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Heathfield Port

Date: 12-02-09
Poster: Eion Quinn
Post # 21

The Doxy

There was a full moon out tonight that glistened over the steady waves drawing into shore and back out again. A constant where few things in life were. It silhouetted the ships in the bay, those anchored or in slips along with those setting out on a night course. It was from Captain Garrison's ship the warmly clad doxy disembarked. Her cloak wrapped around her good as the Captain himself saw her to the bridge and plank.  He did not escort her down the plank which was taken up shortly after her descend. She moved quickly along the pier as she was out later than expected. Of course it would look like she had just slept with the man. An obvious English ship that had ported earlier this night.

In spite of the fact that Eion knew things were not always as they seemed, or that he had any real claim on the lass, he was concerned when he saw Dolly leaving the ship. He hadn't expected such of course, nor was he spying on her. It was a matter of circumstances that had led him here this night, a message to be picked up but now that he saw her, he thought it best to learn the truth. He tossed the cigarillo he had been smoking into the water before starting after her. This late, the docks weren't safe and though she had taken care of herself before he met her, he'd make certain she'd arrive to her destination safely.

She was warily watching a few sailors with an obvious interest, an intent about them no matter if she had just come from a job. They started up in her direction as she only tried to move faster, cussing under her breath at her ill luck.  They started to quicken their steps as hers were almost in a run when they called out to her with suggestive comments even if they saw another man coming in the other direction that she did not. That was until the last moment as she crashed into his chest, the sudden impact in surprise had her flailing her fists to get him out of the way. That was until she realized who it was. Her ill luck had just turned. The other males slowing down when they saw who the man was. "I need to speak to you." Quickly spoken in a rushed hushed tone. Eion could wonder if he had not been there if she would have sought him out at the barracks or even his manor home.

He had taken note of the sailors, eyes narrowing slightly as he took their measure. Cowardly likely and that was proven when they slowed down as he approached. He caught hold of her when she stopped smacking him, putting his arm around her as he stared the men down. It wasn't until they walked away that he looked down at her. He glanced at the ship, then back and slowly nodded. "Where to?" His hand was kept on the hilt of his sword, in case the sailors decided to return.

The men recognized Eion and would not take on a man of the lands. What one was referred to as being part of the warriors no matter their position. It would only bring down a lot of unwanted trouble over a doxy there were plenty of along the piers and taverns. Albeit the redhead was a looker and not haggard looking like most of the women who worked the docks. Eion may not have realized, nor noticed or wondered on it. "My place," which wasn't far as her heart was still racing enough to have her trembling. One may take it as being cold as she started off with him in that direction. She would not say anything until they were inside and away from prying eyes or ears. Although seeing her with Eion was not an unusual sight. Seeing her on that English ship would not be considered unusual either. A captain would hire the best.

Of course he noticed. In spite of how he was about women, he wasn't blind to certain things and, he actually felt sympathy for their condition. He did wonder on Dolly's story and often. He kept his arm around her, as if to keep her warm and shielded from the bitter wind. "You should have someone to escort you when you're going to be out so late, Dolly." He knew the way but let her set the pace.

"It would not look right," shooting him a glance as her pace was pretty quick in order to get to their destination. John's didn't escort doxies home. They came, they did their work and got paid. They went home. She knew the ways, the life of one. There was still something that didn't quite fit about her the longer one got to know her, the more it would be noticed. She knew she would have to come clean with Eion even if it changed everything. In her mind, it need not. "I will fix us some tea with a bit of potcheen." She managed to get her hands on the coveted brew made in these lands. Once her door was reached she almost dropped the key she fumbled so, or more the trembling had not quite abated. Finally it clicked into place as she was huddled over it then swung open the heavy oaken door. Quick to move within and have him follow. Leaving him to close the door. It was warm inside where many had not the warmth she enjoyed. She pressed her finger to her lips as there were two young girls sleeping upstairs, motioning him into a drawing room where she would close over more doors once they were both inside.

"Some have escorts." Ones that were highly sought after. He would rather she didn't see anyone else but again, if she had to, he'd like to see her safe. Watching her fumble, he was about to reach for the key when she managed to open the door. He nodded for the tea as he followed her inside, glancing out the door and up and down the street out of habit before he closed and locked the door. Another nod was given to her hushing him, with a hint of a smile. He stepped into the drawing room and away from the door, moving to the fireplace to check on the fire.

"I think some brandy will work faster." Otherwise she would have to leave the room to get to the kitchen, set a pot to boiling, steep the tea and so forth. She poured some in two glasses as she was over to hold one out to him. She had not taken off her cloak either. She needed it on to help get warmed up faster. "I feel you have something to say. We have always been up front and honest with each other so say what is on your mind." Perhaps a challenge or perhaps a way to open up those gates. She knew him well enough to see it in his eyes and certainly the way she was tonight, trembling in a profession she was suppose to be good at. There were holes in her story if one looked closely.  She had been honest with him always, she just hadn't told him everything. Same as she didn't know everything about him.

