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MacKay Clan

Date: 01-05-09
Poster: Mikhail MacKay
Post # 1

MacKay Clan

Mikhail was at a table near the hearth where it was warm. He was reading over an announcement he received, one that brought a smile for his friend. He wondered on her, he wondered on a few things as he tucked the note away into a pocket of the leather tunic he wore. One more a patchwork of browns sewn together over a cream poet's shirt. Pants of black wool and fur lined boots lacing up. Dark eyes lifted first to the fire that burned in the hearth then to the window of darken shadows beyond. His mind wandering to his family, especially two none of them heard on for some time. The more time in passing the greater the worry and he was willing to go back to try and find them if needed.

Inspired by the sun and missing the heat of her home, her clothing was a reflection of this despite the fact it was dead of winter. She was dress in sun fire; vivid reds, gold and yellow silks adorned her in loose layers. She wasn't even wearing her cloak when she rushed in from the cold after Abe had opened the door for her. Her head scarf was a solid color, a rich shade of red that hid her dark hair easily, which was worn down tonight rather than up. Her mouth hidden behind the scarf, it was hard to say if she held a smile or a frown. She was quick to hang her cloak to free her hands and when she turned towards the hearth, Banafrit canted her head in a bird like fashion when a glance skittered over the man there. Abe, as usual, approached the hearth to take up a quiet stance. He nodded to the man politely.

Drawn from his thoughts as his mind reeled back in noticing the two coming in. He rose to his feet in all due respect and manners he had been taught. "Good evening," the man studied first before the woman, their looks and especially her attire gave clue to who they might be. At least he knew of the two Egyptian families in the lands of Ballicastle and had met some of them. "I am Mikhail."

She seemed more curious about the man than Abe. Though Abe did offer a quick smile for the introduction. Banafrit stepped closer, appearing to nearly glide and she stopped near one of the chairs. Dark hands slid out from the loose layers of sun vibrant silk, and she pressed her palms together delicately, dipping forward in a rather elegant looking bow. Out of respect, no doubt and when she stood straight, she reached up to remove the scarf from her mouth, thinking he might understand her better that way, when she spoke. "I am Banafrit al-Dawla, this is Abe, my guard." She almost always introduced him, even though he hardly offered much to conversation. He nodded, again, and went back to his silent watch. "It is pleasure, to meet you." Banafrit murmured.

He was dark skinned more than the others of his family, the dark Irish he was called. A throwback somewhere in the past ancestors. He stood in place as he watched her, the hint of a smile touched off to the side as he gestured with his hand to the vacant few chairs at his table. "You are welcome to join me." Hand in a glide back as it was pressed to its mate and a slight bow of his head before turning out a chair for her as it came down to the back of one near his. "The pleasure is mine Banafrit," dark eyes lifting to the man with another respectful slight dip of his head, one warrior to another. He considered guards warriors as well even if some might think that station a lower one.

For a moment, Banafrit remained standing. She rocked her dark gaze over the chairs before she picked one out for herself. She settled down quietly, her palms gliding over her knees to smooth out the silk. Quiet by nature alone, there was a long beat of silence before she spoke to him through a warm turn of a smile. "It is chilly out. Nice night stay by fires, yes?" She made a sweeping motion with her hand towards the hearth.

Once she was seated he resumed his. A glint rising in dark eyes that went well with the smile tucked in a trimmed beard. "The very reason I am here instead of sitting outside. The nights are cold enough to bite through even the warmest of clothing if out too long. You like warmer." Which had become obvious. His deck of Tarot cards laid upon the table near his glass of potcheen, resting on the wrapping of black velvet. "I have met some of your family but know more of Anhur and Yusuf. Isaac met briefly. Desh and Mirre as well."

The ship ported late this night as the going had been rough upon the sea. Cold and blustery as well one area with chunks of ice they had to maneuvered around under a strong wind. Escaping Eire, he still felt unsettled, like the dark demon hounds still on his heels. He carried valuable information that would remain with him until the right time. At least he had found Kynan at the old abandoned hunting cabin. The two then on the run from there. He still kept looking over his shoulder as they disembarked. A heavy woolen cloak worn with the hood up. Knitted hat and a scarf that wrapped around the bottom half of his face, woolen sweater, woolen pants and thermals beneath those in an effort to stave off winter's freeze. He didn't have much with him as the sack was slung over a shoulder while he waited on his brother. "Have you been here yet?" Having forgotten to ask him that. Eyes ever shifting as he watched those about cautiously.

"I do like warmer, yes." She tucked her chin down a bit with her confession. The fire played tricks in her dark eyes, showing reflections of copper flames against the near black irises. Lined in kohl, this made her lashes seem thicker, longer. "Anhur and Yusuf were here last evening." At the mention of the names, she glanced to the door as if speaking of them would suddenly conjure the two. She didn't look long. Her gaze turned to study the fire, even though she spoke to Mikhail. Banafrit had this thing about directly staring too long at people, especially in the eyes. "I never went far from the manor before." Explaining why they probably never met!

"No, never." He was cold and didn't think he'd ever be warm again. He was dressed in layers of clothing but it still seeped through the wool, and he was certain his fingers were frozen. It was hard to tell what he looked like beneath the heavy wool cap except for his eyes. Green rimmed with brown, they had lashes almost too long for a lad. Still, he'd not be mistaken for a lass. "Rurac said to go to the Thistle. It's near the castle and the commons." His teeth chattered and he wondered again if it was the cold or the fact they had barely escaped their enemies.

