he was above even nature. Above Death. The small rebellion of a sailor found his death not by the storm and the rest complied to take their  chances with nature than the Black Doom. He was in his oilskin, fur lined cloak at the rail watching the snow swirl down in a vertigo effect. They had the nautical instruments to find their way blindly through any weather.

To be at sea again. No matter the weather. He had his hands gripped firmly around the helm of his Putain D'eau, even their destination couldn't spoil his good humor. Although, some would say that Westmoreland's good mood brought ill to any in his path. Lucky for 'any', they kept to the sea on the way to seek out what truths there may be regarding the Scourge. One could hope the bastid had slipped from whatever dock he was ported at and became the late night snack for a shark or two. Hope, he'd cling to it for now just as tightly as he held to his water whore.

The weather had taken an usual turn with normally warm weather turning to cold and snow. Jonathan stood at the window of the tavern watching while the villagers and sailors muttered behind him about ill-omens and evil signs. He looked into the reflective surface of the pane and watched them, then looked out toward the ocean. It was dark and dangerous, white-caps churning the service as if trying to flee something. Taking a drink, he turned away and made for his office. If the signs were true, and the winds truly ill, his comfortable life was about to change. And maybe it was past time.

Oh, Duncan was enjoying every minute in looking forward to this moment. Such a moment as Eric and Jon meeting up was enough to give him goose bumps. The treachery of it like a masterpiece showcase. It was why it would not be put off for the weather. Once the coordinates showed they reached their destination the ship slowed as it made its way into the port. Luckily the snow had left off some that visibility was bearable. One could see the lights shining through the lighter snow. They anchored taking a dinghy in, leaving the ship to rock in the choppier water as well the dinghy having water splash over the sides. Still he pushed onward until the pier was reached. The men could wait for him in the vicinity for when he was ready to depart. While he waited on Eric he paced the board walk in search of the pubs. It could be any one of them as that much information had not been given by the time it filtered through. It was the Dancing Moon that caught his eye and a wicked grin to spread. Wouldn't it be just like the Scourge?

It wouldn't take long for Eric to join Duncan, riding the bobbing dinghy, moving with the motion, standing at the bow in the power position. He jumped to the wood planking as they scraped alongside the pier, and strode forward to join Duncan. He jerked the collar of his coat up around his ears and nodded his readiness to proceed. "Do we just sniff until our nostrils hairs singe from the foul odor of bastard?"

Unluckily for the two, the young Sergeant in charge of the Watch decided to be brave. They didn't usually bother any of the sailors that came into port but with the foul weather, he was nervous. Or perhaps, unluckily for the Watch. He spoke in Spanish first, demanding to know their business in the village. Shaking in his boots, he put on a good show. His men weren't very impressed. They were too busy trying to look as menacing as the two men. And  was that the sound of laughter coming from somewhere close?

"Be along lad or you'll be having a stain of piss on your pants and staring up at the snow filled sky with unseeing eyes. See that man's face?" Which Duncan motioned to Eric who had all the scars like the moon itself. "That is the only warning you will get and your monkeys too." Which they might catch the eyes of Death itself that was passed over them by Doom. "Your choice as otherwise we will come and go like ships in the night." The blades tucked away at his wrists were sharp and ready and if the man made the wrong choice, the new fallen snow would be stained red this night.

"Don't be so irritable, Old Man." Eric chuckled, smacking a hand to Duncan's shoulder. "Come on lads, it's too damn cold to be lingering out here. We're wanting a drink, and a large set of tits to nuzzle our noses different than the lot of you." He flicked a coin toward the Sergeant. "There now, that should buy you a round or two...with a tankard or a lass, whichever be your preference." All the while, he was pushing his way forward toward them, and along the boards with his hand flat at the junction of Duncan's shoulders. "Bloody ass cold, what kind of weather do you boys keep here?"

For a moment, the Sergeant hesitated but he caught the coin quick enough. "Just obey the laws of the town and there'll be no trouble." Though with his thick accent, it didn't come out that clearly. He and his men backed up, then parted to let the two men walk between. It was nearly time for their shift to be over anyway. Another sound of laughter, and the door of The Dancing Moon tavern closed, with a loud click. The wind picked up, blowing snow in a whirl around the two men. There'd be tales in the village about the soldiers facing two of Satan's minions that night!

"Aye, you're lucky he's in a good mood tonight." With a certain glance to Eric as he was kind of hoping to slit some throats this night but there was another matter at hand to appease his thirst. He could move fast as he caught the door near as it closed and swung it open again. Place was open for business whether it was or not or if the fact the proprietor was indeed one Jon Stirling. He was in, free hand ready with a dagger if need be and the door held for Eric as Duncan scanned the interior.

The time for slitting throats would be their's soon enough and Eric really didn't feel like wearing splatters of blood on his clothing this early in the evening. He glanced up briefly to the sign swinging over the door, then he made use of Duncan's - good manners - to enter the establishment. The proprietor kept the place clean and warm, a plus on a night like tonight. Next they would test the women and the wine...the true test of a tavern's merit.

There was as of yet, no sign of the proprietor, but a pretty, well-endowed lass, met them at the door. She gave them a saucy smile and look over, then spoke, in passable English. Maybe a lucky guess on her part. "Good evening and welcome. What would such handsome gentleman like on such a cold, icy night to warm themselves?" Jon watched from behind a two way mirror, smiling to himself. The clues were all there for the two to catch. Now to see if they'd still had the smarts. And they would find the wine to be excellent. He had good teachers, even if they'd like to split him open from stem to stern.

Language was no barrier in what Duncan brought to mind in what he'd do to this lass should he decide later and she willing. If not willing he would become convincing unless another caught his eye more. Cold nights warranted a warm body slick beside his. Her speech had him grin, man with all his teeth still and white. "If you're on the menu, I'll have an extra helping. On another matter, I'd like to meet the proprietor." Not knowing Jon actually ran the tavern but inhabited one. Although the mirror caught his attention a moment with a look to follow and shift over Eric. Jon would have the upper hand in a tavern he confiscated but that still wouldn't stop these two. If it were him he'd be well prepared for the day his enemy showed up.

Let Duncan talk, Eric enjoyed the view a moment, then slipped the entire length of his forefinger in his mouth, drawing it out slick with saliva. He walked past the woman, but he paused to slip his wet finger in the cleavage exposed to them and then, once more placed his finger in his mouth, his path directly to the mirror. That same finger he pressed to the glass, his finger touched his reflection without a space between. That caused the man to smile, but it lacked any amusement. Instead, he turned his head to the side, sucked in deeply through his sinuses then turned to look once more to the reflecting window, spitting that thick, slimy blob right where a face might be.  He smiled again, winked and turned to walk away. No matter who was behind that window, Eric didn't take kindly to being spied on. "A red wine, Lass, dry and oaky." He called to the woman, taking a seat nearer the opening of the bar so anyone coming out, would be directly in his view.

"Senor Saxton is in his office. He eeeeeeee!" She let out a squeal and looked at Eric, laughing before continuing. "He might not be in tonight. Business, si?" She knew Jonathan was in there watching, and he had warned her how dangerous the men were. There were other women, as pretty and as buxom, but only Conseula spoke English well. "The best wine we have, Senor." She winked at Eric then looked at Doom. "And for you, Senor?" Beyond the mirror, Jon watched the two enter and scowled. He hadn't thought they would be so quick to track him down. And like most, he reacted out of instinct when Eric spit. He jerked back then cursed, and cursed again when the girl slipped and said he was in, when he had told her to say the opposite.  From there he went into the office while the tender took care of the drinks and another lass the mirror. Sitting at his desk, he waited. If they didn't come in, he might go out. After all, they were all old 'friends', even if they had left him to fend for himself.

The slow draw of his eyes went down over the curve of her bust before lifting and slipping a gold coin between them. "It is a matter of business for this Senor Saxton." Words a good hint to get the man out here or they would be going in after him. "An ale on your return or sent over." Taking up a seat at the table, one close enough to the mirror without any other tables in the way and where they have a view of the hall. One that would make it easy to stand, pick up a chair and throw it through it at the two-way mirror it as his patience was wearing thin. Something that happened quite often with Duncan. Jon had not been treated any different than they all treated each other. He was just on the wrong end of the stick at that time. Chalk it up to his youth and inexperience. Perhaps that changed.

Damn but if Eric wouldn't enjoy Jon at the wrong end of the stick, literally! The boy needed a beating, often, and by Westmoreland's hand. "Just get the man, and quit with the stalling. He knows we're here, we know he just said he was in his office. I'll take my wine, and no more delay. I've had my fill of delays." He waved her away with the back of his hand, finished with her for now.

She stepped back, giving a flick of her hair over her shoulder before swaying back to the bar. A whispered word to the tender had him cuffing the boy who cleaned the table upside the head and sending him to the office. A moment later the drinks were brought to the two men, the woman leaning to give the men a better look. The door to the office opened as she straightened and walked away and a moment later, 'Senor Saxton," appeared, his confident stride carrying him from door to table.  "I see time hasn't dulled the blade of your impatience." He stopped himself from giving a mocking bow, just, and motioned back toward the office. "Do you prefer privacy?" There was no fear on his part about those in his employ speaking to anyone. Some had disappeared for such indiscretion.

"Life is too short to dally, Scourge." Being he seemed to like that moniker. He was up taking his drink in hand. Obviously the privacy preferred than interrupted again and more delays. Jon was taking the risk. But then risk was their way of life. "Have some food brought back too, may as well make a meal of it."

When things began to happen, Eric began to enjoy his life. The scurrying of a lad. The exposed mounds of a woman. The click of an opening door. The retreat of the wench. Eric leaned to the side, slipping free the dagger from his boot and resting it flat against the length of his thigh. When Jon-Boy showed himself, Eric stood, using the backs of his legs to move the chair away behind him. He dipped his little finger into the wine to test it, brought it to his lips. No ill taste of poison or powdered sleep, he lifted the glass by the stem, tipping it to the Scourge and then taking a long drink of the deep red liquid. He pointed his dagger tip the man's way as the glass lowered.  "And I see time hasn't sharpened the blade of your wits, Stirling. Let's talk, boy-o ... lead the way."


He snapped out an order, not looking to see who was close and knowing it would be obeyed. "I'm always open to business." He did bow slightly now, though his eyes narrowed at Eric. Poisons? Sleeping powders? Too common! But it was the blade that had a brow lift, not his testing of the drink.. "I'd say surely you wouldn't attack an unarmed man, but we both know better, don't we, old man?" And as dangerous as it was, he turned his back on the two and headed for the office. Of course, there were a few quiet clicks from the rest of the rooms. Unreliable flintlocks might be, but there were several pistols aimed at the men.

He bore the holes of a bullet or two but he also wore a special made mail that now it would only leave a few bruises or two. The show was about to begin and he was going to be more the audience than taking part. The curtain had not gone down forever as he followed the young pirate.

Soft they may be, but the pirate knew the sound of a cocked flintlock, as intimate with the soft click and hiss as he could be with a lover's kiss. The sound of the advantage Jon had just gained almost enraged Eric enough to take the lead of bullets. Not only would Eric attack an unarmed man, but he'd attack from the back without a second thought. Just to know the arrogant ass flip-flop-squirmed on the floor with Westmoreland's dagger buried deep between the blades of too proud shoulders.

And well did this arrogant ass know it. He felt that prickle between his shoulder blades as he walked to the door and pulled it open. He left the door hang open, knowing they'd insist he go through first anyway. He went straight to the desk, sitting on the edge instead of behind it. There was a table inside as well, clear of any papers, apparently used for meetings of this type. "Drinks are there. Food will be here shortly." He motioned toward the table then to comfortable chairs placed in front of the desk. "Your choice of seats, of course." A slight smirk appeared. "I expected you two much sooner then this." His voice still held the same arrogance but now he was interested in why they were there.

Duncan had his tankard in hand as he cut through in front of Eric then left the man to follow Jon while he checked out the room. He sniffed much like a wolf would of its new environment, craning his neck forward as he passed around the desk Jon positioned himself on. "What's that foul smell?" Which could be anything and nothing at all as he rounded the desk and headed for the table. A chair drawn had the scrape of legs to almost echo in such small confines but soon stilled as his weight settled there.

Dagger in hand, Eric didn't sit, but took up a lean against the wall, tapping the tip lightly to the boards behind him. "Smells a bit like a pansy-ass business man, rotting away in a trap he created for himself." The tap just a little louder behind him to indicate the tavern. "And since I had such joyous dreams of your flesh melting from your bones in the heat of an island's sun, sooner was delightfully delayed...and then reality came crashing are here...playing at proprietorship...and Doom felt he should shatter my hopes completely and seek you out." He brought up his blade, turned it so he could check out his teeth in the reflection, then used his fingernail to probe at what looked to be a pepper seed between two.

Leather, food, the faint hint of a woman's perfume. But at Doom's comment, Jon just smiled without humor and watched him. "Trap? I have all the benefits of being a proper tavern owner, and a ship waiting in a hidden cove, to enjoy other, more enjoyable pursuits, when I choose." If pressed, he might admit he was growing tired of it all but damned if he'd let either of them see it. "So sorry to destroy your dreams, old man. But I've heard a great deal of discussion about the two of you. And one ship. You certainly have trouble holding on to them, don't you?" The door opened after a brief knock and several of the women brought in the food, and plenty of it. There was plenty of studying the two newcomers, smiles and teasing looks before they were gone again.

That was the very information he wanted to hear, volunteered. Jon had a ship. He could be of use unless Eric rather skin him alive. Slowly. Painfully. The trade off would be worth it. "Nice little padded trap you have made for yourself. Next you'll be settling down and having a family," like demons spawning everywhere came the visual. "Seems the discussions you've heard were not based on facts." Amused? Certainly. Propping his feet up on the seat next to his as he took a long drink of the ale to quench his thirst. Anything else was left unsaid with the troop of women coming in with food and some teasing allowing a few gropes that would appease him presently.

Westmoreland smiled into that reflection, could have been to check for any further debris, could have been a scowl with Jon's words. He lowered the weapon as the man continued to tell of all he had. Perhaps the trap was not so much what Jon assumed and more so that both Doom and Blackbeard knew the young man had a ship...took the bait, the heavy metal teeth clamped down sharp and firm. Inexperienced braggart. As the last woman headed out the door, Eric  spun on a heel and slapped a hand to the cheek of her arse, giving it a squeeze following the swat. "I'll agree with your other enjoyable pursuits, Jon-Boy." With the sole of his boot he aided the door to close behind the women, leaving the men in privacy to talk, then returned to his previous position, the food though teasing his senses, was not his main focus right now.

Or maybe not so inexperienced. There was more than one ship, though not here. He had learned too well that dealing with these two would likely mean the losing of a single ship.  And if there was a proposition that would entice him away from this ... padded trap ... well, he might be looking for it. While sailing solo had some merits, there was something to be said in being part of a trio that caused fully armed ships to flee. He snorted out a laugh at the mention of the family, knowing full well they probably had a few brats running around somewhere. "Ah, then I'll have to make sure the teller of tales are made to understand their mistakes, won't I?" He made his way to the table and sat, but didn't bother with the food. "So, what exactly has brought you to the jewel in the crown of Spain's possessions?" Dry and with some humor. He would hold off baiting Eric. For now.

Doom didn't acknowledge brats left behind or he'd probably see to their demise. He was eyeing Jon then Eric in turn as he decided to have something to eat. Picking up a drumstick of some bird, he started right in tearing the meat off the bone. He enjoyed what he ate and didn't worry on manners nor sounds that came with it. He gave a shrug to the comment on making his informants more aware as it was no concern of his. He rather enjoyed the fact they had not reported that there were two ships over one and such made a huge difference. He also didn't volunteer any correction at this point either. "Raping Spain," came in between bites.

And there Jon had it. Eric chuckled hearing Doom's explanation and pointed the blade now toward the man he neither trusted nor liked, but made the most of any enterprise between them because ... well .. it worked in Eric's best interest. "If your dick hasn't softened so much in the comforts of Spain's crown that you can't manage to plug her a time or two more. Don't mistake my stand in this, Stirling. I had no wish to have to watch you dangle that worm of yours about in your pitiful attempts. But, seems Doom here likes the idea of you poking about to find a hole that you might use, and who knows, you just might get lucky this time? I think he favors the smell of you...must be you've the scent of pussy."

"Oh, I have no doubt you'd rather see me dead but I've missed your wit and charm and though I'm sure I'd prefer not to see you try to do the same with your wrinkled cock around some lovely golden treasure, I'm more than willing to do my share. I happen to know the crown avoids the area of the islands because of the Barbary pirates, but they do send gold to their subjects. And plenty of it." He leaned back in the chair and looked at the two men. "There's a catch though, isn't there? " There always was.

"Are we talking your preference for blonds, Jon?" Just to throw the monkey wrench out. "There's a lot to say when one gets defensive of their cock. Perhaps you two could have a cock fight and see who the winner is." Certainly he was fueling the fire but it would be hard not to between the two. Fueling was fun, sometimes it got bloody fun. "One ship alone would not get far with the Barbary pirates, two has one chance in hell but three can intercept and make well their bounty. A bounty best hid away on a discovery I made many years ago of a virgin island I keep as my Maiden."

One notch, the bloody pirate just gained one notch in Eric's opinion of him. Westmoreland stared at him a moment more, a slight twitch at the corner of his lips as the younger man insulted him. Yet again. But well done even if Eric would never give over that fact to the man. "The catch is, this time, you won't be enjoying your vacation on an island if you screw...and screw up, aye, boy? Mount your whore and make her ready for the ride of her life. I mean to do the same ... tonight by way of that blonde that just left, the days to follow by what gold we manage to relieve the crown of. You two can continue to chew the fat over facts and figures. The only figure I'm interested in at present is that  plump arsed one, last in line." He licked his lips, passed the back of his hand over the same path and turned to reach for the door latch.

"I won't screw up." He had enough of deserted islands to last him a lifetime. If it came to that, he'd make sure one of the two killed him outright. He smirked as Eric started to reach for the door. "Can't fault your taste in women. Even if not all of them find you to their tastes." He saluted the retreating pirate with his glass as he left, eyes shifting to Doom.

He'd made plans with the brunette of the lot. She would serve him well this night. He was up to rip off the other drumstick. "We sail as soon as you can be ready." They obviously were. "Say goodbye to this place." For once they set sail as pirates again, their home would be out on the sea and a certain island he would be introducing them to. One not so much virgin for the complex that he was building there. Like old times, time before the last encounter the three of them had before. Eric would remember his slave colony that had been so productive. Duncan just pointed the drumstick at Jon before heading out to get his greasy fingers on that brunette, leaving her a night she'll never forget.

