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Innis Daingneach

Date: 07-31-11
Poster: Peter James O'Neill
Post # 1

Departure Preparations

The lands were pretty much back to normal after all said and done for the hurricane. Life moved on. There had been a burial service for those of the crew lost to sea as well as the few citizens. The ship's remains smashed on the jutted rock, a reminder of what Mother Nature could do in her wrath. Peter had received a report of a few uprisings in lands they traded with in the meantime. Towns being ransacked, plundered and many slaughtered. First it had been a hit here and there but it had escalated to one of the smaller towns. Rumors surrounded it, claims made by certain factions and the only reason he was being made privy of the information was due to the trading. Although, at this point, he was not directly involved. It was disturbing nonetheless. It was time to head back to Innis and find out more. He had talked with Karl and Honeee, a few others as well of his departure. Henna was another he left word with and that he would be at the Thistle this night to relax before the journey. Comfortably attired in a white shirt, black pants and boots, he was taking his leisure at the bar and the usual interesting conversation with Alex. They talked of old times, wars of the past and it was he who predicted these uprisings would affect him in the near future. An evil that would spread. To take heed and be prepared.

Henna's day were not quite as full now that the damage to the Orphanage had been repaired. To her delight, a child brought to the orphanage after the storm was reunited with her parents and they had even begun the proceedings to adopt another, a young boy their daughter had become close friends with from the first day she arrived. The boy had gone home with them to see how things worked out while the final papers were completed but she was certain they would find he fit in just fine. Because of this, she was in an extra good mood though Peter's leaving concerned her. She was still working things out of course and he did have a kingdom to take care of. She was dressed in a gown tonight, a touch fancier then her usual, in a soft violet silk, with a pendent of amethyst and earrings to match. Her hair was worn in a bun at the crown of her head and decorated with tiny violet flowers. She even wore satin shoes to match instead of boots. She came to the Thistle escorted by a guard whom she thanked and dismissed before entering. Of course she would wait to be noticed rather then interrupt the discussion going on.

The commotion at the door, although not a loud one, had Peter turning on the stool he occupied to see who it might be. He was up immediately as the draw of burnt sienna eyes naturally went down over the sight Henna made thoroughly. He caught himself. Eyes riveting up and the words to follow on the spot, "you are a beautiful vision, Princess." Slight dip of his head for the truth of his words as he made a gesture of his hand to one of the tables off to the side. One not in the line of traffic should there be any tonight. "Would you care to join me, glass of wine? Something to eat?" Which would be settled there at the bar before taking up the chosen table.

She smiled warmly at Alex then at Peter, a hint of rose touching her cheeks when she saw how he looked at her. "Thank you, your Majesty." She answered with a curtsey added, eyes bright with laughter for the formalities though she did appreciate the compliment very much. "Something light would be lovely, perhaps fruit and cheese? " The dimple appeared as she added, "though if you'd like something heartier, please order and wine would be lovely." She would wait for him to escort her to the table of course.

A swift glance to Alex, "same for me," had the tender giving a nod and would relate the request to Hazel. Attention swung back near as fast upon the lovelier vision. The wine would be a red one for the cheese in compliment. A merlot that was neither too dry nor too sweet. The table wasn't far as he was over to draw out a chair. "I trust all is getting back to normal at the Orphanage?" Actually he knew for he kept particular tabs upon this Princess not that she would know. The fact was, he wanted to hear it from her. Once she was seated, he took up the chair next to hers. Angling it so he was more facing her than not.

Again, she smiled at Alex and would stop in before leaving to greet Hazel. She watched as he sat before answering. "Yes it is. Today the young lad who was playing a drum when your knights and you came to help was taken to what will be his new home once the final papers are signed. All the children were happy for him, though sad too, and we had a little party for him." She studied him a moment before asking her own question. "Is all well on Innis?"

"It is always good news when a child finds a home. No disrespect to the Orphanage for you make it as best a home and family you can." This he knew. The intensity of his eyes held hers as the last of her words allowed him to get straight to the point. Something Peter did when decided upon. Sometimes that could take a while in certain social areas of his life. Battles, fighting, was as breathing. "It seems that the times I am here, I've not really had the chance to spend time with you. I need to get back for a number of reasons as a King must. It is not good for one to stay away too long." Which history proved. "There is nothing in particular out of the ordinary, the island is fine. There are other lands we trade with across the sea that seem to be having some trouble." Which he really couldn't say much more until he learned more. "I was wondering if you would like to come back with me to Innis? A holiday for you now that things have settled. Your mother assured me that if you should like to, that all would be take care of here that you would need not worry." In the meantime he had leaned a touch closer until Rosie came from the kitchen with the tray ordered. Nola on her heels with the wine and glasses. He paused with a slight lean back as the two set the fare out. They were quick about it, but extra glances were taken on the King of Innis. He didn't come here often nor had they waited on him before. Nola nearly tripped over Rosie but luckily caught herself and with red cheeks on both they excused themselves with a curtsey and near ran back into the kitchen. With a slightly amused glint to his eyes for the flight, he was then focused back on Henna.

The lasses had Henna nearly laughing but she didn't want to embarrass them anymore then they were. She looked back to Peter, and just smiled, saying nothing about their hurried escape. "I would love to go with you for a holiday." She trusted Mary Beth and Esther completely, and knew the children would listen to both. She would miss them all of course. But with her mother watching over everything, there would be no problems at all. "And I'm sure Mother is seeing to my packing." Her mother knew her best after all!

"I do bathe as often as possible and certainly after practice on the field here..." trailing off with a laugh as one could suspect he knew that was not the reason. Perhaps he was becoming more aware of certain things. Luckily neither had done the pouring for he might have been wearing that too. He took the moment to pour their glasses, knowing it would be a fine wine for Alex had nothing less. "Then you could be ready, say," trying to calculate such which he'd be way off the mark for some ladies, "the day after tomorrow, high tide?" Which would be early but he and his crew liked an early start. The wine poured, he offered her one of the smaller plates to set what she wanted from the platter. He stuck with the cheese and bread.

Hazel had sliced up peaches and apples, and added blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, as well as a sweet dip for Henna. Of course she would choose those and some of the cheeses. "Yes, I can be ready then." She would likely be ready tonight but she didn't need to tell him that. "And the weather should be excellent."

"You have no qualms sailing?" Which he then added to be more to the point, "when a storm comes up. Although we should not see the likes of the one recent." Even he would be more than a bit worried. A sailor's nightmare. That and certain places that stories built upon. Fog islands, black waters and the whirlpool filled with squid larger than a ship. He raised his glass in toast. "To an enjoyable trip."

"I have no calms about sailing at all." She smiled again after sipping the wine. "In fact, I love it. I've only been in one storm though and it wasn't all that bad. And didn't last long." She tipped her head slightly. "And I know you'll have an excellent crew." Touching her glass, she added, "and to the company we'll be keeping."