He watched her discreetly yet keenly. The darkness of her eyes that held much in their depths as that reflection noted told him of on another level. Her profile elegant as well and the way she conducted herself, body motions. "You are quite beautiful, Banafrit." The compliment honest and sincere for he wasn't blind in the least. A chuckle came when she glanced to the door with the mentioning of the two names. "They can be devils in their own way," not said in a bad way either. "I know there are a few more of both families that have not ventured out socially thus far and a few that have, have not often. It is always a pleasure to meet those of either family." As he had found and would give credit to any more that came forth to socialize.

He got the information while not speaking much for the scarf and cloak. It would be muffled at best and he wasn't taking them off nor speaking unless he needed to. That came in the next moment when he stopped a passing guard to direct them to where the commons was and location of the Thistle from there. It was quick and the guard polite, didn't even look at him like some vagabond to be brushed aside or hassled just because of his appearance. The two had been on the run and were not at their best in appearances. The long journey by ship didn't help that appeal either. His steps quickened into a sprint even if they felt wobbly in a way after being out at sea a few weeks. The quicker he got to this tavern, the quicker he could get warm.

Abe was always interested in Banafrit's reactions to compliments; though they hardly varied. She, surprised, turned a quick glance up to Mikhail's eyes. Hers had widened a touch, as if he'd frightened her. She drew in a breath that did well in relaxing her, and on the exhale, she spoke in a quiet hush. "Thank you, Mikhail." Against her thighs, her fingers fluttered in a tremble. She began sweeping them against the silk, smoothing it out even more. Only a restless, nervous gesture; there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way the fabric draped her. "And yes, devils they can be." She had been reminded last night, at least about Anhur. Her lashes lowered, giving her eyes a dreamy appearance, though it had little to do with the two she mentioned.

He listened to the guard while watching around them though there was a feel to the lands here was comforting. A nod was given to the guard and then he was hurrying after his brother. He couldn't run as well, having hurt his leg during their flight but he wasn't far behind. Maybe it was the thought of a good meal as well as warmth that helped him move faster.

"It is a good thing you have Abe to keep guard over you. There would be many a lad that would be tempted to steal a kiss for your beauty," even with the guard if they were daring enough. Luckily most behaved in these lands. Although he was more referring to the younger lads than ones older. Older they should know better or more by trial and error they had learned. "Do you have many suitors?" Figuring she was at such an age although he wasn't sure how their customs went. "Or do your customs have another way of men vying for your hand?" Now curious on any differences. He debated to inquire if she would like her card read when an odd sensation overtook him. A restlessness that had him skipping a fast glance to the window as if seeing beyond it. In fact, he was up from his seat, "excuse me a moment," moving in the agility of a honed predator, he was at the door in seconds flat even with obstacles of chairs and tables to pass. He swung it open and drew in a deep breath as if that would tell of the odd sensation he was getting.

The Thistle came in view as well the welcoming lights. Drawing closer in that quick pace as he glanced over his shoulder only once to make sure Kynan was keeping with him. He wasn't aware he had hurt his leg, "c'mon," figuring he was just out of shape. It was when he turned a look back he caught sight of the one standing in the now open door. He recognized the figure, "could it be, Kynan!" Excitement overtaking the tone of a muffled voice as he went into an all out run the last few hundred yards. Flying up the steps more in a leap as he came to a dead halt while catching his breath. The scarf pulled down had his breath in frosted panting puffs. "Mikhail! Gods it is good to see you."

Something like panic sparked in her eyes to the thought of stolen kisses, no doubt. She cast a glance towards Abe, her slender eyebrows edging into a delicate furrow. She stammered when she tried to answer his first question. "I.. I .. do not have any suitors." Whatever else she was going to say was swallowed back. He was on the move and very rapidly. The quick motion had unsettled Abe and just in case, he closed in on Banafrit to stand close to her. He eyed the door, waiting in silence and she, too, twisted around to see what was going on.

Kynan wouldn't admit to being hurt unless he was bleeding heavily or a bone sticking out of his skin. He snorted when Treve called to him then laughed. "It has to be!" He limped up the steps as he pulled down his scarf. "He finally found me." He figured Rurac and Aedan had updated Mikhail. He also figured on getting chewed out for waiting longer than a few weeks.  His bag was dropped outside the door until they went inside.

Elf had gone to sleep, but woken up and found she couldn't go back to sleep so readily, so she headed out to work some of the energy out, and found herself at the Thistle. She came in quietly, not really expecting anyone to be up and about this late, but a warm smile as she saw several inside. "Evening to you all." the elf said, as she made her way to one of the stools to perch. Pyper chuckled as she scooted by the family reunion it seemed at the door.

Pyper went right on past him as he stepped out to bring Trevet into a bear hug. Kynan noted just beyond as he was next to receive such a greeting. "We had no word but then you may not have had time to send one if you were on the run." How most of them got out of there with things so heated up. Dark eyes back upon Treve, "we were worried, but hell, let's get inside." It was freezing out there and he didn't have a cloak on him presently. That was starting to become noticeable as he ushered both in and closed off the door behind them.

Abe visibly relaxed. Banafrit did not. By the time everyone, plus another, came back inside, she had her scarf back over her mouth hiding it, hiding her. Except for her dark, dark eyes lined in kohl. "Good eve," she spoke up in her greeting that was cast towards the familiar Pyper. The tip of her head was faint, but polite then she turned to watch the door again. She slowly rose upward, to her feet. Her hands clasped gently before her. She was still confused, and not as quick as Abe to realize that things were okay. The tension in her shoulders nearly ached, as well as the way it coiled tight along her spine.