"I'll be ready before the two of you are finished for the night." He waited until they left then pushed to his feet. The tender would get the deed back to the place, and his daughter back as well. And he'd be bluidy well glad to be rid of it all. He grinned as he headed back out into the common room. Only a few hours more and he'd be doing what he did best.



Date: 01-11-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 29

Battle Favors
Molly had been out and about doing errands again and stopped at the Thistle for lunch. She sat now before the hearth, watching the flames dance in the fireplace, daydreaming. It was a perfect day for it, with snow falling again outside. She was dressed as usual in pants, this time of black wool, and a bright blue shirt beneath a cream colored tunic like sweater. It felt odd to be in here with the Thistle so quiet and no one else but Alex bustling about. But at the same time, it was nice to be away from the busy Mercantile and tavern.

Ellyn was doing some exploration of the lands. Being she was never here before just to roam on her own. Shops were always a plus to revisit a few times as inventory changed or she had missed something the first pass or three. From there she had spent a number of hours in the expansive library at the castle. She would have stayed longer, and visited with Abigail but she got hungry and so headed for the Thistle which was the social arena of these lands. Social was something she was here to do. The door pressed open with a gust of cold air, her cheeks and nose a little red from the winter's bite but gave a healthy look too at the same time. "Hello Molly," bright smile as she closed off the door then removed the heavier outerwear to hang off to a peg. The outerwear consisting of a woolen knit hat, gloves and a long scarf.

"Hello, Ellyn. How have you been?" She sat up when she saw her friend, her smile warm. "Were you enjoying the weather too?" She glanced at the window then back. "I think it should be perfect for sledding." She had gotten a toboggan for Yule and wanted to try them out. Skates too though she had no idea if she could stand up or not.

Finally released to have some time of his own, Tykir actually walked along the streets of Heathfield. He paused at shop fronts, enjoyed a tart at the Douglas treat shop, got a bag of warm chestnuts from a sidewalk vendor and along the way, wandered into the Thistle. He popped the last nut into his mouth as he closed the door behind him. Immediately he smiled, seeing who was also in the common room. "Molly! Ellyn! Wow!" He was glad to see them  obviously. He wiped his palms on the side of his thighs and continued in. He had a good blood line and the cold rarely bothered him. Which was a good thing after all considering the other feature passed along his lineage. He wore only a knitted cap which he didn't bother taking off as he joined the females in the tavern.

"I have been well," taking the moment to order a bowl of the Irish stew and brown bread lavished in butter. A drink of warm cider as she turned back to face Molly and found Tykir arriving as well. "Hello Tykir," she would wait there at the bar until her meal arrived. Luckily both were far enough away they didn't hear the low rumble of her stomach. She had and a giggle slipped out she cleared away with a little cough.

Tykir's greeting had her grinning as she turned in her chair again. "Hello, Tykir. It's good to see you too. How have you been?" She wasn't just asking out of politeness, she really wanted to know how they were both doing. "It's really snowing, isn't it?" One of those questions no one needed to answer if they didn't want.

"I've been okay." He'd been all about taking responsibilities for his actions, and his body ached with it. But...he was okay. "Haven't seen you two around in a while. Even went upstairs to see if you were there, Ellyn. Are you not staying here anymore?"

"Yes.." giving an amused look Molly's way. Certainly the lass was in an extraordinary good mood. "Have you been out in it making snowmen? Ice skating at the lake or sledding?" There was the usual sledding but she waited for the dragon run to be made for she heard so much about it. Something more than the norm. Giving Tykir a double take before her smile swept. "I was home for the holidays but I've returned a couple days ago. I may spend most of the winter here with relatives about. Maybe stay just to taunt you.." Lifting her brows just so but the spark of amusement would not be missed in green eyes.

She was, and all because of the snow. "I've made a huge snowman with some of my family, but I haven't tried sledding yet because I was waiting to find everyone and see if we could all go. And, I got skates now, but I have no idea if I can stay up on them." She looked a little sheepish. "I never learned to ice skate." And had pretty much kept to herself for a few years until she learned some social skills. "Oh, that would be grand, Ellyn, if you stay."

"Feel free to taunt away." Tykir laughed, taking up the hot cocoa that Alex had placed on the counter for him. "Why can't we go today? Sledding? The fields behind the castle are perfect and we have sleds."

"I would like to go. I've been down to the lake to skate some and some sledding but I doubt the makeshift runs are anything like the big one that is made each year. I hear the Shawnesey brothers will be soon." Tyrkir's response had her beaming a smile his way and a saucy wink added. "That I will handsome." Certainly but when he least expected it.

"Yes, I've heard that the Shawnesey slopes are the best ones, but I may not be around long enough to get to enjoy them. Soooo...if you two aren't dong anything now..." Tykir was all about the here and now. If you put too much thought into something, you could talk yourself out of it. That had never happened to Tykir, he just acted...reasoning was a waste of effort and of a fun time. He cut a grin Ellyn's way with her promise.

"Soon as I eat if you both want to.." She was game but her meal stole her attention away as her food was delivered. At which point she took up a stool and started right in. She'd not eaten since last night. Not good all considering but normal too for her age, on the go, eating would take from that time. "Why wont you be around to enjoy the dragon run?" If she caught his meaning correctly.

I'd like to go too." She grinned as she pushed out of the chair, then looked at Ellyn, a touch wide-eyed, her lips twitching. She was good at teasing. "Of course, we'll wait." And Ellyn had asked the question that was just on her lips. So, with another chuckle, she waited for his answer before she pulled on her 'borrowed' coat.

She was spooning away that stew, so delicious.. while she waited Tykir's answer. Another trait of their age was how fast they could eat because they wanted to be somewhere else already.

He set his cup down and reached over to pull off a piece of Ellyn's brown bread. That would help her finish up faster. "We are waiting word from Kildare, when we receive it, I'm off with the others North." Yes, you could take him as a serious warrior, couldn't you? What with the marshmallow foam on his upper lip.

They had been hearing about Kildare lately, though it was mostly rumors. So when Tykir said they'd be going soon, she looked at Ellyn then back to the dark prince. "Are you excited about going? Scared?" Her smile returned though, never gone for long. "Will you be fighting, Tykir? And get to use a sword?" Sometimes boys had all the luck!

"Rina is already there, I'll be traveling with the Black Griffon, King Peter and their men. Excited? That should answer that!" He laughed softly, and gave a shrug, as if sword fighting were an everyday thing. Actually, it had been, but not against an enemy. He'd have to do some extra fancy footwork to get in on the Kildare war action but the girls didn't need to know he was stowing away rather than actually riding with the men. So he didn't commit to any answers to the whole fighting/sword question except to say. "Kildare will not be the last battle ever fought."  And that...was truth!

She swatted at his hand for stealing but in a playful way, "you'll owe taking me flying if you keep that up." She used the last of the bread to finish up her meal before she was off the stool and over to get on her hooded cloak, hat, mittens and scarf. "Kildare, there are a lot of things said about Kildare that is not like these lands, more wild. More exciting?" With a glance to Molly for her comments as she pulled on her gloves. "Who is the Black Griffon?" Sounded ominous.

Even if they did know, Molly thought it was all very exciting. "You've said Rina is there. You're going to be missed you know." Just to make sure he knew it. She laughed again as Ellyn swatted Tykir's hand then was over to collect her own coat, hat, scarf and gloves.

He'd keep saying she was there too until he finally was able to join her! The swat was greeted with only a quick pop of the bread into his mouth and he chewed while Ellyn finished up. "King Karl." He swallowed quick, so he could answer Molly. "That is what the Four call him. I was told by Sir Randolph that Vincent de Beauvais would have a yellow ribbon or scarf on him somewhere.  A favor from his lady. Karl will have one too. It's the way of it, in tournaments and in battle, that a warrior takes a favor from a lovely lady with him for luck, and victory." That was a part of the excitement for Tykir, all the preparation as well as the war itself. Since the roof incident, he had been elbow and knee deep in preparations.

She paused as Tykir answered then looked at Ellyn, eyes twinkling with a sudden thought. "Can a warrior take favors from two lovely ladies?" She hesitated at calling herself lovely. Cute maybe but it was shrugged off. "I mean, could you have one from Ellyn and myself both?" She knew exactly what she'd give him if so.

"Well, you should have something too." She rooted around in the pocket of her coat for she had a bit of blue silk she tied her hair back with. Probably had the scent of jasmine on it too. Molly could refer to herself as lovely for certainly the boys probably saw her as such. She pulled out the bit of silk to dangle from her fingertips. "One like this?"

Dark eyes lit up. He hadn't ever thought he'd be going into battle as honored as the King and a Horseman. "Yes Molly." He almost whispered with his awe. "And...boy, Ellyn." He eyed that silk, forcing himself not to snatch it right away from her grip. "That is perfect." As if in a hypnotic stupor, he watched the silk sway in her hold as he spoke. "Though, it may put you both at a disadvantage if we race while sledding."

Well, hers wasn't a ribbon for her hair. But she had in her pocket a small scarf that had her initials embroidered on it. While she had been sick, Avalon had taught her. The initials weren't perfect certainly, with the M a bit large, and a stitch or two missing from the T. She had picked out a purple shade for it and while the scarf wasn't really big enough to be worn for sledding, it was perfect for this. "And this from me."

She was over to tie it around his upper arm in a loose knot so it wasn't stuck there forevermore but there was a thought. Nah, he'd cut it off and it would be a waste of a pretty piece of silk. "In case you end up in battle." Not knowing if he would be called to duty too or not. He was going and that put the opportunity there. "Come back to us when you are done." Stepping back as she was starting to get a little warm all bundled up while in the tavern.

With two favors, he'd even be one up on Karl and Vincent! He couldn't wait to wear his because even if he didn't say anything, he knew they would be noticed by men who were aware of what the token meant.  Seriously? He looked from girl to girl. "Thank you." He mouthed more than spoke and watched as Ellyn tied her silk to his arm.

"You might be at a disadvantage now." She hadn't been sure what to do but since Ellyn had tied the silk to his arm, she did the same to his other. "Though you might have to take them off to sled." She nodded to, to Ellyn's words and planted a little kiss to Tykir's cheek. "Like I said, we're going to miss you." Stepping back, she grinned. "Now, let's go sledding before the two of us melt." Since Tykir didn't need a coat!

"I don't know, the scarf might go better around his neck," being bulkier as she stepped in and didn't she do one better in pressing a quick firm kiss over his lips before stepping back. Would he go pa-chewy and wipe it off or look shocked?

He grinned like a loon with the kisses, vowing if these were the rewards for going off to war, then he would definitely not dread it. He played it up by allowing his head to loll around in a circle on his neck . "Can I say that a sled ride is as dangerous an endeavor as going off to battle?" Maybe he could get a couple more kisses! He started back stepping toward the door. "Let's go before I just float away on my own." There was a flutter of dark wings but he didn't spread them. "Who needs wings when there are such sweet kisses."

"Only if you can beat me down the hill. Then I might kiss you again." Saucy threat with a laugh as they had dallied too long in the warmth of the tavern bundled up. She was over to the door to open it and cool her down, hold it for them if they were not going to be long.

It wasn't a knit scarf, more like one a lady might wear to cover her neckline.  "It might, though it's kind of short. You can put it where it's comfortable, Tykir." She giggled at Tykir though she had just given him a kiss to the cheek. "When you come back, we'll each give you another. So you better be back." She was promising for both Ellyn and herself. Happy with the way the day turned out, she hurried through the door. Cooling off was a good idea.

They'd take turns racing ahead, laughing and enjoying their journey from the Thistle to the Castle to collect the sleds. The sloping hills weren't that far of a run from there.



Date: 04-19-11
Poster: Karl von Rundstedt
Post # 30

At least once a week the Four met with Karl to discuss matters of importance within Heathfield or when necessary, regarding Luneberg.  The Horsemen sat in various chairs while Karl penned a letter to Garrett.

Trevor read the latest edition of the Heathfield paper.
Vincent studied a missive sent from Luneberg via Lyons.
Dana studied the field beyond the window to his right, his hair occasionally lifting and blowing into his gaze.
Lazare appeared to be resting his eyes, although the forefinger of his right hand which lay on the arm of the chair would flicker ... and then Dana's view would be interrupted again. 

"Cut it out, Lazare."  Dana growled, scrapping his fingers along his brow and moving his hair for the umpteenth time from his eyes. 

Vincent's attention lifted from the page over to Lazare, then slowly slid to Dana before it dipped again to Garrett's accounting.

Lazare chuckled, opened his eyes and pressed his hand to the flat surface of stomach beneath his shirt.  "I grow hungry, we are finished here?" 

Dana shook his head, pulling his notice around from the window to take in Karl across the way at the desk.  "Not quite.  There's one more thing I would like to mention."  

Trevor lowered his paper, folding it on the bend of knee where his ankle crossed his leg. 
One dark brow twitched into an arch but Vincent didn't appear to stop reading, he actually shifted one page behind the next to continue with the multi-paged correspondence.

Lazare's stomach growled. "Seems I had something to add too." 

Dana smiled and waited for Karl to place the quill down.

"Forgive me, Dana, I thought all was finished.  This letter can wait."  Karl gently moved his chair back and returned to the men gathered in a circle near the hearth, reclaiming his seat there. 

"It's nothing pressing, Griffon, just something regarding one of the squires."  Dana scratched at the space between his brows, eyeing Karl past that action. 

"You wanting to take one on?" Lazare laughed, knowing that any tag-along squire would place a major crimp in the bachelor, de Vimeure's, style.  It was meant as a joke, but Dana's reply had Carno's amusement at an abrupt end.

"Well yes.  Kynan ... " He snapped his finger softly, struggling for the lad's family name.

Vincent turned the next page of the letter.  "McKay." Came the deep monotone of assistance as the last page now took priority. 

Dana  pointed toward Vincent.  "Kynan McKay."  

Indeed, Karl was also rather surprised but he hid it well.  He just rubbed his fingers off his chin as he thought through Dana's request.  "Why him, de Vimeure?" 

"Saw him last night.  Been watching him for awhile.  He's got something, Griffon, you don't see that often.  There's a hunger inside him ... and the energy and raw talent to feed that hunger." 

Lazare grunted, slapping his hands to his legs as he stood.  "Then he should train with me instead!" 

Karl smiled, looking up at Carno as the man stood.  "Your time will come.  But for now, I see no reason why you can't take on a squire, Dana.  Teach him what you know and the boy will go far in his training. Is there anyone I need to notify about this decision?"

Dana shook his head.  "To be honest, My Liege, I really don't know.  But if you don't mind, I'd like to approach McKay with the prospect myself."

"Very well then."  Karl agreed with another single nod.  "Is that all?" 

"For me." Dana stood with the smooth, fluid movements of confidence, of satisfaction.  "By your leave?"

Karl stood as well.  "Go see the lad...and you..." He waved Carno away with a laugh.  "You go eat, I'm tired of hearing all the grumbling.  From your stomach...and your lips."


Date: 04-19-11
Poster: Kynan MacKay
Post # 31

Two of the Four lingered in the training hall. Seated just off from the weapons to the right they spoke in lowered tones, nothing of importance, more just friendly banter between the men. Vincent had left to see to his nightly 'rituals' before returning to his girls...which even after all this time, none dared to try to find out about. Trevor had taken his leave. The Black Griffon sought out his wife ... and that left Dana and Lazare. One who sat forward with his arms braced to thighs as he laughed, the other with an arm draped over the back of his chair, legs extended, joining with his own chuckle of amusement.

It was unusual for Kynan to be without one of the other squires, or even one of the younger knights but he wanted to practice technique without any comments or laughter from any of his friends. He was confident enough most of the time but like the others, he wanted to succeed. He headed over to the weapons as soon as he entered and paused, seeing the King's Men there. After a moment, he turned on a heel and tried to sneak out. After all, they could be discussing something important and he didn't want to interrupt.

"Whoah!" Lazare pressed his arms against his thighs and stood, calling after the retreating lad. "Where are you fleeing to? Kynan, right? Obviously you came here for a reason...and I doubt it was to look at the weapons and then scoot."

Dana was smiling as he, too, drew in his legs and stood. "Which one of those would you choose, Kynan?" Dana knew the young man, had been watching him since they returned from Kildare. The boy had that 'something' that couldn't be taught, it had to be in the blood, in a place deep in the core, pulsing up and out from the soul.

Of course he stopped immediately and turned, giving the two men a sheepish smile. "Aye, Kynan. I didn't want to be bothering the two of you while I practiced." He went back over to the rack and picked up a staff. "I know I still need work on the other weapons, but the staff's been one I haven't managed to get the hang of. " This time the grin was more confident. "So I thought I'd try swinging it around and see if I could keep from knocking anything over." Including himself, but he didn't add that! And his blood was MacKay blood, from a long line of warriors.

"That's the thing, Kynan." Lazare chuckled, looking at Dana with the most subtle of nods and starting toward the door. "With the staff, that's the whole purpose!"

De Vimeure returned the gesture with a faint lift of chin and looked back to Kynan. "Take it up then, Lad..." Dana waved a hand toward the center of the large room. "If you don't mind overmuch."

"Other people, aye, but I'm meaning the racks, the benches... " He laughed and saluted Lazare then looked at Dana. And his grin grew. Mind? Not at all. "No sir, I mean yes, sir, I don't mind at all, sir." Barely keeping from rolling his eyes at the way he was babbling, he headed to the center of the room. He held the staff at the middle and swung it in an arc over his head, then turned in a circle, one, twice and on the third turn, it flew out of his hands and right into one of the practice dummies. Kynan blinked and looked at his hands, trying to figure how that had happened. He was too surprised to even be embarrassed.

Dana didn't flinch, but he did blink when that staff went sailing. "Excellent, right in the throat! That'll take a man down every time." He strolled over and bent to collect the staff. With it lengthwise between both palms, he weighed the weapon, then tossed it the distance between him and the lad. "How old are you, Kynan?"

"Seventeen." He caught the staff easily enough and let out a quiet sigh. He had been oiling some of the swords and decided to blame that for the staff slipping away. "Me brothers had been training me but decided it was time for me to join the other lads and get official training." He looked down at the staff and laughed. "They didn't have time to teach me everything when we were in Ireland, and life here was a bit hectic too." He tucked the staff under his arms while he wiped off his palms then tried again, this time with better success. The staff didn't go flying at least.