"You will have very comfortable quarters." He had guest quarters that would suit a lady. "Then I shall be here to collect you two mornings hence." Knowing he didn't have too much time left this evening. "I'm sure you know that Innis is tropical so bring attire suited, although enough to be worn the ship and return home. There are also finely made gowns you may wish to bring back." There would be a lot for her to see and he looked forward to being her personal guide. Who knew it better than he?

"I'll be looking forward to it." She did know and of course, she would have advice should she need it. Her maid would be in charge of her jewelry and the like. Tomorrow she would spend the day with the children, explaining she was taking a trip and would write them often and tell them all about it. Mary Beth and the others knew the routine and the children were very comfortable with them. "I should probably return to the castle so I can speak to Mother and let her know I'm going for certain."

"Then I shall escort you there." That was where he was staying when here anyway. Little was left of their fair, something light this late and suited perfectly. Wine was finished as he was up to offer the bend of his arm. "It is a nice night to walk the distance unless you prefer not?" She could be tired after all or the like.

She preferred to walk and usually was on her own though she was safe enough in Heathfield. Of course, it did take time from the Orphanage. "Walking is perfect." She stood and slipped her arm through his. "Not a cloud in the sky so we'll be able to see the stars."

"A beautiful night to spend in the company of a beautiful Princess," giving her a wink but the compliment was meant. A rugged hand to touch over hers where it rested in the crook of his arm as they headed out. The usual departing words given Alex and Hazel before they were out into the warmth of the night and the clear sky with a zillion stars up above. She was well protected in the company of this King and the enchanted sword that hung at his left hip.


Date: 08-29-11
Poster: Peter James O'Neill
Post # 2


The near two weeks at sea went smoothly enough. There were some rough spots a few of those days but most was smooth sailing and the days only growing warmer. More sun to be seen than not. Peter spent what time he could with Henna out at the rail to watch the sun rise or set. She was a early riser and not to bed until after the sun set completely. His men rigged up Chinese lanterns to light the deck in the evening if she should not be able to sleep and up from her cabin. Conversation and distance was kept proper for she was an upstanding princess of allied lands. All due respect was given and his men had a stern, black and white, speech given on behavior expected of them before she ever set foot on his ship. This particular ship, one of his private ones, was called the Sea Mistress. It seemed appropriate for her sleek lines and the way she cut through even choppy waters like a hot knife through butter. Their arrival came with a ceremony befitting the return of the Innis King and his Princess guest. She was showered with tropical flowers woven into necklaces and a crown. Everywhere she looked she'd find those flowers in abundance. Their arrival was late but that didn't stop the small feast prepared. Although late enough that his father had gone to bed and would see them come morning, or afternoon if he chose to sleep in. Henna was given a small suite with large airy rooms and appropriate netting to keep out the variety of tropical bugs. It would not stop a few small lizards from getting in and probably jumping on her bed. In all the to-do, he forgot to warn her of this possibility.

Henna was an early riser for a couple of reasons, first and foremost, being the children. If she stayed at the castle, she was up early enough to have breakfast with any of her family who was awake and then join the children. If she stayed at the orphanage, waking up early was a given! She loved the sea, and enjoyed the time she had with Peter. She also enjoyed asking the crew questions, listening closely while they explained. Though it had been warm when they left Heathfield, it was a different type of warmth here, comfortable and not humid, the air scented with the sea and those beautiful flowers. The feast was welcomed, even if she was still working on getting her land legs back and of course, she enjoyed herself. Lizards? Well, they might startle her but she never knew what matter of critter the children might decide to "share" with her while she slept. She'd survive easily enough. It wasn't easy to settle into sleep but she did manage, and was up with the sun. She couldn't miss her first sunrise on Innis.

Peter was up before that sunrise to tap on her door. It was only loud enough that if she were awake, she'd hear it. If she were not, the passing minutes would also let him know this and he'd be back later. The chambermaids had not come around yet with the tea and scones to set on her dinette table in one section of the suite.

She had dressed in one of the lighter gowns packed away and was still barefoot when she answered the door. Her hair was left loose to fall around her shoulders in dark waves. "Good morning, Peter." She smiled warmly as she opened the door. "Have you come to share the sunrise with me?" A soft rose shade, the gown complimented her skin, made dark hair and eyes even darker but the sparkle in her eyes came from seeing Peter.

Henna was a vision on any occasion but that moment had him sucking in a breath as the door opened. Not quite expecting to see the flow of her hair about her form and the delicate lighter gown she had chosen to wear. He did not halt the rise of his hand to cup the side of her face. It was there in his eyes, that would devour her before he reined in those more base, raw, desires. The touch was gentle, rougher skin of his palms against what felt like silk. His voice a touch deeper, coarser that came low between them, "I thought maybe you would come share the sunrise with me in the bungalow along the beech. One I keep for days to get away from the bustle of a castle and all its affairs." His thumb stroked in an effortless way, unconsciously, as eyes held with that fire that belied all his courtly ways. The latter being inbred since he was small.

He surprised her, both with the look in his eyes and the touch against her cheek. She felt the heat of a blush start in her cheeks and lowered her eyes just briefly before meeting his intense gaze again. "I would like that very much, but I'll need to get my shoes first." It would be a pair of sandals of course, but she didn't move to get them just yet. Instead she put her smaller hand over his.

"Bring anything you wish but we should hurry or we will miss that exact moment.." his hand lowering only to captured hers within as it was lifted to the touch of his lips. That touch was as heated as the look his eyes. Eyes that held the while, leaving the look beneath his brow when bowed forward before straightened. Her hand eased down to release. "We can leave by your balcony." One large enough that it had a set of steps leading down from the second floor to one of the great lawns that spread out with various flowers beds. A network of them as good as a labyrinth.

"They're just right there." Her smile grew with the touch of his lips, the blush deepening a touch until her cheeks were the same shade as her gown. She stepped back and hurried over to slip them on, then moved toward the balcony, pausing there to wait for him. He'd have to lead the way through the flowers or she might get lost!

He slid the door open to the balcony, the sheers flowing in soft ripples with the morning breeze. The sky was just starting to show the signs of light that the sun was coming up. There were a few mountains on this isle of his that has been in his family for centuries. He discarded the royal robe giving way to the covering of a white poets' shirt left mostly open in the front in an appeasing comfortable way. Beige pants were just as loose and airy with the lighter pair of short boots. "Come, come Princess," in a way to build excitement that they would beat the sun rising to reach the bungalow. Once she was to the door he captured her smaller hand in his and started off into a jog, slower run than he was capable of but one that would have her get into the rush of it. The wind playing against their skin as he rushed her across the expanse of lawn. The kind one could enjoy going barefoot on.

The fact that formality was left somewhat behind, pleased her tremendously and she laughed as he took hold of her hand. A deep breath was taken before they started into the run and it had her laughing again. Though she dearly loved the children and the work that she did with them, this time away was welcomed and certainly would be treasured. And most likely, she would walk that lawn barefoot and sometime soon!