The bear squeeze was returned before stepping aside as Ky was accosted next. This was so welcome after being gone so long. "Aye, on the run with the hounds on our heels especially when it leaked out I was still there and returned from the Hollow Hills," his words low and at the same time letting Mikhail know he had gotten there. He was easy to persuade to get indoors as he was quickly moving within. The hood coming down first then the scarf as dark eyes traced over the ones inside. Perhaps a pausing stop upon each lady and a wary one upon the guard. He had yet to feel comfortable here or anywhere to be more exact. Not after what he and Ky had just been through. The cloak removed and hung with cap and scarf over it before heading for the bar. Food. That became foremost on his mind. Of the offerings he went with the hearty stew and brown bread served with it. A tankard of ale as well.

The elf only chuckled at the excitement of the family reunion, but noticed Banafrit's unease as well. Deep sapphires couldn't help twinkling though. As she had no more family of her own, it was good to see others reunited.

"They were closing in on the cabin." He added after returning the hug and taking in a deep breath once they were inside. His expression changed with the sight of others, becoming guarded and perhaps with the women here, a little shy. Still, he removed his cap, scarf and gloves then after a moment's hesitation, his cloak. Everything hung, he followed Trevet to the bar, giving the others a nod of greeting. He went for chicken stew with dumplings instead of the brown bread and hot coffee. And ate like a lad starved.

She could pick up from their voices, expressions, and body language that they had both come through some tough times, something she understood. Not wanting to make them feel more uncomfortable, she gave a nod to them, and took up her cider that she ordered, and moved to one of the large chairs near the fire, giving the family some space. She curled up, tucking a stray curl behind a pointed ear.

It might have been the chuckle from Pyper that relaxed her. Either way, she released a breath she'd been holding and tipped a glance towards her guard. Abe stepped back to the hearth to take up the same stance as before and Banafrit studied the other two in quick glances that never lingered in one place for too terribly long. With the scarf still draping over her mouth, she nodded gently, appearing quite timid in her silent greeting.

He all but herded the two in and to the bar. Alex would take good care of them. "When you're done with your meal, there is potcheen to be had to warm you from the inside out." They were men, not lads. Especially in what they had faced and survived with the rest of their family. "Pyper, Banafrit, Abe, I would like you to meet the youngest of the MacKay clan but by no means lads. My brothers Trevet and Kynan," the pride in his voice evident. "Brothers, two samples of the beautiful women in these lands." Teasing both brothers and ladies as he gave a wink their way. Still, it was the truth as well.

She turned deep sapphire eyes their direction, a smile on her face. "It is a pleasure to meet you both," a dip of her head to each. She blushed a bit at Mikhail's statement. "And you sir MacKay are over exaggerating..... greatly for my part." She teased back with a wink.

He was in the middle of eating but stopped and wiped his mouth before turning. Making sure to swallow before he bowed to each. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Pyper, Banafrit, Abe."

Not having straddled a stool quite yet, although near at that point, he turned on a booted heel instead. A hand came to splay over the thick woolen Aran sweater in a multitude of hues blended. "A pleasure to meet you Abe," then halting as dark eyes turned on Pyper as she spoke then upon Banafrit. "I would agree with my brother's assessment." In spite of any voiced protests.

Abe dipped forward in a near bow for each man and went so far as to offer a smile. Banafrit bowed, too, but hers was different; she touched hands together and held them close to her chest before her upper body tipped forward. She held the pose for a moment then straightened fluidly. She only offered a smile for the compliments, though this could only be seen in her eyes at the moment. "Yes, very kind," she parroted Pyper.  "I could be quite ugly from the eyes down." She tried. She was wearing the scarf and it was currently covering her hair, with a part of it fastened to hide her nose and mouth.

She shook her head, chuckling and still blushing a bit. "And you are very kind." She tucked that unruly curl back again behind her ear, before taking a sip of her cider to allow the men to eat.

He motioned to his brother as words confirmed his. "I do say you are outvoted Pyper. You'll just have to live with it." The white of teeth to flash in a broadened smile.

"Why would you say that? I mean that uh ... " He decided to shut up and eat.

"Hopefully you cannot see through my clothes, or the scarf." Her eyes suddenly held a paranoid gleam to them.

His skills with lasses weren't too strong. He glanced at Mikhail and snickered.

It was ok... her skills weren't so hot either. so he was in good company. "What? That you were kind? Because it is the truth." Elves weren't known to lie. Then she realized the gent might be talking to Banafrit.


Date: 01-05-09
Poster: Mikhail MacKay
Post # 2

"That you would say you're not pretty?" He ducked his head, knowing his ears were turning red.

"Prove it then, take the scarf down," if she was going to say the words then she should back them up. It also had his curiosity even if the smell of the stew set out was calling to him.

She would let Banafrit answer that, since she thought he was talking to the Egyptian anyway, and just sipped her cider, curious how the lady would react.

Banafrit, for the time being, kept her silence. She remained standing, it was easier to watch everyone that way. She fluttered her lashes at Trevet. "I may like to keep you wondering." Her eyes squinted. She had to be smiling.

That had her chuckling.

She flashed her gaze towards Pyper. Her eyes were glittering, no doubt she was smiling. No doubt.

He looked at Pyper, confused that she hadn't answered. Frowning, he shrugged then went back to his meal.

Oh that had been to her? "I wasn't saying I wasn't pretty... just not beautiful... that your brother was saying more than was truthful. That's all."  She just didn't consider herself that... never really had. Not that she thought she was ugly or anything either, just average, which she was fine with. "Banafrit here would be beautiful.... graceful... elegant.... any of those would work." She teased the Egyptian.

