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Heathfield Commons

Date: 08-14-10
Poster: Bradley Harrington
Post # 21

Troublesome Encounter

Evening had not discouraged vendors from leaving the square just yet. It was one of those beautiful evenings that had many out and so many remained as sales kept them in business. There were the tinkers with all kinds of stuff to sell they had purchased from many a varied place. There were the ladies selling ribbons and pretty jewelry that looked like the real jewels of England or India, or France and so on. There were the vendors selling sweet cakes, cookies and other various foods that could substitute for a real meal on such a night. There were the fortune tellers sitting on the back of their vardo with a few curious customers wishing to see a glimpse of their future. There were acrobats and such showmen and women performing daring acts that gathered small crowds around them who then tossed coins into their hat or such container if they liked their show. In the midst of all this was the giant fountain with its spray of water down into the wide basin below, one big to have some of the children and even older ones splash around in it. Deep enough to splash around but not swim. Brad was making his way around vendors drawn to this or that to watch. He even parted with a few coins when some of the acts actually impressed him. He had a small bag with warm sweet cakes and a few cookies inside that he munched on as he wandered.

Oisin had decided to venture out alone today, without the doting of Fiona or her brothers. Some time to herself was quite welcome, giving her means to shop as she pleased and wander as she wanted. She enjoyed the markets and the commons for more than just her shopping experience, but the people she also got to see and meet along the way. She really enjoyed the more exotic things from India and such foreign places for their uniqueness to what she was more familiar with. Her attire was simple, all things considered. A fair yellow dress with an empire waist shown with a broad white ribbon that bowed on her back and matching hat that shaded her eyes, dark curls worn in a ribbon beneath and gloves of course. She was at the stall of a man and woman of Indian descent showing wares of materials from their home decorated with beads and shimmering sequins, along with a few garments such as scarves. The woman was showing the scarves, a vibrant though dark blue one edged in gold embroidery and matching beaded designs. Oisin removed her hat so the woman could show her the proper way to wear it, the man watching on with an approving nod.

It wasn't hard to notice the one in yellow as that color seemed to stand out from the more drab colors worn by those around her. Immediately recognizing the lass as the very cousin he had come to see in bringing the news of her adoptive parents. He hesitated, but they were cousins even if not blood ones. So he headed that way while she was distracted, paying for a small bunch of yellow posies on his way which the forefinger of his left hand lifted to press against his lips so that the couple waiting on her didn't give him away. Oisin would see the lowering of the flowers in front of her held by a male arm.

Oisin was having fun with the scarves. The man held up various jewelry common to their culture, explaining how they went with other bits of accessories. She wasn't keen on the jewelry simply because that was a bit lavish for her, but she did love the scarves. She was speaking to the man while the woman adjusted the scarf over her head and around her shoulders when the small bouquet of flowers appeared in front of her. Brow quirked, she couldn't imagine who would be presenting her with flowers except maybe one of her brothers, so turned around to greet whomever with a smile. Only she found Brad standing there. "Mr. Harrington." She greeted him. It wasn't a cold tone, but neither was it warm.

"Bradley, being we are cousins," still holding the clutch of yellow posies out to her. He noticed the disappointment but he was going to give it this one try. If he failed, she'd not see much of him from this evening onward. As much as he could help avoiding her and brushing off the way she and Fiona were towards him. Otherwise he might develop a complex, something he would avoid at all costs. "If you'd rather I leave, I shall immediately out of your presence and shall keep from it." It wasn't like he had done something to her or really, had he even treated her ill? He could not recall doing such. Perhaps Miss Fiona just filled her head with lies? He could wonder on the over protective mother hen.

At this point, she preferred to keep the formalities despite being cousins by law. Had he done anything? His arrogance she found rather stifling and his lack of manners at times she couldn't find herself able to disregard. The flowers held to her along with his words, she frowned slightly. That wasn't fair! Such a guilt trip. The scarf removed from her head, she offered it back to the vendor's wife with a small, awkward smile then reached for the flowers as she returned attention to Bradley. "No, you don't have to leave. What is the occasion for such a gift?" Curiously asked as the flowers were brought close to her nose for a deep inhale of their scent.

"They are for whatever I did wrong that I am unaware of." Which was right to the point and honest. Somehow he set her off and he didn't have an inkling as to why or how. The flowers smelled good no matter who was giving them to her. "I think the scarf looks good on you and in six weeks time you'll be glad you have it. The lands has four seasons of which the winter gets very cold."

There were very few vendors in the lands that Mat didn't know. He had been conversing with the couple selling scarfs earlier and what not before the young lady had come to buy. He noticed her with them on his way back with some food purchased to serve as his meal. He stalled a short distance away under a tree to take his lean there and watch. Bronze for the long summer and shirtless. Bands on his arms and long black hair braided that fell down along his chest. Leggings on with fringe up the sides and moccasins on his feet. He was eating around a shortcake as dark eyes watched the man approached the woman. He found their ways curious in the least. Strange even.

He really didn't know what he did she found offensive, did he? She'd have to ask Fiona if all men were so clueless to their own mishaps. She looked at him from over the arch of petals then lowered the flowers to hold at her side. "Unaware of? You seemed to have a sparkle of pride in your eyes when you found myself or Madam offended." He'd seemed highly amused that he'd accomplished that much.

"You hold against me what you considered you read in my eyes?" Well, that took it all as it meant they read whatever the hell they wanted to. "I would say you are easily offended if you go looking for such by the light ones' eyes may or even may not pick up." Assumptions, all based on assumptions. "You will not need to worry about seeing my eyes at all," the muscle along his jaw clenched with each word, "good day Miss Quinn." Not even using her adoptive surname that he had shared. Giving a slight bow he started away.

Mat watched. First the expression on the woman's face then the man's. It was obvious the woman didn't like the man at all. Another bite of his cake was taken wondering how they set each other off like that. He had nothing to compare it with. He caught the eye of the couple who seemed to have stepped back once the scarf was returned, not intruding on the two. He caught the man's eyes with a nod. Shifting up he made his way over, giving the man and woman having words a good berth. He had the bag with rabbit pies for them as it was something they had not the treat of in a very long time.

Brow quirked without further expression. "No, Mr. Harrington. I hold against you the crude words you spoke. The light in your eyes only confirmed that there was some sense of amusement found in your own words, mine or Madam's reactions. Eyes are the window to the soul." She fell silent as he made his claim that she'd not see his eyes again and called her by her birth name rather than her adopted name, then turned to leave. A tilt of her head, curious expression. "If I am wrong, then set me right." A challenging tone. He claimed that she was wrong in her guess of that light in his eyes, this was his chance to prove otherwise. The native man was caught from the corner of her eye, she couldn't help but watch him for a moment as he approached the vendor and his wife, then looked back to Bradley to see if he would accept the challenge or simply ignore it.

In his eyes, he had not purposely stepped on her sensibilities but managed it no matter which way he turned and even trying to make amends. It was not to be and he would only turn the other cheek once. Only offer the sprig of truce once as it was not accepted but rather she wished to badger him with all his wrong doings. He half turned with her challenging remark. "I have done nothing to harm you but if you are so sensitive that my being around you harms your sensibilities then there is no choice but to avoid you." No one was ever completely right as much as no one was completely wrong in such matters. "It is painfully obvious you will see things your way as I will see them mine and never the twain shall meet. I have tried."

The man gave Mat two scarves, ones of a very pretty pattern that they had chosen specially in their mind as being their best. One in particular was to go to the maker of the rabbit pies and the other to the one other female in their tribe. Mat kept and ear out though his focus was on the reward he would get to present to Kuwan for her rabbit pies. The woman glanced but it would be hard to read his stoic expressions he had mastered around white men and their women.

It wasn't that she was trying badger him with his wrong doings. She was attempting to explain what she'd found offensive since he seemed to not understand. And had tried to give him a chance to explain to her, but apparently, that wasn't going to happen. With a soft sigh of defeat, she looked down at the flowers. "Have your way then, Mr. Harrington." She certainly hadn't refused his peace offering. Not that she knew or was aware of. Turning to the vendor's wife, the flowers were handed to her with a small smile and Oisin made her way from the stand and wares with intentions of a long way around walk back to the manor.

"If I was to have my way, then what was between us we would step away from and on a new foot. Leaving it all go, blame here or there to letting it pass on equal grounds." So he gave it one more attempt as she gave the flowers away that he had given her as that peace offering. She talked about things he did, but that very action was a slap in the face.

The woman wasn't sure what to do with the flowers, holding them like they were crawling with spiders. Mat almost said something but knew it would be best not to as he folded up the scarves to place in a leather flat pouch hanging from his belt.
She stopped, listening to Bradley with her back to him. Only when he finished did she turn around to face him. "Bradley, did you stop to consider that perhaps my mentioning why I was offended was part of me attempting to move past the problem? That speaking of it might help to avoid it in future? Though it seems this is unacceptable. So while you apologize for offending my fragile sensibilities, then I apologize for offending your masculine mindset." With nothing left to say, she turned once more to take her leave.

"No, it seemed to me you wanted to drag up what has offended you by me and seems that includes me breathing. That you are right and I am wrong and that is the only way you would consider putting things behind you. I don't feel I am wrong and it would be worse to cater to that notion for it would be a very bad start anew. I think I can avoid stepping on your sensibilities if you can bear with my mindset." So maybe that was a tiny step forward? There was one thing about Brad that maybe she could appreciate, he was honest.

His honesty was one thing she could appreciate. Once more she stopped to look at him. "I never made any such statement that I was right and that you were wrong. I simply stated what had offended me. Perhaps though, your way is best. Good afternoon, Mr. Harrington. Do let me know when my parents have arrived." She wouldn't drudge any further on the topic the seemed to steam them both.

Well, if Oisin thought Brad didn't have manners, she would be appalled by the natives in their natural habitat. First of all she would be silenced and dragged into a wigwam to be taught. Luckily Mat and the others with him had learned some of what was expected here. Lucky too he didn't treat women less than the livestock they owned. One of his habits had him staring first at the man then the woman as she wandered away. Silent stare without any thoughts melting into the stoic expression he wore.

By her response that tiny step he thought he had made with the last statement was either ignored or just trampled on. Her statements leaving him lost completely. Once again. Except for the last, the dismissal in curt words, "I will be sure to send you a note." Obviously she had chosen he be not around her if at all humanly possible. It was then he caught sight of the native man that had joined the couple. For a split second he wondered how he viewed all that had transpired. A slight nod to the three before he was around and lost in the crowd of people still mulling about.

Mat returned the slight bow of his head. Perhaps there was a universal language before he was bidding the older couple a good night and headed in the direction of the tavern.

Date: 09-26-10
Poster: Bradley Harrington
Post # 22

Making Friends

It was a night to wander as Brad set out to shake off the earlier encounter. Maybe it shouldn't bother him but it did for the one was his cousin by adoption and the sister of ones he made friends with. He would be sticking his head in the sand if he thought he could avoid her totally. Their paths were going to cross while both resided in these lands. He refused to leave just because she couldn't stand the sight of him. He'd have a complex if it wasn't only her but luckily it was only her. Although Fifi was somewhat, he figured more because of her protectiveness of Fawn. Mother hen syndrome. If he could at least get it to where it was a cordial acceptance, he'd be satisfied. To have her running off like a spoilt child every time he was around, was getting annoying and annoying for anyone else there at the time. It was not like he was a child molester as she was still somewhat a child in ways or that he would cause her any harm, he had no desire to. Maggie had gone off to deal with matters he was told so he put off decorating his house in the more detailed. Basic furnishings were brought in that Maggie had started to get before she left. He would have to make due as he'd been out this night looking to see what would do. There was one named Angel that could help him. He only had a day or so to finish the preparations at Eldinwood Manor. The marketplace had not totally close and there were many out and about. On a whim he headed down to see if the Valdez family was performing outside. It was late and threatened of rain.

There was a chill in the air, but that didn't stop the Valdez family from performing, although it would in time. They had just finished up a bit of comedy, mixed in with singing and dance. Brigidia was still dressed in a flamboyant gown of magenta, with a black lace shawl. She was wearing the heavier theatrical makeup and her hair was up in a bun, held in place with a Spanish comb of jet. As the crowd dispersed, she was speaking to a few of the youngsters who had been watching, explaining a bit about the songs she had sung. Even without the makeup, there was an exotic look about her though she would insist it was nothing more than the magic of the theater.

Well, the magic of the theater caught his attention and one exotic dancer he was becoming friends with. He stood out in the crowd for the usual finery he owned, actually he owned little other so had to wear what he had. He left the jacket off but vest was worn over a slightly ruffle dress shirt, dark pants with a pinstripe along with dress boots. The top had on his head sat a little off to the side and back. The hat, he just happened to like wearing even if it made him dressier looking. Steps had come to a stop and he was smiling watching her talk to the youngsters. Close enough he could hear some of the conversation but he didn't wish to  interrupt them either.

"Si, one should have training to be able to reach the notes and not do harm to one's voice." She made a motion toward herself. "I have trained since I was a little girl." Satisfied for now, the children ran off when their parents called. She watched them a moment, then turned to see Brad. Her smile grew wide as she approached. "Good evening, Bradley. It is a chilly night, but quite lovely, si?"

"Good evening Brigidia," moving closer as he spoke his greeting while the children ran off with their parents. "I'm sorry I missed the show but I'll have to be more aware of the time so I don't next time." Then to answer her question with a glance up to the sky, clouds skittered but were collecting more with only a few stars visible through the openings of the masses. Even the moon was hard put to shine her light this night. "Aye, it is chilly but a grand night. It may rain sometime before morning." He could breathe in the telltale moisture held in the air.

"We will likely only do a few more outside." She watched as her brothers finished collecting the donations and props and then smiled at him again. "Rain is a good thing. The cold, now that I am no so sure of." Eyes held a sparkle that didn't come from the light of torches nearby. "How have you been? Getting settled in?"

"Except maybe Christmas. Have you considered doing the Christmas Carol outside?" Which he could see it being done along with carolers walking around the square singing on Christmas eve. Shaking the picture imagery from his head as he responded to her question. "I've been well. Settled in the manor which is given the name of Eldinwood. My aunt and uncle, John and Martha, will be arriving tomorrow evening. Place is sparse and I'm running out of time to furnish it up enough to have my aunt comfortable. I know my uncle would not care what decor there was as long as he had a comfortable chair to occupy at night while he read, smoked and had his glass of sherry."

"That is a thought I will mention to my family." She smiled at the mention of a manor. "Then you are staying?" She tipped her head , her expression thoughtful. "You should go to the MacGrath Furniture store. Sean makes lovely furniture and they have uh... displays set up to show how a room would look. He hired a young woman to do so." She had to laugh as she stumbled over words. "I am still learning the English for everything."

"Yes," wondering how many liked that idea compared to how many didn't like that idea of him staying. He knew at least one or two that didn't. "I have the place mostly furnished," by a man's standards, "it is more the smaller things that a woman is best at seeing to kind of details. Would I be able to hire this lass for the day to decorate the house with whatever she saw fit?" Which the last had him halt, "you seem to speak very good English to me." He wasn't sure what she was apologizing for.

"Really? Then displays is right?" She was tickled that she had been correct. "Si, she is for hire. They get artisans to make things and put them with the furniture. Pillows and vases, and you must have a clock from Traugott's. They are very beautiful and I think they would please your aunt." She motioned toward the Thistle. "Shall we go and have something to drink before the night is over? I am a little chilled."

"Yes, that sounds perfect. I will seek her out tomorrow, very early and see what miracle she can do for me. I would like to have a drink." Although mentioning the Thistle first had that pause from what transpired earlier this day. Once again he shook it off as he offered the bend of his arm. "Shall we then," it would be extremely rare Fawn would be out this late for her age. He had to get himself away from even thinking along these lines.



Date: 10-05-10
Poster: Bradley Harrington
Post # 23

MacGrath Furniture: To Fill a Manor

Sean was in the back room working on a finely crafted oaken bed. A large size being there were many in these lands that were taller than the norm. So a bed where their feet didn't hang over the bottom was a good thing. He was carving a bas relief scene in the headboard, something his furniture was noted for, the artistic aside the finest craftsmanship. He enjoyed his work as anyone who came to the place could see in everything he made.

Angel was out in the showroom, working on the display of another of Sean's beds. She had added a quilt and pillows, a dresser that she thought went well with it as well as a vanity. There were likely other pieces she'd add but she started with the basics first. Not only did she enjoy making a room look right, but it was fun. She added a teddy bear for a touch of whimsy and some bottles to show how the vanity would look, then stepped back to decide on other accessories. It also made her feel good that they could help other craft people in the land.

Brad wandered the streets as he wasn't quite certain where the furniture store was. It still didn't take long as he memorized a number of different shops that would be good to locate. Ones his uncle would enjoy seeing as well ones his aunt would once she settled in. Their ship had been detained so it would not arrived until tomorrow evening. Which gave him that slight edge now to get the manor decorated instead of more a bachelor pad. Which he preferred and wasn't quite sure how it would go having his uncle and aunt live with him. Luckily he was of a sort to grin and bear with it sort. The bell over the door chimed as he stepped through into the furniture store. He looked the epitome of an English gentleman by his attire. From the muted stripe vest over the ruffle shirt, black tailored pants, finely tooled boots, to the top hat he liked to wear. He stood there just within the entryway as he took in the sight of various rooms made up as far as the eye could see. He was impressed already but had the smarts to take a few more steps in so he didn't get hit by the door if someone else had the same intention he had this day.

There was a bell that ran merrily as Brad entered. Angel heard it and stepped around the movable wall that they used to mark off different areas. She was dressed in a pretty blouse and skirt, the blouse embroidered and having three quarter length sleeves, the skirt of dark blue suede, and a matching vest. She also wore a locket with the letter A embossed on it. "Good afternoon and welcome. What can I do for you?" If the gentleman wanted to see Sean, she'd go fetch him.

Blue eyes dipped in traveling over the fetching lass that came around a corner into his view. Smile was quick as eyes lifted to meet and stay upon hers. "I'm looking for an Angel to perform a small miracle for me." Play upon her name but certainly the ideal fitted.

His comment had her laughing, eyes sparkling as she did. "Well, I'm not sure I can perform a miracle but I am named Angel. Perhaps I can help?"

"I am Bradley Harrington, newly arrived of these lands." Giving a slight bow with the introduction before straightened again. "In the few weeks I've been here, I've decided to stay." Not getting into other reasons that made it prudent that he find a place to stay, or more, hide out for a time. These were good lands. "I've recently acquired a manor that is in need of a woman's touch. Being I am not married and without means of such a woman presently. Maggie from the Thistle got a few things for me and sent over before she left." It was possible she got some of the furnishings from here. "My aunt and uncle are coming and wherein it is no problem to live in a barren house for my uncle, my aunt would be in one of her tizzies." Only way to describe how his aunt fretted, needing her smelling salts and possibly become bed ridden for her stress. "So, I need a bedroom done up for such a lady. Sitting room, dining room, there in the least would have her in one of her happy moods." The Kitchen she rarely went into for that was where the cook and staff worked out of. He stood there trying to think of any other rooms that might need a small quick miracle. "They arrive tomorrow evening, can such be seen to on short notice?"

"I'm sure we can do something to keep her and you happy." She was going over what was set up, then smiled. "Let's start the bedroom." She paused a moment, then asked outright. "Do they share the bedroom?" She knew some couples did not but if they did, she'd need to make sure the room wasn't too feminine for his uncle.

That took him a moment to figure out and remember anything on such details. "No, I believe not as there was some talk about how John snores and about how my aunt wheezes. I believe they sleep in adjacent rooms, however. I will need two beds, one for a lady and then one for a man that is big and sturdy over delicate." Although he believed the craftsmanship here, would have dainty and sturdy too. He waited for her to lead the way.

She lowered her eyes as she giggled then nodded. "Let me show you a ladies' room first then." She motioned toward one of the areas. Sean had crafted a bed that was quite feminine out of oak. It had a headboard that was carved with an open work design that showed flowers as well as several birds. A dressing table, chest and drawers were made to match. Angel had added a frilly quilt in shades of lavender, with thick pillows. Sheets too, of course. There was a vase of flowers and a doily on the top of the drawers and bottled on the dressing table. She had also added pictures to the walls. "Of course, she'd add her own possessions. The quilt and sheets come from the linen shop here. The pictures are done by different artists." And they'd get the money less a small commission. "There's also a bedroom suite that's less carved."