One moment he'd near be pulling her before the next he would have her swinging around, up by strong hands only to be lowered into that rush again. "Hurry, hurry Princess.." teasing that went well with the glint in burnt sienna eyes. Laughing eyes before they were rushing down rows and rows of flowers. Ones he didn't know the names of but enjoyed their scents nonetheless. If she stumbled, she'd never fall for he was quick and strong to capture her up then lead her on. Those streaks in the tropical sky were getting lighter for the few rays that dared to spike up from behind the jungle of a mountain. The seagulls squawked and even swooped down close to see what the excitement was all about. The rush of waves that steadily stroked white sandy beaches came in a lulling, drawing sound. As they reached the shoreline and the direction he took, she'd see the stylish bungalow up ahead. It was nestled far enough up so the tide would not soak its floors and keep easy access to the warmth of white sand. The place had been opened up as similar sheers in her room flowed in and out of the tall glass openings with the breeze in off the ocean.

She felt like a girl again, without a care in the world and laughed each time he swung her. Even the seagulls had her laughing with their curiosity. Her steps were light as they ran, not even slowing once they reached the sand. She might have slowed to take in the sight of cottage and beach, but she didn't want to miss the sunrise. "Oh, how perfect!"

"It is perfect," which it was but there was more there in the intensity of sienna eyes that turned on her again before he was once more rushing along the sand. The boots made such possible for it was not as easy to traverse as grass. At one point he lifted her up into his arms to make it faster for his legs were longer and much stronger. Sandy blond hair whipped back from his face and she'd see the mellow smile that settled there in spite of his rush forward. Once he reached the veranda of the bungalow, he set her back to her feet. One that had black wrought iron rails and plenty of potted palm trees and hibiscus. A table had been set with a covered dish of light pastries and a pot of a fragrant tea.

She let out a squeak of surprise when her feet left the ground, laughter once more escaping. Her arms went around his neck and she grinned at him. As soon as her feet were firmly on the ground, her sandals came off. "Your own hidden bit of paradise." She approved! And lowered into a curtsey. "May I pour for you?" She was teasing with the formality of the offer, but she would be pleased to pour for them both. "And we made it in time."


Date: 09-26-11
Poster: Henna Suex
Post # 3


The smile never wavered as his arms lingered about her where they stood. "A few hidden places I may share with you." The smile touching a bit more. "Maybe even all of them." Then to her last statement, "aye, you may pour but first," turning her around to face he ocean, having her back up against his chest as his arms surrounded in an easy comfortable way, lightly crossing about her waist. "We shall watch the sun rise and greet this new day properly." More like reverently. Those streaks got brighter and brighter with each ticking minute until the sun broke over the horizon, sending rays of golden over the rolling crests that flowed continuously in the rhythm of the sea.

"That sounds enticing," she laughed, eyes sparkling as she answered. "We'll just have to see what happens then?" Laughter turned to a smile as he turned her around. Each sunrise was unique and welcome, here or home, but she had to admit this sunrise was rare and special. The waves looked magical as the sun's first rays kissed them and she sighed softly. "Thank you for showing me this." Her voice was soft though she pointed toward the waves. "Look. There are dolphins feeding."

He held her in silence until she broke it. Absorbing the scene of which he appreciated them all that he took the time to watch when he could. "This is our sunrise." Their very first. Possibly there would be more. "We can go swimming with them if you'd like?" Turning her around in his arms so they were facing. The sunlight seemed to pick up the golden in his hair in a kind of halo. Except he was no angel with the devouring look in his eyes that dared her to run like Red Riding Hood from the wolf.

"I don't have the right clothes on for swimming." She laughed softly, a touch of rose on her cheeks as she considered what would happen to that gown if it became wet. She gave him a look that was impish and sultry at the same time. And where would she run if she was of a mind to? The ocean likely but she just smiled and watched his eyes, arms sliding around his waist at the same time.

Smile slowly tipped, "too late now." As if by asking questions she had lost the opportunity of choice. Next she would find herself crushed up against him as large callus hand moved up to cup the back of her head. Good thing too for the onslaught that followed of his lips over hers. Expertly moving to entice with a give and take if she knew how. There was a long unappeased hunger there, a searching, a tasting, a need, all rolled into one. While his one hand supported, the other was traveling up and down along her back and side. It would only go to the upper curve of her buttocks before rolling up along her spine.

She started to pout and he stopped it right there with an unexpected kiss. She didn't attempt to move away or fight against the kiss but leaned against him fully, her hands sliding slowly over the muscle of his back. A soft sound came from deep in her throat, a near purr, and she shivered slightly with his touch. Her mind was no longer on the dolphins or even where they were as the kiss deepened and her feelings nearly overwhelmed her.

When she purred, he growled into it. An invitation to deepen the kiss as lips parted and tongue dove as he enticed her lips apart for the new onslaught. One that held a rhythm much like the real earthy one between man and woman. There was no longer the roar of the ocean in the background for another kind of roar in his ears. The heated kiss to build as with each response he didn't hold back.

Her lips parted to allow his tongue to move in a dance with hers and she was still making soft purrs, the beat of her heart increasing with his. The tea was forgotten, she didn't remember where they were. The world around them had faded into a haze of colors though she felt as if the ocean were a part of her, moving through the two of them, surrounding them, engulfing them just as the passion they were sharing moved through them.

He had fantasized the moment they would kiss. When he would initiate it. It had been planned to do a lot more before that moment but after the rising of the sun, he took flight with it and any other plans blown away as he acted on impulse. A quality that saved him a few lives over during battles. He knew what the kiss was doing to him and her, he knew that anything further was not something for the moment. Too fast and he could lose her, too slow and he could lose her. A balance between both needed in the chance for them. He didn't give the kiss up too quickly as he savored each second before easing the connection. His forehead touching hers with his eyes closed and certainly his breathing was a lot heavier. Something to calm as the touch of his forehead lifted as well his eyes. Burnt sienna held a fire in them that belied the otherwise calm in a thickened voice. "Time to serve the cup of tea and sate another hunger." Obviously they would not be stating the physical one presently. No, this was a testing and if it came to that, she would be going into with full knowledge and desire.

She was sorry that the kiss ended but knew she wasn't ready and neither was he. There was nothing wrong with impulse and she didn't regret this moment they had shared. She held still as he leaned his forehead against hers and when he finally lifted his head, her eyes opened as well and she met the fire in his eyes with her own. "Yes," a near breathless agreement to the mention of the tea and breaking fast. She waited for him to release her before moving back to the table to pour the tea and allow her pounding heart to slow to a more normal pace.

He saw what he hoped to see and that sat very well with him. For all that had gone wrong, there where things that went right too. This was one of those moments. An encouraging moment. He was over to see to her chair, hands on the back of it until she sat. He took up the one next to hers, the bend of his leg touching against hers as she poured. He was not quite willing to give up the closeness they were sharing. As she took to that task, he set out the pastries, taking one to his plate and leaving her a choice. His was an apple turnover drizzled with icing. It would go perfect with the tea. "I was wondering if you'd like a tour of the island. Of what we can accomplish without rushing anything. Start with the walk up the beach from here to the small market places then to the pearl farms."