He accepted the drink, after removing his own cloak. Not so much to declare his intention of staying, but because he was warm. He watched her as she spoke, sipping the brandy before he spoke. "I saw you coming off the English ship. And while I cannot and will not dictate who you should see, I am, of course, concerned. For several reasons." He would name them if necessary.

His words touched her heart, one she tried to keep hidden from any and everyone. She took a good swallow of the brandy as she moved to the table to set it there but didn't take a seat. She finally could take off her cloak. What she wore was atypical for her vocation except it spoke of class. Golden bronze shimmering satin that clung to every curve in a classical way. There was no back to it, dipping down to her waist and a low cowl effect in the front but not overly exposing. That was her class or something else as he might learn tonight. She was over to lightly lay her hand on his chest as golden brown eyes lifted to meet his. She would look him in the eye as she told of the English ship and especially its Captain. "I'm tempted to know the several reasons." He had piqued her unrelenting curiosity but she continued to the point. One of many. Good thing he took off his coat for he might be here a couple more hours and not for the normal reason one came into a place as she had. Or so it seemed. "I told Captain Merlin Garrison that you were a man to be trusted and that I would be telling you all of him. He may need your help in the near future. He is my half brother and he is one of my most trusted informants. He has news that Captain Henry Robinson of the Pontiac has plans to leave for Kildare waters this coming week. It is rumored he is coming with more than two or three other ships but a fleet."

She was without a doubt a beautiful woman and once again, he wondered at her chosen profession. Watching her again, he smiled then his expression changed to one of outright surprise. "Your half brother." He repeated then nodded. What was hidden was the sense of relief he felt.

"What I tell you he has not trusted with even his own men. Tonight, it seemed to them their Captain was seeing to his needs with a high class courtesan. As my attire would affirm." And they would have gotten a glimpse of it for such a woman would tease all men with her goods. Just enough, a flash of leg, a dip of cleavage in bending to fix her stocking or the like. They were taught all the moves that men liked. That drew them even if married. "He is an independent ship. A merchant and runs an honest business. What no one suspects is that he is rescuing the Irish lasses they have stolen from Ireland and put them out on the street to earn money for their Pimps. Even here I learn of other ports. I have gone to some of them. Although I have not since we established an arrangement." Which she might get to or wait for another time to continue to spill the beans. "The one who informed you to come to me to start, was one who knows my past and knows why I am setup as I am and was to leave it that way unless a point reached where I felt I should fill in the details."

"Of course I will give him my aid if needed. My concerns I'm afraid were selfish. I would want to know if our association was about to be ended." He put his hand over hers, frowning slightly. "I understand now what you were doing but I still can't help but be concerned for your safety at night. You have proven yourself to be exceptional again and again. That you trust me speaks volumes, so whatever to choose to tell me or not tell me, again, I will keep to myself." He smiled fully now. "And you can always say that I insist you have an escort to and from your ... appointments, if you wish."

"I hope for the information divulge tonight, that it is not ended. I am not really sure how to tell you all I need to. If my brother had known I might be accosted, he would have sent someone with me but there had not been anyone around at that moment we parted. It was a risk, one I don't usually take. My business is a front. I don't get girls involved in selling their bodies but off the docks if I am able. I get them away into a new life where I can but many do not wish to be saved other than temporarily. I try to keep ones fed and away from harm as much as possible. Adrian Frasier and Adam Callihan, the port masters, help out. I will go to them if I feel one of the girls is being abused and beaten. They know just about any and all sailors that come through here to flush anyone out. They also warn me who to stay away from doing any business with for the girls I help." Which  had one of her more smirky smiles being she really didn't do business. "When you were directed my way, I went with the ruse set up for it is my way to help without being suspected. It is not something I had never done before, just you're the first I've been sleeping with, when you wish, since I was sixteen." So there was more to her story.

He listened quietly then brushed back a curl of her hair. "You should have said you'd prefer our association to remain professional. I'm certain we would have still become friends though I'll not deny you gave me something I needed. And nothing's changed. You were right to be careful, even of me. I can see that and don't feel you did anything devious or underhanded. God knows, you keep my brothers from thinking I'm not interested in women at all. "  The last was said with a laugh. "I'm sure they'd be concerned if I didn't come home smelling of your perfume at times. We could spend every night together just talking or playing cards, and I would accept that. The information on the fleet will have to be taken to the castle as soon as possible but I want to know if I can help you in any way. And if there's more information you have." A fleet of ships heading for Kildare. It made the stakes in the war even higher than he had imagined.