Her giggling had him smiling as he followed her, checking out other rooms in glimpses as they passed. "Aye, my uncle would sleep on the floor and not mind it too badly until morning when he'd need help getting up off of it." Which was said humorously. "Can I have the whole ensemble as you have it set up here, all the trimmings?" Which included a mirror he made note of. Women like mirrors in their room. "One of the paintings to hang over the bed. Unless you are willing to sell them all?" Which as he moved about the set, not something he'd want to sleep in but felt a lady would very easily, "can it be sent to the manor today?" He had hired a butler, a cook, a chambermaid and a handyman who were there already. The handyman being the only one that stayed in the manor. The others came early morning and left in the evening when done with their duties.

"We've an agreement with the artists, as well as with Marcy McGuire and the Traugott clock shop to sell their items. I believe they can be delivered today, though let me check with Sean. You might want to check on that suite over there for your uncle while I get him. Dining rooms are that way and a sitting room set up is just beyond." She excused herself to fetch Sean.

"Of course," hoping they could deliver this day but he had some time tomorrow before his aunt and uncle showed. Giving a slight bow that came with a smile before he headed for the suite to check it out. Being there were a few and a dining room needed, he would make his choices so that the purchase would go quicker. Luckily he had won some monies along with what he had of his own inheritance. which was quite a bit.

Sean finished up the special commissioned piece about the same time that Angel arrived in the back. He was putting away his woodworking tools and swiping the bits of wood off his work apron. Silver blue eyes lifted as she entered. "I don't believe I know the man that buying so much out there." He had heard enough and had glanced out one of the moments he had gone to get a new cloth to rub down the wood with.

"He's newly arrived here. Bradley Harrington. And he wants to know if things can be delivered quickly. I figured you would have to answer that, and you'd want to come meet him." She gave him a dimpled smile as she spoke. "It's possible he'll be needing more."

He glanced out the series of windows behind he workbench and table. Both wagons were back as they had two deliveries this morning. Which they also brought the items in and setup included in the fee. "Aye," turning back as he took off the work bib to lay over the bench. "I've got both wagons so two full rooms can fit them and anything else can be delivered early tomorrow morning." Moving to where she stood then onward into the main showroom with Angel at his side. He was right over to where Bradley was going over the dining room. A hand extended once close enough, "good evening Mister Harrington, I'm Sean MacGrath."

He heard them before sight was switched from the perusal of the dining room set. The hand met with a good grip in a handshake and then released. "Good to meet you Sean, call me Brad. I've heard a lot of good things about your place and the finely crafted furniture. Nothing is too good for those of my family. I'll be taking that dainty canopy lady's bedroom set and this dining room. I would also like the more masculine bedroom set over there, with all extras as Angel has set up. I'm pretty much having to furnish a manor, at least a few of the rooms, in haste for my Uncle and Aunt's arrival. Eventually I'll get a better bedroom set for myself." What he had would do for now. "Would you be able to deliver them today or early tomorrow at the latest?" Looking between the two.

"Let me get my receipt book and I'll figure it out for you." She knew the money would be appreciated. "You should take a look at the cuckoo clocks we have. They're beautiful." She headed over to the little office they had. When she returned, everything was figured out and she handed him his copy.

"Aye, we'll deliver the lady's bedroom suit as well the man's and whatever else we can fit on the wagons and what cannot be, will be delivered tomorrow." Leaving Angel to show the man the prices as that was part of her job. The setting up of rooms done in between the book work, receipts and figures.

"I like the one over there that they are cutting wood." Indicating the Traugott cuckoo clock. "That will go great over the mantle as I hesitate to put any in their rooms as she likes to wake when she wakes." In short, without the help of chambermaids or clocks. Which had him chuckle for the way it sounded too. Taking the copy as he knew it was going to be expensive but not quite as bad as he expected. They didn't rip him off so to speak for needing it so quickly as some would have taken advantage of him in England. Especially since his family was wealthy even if John was the poor brother, Bradley senior happened to care for his brother and his wife. Hence the reason he was even involved in all of this and the troublesome Fawn for his efforts. He had brought a pouch with coins as he took out what was requested and added a good size tip for the quick delivery of everything. "The manor should look lived in enough that Aunt Martha should not fall to one of her fits that might last days, even weeks."

"It will and it'll be set up exactly as it's done here. You can even go to the book store if you'd like so there are a few books around." She smiled at him, then gave him another smaller bill for the clock. "Do you have the wood you need? There are lads that are for hire and usually stand under one of the porches to wait. They can see that you have enough wood laid in for the winter." She'd be delivering the money herself to the various shops and artisan tomorrow morn.

"That is an excellent idea. I shall go there right now and get some books. I'll need a bookcase, small one to start." There was so much to do in two days to fill a house like it was lived in! "I'll see to my supper at the Thistle and hire the lads to bring over some wood, enough for a couple weeks should the weather get colder then see to a couple cords for over the winter. Thank you both, you have been so helpful."

"You're welcome, Angel is very good at what she does here. I'm very lucky to have her." Which his words were true as a smile lit his features turned her way for a moment then back to Bradley. "There are items you may be able to use from the Thistle while you are there. Have Alex show you the room with the extras in it. Not to cut my own throat but one need not have to buy everything new unless they want it that way."

"You're very welcome, Mr. Harrington, and welcome to Heathfield." She was sure his aunt would like her bedroom. Sean's words had her smiling warmly, her cheeks turning pink with pleasure over the compliment. "You might even find a small bookcase there, but if not, just have one of the lads tell us and we'll send it out with the rest of the things tomorrow." This was why she loved working for Sean -- he never failed to acknowledge when she did well.

"Thank you, and please call me Brad. I hope to be making friends in the lands." Which came with a smile. "I will do that on the bookcase then. Have a good evening," which he was taking his leave if he wanted to get to the book store before it closed. Giving a wave then out the door.

"A good night to you Brad," giving a wave as the man disappeared out the door. The sale would have them all a nice sum into the spring to not have to worry on sales for a while. As in anything else would be a plus. "Nice fellow. I hope he gets along and stays. Seems he is establishing roots."

"Good night, Brad." She turned to Sean and nodded, "Aye, he is and I hope he does too. Though he may have his hands full with his aunt." And she told him what Brad said.

"I'm going to be very busy to make up the room displays that will be barren until I do." Although he had quite a few pieces stored in the back if something out on the floor was not quite what a customer was looking for. It was getting late. The story she retold had him laughing. "I guess it comes down to that later on in life for some. I hope to continue sleeping with the one I love, snoring or not, we can do a symphony, until the end of our days."

"Sometimes I think it's the English way to be honest." She grinned then nodded. "I hope so too. And we'll manage." She knew people came back because Sean was so good at what he did. And now that the lads were coming in, it was time for everything to be explained. So work would continue until after dark.

"Tell you what, while you see to them here, I'll go to Sibios and get us some take out." Which he knew they had too and that Angel loved Sibios' food so it was kind of a reward for her and for the sale they got. All she had to was direct the lads, they did the rest.

"Perfect!" She hugged him before she was over to give the lads directions, including where to go. By the time Sean returned, they'd be gone.



Date: 10-09-10
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 24

Toy Shop: The New Toy Maker

It was a pleasant autumn afternoon. The sun finally warming the day to where even a sweater was no longer needed. Wise to keep such handy, however, for in a few hours it could drop down to a frosty evening and night again. The air was brisk, the ground with the scatter of colorful leaves and the trees fully turned, yellow, orange, reds, with some still green that turned later than the others as well the dark green of the pines to offset. Ian had a note sent to one Evan Hunt at their manor at Willow Lake. It was said he was interested in becoming the new toy maker, a position much needed or some would say and certainly the children would say. Amos Higgins had been loved by all, old and young alike and so his shoes would be hard to fill but not impossible. The duty came to him as the McDonoughs were getting ready for winter and in the midst of branding their cattle. He had some spare time so had been contacted and willingly took up the task. The fountain was a center point of the Commons and so it was here that he would wait for Evan. He had a general description of the man so that he could pick him out. Ian wore a cable knit sweater of tan over a while shirt. Brown pants and well made boots. He was in a half lean, half sitting position against the wall of the fountain, arms crossed over his chest as he watched a comedy being played out by the Valdez family outside across the street where the Theater was located.

Evan loved this time of year anywhere, and found that Heathfield did not disappoint. The trees were a riot of warm colors, loose leaves dancing through the air to relieve the chilliness it already held. Evan relished the cooler temperatures though and didn't even wear a sweater. He wore black trousers and a dark green button-up shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbows. Hands were idly in his pockets as his booted feet carried him with some purpose towards the center of town. Having received the note from someone named Ian, Evan was excited at the prospect of getting his new career started. It would be good to have a steady job, something to throw himself into. And a way to provide for any wife or family he might hope to have in the future. The thought had a smile absently upon his lips, though he came to alertness when seeing a man sitting in waiting position at the fountain. He approached with a look of curiosity. "Are you Ian?"

He let out a bellowing laugh at the antics of the performers and almost missed Evan speaking up as he'd gotten entranced in watching the scene. Smile still lit his face, one younger than his years but that had something to do with his bloodline. There was just the hint of silver at his temples that attested he was older than twenties. He was up from his lean immediately as he offered a hand to shake. "Indeed I am and you must be Evan that wishes to be our new toy maker. One that will be adored by all the children of these lands and sister lands, a Saint Nicolas in a way for Old Amos Higgans even looked the part when he aged. He is dearly missed by all who knew him. A great legacy. I am told that all toys in the place are still there, left as an inventory for the next toy maker to start with and how Amos had wanted it." Finished speaking by this time the handshake would have ended.

It wasn't easy to remain inside the book store when the day was so beautiful. Business was slow so she sat outside, greeting those who passed and listening to the laughter from the performance. She decided to close early in order to wander over and see what the play was. Being it was warmer than usual, she wore a simple gown of brown cotton, sprinkled with tiny embroidered leaves of orange. Her long hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck with a brown satin bow and she wore a light shawl over her shoulders. When she neared the crowd, she spotted her father and wandered in that direction.

Riley was a devil and Risa knew this very well for as she wandered through the crowd, he was behind her in the next moment sliding his hands over her eyes. "Guess who," in a deep dark toned voice that justly didn't sound like him. He was in having brought a cargo up from Ballicastle and had time while waiting the return cargo to be loaded on his ship. A week's time and so there was one he sought out to taunt as usual.

Evan blinked at the rather effusive greeting by the older gentleman, but it had him grinning. He returned the handshake strongly until released. "Evan Hunt. Aye, I never thought of myself as the Saint Nicolas sort, but I've always liked carving little knickknacks and such. I know old Amos will be hard to replace but I'd like to try to live up to his legacy." There was something familiar about the man, something in the way he smiled, but Evan never remembered meeting him before. Maybe he'd seen him around town somewhere, the tavern or markets. "Were you friends with Amos, then?" Evan was curious who exactly this Ian was, to take the role of being the one to show him around the shop.

Perhaps something in the blue of his eyes. That bright sort of kind many an Irishman and lass possessed. "Hunt, now that is a good strong surname, almost as strong as McCormick," giving one of those quick friendly type winks that was also a trait of the Irish too. He had a lot of such mannerisms and humor. "Now, there," pointing up to the left of the theater where a street could be seen that angled off. "There on Walnut street down a few stores is the Toy shop. Aye, I knew Amos a long time." But he halted as his daughter appeared and the McAndrews lad. "Ah, here is my daughter Carisa and her friend Riley." Being there was nothing official and hard to tell if there was something more or not. Only that Carisa and Riley had been friends a very long time.

She let out a squeak of surprise as her eyes were covered, stopping dead right there. She knew her da was close so she wasn't worried. "Hmmmm, is it Douglas? Or maybe Kieran? Or ... " She laughed softly as she caught a name. "Or maybe the devilishly handsome Riley, in from the sea?" Yes, they had known one another a long time but she had come to think of him as more than a brother.

Especially when they kissed! Devil take him and probably did. "Douglas? Which Douglas? Kieran? I'll have to meet him on the field with a sword!" Oops, that's when he noticed Ian speaking with another and next being introduced as her friend. His words didn't sound like 'friend' until he caught himself and didn't twirl her around and dip her one right there in the middle of the square like he had intended! "Hey, nice to meet you," although he had not caught a name. Of course his hands were down from Risa's eyes long before this and at his side, proper like. He was attired in a loose fitting sailor's shirt, baggy black pants and boots that laced up mid calf.

Evan was smiling at the comment of his surname but he froze when the man mentioned his own. McCormick?! This couldn't be.... Mariah's father? Now he was staring at the man, the familiar features suddenly jumping out at him. He could hope maybe Ian wasn't her father, maybe just an uncle or somehow otherwise related... but it was confirmed when the man introduced his 'daughter, Carisa'. Mariah had mentioned her sister by that name once or twice. And now the young man was looking somewhat flustered. Had Mariah mentioned him to her family yet? If so what had she said? His mind was racing so that his greeting to the other two was belated. "Uh, Evan. Evan Hunt." He tipped his head towards Carisa and offered his hand to Riley to shake. "Pleasure to meet you both."

She was doing her best not to giggle as she smiled brightly at Riley then her father. That same mischief that Ian sometimes had in his eyes was in his daughter's dark ones. "Hello, Da." She was over to kiss his cheek and hug him smiling at Evan as well. "It's a pleasure, Evan." And the smile became wider. She knew that name!

He caught the hesitancy in their greetings and realized why, "Aye, this is Evan Hunt, to be our new toy maker. We may need to frighten him with a few ghosts believed to linger in the shop." Taking his daughter into a hug with a grin Riley's way. Lad was trouble but of a good kind and what father could not want better for his daughter for he was not only a prince but a good person. Ian knew him since he was born. "You two are welcome to join us in checking out the toy shop."

He stepped aside as Risa was getting a hug with her father and shook Evan's hand. Good strong grip of the McAndrews and he was over six foot five inches tall at this point. "Good to meet you Evan." Dimples emerging with the widening smile as he stepped back. "Master McCormick," respectfully greeting Risa's father. Although he could call him Ian, he felt presently it did better titled as such.

Evan chuckled a bit at Ian's comment about ghosts but his thoughts were still swirling. Should he mention Mariah, perhaps just that he was friends with her? Though that would be a lie... and could be disproven if her family knew something more. Nothing about Ian's greeting had suggested he knew anything, but something about Carisa's smile... gave Evan the feeling that she knew too much! He gave her a slightly sheepish grin, wondering.  Should be say something? Or perhaps.. this would be the opportunity he'd been waiting for, to make it official with Mariah. He was still debating within himself as they turned to walk to the currently-abandoned toy shop.

"Oh, I'd love to have a look." And since she had closed the book shop for the day, she intended to spend time with Captain McAndrews. She linked her arm through his as they started for the shop. She knew the name but she wasn't going to say anything in case Mariah was waiting to tell Ian. Though she was sure Ian wouldn't be upset, she still didn't feel it was her place. "How long are you going to be in port?" She kept her voice low as she talked to Riley.

Ian appreciated Riley's gesture but reminded him in present company, "call me Ian." Swift grin before he started them off down the street towards the shop. It would take them about ten minutes to get there for the crowds mostly, having to work their way around groups and wagons set up in the square of various wares. Ian was not really kidding about the ghosts although he had not seen any personally when in the shop. Others had and Amos use to speak on them. They were friendly ones or so Amos had them like family in a way. He said they helped inspire him to make various toys that then became popular. Some had Elves helping them so Amos was different in that. "How long have you been making toys?" Offered up to get conversation going again and a feel for this new man in town as the main Quinn family was still.. new in town too although they had been here almost two years, the cousins a half year? Something like that. Gaining the steps as he spoke and crossing over to unlock the door. A slight shove had it swinging open and the bell over the door to chime that had been silent a good year now.

He lagged behind as they started off for the toyshop. Of course he was going to as that was where Risa wanted to go. Linking his arm with hers as they moved, words kept low between them as he kept an eye on the two ahead of them. "I'm in for the week as we wait on some cargo. I brought our load in early being it was ready, so I could spend some time with you if that is agreeable. If not, then I'll just have to plague and haunt you until you give in." Grin flashing with the last that came with the usual amount of dimples. A trait of his clan.

Evan stuck his hands in his pockets again as they walked, he and Ian in front, Carisa and Riley strolling more slowly behind. Still caught up in his own thoughts, hazels moved back to Ian at the question. "Oh, uh, well.." Following the gentleman up the stairs and through the door. "I've never made 'em professionally but I've been making little trinkets like that since I was a kid myself, puzzle boxes and such. I used to make them for my little sister." Who was now a woman grown and a lovely young lady at that. It was still a daily blessing, to know that their Fawn was safe and sound, and living here. They'd never get their old life in Hunt's Landing back, but here they could start anew."There's a lot I'll have to learn but I'm looking forward to it. Sir." That moniker added as he was now going to be extra polite, knowing exactly who Ian was!

"Well, I can't have plaguing and haunting. You'll scare all my customers away." She laughed at the thought, silly as it was. "So I'll just have to say yes. I would love to spend time with you, Riley." The day had just gotten better! She looked up at the store front and smiled. "It'll be nice to see the shop opened again."

He was a Baron so Sir fitted but he was on friendly terms like most in these lands. For whatever reason, Mariah had not told her father about a beau, perhaps for the fact that Ian was always kept busy and there was nothing formal? He was clueless nonetheless. Presently.  Inside there were many toys stocked on shelves. Little buckboards, horses to pull them, covered wagons, oxen, mules, farm layout with painted wood figurines. Humans and animals. There were broom horses, with just the wooden head and rope made into a mane, leather bit to hold the reins in make believe. Doll houses of varying sizes. Imported dolls he didn't make of porcelain and fancy lace dresses. Rocking horses that were finely crafted by him as they were lined up along one wall to test drive by children coming in. They were dusty although not badly. There were many various toys that were made out of wood but almost no wooden puzzles, only a labyrinth that one could roll a metal ball down. "I believe Amos had patterns for many of the things he made especially after he got older and his eyesight not as good even with the glasses." The glasses (magnifying type) would be found on his workbench in the back room. "There is a flat upstairs with some furnishings if you wish to reside here or stay at times when needed. Everything was cleaned up and Amos' family took any personal items of his out but I think they pretty much left all the furniture because they had no need of it." So the shop room consisted of shelves along the walls and down the center making three isles. There was the front windows that displayed many of the toys, a back room that was large where the toys were made including the equipment needed, from saws to woodworking tools, sanders and paint too. From the wookroom there was a normal size kitchen, sink and basic equipment to cook a meal. Steps led up from there to the flat upstairs. The downstairs kitchen being the only one so was used for both the flat and the shop. "I would say, try it out for three months and decide then if this is the path for you."

"Some may come just to see you plagued and haunted," waggling his brows before the smile was quickly back with the idea of scaring all her customers. "That might not be a bad idea for Hallow's Eve coming up." As Ian and Evan disappeared inside, he was quick to dance her around and then dip, lips plundering for those few moments that had laughter from those milling about along this street. Some clapped as he dipped her back up with a wicked gleam in blue eyes and had the gall to bow to those lingering to watch.



Date: 10-09-10
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 25

Stepping inside, Evan almost felt like a child again, experiencing that moment of awe as he looked around at the vast array of toys and treasures. Knowing that Amos had made all this himself made him respect the deceased man all the more. Certainly he had big shoes to fill. But it caught his imagination as well. Evan had a very creative mind and he couldn't wait to try some of those patterns out. "This place is great." Listening to what Ian said about the flat he nodded thoughtfully. Evan liked living with his family well enough but, thinking about Fiona's occasional tirades.... made the idea of having an alternative living space very appealing. He advanced slowly, looking all around, soaking it all in. There was plenty here already but lots of potential for things he might want to add, as well. He found himself grinning as he turned a slow circle, eyes sweeping all around. "I'll do that. But I'll tell you now I like what I see already." Then came more practical concerns. "I'm guessing his family holds the place now. How much do they want for it, do you know?" He had some money saved from many years past but, would it be enough?