She had to watch what she was doing instead of him so the tea didn't overflow the cups. Once both were poured, she dared look up and smiled at the touch of his leg against hers. There was a pastry with a cream cheese filling made sweet by the icing that topped it and that was what she picked. Sugar and cream was added to her tea as he spoke and her smile grew brighter. "I would love that, Peter. It would make for a perfect addition to this morning." And their first sunrise together. And she would enjoy meeting the people that Peter ruled.


Date: 02-29-12
Poster: Peter James O'Neill
Post # 4

The King and the Princess

The light breakfast was just enough to give them the energy they would need. The heat was already on the rise as well a light breeze that made it tolerable. Once Peter was done, he was up and over to linger with his hands set to the back of her chair as she finished up. "When as hot as Innis can become, it is best to eat lightly in smaller meals a day. A tidbit here and there with one larger meal in the evening as it cools off." He had leaned as the words came fairly close to her ear in lowered tones before he straightened back away and saw to her chair. "Princess, it is time to take our walk." A hint of smile touching that offset the glint in burnt sienna eyes.

She gave a little shiver when he came so close to her ear to speak. Standing, she turned to him and smiled. "I'm looking forward to it." Had he noticed the soft intake of air? She smoothed her gown, made sure her hair was all right and nodded. "All right, I'm ready," said with an impish grin. She thought having light meals was a good idea and with all the bounty the island had, they certainly wouldn't go without. "Where shall we go first?"

Which had him laugh as she primped herself. He was quick to reach over and muss her hair a bit, "the wind will do worse and I rather like the wild look it gives you." His hand fell away to capture hers as he started them off on their way up the beach. White sands and they needed their shoes on as the day progressed or they would burn the bottoms of their feet if not use to it. Only where the waters lapped could they take them off. There were many palm trees and thick vegetation in parts sloping up from the clear green-blue waters. Little sand crabs skittered while pelicans and mostly gulls flew above. Some running along the sands and some diving into the water for clams. They would snatch one up then drop it from above so it broke before devouring their tasty meal. One got the feel there was no civilization at all once out far from seaside manor.

Henna loved every bit of it, even the feel of being alone except for the birds and sand crabs, and she laughed at the sandpipers that ran out as the waves did and hurried back in before they got swept away. She found shells that were without a mar but there were far too many for her to collect. "It's like we've been left on a deserted island and no one else is around for miles." A patch of flowers caught her attention and she was over to sniff the sweet fragrance, then plucked one to place in her dark hair, leaving it with the wild look since Peter liked it.. When they walked in the water, she hiked her skirt up so it didn't get wet, not too high but just high enough. "I'll have to be sure to collect some shells before I go back." For Trinity and Carlton, and Rina if she wanted. And for the children at the orphanage.

He was by her side with each of her exploits and once to the water again he had her up in his arms and around as he ventured in deeper being it did not matter if his pants got wet up to the knees. He held her close and kissed her soundly as he moved back to where it would only lap over their feet so he could set her down again while lips continued to devour. Here they were alone, although there were the private guards that kept a distance to ensure the protection of their king. They were discreet or they would no longer be a personal bodyguard. Peter didn't need them but it was the way of the kingdom. Henna was probably use to it. Yes, he was taking advantage of the moment and would all such moments for he knew that civilization was just around the bend and he would have to behave in the public's eye.

He caught her by surprise when he lifted her and she laughed, putting his arms around his neck. He likely couldn't see but her toes curled when they kissed. Warmth swept through her body and when he placed her feet back on the sand, she stood on tiptoe, one leg bending at the knee and lifting so she was literally standing on one foot. She was tingly all over when they finally parted. Not even a glance in the direction of the guards. She knew they were there but she was pretending they weren't.

It was easy to pretend for they were not in sight per say. Only glimpses if one were looking. Peter was use to them and knew it was their duty so didn't begrudge their presence. He had his privacy in his chambers at night. In the household they stood guard at the outer doors. Some inside, many patrolling outside. His father was also so well guarded as his brother and sister when home. Henna would get to meet his father on the morrow, or so planned. Today was theirs to share. He drew in a breath once the kiss ended, his tone far huskier with words lowered between them. "I find myself drowning in a pleasurable way when I kiss you that has me wanting to kiss you all day. Alas, we come upon civilization soon, once more." He held her firm up against him, spooned to fit perfectly. Reluctant to let go of the moment.

She let out a soft purr sound as he pulled away, her eyes opening slowly. Listening she tipped her head just a touch to the right and smiled dreamily. "All day? Now, that would be an enjoyable way to pass the day, wouldn't it?" She moved one of her arms from around his neck now that both feet were down and brushed her fingers along his chin. "We'll have to see what we can do, won't we?" She didn't try to move away, just kept looking into his eyes.

His head bent enough that noses touched, "aye, it would be a perfect way to spend a day, every day." But such was impossible, still, she knew what he meant. "There will be time later, yes." Sounding confident that such time would be theirs. "For now, my Princess," the 'my' sounding possessive as he continued, "there are markets to search and buy whatever strikes your fancy for I can provide your every fancy." And certainly there were undertones to that statement accented by the look in his eyes. "Come now.." or he would be spending the whole day standing there in the waters with her. "Make sure to get one of those soft weave baskets you can sling over your shoulder for shell collecting tomorrow morn." The hold released but he kept her close as they started up the beach again. It seemed to get hotter with every passing minute.

"You may be in trouble for that statement," and he could take it however he wished, though she added, "I'll try not to be too greedy." She found she didn't mind the heat because of the breeze. And still, there was so much to look at. "Does everyone retire to their homes during the hottest part of the day?" For naps or a bit of distraction, it didn't matter which. "How do you dress for formal occasions when it's so warm?" She couldn't imagine a heavy uniform though silk would do.

"I will hold you to those words," being in trouble as the smile came quickly following. "You have license to greed here in my lands.." slow dip of his head as it seemed most of what he said had more meaning. The pace set was casual but they would arrive at the markets all too soon. "Some do but most are use to it. Those from other lands might well retreat indoors or upon the spacious verandas that offer shade from the sun." She would note there were many verandas, not only the homes but the shops where the public could linger. There were many independent vendors that wandered the area selling smaller goods that they could carry. Some had carts they store drinks within, many were a concoction of coconut milk watered down with other fruit juices added. Very tasty. Flasks of water and other such liquids, some with alcohol content. As they turned the bend she could see the brightly colored canopies over the various stores' verandas. The bustle of life came with the noise and she would note music. There were quite a few wandering musicians that hoped to earn a coin. His guards became more visible and there were would be many of such over the entire area. Luckily the people loved their King and royal family for they had been fair and just. One little girl spotted them then came running up to give Henna a flower and off before she could give her any coin for it. She would find that quite a few would offer gifts to the King and his lovely escort.

Henna's cheeks actually turned pink though she could blame it on the sun. She could hear the music before they turned the bend and what was before her had her stopping for a moment to take it all in. Where did one begin to look? She was delighted with it all and it showed in her face. She smiled at the little girl then laughed as she ran off again. The people were happy, content and there didn't seem to be any in need or want. She was glad Peter kept her close for it was a bit overwhelming at first but soon it stopped blending together. Of course, there were other reasons being close was so nice, even with the heat. "Oh, this is just amazing." The marketplace at Heathfield was busy in the summer but not quite so colorful.