That was as good a dare as he was over, predatory way about him like the wild highlands of Eire. He halted close enough to really see her eyes. Dark as his and his brother's. "The eyes tell of one's beauty no matter if you hide the rest of your face or not. The beauty is there." To the point as eyes held a few lingering seconds before he could no longer ignore the pangs of hunger and he was back to set to his meal, stool straddled as the bar was reached.

"I do not know, Pyper, have you seen me on ice?" Gently, quietly. She fought to ignore the heat rising in her cheeks. She stilled, like she'd turned to a statue when Trevet was close to her. Caught in a stare, eye to eye, she was quick to lower hers, right in the moment he started back to the bar. She didn't reply. She seemed thoughtful over what he'd said.

She shook her head. "I'm sure you still would be.... better than me." She herself had never been on the ice.

He tipped his head, looking even more confused. "But ... you're an Elf." Now he turned his gaze to Mikhail. Maybe he could explain later.

"Beauty is in the eyes and in the eyes of the beholder. Most do not consider themselves beautiful or handsome," he had returned to his table where his cards and glass remained. The glass claimed as he took a seat to enjoy the potent brew.

"An elf who has never been on ice.... " she chuckled, thinking that was what he was referring to. Being an elf didn't mean one was automatically beautiful. She nodded at what Mikhail said, knowing it was true as well.

"Are they arguing on who is pretty, who is beautiful and not wanting to be seen as such?" Words were lowered to his brother as he came up for air in devouring his food, catching the last being said on the matter. To him it was a closed subject.

She finally settled down, back in the chair near the hearth that she'd abandoned before. She watched the fire, the flames dancing in her eyes even. When she looked away, it was to glance over to Mikhail, then beyond him before her  dark gaze panned back. "To answer your question from early." She meant earlier. "No." She did not have suitors. She hated the fact that Pyper couldn't see that she was smiling, unless she could notice it in her eyes. They  were glowing with the smile on her lips. "And some marriages.. arranged. Though Yusuf asked Autumn, and they were not.. arranged." Sometimes, her English is slightly choppy.

"We are not arguing...."she winked at Banafrit.

Ah ha! Giving a quick glance over his shoulder, he would mind what he said low to make it too low for even an Elf to hear.

The elf was so out of her realm here she decided to follow Banafrit's example and keep quiet, not wanting to stick her foot farther into mouth.

It all amused him as he sat back with that look in dark eyes. Eyes that traced back upon Banafrit to linger there. "Then either they have not been allowed to get near you or they are blind." Knowing that customs and traditions were probably at the root of it than any other reason. "Would you wish a suitor?" Wondering her side of it, she might abhor the idea for all he knew. One thing for certain it had nothing to do with her looks.

She only smiled for his first. Her head slightly bowed forward, her gaze seeming to find some sort of interest in her hands as they rested near the bend of her knees. She didn't automatically answer his question. It was one she had to think over. And even when she did answer, it wasn't quite a direct yes or no. "I am too busy." No doubt, she was one of those that might be.. a little hard to get! Suitor wise.

He finished his food then accepted a piece of apple pie. which he nearly inhaled. After that was gone, he let out a loud burp, then he grinned sheepishly. "Excuse me." Now he'd take some potcheen.

Her lashes dipped low and quick in a blink. She turned to send a startled glance towards Kynan.

She decided, spying the apple pie, that it looked good and unfurled from the chair to walk up to the bar and order one for herself, which she then took back to her chair, smiling to Kynan first, then curled back up, tucking her feet up under her.

"I can have empathy with that." His smile warmed her way as he too was not seeking the hand of anyone thus far, basically because he was too busy himself to really consider it. In a way some might think he would be hard to get as well. It was neither here nor there. It might happen or it might not, either way he was presently content with his life. So, in that, it would take someone special for he wasn't looking. "Have you ever had your card read, Banafrit?" Hand coming to rest on the deck still laying there on the table.

Feeling a little more comfortable, she unfastened the scarf to let it drape over her shoulder. Still, the head piece remained. She turned to watch Mikhail, though mostly her gaze lit on the cards. "I have not, no." Curious about the cards, she didn't bother hiding it. The curiosity flared in her features, sparked fire in her eyes.

"Come, let me read your card. It is nothing written in stone but may give some insight, something of wisdom to consider. I read one lass two months ago and it basically said she would come to be in the spotlight. A race was held in the lands soon afterwards and I read she took first place in it. Riding was something of an obstacle for her but she overcame it, winning in that way even more."

Treve finished up his meal as the warmth filled him in contentment. He was up from his seat in a languid stretch to his full height. Hands to cup behind his neck before lowered again. He took up the glass of potcheen set up with a glance to Ky before heading over to the table Mikhail occupied. He caught the back of a chair to pull out for Banafrit, avoiding a collision as well. Around then to take up a seat to the other side opposite and nudged out the seat near for Ky.

"Interesting," she replied. She abandoned her chair to take one closer to him. It was an acceptance, even if an unspoken one. She settled down, tipping into a forward lean. Her hands clasped together near her knees. She watched his hands, the cards, and waited for instruction. No collision, though when she finally sat in the pulled back chair, she murmured a thank you to Trevet.

He shuffled the cards before setting them in front of her. A slight upnod to Treve as he joined them with a glance then to Ky and Pyper. "You're welcome to come sit with us as well." Then back to Banafrit, "shuffle the cards then cut them into three piles, putting them back to one in whatever order you wish."

She finished off the pie and set the plate down beside her chair, still sipping at the cider. She smiled, glad to see Banafrit come out of her shell a bit.