Guess who was one of the ones in the crowd! She had just gotten there in time to see Riley dip her sister as she moved ahead of the others. "I saw that Riley McAndrews!" Hands on her hips and a grin on her face. One of the reasons Risa didn't tell on her for she had some good ones stored away too. She was attired in a pretty bronze dress that was trimmed in dark brown tatted lace. All along the bodice, the sleeves and hem. Hair was left down with just two side braids holding all in place, sweeping the rest back away from her shoulders. Bronze blue-green eyes twinkled with the mischief evident behind them.

She should have realized that Riley would be up to something but when he kissed her, it tended to wipe out all her thoughts. This time was no exception but when he had her up again, she buried her face against his shoulder, especially when she heard Mariah. She looked up and grinned, face red as could be. But she mouthed the words, "Evan is inside with Da." Just to see if Mariah would blush too!

"Good, that is what I was hoping to hear. Usually if a place, or person, calls out on another level, it is known even if one is uncertain; as we are all uncertain of the future." It was a part of life. "I will leave you to look around and check out the flat upstairs." Although he was lingering in the shop being there was a bit of nostalgia for him here.  "The family does not hold the place but the Crown. It is why I am the one showing it to you as I work for the Crown as needed. Shops and lands are not owned by individuals but stays in the family for how long they want it to be. Amos' family had no desire to continue the shop and donated all that was left in it to the Crown for when they found another toy maker. They did take his personal belongings with them, so you'll not be seeing much of that." There was always the possibility there were some things left like the glasses on the workbench in the shop area. "How it will work, is that you pay a small stippling from what you earn a month that goes towards paying for things such as the Thistle, the Orphanage, any improvements made in the kingdom. It is a modest sum."

Riley was quite pleased with himself seeing that blush and only waggled his brows Mariah's way. "You'll get yours next," with a glancing towards the shop and back, dimples getting deeper as he kept his arm around Risa, tucking her close.


Hm. That was a different system than he was used to. Back in the Colonies, it was the opposite; since they had broken away from the British crown people were very possessive about owning their own property. But here it didn't seem corrupt but rather, a way to fund public institutions. Evan nodded, "Sounds like a good deal to me. Thanks." It seemed Ian was on his way upstairs, but Evan hesitated. Should he say something now? He cleared his throat some. "Uh. Mr.  McCormick? Could I have a word maybe about something a tad more.. personal?" Suddenly his palms were damp with nervousness and he rubbed them absently atop his pants pockets.

Mariah mouthed back, Da is with Evan? Eyes getting wide before she stuck out her tongue at Riley, one of those quick kinds and marched off towards the steps and up only to pause a breath on the porch before heading straight on in. It was time being time spent with Evan was more than only friends and her father should know. "Da!" Big old smile as she was over to give her father a hug, and a radiant smile around her father's shoulder to Evan. He might notice that her cheeks were a bit more pink than usual.

Seeing Mariah take off into the shop, he wasn't going to miss this but on the other hand, not get in the middle of it either. So he tugged on Risa's hand and led her up to the porch and a seat on the swing there, where they could hear and even see some through the front windows.

She nodded quickly then laughed again as Mariah stuck her tongue out at Riley. She wasn't sure what to do but when Riley led her to the swing, she snuggled against him and waited. It could prove to be interesting. In any case, she was rooting for her sister and Evan.

"Aye?" brows lifting as the young man spoke on having to talk to him personally. He'd help him out if he could feeling it had something to do with the shop and taking up this new step or even the fact he was a new kid in town and needed some advice from someone who'd been here a long time. In short, he was wondering where this need arose from but then his oldest daughter appeared. Certainly she was taken into a hug as he had Carisa earlier. Once done he set to introductions. "Mariah, this is Evan Hunt of the Quinn family that has arrived." Stepping back as he would with an introduction.

This was going to get good but dare the Devil, Riley pulled Risa onto his lap, easy for a man of his size and strength. She would get a better view through the window. Of course if Ian looked out at an angle, he'd get to see where Risa was now.

Ian was going to get a double shock?

"Well - " He began, a deep breath taken to frame his words perfectly, but then the door opened. And in walked an angel, at least that's how she always looked to him, especially today, dressed all in gleaming bronze with her gold hair streaming loose. There went his gallant plans to get Ian's permission THEN tell Mariah he had done so! But maybe it was better they spoke to her father together? That smile of hers sent to him around Ian's shoulder,was returned warmly but a bit uncertainly. Now what. At Ian's introductions he couldn't help but chuckle some. "Uh, yes, we.... know each other already." His smile was almost wincing and definitely sheepish. "That's what I hoped to speak to you about, actually." He met Mariah's eyes again a moment, hoping and praying that she wouldn't be upset by his asking her father for permission to court, without speaking to her about it first. He figured it was assumed he would do so eventually, things were going so well between them... at least in his estimation. But he wasn't sure.

Luckily Ian was too preoccupied to look out the window, and probably would have teased both of them. Pressure Riley if he was going to act that way then he should go about it properly, start courting. But that was neither here nor there at the moment. "Oh, you have met each other already..." there was that niggling at the back of his neck there was more to all of this and was slowly dawning on him. Blue eyed glance went from Evan to Mariah, then a quick back and forth.

"Yes, daddy," and her prettiest smile surfaced naturally from when she was a little child and really really wanted something badly. She was not one that asked for a whole lot and had given far more beyond the call of duty, even as his oldest daughter in keeping their house a home when their mother left them. "Evan and I met not long ago, he saved me from falling in my shop and getting badly hurt," she couldn't very well tell how she first met him, going to a tavern far north of their lands. Alone. No, that would not be good. "He came by again and we started to see each other and well, I hope you don't mind that we are. Seeing each other, to continue to." Which she was faltering as that was quite bold in her saying so with Evan right there so eyes turned on him.

Mariah was helping to take some of the pressure off him, explaining how they knew each other already. And what father could resist that darling smile of hers? Evan watched Mariah as she spoke, glad she had done so, though it was his job to ask the official question. Hazels returning to Ian, he nodded to confirm Mariah's words then spoke with uncharacteristic solemnity. Feeling his heart pounding beneath his shirt. "Mr McCormick, I care for your daughter a lot  and would like to get your permission to see her. To court her. I know it is a lot to ask of a father but I promise you, I will never hurt her, nor ever let anybody else do so." In fact he'd be tempted to kill anyone who lay so much as a finger on Mariah's golden head.

He had never been able to resist that smile either but focus turned on Evan to see if the lad, one he hardly knew, felt the same. His daughter's happiness was important to him as was that of each of his children. "I hardly know you but I see there are genuine feelings between you." He knew that certain look in their eyes that passing of silent words never spoken that said so much. "To remedy that, you and I shall go drinking a night together very soon." He was going to get to know Evan like he knew Riley, devil that lad was but he was a McAndrews. "I will be straight with you, if you ever hurt her, I will kill you. Not just rough you up and make threats." Ian was one that could keep his word too, as Evan might see that set determination there. Then he smiled, "but I don't think it will come to that as I trust my daughter to pick a decent man and you Evan, must be a descent man. We will go drinking together and I will show you the ranch because it is a part of Mariah's life as will her family always be." He took his hand in another handshake. "More than giving my permission, I give you both my blessing that it works out as you both hope it will." Releasing his hand as it was a stronger, more determined handshake.

She knew that it was the men to talk from here and so remained quiet, listening. She knew her father well in what he had to say and that he wasn't going to deny her happiness, nor Evan's but with good warning as any good father should. Her smile brightened from her father to Evan. "Thank you father," quietly as it was more how Evan would respond.

Riley knew not to push it and with all getting mushy and whatnot, he was up, taking Risa with him as the two snuck off the porch and back out to the Commons. This was their way of giving them further privacy while they went off to have some of their own.

Gulp. What lad in love wouldn't be intimidated by that father's threat? But he didn't quaver beneath Ian's gaze, only nodded again gravely. "I would like that. To go drinking with you, I mean, not the.. killing bit." Ehehe. His stumbling of words was relieved when Ian relented, stepping forward to give his blessings and shake Evan's hand, a gesture Evan returned enthusiastically. His eyes were alight at the success. "Thank you, sir. I swear to you, I will never do anything to hurt your daughter. She is as dear to me as my own heart." That last spoken more quietly, as he looked past Ian to find Mariah, a grin starting on his lips. They had his blessing!

He gave a good thud of his hand to Evan's shoulder, for how he responded on the killing bit and all. "We shall not need to go there, right son?" Which was a more accepting usage of that word. "Now, I've some things to see to and will be in touch," which he produced the key from his pocket to hand over to Evan. "You will have to come over for dinner tonight, Mariah is an excellent cook." Which opened his door to him as he would for Ian was that kind of person but cross him, then he was another kind. "I'll take your word but as with any word given, proof is in the actions." Which would take time and the benefit over the doubt was given him. "I shall see you later then." Giving a wink to his daughter with that kind of quirky smile she'd understand before he was out the door and on his way so he wasn't late.

Oof. He blinked some at the thud to his shoulder and gave half a grin. Accepting the key, he nodded, acknowledging how much Ian was giving him, the responsibility for this shop and his daughter both. "Thank you, sir. I'll be sure to do that." Come to dinner tonight, he meant. Nodding again and smiling as Ian took his leave. "Thank you, sir," he called again, perhaps a bit foolishly but now he didn't care. He was beaming, that smile turning to a grin as he turned back to Mariah. That grin said it all!

Her father's wink, (he had a few different kinds) coupled with that certain smile said volumes. Warmed her heart as she watched him go. Then realized something in all that, "court," blinking before her arms were around Evan's neck and her body pressed to his, "yes," she was accepting as it was an odd way to ask her but certainly held the same effect. Her father had already approved of it too. The impact might have him staggering back a step or two but she was a lightweight.

He laughed aloud, a booming sort of joyful laugh as he caught her up easily in strong arms. That simple 'yes' of hers may have just made this moment the happiest in his life, up till now. Holding her close, he took a moment to just look into her face. A hand lifted from her back to gently brush some hair away from her cheek, fingers lingering along her jaw before he bent his head to kiss her. It was gentle and tender, but with that intensity behind it as well. Today was a landmark day and suddenly his life was full of incredible possibilities. Within that kiss, Mariah might feel his lips start to stretch into a smile as he then picked her up and began twirling her around, keeping lips locked all the while.

Happy tears moistened her eyes as that look he was giving her had her heart in somersaults. A warmth that felt like it could explode if it swelled any more with happiness. The kiss was met with the closing of her eyes and she was swept away in the intensity behind his and met with hers. Fingers curling into the hair at the back of his head as she anchored herself there, not willing to give it up too quickly. As his lips started to stretch into a smile, hers reflected the emotion as they finally parted and eyes opened. "Let's go see what the rest of this place has to offer you and then we can go to the ranch so I can get dinner ready while my Pa shows you around." She knew her father would step in to get to know Evan better if he was to one day be his son in law.



Date: 10-16-10
Poster: Raphael O'Keeffe
Post # 26


It was a brisk night with leaves swirling being stripped from the tree branches. The wind howling at times but there was that jolt in the air that made one very much alive and so drew people out to the commons. Heavier jackets, cloaks and sweaters worn to ward off that bite that sometimes came with a gust. A few vendors lingered selling their wares for winter was coming, the nights longer than days and business would slow drastically. Days of which might find enough snow to make it impossible to setup at all. Winter was a time of hibernation for many in different ways. Raphael was standing outside his warehouse shop just drinking in the night when most were not about with a stretch of his wings to appear that had the feathers ruffle in the breeze. A special heavy knit sweater of a tan cable stitch was worn over dark brown pants and boots.

Henna was not one to avoid colder weather especially on a night like this. She loved the way the wind sounded as it moved through the trees, and now it set the leaves to dancing. She wore a simple gown of finely spun silk, wine colored and fairly simply in design with a scoop neck and long sleeves. A heavy wool cloak was worn, lined so it wouldn't be itchy. Instead of slippers, she wore finely tooled boots with a two inch heel. She had been out walking but when she saw Raphael's warehouse, she decided to make her way over. Dark eyes caught him standing outside and she raised her voice slightly as a gust of wind sent the leaves scattering. "Good evening."

Liam was wandering this night and that wandering brought him to the commons. It was a strange night, one that held a mystery to it. Leaves falling all around, paranormal feel with the moon up above. One could feel spirits about, be they of the departed that never quite left or the energy of the trees shedding their foliage. He greeted ones he never met as he checked out the vendors that lingered to see if they had anything worth buying. Odd mood as he ended up sharing a few words instead and continued on. He finally took up a seat on the fountain's wall to watch. His ears needed to stop ringing from Fiona's fussing over the manor needing this and that and a celebration of their brother's courting meal to be prepared. She had the whole family and staff bustling and Liam mostly bustling right out of the place for some peace and quiet.

Now there was a vision as his smile reflected in the bronze of his eyes. The spread of wings silhouetted against the darkening sky that was still lighter thanks to the moon's light. There and gone in a flash back down into the tattoo on his back. Raphael had no idea who the lady was and would never guess she was of royal, just a beautiful nymph that this night brought to life. "Good evening, are you one of the magical ladies that come once a year like a siren's song, beautiful and strong, a star to walk upon the earth on such a night as this?" He was not sure where those words came from coming out of his mouth!

With his special abilities, Raphael might realize that there was something different about Henna. She had seen the wings and so was certain who he was. "I'm afraid I'm no lady of legend but one who walks the earth daily, though I thank you very much for the lovely words. Compliments like that are rare and doubly appreciated." She moved closer, offering her hand. "You are Raphael O'Keeffe, are you not? I'm Henna."

In spite of his special abilities there were some that he could not read, those not of the norm either that put them on the same level. Certainly there was something different about her and just as certainly it made his night far more interesting in this instant. He was over to take up her hand as a long implanted gallantry rose to the forefront. Fingers curling beneath soft skin, "I am so lucky to be the one you seek," as obviously she was looking for him. Of course he knew why in that instance but he was going to relish the moment nonetheless! Her hand lifted to the touch of his lips just above fingertips before lowered to be set free. A step back leaving her to regain her personal space he'd invaded leaving him with the linger scent of some perfume she wore. "A pleasure to meet you Henna, how can I be of service?"

Hearing voices drew his attention to the ones, one voice familiar as he spotted Raphael and then the lovely lady with him. The thought of getting a huge buckboard for Fiona's use with all she buys had him chuckling to himself, one pulled by one of those very large draft horses.

She favored an exotic scent, one of jasmine, sandalwood mixed with hints of citrus and musk. "Aye, you can. I am in charge of the Orphanage and I would like to speak to you concerning a wagon to transport the children. I understand you made one for the hospital."

Kind that teased the senses just as much as the exotic lady before him. Luckily he could keep his head about him in spite of the sensuality she gave off. "A very large charge that is and certainly I have a wagon that may suit. I have built another like the one I sold or you can have yet another that I can pad the seats if you wish." A hand lifted in gesture to the open door of the warehouse. "Come have a look," noticing Liam beyond the lady as he gave a wave his way. Around then and into the warehouse that the lady may take a look.

"Wonderful!" She glanced over her shoulder, and smiled at the man watching, though he might not be able to see it, then turned to follow him inside. The change from outside to in, even though the warehouse was large, was very noticeable. "I know it's rather late, but I do appreciate this."

Oh, he saw. How could he miss the face of an angel? Dark haired beauty for certain. The idea of asking Raphael later who she was became an appealing thought as he sent off a wave to the two. However, tonight, he was going to continue his wayward walk, with the leaves dancing as his company along with his thoughts. It gave him that space to reflect on all that was happening and where his life was headed, especially having the newfound weight of responsibility. He didn't wish to fail his family.

"Orphanage, I've not been up that way, no wonder I have not met you before." Certainly he would remember or he'd been comatose. The warehouse cut off the wind which made it warmer immediately. He still did not connect the name. "Your husband sent you along on a night like this," giving a tsk under his tongue as a glint surfaced again in bronze eyes. All the while leading her to the longer, more so than larger, wagons suited to seat a group.

He would in time. She blinked then laughed, shaking her head. "I have no husband to keep me from wandering out in any type of weather." She smiled then shrugged. "I guess I should explain what I'm looking for. I'd like one that could have a roof and sides put on in bad weather and removed when it's nice."

"Then there is none I would have a stern word with for doing such." Genuine concern laced with the fact he was clever enough to find out if she was taken. Certainly a woman as beautiful as she is, most likely would be married or being courted. Tonight was a lucky star night. Reeling in his thoughts then as he set to business, taking her over to one that might suit her needs. "Some of these can be sleds for the winter and wheels for normal weather."

"One like that would be perfect." Something she had worried about when she first considered getting a wagon. "Do you think it could be fitted with a roof and sides?" Of course, the roof could be permanent, and would shield the youngsters from the sun. "Being able to put runners on it would make it easier to get around should we have our usual snowfall."

"I can do that. Would you like to come by in three days and see it finished to what you are looking for." More to make sure how he fixed it up was what she was looking for.

"And I can do that." She smiled, showing a dimple as she looked up at him. "Thank you so much, Raphael. This will mean so much to the children. " She started for the door as she spoke.

"If I know the time, maybe we can share a meal as we speak over costs," being it would be more for all the extra put into it but there was that drive to at least spend some time with her, if she accepted. If not, well, he would work from there.

"Well, shall we say, around six?" She wouldn't mind the extra time spent either, so of course she accepted.

"Three days hence at six, here at the warehouse." So it was a confirmed date even if disguised as a business one, which it was. Smile brought a dimple, quick kind that lit up his eyes. Thoughts already surging ahead. "Can I escort you back if you have none?"

"Aye, you can." She laughed softly. "I rarely have an escort unless I'm traveling a distance." Would he be surprised when he realized who she was? The wind was still howling outside, so she pulled her hood up.

"How far is the Orphanage from here?" Gauging the wind and the bite of the brisk gusts of wind as they headed out, closing up the warehouse behind him first. He was by her side in the next moment with the question.

"Not far, but I'm going to the castle tonight." There were nights she did stay at the Orphanage but most nights she returned home so she could be with her family to break fast.

"That's far enough away," as he was swift to lift her into his arms in a way she would naturally have her arms go about his neck. Wings came in a span of twenty three feet across that whooshed as he took flight. He'd have her back in no time, landing in one of the gardens that surrounded it. Castle? It dawned on him while in flight, she could be one of the royals but many stayed in the castle not of royal blood.

She let out a squeak of surprise, arms going around his neck as they lifted into the air. It was a good thing the guards were use to Gabriel or they might have come to investigate. She laughed as they came back to earth, then inclined her head. "Thank you, Raphael. That was a very quick way to get here. I'll see you in three days then." That had been exhilarating!

"I will see you soon ailleachd," giving a bow with a sweeping smile before he was off, lifting up into the night's sky as he took to wing again. Not staying around long enough to tell her what the word meant but leave her to wonder or figure it out.

It might take some time, but she'd do her best to find out what it meant. She watched him disappear into the night then turned and walked through the garden and into the castle. And what a tale she'd have to tell!



Date: 10-17-10
Poster: Rhett Shawnesey Jr
Post # 27

Smithy: The Gift

The day proved a little sunnier but still the temperature was low at around sixty. Rhett was fine in front of the forge on the porch of the smithy. One made specifically to accommodate such heat, from the stone flooring to the high beams that allowed heat to escape between and not set it on fire. The rhythmic rat-a-tat-tat was heard about the commons as Rhett was hard at work forging a new dagger, one of a pair which the first was done. A poet's shirt worn with the sleeves rolled up and the forging bib overall made of a material to withstand the sparks and hot pieces that might chip off. Baggy brown comfortable pants and boots that laced up to just below the knees protected his feet and legs.