There were whispers seeing the two. Although there were always whispers when Peter came out in the public. Blushing women trying to get his attention and this day there was envy in some of their eyes. They were few and far between and Peter oblivious to the fact as he usually was. Perhaps it was on purpose for Henna knew he knew the subtly of it all. The first purchase he made was of seashells and flowers which he then placed around her neck. "This is the official welcome of the people here." Although they were not dark skin natives as many such paradises had but of light, tanned, skin like Peter.

Was it not always so with men of nobility though it would be even more so with one as handsome as Peter. Henna , of course, understood and paid no attention. For one, she would not embarrass any lass that might have a crush on Peter. She smiled up at him as he placed the flowers around her neck, then lifted her hair so the necklace was under it. The shells felt cool against the skin of her neck and the flowers surrounded her with their scent. "Thank you." She would have curtsied to tease him if they were not in public. And she found Innis felt more welcoming with every minute she spent here.

For the most part it was. No one place was ever perfect, not even Innis Daingneach. One vendor had all kinds of jewelry; some made of shells and some of sparkling stones. Another had hand made goods and Peter was over to the one that had all the baskets, asking for that particular shell collectors one. She gave him two and refused any payment for an act of kindness given her husband some years ago by. He was back to offer one to Henna. "Now this will accommodate you well early tomorrow for that is the best time to go collecting. Before the sun even rises above the sea's horizon." A time when it would be light enough to see and he would accompany her for her safety in the least. The fact he didn't have to, that any of his guards could said that he favored to be there with her. "We shall break fast once again as this morning before we set out."

Henna examined the jewelry while Peter went to the other vendor. She was going to go to the jewelry vendor before she left definitely. She had gifts to buy though she didn't want Peter to spend his money for those and that would happen before they left. The man was pointing out some of the different shells though he stopped when Peter turned, smiling as Henna turned away. There would be talk tonight. "That almost sounds like an adventure." She laughed then smiled at the jeweler. "Thank you and I'll likely be back." She slipped her arm through Peter's. "I want to see as much as we can." And hopefully not burn too badly from the bright sun.


Date: 04-16-12
Poster: Peter O'Neill
Post # 5

The Pearl

He bought her a parasol being she might burn otherwise at this time of the day walking along the shore. One that was enough to shade but didn't completely block out the sun. "The Pearl Fields are not far here if you'd like to see them before the sun is fully up and we should then find something to do not out in the sun." Many worked out in the noonday sun but they were use to it as Peter would be but not Henna. He had her foremost in mind.

The parasol was pretty and made Henna feel quite feminine. She showed her delight by giving him a flirty look while peeking from under its rim. "I would like to see them." She answered enthusiastically, "Are they far?" She liked pearls as much as other jewelry. A bright bird flew overhead, it's colors striking against the blue sky. "How beautiful." She was enchanted by the island and all that she had seen so far.

That flirty look might get her in trouble but the kind of trouble she might like.. with him. Oh yes, he noticed and there was a hint of a wicked smile. There was a lot more to this king of Innis that spent so many years away for a situation that occurred. "It is not far and a shortcut from there will have us back at the shore cottage." The sight of the bird and her reaction had him glancing up as he agreed, "yes it is." A few words with the vendor before he was offering his arm in escort. "About a quarter mile. Do you prefer to walk along the shore or shall I get us an open carriage?"

"I'd like to walk along the shore." She slipped her arm through his, hand resting on the crook of his elbow. "I know it will be too hot to do so later, but I can't resist." She blushed a little at that hint of wickedness, but with the touch of red on her cheeks already, she could just blame it on the sun. "Do you ever go sailing around Innis?" Of course, she had more questions but that was a safe one.

The island had exports of exotic fruits and birds along with a few other enterprises but it was pearl industry they had the market in with the finest that could be found. They didn't culture pearls as would eventually flood the market but they harvested, protected and cultivated the oysters in their natural habitat. There were markers over the expanse of shoreline that became known as the Pearl Field. Their walk along the beach would have the rush of sea water lapping as he had taken off his shoes to walk through the wake. There were shells to be found, which was another industry, but not quite what might be found early morning or late evening. There were also stretches of shoreline that were marked off as private for this particular industry where the bulk of the treasures were washed ashore. Peter would take her there come tomorrow's morn. He would stop to pluck up a shell for her if she wanted to keep it or send it back out to sea.

The sound of the sea, once again, was soothing, and the warmth still comfortable though it was getting hotter. Peter's voice was like that, soothing though she was certain it could raise up like a storm or into a gentle rumble. She asked questions as they walked along, asking about an island in the distance or the sound of a certain insect. The Pearl Fields fascinated her and she found it all very interesting since she knew so little about the jewel of the sea, or the trade involving it.

More like a hurricane if need be but luckily that side was not often. Only if needed. He answered all questions she had, luckily knowing the answers before they finally came upon the Pearl Fields which stretched out before them as far as the eye could see. "Would you like to test your luck? We also have a lot of oysters that are then used to export," which would be in sealed jars, "raw or in stews.." taking her hand in his as he guided her the rest of the way down into the crowd of workers.

It didn't surprise her that he knew the answers. That was what made Peter such a good king. She had hiked her skirts up as they walked, not too concerned about showing her legs. It was better then having her skirt soaked. "I would love to, as long as no one laughs... too much." She didn't really care if they did or not. She was smiling at the workers as they neared. "But I have no idea what to do."

"Although we help the oysters along in developing a pearl, they are still considered natural being of salt water. Those of freshwater, don't need an irritant added and are less expensive on the market." Explaining the difference as they walked. "It is actually the oyster reacting to a foreign object, like a splinter and covering it with nacre which becomes the pearl. Some are not perfectly shaped and called baroque pearls which don't sell for as much and used for other crafts. The rarest is the black pearl which is indigenous to the South Pacific. We have a ship that goes there for that reason to add to our controlled pearl development. Divers often find those out at sea as well. We have many colors from white to pink, gray, red and green." A hand came to cup her elbow as they entered the area of the first field over the sands under water. She would notice the workers taking turns going out and checking the oysters and where a hut was set up along the shore. It was to the hut he escorted her.

It was all very fascinating and of course she took in every word. "Are most of them sent as jewelry or without settings?" She smiled again, shaking her heads. "I can't believe how large the fields are." The hut had her curious as well, but since they were heading there, she refrained from more questions. At least until they were inside.

"We have jewelers in the commons that buy up many but most are exported as a means to support the kingdom as it is the main export of value. We have yet to explore the dense mountains area of the island as there are many superstitions that surround the area," his words lowered as they passed others for even talking about it caused problems with some. "My father left it alone but I'm incline to investigate the area at some point. I will probably have to hire outsiders or the few part of my army that don't hold to superstition." She might notice the Mountains in the distance covered in lush green and holding a mist around some of the area. The hut had many baskets and a holding tank where there were oysters. It was here he led her and the older woman whom gave a near toothless smile. She was humble but had an air about that spoke of respect. Most likely one of their mystics, priestess, working as any of her family would for as long as she could. She made a fuss over Henna, drawing her away with a sly look over her shoulder towards Peter, now minus one princess for a bit. Henna would be shown the various pieces the woman worked on as well her straw hats and bags, woven baskets and even pottery.