She was thankful that he set them before her. It was hard to say if she would have taken them directly from his hands. Odd quirks, she had; but it was simply old customs that she seemed to hold onto with every thread of her life. They gave her a sense of home. She took up the cards in her hands, shuffling them slowly--it wasn't an easy task for her. Without dropping any of them, she cut them into three before piling the stack together into one. She reached forward to set the deck near him then her hands withdrew to rest beneath her table, against her knees.

He had taken a drink of the potcheen and had to wait for his eyes to quit watering. With a grin he made his way over to the table. The chair that was nudged out was turned so he could straddle it, arms resting on the back. He needed to lean.

She came over to where they were seated, but took up a stool to perch on instead, being a bit shorter, watching, curious to see what Banafrit would pull.

He watched her diligently before concentration shifted to the cards as he turned over the top one. The Page of Cups. It portrays a boy of around twelve years old, black hair and wearing a pale lilac tunic, kneeling at the edge of a deep blue pool. On the ground beside the pool stands a golden cup, into which the youth peers ardently, for he is studying the reflection of his own face and is struck by its beauty. Around him grows clumps of irises and narcissi, not yet in bloom. A woodland landscape screens a gentle blue sky.

She didn't know what the card meant, of course, but she did cant her head, her brows slightly arcing above her dark eyes.

There is a long story attached but he would get to the gist of it for the hour. "Narcissus, the Page of cups, seems at first to be merely an image of vain self-love," as he tapped the picture. "But he may also be seen as an image of self-discovery, for loving another must spring first from recognition and value of oneself; otherwise it is a sad and often fruitless exercise in seeking in the other what one has yet not discovered within. This card represents the birth of something new on the feeling level. This might be a new relationship, a new quality of feeling within a relationship, even the birth of a child. Often the Page of Cups augurs a renewal of the capacity to love, beginning with love of self. This delicate quality must be nurtured or it can rapidly vanish. Only you know how this fits into your life."

At first, with his first words, she seemed to glower; but as he explained her expression went .. neutral. She stared down at the card for a long moment, listening, processing the rest of his explanation. She swallowed thickly and  lifted her eyes to his. "Interesting. Thank you, Mikhail." She appeared thoughtful then, quite so. A glance tilted to the others around the table.

She actually thought that card fit Banafrit very well, from the little she knew of the lass.

He was watching her with some curiosity and when she looked his way, smiled. Sometimes the readings made some nervous.

"Someday you might tell me how it turns out." Leaving it go at that for sometimes the card fitted to something they were presently clueless to but would recognize it when it came about. "I would like to read both you and Trevet," eyes upon Ky, "but with it so late it best wait. I should get you back to the manor so we can wake up Ruarc and Aedan in the least. Kaylea has become one of the zoo keepers so lives in a manor on those grounds. "I have done a card reading for you Pyper?" He was pretty sure he had. He put the card back into the pile which he shuffled before wrapping it up in the velvet, then to be slipped into a pouch attached to his belt.

She nodded. "Indeed you have sir."

"I would like mine read another time." He was far too tired at the moment to give it the concentration it deserved. "I think Banafrit will find there is more beauty inside." Rising from his seat with a bow of his head. "It was a pleasure meeting you both, Banafrit and Pyper. I can hope our paths cross again at some point." His family had moved to these lands chosen so he was now here for the duration as well. He planned on making it a good one.

"I will," she said to Mikhail. She looked up somewhat nervously then smiled as she slowly nudged the chair back to stand. Abe was over near her soon. When she heard Trevet, she blinked but didn't look to him. Her gaze was low, on the table. She lifted it though for his last, watching him fleetingly with a smile. "It was a pleasure, indeed. All of you." She made a sweeping gesture with her hand then turned to step around the chair, the table, for the door.

She smiled at them both. "It was a pleasure meeting you both as well." She gave them a dip of her head in farewell. "Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle"

He merely nodded, too tired to say much. "Good night to you both. It was nice to meet you." He stood as well and bowed slightly. Still in training, there was much he needed to learn.

He was over with a few words to Alex as a carriage was soon out front to take them back being his brothers had walked. They could also store their gear in the back as he was sure by the sacks left inside the door they had some possessions with them, what they could carry on the run. "All new men calling are sweet and ale quenched.." grinning at Pyper as he presumed to translate what she said.

She watched as the three prepared to leave, a thoughtful smile on her face. The brothers were similar, and yet had their own differences as well. She chuckled as Mikhail translated. "Not even close." she grinned. "Basically safe travels to you all."

He was over to get on his cloak, scarf and hat as well that sack he had left there. Bending quick in sweeping it up and over a shoulder as he glanced towards his brother. He was more tired than him! Had to be. Or teasing the lass. "Good night to you all, may the wind be at your back and the sun upon your path so you don't trip and fall." Revised a little with a grin.

He had brought his duffle inside earlier and had left it beside Treve's. The carriage would be appreciated and he might say something about his leg once they were on their way. "Zoo?" His mind was too muzzy for it to really register. He gave his brothers a sleepy look as he retrieved his things.

She didn't laugh often, but when she did, it wasn't loud. The sound was pleasant and it was delicate, trailing back over her shoulder when she sent a glance back to them. Abe caught the door for her and she was quick to step out to head for their own carriage. She heard Trevet and paused before climbing into the carriage. "Wa alekum es salam," she said, then they were off.

She took her own cloak off the wall, swinging it around her, hood pulled up, waving a good night to Alex.

His laugh was robust that filled the tavern as they headed out, ushering them all and closing the door behind them so Alex could see to locking it and getting some rest as well. The carriage around and their things stowed in the back before all three were within and heading for the family manor.

She chuckled at Mikhail ushering his brothers, as she turned down the street for home, almost at a skip.