"I wanted to." That is all she would say but not said in a way she expected anything more. She was very realistic. "My mother was a doxy, she was fifteen when she had Merlin, whose father wanted to keep him once he was born. He gave her a lot of money and she didn't mind for it was a risk to have a child aborted. Most do anyway. They take herbs to keep them sterile but they don't always work." She was wandering from the topic. "Another year and she was pregnant again but this time by one she fell in love with. He was a Marquis from Scotland and married. She didn't tell him and when he left for home, she didn't think she would ever see him again except in me. She had hoped for a son but gained a daughter. In the years that followed, I was brought up in the only way of life my mother knew. I was fourteen when the men started  wanting her daughter over her. She needed the money, I didn't know better other than I loved my mother and would do what she wanted of me. She had gotten very sick. The sickness that plagues those of her profession. Somehow my father found out she had his child and he came here to see me. He took me away to a better life after she had died. So I learned another way of life and wanted to help others that fall like my mother had for her mother was the same." A grandmother she never had known for she had died so young. Murdered on the docks and body found in the waters washed up. Her mother had told her. Something to frighten her into at least being careful.

He released her hand to take her into his arms, holding her close to offer some comfort. "It's a way of life that's harsh. A side of men seen that shouldn't be. I'm glad he found you and took you away. But your earlier life made you strong it would seem." He tipped his head so he could see her a little better. "What you're doing is beyond worth, sweetheart, and it explains so very much." He would wonder later how it was that she wasn't bitter, angry at how her earlier life had been. "And again, I wish to help you anyway I can, not just for the crown but for the sake of the lasses you help."

She slid easily into his arms as satin will have one anyway. Her skin was warm to the touch as he would be familiar with. Her arms snaking around his waist as she snuggled in against his chest. "When I saw you, knowing the setup, I let it be. Maybe that was wrong of me but I felt in my life I would never have the normal kind and like my mother, to at least grasp some happiness out of it that held no strings." She had warred with it in telling him but on the other side of that token he might not wish the setup any longer that it changed things. When it really had not. She got paid whether she warmed his bed or kept him company. She also knew there was pain in him, a deep rooted kind that was cause by a woman. That he had needs and the only way to see to them and not get trapped was what she offered. In a way, they were in the same boat. "In ways, you have helped me better than anyone could. I have all the money I need but will continue our arrangement." For it was the money that kept it where agreed, legit in that way and nothing more. "I needed a friend, someone to share more than words with before I am taken from this world." He had given her that.

"Ah, I hope you're wrong about that. You deserve so much more, my little Doll." He teased her with the nickname, mostly to let her know that nothing had changed between them. "If you need more, I'd be glad to give it. Especially now that I know what you're doing. We'll keep everything as is, as long as you want." He smiled as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "And I will always be here for you. No matter what happens." Things could change in ways they might not see, but he would always be her friend. "And we will work out a way for you to be escorted." That last was said as sternly as he could manage.

Her hand was over his heart, "if being with me eases the pain here, then I am more happy than you can know. So as before, when you have need, I am there for you." Her smile came tipped up with a shine to golden brown eyes. It felt good telling all the truths. "Usually I don't walk them at night unless I know the harbor masters are out or you are there, which is more likely. Tonight was the first I have seen Merlin in six months. It was the only way we could meet and not draw suspicion. He can get more information if needed but didn't pursue unless it was something important." Her brother would not know what was important in these lands but gave what his sister asked him to find out if he could. That was the latest rumor from a good source.

"It is important. You heard of the attack on the Callihan's ships? Robinson was the one who led it and then left the third ship that was with him burning. For him to feel confident enough to bring a whole fleet bodes ill, though I doubt very much if he knows what he's getting into. Just from your brother's information, we'll be ready for him." He paused for a moment before changing the subject. "You do help ease my pain. When I'm here, I can forget it.  I ... had a friend, a good friend, named Henry Darrow. And he was married. I was smitten from the first time I saw her and she wove a web that I never saw. Funny how clever you think you are until it's too late. I spent stolen hours with her until one morning, I was arrested for robbery. I had been with her all night, sneaking away at dawn, but would say nothing to compromise her, only deny my guilt. I learned later I had been used and because of me, my friend was dead. She married the Lord I had been serving. " He shook his head. "And now, there's a darkness in my soul that I can't chase away." Had he been anyone else, he might have broken down but he merely shook his head. "That darkness only lessens when I'm with my family, when I'm training and when I'm here, with you." And there was the confession he had given no one before. Truth for a truth.