"So there could be other riches there." She answered as low, eyes lifting to those very mountains. The imagination could run wild with what might be there. Once they entered the hut, the mountains were forgotten, at least for the moment. She took it all in as they walked to the woman. Henna greeted her warmly and with respect, laughing as she was suddenly drawn away. She looked carefully over the Elder's work, and if the items were for sale, she picked out one of each item, including a hat for herself. Well, except for the baskets. Those were so exquisite, she had to pick out two. She looked at Peter and gave him an impish smile. He said she could pick out anything, didn't he?

The woman's English was not all that good but she'd get her point across with what words she knew and gestures. Her name was Mauha and it didn't seem to matter what station Henna was. In a round about way she pointed out Peter, who was now watching those working out in the water fields of oysters. Her gestures implied he was all man, more man, with an indication of cupping her hand over her crotch. The word husband came out being one clearer than most of the other words she knew. Good was another and Need of a Woman. Quite blunt and luckily Peter was oblivious as one of the workers, Mauha's husband in fact, came to talk with him. His English was much better.

Henna blushed as she watched the woman, trying not to giggle like a school girl. She looked at Peter again, glad he was outside and not in where he would see how red she was. But she did nod at the words she understood. Yes, Peter was a good man and yes, he needed a woman. Oh dear. She would have to wait for the heat to fade from her face before she faced him, and no, she would not look at that area Mauha had pointed out!

It was then that Peter ducked into the hut as the older man went back to work. There were sons, daughters and even grand kids working all together. Soon they would take their midday break and have something to eat and drink. Water was always available for the heat. "Are you ready.." although she looked like she was sunburned and had him frown some. "I should get you out of the sun and heat, shall we return to my bungalow?" Otherwise he'd take her into the small village here and the various shops they had. Out from under the sun however. At least until midday was done.

"What about trying for a pearl?" Would he notice that the red faded once they were outside again. "Then we can go back and wait until the sun is less hot." She tried not to look at Mauha who had moved away because she knew if she did, she'd start laughing. Surely the woman was doing that very thing behind their backs! And she really did want to see if she had any luck picking one out.

Mauha moved away but was back to press something within her hand. A gift call it. Nodding between them with a near toothless smile before she went back inside the hut. What was pressed within Henna's hand was one of those less perfect pearls in shape and carved. Although small it was clear it was a naked plump woman. She might suspect what it meant but if she investigated she'd find it was one for a blessing of fertility. Mauha was endearing once one got use to her and she had cured diseases that most died from. She was a very valuable person in this particular village and a few other ones on the island. She well knew her position. It was Trindan that returned and got a pick for Henna to use, then dove a hand into the holding tank to bring out one of the oysters to hold out. "I think this is your oyster.." which he was in agreement with her words. First her oyster and then getting out of the heat of day.

That would certainly cause her to blush all over again though she tucked it away in a pocket.of her gown before Peter saw it. She thanked Trindan then gave Peter a sideways glance before she attempted to force the clam open. "Does it hurt them?" She had to ask... it was just her way.

"Not if you do it gently.." which he was amused watching her. Burnt sienna eyes held that gleam that complimented the sunlight that played off sandy brown hair, so many highlights touched by the sun. He stepped closer, his arm coming around as his hand eased over hers with the prod, his other over where she held it and showed how leverage places just so at the back elastic that held the valves together. It gave way easily then.

She looked up as he came closer, smiling then turned to watch where he pointed out. Finally the clam popped open to reveal a perfect pearl with tones of pale pink. "Oh, it's beautiful." She looked up at Peter. "It was my pearl, wasn't it?" This would be remembered forever.

"It is your pearl and you can have it set if you wish or keep it as is..." he was sure if she wanted a necklace there would be a few styles to choose from. Or if she needed more she could come back and open some more, see what she got or pick ones already harvested that matched. Technically, everything belonged to Peter although he was not one to be greedy and take it all or even near all. He eased from the close proximity, "shall we stop in the village then?" Making sure she used the parasol in the short walk it would take.

"I'll have to think about it." She had time to decide at least, but she was certain she wanted it set as a pendent. "Yes, I would like to." She answered eagerly. She also had the pretty straw hat she had bought, so she'd be double protected. "And then we can get out of the heat." She hoped the blush was gone but likely she was slightly sunburned in any case.


Date: 04-24-12
Poster: Peter O'Neill
Post # 6


Peter was sure to take the shadier route most of the way as the sand was becoming very hot anyway. If on the sand you had to wear sandals or walk in the wake of the water. The palms swayed in the breeze and that breeze was picking up some, "I think we're going to get a storm," more mussed as he looked out over the horizon. They usually got a downpour in the late afternoon that lasted ten to fifteen minutes. Enough time to soak everything then gone, leaving all fresh and anew. It also helped to ease the heat somewhat too. It wasn't long before they were upon Pearl village, obviously for the occupation and means of livelihood. Many fished as well or gathered fruit to be sold. It was to the jewelry shop he took her first. "Have a look around while I speak with Handu." The chief of this village.

Henna looked over her shoulder when Peter spoke of a storm. The air smelled wonderful though, even more then before. She nodded then smiled up at him. "I would imagine the rains are warm though, most of the time?" A statement and question together. He knew the right place to take her too. What woman could resist 'looking' around in a jewelry shop. "All right," and that's exactly what she did. The jewelry there was drool-worthy. There were pearls of all sizes, and colors as well as precious stones. The settings varied from gold to silver, delicate to bold but the pearls were what caught her attention. She had always loved that gem and there were so many to pick. She found a pair of drop earrings that were perfect against her skin and hair, and which would go perfect with the pearl she had 'found'. And there was another that would be perfect for Lah. Peter might have a little trouble getting her to leave without a promise to return.

She would hear him chuckle behind her as he was back and she caught up in exploring. "We shall come back but it draws close to midday closing time." There was going to be fresh lobster, cooked, waiting for them back at the bungalow. What he called a bungalow was more a small estate that was also well protected. Guards more unseen to give him the illusion of privacy. They had some privacy when closed behind bedroom doors. The Help, although appearing as staff were mostly trained guards. Including a number of the women. He offered his arm as he had a buggy waiting for them outside. They had done quite a bit of walking already and there was a place to store what they had gotten already.

"Will you save these for me?" She asked the girl who was helping her... she just couldn't help it. But she hadn't decided for certain. Giving Peter a sheepish smile, she nodded. "I am getting hungry." Not that he had mentioned food, but she felt the first pangs sneaking up. The buggy was appreciated though her sandals were comfortable. It had been a busy morning and there was still the rest of the day to come. "I am having a wonderful time, Peter."