Karina had been at the tavern enjoying a pre-dinner snack when she got into conversation with Maggie, who mentioned that her brother was here in town now, and that she wished to see Rhett about getting him a sword made. Karina would never say no to a visit to the smithy, so it was decided they would go together. Maggie was a few years older than Karina but of a personality that she got along with most everyone, so they were chatting easily despite Karina's sometimes awkward social graces (or lack of them). Karina was in casual attire, a nut-brown muslin dress with snug sleeves to the elbows, a knit beret on her head, sandals on her feet still despite the cooler temperatures. She'd wear those til it snowed! Coming up to the forge she waved, though the noises of Rhett's work were so loud and he so absorbed, she doubted he'd see them til they were right upon him.

Maggie was determined to make good on her promise to her brother, to get him a new sword. He would need it if he was to become a royal guard or knight - whichever career he decided upon. She could have just bought him one already made but had an idea in mind for the design, which hopefully Rhett could incorporate. Maggie wore sage green today, a dress which hugged her curves and scooped modestly low in the bodice. "Your man is well built," she leaned over to whisper to Karina as they eyed the blacksmith at work.

To which she just flushed and grinned foolishly!

Which was generally true, he got involved in his work but he set his second sense on alert and so the two were caught out of the corner of his consciousness, or eye some would say but it was more than that. He stopped after the last hammering to sizzle the heated blade in cold water then set it aside by the time they were upon him. Stepping away from the heat of the forge as he wiped his hands in the skirt of the bib. Pressed smile that seem to reach his eyes that first fell upon Karina to linger then courteously upon Maggie. "Good afternoon ladies," although Karina would debate that, he'd had fun later debating with her.

Debating was always fun, especially when it turned into arguments which turned into laughter which turned into... Well. She returned the smile with her lopsided grin, holding his eyes in that moment before remembering the young woman standing beside her. "Oh! Rhett, you know Maggie right, from the tavern?"

"Of course he does." She gave Rhett her usual easy breezy smile. "How are you, Rhett? I hope we're not interrupting anything?" He seemed to have been busy at work, as her large blue eyes swept the place curiously, taking in all the instruments of his craft.

"Aye, that I do. I hear you were away for a while but have return safely. Welcome back." Rhett knew a lot of news for those that stopped by for this or that needed of his skills. Many stayed rather than come back and so spent the time talking of things that went on in the lands. He was easy to talk to and didn't get distracted from his work. "I'm doing very well. This is the perfect weather for working outdoors for me like the spring." Winter and Summer each differently added their complications. Summer making it more difficult than winter. Forge offered warmth. Summer it was intolerable at times. "Nothing I can't take a break from, these knives are extra." But they would probably sell fast.

Her smile dimmed a bit at that, but it was warm as he offered his welcome-back. "Thank you. That has to do with why I'm here, actually. My brother came back with me, hopefully here to stay. He's joined the royal guards and I want to have a sword made for him." She hardly spent a penny of her own earnings, so had plenty saved up for things like this. And there was nothing she'd rather spend it on.

Karina had taken up her usual seat on an overturned barrel, legs dangling and swinging lightly as she let the two of them chat.

"I'm pleased to hear that." That had not been in the conversation with the one before, only that she had gone for a while and was back. "Family is important. Royal guard, under Brian MacMillan, he's a good man." Rhett knew many of the knights and guards for his time as a squire and subsequent knighthood for his valor on the battlefield. Although he was talking to Maggie, he couldn't help stealing glances and looks towards Karina. They got to see each other often enough but at times there were days both were busy with their jobs and so forth. It was obvious he was happy to see her. "I have many swords made that only need to have the blade sharpened but I also do custom work if you have a design or know of a certain make."

Hands were shoved in his pockets as Shaun wandered the Commons, gradually making his way towards his brother's smithy. Steps slowed as he became self conscious seeing two pretty lasses there with his brother. Both quickly recognized but still... Whimsical smile flitted across his lips as he loitered then found a seat upon the bench as short distance from the porch, giving a wave to his brother in a hand gesture to continue with the ladies. Hair curled much like his brother's but perhaps not quite as pronounced. Blue eyes were bright in the autumn sunny day. Hair was darker offsetting them more. Ecru cable neck sweater worn over black pants and boots.

Karina was pretending to just idly look around, but she was stealing looks at Rhett too! Just couldn't help it. Maybe once Maggie was done here, she'd go back up to the tavern, and they'd be able to steal a few moments alone... Or maybe not. Another came strolling up and she recognized the younger brother immediately - the one she had nearly mistaken for Rhett before. The one who had dove into the lake to catch that big fish with his bare hands. Karina waved back from her own perch on the porch.

Maggie glanced up, nodding to the younger man who seemed to be on his way over, then looked back to Rhett with a nod. "I've a design I wish for you to incorporate... or just a symbol, really. There is a mythical creature in tales from our homeland... it is called the wyvern. It's sort of a dragon, with wings, but the body of a snake. It is considered a symbol of rebirth, of resurrection." Which seemed fitting after Richard's experience in the ice. And he had always loved those stories. She tilted her head, dark hair spilling over one shoulder and smiling a bit as she went on. "And there was this time when we were children... there was a snake near me, causing no harm really, but he came up and speared it straight through with a stick. Afraid it might be poisonous and bite me." She had made fun of him for that, but loved him for it. That story more or less defined her brother and their relationship.

"Do you have the design with you?" He was curious to see and test his skill upon duplicating it into the hilt or blade of a sword. Seeing his brother he gave a wave and nod to follow with the gesture of hand to wait. No matter how much time this day would take, he would find time to spend with Karina later. That she could count on. "Interesting choice, I can hope to meet your brother eventually." He liked to know those about the lands as they usually came to him for one thing or another. "You will need to pick out a sword shape that you'd like of those I've made," being the design offered was only for the hilt and she might like the shape of what was already made. "If you will step inside where they are hanging on the wall and laid out on tables." Which the first part of his smithy was a shop and showcase of weapons as well other items.

"Ah.. yes.." She reached into a small satchel carried at her side, producing a scrap of parchment with the design forged in ink upon it. "I'm no artist but perhaps you can make something of that.." She handed the bit of paper over to Rhett as she nodded and stepped inside after him. Knowing nothing of swords and their types, she might have to ask him which sort would be best.

He would leave her to go over the many varied swords in the room while he studied the inked picture of a wyvern, "I can do this," giving an affirmative nod as he continued to study it then glanced up at the various hilts of the swords he'd already made.

Karina glanced over as Rhett and Maggie headed inside, but lingered there on her perch, glancing over to where Shaun sat by himself some distance away. Smirking lightly, she called out, "Gonna just keep that bench warm or did you come here for a reason?"

He was over to indicate the different swords that this would work well with for the types of hilts. "Do you like any of these?" There were at least seven and a few others that would work as well.

Shaun's smile was somewhat shy and he still couldn't get over his brother having a lass, real pretty one too. He was up with the comment, laughing under his breath as he headed over to where she was on the porch. "Well, I didn't want to interrupt," giving a pointed glance to the door left open leading into his brother's shop of weapons and back. "I came to see about a sword too but I can wait."


Maggie interlaced her fingers before herself loosely, moving around the room almost on her toes, light as a dancer as she strolled. "These are all lovely..." He had done quite alot of work here, and his talent was evident. Her head tilted thoughtfully as she studied them each in turn, there were so many choices... Looking back to Rhett she gave a light laugh. "I'm not certain what I'm looking for, to be honest. Nothing too fancy but something strong, sturdy, something that will last him a long time..." she lingered in front of one labeled as a Castile sword. "I rather like the looks of this... would it work, do you think?"

That surprised Karina some as she eyed Shaun. "Are you wanting to train as a warrior too then?" She knew Rhett had been very involved in fighting as a knight, once upon a time. It wouldn't be unheard of that a younger sibling would want to follow in his footsteps. She hadn't heard that Shaun was training as a knight or soldier but then... she wasn't so involved with the gossip of the kingdom. "Or maybe you're training already. Or maybe even a knighted lord already and I just haven't heard about it." She smirked broadly again, just teasing.

"I would suggest either the noble sword or the average, that either would not be so average with the wyvern embossed on the handle. If your brother eventually becomes a knight, he will be knighted with one of the swords of Heathfield. Which means the one you get him today will become his practice sword, which will be most often used over the other. So it needs to be one that is practical over too ornate." There were a few very ornate ones that were more for show, so he felt but they were asked for.


"Aye, that is the idea behind it," giving a slight shrug, "wherein Rhett has this skill and Douglas will take over the family shipping business one day, I've yet to find my niche. I'm good with a sword, least as far as me Da has trained me so I will start there, become a squire to Sir Cole I'm told and see if it suits. I should start training soon." Eyes narrowed with the last on being a knighted lord but then he laughed.

"Hmm..." She nodded, absorbing his words, and considering both of the swords he suggested. Which was more 'Richard'? Suddenly decisive, she pointed at the 'noble' sword. "This one, I think. It looks strong but not bulky."

"That would have been my choice too. Good one." Pressed smile followed that reached blue eyes as he took down the sword, the blade dull so there would not be any mishap. "Would you like to test the feel of it?" Which she would find he had well balanced swords, that was as important as the hilt and blade. He held it over his palms that she could take it by the hilt easily.

"A squire," she repeated, eyeing him almost thoughtfully as if surveying whether or not she thought him capable of such. But only kidding, she grinned a moment later. "Well, I'm sure your brother will give you a discount at least if you ask him nicely." Wink.

Her smile returned brightly as Rhett approved her choice. Oh goodness... he was holding the blade out for her to take! She may have been more shy about such things once, but after her latest 'adventure'... why not? Slender fingers were cautious as she curled both hands around the hilt, lifting the blade carefully so as not to cut Rhett's nose off. Karina might not appreciate that! "It feels..." She moved the blade around a bit, testing it, though she knew next to nothing about swordplay. "Good. Well balanced, I think."

Which had him shift from one foot to the other before he was over to look at the dagger Rhett was in the process of making. "Aye, actually he wants to give me a sword as a present, good luck kind in this endeavor being 
 it was a path he took." Turning towards her again from that short distance. "You know he wanted to be a warrior, fight in a war so became a squire under Sir Aiden and he was picked along with Rhett for a battle in Kildare. The enemy was outnumbered, coming quite the surprise so the old time leader asked for an ancient right, to pick two teams to determine the outcome for his men were blood thirsty even if he wasn't. Sir Aiden and Rhett were picked, Rhett taking the sword meant for Sir Aiden at a critical point as Mikhail MacKay warned them, they would fight dirty and to expect it, but the deflection didn't quite go as planned and Rhett had his side pierced." Not knowing it had been a death blow and if it wasn't for the druids, King Leoric and Sir Trevor, he would have died. He promptly pressed his lips together much like his brother's habit. Catching himself from talking too much, which he had already done but he could have kept going.

It would have been very hard for her to cut his nose off but certainly she could have poked him in the nose or eye! Luckily she didn't and he stepped back as she took the sword. "It is well balanced as the one will be that I make special order for you, much like this one but will have the emblem on the handle." Pleased she was pleased and he showed her the price it would be. Being she came with Karina, a friend of hers, she was given a discount. The price remaining the same even with the special hilt.

Karina's features sobered when Shaun shared the story, legs ceasing their swinging movement and crossing at the ankles instead. When he finished, she nodded slightly, amber shoulder-length curls bobbing some. "I know," she said gravely. "He told me about that." She still didn't like to think about it, the fact that he could have died before she ever met him. "He doesn't talk about it much, though." Just as she spoke little of her own past. Though Rhett knew more about her than almost anyone else here. Or anywhere, for that matter.

Maggie carefully handed the sword back to Rhett, pleased indeed. "Wonderful." It was good to have connections! "Shall I pay you part now, and part when it is completed?" She wasn't sure how that worked.

Smile slightly smirked but the respect there for his brother was in his eyes, "aye, he doesn't because he's a good sort of bloke." Which only a brother could refer to him as. He suspected there was more to it and Rhett might even tell him someday after he has a few tales to share with becoming a warrior honed. Rick McAndrews was there too and a few others he knew or knew of. It was going to be an adventure for him and he planned to do his family proud too. Realizing the time as he looked to the sky and position of the sun and back. "I need to go but let Rhett know I'll be back later." He had some things to do but he would get his sword before he started officially as a squire under Sir Cole. Not one to linger when already late, he took off at a run. Lad could run too, like hounds on his heels.


"When it is completed. Give it a week at the most. If done sooner, I will send you a note. If you needed it sooner I can work on it immediately?" He wasn't sure if she was pressed for time or not.

"No, no, a week is just fine." And quicker than she had expected! Maggie beamed Rhett a smile which dimpled her cheeks. "Thank you. I think he'll love it."

Karina nodded at the comment of Rhett being a 'good sort of bloke'. He certainly was. Eyes roamed to the open door where Rhett stood beyond, then returned to Shaun, blinking when he abruptly took off. "Alright - bye!" She had to call that out when he started running. She just shook her head some, smirking a bit then pushed off her barrel, deciding to wander inside. From the sounds of it, Rhett and Maggie were finishing up with the order.

"I hope that he does. A sword is special to a warrior, like an extended arm, something that will keep him alive." He had known some to give names to their sword and treat them as if alive. A sword and a special trained warhorse, were about equal to a warrior. Seeing Karina come in but not his brother as he looked beyond a moment then back. "Are you hungry? Maybe we can get some dinner at the Thistle?"

"Your brother said he'd be back later," she told Rhett as he glanced out the doorway. "And dinner sounds great." She flashed him a smile, pleased she could lure him away from his smithy for a meal.

Nodding to that comment, Maggie glanced over when Karina came back in, smiling her way, and then again at Rhett's suggestions. "Sounds wonderful, and it's about time I got back to work anyway. Shall we?" As she moved towards the door with one last glance around the gallery.

"Aye," which he offered a arm to each as he'd escort them up to the Thistle. A gentleman was in his breeding no matter the fact he was a weapons smith and blacksmith.



Date: 10-22-10
Poster: Henna Barrett Suex
Post # 28

Dinner at the Warehouse

It was another strange night, one that still whispered of spirits afoot as shadows played under the moon's light. The branches of trees moving under the brisk wind that held a spray of mist to it. Three days had passed and the sixth hour soon upon the lands that Raphael sent a surrey to pick Henna up at the Orphanage. A lad around fifteen he hired to do odds and ends for him quite welcome the opportunity to escort a pretty lady to the warehouse. Being of the lands, he knew exactly whom he was picking up and in the process of the conversation, Raphael learned that the Lady was indeed royal, one of the Princesses of the Queen herself. He thought he should probably be nervous as certainly young William was but he found it didn't make a difference in that she had accepted his invitation and he was set on that. He had planned a dinner fit for royalty and now it would be accurate! It was even possible he might be younger in years than her and that too didn't matter to him. Attired in a deep wine, almost purple, vest over a cream shirt, black pants and boots, he stood at the one open door of the warehouse focused on the shadows that played with the descending leaves over the street.

Henna had taken pains with her appearance. She had realized that Raphael may not have known who she was but it didn't worry her much. She was going to have dinner with a handsome man and hoped he wouldn't be horribly nervous. Her gown was of bittersweet satin, that seemed to change colors as she walked. The bodice and sleeves were covered with delicate lace dyed black. She had her hair up at the crown of her head, and left to fall in curls. A single rose of the same bittersweet satin rested where the hair was gathered at the crown, a single glittering diamond shining like a dew drop on one of the petals. She also wore topaz earrings and a necklace of seven stones to match the earrings in chandelier style, each cut in different size from small to the large single one at its center. A finely made cloak of black lined with fur was worn over. Even her slippers matched the gown. Hopefully he wouldn't find her overdressed. She assured William with the warmth of her smile as he escorted her to the warehouse.

Once the surrey arrived back at the warehouse, William escorted Henna on his arm to where Raphael waited in the doorway. William was sweating bullets but he performed his part perfectly. Once delivered he bowed in a step back then quickly away. He had a tale to tell his friends and coins for his part too! Raphael couldn't help the smile, for the lad, and more for the beauty standing before him. "I am humbly honored, rioghail ailleachd," his voice seemed to change in a luring baritone when he spoke in the ancient tongue. A caress in a way that even if she didn't know what the words meant, she'd know she'd been flattered as he offered his hand for her to take.  She might recognize ailleachd as he had used it before.

Henna smiled again at the boy then turned dark eyes on Raphael. There were flecks of gold deep within the depths of dark brown, something few saw. The same perfume as before was worn, her favorite, though not overpowering. She inclined her head as he spoke, placing her slender hand in his. "You'll have to tell me what that means, Raphael. You look extra handsome this eve." Again, hoping she wasn't overdressed! "And I am glad that you invited me."

"As you look even more beautiful with each passing minute, a royal beauty with an elegance all your own." All the while he led her into the warehouse taking them around various vehicles to the center that he had cleared away. An oriental rug had been placed and a table with a lace cloth. Two chairs, each pulled out awaiting to be claimed. There was a red rose in a crystal vase to the center of table. Fine china plates with a gold decorative edge that was scalloped, silverware set properly. A cart held domed dishes as he saw to her being seated. The cloth napkin picked up, flicked out and placed over her lap. He had given her the meaning of the words: royal beauty, but the word precisely used for beauty meant one with elegance. "I am hoping you like seafood.." something had given him the impression that she would.

"Thank you." While she did receive compliments, there was something about his words that had her cheeks turning pink. When she saw the table and setting, she laughed softly. "This is wonderful, Raphael. As beautiful as a dinner at the castle." She sat carefully, smoothing her gown then she tipped her head to give him another of her lovely smiles. "I do, very much."

He had made sure there was enough room around the center too that they were not crowded in by his craft, transportation vehicles. Yet, they were all brand new with a polished finish to them so unique in that way. "If I may," like she would stop him? Smile lit up his features as he opened the bottle of a robust red wine that would compliment the meal. Pouring each before the bottle was set back into the ice bucket to contain it. Next he was around to take the dome off the main entree and place portions on her plate that should sate, then the same with his. There was a small dish of fruit to go along with it as well a small salad. He did not deliver them as courses but more like a family type rendering. Once all was set he was over to take the seat across from her. "Once we are done with our meal then I shall show you the small miracle I performed on the long surrey you chose."

Dark eyes sparkled in the light of the candles. Even in the midst of the wagons, it was a magical night, made more so by that feeling in the air. She watched as he poured the wine, and then served. "You certainly are full of surprises, Raphael. Thank you." Her face lit at his news. "I can hardly wait." But of course, the food would take her attention first.

"I can hope these surprises please you as much as it pleases me having you here dining with me." Not adding it had been a long time since he dined with such a beautiful woman. Mostly due to being on the run and settling, spending his time getting a good inventory that he hadn't had thoughts along those lines until that day she showed up. Without any more aplomb he set to eating the dinner he prepared. Scallops, chunks of lobster and crab meat along with shrimp had a light drizzle of a cheesy sauce that complimented the various flavors without overpowering them, tender broccoli heads with just as tender slices of baby carrots with a hint of sweet and sour glaze.

"It does," came the sincere answer before she started to eat. "This is wonderful. Did you cook it yourself? It's amazing." She found every bite to be delicious and was definitely enjoying it all. "Where did you come from originally, if you don't mind me asking."

"Yes," which had a small rich laugh to follow, "one of my many skills I acquired along the way to coming here in finding Gabriel and Maureen along with Aiden and Cole. Foremost Gabriel as we are cut from the same cloth as some would put it. We were brothers in a life long past in the beginning years of this wonderful planet." Then he was back to eating, taking his time and savoring even what had been cooked by his own hand.  "I'm from many places but I was born in Ireland." Not getting into too much of his background at this point, which may change as they got to know each other.

"That's amazing. I mean your past life and that you remembered it. And it's a good talent to have." She went back to eating as well, silent while she enjoyed the food except for occasional comments. Mostly about how delicious it was. Finally finishing, she sat back to watch Raphael while he finished.


There was a light dessert of a savory apple dumpling with a special creamy nutmeg sauce drizzled over it. Once they were done, he sat watching her in a curious way. A zillion thoughts going through his head and hard to read expression other than it wasn't an unpleasant one. Raphael was one whose features always looked like he was ready to smile and he usually was. "A penny for your thoughts, Princess?"

"I was thinking how delicious everything was and how I'm not going to be able to move." She teased lightly, then laughed. "And that while it's not always good to be surprised, tonight it is." She gave him an impish smile with her own question. "And shall I ask your thoughts?"