He'd be asleep soon!  Maybe before they reached the manor.


Date: 01-06-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 3


Treve still felt the restlessness that would probably take some time to gradually disappear. The reunion with the rest of their family went well, joyous even. That much set his mind and heart at ease. He wandered the commons this evening, buying some things he needed. Coming back with the bare essentials left quite a few things to be purchased. Ruarc gave them each a horse as Ky would need do the same, along with a purse of coins for new clothing, boots and other such items. He stopped by the blacksmith as well to see what daggers and swords he had, setting his eye on one he would save up for. He needed to find himself a job once settled in more but he could look in the meantime. Snow was starting to fall and certainly cold out but not as cold as it had been over the past couple days, probably why it was snowing now as they headed for the Thistle. "I suppose I should give my stallion a name." Running a gloved hand down along his mane as the steady cadence marked their way against cobblestone.

Kynan had enjoyed being able to wander the shops freely without looking over his shoulder. He had almost shed some tears when Kaylea had come in. They just had to meet Hazel. He would worry about weapons later, not willing to give up the sword Rurac had given him for his birthday. "Aye, I think that would be a good idea." He grinned at his brother. "Same for me, though it hasn't come to me yet." The best thing about the day, after their reunion, was a long, hot bath, his second since last night. Dismounting, he guided the stallion to the stable and handed him over to the lad there.

Hooves added to the others beating like drums against the cobbles. There was also the sound of rolling wheels. The carriage didn't seem in any hurry and to the woman inside, it was fine with her. As always, she wore bright colors and the ones tonight didn't vary much from last night; only everything was reversed. Warm yellow was the main color with a deep shade of ruby red dotting a few small designs against the silky material. Just enough for accent. Her head scarf was a solid shade of the same, rich red and of course, her mouth was hidden behind the drape of it. Her eyes were dark, kohl lined, and they squinted once the carriage stopped near the Thistle, allowing her to emerge. Abe was behind, fussing at her for carrying her cloak instead of wearing it. "I will be fine," she told him.

It took a few baths to wash away grime that had collected the few months. At least while in the Hollow Hills he was able to bathe during his training. "I will need practice with the sword again, it's  been a while." Words trailing off as a carriage was heard rumbling up behind them. He urged the stallion forward and out of the way to single file in front of his brother. Reaching the tavern moments later as he was quick to dismount. Booted soles crunching against frozen snow under the newly fallen. Handing the reins over to another stable hand as dark eyes took in the sight of the woman emerging from the carriage. Recognition of the one as well her guard. A coin procured was handed off for the one to rub down the equine and feed him some extra oats. Once done he headed up the steps to get the door for the exotic beauty.

He spoke to the lad for a moment before he was following Trevet. A pause made while he waited for Banafrit and Abe to move through the door.

Her gaze momentarily tracked the two brothers; fleeting, if anything. Abe offered a quiet thank you, voiced, when Trevet reached ahead for the door. "Yes, thank you." She parroted her guard. She stepped in quickly and paused to hang her cloak. Her hands dusted over the material before they in turn, swept over the long sleeves of her layered silks. A strand of hair slithered free from the head scarf, falling in a loose, inky wave to tickle against her cheek.

He smiled shyly at her then looked at his brother and followed the big guard inside. He moved quickly out of the way so Treve could enter.

"My pleasure," murmured to Banafrit with a slight dip of his head for Abe before heading in behind them with his brother and seeing to the closure of the door. Slanted quick glances were given over her attire before away again as he hung up his cloak, the scarf and hat to follow. Tunic was well made of corrugated greens and browns that had seen better days. The shirt as well, pants and boots all a touched frayed but clean. The new clothes ordered were sorely in need. There were a few holes that had been sewn up if one really looked. "The night finds you well Banafrit, Abe?" Cordial tone as he headed for the bar and keep from those straying glances over the exotic beauty.

"Yes, though the snow is disappointing." No one could really ever understand her dislike for the snow. Abe chuckled and playfully rolled his eyes at Banafrit's mild complaining. He answered, too, saying something about the night found him just fine and he liked the snow. She slanted her guard a blank, yet very brief stare, then slowly moved across the room. Abe took his place near the fire, watching in silence. And she, she didn't seem to know where she wanted to be tonight. Dark-eyed glances tilted towards the chair near the hearth, then to the bar.

He was a little better off then Trevet. Kaylea had seen to the clothes he had left behind, though he had outgrown most. What he wore were hand-me-downs but he had never minded that either. Dark blue tunic was worn over a lined wool shirt, and black pants. His boots were going to have to be replaced as soon as possible. They were scuffed and worn. He grinned at Alex when he set out a glass of potcheen then settled in to drink.

"I suppose one needs to get use to the snow to like it. Too much, or in this case out too long, could have one not liking the cold that goes hand in hand. Have you ever thrown a snowball, Bana?" Collecting the glass of potcheen set up for him as he noted Alex left the bottle for any refills. One he eyed a lingering moment knowing if he drank all that they would be peeling him up off the floor. From the bottle to his brother in almost a dare. He wondered if he could out drink him.

He might be carrying Kynan home, or letting him sleep here at the Thistle. Staring at the bottle a moment, he shrugged and nodded. He was game!

"Once or twice," she answered. "I do not mind the snow that much, it is only when it is all over you and it starts melting." She watched them, fleetingly, but long enough to note the glances exchanging between the brothers over the bottle. She angled her path towards the hearth, but remained on her feet, her body turning towards them, to face them. She didn't seem to have any real reaction for her name being shortened. Abe got a kick out of it, he suddenly cracked a wicked grin. "Are you two planning to..uh.." She was at lost for the correct term. She motioned towards the bottle.