The woman looked up from her to see the king, there was a quick agreement being Peter had not come in at first and now seeing who she was and with. Peter gave a slight dip of his head as the woman gave a quick curtsey. He then escorted Henna out to the buggy to see her within before he was in next to her. He had a driver so he could enjoy the ride. "I think you will enjoy what is awaiting us," sounding slightly mysterious like there was more. Hard to tell. "I am pleased that you are having a wonderful time." And the smile that followed prove his words. "Perhaps tomorrow we can go horseback riding into the mountains." At least as far as it had been explored for there was a trail. Many trails were not taken far, however. "Would you like that?" The ride back would go far faster than it had taken them by walking.

"Now you have me wondering what's next." She laughed as she settled in beside him. She nodded eagerly at his question. "I would like that very much. I want to see as much as possible, though I'm sure I'll see more next time I come." She smiled again as she watched the scenery a moment. "Your people are very content, Peter and everything is so beautiful. How could I not enjoy myself, and the company I keep?"

"When do you need to be back?" He had already taken her from family and friends at home for a couple weeks. Once arrived he thanked the driver.. even if it was his buggy and the driver's duty. He saw Henna within and she'd find it cooler than outside for the fans he had installed. A pulley system much like Alex had in the Thistle. She would smell the aroma of seafood Newburg, bottle of wine and the table set. Obviously there was a staff here that came when needed and disappeared otherwise. Her packages were brought in and left upon a bench just inside the door.

"As long as there's no trouble at home and the orphanage is running smoothly, I can stay as long as I wish. Though I should go back before we're too far into spring." She smiled at the driver, once again taking in the bungalow and its surroundings. When they stepped inside, she sniffed the air. "Oh, that smells heavenly." Luckily for her, she could eat well and still stay slim!

He saw to her chair as it would not do to have the food waiting. Nor their appetite. They could hear rumbling off in the distance and the wind had picked up more. Still the sun was out, the birds singing, or making noises as the tropics had a variety of sounds. One of those sounds was coming from the adjacent room.

"Thank you, sir," Henna laughed as she sat with Peter's help and then glanced toward the window. She didn't mind thunder or lightning but the food was her main focus for the moment. Of course, she was curious about the sounds so close but that would just have to wait until they finished their meal.

He poured her wine as well his before giving thanks and digging in. No time like the present and they didn't need to wait on protocol here. The conversation would be light and airy, much like pluming fine sheers at the windows. "Do you have any special plans about your future, Henna?" Asking while enjoying the meal that also consisted of a variety of juicy fruits that help to keep one hydrated.

And again, the food was delicious but she hadn't expected it to be otherwise. She paused when he asked the question, then chuckled. "Well, obviously, I'm hoping to continue working with children, though someday, I'd like to have my own. Each of the realms have orphanages of course, but there are still those who slip through the cracks." She looked thoughtful. "Beyond that, we'll have to see." She picked out a bit of melon and bit into it. "Nothing special I don't believe."

"It seems a good goal to me." He seemed pleased but as he was about to continue the conversation the squawking became more frantic from the other room as the wind got strong before the rain came pouring in through the windows left open. The onslaught was not a mild rainfall per usual. Peter was up to close them as quickly as he could.

She was about to answer when the poor bird in the other room became so frantic. "Can I help with the windows?" That was the first thing she asked, and then she was over to the doorway to peek inside the room. If the parrot was scared, she might frighten it more and she didn't want to do that. But if there windows to be closed there, she'd see to that task first.

"He is yours.." as he'd been delivered while they were gone. "Yes," barely out as he was getting soaked closing the next window. The clouds rolling in off the ocean suffocated the light as darkness fell near as night. Once he had the windows closed in the anteroom, he proceeded to light some candles to give off a soft glow of light and calm the bird. He was mostly red with blues and greens, very colorful as he squawked out.. Monsters.. holding onto the branch upon which he sat and flapped his wings while puffing out his chest.

"Mine?" She paused for a moment, then squeaked out a laugh as she too, was soaked. She pulled her gown away from her skin, then looked at the beautiful bird. "Is he tamed? He seems afraid of us." She moved a little closer, speaking in a soft voice. "It's alright, it's only a storm. Shhhh." She knew not to move too quickly or be too loud, especially when the poor thing was frightened. She had placed the melon down when she headed for the windows but now she picked it up again, offering it to the parrot.

"Aye, hand fed and tame but young enough not set in his ways. I'm told he doesn't bite but may nibble hair if sitting on your shoulder. He knows some words and I think he was trying to warn us this storm was brewing fast and not of the ordinary that comes around this time." By the looks of it, it seemed they would be stranded to the bungalow for the night. Or get soaked if they attempted getting back to the castle. The parrot took the melon piece and seemed to calm now that the storm hit full force. So far there was not a lot of lightning.

"I think I'll call him Carran." The Elvish word for red seemed to suit. She watched him eat then reached out to stroke his feathers. "Such a brave boy. It seems we'll be visiting here for a bit so you'll have our company." She laughed as he eyed her while he ate that melon and accepted her. Dark eyes moved to Peter. "Shall we finish our meal?" She had been nearly finished when the storm moved in. And if they had to stay, she couldn't think of a better place, so long as the waves remained where they should be. It felt safe here.

They were up far enough from the shore to see them through most storms, bad ones even, although not a tropical cyclone. "In a few.." as he had come up behind her, off to one side. "Shall we enjoy the sight of it from the full length windows and the angry sea beyond for the rains stealing its sun?" There was a lot of energy in the winds that had palms bent over as if they would break, as if bowing down to the greater power. Which she would see if she stood with him at the window. Standing behind her with his hands curled over the curve of her shoulders. Strong hands. Calloused. Ones that saw work instead of being pampered. He was a Warrior King.

She smiled and turned her head slightly to look up at him. "Yes, let's." Of course she wanted to see; who would not? She watched with awe at the strength of the wind and the way the palms moved and bowed. They had their own strength though it was not as strong as the wind. She watched petals dance in the wind and fly away, the rain hit the ground and sand and as always when faced with the power of nature, was awed by it. And she was very aware of the one standing behind her, King, Warrior, and Man.

The ocean waves were wild and high that crashed along the shore they had walked hours ago. "There will be many more shells left after the storm," more mussed close to her ear as they stood there mostly in silence. Hands had a way of gently caressing, "how long have we know each other now in our busy lives?" Was it nearing two decades? It was more than one.

Peter had a soothing touch, and voice. She had no fear at all. "Then I'll have to be sure to collect them.." Again, something to look forward to. "A long time." She wasn't sure how many years. It seemed that Peter had been a friend to her family forever though she knew that wasn't so.

"Yes. Neither of us are young even if we are not old." Which there was a pause here as she could feel the gentle caress of his breath against the side of her neck. "Marry me Henna. A year's time to be certain but with all the proper intentions," and he may well hold his breath here until her answer.

She was about to give a silly answer about a woman's age or something but that was lost with what he said next. She turned slowly to look up at him, searching his face. Finally, she smiled. "I'll marry you, in a year's time." She knew things could change but she didn't believe they would change in that way. She forgot the storm, didn't hear the rain, her heart was singing with her answer.