"Yes, that bit spread like wildfire in gossip around the docks. It is why I asked him to note anything said on ships coming this way or lands north such as Kildare. I didn't really tell him why for the less he knows the safer it is for both of us too." Just like she didn't know who his informants were. "Oh, he said there was a message that came in that had Robinson in particular requested. It was from one who has clout with certain men in naval positions. He said all under the table hush hush stuff but word leaks out just not names necessarily. Other than the Captain's name." She quieted down to listen to his heartfelt words, to feel his pain of betrayal and of shame. No words would heal that wound until he was ready but she would offer them nonetheless. "In my profession, women are trained to use men's desires against them to gain money, to gain political position, to climb the ladder in position. Such a woman will betray even the smartest of men, words of promises to illusions they have no real idea how to even give. They are just words. You are not the first to be betrayed, to be brought down by the shame of it, nor will you be the last. You have one of the best hearts I've even known in a man. I can only pray that one day, you will heal that heart or allow it to be healed by a good woman so you can reach your full potential."

"It will take more forgiveness than I have in me right now. Two betrayals and one of them mine. Because of my feelings for his wife, I was foolish and in the end I wasn't there to watch Henry's back." He closed his eyes briefly to shut away the pain he had allowed to seep out, and again, switched the subject. "I'm sure King Leoric will know who this person might be. Your brother won't be in danger when he returns to England?" He didn't know everything about what was happening of course, but that was the way it should be.

"Then I shall warm your bath and your bed when you need to feel the connection. I will gladly do so." She would look forward to those nights or just to sit and talk. Whatever he needed she was willing to give to him without expectations but rather the moments that would be theirs for as long as they could be. Most of that would be left up to him but she prepared herself for the arrangement one day ending and he off into the arms of a woman that managed to heal his heart or at least become his wife. One to have children with that would continue his legacy. She held him close as one trying to absorb his pain to bring a calmness to his heart. "My brother will be fine, he is above suspicion as it stands presently." Words coming low as she held him close.

He had come to believe that would never happen but that was kept to himself. "I would like to stay the night," speaking after a few moments of silence. "Just to hold you in my arms while we sleep." He knew Segan might be at the barracks waiting, and though he needed to take the news to the castle, and give it over, he would return here if she allowed. Any explanations he gave his brother come morning would be half ones and Segan would likely guess where he had been.

"I wish to share this night with you especially," she had hoped he would and understanding he needed to get the information to the right ones as soon as possible. Even if it woke some up this late. "I will be waiting for you. A warm drink and bed." If the little bit of time he spent with her helped, it filled her with joy.

"Then I should go now, so I can return quickly." He might even be late on the field tomorrow, and though that might mean some extra training, it would be worth if for the extra hours spent holding her. Stepping back, he placed two fingers under her chin and leaned over to kiss her. It was a sweet, tender kiss, one that spoke of the bond they shared. "I'll be back as soon as I can." He would sneak away and back so if any watched, they'd not suspect he had left.

She melted into that kiss, tender begot was given back three fold. "Be swift my darling," which she called him easily without anything false in it and then stopped a moment. "I know I am your Doll," as she went by Dolly and before the moment of truths were done for this evening she would at least give him her given name. Eventually the surname of her father even if she had no claim to it so that would not come tonight. "Daireann, my mother named me but called me Dolly."

"Daireann. A beautiful name but one I won't share. And you'll still be my Doll." He winked then gathered his cloak. "I'll see myself out." He'd used the back door and make his way through back alleys. He had discovered long ago he had a talent for stealth. It was snowing heavily again, luckily for him. All traces of his footprints would be lost as he left and if the snow held, it would do the same when he returned.



Date: 04-20-11
Poster: Liam Quinn
Post # 22

Strange Places

Spring... the time for planting, fixing, and sneaking away when things got to be too much. And that's just what Ciar was doing after a day of planting, hauling, fixing and everything else Fiona could come up with. He needed a drink, a meal, a game of cards and maybe a good round of fighting to relax. And the place for a meal, at least for tonight, was the Blue Marlin where he had finished his meal and wandered out to watch the activity on the docks.

Spring brought many out that had been reclusive. The port buzzed like a bee hive. Ships coming and moving out. A lot of trade going on as well there were the low lifes that seemed to sprout like fungus. Liam was drifting about seeing if he could spot a brother or cousin. Cleaned up after a day of boxing, he might well need to get cleaned up again before the night was done.

Spotting Liam, he let out a whistle, one his brother should hear over the hustle and bustle that surrounded them. He chuckled as a few folks muttered that he had startled them but pretty much ignored any glares. They could glare all they wanted!

Conor had found himself in the damnedest of places of late. Places he never really ever would have thought himself to be. Heathfield Port. Still another example. But here, at least, he could find a good round of cards,or a roundabout brawl, and best of all, a good round of whiskey, maybe two, and if his luck worked better for drinking than it did at that stack of 52, a good many more than two rounds of whiskey. So he was hoping as he wandered along the boarded walk, sidestepping staggering blokes who had beat him to the bottle, or redirecting misguided pickpockets or fortune tellers. And look! Saints be praised! Kin! With a ..."Not tonight, I really shouldn't keep them waiting." with a nod Liam's and Ciaran's way, Conor sidestepped the buxom blonde and went off down the walk to join his cousins.