If the lad had thought to come and not be watched he would now be sorely disappointment, for Dana watched him closely as he started in again. Arms crossed against his chest, head held at an angle to best see Kynan's stance as well as his hold on the staff. "Seventeen..." He nodded, walking slowly around to the side and watching there too. "Thing is...its as much a mind process as it is the hands, the body. Ever hold a lass, Kynan?" He brought his gaze up from the boy's ability when he finished to look him straight in the eyes after that question.

Kynan blinked and stopped in midswing as he met Dana's gaze. Well, no one from his family was around so he didn't need evade the question. "Aye, I have. Not lately, but I have." He had been too busy but he had been noticing how pretty the girls were in Heathfield.

"Good then." Dana's nod was evidence that he was about to act on a thought. "Your hands, with a female, you've got to learn where to place them and then ... when to place them. Place them in the wrong place, move them too swiftly, and you'll be in for one hellova' hurtin'."

That ... was a different way to look at it and one that would rightly stay with a lad. He looked down at his hands, his expression thoughtful before he took hold of the staff again. The right hand held a more firmly then the left so he could use it as an anchor, the left as a guide. It felt better as he tried the move again and ended it with a thrust forward. Then he grinned at Dana. "That felt better." Uh..... yeah, much!

Dana's wink was slow, as well as his nod. "A firm grip." Dana's fingers curled into his palms with a visible hole meant to be the staff. "The ease of confident movements." Up went one hand as the other dropped, almost a mesmerizing dance of arms and then a lunge with the addition of muscular legs, stepping, round about with the sway of arms in that perfect line. "An air of command." The tilt of his body in, a hard press of empty fists toward Bannon, then he pulled them back as he straightened. "What lass would do anything but what you asked of her if you can guide her in return?"

Confident. An air of command. Those things were what Kynan needed and he knew it but he also knew it would come in time. Still, what Dana had shown him was a beginning. He desperately wanted to move that easily with that confidence and it showed in his face as he began again. Not as perfect perhaps but he was happier with it then the first time he had tried. And the comment about a lass? Well, that would stay tucked in his mind until he had a chance to try it out. "No lass." He decided when he came to a stop again.

"No lass?" Dana had been watching again. There really was something within this teenager that should have been noticed and harnessed and put to good use long ago. It wasn't too late though. He'd learn quickly, Dana didn't doubt that at all. "What do you mean no lass?"

"I mean no lass could resist doing anything if guided." He was grinning, knowing full well that any lass who heard him would likely give him a good slap but it would be worth it! He tried getting a bit fancier with the swings, jumping in the middle of one and crouching low to sweep, then up again before jabbing at the ground. He wouldn't try those moves against another until he was sure of himself but fighting air... it worked.

And it looked pretty darn good! Dana chuckled softly to himself so the young man wouldn't hear, and with his arms crossed again, he rubbed at the corner of his mouth with the fingers of one hand. "If guided by a man who knows how to make her respond to his touch." Dana made sure the lad understood the difference between just guiding the staff and making it respond to his guidance. "You're interested in become a knight, Kynan?" Some lads just hung out to watch, to have a go at it, but really didn't wish to give their lives over to serving as a knight needed to serve.

He looked at the staff again, thoughtful then looked up at Dana and nodded. "Aye, sir I am. My da had thought to have me train as a healer and I did well enough but I feel I can serve better as a knight. I know that it's not as glamorous as everyone imagines and that war is not a time of valor and bravery. I've seen what it really is. Even if I wasn't old enough to take part. But it's what I want to do, here." He had gone through the training of a healer because it was his father's wish, no ... more his mother's with his being the youngest.

"Good. I was hoping you'd say that. Bring your things to the quarters if you haven't already. I plan to talk to Karl tomorrow." He offered his arm to the lad. "Get a good night's sleep if you can tonight, Kynan. I look forward to watching you bring the other squires what-for."

"Aye, sir I have." He took hold of Dana's hand in a warrior's grip, just as he had been taught, his eyes bright. "Thank you, Sir. I'll make you proud." He couldn't believe it and though he knew his training wouldn't be easy, he couldn't wait for it to start.

Date: 04-24-11
Poster: Molly Tremaine
Post # 32

The Cave
(Part One)

The day was one of those bright, clear spring ones, welcome after the rain and cooler weather of late, but it was still April and the weather could change quickly and without warming. In such a situation, Molly packed different items. She had 'borrowed' rope from the store, collected food that could last a day or two, and dressed in sturdy clothes with boots that were heavier than usual. The mules were ones she had worked with before and they didn't seem to mind the load they carried at all. It might have been more than they should have brought but better safe than sorry. She was happy for the sunshine and even happier with the company. She stopped to get her bearings, then pointed. "It's that way." She thought at least Tykir knew the way too, if not Rory, but well, she didn't mind telling everyone where to go.

Bannon had been pleased to find he could take the time off to join in this little exploration though he hadn't explained exactly what it was. All he had needed to say was he was going to go with Tykir, Rina and two of the McAndrews, and it seemed to open doors, just like that. He had added a few supplies to the mules, making sure all was held in place with ropes once everyone had brought whatever they were bringing. The trip had been fun, the horses willing to be out in the sun, and soon they'd be exploring a cave that few had seen.

It hadn't taken much talking to convince Charles to join in the little excursion. He liked to be outdoors, in spite of the fact his brothers knew him as a bookworm, and the chance to have a look at a cave was too much temptation to pass up. Besides, he hadn't gotten in a bit of trouble since he and his brothers had arrived and it was time to change that.

Telling everyone where to go was an art for some! Rina had packed all she could think of and attired herself accordingly. Special tops for the wings but otherwise looked the same as any other. She loved spring as much she loved being on an adventure. Of course everyone knew who should know, kind of hard to miss the packed mules and extra sacks to bring back treasures in. Also, if they went missing, at least those in authority knew where to look for the small expedition. Although she could fly, she would ride on such an outing. As much there could be seen more from the height of flight, there was stuff missed from ground view too. Caves were one of those easier to be discovered on foot, or horseback. She wasn't far from her brother and Bannon, then again Bannon and he were becoming almost attached. It was Bannon that got a slipping glance that might have him wonder what the princess was thinking or some kind of fair warning.

Rory was thrilled to have Charles with them. Next would be to drag the third of the triplets out and get him living life. He had his horse and a mule packed for them both. No need to take two there. Rope, extra supplies, lanterns, oil, torches, everything they could think of. The mules would probably be going a lot further than the horses would be taken. Once the terrain started getting too rock for them to pass over safely.

Ellyn was starting to get close to Molly, as a good friend and companion. One that she might confide in and share her secrets with. This was something new for her. A loner for a long time and for the odd circumstances that surrounded her life from birth. A birth that came from the death of her mother. Losing her father for the most part at the same time. Still, Ellyn survived and prospered but this was not to say the circumstances didn't affect her even if she hid it well. She had wonderful uncles who did their best by her to fill in all those gaps that were left gaping, especially the Duke of Falkirk who as much became the father she was denied. Not so prim, not so proper but she was as honest as the day was long, she was caring under it all, championed the lost - presently small animals - and of such needs. Riding outfit was her attire with higher boots in case they ran into muddy areas. This time of year there was a good chance. Hair was braided back, light cloak had the hood down. One more in case it rained for certainly there was a lot of rain lately. She rode alongside Molly for the most part with idle conversation. "I am going to see Rhett tomorrow for a blade that was ordered." Once she had the coveted blade then her training would start. Once she could prove her abilities, she would approach Mo.

Tykir's mount could feel his excitement, jerking its head up and attempting to pull at the reins so they could be on the way. And then, once proved to be ready, they were. A fine lot of adventurers they appeared too, catching the eyes of several of the people they passed and having them watch until heads came together to discuss the identities of the group. No slouch of a procession here! Heathfield's royalty and knight. Ballicastle's princes. Falkirk's Lady. Barrett Bay's Mistress of the Shop. While the space of road provided, Tykir pulled his horse around to make a wide circle then came up between Molly and Ellyn. "This may prove just a tad more challenging than even the beast. Which, by the way, reminds me ... these caves do not count as part of the tour." Lest he lose any coveted time.

"Is that how it all works? I wasn't sure who to approach, though my brother has said he wants to talk to someone." And that had her making a face. It wasn't bad to be fussed over but this worried her a bit! And then Tykir was joining them and she grinned at him. "It could be," agreeing with his assessment of difficultly. The last part had her showing a dimple when she smiled. Her tour was just of the Gardens so he had to be telling Ellyn.

The journey was half the fun, wasn't it, especially the reactions of the people who saw them. No, there was no way they could hide this trip but no one had seemed to disapprove and no one had tried to stop them. He had a feeling they might not realize exactly which cave they were planning on. But with the group they had, they'd hopefully be safe enough. He watched as Tykir joined the two girls, then offered a smile to Rina. Trouble? He was hoping to find treasure, not the kind of trouble that might have him being sent to say, Kildare to serve.

He wasn't sure why Bryan hadn't joined them but they'd drag him along another time. Watching Tyrkir, he looked at Rory and grinned. The Dark Prince was full of surprises, wasn't he? As they were growing nearer to the cave, he turned his attention in the direction Molly had pointed and squinted to see if he could tell where it was.

Tykir came between them and what a beguiling smile he got. They could talk over him, she didn't mind and most likely he would put in this two or three cents worth. There too it was welcome. "I'm not sure how it works but I see Mo around more often so I'm sure she will tell me how to go about it." Perhaps a little easier considering Noirin was the crown princess. If she was to go to her, then Mo would tell her. Then upon Tykir green eyes turned, "exactly, they do not count for the bet for you will not get off so easily!" Sassy wink added. There then back to Molly, "I have yet to meet your brother." Which had her curious as to what he would be like.

Oh, Rina noticed where Tykir went, between Molly and Ellyn. Such teasing would commence later she had that kind of smile started up. Then again, that left her mostly with the McAndrews and Bannon. "How is being a knight going compared to when you were a squire? Will you be getting a squire?" She waved to a few she knew along the way as she carried on a conversation. She was also trying to figure out a way to tell Rory from Charles. Maybe it was good the third, exactly looking McAndrews,w as missing until she managed these two.

There were no flies on Tykir just as there were no flies on the McAndrews even the bookworm one. Bryan would need to be worked on but he had it in his blood too. Wasn't hard for Rory to keep up his reputation with a smile here, a wink there as they passed some fetching lasses. "They're looking at you Charles. Smile. Wink." Teasing as it was his right to do so. He too was then looking in the direction Molly had told them where the cave was.

Tykir smiled, looking right to one, then left to the other. The bet may have only been for the Gardens, but who knew where it might extend from there. If time was available. He'd leave them to their previous conversation, urging his horse forward with the click of tongue and tap of heels.

Molly's smile grew as she watched him ride off then she looked at Ellyn and blinked. None of them had really met Dorian, had they? "Well, I'm sure he'll show up one of these times at the Thistle. I think everyone is curious about who I spend time with. He's ... different from anyone I know." By then she had spotted the path that lead over the rocks and to the cave entrance. They'd get a glimpse of it as they got closer, half way up. "When high tide comes in, it's nearly cut off but there's a rise just about it where we can keep the horses and they won't wander off." Trees, with newly blooming leaves, and plenty of grass for them to graze on. "We'll have to lead the horses once we reach the path." Hopefully the mules wouldn't get stubborn. She was nearly bouncing with excitement now that they were really here!

"It's not a whole lot different except I'm taking care of my own armor and weapons instead of the knights." Though he'd be warned if he got in trouble, he'd not only be polishing armor again, but mucking out the stables. "Training is harder too. I'm on the field with the older knights now and the king's men and the kings." Luckily he hadn't had to fight any of them yet. Well, except for the training they had given him as a squire. He was sure they had taken it easier on him then they would now and he wouldn't doubt he'd be eating dirt quite a lot over the next few years, but maybe, someday....

It wouldn't take Rina long to figure it out though they could purposely do things to confuse people. He looked at Rory and laughed, shaking his head, but he did wave at a few of the lasses watching. "They're only looking at me because they're not sure if you're you or I'm you." And yes, if Bry was there, it would be harder to tell. The only one who really could, all the time, was their mother.

"Oh, don't let our conversation have you shying away," teasing Tykir as he moved forward. "Are you good with a sword that maybe you can give me a few pointers?" Would she dare him? Certainly. She would also be willing to get any pointers she could too. Dipping her attention back to Molly as certainly she was listening. "I'm sure he is as we are of him and who else would there be? Your brother is different.." noticing they were getting close to their destination as well the ground getting rockier and the horses slowing naturally to work their way through. Ah yes, the excitement was settling in nicely as her eyes grew in brightness.

"At least you know how to take care of your own armor." So having been a squire paid off in different ways. "Looks like we are arriving.." and the excitement could be heard laced in her words as she looked ahead. "Harder training is good, it will hone all your skills as a knight. I once kissed a squire but I've not kissed a knight. Yet." Not even looking at him with those really lowered words but he might notice the curl at the edge of her lips. "I think that one is Rory..." offhandedly to Bannon as she noticed Tykir move ahead of Ellyn and Molly. Hopefully not soon enough that he heard any of her conversation with Bannon.

"I'm glad to see you out brother mine and I think you'd charm the lasses easily." How could he not? Unless in his own mind. "We have a lot of stories told on our uncles to live up to. I'm up for the challenge, are you?"

Tykir laughed as he moved to where the McAndrews rode but he called back to Ellyn. "You would not wish for me to show you the sword wielding ways. My own trainers cry with frustration at the end of my time on the field." It wasn't really the case, but Tykir wasn't the one to teach anyone anything. "And, Ellyn..." He crossed his arms in front of him on the saddle and looked back to her around his arm. "I'm not shying away, it's just, how can you miss me if I don't go away?" He didn't laugh, but he did smile, then sat up and looked to the area they approached. "Looks like it's time to take to our feet."

She really couldn't explain Dorian. They'd just have to meet him. Sliding off the horse, she patted his side then started up the path. It seemed smooth until you started to walk and then it became apparent that it wasn't. Holes filled with water, and sometimes a small crab that would scuttled away, rocks, bumps, even shells. Molly just chuckled at Tykir's excuse but didn't say anything. She went slow enough that the horses didn't balk but fast enough so they could reach the path up. First they would take the horses to the grazing area, and make sure they would be out of any rising tide, then they could either grab a bite to eat, or head into the cave. "There's the cave right there." She pointed it out as they came to the top of the rise. A large hole in the ground, surrounded by brush and trees, it would be easy to bypass.

Being a squire had helped in a lot of ways, but he just grinned and shrugged slightly. He studied her at the mention of a kiss then looked at the McAndrews. "I think Rory talks a little more but I'm not even sure about that. Haven't see either of his brothers much." Well on the field but they were all working far too hard to talk. He dismounted and looked toward Tykir and grinned. These adventures were always best with good friends and right now he was surrounded with them.

Charles just laughed and shrugged, blue eyes back on his brother. "I think our name is enough sometime, Rory. Seems to be expected and so, the lasses flirt." He dismounted and started to lead his horse up the path. As soon as the horses were tended to, he was over to peer down in the cave. There were holes in the sides of the cave that let in a little sunlight but not much. "Looks like there's water at the bottom." He declared before sending a large stone over the side with a nudge of his foot. And he heard a splash a few seconds later.

Ellyn couldn't resist with her taunt, "oh, cry me a River, Tykir. You just couldn't handle showing a female that she might do better." Far from the truth but it wouldn't be a taunt otherwise! She was laughing under her breath as they finally reached the part of their journey to dismount. She slid off easily and spoke to her steed under her breath about him being a good lad and staying put once they reached the glade. She'd be back with a treat. She made note of the cave which only sent a shiver of excitement that they were about to embark upon the real adventure. "A bite to eat first so there will be no stomachs growling and sending off echoes.." funny thought there.

Rory laughed as Tykir joined him, "you know you'd make even a McAndrews jealous with the attention of not one but two lasses". Taking a longer look with that glance back but hard to tell upon which or if at all. Besides, they had reached their destination as he too dismounted. "Are you referring to my stomach?" Which was already rumbling and would be growling soon. All the while making their way to the glade and the sight of the cave beyond "Is it bigger than it looks? Leads into more caves?" Idle questions that came with the wondering.

Rina leaned a little closer, she was wearing that perfume again too. "I think Rory talks a lot more.." slight laugh under her breath for it was one way to tell them apart. She was down the saddle with a little help from her wings. So accidentally swiping a few flight feathers upside Bannon's head. Something so quick and light he might not be sure it happened at all. She had that funny little smile however as they led their horses to the glade. "I think you better feed that Rory or you might attract any bears about.."

Tykir rubbed a hand along his horse's mane. "She's kidding about the bears, Luas." If a hungry bear happened by, the horses would be the first to attract its attention." And Tykir wasn't hungry, he was too busy chomping at the bit to get going to think about eating. While the others took the time to chow down, he wandered over to look into the hole much as Charles had. His voice almost echoed as he leaned, his hand tight on the edge of the opening as he
pitched forward to look further. "You, of all people, should know I don't have a problem being shown by a female that they can do much better at something that I can." Still tilting in, he looked back. "After all, consider my sis..." And his fingers slipped and the dark prince disappeared from view as he fell into the hole with only a gasped out ... "Holy..."


Date: 04-27-11
Poster: Rory McAndrews
Post # 33

The Cave
(Part 2)

"Holy..." was echoed as Rory grabbed for Tykir. Long arm and it seemed to get longer as he too was then following him down into the hole. "Eeeeeeeeeowwwww," echoed partially laughing, partially with apprehension. Hopefully he didn't land on Tykir when they hit the bottom, although it would break his fall.

"Bannon," grabbing his arm and dragging him with her as first Tykir disappeared then Rory behind him. "I hope it is not too far to fall," although Tykir had wings, Rory did not.

"Figures he'd want to be the first in the cave," teasing in a way to cover up her worry that he and Rory could get hurt. One glance to Molly, as they had been talking, and all thoughts of lunch evaporated as she too was hurrying over. Would they all end up following?

Good thing Rory let out that laughing yelp of warning! Tykir had already spread his wings and was hovering in the air just below in the shadowed depths. He plastered himself against the wall when the McAndrews prince soared past him and then shoved off the wall with back, arms, legs and grabbed him just below the arms. And that almost jerked them both plummeting to the deep floor but Tykir's grip was solid and his wings strong and he snapped them back into action, controlling their descent to some degree. At least when they hit bottom, it would be on their feet, not on their asses!