"Ah, I think that would be the complaint of anyone against snow. That or being on thin ice and having it break beneath you to be doused in ice cold water." He was up for the challenge. "We'll start with five shots," turning back to his brother, "see how we do." Then back to Bana as he filled in the left out words, "drinking contest." Lifting his glass as he took up a lean against the bar, "or better, instead of contest to say, challenge." The glass lifted in a silent toast before kicked back.

He nodded then chuckled. "Here's hoping we can make it back to the manor." Not home yet. He watched his brother then did the same.

The first one had an unexpected kick to it with a slight cough to follow. He was not discouraged as the second round was made ready. Lifting the glass in a sweep up then kicked back.

In her eyes surfaced a brief spark of amusement. "I have never had... that kind of contest." She fell quiet as she watched, briefly tipping her dark eyes towards Abe to see his reaction. He appeared thoroughly amused by it all.

The second one he hardly tasted as he watched his brother in wait with the bottle to fill his glass for the third round once he kicked back his second.

He was ready for the kick and this time his eyes barely watered. Another attempt made after he looked at Treve.

"Would you like to join us? Abe can carry you home." He was going to get her in trouble.

She slanted a look towards Abe, he didn't appear to like the idea! She turned her attention back to Trevet, murmuring. "I would never hear the end of yelling."

He eyed the guard, he was certainly fit to carry the lass but then it might be other reasons he didn't like the idea. Ky's glass was filled as he kicked back his third.

There might be yelling at the manor too, but only if Kaylea was there for the night. He watched Treve then kicked back his drink.

That one was felt warming his throat and the feel of the fire warming up his veins. A good feeling presently as he filled their glasses for the next round. He eyed his brother before kicking it back.

She, secretly, wanted to see the outcome to all of this drinking. She reached up to give a tug on the scarf and it fell free of her mouth.

Warm? He was downright hot and starting to sweat! He saluted Treve though and downed his next glass.

This is when he started singing, a curse upon him as the last had a good kick. "They come from the wrong side of the tracks, they're born a breed apart. Can't tie 'em up, can't keep 'em down, they're clingin' to some ole star. They'll chase that restless spirit wherever the four winds blow, 'cause there's another dream just around the bend for renegades, rebels and rogues." Filling their glasses with a wee bit to roll down the side of Ky's glass before setting the bottle back with a dull thud. Glass up and chucked back.

She slanted another glance to her guard. One that must have said enough. He siiiighed! "You will have to talk to the others," he grumbled. She nodded, looking back to watch. She wondered who would fall first.

He laughed when Treve started to sing then picked up his glass again. Eyeing it a moment, and ignoring what was dripping on his hand, he kicked it back. "Dance too, Treve." He gave his brother a goofy smile.


Date: 01-06-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 4

His legs felt like rubber and luckily the bar was holding him up. "Threeee more rounds, Ky?" He was only a touch more affected than his brother. More of the song came rumbling up, "Renegades, rebels and rogues. Eyes of fire, hearts of gold. They'll ramble till they drop, gamble till the money runs out. They'll take any wrong direction, 'cause it's in their blood to know that all roads lead to another road for renegades, rebels and rogues."

"Threeee more." He held up three fingers but his hand was waving in front of his face and took his focus for a moment, his eyes crossing. Shaking his head, he looked at Treve. "But, we better stay here t'night."

"I do not think he can stand long enough to dance," she said to Kynan. She clasped her hands before her, struggling to fight off a smile for the song.

"Ish strong." He squinted in Banafrit's direction. "Makes the legs feel righ' funny."

"Does it? Your tongue, it sounds heavy." Her eyes glittered.

Ah but he would attempt it. Hands to his side in a grip of a stool as legs moved in a quick jig. Boots scuffling against the floor boards but caught his balance as they stopped, one of the stools slightly rocking before settled. "Me thinks the stool had a few.." grinning like a loon. The smile became him in a slight boyish quality as the weight he'd been carrying was lifted presently. The weight more figuratively as in long days, weeks and years in Eire.

He stuck out his tongue, eyes crossing as he tried to look at it. "Fe'fu'y too." He was going to be embarrassed. IF he remembered it all come morning. He looked at Treve and laughed. "T'ey bae doin' th' dancin'."

They probably missed the slight lifting of the stool under his right hand. The drink uninhibited something else, he had been training under ancient druids. He filled their glasses with a bit more sloshing, setting the bottle aside as he lifted the glass to kick the contents back.

She didn't laugh often, but Kynan, right then, brought out a laugh from her. Light and airy, yet there was a breathless sound to it. She shook her head, the stray strand that had escaped the scarf dusted against her cheek.

He attempted to wipe it up then gave up and picked up his glass. He was a little slower at getting it down. At this point, his throat was numb.

He threw back his head and howled, long eerie sound that had an ancient calling to it before the next round was poured. He set the bottle with a thud closer to Ky to pour the next, he might not be able to.

She moved slowly, gracefully across the room to the bar. She turned so that her back was to Abe and her head tipped to the side. She watched the two brothers silently. The howl startled her though, her shoulders jerked and her eyes widened a touch.

He paused before drinking to stare at his brother then he noticed Banafrit coming closer. "Yae 'r pretty." He decided, then managed to get down his next drink. And now he couldn't feel his legs.

"Thank you." She nearly whispered it!

"Hey there lil read riding hood, you sure are look'in good, you're everything a big bad wolf could want, owooooooooo..." with a more luring howl before waiting on his brother to fill the glass he held out at an angle his way. Eyes upon the very pretty Egyptian lass.