They didn't have to be down near the docks as there were streets layered above each other packed with all kinds of pubs and shops. Liam caught sight of Conor first as a grin started spreading, "come now, passing up Lucky Lucy there? A man would have to be tied down, well.." chuckling as many a married man knew the delights of Lucky Lucy. He had a flask filled with the pure, well, not so full now that he offered it over.

He spotted Conor then too and saw him heading his way. Lifting his hand in a wave, he waited for brother and cousin to join him. Ah, what a life. Drink, cards and fighting, with an occasional tumble with a comely lass. What could be better?

Not much. He sidled on up to his cousins. "How are you feeling, Ciaran? Lucky?" That would determine the rest of Conor's evening.

Now that was a question for Ciar to think about, and he frowned slightly. "Not as much as usual. I left me coin at home." He did that on occasion, just to make sure he would break his winning streak. Conor would understand that, as would Liam, though even then, sometime the man's luck held.

"Hell, we could watch you play cards and make bets on who would win.." that way the three of them won! Being as Conor didn't take the flask, he offered it his brother's way. "I hear The Craw is crawling with ones needing a good lesson or three."

Liam had Ciaran chuckling as he accepted the flask. "Well, we could chance it. Though that coin would make sure of it." He wasn't about to go back after it though. Fiona would pounce on him sure!

Conor was needing that flask too badly to allow it to pass him by. He snatched out a hand and whisked it right from Ciaran's grasp. "Lead the way, Cousins."

Just as he was about to take a drink too. He gave Conor a comical look then pushed up from his lean. "The Craw is that way." And he headed in the wrong direction, just to see if Liam caught it.

Which had him laughing as they were not far from the place. Another hole in the wall and they could smell the stench of unwashed sailors, pewk, beer and whiskey all rolled into one. Smoke was heavy that drifted out thorough the partially open door, only way any fresh air got in there not that it stayed very long.

Conor wouldn't realize, he was lifting the flask as he started to walk. He had no idea where he was going, just that he was going. It was all good for him.

Well, so much for the fresh air. He ignored the smell as he walked in, arms flung wide. "Ahhhh, just what I need. Who's up for a game?" He didn't expect too many to take him up on it but... there were always newcomers here for a bit of R & R.

Hey, they just might, seeing Conor strolling in behind. Because, in walked the sure-fire way to win a good amount of coin. He chuckled hearing Ciaran, cocky-bast'id that he was and he reached an arm forward to share Liam's flask.

He slid money into Ciaran's pocket, "triple it for me," which he could keep part too. He had more, to make bets on who would win. "Ale," would be what he'd order here as a few comely lasses were already checking them out. Certainly a number of steps above what this place attracted.

Flask. Money. All he needed was a drink and he was set. He winked at Liam and Conor before he headed to a table where a few men were setting up.

Ciaran went to the table, Conor headed to the bar.

Liam was hustling bets as one guy got up from the card table to make room for Ciaran. They were eyeing him up like a piece of cake. He was also being eyed up like the icing on the cake by the woman lingering in the hopes of seeing some of that money for herself later.

"All right, gents, let's get to playing." He knew he had two to watch his back so he could be a bit cocky, couldn't he? He took a sip of the really bad ale, made a face, and set to winning. If he was lucky, the lass would be too! While the game went on, there were a few sailors that entered. British mostly, who made their way to the bar, free with their money and their comments.

Those very prejudice British eyed Ciaran as he got the seat at the table one of them had wanted. "I see the place is filled with Irish trash," too bad for the man as Liam had just wove by him and turned with a right hook right into the bloke's nose. Blood started spewing everywhere. His comrades first trying to help him then turned to try and get Liam. First swing, second, he ducked easily only to come up and in with another blow. There were mostly Irish in the place, stupid comment on the man's part as all hell broke out then.

Conor had just collected his glass, ducking his head to look around his arm, and then, he placed his glass back on the counter as well as a good stack of coins to cover any damage he and his kin might ... someone was avoiding a blow and bumped right into Conor! Conor spun, his swing coming around over the top of that ducking man and cracking straight into the jaw of the attacker.

And just as the game was getting good too. He cussed though he was laughing and scooped up coins and cards. And just as he stood, two men crashed onto the table sending the rest of the coins and cards flying. Now they'd have to start all over again. Once the coins were tucked away, he tossed the cards into the face of a man who was about to take a swing at him, then charged him just like the bear he was nicknamed for.

Oh what a night! It was better to give than to receive, but Conor was getting one to every three he gave.