While they had been talking, Molly had been going through some of the supplies. She didn't expect anyone to go in that way and let out a yelp. "Tykir! Rory!" And yes, she was following Ellyn but she did not intend to go tumbling into the cave. That would be all they needed. A pile up at the bottom!

Bannon looked up when he heard Tykir and groaned, though he had to laugh. At least the Dark Prince had wings, but there went Rory. "Shit." He muttered, dropping the pack as Rina dragged him. "Let's not all go in like blocks falling." He leaned slightly as they reached the hole and looked in. "Tykir? Rory? Are you two all right?"

Charles blinked as Tykir disappeared and grabbed for him.. He nearly lost his balance but caught hold of a root. "Wing, moron," muttered to himself and then, there went Rory! He pulled himself back, laid flat on his stomach and tried to look down into the darkness.

When plucked up from behind before hitting bottom, Rory's feet were going against air for a few moments, "whooooooooooooooah," followed by laughing for the next few seconds before they were hitting the ground safely. A few steps to catch balance but nothing more than that, "thanks Tykir!" He could have actually gotten hurt. He yelled up to the others. "Send a rope down, don't try to jump." Good advice. Soon they would have some light too but their eyes would be adjusting as well. "We're all right!" Adding that in case any of them wondered.

Rina had to pause, after she knew her brother was fine as well Rory. "You said shit," reprimanding Bannon as if she had the right to! She had stopped short of going over. "Of course not but I could carry you if needed." Sparkling smile followed all proud of herself too that she could. Her wings were strong enough at this point.

Ellyn came up alongside Charles with a devilish smirk, "what? Aren't you going to follow your mirror image into that blackened hole?" Pretending like she was going to push him so that he did. Not that she really would other than a press of hand, she was not stronger than him that it could be allowed. "We'll need to get the supplies and the knotted rope," one that was a ladder type for the knots every so many feet apart.

"You're welcome, but daaaang, I do believe you jerked my shoulder out of socket." He laughed, looking up to the light seen above and the peering faces looking down. "You just take your time up" Tykir continued to laugh as he called up to his friends. "Far be it for us to interfere with your socializing when there's a cave to be explored!" He squinted over to Rory in the dark. "You may want to watch your head right about now, in case Rina throws something down at me."

"Good to know you're both fine." She laughed with relief then gave Ellyn a look before she giggled. "Yes'm. Got it all just about ready from the one mule. But I think the rope is in the other." She looked at Bannon to see if she was right before she headed over to get back to work. Several packs were ready so they could take turns if need be. Torches, lanterns. Hmm. Sandwich. That got a bite taken from it while she worked.

Bannon laughed and looked at Rina. "I say a lot worse on the field." Didn't they all? He winked at her then looked a bit nervous. "No, I think we'll let that go." He wouldn't agree to even Sir Gabriel if he made that offer! Climbing high trees, yes, but ... "I'll get the rope. Charles, want to get the rest of the supplies? Ladies?" He was over to get the rope Ellyn mentioned, and tied it to a good strong tree. "I'll go down first and test it." And he grabbed up a pack with a couple of the lanterns before he did. Didn't take him long to join his two friends on the bottom.

Charles looked up at Ellyn and laughed before he stood. "I'd rather go down the conventional way. Are you going to fly down, Rina?" He followed Bannon to the mule and started to unload the rest of the stuff. Then he was back to the hole. He tied off a few of the packs and started to lower them down.

He was looking up with the last of Ty's words, "you really think she would?" Far be it for him to know being he didn't have any sisters. Certainly a brother would do that! "Hey Charles, can you lower a couple of lanterns?" Before they all started coming down, at least they could see what was about.

There was a slight smirk at Bannon's words but it was time to help out as she was over to join Ellyn and Molly in getting what was needed off the mules. Taking trips back and forth as she let the men take care of securing the rope and then helping them climb down. Then to Charles with his question as she took a few steps backwards, "only on a dare.." grin then around again and back to work.

"You have a nice laugh," which he did and took the teasing well as she too then got to work getting the bags unloaded and over to where they would tie off the rope.

When the rope lowered, Tykir took hold of the bottom to keep it taut so the others could climb down. "We're talking about Rina, Rory. I always try to think ... one step ahead of her. Which is usually impossible for me." As he talked to the McAndrews prince, he glanced over his shoulder to where he heard his voice, but when the rope started to jerk and sway in his grip, he knew someone was coming down and he held firm, looking back up.

Once everything was near the hold of the cave, Molly started doing the same as Charles and began lowering things down. She made sure the first things were lanterns since Rory had asked. And she sent down a separate bag with sandwiches and water in it. They could munch while they were working!

"Hello there." Bannon grinned as he joined the two, then stepped out of the way. First thing was to light two of the lanterns he had, then he started to catch hold of the supplies and untie them, tugging the rope lightly so they'd know to pull it back up. He gave Rory and Tykir a look too. "You two scared the daylights out of us, you know." Then he grinned. "Until we all remembered... wings on Tykir. Good thing you're quick! I wonder how deep the water is."

Charles grinned at Ellyn, ears turning a little red. Live up to the McAndrews name? Riiiiight. He thought about daring Rina, but then she could do worse. And once Bannon was down and all the supplies, he headed down the rope too. No ladies first just in case there was something down there. Though they might smack him if he voiced that. "This is amazing." And so far, no bats.

Rory gave a low whistle under his breath and he sure would have some of the food while they waited. It would be some time before they all got down there and the lantern would come in handy. Food in one hand, lantern in the other as he started to look around. Not too far or get too far ahead of the others. Sandwich between his teeth as he was back over to help hold the rope for the one coming down. Luckily there was not much left but he could manage eating it.. look mom.. no hands!

Smile came brightly as Bannon joined them. "Hello there Bannon, come to help or harass.." giving him a wink as she knew better than the last. She was back over and waiting in line to go down.

She was down after Bannon and Charles, leaving Rina and Molly to come down after her. "Now what if we needed any help up there?" Teasing them came easily and she had noticed Charles neck get a reddish hue to it. She had one of the last packs on her back and soon as she touched down she called up to the Molly and Rina, "all clear."

The only thing so far down here with dark wings was the prince of Heathfield. He smiled, still keeping his gaze up for any coming down. "I would have flown up to help, that's what." He popped Ellyn on the backside to get her moving out of the way. She called all clear, but until she stepped away, it really wasn't. "And we know the three of you well enough to know you don't need help climbing down a rope." That said, he shouted up. "You two need help getting down this rope? What's taking so long?"

She checked on the horses one more time then laughed when she heard Tykir. "We're coming, we're coming." Rina was ahead of her so Molly waited for her to go down. "See any fossils yet?" She knew better but that might keep them busy until they got down there.

Bannon chuckled and moved some of the stuff aside while he lit a few more lanterns. They didn't all need to carry one but then again, he'd have them ready in case everyone decided otherwise. "No fossils, Molly. Just water and a lot of stones. And more than one tunnel." How would they decide which one to take?

"There's a lot of water too." Saltwater. He was over to look into a pool, lantern held high. "Fish in there too. And not blind so they must have a way in and out." Something to keep in mind if they couldn't get out. Maybe a cave big enough to swim though."

Ellyn gave a squeal, enough to pierce ears a she felt the sting of a hand against her backside. "Tykir Riktafir, I will get you for that. Payback will come when you least expect it!" Challenge was there in the glint of green eyes and would leave the torture of it hanging even more than the deed to come. She would know when it was the right moment! She was to the side and would help her friends as they touched down.

"Oh no, you boys just stay down there, we can manage," giving Molly a wink being she was closest and laughing hearing Ellyn threaten Tykir, "I'll help you on that if needed." Tykir was in trouble with a capital T. She was down, feet on the ground with a flutter of wings and waiting on Molly in case she needed any help.

"Nice view," muttered under his breath but one couldn't wipe the grin off this McAndrews' face. Certainly it was a grand view and wise of the guys to come down before the lasses, break that rule. He was helping as well.

Uhm, yes, Rory...Tykir might be helping out by holding the rope, but there were often rewards for such acts of selflessness. He heard Ellyn's threat and just laughed softly, shaking his head. He was just thinking of her! Right? He didn't want Rina plopping down on top of her!

They were such good lads! Molly laughed and watched Rina disappear. Must be nice to have wings! She didn't hesitate though and once she was sure Rina was down, she was over the edge and climbing down, quick as could be. Eyes grew a little wide as she landed beside Tykir and looked around. "I wonder how far it goes. We could see if there's a breeze coming from one and follow it?" Just to see where it came out. The other would likely be deeper though. If this proved interesting enough, they could be back.

Wow, Ellyn had some lungs on her. He rubbed his ear, laughing then looked at Tykir. "Did she say something?" Talking louder than necessary just because. He picked up one of the packs and grinned at Rory. "Careful. Rina's hearing is excellent." Rory could ask Tykir about that. "So, how do we test if there's air moving? A feather?" Ouch. He waited for a smack from a wing for that suggestion.

They could catch fish if they needed food. Cooking might be tough though. He laughed when he heard the threat and then Rina offered to help. "We could toss a coin to decide."


Date: 04-29-11
Poster: Solarina Riktafir
Post # 34

The Tipsy Inn

They were not kidding with the name for you see.. the floor was not quite level nor the beams not quite straight until you had enough to drink!

Who could ever get enough to drink! Especially after the night this group of teens had. Laughing, talking, raising the hell that only a cluster of fun-loving young adults could raise, they entered this tavern, hell bent on continuing their evening. Tykir had the first round, with the 25 coins he earned for just participating in the Moor's Joust, bottles were bought and glasses were filled.

As long as they had something as good as the pure, and a good ale, they'd be set. If they managed to return to Heathfield before dawn, they'd be in a state but who could blame them? They had to celebrate! And celebrate they would!

And Molly would give the first toast, grinning as she picked up one of the glasses. "To Rina and Rory for their first place win! And for upholding the names of Heathfield and Ballicastle!"

He was adding to that pot so there would be no complaints on not having enough to drink! "Here's to the Prince of Heathfield, and the one that got credited for being a Prince of the lands..."

And she added with a impish grin. "And to the three of us for rooting you on." There still might be a dunking.

His toast running right along Molly's!

Tykir nodded, lifting his glass. "To Rina and Rory!" And he laughed as he drank, hearing the rest of Molly's toast.

It had been a lot of fun. "Can you believe it.. how we did so well?" They had all done well but was she walking correctly as they headed for the bar and seats there to take.

"My mother would be proud to claim you as her son." Tykir brought up his glass again. "To the newest prince of Heathfield." He tipped it toward Rory who was receiving the majority of the toasts tonight. But well he should!

Walking wasn't the problem. He was a little concerned about sitting or leaning. It had him laughing and he wasn't even drunk yet. "To the newest prince of Heathfield."

Which had a robust laugh to follow. "When asked a title I put Prince Rory McAndrews of Ballicastle representing Heathfield. Which I was in this.. I guess it got lost in the translating." Which he toasted to that and had another to follow.

"I think everyone was stunned when you both made two unhorsings." Molly paused to consider. "Dismountings? Falling on arses?" She sat on a chair and nearly slid off, causing her to laugh.

"Hmmm, yes." Tykir reached over to pour more pure in his glass. "And the Lady Solarina Riktafir." He chuckled to himself since he had also been called a Lord and brought his glass back up for another drink. He shot a look to Molly. "Careful." He laughed, since he was once such dismounted, unhorsed, arse fallen himself!

"Well, considering that Rina did mention your mother, next time you might be addressed as Prince and Princess and Prince again." He decided a lean might be safer then chuckled. "Well, you did land ... gracefully? How do your wings feel though?" Did wings bruise?

"And you!" He pointed to her with the use of his glass. "Look at you! Taking to the field like a seasoned warrior! And held your own against a man who had seen the field who knows how many times. Wings are fine, kept them tucked tight, that's a different story." He had hit hard when he tumbled from his horse.

"Unseating?" She was not quite certain either. But she was certain of drinking which she was not all that use to. "I was called Princess..." because she had given her title!

"I was scared!" She admitted with a grin. "He sure looked big sitting on that horse and that lance... I need to build up my arms." She did chores every day but holding a lance was a different thing.

Not at first she wasn't, only after she made her claim.

She missed that for all the excitement around her in fitting her into a tin suit.

"And you should be called one, since you're one of the finest I know." He leaned in, popping a kiss to his sister's cheek. "All I can say is, wow! 'Cause...well ... wow." He grinned to her and straightened away. He'd like to be present when she told their mother how well she had done.

"Here. Lift these bottles over your head." Offering two still sealed to Molly. "I think I'll refuse to do any lifting for an entire day."

Awwww.. Tykir was being nice. Probably because she had the unexpected upper hand for tonight. She popped him a kiss right back. "Yes.. quite surprising."

Molly grunted in a very unladylike way. "I'm not going to do any lifting for at least one day either." Because it hurt!

Tykir was always nice. He just didn't realize when he was being inappropriate, but Rina let him know immediately when that was the case. Tykir took a drink after the returned kiss then looked to Bannon. "That's what you think.

"Well, when we get back you can strip down and I can rub the soreness from your bones, Bannon." See that lift of her chin just so in almost a challenge knowing well he would not strip down for her.

What gives you reason to believe you'll be getting special treatment come the morrow?" Come again?

Maybe he would be getting special treatment for tonight?

Rory's brothers were going to be surprised too, and so were his parents. "I have to say it was quite a night." And Rina had his mouth dropping open. "No, that won't happen."

He looked between Bannon and Rina, shook his head and lifted his drink again. Molly had understanding employers...Bannon had to deal with the other knights! He wasn't going to get any lovey-dovey-ahhh-you're-sore treatment from them!

No, he wasn't come to think of it. They'd probably make him work harder!

Best he just be quiet about any maladies. That's what Tykir had learned to do.

Truthfully, so had Bannon but he could hope they'd be allowed a day off since they were traveling, right? He looked at Rina again, and give her a slight smile. Imp.

"Well, for tonight, the only thing worth lifting are these glasses." And he lifted his up. "To downing our opponents...and downing the whiskey that follows."

"All in the sport of it..." they had been with a good crew of people.

That was a great group of people, and he had enjoyed himself last time, and this time all the more.

Yes, they were. He had been surprised.

Molly was quiet because she was a little tired but she was listening and watching, and feeling a great deal of pride.

"Tender, we're going to need two rooms." There was a pile of gold there, surely it would see them with rooms for the night so that they could travel back to Heathfield in the morning bright and early. Tykir knew they were a good ride away from home and with the whiskey being consumed, they should just stay. One room for Bannon, Rina and Rory...whoah, wait, not Bannon and Rina together. Hold on, where was his mind drifting to? One for Rory, Bannon and Tykir Riktafir: Tykir, the other for Molly and Rina. Yea. He blinked, grinned, and refilled his glass.

Between herself and Rory they had 200 gold.. not that a room in an Inn should cost even one gold. Luckily he had not said his thoughts out loud or he'd be getting swat upside the head!

Oh, there was plenty, and the tender was loving the fact these teens were here, and so wealthy and getting drunk.

"The only thing is I would have like to seen the Minotaur." He decided after a moment. "Not fought against him, but seen him." Yes, he'd admit that. And yes, that was a better idea, Tykir!

"There is a Minotaur?" Paint his expression surprised as he kicked back another drink.

"Yea, I would have liked to have seen that too."

"Me too..." and she was leaning on her brother.

...and her brother was refilling her glass.

"With horns and he rides a bear." Or was that a baby elephant. She laughed in any case. She would have been shaking in her borrowed armor!

"And uses a tree for a lance." Ouch.

"Really?" This was all news to Tykir who was well into his cups by now. Yup, and speaking of, up came another swallow.

"Aye. I think it was the Quinn lass who went up against him." Not positive by any means.

Molly stretched out her legs and yawned. She wasn't used to drinking a lot either though she was getting better at it. Likely not a good thing.

Rory reached over as fingertips tickled along Molly's cheek, "you did really well tonight. I'm proud of you."

Eeep! That had her waking up and she grinned. "I just held on, tried to keep the lance up and pointed in the right direction and the shield and let Baston do the running."

"Aye, you did. A good sport in it for being your first time and you did well too." Fingertips ceased the tease and fell away. "Here's to you Molly Tremaine," lifting his glass to kick back the brew. They should all find some sleep as most were mostly there already.

Tykir turned a back to lean against the edge of the bar counter. Although he wasn't a part of that conversation, he agreed to himself, the very slightest of tips of his glass in agreement, and he brought it up to drink. They'd be calling it an early night, but they had some hard knocks tonight, all of them.

"You didn't turn tail and run, Molly. Neither did you, Rina." He gave them a crooked grin. "I'm proud of each of us." Bannon was not feeling any pain now. "But you need to stop talking out loud." The last said in teasing!

"It hurt!" Protested but she felt good about what she had done. "Besides, I couldn't let the four of you have all the fun, right?" And she crossed her eyes at Bannon.

No pain...plenty of gain. "How else can you talk?" Tykir laughed.

"I mean to herself." He grinned at Tykir. "Then again, where you talking to Baston, Molly?" Rina was too quiet. He looked at Tykir and laughed. "I think Rina's asleep against you."

"Aye, to Baston." The horse. Why not? She leaned to see if Rina was awake or not.

He had his arm around his sister's lower back, helping to support her. He glanced down to her. "Guess we should turn in, we need to head out before first light tomorrow. Come on, Rina, I'll see you up to your room." A flicker of a gaze touched on Molly with that offer but that was it, barely even a noticeable movement of gaze.

"How do you want us to talk.. if not out loud?" She was up and leaning over to pretend to whisper in Bannon's ear, but mostly it was the warmth of her breath against it. "How's this," real low in a wispy sound.

Live wire! Watch out! The sort that you think is dormant, and ZAP, you are seriously surprised to find out it's not!

Tykir should be use to that! She half took him with her too.

Yes, he should, but Rina continued to surprise him.

Arggh! "Rina!" He turned red as he jumped up, rubbing his ear. "That's dangerous, Princess."

"Well, be aware that not talking out loud can be dangerous then!" What a smug look she gave him.. daring the devil and he SCRAMMed.

Molly was standing and nearly jumped when Rina moved. She laughed and shook her head, then yawned again. "Time to sleep then." Smiling because she was extremely happy at the moment.

Who scrammed?