"Some surprises are very good. Tonight is one of them, here, with you." Bronze green eyes continued to hold upon hers with that twinkle, one that complimented the smile ever readily available. Taking the napkin to wipe off his mouth before he rose, setting it over the plate. He was around to see to her chair, "when you are ready... I shall show you the elongated surrey."

"I have to agree." She smiled as she stood, then laughed softly. "I have to admit I wasn't sure what tonight would be like, but I'm quite pleased with it all." Raphael was proving to be a wonderful host. " And I'm anxious to see what you've done."

Once she was up, he brought her over to where the modified surrey was, out of eyesight from where they had been sitting at the table. She would notice he had lightly padded the seats in purple. He had also added the Heathfield crest whose background was purple, the dragon gold against a white cross. It was all open still. "Now, here are the changes for when it gets cold," opening up a sliding drawer attached to the underneath as he slid out a panel, the wood not too thick nor too thin with a small window and slid it in place over one end. The top was stationary for all seasons. "Now, here is another special modification," and he went to one end of the elongated surrey to pull down a lever, then to the back to pull down another. A long sled blade was lowered as the wheels were lifted. He didn't do the other side as this was to demonstrate.

It was a marvel, even before he showed her what else he had done. She was delighted with both the crest and the padded seats and when he began to show the rest, Henna was amazed. She was over to study the panel then the blade, even leaning over to see how it all worked beneath. Finally, she turned to Raphael, her face bright with happiness. "It is better than what I imagined, Raphael. The children will love it and we'll be able to do so much more with them." She was over to hug him, then tipped her head back. "You will likely get more orders as I'm going to recommend for you to make some for the schools." A dimple showed as the smile returned. "And now for the price." He'd  have his coins in the morning. She turned to look at it again. Raphael better plan to be very busy!

He was pleased she liked what he had done and in fact incorporated it in a few of the others as a selling point. Hugs, certainly acceptable and he was a huggable kind, she fitted well into the strength of his arms, he was very tone physically, muscular, but not overly. When she tipped her head back like that his eyes fell immediately to her lips in one of those tracing over their fullness before lifted again, certainly he was tempted. It was there in the blaze that rose to molten bronze eyes. A smile quirked, "if I didn't need the coin to live on, to see me through the winter, I'd sell it for a kiss." Which he could use the recommendations. He was doing all right, coming along, word of mouth was the best advertising. That took time but it seemed he was going to have a windfall. There were papers on the front seat where the driver sat. A guarantee on parts for a year's time and directions of how to switch wheels and blades as well how to lock in the panels which also served as a door for those getting out. His arms easing as she turned from the hug and he pointed out the sheets of paper that had all she asked.

"That might keep you warm for a while, but alas, winter will be here all too soon." She didn't lower her eyes, instead her expression held it's own bit of fire. As she stepped back, and he pointed out the papers, she made her way to the front seat and picked them up. Reading them over quickly then nodded. "Excellent. As long as you haven't cheated yourself." She turned again and smiled at him. "You know, I'll be traveling to Innis soon, to visit that realm, so I'm not quite willing for this night to end. Now that the business is over, would you like to go for a walk? The moon is full and there's mystery in the air."

"I have not cheated myself," but obviously he had given some extra over the usual. His voice in a slightly roughen tone from just behind her right shoulder as she read over the papers. Practically turning into his chest as he dipped his chin with her this close before taking a step back. Yes, there was that touch of amusement in bronze eyes. "It doesn't have to end yet, I can walk you back to the castle," not fly as that would have it too quick. "Before you leave or when you come back, I would like to show you the tree house Gabriel and I built before the winter comes. If you would like to see it." She may have seen it from the shore if she had been down there and to notice for it was across the way at a right angle.

She hadn't realized he was so close and let out a surprised squeak before laughing. Then she nodded, "I would love to see it close up." Confirming that she had indeed seen it, and heard of it. "I'm not sure when we're leaving, but if it isn't soon, I'll let you know." There had been a delay but that wasn't unusual with all that had been going on. "I'll have two horses sent along with the payment so that the surrey can be delivered to the orphanage. Will you bring it, or shall I also send a driver?" The handyman at the Orphanage would do the driving for them.

"If your man is bogged down with duties, I'd be more than pleased to bring it up once the horses are delivered to pull it." Which he'd show their livery man how to set them up if needed and how to work the trappings. "Perhaps I can see your orphanage?" Being he had not been up that way it would give him such an opportunity.

"That would be wonderful." She was always glad to show visitors around and the children loved company. "Don't be surprised if you're asked a hundred questions though." She chuckled then motioned to where she had left her cloak. "Shall we?" The papers would be tucked into an inside pocket in the cloak.

"We shall.." stepping aside with a slide of his hand before escorting her over to where her cloak was left during the meal. He took it up to place around her shoulders then offered his arm. "It is the prefect night to spend walking with a beautiful woman." Which his words were genuine and certainly true as he locked up the place behind them and headed for the Orphanage. The walk would give him more time this night to spend with her and, per their conversation, other times to see her again. "I hear Innis is quite beautiful and warm." The last being the part that would draw anyone facing the onset of winter.

"Yes, and I've never seen it. King Peter offered me the chance to do so before the winter makes travel treacherous. And thank you." She felt her cheeks grow warm again. "I have to admit, I do like your compliments." They made her feel warm inside. She took in a deep breath as she waited for him to lock up. "I love the way fall smells. And look how the moon has turned everything to silver." There were small wisps of fog that seemed to dance above the road.

"An enchanted night spent with an enchanting woman. It is like we have walked into another world, one of our own making," yet real all around them. If there were any others out, they went fairly unnoticed other than Raphael was always alert to any malicious intent and would have her in his arms and into the air before anything could happen. Luckily, such was almost unheard of in these lands, especially in this part. So the conversation would continue.



Date: 11-21-10
Poster: Joseph McDonough
Post # 29

Heathfield Commons
The Ceramic Shop's New Potter


Joseph was one taking care of Castle matters of late and so got the note on one Oisin Quinn looking for a shop. He sent a message to their manor to meet him in front of the Thistle. It was a cool afternoon, one that needed a cloak when out too long to take the nip out of the air from penetrating to one's bones. So was one worn and a Stetson on his head that dipped in the front. Rugged warm clothing beneath and sturdy leather boots lacing up to below his knees. He was enjoying a cigarillo as he waited. The smoky grey layers whisked away with the breeze that came in spurts, leaving the scent of vanilla in its wake.

Oisin had requested that neither her brothers nor Fiona know of this undertaking. She didn't want the help of any of them in acquiring the shop and wanted her progress and success to be her own and a surprise to them. Excusing herself from the manor with tell of needing something from the square, she slipped out easily enough. Thankfully. Dressed in a proper coat closed snuggly with gloves and a hat, she approached the Thistle with a hopeful smile and soft hum. The scent of vanilla a sure sign that someone waited outside, she spotted Joseph. "Good afternoon, Mr. McDonough. I'm sorry to draw you out on such a chilly day."

He was up from the lean he'd taken against the porch steps' railing as what was left of the cig was dropped to be crushed under the heel of his boot. He looked the part of a cattle rancher as a smile lifted easily. "Good afternoon to you as well, Fawn I believe you prefer being called. You've met me son Joshua." Which might give her some bearings and he not a complete stranger. "Now, what kind of a shop are you looking for?" He had keys to a few with mostly one in mind if it fit the bill. One that was down Oak street so she was near the bustle of the main square but not right out in it for it filled up with carts and vardos of those that didn't have a shop and came in that way to sell their goods, then packed up at night.

She looked thoughtful for a moment, then smiled again. "Joshua! Oh yes. I remember him. I hope he's doing well." Having not seen him for a while. She had a vision of what she wanted in her head, but how easy it would be to find the actual place fitting that was something else entirely. "Well, I'm hoping for a shop with lots of room with a work area for myself and Madam. And something with a lovely awning for warmer weather where we can hang the windchimes."

"Indeed I will, he spoke fondly about you." Which had that more devilish smile although he didn't tease his son over it. Crushes came and went and he possibly was already over it. It was good to know he was noticing a pretty lass, for that was normal, expected even at his age. The bunch of them had been out and about, even traveling to the northern tavern to open up and clean it. "Well, I have a vacant ceramic shop that was once occupied by a blind lass that did ceramics." How, well, it certainly was a talent the one had. With an gesture of hand he started down towards the commons which was still in full bloom of those selling their wares. There was also the addition of acrobats, bards, musicians and dancers that roamed performing in hopes of a coin spared their way. "Porch with an awning and large area to work, shelves to display things on inside especially during the colder weather."

A small blush, she just smiled and nodded and followed his gesture. She always enjoyed time in the markets just because there was such a wide variety of people. "How long as the shop been vacant?" A coin dropped here and there, she always set aside a few for visiting the markets to pass to others who earned their living with entertainment. Looking to Joseph, she smiled brightly. "It sounds perfect. Thank you for not sending word to my brothers on this. They're always eager to help, and I love that they are, but some things have to be done on my own."

"I think about two years, lass up and left with nary a word." Which happened although it surprised him on this particular one. He didn't say anything else on the woman, best left in the past. It took some time making their way through the square for how busy it was. On her comment he responded, "that will be up to you to do, as you wish. You are old enough to be on your own." One was at even fifteen though not encouraged at all before sixteen. He grabbed up a bag of roasted peanuts from one vendor in passing, exchanging a coin for it, and then handing it over to Fawn. "I can understand that sentiment." Giving a thoughtful nod as they were making their way to oak street. The Traugott clock shop was there, Teri's bakery, Lisette's florist. She would be surrounded by good people.

Thoughtful as they walked, though the offer of the pouch of peanuts had her attention. She took them with a smile and looked around to the surrounding shops. "Did she leave anything in the shop? Equipment I mean?" A curious notion. She couldn't really imagine someone just up and leaving like that, much less leaving their things behind in such a fashion. Though it would be to her benefit, and benefit of her purse, if some things were left behind. Maybe it was a sign that this was the right path to take.

"I believe there is slip and a potter's wheel along with tools, odds and ends." They were passing the heavenly scents coming from the bakery. "There is a kitchen and a flat upstairs reserved for the proprietor if they wish to stay, or use it nights they work late and the weather is bad. Some even plan on staying through a storm on its way so they can still open up for many walk even during the course of winter storms." Especially in the small city the area had grown into. Wasn't long when they came upon the place, steps leading up to a good size porch with sturdy awnings. Two doors, one on each side allowed one to go into the working area or into the store. Inside they were connected. He took her into the working area first as he unlocked the door. It was spacious but about one third of the whole shop. Long bench and shelves along one side. The potter's wheel was one worked by foot petals as they sat on the seat. It was in good shape. "Come in and see for yourself." As he held the door. "There is a backyard that has privacy and where there is a stack of wood to be burned in the hearths and one pop belly stove."

Approaching with him, she stopped to look over the face of the building with curiosity. The big porch was what she really wanted, for warmer weather would allow her to put creations outside. Maybe she could even learn to glass blow and add that to her shop. Up the steps in his wake as he opened the door, she stepped in past him and looked around, already imagining how it would be arranged, where Fiona would be set up with her paints and brushes. Looked like the only thing it needed was a firing furnace. Eagerly she walked over to the wheel to give it a push with her hand, then further into the shop portion. "Oh, Mr. McDonough, this is perfect!" Imagination was certainly running wild.

There was a furnace but it was to the back of the work shop being it needed to be vented so it didn't catch the place on fire. As she looked around he was looking into the shop part that was connected. "I think you have all the materials you need to start. Granted you will need more as your shop opens and creations are bought," giving a glance back in from the archway. "There seems to be plenty of shelves out here, a register and desk that holds it." There were open tables between in rows too to place things on if not on the shelves. "Looks like it only needs another cleaning." As dust would collect but it had been cleaned up good after the former potter had left.

She'd spot the furnace eventually. She was far too taken by the charm of the shop and the feeling that it was just right. She would of course paint it and decorate it before bringing in her family to see it. She really hoped they would like it. Undoubtedly, her brothers would. Fiona and her parents....well they'd at least pretend to be happy about it. "I think this is perfect. It just feels....right."

The kitchen area was behind the shop part being the furnace occupied that part of the back behind the working area. Steps led up from the kitchen and the door between could be closed and locked. The kitchen had pots and pans, some dishes and mugs, double sink and a stove. Upstairs she would find one smaller flat with a bedroom and antechamber she could store things in and the larger flat having a living and dining area along with a small kitchen, the main one being downstairs. The bedroom was bigger with closet space. Even if she didn't use them. "Here is the key then, I will just need you to sign these papers." Which made it all legal her being here and the usual things about all things inside the place were hers that she brought in, but the building and lands belonged to the Crown. She had tenure here for as long as she stayed, it would not be taken from her. Some places were left down to the children born. A tithing was given, small percentage once a proprietor was making money.


She of course wandered around to see every last inch of it. It was perfect. She could furnish the upstairs for the rare occasion she had to stay, or Fiona had to and make it all comfortable for the both of them. She was excited to get started. It would be a large project by herself just to get it set up, but it would be worth it for her family to see. At least it was nothing new for those of the manor to go an entire day's worth of sunlight without seeing her. "Hm? Oh...of course." She turned to sign the papers that required her signature. "I have payment. Will you need it?" Hopefully it was enough. She waited before taking the keys.

"No payment is needed yet, after you get on your feet." As in the contract she should read, he pointed it out so she could see. "Right," drawing his finger down the paragraphs, "here," where it stalled. "What the Crown wants to see is for you to flourish, to take care of the place while here and if there is need of any major work, additions or whatever, they will construct those. You just need to put in the request." That was how it was handled for being owned by the Crown, any improvements only added to what they owned.

"Oh...." She looked at where he pointed to read it and nodded. "Alright. Well then..." She went ahead and signed the papers with her signature and offered them back to him with a smile. "Thank you. I shall have to send something to their Majesties as my way of thanking their generosity."

"That is a gracious notion and goes over well." Showed her appreciation although not expected, the Crown made note of those that did. Giving her a wink. "I will leave you to explore the shop and make your plans. It was very nice meeting you Fawn and I wish you the best with the place."

The keys were taken with a bright smile. "Thank you, Mr. McDonough. I appreciate your help. Send greetings to Joshua, if you would?"

He was at the door from the shop as he opened it up, a hand slapped to the frame as he paused there. Green eyes held that glint to them as well the somewhat charming, yet cocky, smile. "I will stop by or have Josh do so in a few weeks. Contact me if you need anything. I will convey your greetings as well. Maybe he could sell some of his carvings here." A thought if she had some room and Josh would probably want to kill his father for suggesting it! That was part of the devilish glint in his eyes before he continued on his way. Places to go yet, the toyshop needed a looking in on that recently handed over to one Evan Hunt.

A fond smile. "I'll save a sill for him. Thank you, again." She watched him out then turned to the shop, making mental notes for the preparations she wanted to make, colors and other such things.



Date: 12-13-10
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 30

MacKay Leather

The snow had been falling all day. Starting out as flurries after the sky became more gray and the flurries multiplied. By evening it was dense with inches mounting on walks, roads, brush, trees and roofs alike. It kept many inside but just as many came out for various reasons; such as the need of getting more wood to snug in for the night, shoveling walks to clear and those who loved the falling snow. Of course there were all the children forming their groups again as they did each year and the snowball wars would begin. Trevet was bundled up with a snow shovel in hand and shoveling the snow from their steps down to the walk. Eion Quinn's invention was out clearing the roads for the first time with a real snowfall and not just a dusting to be blown away by the next day. There was laughter in the air as a few snowballs whizzed by him. The Valdez family was also out and singing while they shoveled. A good way to practice their holiday songs.

For Charlie window shopping was like dreaming, she could see things that others might enjoy, and the shops were all well lit so that walkers like themselves, could see all the wares offered by the keepers ...  "They say there is a shop that makes candles and perfumes, I haven't been there yet," she told Anthea ...

Anthea was dressed in wool pants, a thick turtle neck, and of course the sheep skin jacket that covered her all cozy like. "Oooo I like that.. candles are always pretty." Spoken softly with the Greek dialect to touch each word. She was searching for her gloves even as she spoke. It was cold, but she was so enjoying the snow. "It is so beautiful, ne?"

Charlie nodded her head smirking, "I think so, who knows who we might see out looking at the windows," just like they were..

"I love window looking, is that the word?" She blushed slightly, or was it the chill of winter's kiss, who knew.. "Perhaps find a shop that sells blankets for when I buy the mule?" Or just walk was good enough as well.

Charlie nodded her head " yep, plus it gives you maybe an idea of items you may need eventually.

Billy, still the bully, started throwing snowballs at Charlie and Anthea, then running to hide before they would circle back around again. Trevet paused as he called out to them, "your offenses are mounting up and I know where you all live." That was a threat being they all came from good families. He stopped his shoveling long enough to check back on the ladies. "Did they bother you much?"

Oh that smarted smacked by a snowball. "HEY you," she yelled, rubbing her furred cloaked form...

She felt the snow ball hit her back, and had to chuckle as she turned with a nudge to Charlie.."Seems we are under attack?" Twitch of a grin... Charlie was right of course.. she needed much ...  Anthea was immediately finding  snow to make ammunition as well. "I am fine, Sir.. Charlie?"  The snow was falling, and of course she was only thinking of having fun, making angels and the like, but for now.. "I am Anthea.. nice to meet you.. and Charlie.. my companion." Unless Charlie knew him? Then, she left Charlie to speak, and Anthea to pack a snow ball, but not tight it would hurt.  Silver eyes tried to search for the culprit, a grin to form along her lips. She loved a good game as anyone.

She twisted hearing Trevet shout, cocking her head, turning towards him. "Oh we are fine, though it seems that one needs to be pelted right in the kisser," she laughed,"how are you this fine cold evening?"

"Aye, and he gets it every year. Last year by Concessa Quinn who knocked a king off his horse during a joust. I'm Trevet MacKay, it is possibly you have met some of me kin, Charlie." He knew her to see her in the least.

Charlie inclined her head, "most likely I have Trevet, I seem to be encountering many and absentmindedly forgetting a few." She grinned, it was all the youngins fault, with their questions of antics of their parents ..

Silver gaze failed to find the culprit, but Anthea kept the snow ball within the tender grasp of gloved fingers. She looked almost like a small boy, but smart she was to dress in men clothing and stay warm.

A chuckle came in a frosted expel of air. "I think he will be leaving you alone tonight." Billy knew Trevet could best him along with a few others so usually picked on the meek. A few he'd been wrong there too. Eventually the kids would no longer hang out with him as Billy was reaching sixteen and time for him to start growing up. "Most likely it would be me brother Mikhail who does the card readings."

"Ah yes I recall seeing him ...never had him read for me though with gypsies one tends to hear it often," she grinned ...

She stood near Charlie's side. Nay a word did she speak, only to listen and watch as she stared up briefly to watch the snow fall.

"Who is the shy one Charlie?" taking a precarious lean against his shovel as he tried to get a look at her. See if he recognized her face.

The Greek woman was bundled with a wool hat, only giving glimpses of her long pony tail, that glided down her back like rivers of a braided night. "Sorry, Sir.. I am Anthea, recently arrived here." Soft were her words, laced with the country of her heart. " A pleasure to meet you.." She smiled to Charlie, she was getting better.. Trying not to be so shy. But, still she was a child at heart, as she lifted her head and opened her mouth only a little to stick her tongue out and catch the fallen snow. Then did she smile. She loved ice and snow.

"Anthea .." she grinned, poking her friend. "We were looking at the windows to see what might interest us for the Noel," she replied ..

"I have the leather shop," well obviously with his surname there. "If you are cold, I can offer you some tea inside." It was a losing battle shoveling but he'd be back out later to attempt it again. Snow was thick and hard to see too great a distance, like only a few feet before everything became hazing. There was a silence about such a snowfall but just then the rather noisy sound of the Roller was coming up the street, or down it depending on where one was and their perspective. It was big this monster Roller with the huge drums that were taller than he packing down the snow.