It was what he needed to hear, sienna hue eyes meeting her darker ones as she turned into his arms. The storm nor food was on his mind at this point. Besides, they would be on seconds by the time the storm hit. He drew her up, eyes still searching but the smile that followed was like a beam at the end of a dark tunnel. He didn't think the attraction would change but only grow between them. After that search he was sealing it with a kiss like she had never been kissed before nor had he kissed anyone else like this before. Dessert? If she was willing, they would be spending a very long night in each others arms while the rain poured down outside and the wind whipped around the bungalow. There would be a far greater force climaxing inside.


Date: 04-29-12
Poster: Henna Suex
Post # 7


Peter and Henna spent the next day in rain. So much for the horseback riding into the mountains. That would have to wait for another time. Instead arrangements were made to make for Heathfield post haste so that rumors didn't reach the King and Queen before announced directly. It should come from directly from Henna and himself. It was also time for his knights in Heathfield to make the trip to Innis for castle matters that their expertise might be needed. These he had not discussed with Henna for they were uncertain. They sent word of their arrival and a couple weeks later arrived on schedule.

Honeee waited almost impatiently now that her daughter was returning. A small feast was being prepared and she kept it down to only notifying the immediate family to join them later. Henna had been gone a few weeks, although under the care of Peter, most reputable and good friend, she was not worried on that account. Her only worry was as a mother would be when one of hers left the nest so to speak. She had finished dressing, simple elegance as usual, then sought out her husband.

That husband, knowing that Henna had requested to speak with her mother, had made sure all business as usual ended as early as possible. He had bathed and dressed for the evening, meeting Honeee in the sitting room of their apartments within the castle. He stood for a moment, when she entered, and allowed himself that once over that always left him breathless. Sometimes he still felt the Champion to her Regal beauty. But then, he could appreciate that she is his wife. His companion for life. His love. And every single day she had her way of bringing home to him those very facts. He crossed over to her, offering his hand. "My Queen ... when you are ready?"

Spring had arrived in Heathfield and as the ship came into the harbor, Henna felt her breath catch in her throat. She loved this time of year and now even more then ever. If all went well, she and Peter would be wed this time next year. It would be in Innis, but there would be celebrations here as well she was certain. She smiled up at him as preparations were made for them to disembark. A royal coach was waiting for them and it seemed in no time at all they were arriving at the castle. As the coach came to a stop, and Peter stepped out first to help her out, she found that she was not only excited but nervous. Slipping her arm through his, she told Peter just that in a low voice. A servant informed them where the King and Queen were and led them there, announcing their arrival before they entered. Henna went straight to her mother to greet her and then to Karl. "I've missed you both."

Her eyes lit up as well her smile, one that could rival a new dawn with all its promises and hopes. Her hands slid into his as she drew near, going to tip toe as she seared that promise upon his lips. Something slow and meaningful before too soon parted. A wink added for certainly more would be added later. It was at that moment one of the guards came to inform them that Henna and Peter were on their way up. Luckily she was already prim and proper by her husband's side and he'd not see that slip of a hand behind to the curve of her husband's rump with a squeeze. No, all smiles to the guard as he properly bowed back out to his station. Henna and Peter on his heels as her hand was back where it belonged, with the other, as her arms went around her daughter in a hug. "I hope you enjoyed your time in warmth as the last of winter melted away to spring here in the meantime."

Peter understood as they departed the docks, "no worries little one," finding endearment terms to use as he leaned to capture that whisper of her being nervous. "I will be right at your side," and certainly he kept to his word as they entered the castle, her arm in his. Not that in and of itself was out of place but there was just something more about them as they passed others on the way to meet up with Karl and Honeee, whispers of the sight they made passed like murmurs in the distance wings of bees buzzing. Once inside the arm wrap fell away as Henna stepped to her mother and he stepped to Karl with a warrior's handshake in welcome. "I trust all goes well here." He had not heard otherwise.

The kiss was enjoyed for as long as she allowed it to last and what followed, Karl didn't flinch in the least, although he did smile a bit more. He nodded off his thanks to the guard and then stepped forward to greet Peter as Honeee welcomed her daughter back home. With the clasp of arms, the King of Heathfield dipped his head to the King of Innis. "It is as it will be, My Friend." As their holds lowered away from each other, Karl slapped a friendly palm to the other man's shoulder, indicating the libations on the sideboard until such time as they were summoned for the meal. "Always a pleasure to have you here, Peter." That said, he looked to Henna with a wink, his way of saying 'welcome home'.

After all the greeting was done, Henna stepped back to Peter's side and looked up at him before she looked back to her mother and father, yes, she thought of Karl in that way. "We have something, that is, Peter and I... " Oh, this was silly. "Peter asked me to marry him and I said yes." There, it was all out now and she waited for their reaction.

"Peter... " blinking as the words soaked in (like a good libation), "marriage," then it came, "how wonderful!" She was hugging Henna all over again. She had always hoped she would find someone and who better? She was thrilled and Peter got a hug next.

Peter gave a nod to what Henna managed to put out directly and plainly instead of beating around the bush. Although Honeee hugging him in such an impromptu way took him by surprise, a pleasant one however. "I'm pleased she said yes.." giving a wink Henna's way as the quick hug ended.

Karl stopped on his intended course only because of the initial ... we have something...spoken by Henna. He had turned to see exactly what they had but then she continued. And. Well. That wasn't expected. "Well now, Innis, it's about time you made good." After all, Henna, Honeee... fine blood line to be sure. What took O'Neill so bloody long? He reached out, thumping Peter on the shoulder again then stepped over to hug Henna, his daughter by all thoughts and purposes, because, like the princess, he couldn't be more proud of her if she had been his own flesh and blood. "You've chosen wisely, My Dear." He whispered near Henna's ear then pecked a light kiss against her temple. "Looks as if we'll be having a table of excitement for the meal tonight once you tell your siblings, Henna."

"Indeed," but Peter was smiling from ear to ear. "In a year's time," which after all this time he was not going to go longer than what was proper. What took him so long, he could wonder that very thought but he was a warrior first and foremost, thick in the head at times but love finally managed to work its way in over the years. Took that long!

She was back at her husband's side. "Aye, there will be another announcement at mealtime. Everyone but Leo and Gaidan," which stood to reason for where they were! They would be sent word and she was sure they would approve. The kitchen maid was at the door, not interrupting but was a signal all was ready in the dining room. The maid curtsied then headed back down.

She couldn't have wished for anything better and hugged her mother again, then she smiled brightly at Karl for his words. She was happier then she could remember ever being. Laughing, she nodded. "What about Corina? Has she had her child?" There'd be so much to catch up on. And she was over to hug her mother again before they went to the dining room. "I'm so happy." She linked her arm through her mother's as they headed down to the dining room. There was so much to talk about but most would wait until later. She couldn't wait to tell the rest of the family and they could all catch up and enjoy the rest of the evening together.


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