Dimples were back with his smile as he got up. Place looked really crooked and he felt like he was walking sideways. He had a key to a room and was pointed in that direction.

Tykir and Bannon were going to share that room with you, Rory!

Bannon was scared of her!

Bannon was scared of his reactions!

They better follow him then.. or if he closes the door they will be sleeping in the hall.

And wisely made sure to keep his distance because of those possible reactions. "Where are you going, Rory, we have another bottle here!" But he felt the heaviness of his own eyelids settling in.

Rina and Molly were going to be escorted to their room first so Rory better not lock them out.

"Come on, Sis, let's get to bed so we can head out early." He nodded to the tender, took up the extra coins and the bottle of whiskey to take to the room, and placed a hand against Rina's lower back.

It be a long ride in any case. She smiled at the tender and would join the others in heading to their rooms.

"It is time, as all good things come to pass and bragging rights tomorrow," giving a wink as she enjoyed the comfort her brother's offered in seeing her upstairs. She grabbed Molly's hand to tug her along.

And Bannon would trail behind.


"Bragging rights were for tonight, tomorrow is another day." He laughed, looking down as the girls took hands and heading on up.

She felt tiny at the moment! When did the lads get so tall?!

Tykir wasn't feeling all. Ahyup. It was a damngood night.

He swung his arm around Bannon as hey caught up. "Some guys have all the luck..." nodding to Tykir.


Date: 05-09-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 35

The Cave
(Part 3)

"It goes on forever into another dimension," teasing Molly for her look and words. A wink added before he took up one of the lanterns to start making his way into the dark parts. "Never know what you'll find in here. Spiders. Snakes. Bears. Ninja Nadjas. Huge rats as big as a person." Although they'd see the back of his head, they could guess he was grinning.

Once Ellyn was down she gave a whack to Bannon's shoulder for his tease. "Your time is coming too," trying to sound sinister with that 'never know when' she would strike. She took up one of the lanterns and started to follow Rory, except becoming hesitant, hanging back some just in case his words were true. She'd have time to draw her knife then. Mostly it was after the spider bit.

Rina just fluttered her eyelashes at Bannon as she passed right on the heels of Ellyn. That small little smirk when he was threatened by her friend too. Sounded familiar. "He deserves anything you dish out, Ellyn."

Tykir was laughing, the threat, the comrade, the whole of it, all of it, was all too much fun not to. He didn't grab a lantern, but took off after Rina, coming up from behind her as she slowed. "It's the Ninja Nadjas that would do the most damage. They are stealthy beasts, you know? Remember Andrew telling us about them? You don't even know they're close and ..." He reached out and grabbed at the arm not clutched to the lantern. "Gotcha!" Andrew had never told either of them that, but the moment was just too right not to use it! "Don't worry, Sis. I've got your back." And he really did! But at the moment, it was all play and no real danger to actually have to back up his words.

Molly just laughed when she heard Rory. Oh, the tales the lass could but she kept them to herself. Except, she just had to ask. "What in the world are Ninja Nadjas?" That sounded a little strange and not at all real. She had a lantern in hand and followed after Rina and Tykir. The pack she carried was shifted until it was comfortable too.

Bannon rubbed his arm after Ellyn swatted him and sighed. "What is it with lasses and smacking all the time?" Not that it hurt and he really wasn't all that worried about a threat. He just gave Rina a look when she made her comment, then shrugged his shoulders. He had been Sir Vincent's squire for a long time. Their threats didn't scare him!

Charles brought up the rear, not because he had planned to but it had just happened. He snickered when he heard the others. Yes, it was fun and good company but he couldn't wait to see what they might find. Whether it was fossils, treasure, or nothing but the end of the tunnel. It didn't matter. Just so they had fun.

It just sounded cool even if they all knew that he was an embellishing storyteller, natural in all Irishmen, that came to the foreground. "They are serpent type creatures that can go invisible until they grab you." Much like Tykir had done on Rina, turning as he walked backwards and the dimple smiled set on Molly. Would she eat it up? Better, would she add to it? The grin turned on Bannon next, "they say if a lass smacks you, they like you." Let him worry on that! Laughter wanted to pour out but he turned to hide it and not end up chancing fate by continuing to walk backwards.

Charles needed to be picked on as she slid a glance his way. Perky little smile with the thought, "holding up the rear for a reason?" Like those mumbled words she heard from Rory earlier. She had good hearing too. She was the one that had slowed down and then stepped around as Tykir caught up to Rina, moving ahead as she put her arm around Molly not to leave her out. "Boys," not using 'men' purposely.

Tykir should know better after all these years in sneaking up on her. WHAP, went her wings right in his face when she did of one those half lifts and ready to fight moves. "Tykir!" Landing down on his foot. If he kept it up he'd be the one limping out of these caves by the time they got through. "Right Rory, serpent people.." but then there were stranger things from stories she heard from her older brothers, especially Andrew.

Feathers in the face! Stumble back. Shout in the ear! All the cave was ringing now! Heel on the foot! Hop and hold! He hopped his way right over to Molly and Ellyn, bumping into the first and knocking her gently into the other. He heard the comment meant to be an insult of sorts, and even though he was hurting mind you, he had to grin. He had the best friends ever! "Serpent creatures, they resemble people though ... and they can shoot their venom with a flick of their tongue." He leaned to the closest female, which at the moment was Molly, and did that very thing, flicked his tongue near her ear with a hiss of sound. He was already injured so didn't wish to add to it so made quick work of that and got clear of any repercussions from the pretty little shop lass. "They usually attack the third person in line first..." Rory. Rina. Tykir. "Wait, I meant fourth." and he had to laugh, messing that one up horribly!

Molly was very happy to be included with the others. It was more than she could ever wish for and so she laughed at the tale... but what if it was real? That sent a bit of a shiver down her spine. She grinned at Ellyn but before she could say anything, Tykir was hopping around and bumping into them. She squeaked then laughed again. Eeep! She was shivering again with the hiss and the swat she aimed for Tykir missed when he moved away. "Naga and they go for the last in line." Said as if she knew. Well, she knew the tales about the Naga because one of the men in the mine told tales about mythology from different places. And the last part, well, that was just to make Charles nervous!

"Then every lass I know likes me." Sheese. It seemed like that was all he got from any of them. He laughed with Tykir, then glanced over his shoulder at Charles. "Glad I'm not last for once. Hey, Rory, is it okay if we run when they attack Charles?"

"I'm the bravest. " He answered Ellyn with a chuckle then rolled his eyes. They weren't boys anymore ... well, at least not in their own eyes. "If they're that big, they'd make slithering noises and then I could move up past Tykir." Now there was an idea.

"They will think it is me and he'll get a mob on him." Grinning at his mirror image as he let Tykir and Rina pass him by. Tykir more hobbling past him. "We should get more girls to hit us if that is the case, brother."

Ellyn tried to get in swat at Tykir too for pushing Molly into her. "Tykir and Molly sitting in a tree..." dancing away from them both only to come up on Charles as she linked her arm with his and quickly matching his step. "He was trying to stick his tongue in Molly's ear," tattle telling to Charles as she added, "I'll be your body guard and kill them all off. It is the duty of a future knight of the lands." Which she was in process of a penning a request to Princess Noirin to be tested for the right.

"Ewwww...." giving Tykir a look upon hearing what he tried to do to Molly. She moved to Molly's side as if to protect her from her deranged brother.

She was in the process? No she wasn't! She was in the process of protecting Charles! "Yes, but I didn't succeed." He shouted back to the tattle tale behind. To Rina he just wagged his brows. For all her worldly claims, his sister sure had some experimenting to do. He turned as Rina went to act as bodyguard to Molly, back stepping a few paces, then with a laugh of pure delight for their current adventure, he spun on a heel and continued on, in the lead now.He didn't have a lantern, odd, he didn't even realize he could see without it. But he could, and he was making their way in deeper.

The tunnel would open up into a wider one, the path splitting into two and looping around a pond, criss-crossing at the other side and splitting again around a large rock that glistened in the light of the lanterns. Their voices echoed oddly in this area, bouncing back to them, then sounding far away and fading. The only other sound was dripping water, and oddly enough, the occasional call of bullfrogs. As Tykir approached the pond, there was a splash and the water rippled then stilled. Molly laughed and looked at Rina. "He wasn't really!" Was he? Molly turned a little red but laughed again when she heard Tykir.

Bannon was all alone. Ah well. He just grinned at Rory. "We can throw you both to them then, and confuse them enough that they'll run away." He glanced at Tykir as the Dark Prince moved ahead, and looked a little confused. But he shook his head and hurried up a touch. Didn't want Tykir to get too far ahead.

"You'll make a very good bodyguard, Ellyn." All she'd have to do is shout out a battle cry and everyone would freeze in their tracks. He looked around suddenly, then looked at Ellyn. "What was that noise?" Had he actually heard anything? Maybe. Maybe not. But he wouldn't say for sure. Yet.

"Aye, that will do the trick. Even better if Bryan was here." They were going to have to beat him up for not being around. Rory dipped off to the shadows near the pond upon reaching it and next Molly and Rina would find a snake at their feet, probably more scared than them. A harmless water snake that actually move around their feet in an attempt to get away. Their eyesight was not so good.

She was not worldly and Tykir knew it! She had kissed a guy or two but she had never been kissed, as in it being initiated by a guy. Although there were plenty that probably would if they were brave enough, she always managed to pick on the ones she felt had no interest. Safety factor? Who knew, but it was as she had done thus far. "Doesn't matter, you tried!" Shooting him that look of triumph over the matter. "He's got a tongue like one of those bull frogs, can flick it three feet to catch a bug." Which she barely got out for the outrageous lie and not laughing straight off. "Bug tongue.." sing song in teasing him. But that sing song elevated to a shriek before she was lifted up and shot over to Rory to swat his shoulder as feet touched down again. Not that she lifted too high, there was not much room.

Ellyn beamed a smile up at Charles, "thank you." As if he really meant the compliment. Except her smile faded as on the heels of his question Rina shrieked. "What is it?" Her grip on his arm tightened as she tried to make out the commotion and there went Rina after Rory. That caused her to laugh.

Tykir spun with his sister's shrill, and had he started after her, would have slammed right into Bannon. "Why does she have to do that?" She had always been a shrieker. Shrieking Solarina. But unlike his sister, he didn't say the thought out nickname out loud. Seeing she was safe, he turned his gaze back over the pond. "That was a frog..." He glanced back to Bannon. "You think, right Bannon?" Because, Tykir had missed what it was that made those ripples and though he always liked to think he was ready, he had come to realize there was only so much preparedness and the rest was luck of late.

It wasn't the snake that scared Molly but that shriek from Rina. She hadn't even had a chance to reply to Rina's comment about Tykir's tongue before she was jumping near high enough to hit her head. Laughing, she watched the poor snake find a place to hide then looked up to see Rina swat Rory. She was going to end up having hiccups for laughing so much.

"Aye, a bullfrog. Pond's not big enough for anything else." He was trying to reassure himself almost as much as Tykir. Then he gave the prince a nudge. The water was rippling again, and suddenly several bullfrogs came out of the water as if they were trying to get away from something. The water stilled then was sent flying everywhere in the small cave and a frog like creature nearly as tall as Rory and with the same tongue Rina had claimed for Tykir exploded from the water, reaching for the winged prince!

"I'm not sure, besides the splash and ... " Ouch. The echoes were gone wild now and then everything went insane. In spite of the fact Ellyn wanted to be a knight, Charles was stepping in front of her and looking for Molly at the same time. They were all armed but they sure as hell hadn't expected an actual monster! He stepped forward with the lantern hoping it had sensitive eyes.

Rory laughed as he got swatted, "see, now I know I'm liked." Dimpled smile and a wink as he then protested, "it was only a harmless snake. I would not put you or Molly in jeopardy." Except then there was this thing to emerge from the pond and he was stepping between it and Rina. Knife flicked out and he was ready. It was an odd sort of creature so might be more than beast, "best you leave us alone or you'll be outnumbered." If it was only beast then they most likely would have a fight on their hands.

Charles took her by pleasant surprise when he made the protective move. She was quick to light one of the small torches they carried and offered it to him. "This might make it back off." Far better if they didn't have to kill anything during this adventure, at least anything bigger than a spider.

Barely the retort which had her laughing when next she was behind Rory as this huge frog type thing appeared. "What is it?" A little high pitch as she waited to see if it was friendly or not.

Tykir gasped, falling a few steps back as the tongue shot out his way. He swatted at the thing with his arm, and it stuck. "Holy StickySituation!" He shouted out, even as the frog tried to jerk it back into his mouth. These were quick attempts, Tykir could feel the energy behind them, but he was larger than a bull frog, thank goodness!, and he managed to snatch his arm free, the tongue smacking back into the frog beast's mouth with a loud, smacking 'pop'! "Shew!" He bellowed at the thing. "Get!" He waved his hands in the air, spread out his wings to their dark fullness and made himself appear even bigger than he really was. "Go away!"

Molly wasn't laughing now. She jumped again as the froggie thing came out of the water. She pulled her knife, watching as it went for Tykir. And she kept watching the water just in case anymore of those things came up. The frogs were still hopping around in a panic, a couple heading for one path.

Not a bullfrog at all! Bannon took a few steps back but stopped, drawing his own knife. He'd laugh at Tykir's exclamation later, like in a week, when they remembered it but it seemed that the frog thing was more confused at the two leggers around it. They didn't flee, they didn't attack and there were wings, and fire. It seemed unsure what to do but suddenly it was gone, back into the pond with a splash that sent water everywhere again. Where it had been was a long leather map holder, soaked, soggy and a bit worn.

Charles took the torch and held it out toward the beast which seemed confused. After it looked around and then soaked them all good, he looked at the now sputtering torch. "That's one way to put it out." He muttered then looked at Tykir. "Are you all right?" He'd been the one slimed after all.

Rory eased out a breath as his stance relaxed some and stepped away from Rina to not be in her personal space. Not that Rory really minded being in a lady's personal space. "Seems he got one taste of you Tykir and headed for parts unknown." The tease came easily for him as certainly it went to parts unknown too. "I think we best be going in case he went to get all his buddies." There were certainly a lot of smaller toads and frogs about. He was already on the move towards were he could feel air in a slight breeze.

"Whatever that was," more under her breath as Rory moved out of the way. She had no qualms about moving on.

"It would seem it doesn't like fire much." Which most creatures didn't, much to her relief. "I think it would leave a gooey mess, had we ganged up on it to kill." She was all for moving on as she noticed Rory started up. Rina was on his heels and she was probably next, possibly along with Charles if he picked up a pace to match.


Date: 05-15-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 36

The Cave
(Part Four)

Tykir glanced over to Charlie and shot off a nod, he was fine. Although he continued to slide his arm back and forth along his side to rid himself of the feel. He lingered, watching the water until all the others passed him by, then he followed along behind. Turning to look around his arm, he glanced back to the water that now only rippled along the edges from the return of some the frogs. He stumbled once from not watching where he was going, so snatched his attention back around to his destination, leaving the past behind for now.

With everyone moving forward, Molly took up the rear this time but only because she was waiting for Tykir. She offered him a smile as he neared, then matched her steps with his as best she could. Ahead, the tunnel would narrow but here they could walk side by side. "It didn't really seem to want to harm us, did it?" It had seemed more confused to her than anything else. And he had happened to be the closest.

Bannon snatched up the leather map holder. Probably anything inside it was long gone since the thing was soggy from water. The strap had broken so he tied it to the pack he carried. They could check it out later, when they stopped for a break. Hopefully there wasn't a nasty surprise in there.

Charles laughed, but it was a nervous laugh, and one of relief. "At least is wasn't some giant tentacle with a huge mouth." He teased as he caught up to the others. He winked at Rina and Ellyn to show he was only teasing, then commented to Rory. "If it had tasted you, it probably would have gone back into the water sooner."

Rory could tell a nervous laugh from his brother as he nudged him, "boogie man would be worse." Swift grin as the group kind of all caught up with one another. Sliding a glance over the others he seemed calm and cool about it all.

Ellyn smirked with a sliding glance over Molly who lingered for Tykir. Nothing said .. yet. "That will be the last time I look at a frog and not shiver, let alone eat any frog legs. The size of that one would feed an army." Only she would think of such a thing.

Rina only shook her head but smirked at Tykir. "Bigger frog than we ever caught." Was he really shook up or not? Hard to tell with her brother at times. "Roasted frog legs.. mmmmmm... mmmmm." She was at the same pace as the rest of them as they all sort of got caught up. "What of you Sir Bannon, up for some frog legs?"

Smiling over to Molly, Tykir shook his head. "Something that size wouldn't have given up so easily if it was after dinner. I believe it was more curious than dangerous." He heard Charles past his talking to Molly and chuckled to himself. "But from the sound of it up there, curiosity could be a dangerous thing for it." He had to smile, although, internally he was still a bit on edge from the whole close encounter. He squinted, trying to see Bannon better in the lack of lighting and the distance. What was he tying off? Oh crap, there goes that chicken! He glanced back to Molly, completely distracted with having her walk alongside him. Serious thoughts were a fleeting thing when such a pretty lass was near. Heck! And they had two! Three ... in truth! But Tykir added Rina reluctantly. As comely as she was, not even Bannon would dare show more interest than friendly camaraderie. Riiiiight?

She laughed as she looked forward. They had all worked so well together and she was impressed. "Aye, frog legs. I think we could have done battle and come out the winners." And four handsome lads. It was a wonder they weren't gossiped about. Well.. more than likely they were but they would be no matter where they went.

"I don't like frog legs." He made a yeck face when he answered. He hadn't much choice when he was a lad and that's all there was. But now... wouldn't touch them. "How's it look up there, Rory?"And no, Bannon wouldn't dare show an interest, at least he didn't think so. He wasn't really sure how Rina felt and sometimes, she just seemed to enjoy flustering the hell out of him.

Yeah, he had been nervous.. how would they explain to the King and Queen that Tykir had gotten eaten by a frog of all things?! The paths had parted again, one going to an obvious rockslide and dead end. The other into a narrow tunnel. It glowed from phosphorous fungi and there were some plants that pulled into themselves as the brighter light appeared. From behind, if anyone was paying attention, there were sounds like someone stepping into a puddle or a splat of water.