He wasn't the only one even if Liam was that good. This was not an organized boxing match but an all out brawl. One that had no sides after a while and fighting just to fight as even friend hit friend. Except for the brothers and cousin. He ducked down, as a punch skimmed along his jaw, coming up behind as he pushed the one into another with a domino effect. Conor would feel himself being yanked away as a few fists just missed his face. He might hear the guard whistles beyond the din of the ruckus. "There's a back door," one that Ciaran wasn't far from as he shoved his way there and beyond. "Quick," they would avoid the worse of it.

Lookatthat! Ciaran managed to scoop up more of those coins before he headed for the door. All bets covered and more maybe. He wasn't stealing! Those coins likely would have been his anyway!

Conor stumbled those few steps, still swinging out at any that he might be able to make contact with as he was being dragged to the door. Wait! They were leaving? Whistles? His whiskey was on the counter! Another swing just as they made the opening and he made contact, dammit, with the doorframe. "Mothafah!" He yelled, jerking his hand back into side and pitching out into the back alley.

Ouch! He heard that! And nearly ran into his kin as he charged out of the tavern. There were others trying to get out as well, and those Brits? Well, they'd be pushed out the front, right into the laps of the guard. Keep them busy while the Quinns made their escape. And Ciar shared his 'found' coins.

There was a discarded chunk of ice melting with the rest of the garbage out the back which he wrapped up in a handkerchief and applied it to Conor's knuckles. "This will take the punch out of that punch." Glancing up the ally as he saw many rushing towards the front of the place. Seemed someone knocked over an oil lamp and started a fire too. They were quickly putting out. "I know of another place.." quick grin as he started them off in that direction.

"Hope it's not as quiet as this one was." Ciaran chuckled as he followed after, and started to whistle as he walked. Maybe he wouldn't need the coin tonight!

Clutching the ice pack to his hand, Conor glanced down the alleyway with a grin. He had experienced worse and probably would again. He glanced over his shoulder once to the establishment they had just vacated then hurried his pace to join his cousins. Nothing like a night out with Quinn kin.

"It's called the Pygmy Post." They really didn't need to get caught up in such disturbances if they could avoid them. Mary would have Conor's head for starters.

"Pygmy?" Oh grand, this should be interesting.

The name had Ciaran slowing and staring at Liam. "That what? New place?" He had never heard of it and didn't know if he should laugh or not.

"Exactly. Someone took over the Pig Sty Inne that got burnt out last year. Fixed it all up jungle style." Which they would see many a head of an exotic beast hanging on the walls. Not the best of specimens nor was the place even with the unique theme. Things like no eyes in the socket of the monkey head and the ferocious lion was missing a few canines and an ear. It was the shrunken heads that made one wonder if they had been real that gave it the name, although Shrunken Heads might have been more appropriate.

"That mean the barmaids are dressed in skins?" He wiggled his brows, laughing. Hey, why not? There were worse things to see! Ciar knew where the Pig Sty had been so he made a turn in that direction. A few more people rushed by, still rushing to see what was going on. And look! There went some of those sailors, under arrest and glaring at the three Quinns.

And it made one wonder, when everyone is running in one direction, and three are pressing against the flow in the opposite direction, what were those three up to? Conor saluted the sailors with a click of heels. Yes, and with his cracked knuckles hand at that! But then just kept on walking toward this Pygmy Pig Head place.

"So rumor has it," why he intended to come to this place too. He knew the other had card games going all the time. "I hear they are quite pretty too." Unlike most even young they ended up looking many years older. At least it didn't have the stench like the other but certainly not any class to it either. The girls were in leather with a lot of cleavage to show and a bit of leg with the slit up the sides of the outfit. Liam got them to a table that had just cleared away of its party. Tipping his seat to dislodge anything setting on it and a sweep of his hand to push any tankards and plates off to one side.

Wellllll now, wasn't this interesting. He studied the room with interest, laughing at the poor monkey. Lad needed a glass eye or two. One of those lasses got a wink as he turned to watch her walk by then he followed Liam to the table. He made sure to clean off another of the chairs, and a third for the injured Conor before taking a seat. "Get rid of the flotsam, lass, and there's an extra coin in it for you." Motioning to the leftovers.

Conor turned in a circle as he entered, taking it all in from the lion to the monkey to the heads to the ... hello! He grinned, touching his wounded hand to his forehead as if he was tipping a hat to the leather clad lass that just sauntered by. He was now walking backwards as he joined his group, nearly tripping over Liam as that cousin took his seat.

Ale was delivered along with a platter of food. The food smelled and looked descent as he heard. Certainly it was a few steps up from the other place. There seemed to be a card game going on over in the corner so they were in luck, least when someone decided they had enough and Ciar could step in. "I hear the food is descent here." Which there was a beef and bean soup added to the fare of bread, slices of meat and cheese. He shifted his seat with a laugh as Conor near knocked the lass into his lap instead of the food. She didn't get embarrass but took the moment to run a hand along his jaw, "anything you need boys.." leaving it a loaded statement as she was back up and off to her job.