She gazed to Charlie, it sounded like a very nice offer. But, would let Charlie decide.. if she wanted to continue shopping, Anthea would. Smile she did.. her thanks seen within her gaze. More friends to be made.. she liked that. How many friends did that make now? "Sas efharisto."

"Tea sounds nice, and to be warm if only for a few minutes," she agreed, winking at Anthea ... what do you make with the leather?" she asked Trevet, curious ...

"I make saddles, Stetsons, coats, pants, saddlebags, and so on. We buy some too and resell it but most of the leather we use is from the McDonough cattle ranch," which he has straightened from his lean, "nice to meet you Anthea and welcome to the lands." He was up to the porch, scooping more snow out of the way on his way before it was propped up against the side of the building. "Me brother Kynan is around inside." Not being quite sure where he was as he could be in the back or up in their flat above the shoppe. There was a mat just within to get the snow off their boots on.

Leather? She wondered if he made all sorts of things. Wasn't Sadie looking for a saddle? She kept silent on that, until she found out what this gentleman did make.

"Ah yes Kenneth rides for himself, " she replied, with a smile, "tea it is then " she grinned, glancing at the roller, doing a double take ...

"McDonough? Is that Rory?" She remembered what Charlie said, and she needed a mule and wagon. And the saddle, well she knew where Sadie could come now.. "My friend is looking for a saddle, I believe, I shall tell her of you, Trevet.." She turned and gaze to the blizzard, she had seen this kind of storm only once in her life, but wasn't afraid of it. With a final glance she followed Charlie. Nod of understanding. Anthea just wanted that mule and wagon.

Charlie nodded and shook her head, "Rory is the son, the father has the cattle ranch," she drawled.

He then took off his gloves, coat, hat and scarf before giving them more room. One could smell the tea and pastries which were gotten from Teri's sweet shop.

Charlie scrubbed her feet back and forth, drawing a breath at the temperature difference, "Ah this is better,"sniffing the air, the smell of leather and oils and sundry a good homey smell ...

Anthea smiled warmly as she did rub her boots on the mat, making sure the boots were free of winter's blanket, and then slender fingers were exposed as she took off the gloves. She was glad for the warmth, of that she held no doubt.  "Tea does sound good, Charlie.. Hit the spot before clomping thru the snow again." Twitch of a grin came easily to chilled lips, but also a nod of thanks to the gentleman for his kind offer. She brought silver eyes to gaze about, slender fingers to remove the woolen cap from her dark head, and place that within her jacket as well.

Charlie ambled slow looking at the saddles and bridles, here and there, nodding her head, liking the craftsmanship, pointing to a few items that Anthea would need eventually ..

Kynan was in the back room, but he wasn't working. Instead, he was sitting, his chin on his hand, a frown on his face as he stared at the table in front of him. Leather was what he was frowning at as well as a heavy needle and thread. He blinked when he heard voices, pushed to his feet and headed for the front of the shop.

She did enjoy them as well. And was gazing about for items she intended to buy for the Noel for those she had met. "I suppose one day I will be here to buy a saddle?" She let the tips of her fingers glide along the leather, anxious to learn to ride. She did like the work, and would definitely tell Sadie of Trevet and his leather shop. "Sadie might like to come here."

Charlie hummed, "hmm something smaller I think, I have seen these saddle at the ranch, and they are heavy to endure the rigors of the work," fingering the tool marks with a smile, it took steady hand to create such beauty ..

Charlie would know best, and this gentleman as well. Anthea would listen to her friend, and wait till she could purchase the right saddle for a mule. But for now.."It smells nice.."

"Uh, hello." He was surprised to find two ladies there in the middle of the storm. "Can I help you?" Saddles at which ranch? He might ask later but ...

Charlie nodded in agreement, "it does ..I wager he has a small English saddle that would fit you," replying ..

In the meantime, Treve took care of the tea and set out more of the pastries. Mostly Boston cream, some apple and blueberry turnovers. "There you are, Kynan, this is Charlie and Anthea."

Anthea turned with her silver eyes to smile as well as lips warm now from winter's chill. "Greetings...Kynan.. pleasure to meet you." The storm was like a second home to Anthea, but warmth was invited and she had accepted fully.

Pouring some hot water into mugs with the tea, "when you're ready," as in come and get it when they were. Taking one of the mugs up as he stepped aside.

"Good evening Kynan pleasure to meet you," she grinned, looking a bear standing in his shop..

She spoke the Greek words for thank you again, the words soft as she moved to accepted the beverage that would warm her chilled bones. She kept her coat on for now, feeling still a bit chilled from the walk.

"Nice to meet you both, as well." He colored a little, not having seen Treve there. "What ranch are you talking about, Miss Charlie?"

Charlie moved to where the tea was,taking a cup, smiling,"McDonough Ranch ..Kenneth rides herd there," she replied to Kynan..

"I need a mule and wagon.." spoken warmly, trying to ease the shyness from her soul, and then to leave Charlie to speak. Silver eyes did view the interior of the room again, enjoying the smell of leather, even the smell of the tea combined was almost intoxicating as she took the first sip.

"Oh, well, those are likely saddles Mr. Quinn made. He works there too." He grinned at his brother. "Treve makes excellent ones too." He looked at Anthea then Trevet. "Do they sell mules there?" Being the youngest, he didn't really do much buying and there was the answer.



Date: 12-13-10
Poster: Trevet MacKay 
Post # 31

"Mule you can get from Rory McDonough. Best wagons are made by the wainwright, Raphael O'Keeffe." Being helpful as he studied his brother, wondering what was off about him.

Anthea gazed in Kynan's direction as well, curious to know. She was tired of walking, and could not wait to purchase both.

Charlie nodded she knew Mr. Quinn, and Raphael too. "I am sure some of yours are there, they are quite sturdy and the tooling is excellent." If not, Kenneth would have a new saddle ..

"Sas efharisto.. Trevet.." She believed she had met Raphael the other evening in the Thistle, and Rory.. she would find it when her and Sadie traveled to their lands. She smiled warmly, she was happy to finally call this land home.

"Me brothers take care of all of that." He nodded at Charlie. "I wouldn't doubt it."

She smiled to the young lad, again envious to see one with family, but she remained quiet for a moment. Drinking the tea slowly as she did watch them in their conversation.

Ah well Kenneth would have a new saddle, because Charlie saw one that sparked her interest as well a pair of saddle bags, just what every man wants right?

In lands where they rode horses.......a lot........that was a good bet! "When did you come to the lands, Anthea?" drumming up conversation while they had their tea.

Charlie sipped the tea, listening and looking at the items around ..

"Perhaps close to a month, three weeks.. I cannot remember. But I am happy to say I was granted citizenship." The smile grew bright, holding the tea cup from lips as she did smile and her excitement to sparkle within silver eyes. "Evony is new if you have not met her.. furrier, and Sadie once lived here and has returned.." Now that she was talking free of shyness, she could not shut up.

Kynan didn't have much in the way of social graces so he just found a place out of the way and listened while they talked. No tea and he wasn't hungry.

Charlie just grinned, having something to talk of made her free and that was good ..

She did turn to wink to Charlie. Perhaps it was these lands, but she felt she could talk to all. Even the lad if he wanted?

As much as she wished to stay, Charlie set the cup down, "thank you for the tea and ideas Trevet and Kynan, if you don't mind Anthea I shall leave you here to look at saddles, and erm sundries, while I go take some measurements," and bake some more cookies ..

"Will it be easy to find my way back to the Thistle?" Questioned softly.

Charlie nodded her head, "very easy," she nodded her head," and I am sure that one of these gentlemen will walk you back, least you get pelted again."

"Thank you Charlie.. I will visit unless the gentlemen wish sleep" She was not pushy.. and either was fine.  "Charlie..thank you.. I had a wonderful evening.." the walk in the snow was nice. Plus, she needed Charlie not here to see about her Noel gift. Grin.

"I have not met either, so it will be a pleasure to meet them when they come around.." noticing that Charlie needed to go. "Be careful out there for it is cold and cold makes widow branches. We plan to be open a little longer."

Kynan was eighteen but he was one of those unlucky lads who looked younger than they were and he kept pretty much to himself or the company of his family. "Thistle's not hard to find. Night Miss Charlie."

Charlie nodded her head "I will walk on the good paths, "she drawled, "thank you again, for everything," she grinned, making her way to the door, waving as she went, not a bad evening at all ...

She hated to see her go, but completely understood the time she wanted with her man. "Now that she is gone.. do you make thick leather gloves?" Of course he did, but she was only being polite? Ok still a little shy.

"Yes we do, there is a bin over here," which he headed in the direction against to the right of the door. They had moved the table with them on it being a feature item this time of the year. There was all kinds and sizes as well ones that were fur lined, usually rabbit fur so they were as soft as the brushed leather they were made of.

"Thank you.." She moved behind him, at a slow pace with the cup of tea still within her tender grasp. "They are for Charlie, when she works the lands.. I admit, I am not good at picking such.." She gazed about where to place her cup so she could look thru the gloves, glad to have bought some of her coin with her, held snug within the pocket of her jacket.

While they looked, Kynan made a face and mouthed ow! He swatted at something then mumbled, "go away."

She images of all she wanted to get for those she met. But, first on her list was definitely Charlie. Gloves, she thought, was the best thing. "How are you enjoying the weather, Kynan?" Spoken with a friendly smile. She was not much of a social person either, but was trying tonight to be? Ok she was bad at it.

"Charlie would appreciate warmth with utility than being more pretty," which he had some of the sturdier gloves that would last being used for real work, not just warmth. They were pretty much grouped as such. Children's, women's men's and unisex.

"It's fine as long as I'm inside." He smiled as he tucked something into a vest pocket. The weather didn't really bother him much except when it was extra windy. Then he heard a lot of grumbling.

"Thank you.." She seen Charlie that way too, why she was wearing men's clothing this night. Much better for warmth, she thought. "You wouldn't like to have a snow fight?" She loved them, and had to quirk a grin as those silver eyes, with cup in hand, did use her free hand to look thru the bin.  "These are it.." Spoken as if she found the lost city of Atlantis. "These are perfect.." She lifted the gloves from the bin. Sturdy as Trevet spoke, and perhaps warm for her fingers. She loved them, and it showed with her smile that seem to radiate to her eyes.

"I like snowball fights. Just not tonight." He would want to cheat and he'd never hear the end of it. He finally decided on a cup of tea. "You ever go tobogganing, Miss?"

"To.. tob.." The slight accent she still held of her mother land, could not pronounce it.."No.. I don't believe I have.. what is it?" She loved to snowball fight. Perhaps another night they all could have a good one. But for now... tobogganing?

"Not tonight as I've a few things to do yet. I am sure there will be plenty of snowball fights yet to come, however." He was a bit tired.

"I am sorry, Trevet, to keep you.." She easily moved slender fingers inside to gather some coin. "How much for the gloves?" And also was she handing over the cup of tea with a smile, still listening for Kynan's response. She hated to keep any, and she would find rest with a good book and the cookies Charlie made her.

"Uh ... a toboggan is made of wood and it has guide ropes. You drag it to the top of a hill and ride down on top of the snow. Unless you wreck." He grinned as he added, "but that's fun too." So long as no one got hurt.

Now that got her attention. "Now that I like.." She could not wait to try that out, and soon.. perhaps in the days to come she would try it, as well as having fun in the snow. "I cannot wait to try.."

"Shawnesey brothers usually make a run that's all twisting with lots of turns that slides out onto the ice of the lake. They build a snow dragon at the end. Usually pretty challenging." He wasn't sure when they made it. "Ice is thick at the lake so it might be soon."

"Kynan, that sounds like so much fun. Almost like flying on the snow and ice, ne?" She was anxious to try, and ice.."Can you skate on the lake?" That she did enjoy very much so.

"You're not keeping me but a snowball fight would," from his shop and making money. Luckily he was not all work and no play, just sometimes one had to set one or the other aside. "Gloves are only 25 coins." One of the cheaper things sold here.

"Of course, Trevet.. perhaps another time we can pull you and your brother out.. gather Charlie and others and have fun." She didn't want to take any from their work, she just liked having fun with those she did call friends now.." She easily gave him 25 in coin.. a smile as she set the cup down where she knew it would not ruin any of his work. "I will more then likely come back for more gift ideals.." Smile curled about her lips, as she took her free hand now to gather her own gloves to place on slender fingers, hat to cover her dark braid... and make sure the sheep skin jacket kept her small form swallowed and warm.

"Aye, you can. The guards keep a check on it, watch for soft spots but usually once it turns to ice, it stays solid all winter." He took a sip of the tea then added more sugar. Better.

"Then I cannot wait to skate.. use to do it often where I use to live." Ice skating she enjoyed. "Fell more then I did skate.. but bruises was worth it" The new gloves for Charlie were now in her pocket.

"After tonight's snow, they'll have enough to build the run and then the contests begin.. and the snow fights."

"Contest..? Then I shall count the days until such begins."

"Aye, who can make it down without spilling out of the toboggan. A lot of the local businesses offer up prizes if they run an event."

"I hear the rumbler out there." He went over the front window and looked out, watching the Snow Roller move by. Snow was still falling fast and hard.

"I will be new at it.. but after Kynan's explanation, perhaps I shall practice?" She knew she would be bad at it, but all had to try once to learn. "Thank you so much for your kindness, both of you, and it was a pleasure to meet you both. Such a smile seem to radiate over the Greek, and snow she was not afraid of. "Good evening.. and thank you again." With a final smile, did she make her way outside, and again, did the winter kiss seem to guide her back  to the Thistle.

"So," seeing to the closing of the door and locked as well the closed sign put up. He would see to the steps and walk tomorrow as it was still snowing heavily. "Something wrong?" turning as he spoke then headed for the tea to put away the pastries and mugs.

When the woman left, Kynan opened up his pocket. "Lralii, if you don't stop pulling my hair when you want attention, I'm going to pull on your wings." He grumble, causing the wee Fae to giggle, then looked at his brother. "Aye, I'm ... restless I guess. All the training I've done, and I'm not doing anything. You had more adventure by the time you were my age then most lads and I'm," he shrugged, "guess I'm a bit jealous."

Which only had him blink. "The grass is not greener on the other side of the hill, lil brother. Maybe you'll get to go north with them for the battle rumored to take place."

"I doubt it. I'm not a squire, Treve. And I think Aedan thinks I'm clumsy." Just because he nicked their older brother the other day during sword training. Didn't even need stitching up!

"How about we talk about it over coffee and breaking fast tomorrow?" He was really tired and this sounded like a serious conversation that he was not prepared for tonight. He had the place all closed up by this time and tomorrow... well, they most likely would be snowed in.

"Aye, we can." He gave his brother a half smile. "You do look tired, brother mine. Good night." He was just going to put out the lanterns and sit and watch the snow fall for a while.


Date: 12-29-10
Poster: Gates Barrington
Post # 32

Barrington Hospital

It was the usual so far, those with colds, fevers and flus coming in looking to get something to take. Randy was bringing in some of the older folks by sled as he made the rounds to check up on those they knew. Those that didn't mind a doctor seeing them and in fact helped them cope with failing health. There was the fact that everyone was going to die at some point so his point was to keep them alive as long as nature allowed. He was in the ward where those that were very sick were kept.

Sadie had just been dropped off outside the hospital. As she was still wagonless, folks had been offering her theirs for a day or two. When she returned in the evenings the wagon owner would drop her in the Commons or here at the hospital. Giving her back a yank up her shoulder, she headed inside. She'd need to pick up a few things for tomorrow and wanted to see if they needed a hand, this was certainly the time of year for the hospital to be full. She dropped her coat off on the way in and, after asking where he was headed to find Gates. It wasn't a surprise that he was at the hospital or in that particular ward.

At least he wore a cloth mask over his face so that there was less chance of him getting any of the more spreading sicknesses. He was just checking up on the last patient of this ward and the dosage for the older woman to be given and to be kept warm and comfortable, when Sadie arrived. He handed the chart off to the trainee and was over to intercept as he took off the mask and gestured that the exit the ward. "Old Martha Jones may not make it to the New Year if the medication doesn't take for getting in so late." There was a sadness to his tone but it was sometimes inevitable when a eighty-nine year old got a cold that was settling into her chest and lungs. Something that needed immediate treatment, not a week later after it started. "How are you doing?"

Sadie smiled at the patients, gave a wave as Gates crossed to her. She walked with him and, at his news, lifted a hand to his arm, "I'm sorry to hear that." It was always hard to lose a patient, but particularly when you felt as if it could have been prevented. "I'm doing well. I thought I'd see if you needed a hand in here." She smiled up at him, "Or wanted a break all together. I could do whatever it is you'd be doing this evening and you could head into town or to your own bed for once."

"Thank you for the offer but I will be staying tonight for if Martha is not going to make it, it will happen and she wanted me by her bedside. She doesn't really have anyone except two sons that are out at sea somewhere she rarely sees. I wouldn't mind some company, share my meal if you have not eaten? James brought food up from the Thistle as we usually get our meals from there being offered." All the while he headed to one of the back rooms that was more like a living room lounge in this manor home. The food kept warm on the table and recently delivered as he knew he'd have some time. "Have you gotten yourself a wagon and horse yet? Or were you planning on a mule?" Seeing to the door as it was pressed open and held for her.


She nodded. She'd do the same in his place. At the mention of food her mouth quirked, "I might have skipped lunch." But there had been eggs and bacon at breakfast, for once. She murmured a thanks as he held the door, then chuckled, "A horse, but no, still haven't made it to the stables. I've been a'borrowing." Under duress. When people found out she didn't have a wagon and horse they insisted. It was that sort of place. And, being winter, they weren't as badly needed on the farms. Dropping her bag by a chair, she pulled out a seat for herself.

"Have you bet on the horses to gain more coins to buy yourself the wagon? Usually one wins quite a bit, a few thousand and your first betting experience is courtesy of Falkirk Downs and Patrick Frasier. You have until tomorrow afternoon." To have her bets in safely that was. "I would suggest you see Raphael O'Keeffe and ask him for one of his newer inventions. Wheels for the summer and blades for the winter. He has made it so one retracts up and the other lowers." Which would come in handy for her considering she got out all year round as she could, or would be being back again. He was over to lift up one of the domes, chicken cutlets was the scent, another had a couple steak and kidney pies while the last had stout braised lamb shanks and a basketful of curly fried potatoes. "Hungry?" If she wasn't before, she would be now as he smiled her way, the lid set aside as he got out two plates and utensils.

She grinned at mention of the races, "I don't plan on winning, but I mean to bet, oui." As for Raphael, she nodded. "I'd been planning to see him, but I'd no idea he was so innovative." This week, that was her plan. Rory and Raphael. At the scent of the food she nearly moaned. She really, really needed to remember her meals. "Bon Dieu, I'm stopping here for dinner every night. I'll get fat and happy and you'll have to hire people to lift me out of this chair." She flashed that smile even as she stood to get her plate from him.

So did he. He usually had a good breakfast and the staff here would all but force a half a sandwich on him or a cup of soup on the fly. Dinner was late like tonight. He would fall asleep on the couch here in the room later to be awaken when needed. Otherwise they let him sleep. When things were slow, he actually got to his manor home to stay for a few days. Her comment had him laughing as he saw to her seat. "Tea to go with it?" Being he didn't drink while here and the tea had some herbs to keep him healthy and all who drank it. A pot was always left brewing under his specifications. It included mint giving it a nice flavor. "You'd work off anything you ate in no time," just like him as he saw to getting two mugs and the pot to bring over, poured his after he sat, leaving her to tend to hers as she wished.

When she stayed in one place, people usually caught on to her bad habits and did the same. But being on her own out in the world, it was easy to miss them. Although, occasionally folks forced her to share a meal. "Mais oui." She took the mug from him and poured her own. Even that smelled good. "Non. I'd quit working just to eat. If there were some fresh beignets you'd be in real trouble."

"You'll have to bring in those next time," like he was making a deal. He saw to filling up his plate, moderate amount because he never knew when they would be rushing in to get him and he'd only get a fork full down if that. He was having a little of each offering as he finally sat and started to indulge. No time like the moment for the previous mentioned. Sometimes he felt like he had to inhale his food to get any.