That was exactly why Rina had to steal kisses to get any. Any lad interested would figure they had hell to pay to even entertain the idea out loud with their buddies. There was the brother to contend with if even a whisper got out they had eyes on the princess. She was doomed to be a spinster. But, even so, she would go with a few kisses under her belt. Bannon's answer took her by surprise, "you have had them then?" She was picturing a frog leg licking Bannon. There was just a tiny smile that threatened into a bigger one with that visual. Focus shifted to Rory as the question was asked.

"Looks like another cave that has even less light," as he held up his lantern that gave off light only so far. There was a hissing sound but hard to tell whether it was mammal or snake. "I think we'll need go with caution."

Frogs she could handle, most things including spiders but snakes? No. They had her cringe even if she was not afraid of them. It would coil her stomach but she'd dare to go after them and kill if they were being a nuisance, otherwise she left them alone. Still, she hung back behind the McAndrews brothers with a nibble at her bottom lip. Otherwise she was silent.

Tykir's steps slowed, his head dipped and he slid a look around his upper arm to glance behind. He then looked over to Molly, had she heard that? None of the others seemed to. He reached out slowly as they entered into the darker confines of the narrow passage, taking her by the wrist. "Hurry on ahead, Moll. I'll be along shortly." Even as he spoke the words, he reached behind his back and eased a dagger from the band of his pants, hidden by his wings. "Hurry on, now." He gave a nod to indicate the pack, then when afforded a niche in the cavern's wall, stepped back into it. The Dark Prince blended well with the shadows as he wrapped the blackness of wings around in front of him.

She had and for a moment, she looked about to protest but the tunnel was narrow and if it was something that would need to be fought off, they'd be in one another's way. Catching up to the others, she got to hear the hissing sound. Lovely! Trouble in front of them, trouble behind! It was a perfect adventure! As long as none of them got hurt or eaten alive.

"Aye." He shrugged slightly. "They weren't considered a delicacy, Rina. Just a means to survive." And that was all he was going to say about that. Because Rory had gave a warning. He placed his hand on his knife hilt in case he needed to pull it out quickly.

Charles had nearly forgotten the incident in the last cave with his fascination with the plants. He stopped trying to examine them though with the warning, and glanced at Rina and Molly. They were fine so far as he could tell but he moved slightly ahead so he was behind Rory.

As Tykir disappeared into the shadows, the sound grew nearer and nearer. The frog creature came into view, moving with a hop step, and looking around in an almost nervous manner. It stopped close to him and sniffed the air.

How did he get elected to go in first? No way to back out of it or be teased, not the kind of teasing he wanted. He moved in carefully until the light caught eyes, there were many of them. First the one set.. then another and then more and more. The hissing came from the bigger set of eyes. They were mesmerized by the light, except the one. The hissing turned into chattering and then a bark kind of sound that sent the smaller glowing ones in every direction. Rory froze in his steps as he could tell some ran by him in panic and down the tunnel they came through.

Rina knew the moment Tykir was not with them and not knowing the why of it, she first asked, "where is Tykir?" But before anyone could answer as she hung back from the others with a "TYKIR," shrieked out so that it would wake the dead. Except it didn't wake the dead but it echoed 100 times fold over and over through all the caves, unsettling everything. Could one hear some rocks falling in the distance?

Between the hissing and the shrieking that then echoed over and over, Ellyn ran right into the back of Charles with enough force to probably send him forward. "What is that?" Now it was her turn to let out a shriek when things went running by that she was doing little leaps in trying to avoid whatever they were. Couldn't see anything but the eyes reflecting the lanterns' light.

Holy CRAP! Tykir didn't move, but his gaze did to the raised dagger. Not really something to do any damage to the likes of THAT! To his right he heard the chattering and that loud bark! This...was not a good thing. And then his name echoed through the caverns, the shrill sound causing the frog to leap back and puff up, the bulbous neck filling with air to increase its already immense size and it let out a croak that shook the rock foundation around them as well. Between Rina and the amphibian, the place would collapse around them all! "Shut....up!" Tykir yelled at the creature, causing the large eyes of the frog to bulge all the more with surprise from the order and the appearance of the dark winged one when the prince shot out of his hidey-hole. He crouched low, ready to leap, but the ceilings were low, too low for a hop from the size of this thing. When the small critters swarmed from the front of the teens back to the frog and Tykir, the large, wet, slimy body pitched quickly to the side to shove the prince back into the crevice until they all darted past.

Oh stars and stones! Her ears were ringing from Rina's yell, and then Ellyn's as the little critters ran every which way around. " Shush! They're more scared of us and Tykir's behind us yet, checking on a sound. And ... oh hell what's that?" She heard the croak, pointed ears giving a little twitch, barely noticeable. She had learned to keep quiet no matter what happened unless a warning was needed. She turned and started forward, knife drawn again.

Bannon didn't know which way to go until Molly said about something following. "No, Molly, wait here," He was near running back, but it had to look comical as he tried to avoid squishing whatever the critters were. And when he got there, all he saw was the frog and no Tykir. Had it eaten him?

And Charles likely bumped into Rory. He fell forward, catching himself on hands and knees and yelped as some of the critters ran over and under him. Then he started to laugh. Poor little things. Wait? Tykir was in trouble? And he was face to face with one of those small frogs. It just eyed him a moment, made a ribbit sound and hopped away.

That had the domino effect as he was not prepared to have his brother lunge in against his back. He too went sprawling but instead of being eye to eye with a frog, he found the furry face of a baby raccoon in front of him. "Coons!" Came in a startled surprise as the poor thing went baby chattering off to find its mother. The mother was scolding but didn't attempt to attack anyone. Probably too scared to as well. He was up just in case it changed its mind. "We can go that way.." words barely out as it seemed others were going back the way they came, something about Tykir and a croak? Rory was around to see if he could help.

Rina heard her brother and she could move fast. When the large oversized frog, and she not thinking it out as usual, slammed Tykir into the crevice, she lunged at it. Full body force with he added wing zoom to surge her forward. No one was going to harm her brother. There was nothing to grab hold of so it was one body in motion meeting another body not in motion but with a spongy constitution.

Everything was happening too fast as Ellyn ended up by Molly's side. Her practice sword, which was not quite as sharp as a regular one, was drawn. The weapon could still do a lot of damage if aptly applied in wielding it.

"Let me out, you oversized appetizer!" Tykir was shouting from behind the press of huge frog, sounding muffled in his order, and all the more like he was inside the belly of the beast! It bumped and swayed against him, knocking more wind from Tykir's lungs. Rina's attack was felt by both frog and prince. "Wait!" He hollered out to whatever was going on out there. The frog backpedaled to get away from the princess' defense of her brother and when the crevice opened, Tykir saw Rina. So again he shouted. "Wait, Rina!" And he dove after his sister.

Molly was nearly knocked into the side of the tunnel wall when Rina went charging. She put out her hand to catch herself and then watched Rina's charge. She looked at Ellyn and then looked forward again. It was a good thing the princess hadn't flown and when she heard Tykir she really did worry that he had been eaten but there he was and ... boy was she confused.

Before Bannon could do anything, there went Rina. He blinked as the wings knocked him in the head, nearly laughing, But he was more worried about his friend and wondered for a minute if Tykir had been swallowed alive. Until he heard him and saw the frog move away.

And since Charles was now behind everyone else, he couldn't see a darn thing that was going on. But he could hear the sea behind him now that all the hissing, shouting and croaking was done Faintly, but there it was. He was caught in a quandary ... see what was going on, or see what was down that tunnel.

Rory ended up stopping dead in his tracks, retracing them as he held up the lantern. He was close enough if help was needed but far enough not to add to the congestion. "Are you all right Tykir," only seeing a flying Rina blur into a larger blur from this distance.

Rina knocked the thing down that was going to harm her brother, or so it looked. But the consistency of the creature had her bouncing a few times off its stomach and bulbous protrusion on its neck. Next she had Tykir on her back as the thing left out a whoosh of swamp air. The kind that made bad breath preferable!

Ellyn was not far behind, "what is that?" Hearing Rory already ask the next question on the tip of her tongue. She got close enough with her lantern in one hand and the sword in the other. "Ewwww.." there was slime everywhere.

The winged-prince caught the winged-princess just under the arms, rolling with her off of the frog so that he landed on his back against the hard granite and she on top of him. "He's harmless." Came the grunt of comment when they landed and he released his sister. His dagger was lost somewhere in the whole of it, some mighty warrior was he! "Fine!" He shouted out to Rory, or Charles, whichever that voice was that asked.

Molly was right behind Ellyn and came to a stop just behind her. She let out a little sigh of relief when she saw everyone was fine, then she looked at Ellyn and started to giggle. Ew? Ew! There was no reason for her to really giggle but she did and clapped her hand over her mouth.

There was the dagger and Bannon picked it up to hand to the Dark Prince. He gave Tykir a sheepish look. "For a minute there, I thought it had eaten you. Sounded funny with you behind it." And he looked at the frog creature who in turn was eyeing the map case. He untied it and gave it back, nearly jumping at how quickly he grabbed the case And while he held it tight, he didn't seem inclined to leave.

Wasn't Charles. He had given in to temptation and taken a few tentative steps into the tunnel, then a few more. Still with the phosphorus glow but not quite as bright. Halfway, he paused and decided he better wait and see if the others came back this way, or if he'd have to backtrack.


Date: 05-16-11
Poster: Charles McAndrews
Post # 37

The Cave
(Part Five)

With Molly giggling, she couldn't help but start laughing too. Perhaps it was a release of a lot of tensions with it. She eyed the oversized frog. "Do you speak?" Hell, it was worth the try. Tykir either had a new pet or companion depending on the level of intelligence or there lack of.

The raccoons had gone but so was his brother missing, "Charles," seeing all was fine with those here, he turned on a heel and headed for the cave area he just vacated.

She didn't really like the feel of slime, bouncy type and was still struggling as Tykir rolled her off the thing. Ew Ew Ew was exactly right as she shivered with just the thought and shivered again just because. She had that expression, comical probably, as she stared down at her brother for ending up on top. Ew again! Slime rolled off her cheek to plop on his face below. Well, that was worth it! "We don't really know that yet..." and she was up and off him in the next second. She'd help him up too if he needed any assistance.

"He's a flippin' frog, Ellyn." Tykir chortled out a laugh at his friend's question as he started to stand. The slime dropped right on his face and what did he do? He just swatted it aside coming to his feet fully. Which, at the moment was probably a mistake, because no sooner had he come to his feet, than the frog swatted out its tongue as if in reprimand for his comment and slammed Tykir against the rock wall with the force of it. It stuck, pulled, but released with a loud, sticky sound. "Crappit!" Tykir had enough of sticky, slimy, whatever the heck else he was exposed to! "You two get better acquainted!" He motioned between Ellyn and the frog but the large creature wasn't moving out of Tykir's way, even after he shooshed at him with his hands. Nope. The thing wasn't moving. "Where are the McAndrews?" He tried to see past the bulk but it did him no good. "Bannon! Where are the McAndrews?" If anyone would know, it would be Zimmer, and since everything here seemed stable, the knight might need to check on the other two.

"You best be nice, Mr. ... " Uh, what did you call a frog man? "Crappit, or you'll have to go back to the water." She looked over at Tykir and winced. Hopefully he didn't get slammed anytime he tried to move. She didn't go closer because she didn't want to worry about that yucky tongue if it took offense at the name. As if it understood!

The McAndrews? He had thought Rory was right there with them but when he looked around. "I think he went back to look for Charles. He didn't follow us." And hopefully the bookworm wasn't in trouble. He was trying to not laugh at the name Molly had given the frog man as he turned and went back to see if he could find the two. He figured the others would follow, if they could get the thing moving.

Charles noticed a few snails moving through the plants on the wall and was watching them when he heard a splash in the cavern ahead. He took a few more steps to the entrance and held up his lantern, letting out a low whistle. The cave was high with at least one opening high above that let in a ray of sunlight. There was a small opening and waves splashed against the sides. But it was what the light of the lantern he carried caught that had him whistle. It didn't go far but the stalactites above sparkled and where that ray of light hit, he could see part of a large fossils. The stones in front of him, on the floor of the path sparkled as well, and some smaller fossils could be seen there. He thought he heard Rory call him name and yelled out. "I'm in the tunnel!"

"Who says it is a He? Could be a She and has chosen you, Tykir, as her mate.You will make lovely music together especially by the lake.." She was trying not to laugh even harder as she backed up. "It's all yours Tykir," and she was heading back to see where the McAndrews got to.

Rory heard his brother and soon came up behind him. Eyes went wider. "beautiful and dangerous if any of them fall." He too gave a low whistle as he appreciated such as well. He had an interest in artifacts, not just being the more charming of the brothers. "Maybe there are some relics we can pick up, but be very careful getting anything unlodged." Disturbing a rock could lead to a chain reaction.

"Hey!" Came out fast and quick as the thing slammed her brother. She charged it again and slammed her fist into its face, "don't you do that!" Demanding little wench that she was. No one was going to beat up her brother and have her stand by and watch without doing anything.

The frog had it's treasure, and although may have enjoyed the company of these strange two legged creatures, would not stay around for the abuse. It snorted sending a wet spew of clear snot showering out over any of them close, including the one attacking it and turned, retreating to the darkness and the safety there. Tykir blinked, anything he meant to call out after Ellyn was forgotten now that he had seen his sister take on that large creature from the pond. "Wow, Rina." He started to chuckle, smoothing away the spray of frog-nostril-rain that has splattered him. "You do have a way of making a point." One last glance drifted to the darkness that made up where they had been, and he reached a hand back to Molly. "Come on, let's catch up to the others." He tugged Molly with him, and caught Rina with the other hand until the path narrowed in on them and they had to continue single file.

Molly blinked as Rina hit the critter, yelping at that shower. She didn't get much of it but still that was disgusting! And then it was gone. She had figured on getting dirty but yeck! And then suddenly, she was being tugged along with Rina. Once they caught up to Ellyn, she grabbed for her with her free hand. A Tykir train!

Bannon could hear the brothers talking as he headed down the tunnel. "What did you two ... " Words ceased as he caught a look of the cavern behind them. "So the stories are true. I doubt if pirates would hide a treasure here though. They're pretty superstitious but what's here is worth more I think." He stayed against the wall and slid past them, moving out of the way of the entrance.

Charles grinned at his brother and crouched down to pick up one of the smaller fossils. It was a perfect image of an insect though if it had any wings, those had been too frail to preserve. He turned his head to grin at Bannon. "It's really something, isn't it?"

Rina got the worse of the clear snot slime. In fact she couldn't see for the blob on her face. It was a good thing that Tykir grabbed her hand when he did for she used that leverage to stop him and use his shirt as a towel. Better. Now she could see as the three headed back down the corridor leading them to where the McAndrews brother and Bannon were... Ellyn a little ahead of them. "Wait up for us.." like they would leave them behind.

"Wow," would be heard as Ellyn ducked between the two tall brothers, her hand grabbed at the same time so Molly was pulled in with her and the others in the Tykir train. "Look at this.." it was wonderful as she beamed a smile towards Charles mostly and was off to explore. She would pick up some of the tiny fossils that interested her and some of the stones that looked like crystals that were shattered on the ground.

Rory smirked at his brother when Ellyn beamed a smile his way.. so he would say that it was him. He was moving forward as well especially with the train that was coming up behind them.. giving the others room to investigate too.

"HolyFlippin'FossilFind..." Tykir breathed out that string of words, his gaze passing over the expanse of cavern and all that it held. It was almost a shame to disturb anything. How many hundreds, thousands of years had these things been here? As the others collected, he just crossed to a wall, the boned body of a creature embedded there and traced his finger over it's spine. "Daaaang." Again, only a whisper of sound and he shook his head. How had so many things gathered here ... or that layers of history presented itself in this one place. "Amazing." Eyes and fingertip followed the lines of something that no longer existed.

Molly was looking every which way as they entered the cavern. What they were seeing was worth every yelp, shriek, stumble or slime that they had gone through. She looked way up at the sparkling ceiling then held up her lantern to study the walls. And the floors! They were amazing. She scooped up on large crystal and held it up to her eye, peering through at the beam of sunlight. "This is incredible and I think, we shouldn't tell anyone that it's real. It might be ruined then." Not by anyone who was truly interested, but by those who thought they could make gold from it.

Bannon wasn't saying anything at the moment, he was just studying the walls. Walking backwards proved to be a mistake however. He went to the edge of the water, realized it was behind him and, arms flailing, tried to keep from falling in. That failed and a second later, he disappeared then re-appeared, sputtering, splashing and laughing all at once.

Charles grinned back at Ellyn then stood and watched the others. "Rory's a bit concerned about things falling if we get too loud. " And he could be right. "Might be why there are so many crystals scattered about." He heard the splash and turned, laughing when Bannon popped up again. "That was smooth, Bannon."

As soon as she heard the splash that was where she headed. She was interested in the fossil find and crystals for a few reasons but right now she wanted to clean some of the slime off for it was already too long on her. In the process she gave a splash of water Bannon's way. "It looks like you're enjoying that a lot." Although she was looking past him to make sure there were no more oversized frogs or the like.

"Aye, best we keep this our secret unless the royals are told." They might want to let the king and queen of Heathfield know in the least. There was a cracking sound and somewhere off in the corners of this cavern, one of the smaller stalagmites fell, hitting the ground with a small scattering crash of crystals. "Watch your heads," as he felt the stir of a breeze off to his side. He had collected enough specimens so headed into another tunneling cave.

"I don't think we need to get loud." Luckily it was in the distance as she glanced up, certainly enough of them up there to have any one of them fall. She collected some more of the crystals, all she could fit in the one pouch before she was ducking away after Rory to hopefully a safer place.

It took a moment for Tykir to follow, but soon enough, he joined the others as they made their way to new areas of these intriguing tunnels. As he passed Bannon, he slapped a hand to his friend's shoulder, a wet pop of palm to soaked shirt. He didn't say anything, just smiled as he continued on. He paused a moment, just to make sure none were left behind.

Molly almost didn't realize the others were moving away but when she did, she gathered a few more things, seeming a bit picky about which. She grinned as she passed Rina and Bannon then caught up to Tykir and took one step passed before stopping.

Oh crap, what? Tykir stopped dead still.

"It's bl... blasted cold, is what it is." He grumbled as he splashed back then climbed out and glanced over his shoulder. "Think there are some pretty big fish in there too." Teasing maybe but he smiled at Rina. "I'm going to be a muddy mess." He gave Tykir a grin with the slap, laughing at the sound then looked back to Rina. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing up and he wasn't sure why so he offered his hand to Rina to get her moving and catch up. Maybe Molly had seen the water ripple? Because he did. Likely it was the frog though because nothing came out of the water.