Ciaran started laughing, glad he was on the opposite side of the table, except daaaaaang, he wouldn't have minded that near miss. He sighed dramatically, his hand over his heart. "Ah, to be lucky in love instead of lucky in games of chance."

Love wasn't a game of chance?

Maybe but Ciaran meant cards!

Watch this smooth move. He stumbled, twisted and landed right in the seat that Ciaran had cleaned out for him. Bet you couldn't do that if you tried!

One probably could not unless they were some kind of exotic dancer or contortionist! Liam had to laugh as Conor was finally seated and slid one of the tankards of ale his way. "You could use a few," which he looked from left to right, right to left, waggled his brows and passed the flask of the pure. "At least I can provide the best chaser. Hide it," as the serving lass was coming back their way.

Hide it? Were they school boys? How about refill it and then order some more!? But he did as he was told and scooted up to the table, tucking it between his thighs as he smiled up to the approaching lass.

He was busy stuffing his face but paused to watch Conor and Liam, looking a touch confused. Until he saw the lass approaching then he smiled too. Seeeeeee, all nice Irish lads, innocent as the very day they were born.

These three Irish lads? Were they even innocent at birth? Probably not any of these three, but all the better for that approaching lass that they had all these years to perfect the art of not being innocent!

Conor never felt the movement along his leg but the serving lass was back, "oh my," she exclaimed and was right to Conor's seat to lean over him. A nice show for him as she reached down, beyond Liam's and Ciaran's sight. She didn't come up with the flask. No. Not at all, she came up with a boa instead. Looked rather interesting as the very large snake just kept coming and coming.

Had the lass found the flask? Or was she .... hooooly hell! Ciar was up that fast and knocking his chair backward. That was the biggest feckin' snake he had ever seen!

"Hold on there, Sweetie." Conor chuckled, taking hold of her wrist to stop whatever she planned to do except...Holy Crap! What the ... holy crap! Conor shot back, chair sailing and tumbling behind him, Quinn to his feet and back pedaling to get away from the monstrosity that had been lurking under their table and worse yet, it seemed, right between his legs!

And it seemed Conor agreed! He started laughing at himself and his cousin. "That's a ... long one, isn't it, Conor?"

"Bigger than any I'm willing to come up against." When it came to bragging rights, any Quinn could do just that. But this comparison? Noooo, Conor would give over any arguments of size right here, right now. And God only knew where that flask went. Sorry Liam. They'd have to search for it later...right now, Conor was still just staring with disbelief.

Liam was to his feet not having a clue what was about to happen other than he was not going to lose his flask. That was no flask being pulled up. "What the," but he burst out laughing. "Now such rumors, Conor."

And the woman just held it, stroked it, as if it were some furry little flop eared hare. Conor scratched at his head, a sudden need to shiver away his disgust. Snakes as a rule didn't bother him. But this? This? This was no snake, this was a damn, ridiculously gigantic, tongue flicking, nightmare creature.

He was close enough to Conor that he gave him a bump to his shoulder. Ciar wouldn't admit it but this snake did the same to him. No, just .... hell. He didn't want to think what they fed the thing. Those that didn't pay their tab went missing?

There were many holes in the wall joints, as well a few decent places down one end. Liam eyed the thing, "is there any others we should be aware of?" The woman gave them a smile as she was to wear it like a cape. "Not unless you meet the blokes over there," indicating a motley crew playing cards. One seemed to be getting up as he had enough losing. "Ciaran.." They fed him pygmies. One minute there, next he was under the table to find his flask.


Glad he was over four feet tall then!

And noticing the opening, he grabbed a slice of bread as he went over to fill it in. Time for some serious winning!

With her words, Conor forced himself to look away from the reptile and over to the game of cards. He smiled, returning his gaze back to Ciaran. His cousin wouldn't be able to resist the empty seat and Conor ... he meant to get a drink! Especially after a night of brawling and straddling a sizable serpent!

"It only wanted to cuddle around you Conor," voice came from down under as he finally found the flask amongst the grass. Some oversize beetles scurried out. Least they were better than rats. Yes, they had grassy mats on the floor.

Tell the lass to keep them coming, Conor. Ciaran's paying!

"Keep 'em coming, Lass. That man there?" He nodded to Ciaran. "He's paying."

And Ciar raised a hand to show, yes, he was paying.

Dang it! And when Ciar was paying, Conor had to go! He slapped a hand to Liam's back, gave an uplift of chin to Ciar and made for the door.

The food that had been delivered was left behind as they gravitated away from the lass with the boa to the table with the live card game. "Got a seat for a challenge?" Liam offered up to them.