Sadie chuckled as she sipped her tea, heading back to the table. Sneaky, he was. After that she was filling up her own plate, heading straight for the lamb shanks and curly potatoes. When she sat down with her plate she closed her eyes, just breathing in the scent. When she opened them again, she got down to the eating. Yup, she knew all about inhaling your meals. Occupational hazard. "Mrs. Harmon's youngest broke his nose. Again." The six year old liked to climb, everything. Sadie was smiling slightly as she explained, "He was trying to pass through walls. Heard Prince Andrew could."

"He still fighting with the lumberjack's son Billy?" The lad had spunk and a few broken noses for it too. Of course this could be another one he was thinking of. So many to keep track of. So it was a different one as he shook his head. "Maybe bring him in sometime to the castle and let him talk to the Prince if he is around. Never know, if he has ability they may teach him how to do that." Which had him grin a moment as he'd paused from his eating then started up again.

Sadie chuckled, nodding, curls shivering 'round her face. "Oui. Youngest of nine and scrappy with it." Definitely one of Sadie's favorites all ready. At his words the fork on the way to her mouth paused, mouth slowly turning up at the edges. "It all still surprises me, what they can do. But you aren't," she waved the fork, "uneasy, non?"

Which had him pause in thinking on that as he shook his head once. "No, it doesn't bother me for death is a real thing and shakes the foundation of mind staying limited to thinking this is all there is or how it is when there is the spirit that needs not the body." Not that he had answers but he had an open mind. One that could accept the ancient ways of healing and the newer more scientific ones. Taking them and using the benefits of both to benefit those he took care of. "We got a pig outside, after taking care of Leroy Jenkins six kids of which two almost died, he paid as he could although we had not asked." If she had been out back, which was a number of acres of land, there was a small farm slowly growing. Chickens, lambs, goats, now a pig. Some of which he donated to the thistle to help cover the food they sent up.

Sadie sort of hummed at his answer. Oh, yes, she agreed. What they could  do was amazing and necessary. Sometimes it made her question how necessary the science, however. How necessary their breed of healers, or maybe just herself as one. At the switch in topic she grinned. "Oui, that is usually the way of it. I once got paid with a parrot. I wasn't sure what I was to do with the bird." And eggs and meals and assorted oddities, once even having been offered the youngest female of a family. That had been awkward to refuse.

There were some strange offerings but people gave what they could. Moonshine was offered by most of the woodsmen in exchange for medicine or a checkup. There were operations to be performed of that which he could. He wasn't a neurosurgeon and there were things like that left to the ancients instead if they were to survive by a miracle. To live as long as Martha was a rarity and most didn't die from disease but either in battle or some accident.

Sadie started to take another bite of potatoes, but stopped with the fork nearly to her mouth. "Do you ever go home? I've heard rumors, but...." she trailed off, obviously teasing him. He was always here when she stopped in! Day or night!

"Rarely in the winter for I never know when a storm will hit." The Hospital was his home more than not. "Once we get some more doctors we can take shifts. One week here, one week home." That sounded like a dream to him. "Luckily you came back to see to all those that cannot get themselves to the hospital easily. One needs to be built or converted in Ballicastle too."

"Well, I'm just...there," she gestured in the general direction of the cottage. In other words, she could always be here if he needed some time off. Sadie nodded to the last. "Oui. I enjoy being out and seeing them in their homes. Are there plans for Ballicastle, then?"

Dastardly, wicked, oaf! Or so her mind tumbled as she left from the market and caught a wagon heading past the hospital. A little wave and in she went, passing a sweet roll in absent gesture to someone who looked like they could use a dose of joy Snagging someone by the sleeve, the windswept blonde flashed a smile "Pardon moi, have you seen the doctor? About yea high,?" A blank look, she added "Wears a dress. Come on, how many women are giving you exams in here?!" Dieu!!

"Any time you want to be here, be here." He meant it too. He was sure that traveling got the better of anyone after a while and those out in the woods and far places didn't need to be seen as often as those that came in here definitely sick or wounded." He could use another doctor on staff if not a few more doctors. They were in the back room which was really more like a living and dining room combined in this old manor home that was very well built. The young lad helping out as a handyman, go-for, directed the woman with a pointed finger to the half ajar door.

She flashed a smile. Oh, she would. "Are you looking then? I have contacts, I could see if anyone is interested in a move." Yes, she would indeed steal doctors from foreign lands. She could have a dozen letters out tomorrow.

A pinch to his cheek and a playful wink. "Merci" And off she flounced in that direction, the hem of the olive hued skirt swishing with each step, the tunic of ivory and rose detail about the neckline complimenting the hurry-up-spring attire. Soon enough she was breezing into the back room, the covered basket set to the table as she winked to Sadie and sized up the man she spoke with "Not impeding miraculous healing, am I?"

"If they come with your recommendation, I definitely would like to talk to them." He was back to eating before the food got cold. The lad of about thirteen froze when she pinched his cheek. Red spread from his neck up leaving him blinking like an owl. Not often he got such attention from a pretty lass and he ran off outside to get more wood and cool down. Gates barely swallowed the mouthful when one came in he didn't recognize, moving to stand immediately. He was a formable enough figure, "good evening, can I help you?"

Sadie grinned. "Oh, oui. I'll see what I can do, darling." When Reve bounded in, she smiled. Then hopped to her own feet. She reached across, laying a hand on his arm. "Ah, Gates. This is my friend, Reve, from France. She's staying with me." Green eyes shot a look at her friend, her dimples appearing. "She's staying with me just now."

"Mon Dieu, Sadie I don't think I've ever wanted a respiratory infection so badly." Those taunting words spoken to her friend but those doe eyes were on the other Doctor. Laughing softly she moved closer, giving Sadie a kiss to her cheek before addressing the doctor with a lift of brow. "Ah, so you are Gates, a pleasure to meet you." The lilt of French accent like fairy wings brushing over each word. Delicate and somehow impish.

"A friend," well that got a smile out of him as dark blue eyes turned from Sadie to the other. "A pleasure to meet you Reve, from France and friend of this good doctor Beadeau.." which Sadie would know there was a lighthearted touch of teasing but certainly sincere in his welcoming of her friend. "Have you gone on her rounds?" Addressing Reve in relation to Sadie.

Sadie returned the kiss and simply laughed at Reve, a worse flirt than even herself. She left answering Gates to Reve, however.

"Non, as much as I respect the profession, all those little tools doctors use are quite frightening" And almost in the same breath, she looked to Sadie "This is the same Gates you groped, oui?" Just to be certain, you know.

Which had him cough back the laugh in how direct this feisty Reve was with Sadie. So blue eyes turned there just to see how she answered that.

Brat! Sadie's smile was certainly embarrassed. Hadn't she just tucked this out of the way? er, gotten over that little incident? "Oui, cherie. Which means everything I said is the same." Sadie's smiled innocently at Gates. Let him wonder what she'd said since he just stood there and laughed. Then, back to Reve. "And where is Luc, darling? Shouldn't you be throwing a plate at his head about now?"

"Well, I can hope what was said was all good things instead of the real devil I can be." Let them wonder as the smile held that edge of a smirk and he to finish up his plate of food. He took a moment to indicate the platters... "have some.." to Reve if she was hungry. "There is also tea."

She tsked a bit and lifted a hand, patting the Doctor's chest "Don't mind her, she's too Australian at times. I would have groped you too." Then OH! The ire at the name of Luc! "That ....!" Well, that's all the English she seemed to remember, flying off into a beautifully irate tirade until she sucked in a breath and calmed. Well, all but the flush of temper in her cheeks. "Luc, may he rot in hell for lying buggars is currently picking your gravy boat out of his hair piece by the way, I got you a new gravy boat..Happy New Year." And a sigh, wilting into a chair, "merci Doctor Gates."

Gates was watching Reve with an curious eye and thoughts. "Sadie, have you let this lovely French flower out into the Thistle upon the unsuspecting men in these lands?" Teasing both at the same time.

Sadie glanced at Gates, hoping he wasn't fluent in French. Some of the things that Reve had said, particularly about Luc's anatomy, really didn't need to be shared. As far as the gravy boat, she just laughed. "Merci, Reve. I didn't like the old one anyway." She eased back into her chair, watching Gates watch Reve. Her lips twitched. "Naturally. I imagine she'll have them all conquered within the week."

"Unless of course, Luc is her beau..?" Oh, he had a good feeling it was far from that but he could find out for sure. Which he had to ask, "which of the men have you met so far?" Charming as Reve seemed to be naturally, there were a few that would be hard to fall.

A wink to Gates "I have yet to entangle myself with the locals past a greeting, yet the day is young. And Luc is a lying, whorish man that I had the misfortune to court." A playful pause and she added to Gates "But call me flower again and I might be tempted to forget I don't fall for flattery" Ah, the grin, just completed the whole look!

"He sounds like a man that you are better without." There were plenty of good men in the world as there were women. This area of relationships he was not anywhere being an expert. Basically his life was owned by the hospital and his patients that he just never found the time. A wry smile showed as he met her tease and something else, "les anges soupirer que vous passer pour votre beauté éclat semblable à les soleil." That might answer Sadie's question but as much as he knew some, he could follow a tirade and anatomy would not embarrass the doctor!

Sadie took another forkful of potatoes, it helped hide her grin. Watching Reve was almost as good as watching Reve and Sela together. And, yup, question answered. Although it was less the anatomy and what Reve had planned to do to it. But, c'est la vie.

Some men were into pain.

Perhaps that's why the doctor seemed so intrigued?

A sigh and the French purred like a well fed kitten "Une langue si mauvaise sur un visage si beau. Aucun Sadie de merveille ne vous a molesté. " Well, at least he was forewarned that Reve had the devil's own temper!

More if Luc was drooling with her threats?

Luc was indeed a glutton to the misery.

Luc did love pain. At least if Reve was doling it out. Sadie laughed, couldn't help it. She did not have Reve's purring, French laugh though. "Mmm. Don't drag me into this, cherie."

"Sadie, you know I taunt you from love, oui?" A kiss blown to her, the smile lingering.

"You are like sisters?" He was observing and observant. There was a love between them like he'd seen between sisters that were close. A touch closer than friends which it also contained.

"Of course, could simply be jealousy" The wink playfully offered and she nodded to Gates "Oui, Sadie and Sela, both near and dear to my heart. "

"Sadique," that she purred to Reve, but the green eyes were bright with amusement. She looked to Gates and gave a nod, "Oui, Reve is the third Badeau girl." Then she glanced at Reve, shaking her head. "You of me? Or me of you?"
Then it clicked. "Oh, bon dieu. Well, you could always ask for a turn."


"Me of you, certainly..I haven't groped the man yet. " Grin tugged and yes, she was bold with words but always that mischief in the eyes! "What is the fun of aski---wait, Mon dieu, you asked?!" Furrow of brow, trying to picture asking for it!



Date: 12-29-10
Poster: Gates Barrington 
Post # 33

He was chuckling as Jason came in, staring at Reve the whole time he addressed the good doctor, "they need you to check on Martha." Already getting red as he backed out and half tripped over his feet. "Excuse me," at least Gates had gotten his meal eaten for a change as he moved quickly enough to catch Jason by the arm so he didn't fall and break his young neck. A glint of amusement in his eyes with a look back to Reve, just that smirk before he headed out to see to Martha.

Reve just gave Red that impishly delightful smile, wiggling her fingers in a wave to the doctor "Goodbye" Then back to Sadie with a laugh, "that was brilliant is work?"

Sadie waited till he was gone, then dropped her head on the table. "Putain." Foul word, that. She peeked up at Reve, but of course she was smiling. Though she tried to look like she was scowling. "You are more trouble than a box full of snakes. I'm so glad you're here! I almost feel myself when I'm with you." But she kept her chin balanced on the table. "Ah, it is well enough. " Then she paused, green eyes sliding to the door. "He doesn't think the woman he's checking on will make it to the New Year, though."

Just a cheeky grin at that foul word, scooting closer and giving Sadie a warm hug. "Ahhh, but I can be charmed, non?" Laughing playfully, the sound faded with the grim prognosis. "Dieu...this is why I rarely visit you at work...very depressing. She's had a long life, perhaps?" Hopeful, always, despite her brashness and temper, she had a poets soul and hated the sufferings of others. Well, unless it was Luc.

She sat up and bussed her cheek. "Oui, darling. A very long life. But, enough of this," she waved a hand to encompass the hospital. "I would ask what you thought of Gates," here her smile slid, "but I think I can guess, non?"

A soft laugh, hand lifting to stroke her friends hair in comforting gesture. Somewhat pacified that the dying woman had lived a long life. "Handsome, poetic, ..what's not to like? Other than the fact he has all those scary doctor tools." Shudder. Medical instruments really did send her hiding! Luckily, she'd never needed the aid of a doctor past regular check ups.

Sadie laughed again, eyeing her friend. "You've just not had the right doctor. The tools, they could be fun." And a secret smile tilted her mouth. Was she teasing? Or not?

Blink...leaning, looking to the door, then Sadie. "Really?" Perv! no, just French!

"Well," Sadie looked at the door too, "there was another medical student in London." Green eyes glinted. Just imagine...Sadie could vouch for that.

Hmmmm "Hmm...Dieu, I hate it when you tease me, I can never tell if you are serious or not. Oh! I forgot something at the cottage.. Wait for me, Oui?" A smoooch to her cheek and off she dashed to get...something.

There was a commotion wherever the doctor went for someone was sure to run up to him to ask about this or that or give him information from another. They could hear him talking to one just outside the door as he got waylaid before he could enter again.

Sadie was laughing lightly as she dashed out the door. She sat back in the chair, shaking her head. At least she'd dashed out and he'd given warning, so Sadie wouldn't be caught doing or saying anything embarrassing today at least.

He noticed Reve dash by as they barely had time to step aside. "Nothing like a hurry," as the one went off to do his bidding and he to turn back into the room. "Seems she needed some more of the tea and all considering, I had them double the dosage of the herbs used in it along with some medicine." Aspirin, which was new and seemed to work miracles.

Sadie'd been using white willow tea for awhile, which was basically aspirin, for a long while. It was very helpful. "Bon, bon. She might surprise you yet." As for Reve, she was still smiling over her.

He also had penicillin which he gave her a shot of to help the infection. He took up his seat in a weary way or so Sadie would be able to tell. It was going to be a long night for him.

"Perhaps you'd like some more tea?" She got up taking his mug and hers back to the pot to refill. When she came back she sat his mug on the table and took her seat again. She was in breeches again, which made her tendency to move constantly less inhibited.

Which he noticed in an absent minded way, they fitted her well as he took the mug, "thank you." What food was left would be eaten by the others here as he had made sure to close up the domes.

Back at the cottage, Reve went to quick work, grabbing a bit of this and that, tossing it into a little basket before hauling herself back to the hospital. Swish of that skirt and the click of boots in light-stepped walk announced her just before making herself at home and re-entering the back room the doctors slouched in. "Merde, Sadie, Im not going to catch the plague coming and going am I?" Exposed to sick people, it crossed her mind. Will eat more veggies!

Sadie tucked a leg under her as she sat and was just lifting her tea when Reve re-entered. "Non, cherie. Safe from the plague. Just don't let anyone sneeze on you."

"There is too much traffic and outdoor air coming in the front to catch anything. Just stay out of the very sick ward." There were degrees and luckily only one was in the quarantine ward.

"No sneezing, no wandering. Bon! " A kiss to Sadie's cheek and she handed her the basket "This is for ahm...the one with the death. A bit of New Years early. Wine - French of course- some chocolates, a bit of confetti I saved from last year...a bit of cheer for her!"

Sadie took the basket and laid a hand on Reve's cheek. She didn't say anything, just the touch. Then she nodded, "I'll take it to her in a while." She smiled at Gates. Not that the woman would be enjoying it just now, but the gift might help her fight a little harder.

Death was depressing, wine and chocolates should make any sane woman want to live! A hint of blush at that touch, patting her hand a moment. Yes, she was a mush at times. "Merci, Sadie."

So she could get drunk for New Years and celebrate actually making it to another. He was smiling one of those elusive ones as he watched. Reve had a heart of gold too. Although he didn't express his thoughts. "Are you staying in Sadie's cottage. You have moved in, Sadie?" Having forgotten to ask that first.

"Sit. We're keeping the good Doctor Barrington company." She gave Reve a nudge towards her former seat, then nodded in answer to Gates. "All moved in. Reve forced me to shop for the place too. Bon dieu! Everything in a day."

Best to keep the heart of gold thing quiet or else she'd have to be ridiculous to balance it out. Leaving Sadie there, Reve moved about to pour herself some tea. "Oui, quite cozy." Laughing as she sat - so bossy!- "It was a fun day and do not gripe so! You now have furniture and dishes...well..some." Oops

He wondered if this Luc came with them.

"Less everyday that Luc stays, no?" She looked at Reve significantly. Not that she minded. Well, except the piece she'd gotten lodged in her foot. That hadn't been pleasant, exactly.

"Well as soon as I kill off what's his name, Luc can go and leave me a merry widow. " Firm nod. Sounded vicious!

He cleared his throat, had he complimented a married woman in an almost flirtatious way? "You are married to Luc?"

Sadie glanced to Gates, then back to Reve, then to Gates. She was having an idea. A sneaky, horrible, possibly really not feasible idea. But..."Gates, do you know Portuguese, perhaps?" He might be clued into the trouble by the look in her eye. And, by the way, almost Sadie's bum!

"I'm lucky I know French in my own defense," perhaps some German and Spanish too.

Then she grinned shaking her head to Gates "Non. I told Luc I was getting married ..the pig. He thinks I am pining for him and so...I sort of invented a fiance." A little shrug "Worked brilliantly until he showed up to mend my anger and walk the aisle at peace....and there is no I have to kill off my imaginary fiance..without a body, of course." Of course, right? made sense!

"Do you think he will come to make sure you have a fiance?" Tearing his eyes from Sadie to Reve, feeling he just entered a war zone of another kind.

"Oui, he is in the area, I refuse to talk to him. Well...until I have a better plan." Sip.

Sadie gave Reve's leg a nudge. Gestured to Gates. Gorgeous. Single. Neither Luc nor Marc knew who he was. She looked suggestively at Reve, then back to Gates, then back to Reve. Then she smiled at Gates. "Oui. He has. I think it wouldn't matter if you didn't know Portuguese. Neither does Luc."


"Tell him you know a Druid that will shrink off his package to the size of a pea and whither to drop off if he doesn't leave you alone.." That would have any man take pause and reconsider!

The tea cup eased down, golden eyes looking over Gates and she leaned in....a slow smile..."Gates...will you Marry me?" Beam! "I mean..I wont force my will on you or drag you to the marital bed, but know, just a...small marriage, hm?" The smile, God help them, it really did dazzle when she was being awful!

Which he took as the tease it was meant. "I can tell you a story of the Douglas brothers whose father wanted the eldest to wed. So the Duke went about gathering women to entice his son with. So, the son had his brother dress up like a woman and so fooled the father thinking he finally had an interest." Not adding how it all ended at a wacky ball held at their place.

Sadie was smiling right along side her, green eyes fixed on Gates. Oh, he really didn't know what the two were up too. "Who is the oldest?" She'd considered Malcolm a very good friend. Then, she glanced at Reve, "If he won't marry
you I could try the Douglas's ploy. Do you think they wouldn't notice?" She laughed, then back to Gates.

"It was Malcolm Douglas and he got his brother to dress up as a woman. I wish I had been here for that to see personally."

Sadie just laughed at that. "Well, you could see something else first hand."

She couldn't help but laugh at the mental image and blew a kiss to Sadie. "Non Cherie, you aren't my type...too...busty, for a man." Grin!

"You fit the pants well, just make sure you have a small bulge in the front, not too big or you will have the women fainting.." giving them a visual.


Sadie glanced down at herself. "At least I know how to adjust it."

Gates didn't even have the time to consider such a ruse but he actually knew a few that might if they were really serious.

Well, now she blushed! Warm in here! "Ah well...Gates has broken my little romantic heart, but I can still have my fiancee lost at sea, oui?"

"I heard tell of a General making his headquarters in the Thistle. Know anything about that Sadie?" Now he had one of those grins like the cat that ate the canary.