Hopefully the next place they found had more fossils and less falling from the ceiling. He had only collected a few, not wanting to disturb things too much and hurried after his brother and Ellyn.

Perhaps there was a network of tunnels under the caves that held the water so pools were all connected and that froggie could travel between. Where there was one, there could be many more. Rina saw the ripple and was up quick to take Bannon's hand being it was offered. "Aye, or we might lose them. Best we all keep together," not saying anything about what they left behind and her step was quicker too. She had enough of slime for a lifetime.

"I think I see an opening." The excitement was clear in her voice as she started off in the direction of the light. Her body becoming a silhouette until it dropped out of sight. They would hear the shriek as she slid down a twisting tunnel through the rock.

The cave open up and there was more room and light at the farthest end. "Ellyn," about to say wait as she hurried off towards the fresh air and then was gone. "Holy!" He was quick to start off after her or at least to where she disappeared.

Rory wasn't the only one to take off running when Ellyn screamed and disappeared from sight. Tykir raced forward, not stopping where she disappeared, but practically diving in after her through that opening in the rock, and down that twisting tunnel. He landed with a grunt that echoed up into the cavern as he slid, stomach down, face first after Ellyn. Wings aided with this speed and he was able to catch up to her and grab one of the hands she had up above her head with her plummeting slide. "Grab tight, Ellyn." He called to her as he also latched on with his grip around her wrist.

Molly hadn't stopped for any real reason but she jumped when she heard Ellyn scream and there went Tykir right after her. "What... ?" She ran over but didn't jump in the opening. Instead she peered in and looked back at the others. "Should we go in too?"

Best they all keep together? It sounded like they had already run into trouble. He took hold of Rina's hand and ran to join the others. "Tykir! Ellyn?" Ah, hell. "Wait and see if they answer. If not, then we go down. But we'll use rope and go carefully, aye?" If the two were hurt, he didn't want to waste time but they would need to be cautious. He heard Tykir yelling to Ellyn and near held his breath. This was the worst part -- waiting.

"It looks smooth enough." But who knew what was at the end? He looked at Bannon then at his brother and the lasses, then took off his pack and got the rope from it. He'd be ready and if they didn't need it, he'd put it back.

At least the slide was not directly against rock as it was coated in wet moss and reduced the friction that would have been otherwise. She was almost airborne as the hole was above a small lake with a waterfall to one end. Tropical, the cave hole in the side of a rocky mountain. She would have landed all right, most likely for the water below but she had that thing about heights and she held on to Tykir's hand once grasped like white on rice, she muffled the scream against Tykir's chest.

Where her brother went, Rina went. Simple. They had always done that and she too had wings. She was practically pulling Bannon with her before she dove into the hole near on the heels of her brother. Daring young lass that she was. The others could decide to come or not.

Rory was hesitant to dive into any unknown hole like that as he eyed that opening where the light filtered in. He took that direction instead. He was fast as he kicked up into a run and found himself outside on a narrow path way up where the water fell over the side a short distance away. There were vines that hung over the side and he soon working his way down one using the craggy stone mountainside to bounce his feet off as he made the progressive descend.

Tykir and Rina acted instinctively, which had gotten them into more trouble than most! This day was no different. Tykir didn't have time to spread his wings, once they shot from the mossy decline out into mid air, they dropped instantly with a loud, two bodied *splash*! The dark prince still held Ellyn close, an arm wrapped around her, the other pulling at the depth of water to bring them back up. Bannon was right, it was flippin' COLD! They both broke the surface with a sharp intake of breath. "Whew!" Tykir shouted out once he had filled his lungs. "Yeah!" He bellowed again, giving his head a shake to clear his vision so he could see Ellyn better. "You okay?" His free arm moved through the water, still holding her with the other, as he kicked below to keep them afloat. "That...was friggin' great!" He laughed as he looked to the drenched lass, knowing that she was fine physically, but not sure she was fine mentally. "Whoooo!" He shouted again, hearing it echo all around them...winking to Ellyn as he waited for her reply.

Molly watched as Rina dragged Bannon down the hole and Rory headed for the outside. She wasn't sure which way to go but after a moment, she ran after Rory and watched him climb down then ran back to Charles. "I have rope too. We can go down the hole and tie it together and hope it's long enough." Because she didn't want to climb down and she sure didn't want to slide.

Some day, Bannon would remember that Rina never listened. Right now, they were heading down through the hole and gods knew where. He barely heard Tykir for the rush of wind but if they were okay, then he and Rina should be. So he was going along for the ride!

Charles nodded his agreement with Molly though he had no idea where Rory went or what he was doing. He knew they'd meet up at the bottom. He tied off the rope and started down first, not too fast, but not so slow it would take them hours!

The water was cold but invigorating so. Ellyn let out a gasp after the plummet then hitting surface as they were both quick to propel themselves up. Black hair was flattened as water sheen her skin and webbed dark lashes with droplets she tried to blink away. Eyes were bluer than a summer's sky with the impact. "Wow, that was great." She didn't ease from his hold for certainly it had helped the impact of hitting the water. She looked to were they had shot out of the hole in the side of the mountain. "Look up there," easing from being too close as she pointed. "Look, there is Rory or Charles," as her hand moved to indicate one coming down the side by way of the long vines that trailed down the side by the waterfall. It might be cold but it was not that cold and it was a little tropical hideaway. She was then taking in the sight of tropical flowers and fauna. Rich growth and the stir here and there indicated life. Except, what life was there in the lake they were treading? She started for the shore, closest part just in case.

Rina shot out a few minutes behind her brother but she managed to get her wings working before she hit water. She hovered there as relief flooded that they were all right. Guess who she had a grip on? Bannon, she didn't try to pull him in with her but in her haste, she must have forgotten to let go of his hand, now her arms were around him tight. Well. They were only a couple feet above the water now as she gave him a sweet smile then let him go.

Rory wasn't going to miss out on all the fun. Once he was down far enough he kicked off the side in a way he was Tarzan flying out as he let go at the last moment to dive into the water. More like a dolphin before surfacing and letting out a HOOT that could probably be heard all the way to Ballicastle.


Date: 05-18-11
Poster: Molly Tremaine
Post # 38

The Cave - Yowlers
(Part Six)

Tykir looked up just as Bannon and Rina started down and he jerked Ellyn closer, trying to swim out of their way to the side. But it turned out that his sister had it all under control....even to the point of dropping Bannon into the water! Tykir laughed and laughed even more when Rory dove into the chilled waters too. Where were the other two? His gaze returned to where Rory had been then swept the face of that rock wall in search of them. So much for Miss Royce reaching the shore yet, she would have been safer had Tykir let her be! Too bad. He wasn't even concerned with what might be sharing the water with them. Oblivious at the moment to any danger whatsoever. It would be, perhaps, what finished it for him in the end. Nothing mattered but the moment!

Molly and Charles were about to drop in. They had reached the end of one rope, and continued down, down and then they were still above the water. She was giggling now as she saw the others. "Jump, Charles. There's no more rope!" She didn't want to land on top of anyone so once he jumped, she got the rope swinging and then it was her turn. Splash! And then up to the surface, shaking her hair from her face.

Bannon was surprised that the Princess was still holding onto him but they weren't far above the water and everyone was catching up. Well, so far they were still missing Charles and Molly. "You... " He shut up as soon as he saw that smile and held his breath. Surfacing, he just shook his head and grinned at Tykir. Then moved when he heard Molly.

Charles wasn't jumping until he saw what was below and everyone seemed to be out of the way. He let out a whoop before letting go and splashing into the water. And while all that was going on, there was a stirring of water right in front of Ellyn. A serpentine head lifted just enough to reveal two large eyes, with Ellyn nearly nose to nose with the creature.

She started for the shore, or that was her fleeting idea and attempt before she was jerked back up against Tykir. Arms folded up in an unconscious quick reaction to keep her breasts from being squished against his chest. She was endowed nicely and conscious of that fact in an embarrassing way at times. She tried to keep any actions that drew any attention to them like this would. "I didn't know you cared.." giving him a wink with the tease, knowing full well it was not that way but too, drawing any attention to the fact her arms were tucked in a way to buffer the press and used to pushed off with. "Hey, there's all the others," another tactic to draw away from the present situation and easing apart at the same time. Next something slithered up and blocked her view. The sudden surprise had a screech that would make a banshee proud.

He was laughing seeing Rina drop Bannon safely into the water as well his brother and Molly to join them. "Water is perfect, err.." well was until that huge head popped up in front of Ellyn. He was on his way to help. Luckily he could swim pretty fast but would he be fast enough? Arms and legs were pounding the water.

"You can try and get even, Sir..." but anything else was left unsaid as in the next few seconds Ellyn was being attacked or so it seemed. Being she was already in the air she was fast over, trying to kick the thing away as wings fluttered in a steady whooshing way, dagger back in her hand if needed too.

"Of course I do, Ellyn." He had started, until she started to shriek his ears to ringing. "Good grief, it's only Charles..." And as she screamed, the creature lifted it long, long neck up, stretching up from the water and with a fling of head, swatted the buzzing pest aside that was attacking it there. The scream set off a howling roar of surprise as well, it's mouth large, teeth exposed, tongue extended .... a yowl of unexpected reaction or perhaps of pain, considering the shrill of Ellyn's piercing response to its appearance. He reached around Ellyn and clamped a hand to her mouth, the sound muffled beneath his palm. "You're scaring it!" As if she wasn't scared too! He knew Rina had taken harder hits while in the air so he didn't worry about her getting back the balance of her flight. Where his concern rested now was getting everyone OUT of the water and keeping his sister from attacking again. He gave a kick off, his one arm used to scoop the water in an attempt to swim away, hoping by releasing Ellyn's mouth she wouldn't continue to wail. Please, please, please don't let there be more than one of these things!

Molly had no sooner emerged from the water and gotten that hair of her face when all the screaming began. What the ... She saw the creature and everything that happened and decided the best thing to do was follow suit and get out of the water. If the creature continued to follow, they could fight back better on dry land.

Ah hells, now what? Bannon watched it all with a bit of shock, and there went Rina, attacking before she knew the creature's intentions. And it sure could yowl too. He had to look around to see where everyone was but then he too was urging them to shore.

Charles was farther away from the beast and closer to shore so he just started heading that way. But then another of the creatures popped up, howling with the first and another and many more, most much larger than the first though there were a few as small or maybe a little bigger. He yelped as one popped up in front of him, swam around it and then crawled onto shore. "Hurry!" It didn't look like they were going to attack... just ... yell.

That swipe sent Rina into a back flip in the air with a barrel roll but her brother was right, both had learned acrobatics that would save their hides. "Get out of the water," being her actions had at least distracted the thing.

By the time he was reaching the two, they were both getting away as the creature was distracted and so he swam with them towards the shore as it seemed the best idea presently was to get out of the water. They would be darting more snake heads to get to their destination.

Ellyn didn't scream any more for the reaction it caused and it was more from surprise than anything else. Snakes made her shiver and shiver she would even if she was swimming the fastest she ever had in her lifetime. Due course set but with such concentration she didn't notice others popping up until she ran right into one, sort of bounced off and continued on her way!

Holy Mess of Nessies! They were surrounded! He felt a body bump under his foot and almost yelped himself but managed to stifle the reaction before it slipped out. A head lifted right in front of them, joining the song that the echoing of howls had turned into. "Teeth! Look at their teeth! They're blunt!" Yes, Tykir got a perfect view of them as the creature in front of them opened its mouth in its portion of the chorus. "They're not meat eaters!" But that didn't mean they wouldn't attack. It just meant, none of them were meant as a meal. He smiled at it, a vain attempt at making amends for invading their home, before paddling to the right to get the heck around it and out of the water. Yes, he could have shot right out with his wings, but that would leave his friends behind and, as desperate as he was to get the hell out of dodge, for that's what they were doing! Dodging!, he would stick with them until whatever end was to be had!

As they all left the water, the chorus of howls began to die down and most disappeared into the water, except for the first small creature. It swam a little closer to the land following whomever was last and lifted slightly out of the water when it came to rest on a rock. The body resembled that of a seal though much larger. It just watched, occasionally letting out a little howl. Maybe it thought that's how they communicated. Molly sat on the shore of the land and watched, smiling slightly. But though the others had gone, they certainly were close, just under the water.

Bannon laughed as he reached shore, in spite of puffing a bit. It would be hard to say which group had been more surprised and maybe frightened. He removed the pack he carried and sat on the ground beside it. "Don't know about everyone else but I'm hungry."

"So am I." Charles agreed with Bannon before his pack came off too. Though the packs were waterproof, some still had gotten in. Nothing destroyed though. "There's a lot of them. Wonder if they leave the cave to feed." Be the only way they could all survive here likely. Even if the lake was deep.

She was more composed as she finally had her feet touch down and ran up out of the water. Turning she viewed to see what the situation was and got a glimpse of all the heads before they all disappeared beneath the surface again. Except one. She was far enough away to view it better and Tykir's words rang in her head about it not being a maneater. Nothing had tried to take a bite out of her. She tried to imitate the sound it made.

She came to land not far from Bannon and the others. "I'm hungry," which once mentioned it reminded her as she took the pack off her back. Luckily they had been made waterproof. Everyone seemed hail in spite of the continual surprises.

Rory was up and out of the water as he gravitated to his brother. "I'm always hungry," seemed like a good time unless the seal-serpents protested their being there. Sliding his pack off his back as he spoke he was going to eat nonetheless.

Tykir looked everyone over, shot a glance over his shoulder, and crossed right to his sister. "You took quite a hit there, Sis." She'd hear his pride just by his commenting on it. He wasn't really hungry, he was too wound up, too wound tight, too wound in a knot to even think about swallowing more than pure excitement. He heard Ellyn's attempt to communicate and he smiled, watching the thing there on the rock until it gave up its attempts and slid backwards into the darkness of water without even the faintest sound, only a soft ripple of water movement. Thing was, they still had to find a way out of here unless they retraced their path in the opposite direction. While the others ate, Tykir took a stroll along the pseudo-beach, just looking.

Awwwww, it left. Molly had been about to offer it a sandwich! She threw the bread anyway, laughing as the water stirred and the bread disappeared. She watched Tykir then stood and joined him. "Do you think Charles is right and they come in and out of the lake and go out to the ocean?" Of course, she didn't know he was looking. "I wonder what's in the jungle." That might not be the best way to go.

Bannon grinned at Rina then took a bite of the apple he had selected. Other food would come later if he was still hungry. He watched Tykir and Molly then looked at Rina. "I wonder how late it is." They had been in there for a while and he really didn't want any of their families to worry.

When wasn't a McAndrews hungry? Charles laughed then watched the water. Amazing that it could be so still with so many critters in the water. He heard Bannon though and looked thoughtful. "You know, it's awful light in here for us losing our lanterns." And there was another problem. No light!

Once the thing slid back into the water, Ellyn visibly relaxed then needed to sit down for a few. She wasn't hungry yet but she would be. "Everyone all right," looking from Molly to Rina in particular. She tried wringing out her hair before flipping it over her shoulder out of her way.

He kept an eye on the lake as he ate but eat he did. Grin shot in between bites as he nudged his brother but not a word was said. Yet. Mouth was full.

Mark it on the calendar, Rina hugged her brother when he came over and expressed his concern. If she was hurt, she'd not admit it and she wasn't hurt much. A few muscles strained that she probably wouldn't really feel until tomorrow. She could see one of the healers in the castle by then. Quietly. She'd rather not have anyone know. "I'm good, how about you?"

"I'm very well, Rina." Tykir answered her from where he walked with Molly, then continued with their conversation. "It's salt water, so it's coming from somewhere, the question is where? Has to be outside to inside, don't you think? But is it seeping in from below? Or is there a larger opening that would allow them to swim out...and us too?" Tykir really hadn't given any thought to the time, good thing Bannon was attempting to keep up with that! Once again, if there was a chicken, the dark prince was distracted. And today, there had been a whole flippin' flock of them!

"I guess it depends if they actually go out. Have there been any stories or do they hide that well." They had seen how the water wasn't disturbed by their passage so maybe there was a way out. "How do we find it?" She hadn't been thinking about the time either. Things had been too exciting! She heard Ellyn too and called out. "I'm fine!"

Wasn't that funny. The one who didn't have to worry about the time, was! If they had actually been on a beach, he would have stretched out and taken a nap. As it was, he wouldn't be ready to sleep for a while yet and that was a good thing.

Charles, once his food was gone, was up and looking about. It seemed the stones were what was giving the light and he began to chip away at some. Maybe they could use them?

"Pretty interesting rock to hold light like this." So he helped out this brother by chipping bits away, well more like chunks that could be held like a lantern. He'd store them away into one of the pouches attached to his belt.

Rina went wandering off by herself. She could just fly out of this place and get them help but that would be reserved as an emergency. Not much of an adventure if they had to be saved.

Ellyn silently watched the others, hard to read thoughts that flitted back and forth through her mind. She finally got out a sandwich and nibbled on it. All the while she kept an eye on the lake.

No kidding! Plus, there was always Andrew! No, better they try as a group, put their heads together. Rina and Tykir were well equipped to take off, but they were part of the whole. They were grounded. He smiled to Molly then looked back at the water. The water didn't seem to be flowing, it seemed to be a silent, still pool. Yet, they all knew there was life inside it, which meant there had to be movement. He winked to Molly before he crossed over to a bush and plucked a large, red bloom. "Now, as long as they don't eat it..." He walked to the edge of the water and set it afloat. And, sure enough, it started bobbing away from the shoreline following the current of the water.

Well, they might eat it but it seemed to be safe as it bobbed along. The question was where would it go. She grinned at Tykir and looked back toward the flower. So far, so good. And while Ellyn was looking, there was a stir of water closer to the shore but not too close. Even the baby was too big to hide too close to shore.

And there was a way to walk off the sleep, play follow the Princess like he had before. Only this time, he stepped up beside her. Even if he got swatted, he wouldn't let her walk alone.

Once they had a good collection, Charles grinned at Rory then nudged him and motioned to Ellyn. He walked over and plopped down beside her, and stared out at the lake too. Just in time. "There's Eyes again."

Slipping the last piece into the pouch he nodded as Charles indicated Ellyn. He noted that Tykir was off with Molly, Bannon had caught up with Rina and so Ellyn got two being he was like the fourth wheel or so. "Aye, though they don't seem harmful nor aggressive," words fading off as he took up a seat on the other side of the lass. He was watching to see where the flower floated to for that would be their way out.