They were willing as long they thought they'd be getting more money. Room was made for Liam and the game began in earnest.
The game would continue on to the wee hours of the night.


Date: 10-16-11
Poster: Adrian Frasier
Post # 23

Harbor Masters

So far it was a quiet night at the port. Something to relish being it wouldn't last too long. It was getting to be that hour where sailors were soused and getting into trouble. Adrian walked his beat, nodding to the patrol a guards he passed. They came in handy but not necessarily needed when he was in fighting mode. There were enough people, including most of the tavern keepers to lend a hand when their establishment became the focus of a ruckus. The air was cooler, especially with the breeze coming in off the ocean. The steady rush of waves to and from the shore a constant. He turned up the collar of the lined overcoat he wore, booted feet marking his way down along the boardwalk.

Adam would soon be meeting up with Adrian, not an unusual happening. He had spoken to a few folks that were out, some heading for taverns, some for home and a few looking for a place for the night having disembarked from an arriving ship. Once he steered them in the right direction, he was moving again. He adjusted the wide brimmed hat he wore and grumbled a little under his breath. Summer seemed to pass too quickly this year. But maybe he was just getting older

It was probably more they were getting older and cold seemed to seep right down to bone marrow unlike their younger years. But... that didn't stop either of them in their ability to fight. Young or Old, didn't matter when fists were flying. He had taken up a lean against a thick pier post to light up a cigarillo as Adam approached. He could tell by the mark of his boots against the wood. Everyone had a certain cadence to their gate. "'lo there Adam," cupping the match around the tip of the cig to light it before flicking it to where the water lapped against the shore. He didn't look his comrade's way as he was watching the ones hanging around the front of the Black Falcon. Looked like some sailors new to the lands.

"Adrian." He touched the tip of his fingers to the brim of his hat, an easy smile appearing. "How are things on your end?" Not saying a word about it being a quiet night. Everyone knew how that could change.

"Not complaining," letting out some smoke in an exhale. "How are things holding up on the east side?" Dark eyes turned on Adam a moment with a knowing look that then turned back to the three who were confronting a few regulars just inside the door. Voices were getting louder, a sure indication things might change quickly from quiet to riot.

"Typical night." He grinned then shrugged. "Bit cooler at night but to be expected this time of year." It would be All Hallow's Eve soon and time for all kinds of tricks, ghosts and goblins. He might be hard of hearing in one ear but there was no mistaken the sounds of a possible fight beginning. "Shall we have a look?"

"Aye," as in maybe nipping it in the bud. He was up from his casual lean with a flick of the cig off into the water as he started in that direction. "Hey there," voice rising as they approached giving them a heads up as the look on Adrian's face bode more trouble than they may want. Couple that with Adam at his side. It had the three stepping aside the other few with their hands up. "We want no trouble." Right, they had been asking for it a few moments ago by the look on two of the regulars' faces. "Aye, then be on your way or you might be having to report to your captain when I give him a talk." By this time they had drawn close enough to get a good look of the three.

Adam didn't say much. He didn't really need to. His face was shadowed mostly by the hat but the smirk was clearly seen. Two of the men were older sea dogs, and looked like they had been in a few fights in their time. The third looked like a green-behind-the-ears guppy. He had been cocky up until the two men appeared but that had disappeared. "And no trouble elsewhere either." They'd be watched.

This port was not like the usual they had visited and caused fights. Fights so they could pick pocket and the ones never the wiser. It may have worked in other ports but they were getting the distinct feeling it might be better not to try it here. The Guppy might not be as smart as Adrian added the threat, "we're all over the place here..." let them wonder. They had seen the patrols most ports completely lacked. The three gave one look to the regulars before turning on a heel and heading back down the pier. Once they were out of earshot, words came in a low tone between them. "Think they'll get in trouble.." which had the two regulars burst into a laugh. Certainly those three would get in trouble before they were gone. Most likely their last day here so they could run. "Best we keep a track on them." Adam would find them down his end of the harbor thinking all they needed was some distance.

"Aye, I was thinking the same." He grinned then rubbed his chin thoughtfully. At least that's one thing the change in weather brings, fewer ships." And a little peace and quiet. He'd take a few minutes to warm up. "How's your family?" Of which there were many!

"I think a stop at the Blue Marlin is in order. Get a late meal to warm us up and some potcheen she keeps on hand for certain ones." Which they fitted the criteria of certain ones. "Put a word out on those three.." which would also serve that purpose. A nod given the others before they retreated inside. Adrian swore he saw a snowflake drift past his eyes. Small sliver of silver sparkle. "Winter is coming.." more grumbled under his breath as he started for the more elite tavern in the port area. As they made their way to the Blue Marlin, he would fill Adam in on all the latest news that he knew of on his family. It would take the whole time before the same question would be asked of Adam.


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