Sadie chuckled at the blush. Ah, yes, her friend deserved that! "Oui. we should receive word any day." Then she glanced at Gates, mischief angled right back at him. "I hear he's good with the women and the men."

Then he got serious for certainly there was the serious doctor there too even more than the other. "If you really need some help, I have some friends that might help you out in a fake wedding."

Wait, what? General?! Looking back and forth between the two. She waved an absent hand to Gates "Non, I do not even have a dress for this wedding, thinking on it. So best to just kill the man."

Sadie sighed, sitting back as she shook her head. "I think his death at sea is the easier way to go, no? " See, absolutely on the same page. As for the General, Sadie smiled blandly at Reve.

"You were there to witness him doing it with the men?"

"Merde, Sadie, what general is doing what to men and women?" Perplexed, to say the least!

"The mambo?"

Sadie laughed. "Ah, I thought you were!" To Gates. Then to Reve, "He is loved by the women, looked up to by the men."

"Hmmm, " Just a little sound though a grin played on her lips, sipping at the tea. Getting a bit antsy just sitting still.

"Thought I was what?" With so many cris-crossing statements he wasn't sure which it fit in with.

"Well acquainted with le General." Sadie's brows lifted as she looked at him over the tea mug. "Are you not?" Sadie had left this part of her story out. She knew Reve wouldn't let her live it down, so she'd skipped it. Apparently, Le General had taken on a life of its own and there was no way out. She looked to Gates, though, waiting for
him to answer.

Brow lift, setting her gaze on Gates. he mamboed with the General? Reve set aside her tea cup, pushing to stand and moving to Sadie, kissing each one of her cheeks. "I have a bit I need to see to before it gets too late."

Glancing at Reve she finally explained, "Je feignais pour être un général quand.."she gave a hand gesture slightly under the table to indicate the groping. She'd have been better off saying it, but she was always gesturing with her
hand. Then Reve was up and she returned the kisses. "Ah, oui. I won't be long, cherie."

"Oh," starting to laugh, "no, just heard a lot about him." Which left him grinning, "he wasn't there during the decorating and drinking.." not when he was anyway.

Crack! Oh that had her laughing, giving Saide a saucy little salute! "Oui, so stylish, I blame that on the kangaroo in you." Such as it were, the Australian lineage! Then around the table, a kiss pressed to Gate's cheek. "If you need protection from my dear Sadie, give a yell, I'll...give you a hand. Or her..hard to tell."

He was up too, "why don't you spend some time with your friend as I've a few more patients to see to." Which he grinned more with the kiss to his cheek. "I will remember that, just in case," sending a wink Sadie's way.

Sadie grinned. A fine idea. Plus, it might save her dishes. She was up on her feet, then too. Yup, just pretending what Reve said was nothing at all. She picked up her bag. "You'll see Martha gets the basket?" Sadie gave him a cheeky grin back. Then headed out after Reve.

"I will see her plenty, promise. You...well, who knows" Cheeky grin, classic Reve as she was off just as merrily as she arrived!


He didn't tell them there was a scroll with all the eligible men listed on it.

Oh boy, trouble!



Date: 03-26-11
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 34

Spring Training
McDonough Warehouse


Spring was on its way, the day in testament to that very fact as crocus bloomed and daffodils were budding to soon open. There was a sweet scent to the air as the day wore on and the sun heated the land beneath encouraging it to turn green. Buds were starting to burst forth on tree limbs, some to flower, some to leaves. The door to the warehouse was left open for certainly the ones inside could do with the light breeze the day offered. Sweet scent met sweat and the sound of fists hitting flesh. Liam shirt was gone, honed torso exposed with a glisten to moisten taut muscles that flexed with each hit. He was in a practice bout with one of the better students. Feet never stopped over the floor beneath as he'd weave and move just out of the lad's swings, "keep your fist closer," which with lightning speed his fist shot out to clip the lad's jaw, "you're leaving yourself open too often." Granted sometimes it could not be helped to get in a swing but one learned to calculate when was best and when it was not. The warehouse he'd been granted room in for his boxing, was past the square (that was really round) down from the last of the stores heading towards the port area but before technically reaching the boundary line between the Commons and the Port.

Anthea was enjoying the weather this day. A walk had been enjoyed to listen to the nature, and view the hawks soaring above. Silver hues sparkled with the knowledge spring would come, and with it the heat. She would miss spring in Scotland. The way the wildflowers had dotted the open meadow near Dundee, to the birth of new animals. All had taken her breath away, but she knew now, without a doubt, Heathfield would be just as beautiful if not moreso. The woman could not stop smiling as she cast her gaze to the heavens above, almost praying silently in thanks for all she had received since coming to this shores. Happiness she had not known before, and now, a family. Hair of black was tied back by a loose french braid, with red ribbon to weave thru sable strands, and also to keep her wayward locks in place. Kid boots were comfortable for walking, as well as the burgundy gown of wool that fit her petite form like a glove, and also demurely so she could venture to new places this day.

If the boy had a tankard of ale in his hand, Liam would be singing a different tune. Conor had claimed a chair just to the right of the ring, watching the training with a grin. He didn't shout out any encouragements or suggestions, that was Liam's job, but he was enjoying the show and actually sat forward with his arms to his thighs as he watched.

They would have that tankard later as there was a small bar with a keg tapped over in the corner. Enough to serve the customers who came in to watch for a small fee. One that helped them to maintain the equipment and such needed. The lad took his advice and blocked the next quick jab that came with approval from Liam. He showed him a combo of jabs to work on the opponent's torso when he got in close and how to lean in, put some weight in it even if you didn't weigh much to tire out the other in the process.

Anthea moved slowly down the path, knowing her guard was always close, even when she could not hear his steps. She had visited the tavern so many times, perhaps it was time to do her job, and report on Liam's boxing. With a few questions to some of the citizens, Anthea was soon moving in the direction of the port. Remembering the directions that were given, and hoping it would be fine with Liam to view his boxing. "Myrina.." She shook her head, her sister was finally grounded, busy at home ripping up and breaking all items in her room. Perhaps she should read taming of the shrew!

Actually, the tankard was for Conor's brand of fighting, but a drink would be appreciated too. Always.

Unfortunately the lad in training made a bad move and moved right into Liam's swing that he tried to pull back at the last moment but Gerald had been too close. Next the lad was on the floor and one of the other trainees rushing it to apply smelling salts as two others helped drag him from the ring.

Anthea arrived just in time to see Liam's blow, and what a blow it was. It reminded her of another time, and she shook her head to clear her mind and move quietly inside not to intrude on the training.

Conor shot to his feet as the boy went down, rubbing his own jaw against what the boy would be feeling once those salts brought him around. God only knew some of Conor's most remembered lessons came from when he had woke flat on his back.

He noticed who came in, the lad had recovered shortly thereafter but needed a break. "John, Marcus, to the ring," as he was stepping out going through the ropes. One of the lads handed him a towel which he threw over a shoulder and headed to where Conor was seated. "An ale sounds good about now." Dark eyes were not on his cousin, however, "good afternoon Athena, please forgive my appearance." It went with the territory but didn't discount the fact he was half naked.

Anthea had motioned for her guard to stay outside, and he did knowing she was perfectly safe within the warehouse. But, it would seem, as Anthea smiled, the boy was not so lucky. Blood hell Liam knocked him down with one blow. How did some men do this? She shook her head knowing she would have broken her hand! "G'morning, Liam.. and do not worry." Words came filled with warmth. Warmth that never left as she addressed Conor as well.."A good day to you as well," Clearing her throat.. "Mister Quinn."

"Aye, you've the special title," giving his cousin a wink as he was addressed as Mister Quinn. Jason was over with a tankard of ale for his mentor having heard Liam's comment. "Thanks," was given to him in a low tone before addressing Anthea again. "Enjoying the spring day?"

"Yes, very much so. Walking is always lovely, but to have a destination, perhaps that brings walking more enjoyable." Gentle strides lead the small Greek to a seat, and soon to take it in hopes she was not breaking anything up? "I do hope I am not intruding on anything?" Addressed to both.

Conor smiled to Anthea, motioning her to join him. "Good day...Miss Drakos." In response to her choice of greetings. Indeed, he had come to enjoy their formality. It bordered on personal because of it. "No, the damage is done." Conor chuckled, looking to the arrival of ale for Liam.

"You are not," with a slight gesture of his free hand to affirm Conor's invitation she join them. He took a long drink of the ale before setting it aside to a small table and commenced to dry off his chest. The same lad was over with a clean shirt to lay over the back of a chair for when Liam was ready.

Anthea brought fingers to lift her gown, so she could lift from the chair she had chosen, only to stride toward where the Quinn men were seated. "Thank you both.." Addressing both at their invitation. "I hope the boy will be all right?" She viewed the ring briefly before she gracefully took her seat, and almost snapping her fingers at missing the fight.

"Liam has trained him well, he'll suffer no real damage." Conor's gaze lingered on the lass a moment more before looking to Liam. "You should set up another round with one of your boys so Miss Drakos can see what she came for."

"He is all right, a bruise to remind him of his mistake next time. Not a bad thing," really, all considering. Liam was determined to make a good boxer out of the lad as it seemed he had the will to become one over natural ability. She would get to witness the two lads doing their best in the ring. Not quite as good as when Liam was there but they were advancing. He would call out comments, Marcus to keep his left fist up more, such as that. Once he dried off, the shirt was up and over his head before down on his chest. Such was the tip of a grin that showed a dimple as he sat and finally relaxed. "Aye, if she wants?" To the comment of setting up another round but first he was going to enjoy his ale.

It was a great relief to hear the lad would be fine, but also a relief he had an instructor that would not hurt, only teach. She turned slowly to Conor, the warmth of her gaze to linger before they sparkled at the event. She would be happy to print all she seen, and nicely too! "Oh yes, Liam.. it would be nice to see, for the paper" Softly spoken as silver hues trained on Liam.."If you are comfortable with it?"

Only half his tankard was emptied, just enough to quench his thirst, nothing more. He was up as he pulled his shirt back up over his chest and toss over the back of a chair. "George," an older man, perhaps older than Liam gave a nod and got himself ready to meet Liam in the ring. This was one that knew his stuff and she'd see a real match.

Softly her voice spoke.. "Thank you Mister Quinn.." Addressed to Conor as she turned to view the boxing match at hand. After living with three brothers for several weeks, a bare chested man was not as embarrassing as it once was, but she still flushed a little bit at seeing then prepare to box.

Conor leaned over, his voice low for Anthea. "Now you'll see it." Conor didn't feel bad for Liam's short break. He knew that Liam enjoyed being inside the ring as much as he enjoyed the ale that awaited him outside. Perhaps even more. So Conor relaxed back, his arm lifting to drape over the back of Anthea's chair as he watched the preparations beyond the ropes.

The two circled each other, weight strengths and weaknesses. Liam had the keener eye but George was no lad in training. The first set of blows came and went as they circled each other again. Each managing to defend as well get in a few blows. Liam only having the edge of getting in a few more but George had an impressive one to land too. After a few minutes the bell was struck as they took the needed rest. Sweat was starting to coat their skin. Round two came and went and three to follow on its heels. George had a swollen eye but he kept on with determination.

She did not smile, but did study the ring. It amazed her how men could fight like this, and perhaps wondered why weapons ever had to be used? She studied close how they danced about the ring, with fist coming almost perfectly. Liam was good at this, but so too was his friend. Both men brought the female to widen her gaze. "Your cousin is very good." Addressed softly to Conor as she sat back to gain comfort. This took alot of talent. From all that fought like this. Alot of talent.

"He's a Quinn." Was all Conor said, not even looking at Anthea as he spoke, but keeping his smiling gaze on Liam.

George was older, had a bit more weight on him than Liam but he was very good. He'd been fighting since he could swing his fists. Round four came and went and into Round five as this would determine the winner even if there was no judge present. George had a good left that Liam only got to block enough after a series of assaulting punches by both. It grazed his jaw enough to send Liam back a few steps but that only changed the look in his eyes, darkening them more with an unreleased fury that separated him to that talent above. Luckily he had learned to temper it to his use as the series that followed working over George's body with a finally upper cut that George was not able to parry and sent him to the ground. Liam was quick to help him up as it was not a knock out but certainly would have him the fight if George wanted to continue. He raised his hands giving the win over for it was only a match.

Warm smile at his response, with her own gaze to linger on the match, and perhaps trying to mentally teach herself some moves. Liam was very good, so much so, she caught herself almost applauding him. Nibble to bottom lip was seen as she eased her head back with a smile to brighten. She had never seen such before, and applauded both their moves and even the one more so then the other.

"Well showed." Conor called out to his cousin and George, lowering his arm away and slowly coming to his feet.

He gave a good pat to George's back who gave a nod to those watching. "See to the eye," which he had hired one of the healers who waited for George to come her way. A comely lass too so George didn't mind one bit. "Sometimes I think he lets me get in enough of a punch so he can be seen to," said with humor as he joined his cousin and lass, towel over his shoulder that was yanked down to start drying himself off again. The shirt donned afterwards and he to finally sit again and enjoy the rest of his ale.

"Very well done, Liam. And thank you for letting me watch, but..." She turned from Liam to shake her head at the ring, and then to look to Liam once more.."Doesn't it hurt? I mean, are you alright.. will he be alright?"

Conor slapped a hand to Liam's shoulder with a chuckle. "No doubt." He looked to where George was headed and the man was smiling. But maybe, that was just due to a bout well fought, right? The questions had started. Wasn't it Anthea's way to ask questions so she'd have a story? Conor didn't wish to interrupt so he excused himself with a nod of head to both and went off to where he knew he could get a drink for himself, and for the lady. She'd have a dry throat once all her questions were asked.

"Aye," a hand coming up to rub over his jaw, it would probably bruise but he was use to at least a few bruises. "Hardens one up like steel after a while. Although, perhaps," and she should step back with that wicked gleam to surface in dark eyes, "I could get a lass to kiss all the bruises better.."

Conor's steps slowed but he didn't stop, just shook his head with a chuckle and continued on to the bar area.

"I am sorry, Liam.." And she truly was. She seen what a blow could do to a man, and was happy she had viewed one with friends. "A kiss..Oh Liam.." She stood up and quickly pecked his jaw then sat again with a warm smile. "Once when I was little, I kissed my guardian on the jaw, and why.. he lost where you won." Soft chuckle as she adjusted her gown.. "Have you known how to fight your whole life?"

"Aye, you missed the spot." As a finger touched a little further towards his chin. Would she fall for it? Dimple was very near that spot that showed up again. "I've been fighting since I can remember. Lads tend to pick on one another especially if one is bigger than all the others. Had to take him down or eat dirt and I don't like the taste."

Liam had her laughing at his antics. Always did.. "Oh no.. well then.." A mere kiss blown to the spot she missed, only to continue the questions.. "I see.. then that is a long time?" Soft was the smile, but so was her words. She had a feeling Liam taught himself because of mean kids. "Kids can be mean at times, yes? But your feet, how they move.. does that come naturally?"

Conor returned with a tankard of something for himself and a cup of tea for Anthea.

Accepting the tea with a smile.." Thank you, Conor.. very much" Silver hues sparkled with her thanks only to turn to Liam again.

Conor reclaimed his seat, settling in to listen.

Which a hand swiped the air to catch the blown kiss. "I'll collect it at a later time then," teasing her as he pretended to tuck it in his pocket just as Conor returned. "Aye, especially in the wild, in clans, it was learn to fight or die many times. In the least you learned enough to survive. Those that didn't, most of them didn't survive."

She shook her head with the warmest of smiles. "Clans? Like highland clans.. all men learn to fight?" Then came her peaceful comment.. "Why use weapons then? If one can fight so well with their hands.. couldn't all learn to fight like so?" Silly question, but asked.

"I'm sure it started out that way but then one took up a thick stick and found it hit harder than a fist and extended further so the opponent was hit before they could hit you." She could get the gist from there how it evolved.

"So true.. an axe can easily cut off a fist, then a fist could steel.." She smiled to Liam, perhaps embarrassed.."I know that was silly question.. So will ask a better one.. " Nod went that dark head.. with a breath taken.."Have you ever had to use your fist to kill or defend yourself?"

There was something unreadable in dark eyes that accompanied just the slightest of frowns. "Aye, I have," with a long pause before adding a bit more for she would probably ask it, "more than once."

"I am sorry if I have brought up a bad memory Liam. I just.. " She moved finger tips to pick at imaginary lint on her gown.. "How many do you train at one time?" Change of subject was needed she felt.

"I train one at a time but any of the others here watch if they are smart. So when it is their turn they may not make the same mistake." She may have noticed especially when George got in the ring with him how many came out of the woodwork to watch. Some alone, some in small groups of two or three.

She took note and smiled to all, even to her guard that had entered to watch. "Ahhh I see, you fight one at a time, and others study you as if they had a book to study from?" She could see how this would worked, and only hoped she 
did not confuse him.."Have you ever taught a woman?"

"Aye, I have. Takes a special kind of lass to want to learn how to fight like a man. But I suppose some might want to learn enough to defend themselves." Which he recalled a comment made to him on that, "there is a female warrior division here that trains."

"Is that really the question you wish to ask, Anthea?" Conor's smile had faded and he shifted in his chair to look at her fully.

"Not for me in general.. I couldn't box if you paid me.. but for any woman that wished to learn. To fight not so much.. To defend themselves? Yes, Conor, that is the question.." Warm smile to both.

Conor's comment had brows lifting as dark eyes turned upon his cousin then upon Anthea as he went silent. Seemed there was something between them if Conor knew her so well to know what she might ask? Or should ask. Wanted to ask. Something along those lines.

He knew her enough to know she was often seeking out trouble. Anyone who listened to her in the tavern would know that. He nodded slowly when she answered. Did he believe her? Did it matter if he did? "Every woman should know how to defend herself. That isn't boxing. But I'm sure Liam would have a few pointers if you'd like to publish them as well in the paper." He pulled his gaze from the lady over to his cousin.

"That would be perfect, Mister Quinn.." Replied to Conor's offer then to turn to Liam.."If you do not mind?" Anthea knew every woman had a right to defend themselves, but at times, all they had were fist.

"Aye, the best defense is not to be where you will need to use anything you know about fighting. If you find yourself in such a situation that you were unable to avoid, then you run if you can. Best fight is not
 to engage in one. If that doesn't work, you should carry a knife in your boot to use if cornered. A hairpin, anything you can slip between your fingers and hold firmly. If a man is attacking, kick them in the groin. Either gender go for the eyes. Do not think for one moment that one attacking you is not doing so without the intention to kill. Kill before you are killed. You did not initiate the attack. Anyone that does, deserves to die if that be the case."

Anthea listened very closely to Liam. Danger did come at times one may not expect it, and these few pointers would not only be pressed, but also remembered.. "A comb too? One that holds the hair up?"

"If it is sharp," more like a hair pick that he'd seen some ladies use and had there for that purpose as a weapon.

She moved her fingers as if she was holding pick.. "I hold it like this, and strike at face or eyes?" Snap of her fingers.. "And kneeing in groin would stop any man, correct?"

It was about that time a lad came in with a note from the manor. He was needed by Fiona on some manor matter being the head of his faction of the Quinns. "If ye have any other questions seek me out," rising with a quick wink. "I've a flustered lass to appease at the manor. Probably is trying to redo my den which she is to stay out of."


Smile came with ease. "Thank you for your patience, Liam.. and answering the questions." She chuckled hearing Liam, and then slowly did those silvers glance to Conor.."So do what they don't know..."

"Good luck with that Liam." Conor smiled, lifting his tankard to finish off his own. "Although most men will expect that..." Conor added low, looking to the lad and then to Liam as he made his intentions to leave known. When Liam left, and the boys started mulling around cleaning this up, wiping that down, Conor looked to Anthea. "Are you in a hurry to return home, Miss Drakos? Or can I interest you in a least to the Thistle?"

"I never turn down a walk, Mister Quinn." Slowly she lifted from the chair, smoothing all wrinkles to her gown with a swipe.

"We'll leave by way of the bar and return these glasses, aye?" He reached over to accept the cup from her. "This way, Miss." And Conor started in that direction.


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