Charles had startled her some for she had become lost in her own thoughts. Blink. Smile, the latter on the heels of the former. "Too many eyes, but most underwater," she pointed to where the water stirred that was no where near where the flower was set afloat and the direction it was taking. "One of them is not far from that stir." She was sure of it.

She didn't whop him upside the head. Instead he got a smile as she plucked another flower to set afloat in the water. A sidelong glance was given him as she crouched to do so then up as she took a few steps back. "I could try flying you out but we're up pretty high and I'm not sure I wouldn't drop you for not having carried a person too far." Was she trying to scare him? More than likely.

The flower bobbed its way all the way to the far side of the rock wall, bouncing gently against the granite until it spun in a flurry of movement, and was sucked through the wall. Gone. Holy disappearing act! Tykir shot a look to Molly, then to anyone else that might have seen that, then back to the wall. It couldn't be more than a crack that the flower went through but that didn't mean it wasn't bigger beneath. "Too bad we can't speak Yowlish."

Yowlish? That had her laughing though that disappearance was intriguing. "I wonder if they'll get upset if we have a look." They were already soaked but if the Yowlers didn't like them being in the water. Well, that could be the wrong kind of trouble.

"I would have you carry one of the others first, get them all out and then you could fly me." He didn't want her trying anyway. Even though she had held him for a bit, flying upward could tire her. He watched as the flower headed in the direction of Molly and Tykir. "Where'd the one they were following go?"

If he was dressed in the same colors as Rory, they could have played guess which is which but he just smiled and pointed. "The baby is peeking at us. So I called it Eyes." He looked at Rory and nodded. "I think they got more scared then we did. Or maybe as much."

Rory was up and heading around the edge of the water to get as close as he could to where the flower disappeared before going down into it. He got two thirds of the way around before he had to enter the pool. Deep pool at that."I see it, maybe you can adopt it," sending a grin back at his brother as he was about to go under if necessary.

"Mmmm...hmmm... right. Just admit it Bannon, you'd be afraid to have me try and fly you out. It might not be water I dropped you into.." but the banter was dismissed as she watched Rory head out to investigate while the others stood around and watched. "Let's go see," and she was off in the same direction that would take them to where the flower disappeared.

"Looks like it is time to go. We've eaten and now time to find our way out of here." If they didn't find their way out of here soon, darkness would surely set in  just as the sun rose each morning. She could see the smaller seal-serpent as she dared to chance getting closer to get a better look before heading where Rory was.


Date: 05-20-11
Poster: Rina Riktafir
Post # 39

The Cave
(Part Seven)

Tykir heard the others approaching and looked around at them. "Seems there's an opening over there." He gave a tilt of head to indicate where the flower had been sucked through. "There's just no telling how large or how deep. Shame we couldn't swim under with a light and ... " Hey! Wait a minute! "Which one of you have those crystals that glow?" The Yowlers didn't seem the sort to attack and the babe seemed friendly enough. Maybe this group of friends could manage to swim through, as long as they didn't disturb the peace too much ... or squeal.

Then there'd be a chorus of howlers! "Aye, I still do." She had to find the right pocket but she was offering them to Tykir. "Hopefully they're bright enough." As Rory entered the water, the baby howler was suddenly by his side. It bumped him with its head then dived under the water.

Bannon nodded and followed along with Rina. The flower was gone which should be a good sign, unless where it went was too small. Likely the thought in everyone's mind. He offered Tyrkir a quick nod, almost smiling as how the current had been found and followed. Still had to see where it went before he smiled completely.

Charles nodded then watched as the baby disappeared but then it was beside Rory. "It's over... " And he stopped as the one that had been watching Ellyn popped up again, a little closer. "Two of them."

With the bumping, certainly was noticed, Rory followed the young creature hoping it was intelligent and knew where it was going. He could hold his breath for only so long and he dug out one of those glowing rocks so he could see.

She wasn't going to be left behind. Pretty much all of them had taken at last one of the glowing rocks. A side glance to Charles being he was standing there. "I'm not going to be left behind." Rory had already gone and she was on her way. A faltered step as a few of the young ones popped up but she continued, "show us how to get out of here if you understand." She started swimming out to where she saw Rory go under. Once there she would do the same.

"Time to swim everyone..." Rory was gone, Ellyn on her way and now she was getting into the water with a look given Bannon. "If you plan to guard me, you're going to get wet.." grinning as she dove in.

Wait! Crappit! They should have waited until Rory came back to tell them what he had found. He slanted a look to Molly. "Looks like we're going swimming with the long necks again." It seemed for every teen that entered the water, a younger beastie swam up alongside them, a guide of sorts, or a chaperone perhaps. Two more bobbed just shy of the shoreline, eyeing Tykir and Molly as they stood there. One lifted its head and barked out a squeak. That caused Tykir to flinch. Did it just fuss at them? When they still didn't move fast enough to satisfy it, it barked out again. Holy Reptile Reprimand! It was fussing. "Guess we better get going..." And with a smile to Molly, Tykir started into the water.

"Yes it does." She watched a minute then jumped when one squeaked. And the second time, it made her laugh. Still soaked from before, the water didn't feel as bad. The long neck with Rory was nudging him away from where the flower had disappeared and down just a touch lower. And there it was, a gaping hole that was big enough for the largest long neck to swim through. Each teen was guided in that direction. The wall wasn't thick and they could swim to the surface for air. On the shore, there were nests with one egg each but they weren't allowed to stop. One more short passage, and the young ones were rubbing against the teens before diving down, and going beneath the teens. They were about to get a ride through the next underwater passage.

"I'm not guarding." He protested but, yes, he was. He'd still feel terrible if something happened to Rina. To any of them. The eggs didn't interest him much but that ride. He put his arms around the critter's neck, took and deep breath and down they went, faster then they could swim!

"Guess they understand." Charles grinned at Ellyn and anyone else who was there before they were taking off again. Only this time, powered by long necks.!

He followed the young one as it seemed to be showing him how to get out. That ended up a correct assumption as the much larger hole was found then through. He surfaced with a greedy intake of air, noticing the nests but then there was an arm, call it that, around his waist and he was jerked back under. Taking in a lung full of air before he was literally dragged along at a speed he could not manage swimming on is own as he took hold of the creature. He would have hooted but he'd lose the air he knew he'd need. So he grinned with a few tiny bubbles floating free.

She wasn't sure exactly where the others were other than most of them were behind her. She could see Rory up ahead as her guide led her in the same direction. Easier to follow as she swam as fast a she could. She too needed air by the time they reached that first section that sported nests along the shore. Rory was there for a second before pulled under. She was about to say something when the same happened with her. She held on for the ride to follow with the creature.

Rory, Ellyn and Charles were in eye sight from a distance as she found one of the younger ones at her side too. It was becoming an underwater parade of a sort. Bannon was given one glance, more in to make sure he was coming along too as she noted another younger Yowler guiding him. They were being guided to the same place. She didn't see Rory nor Ellyn when she surfaced for air and next she was being dragged along at a speed of which reminded her of flying but this went underwater.

Tykir swam straight to his guide, hooking an arm around its neck. Not that it would understand but he actually said ... "Thanks." to it He only had the time to look back to Molly before he was submerged! He kept his wings tucked tight to aid in the hydrodynamics. He came up blinking, catching a glimpse of the eggs. "Hey look..nests!" But he couldn't even enjoy the sight of it. He had to suck in a breath because they were going under again.

Since Molly was bringing up the rear with her guide, she was able to see how they swam beside the others, even accepting touch. The nests got a quick look but with everyone gone, she figured it was best to take a deep breath and they were going under that quick. It was hard to tell what was going by before they cleared the cave wall and were surfacing. Hopefully everyone was holding on because each youngster jumped into the air as a surprise, or so it
seemed. The sun was nearly down, with some stars beginning to show though there were clouds moving in.

Bannon would have whooped too and he sure would have liked to seen those nests closer but it seemed the young ones were in a hurry. He barely had time to catch his breath when they were under the water again, and riding faster than a horse could go on land. When they surfaced, he exhaled and leaned against the long neck which actually twisted its head around to see him.

Charles didn't care if anyone believed them. Oh yeah, they weren't telling but that was fine. He was enjoying the ride and felt slightly disappointed when it ended. "Hey, we're close to where the horses are." Though they were up on a rise to keep them out of water, and trouble.

What a ride and it ended up air bound as luckily the creature held onto him tight. That was until they stated to drop and he was let go. End of ride. He "WOOOOOOOHOOOO," right there before he sunk back down then was up on his own. He tread water until spying shore and started to swim in that direction as the sun was setting and the first stars could be seen. What a day. He kept a glance back to see if the others were with him.. he had gotten glimpses of them.

About a minute after Rory started towards shore, she was the next to be lifted up out of the water and back down. In her case she continued to hang on as the one pulled her closer to shore, passing Rory out with a wave accompanied with a grin. Although it didn't last long as the creature had to be back and so she was abandoned to swim on her own.

In Rina's case, once in the air her wings spread out as the creature dropped back down and she headed for shore by that route. Far easier as her arms were tired from all the swimming. It gave her a chance to stretch them as well rid them of any water. Not that much could penetrate feathers but more what rested on top.

Like Rina, when the baby beastie took to the air, his wings spread. But he didn't let go, and the two of them had a darn good hang time. The creature blew out a warbled hoot of excitement, and just before they splashed down into the water together, the prince released his ride. Wings snapped closed and he swam in place while the thing dipped back down on its way back home. Best time ever! So far.

Molly hung on tight until they were back at the surface. For those that didn't escape too quickly, there was a little cuddle, a little croon, and then the babies were disappearing again. Molly waved then turned and headed for shore. When she got there, she sat and caught her breath. That had been amazing and she was ready to go on another adventure.

Bannon hadn't quite expected the jump and nearly fell off the beastie, but he managed to stay with it until they hit the water. He rubbed the top of the baby's head, watching it go before he was joining the others on shore.

Charles was just about last but after his farewell to his guide, he looked up at the cliff wall. There were some oddly shaped, dark rocks above the entrance of the cave that might allow them to find it another time. But he was getting tired and it was time to try to warm up before they headed back. He hurried to catch up to the others.

Once he reached shore, noticing Rina was there already. Slight wry grin her way before looking back out over the waters as the others made their way in. "Holy, look where we are!" Realizing they were actually miles away from where they had been as he rubbed his chin. He waited for them all to be there before offering up the suggestion. "Let's go to the Thistle, dry off, get a good meal and send some of the lads off to fetch the horses.

There were advantages to having wings as this proved to be one of them. She was finger combing through the feathers while giving Rory a smirk back. "That sounds good to me," taking up the suggestion as she realized where they were too. "Wow," she would have to think on that, how the short time got them here.

Ellyn was as soaked as the others as she made her way up from the water. "I hadn't planned on swimming in particular today, thought it would be dry caves." But that was how adventures went, expect the unexpected. "I'm famished and prefer some of Hazel's cooking over what we have packed. Sounds like a good idea to me too." Wringing out her hair as she glanced between the others.

Like a dog from the pond, Tykir didn't bother shaking the water from his body and wings until he was close to everyone. Share the love and the water! "I'm all for the Thistle..." Although he hadn't been hungry earlier, he sure as shootin'snailshells was hungry now!

This was a surprise and had Molly turning around and around as she looked. As soon as food and the Thistle was mentioned, she stopped trying to figure it out and nodded. She could use a good hot meal herself . She yelped and swatted Tykir on the arm though it was only because the water startled her. She couldn't get any wetter!

Bannon chuckled as they were all sprayed then he laughed. Food sounded very good to him right now, especially if it was Hazel's. He adjusted the pack he still carried, and started for the path. It wasn't a race, but if they walked fast enough, they might get warm.

Well, this would take some thinking about. Charles looked at the lake for a long moment then shrugged. He was glad they didn't have to ride after all that climbing and running around. "It's good we're not telling anyone. They wouldn't believe us anyway." And they could share it with one another which was just as good.


Date: 06-28-11
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 40

Pleasant Time After Disaster

It was the day after the hurricane had hit Heathfield and Henna was back at the orphanage after taking a short break to check on her family and change clothes. She was wearing a peasant style shirt and doeskin britches as well as heavy boots that came to her shins, a necessity with the damage to the west wing of the building as well as the front. The children had been moved into the east wing and were not allowed in the front part of the main building. The kitchen was still in good shape, and the back. They were outside, helping to clean up the backyard along with the caretaker and his wife, who was also cook, Mary Beth and Esther. There were workmen seeing to removing the tree. Peter and his knights had been helping earlier, retrieving some of the possessions of the children where no one else dared tread but they were needed at the castle to see to the area where the hospital patients had been settled. At the moment, the princess was sweeping up leaves and small branches from the foyer while workmen boarded up the windows. It was all quite depressing and she was afraid they might have to find another building.

One would never know the lands suffered the worse Hurricane in a long time by the way Trevor was impeccably attired. It would be cause to wonder if he was not. One would not know it was only hours before in a very long night, that a hurricane had ravaged its way through for the sun was shinning. The only indication was the still soaked grounds and numerous puddles that would quickly disappear in another such sunny day. Many of the children were set to sailing ships and splashing in them which kept them out of their parent's hair while they saw to damages. Older ones helping but the little ones were better off playing. Trevor had his duties to see to first and foremost being one of the King's men. The effort of the four helping to keep damage of the castle at minimal. He had worried on Henna and the orphanage even though word had come that although they suffered damage as many buildings had to some degree, she and the children were safe. Long strides carried him easily across the front lawn to the front of the building. Seeing the door was left open and a certain form within working, he offered up, "could you use another pair of hands m'lady?" Pausing just within the frame of the door.

She was humming a little to herself to try to keep the worried thoughts away and wasn't expecting anyone so she jumped when Trevor spoke in spite of all the noise around them. Laughing, she looked at him and inclined her head as graciously as she would had she been at the castle, taking her leisure instead of working. "Another pair of hands would certainly be appreciated, Sir Trevor. I have everyone else, including the children, cleaning up the yard. They were delighted to find Mrs. Cluck and Mrs. Henny had survived as well as the other animals but things are quite a mess. Did your home receive any damage?" She untied her hair from it's ponytail and tied it up again. Stopping to talk gave her the perfect opportunity.

He was over close as dark eyes surveyed her face, her eyes mostly as she spoke. A hand lifted to lend a healing touch more for her nerves than anything else for she was healthy. "I was lucky that the hurricane didn't lend the damage like it had here." His hand falling away from the touch as well a step back. Noting another broom leaning against the wall, he stepped away to retrieve it and help her with the sweeping. "I heard there was damage but that you and the children were safe along with those working for you. I wasn't told of the damage but there was a lot of damage throughout the lands."

"There was and I haven't heard if there was any loss of life. But it may be days before we even know how far the damage extended. The large tree added to the damage the roof suffered. We lost windows and well, water ruined the furniture. Our poor caretaker and his wife were buried under the ruins of their house but luckily they were unharmed and only trapped in the cellar. We may have to tear down the west wing but as you said, we're all safe." She had smiled with the touch of his hand upon her cheek, turning slightly pink.

"There was quite a few from the shipwreck.. and others, aye.. over the coming weeks all damage and loss of life will be accounted for." Hard to read dark eyes but she might pick up on the concern there. Perhaps by the more grim line of his mouth a moment. "Jon McAndrews and his crew have been contacted and more than willing to rebuild the west wing and part of the Hospital that suffered enough damage they moved the patients as a safeguard." He was working the pile of debris he had swept up outside the door while they talked.

"I heard there was a ship lost, but not if it was from Heathfield And nothing about the deaths, though, I supposed they couldn't have been avoided.." She shook her head, eyes moist with tears. "Those poor sailors. Did anyone check Ashford Island? My brother, Tykir, was out in it but he and Molly found shelter with an old hermit." Yes, she had heard that story almost as soon as she stepped into the castle. "How are the others of the four?"

"It is said it was Segan Quinn's ship and he cannot be found yet. There are those out looking for him." Which certainly didn't sound too promising that the man survived but there was always hope. Trevor was one that never wrote one off until proven. "If they don't find him soon, I will help set out on the task. I'm pleased your brother and his friend made it to safety." Once outside he surveyed the area and decided upon a good spot to make a burning pile that would not set anything else on fire. He set to the task to ensure the safety before starting to pile the debris in the circular area.

As wet as it still was, a fire shouldn't be a worry but a wayward spark could cause a problem. She uttered a silent prayer to the Creator before she set to the task of gathering things up. "I'm sure everyone was also relieved." She smiled as she joined him. "I think we're going to have to dispose of any bedding that survived. But at least their clothing and toys can be washed and dried out." Thinking she best helped keep the gloomy thoughts away too.

"I hear they are sending a work crew over tomorrow. There are many volunteers, so many that they need to find work for them. So be sure to direct them in what needs to be done. Should only take a few hours depending how many come. Perhaps you would like a break, take you to the Thistle or my place for dinner?" Dark eyes turned her way with just the touch of a smile to hint. Would she take him up on the offer? Two places offered, one public and one private.

"Dinner would be lovely." She needed a break though she made a face, wrinkling her nose. "But I've been working for a good part of the day and I should probably change. " She smiled again and looked thoughtful. With others coming to help, she could take a bit longer. "I don't want to put you to any trouble, Trevor, but I've never seen your home."

"It will be no trouble and it will be nice to have someone to dinner.." with a slight pause as it had been a very long time. "Trev would like to meet a princess." Which had him considering then asked, "what is one of your favorite meals?" He paused as he straightened from feeding the fire to move away as it was burning fairly hot when too close.

One of her favorites? She had to think about that too. "Oh, I like roast chicken, with the trimmings. Any kind of potatoes." She laughed again, as she shrugged. "I'm not picky certainly." And she wasn't sure when she ate last, she had been so upset.

"Whole roasted chicken with herbs and spices stuffed with bread crumbs that are also seasoned. Mashed potatoes with bits of bacon and a pool of chicken gravy. Green beans and sliced carrots on the side?" One of the lads came to take his rake and finish up putting all small twigs and branches into the fire to be burned as Trevor came to stand closer to Henna. He was pretty tall, although not as tall as some.

"Exactly that." She smiled at the lad and reminded him not to let the children close. "I haven't had that in a while." She had soup last, something filling and quick while the children were also fed. Of course she could have anything she wanted at the castle but it would be nice to be out for a while and not have to worry.


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