He picked up the bottle and managed to fill Treve's glass without too much of a mess. An apologetic smile was given to Alex while he refilled his own glass.

At first, there wasn't quite a reaction from her, not even a glance towards Treve, but oh so slowly her dark eyes turned to watch him. Her lashes fluttered. She suddenly grinned and motioned towards Abe. "I come with wolf protection." Sweetly.

"Aye lass, I'd only be complimenting yea." He wasn't a lecher or anything close. His free hand up with palm facing as he went to kick back the next glass. He would be sleeping soundly tonight.

He let out a whuff of air before lifting his glass. Sleeping or would he be passed out?!

She watched them again, then turned to speak to Alex. She murmured something low, her hands flat on the bar top.

He set the glass down to the bar with a thud. "I be done," knowing well his limit with legs numb as well his lips at this point.

At Treve's announcement, she sent a glance towards the bottle to see if any was left. Shortly, a glass was set before her. Juice? Hm.

"Me too." He was just going to hold on to the bar for a while.

He made the mistake of trying to stand, stools moving aside as he went down. A smile plastered on his face. Not one stool was knocked over, amazingly considering he was between two of them.  Any worry lines had faded for the first time in a long one.

A fluttering blink from her, she stared at the stools then tipped a glance down to Trevet. "Are you all right?" Before anyone could really ask about her glass, or before Abe could try to get it over to take it away, she drained it rather quickly. She might, might, be in super big trouble tonight.

He was out for the count, eyes closed, looking very peaceful.

"Sahib Trevet?" She questioned, clearing her throat after she emptied the glass. Abe glared at her! As if he knew. The fact that she drank alcohol, like, never--it wouldn't take much. She tried to ignore the glaring eyes and she tipped hers towards Kynan. "Is he all right?" She was hesitant, but she began to move for the downed Treve.

"Treve?" He blinked then looked confused. "I thin' ... we need tae ge' upstairs." He wasn't sure how he was going to get himself up there, let alone Treve! "He bae pass'd ou'."

"Abe can help you." He as a burly man, after all.

"Lemme ge' ... keys." He turned to Alex and scooped them up, then nearly giggled. "I bae still standin'." Kind of?

"You are standing, yes." She assured him. She motioned Abe over and she briefly knelt near Treve, just to check on his breathing. She was sometimes paranoid.

The numbers were hard to read but he'd figure it out, or maybe Abe could. Wobbly legs seemed to be unable to go in a straight line as he headed for the stairs, pausing. "Shou'd I help?"

"No, no, go find the room. Abe can get him." Kynan could hardly walk himself. Banafrit blinked slowly and touched at her temples. It was getting warm, yes. Abe was over to haul Treve up, almost like a sack of potatoes and he turned to follow Kynan, grunting.

The steps seemed awful long and he stared for a moment. Then he went down on his hands and knees and started to crawl up. Hopefully Abe was a patient man.

Abe was very patient. He snorted out a low laugh though as he watched Kynan.

Once at the top, he collapsed for a moment, catching his breath. "Bae lik' a mountain, aye?" He started to crawl down the hall until he could find a place to pull himself up. Squinting at the keys, he finally figured out the number and then found the door. "Yae pu' Treve in t'ere." After fumbling around for a few to get the door unlocked. "Jus' dump 'im on t'e bed."

The lifting finally jolted him in a semiconscious way as he grunted out a howl then fell lax again.

"Try climbin' it with a load," Abe commented dryly, but not without a smile. When the door opened, he stepped in and kind of did what Kynan said; sort of just.. dumped him off on the bed. With a nod of his head to Kynan, he passed him to exit the room. Banafrit waited downstairs, though her eyes were quite glued on the staircase.

"He bae a load." Agreeing. He cackled out a laugh when he heard Treve then moved inside to place the key on the side table. Weaving his way out, he closed the door and checked it to see if it was locked. Then he found his own room. "G'night tae ya, Abe, an' g'night to ya Banafrit." The last was said loudly. Someone hushed him though he wasn't sure where. Fumbling again with the lock, he finally made it inside.

He landed then on the bed to sink into its comfort, any attempt at consciousness gone as he was lost now to slumber. He would sleep it off. Probably be very embarrassed around Bana next time their paths crossed. Though in a way it had been good for him to be granted some peace from all that happened.

Abe said his good nights in a gruffy tone then went down to collect the woman. Cloak gathered, they exited the tavern for the carriage. Then, they were home bound.

Muttering as he closed the door and locked it, he cursed when he kicked the bed. He wouldn't attempt to light a candle. Falling into bed, he was out for the night!


Date: 01-08-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 5

Two for the Leather Shop

Ice had run into Mikhail about a week ago and in the conversation it came up about two of his younger brothers returning as well the older ones. During that part of the conversation he spoke on the fact the two use to do a lot of leather working. Made their own saddles before the attacks became more dire back in Eire. Ice then presented the idea of them taking over the leather shop, doing their own work as well work from others on commission or buying outright. Mikhail thought it a good idea but to talk to his brother Ruarc on it first in case he had any plans for them. So a few days later he caught up with Ruarc at his convenience and discussed the idea. Ruarc as well thought it would be good for them to set roots, use their talents and start a new life by being productive in it to boot So he left word via Ruarc for Trevet and Kynan to meet him at the Thistle.

Ice had come earlier to talk with Alex in catching up as usual. Hazel fussing over him, bending his arm to devour not one, but two slices of pie with his coffee. Offering him pie made him an easy target! He was relaxed in a chair near the hearth where a fire burned warmly, great way to relax after the delicious treat. A refilled mug of coffee encompassed in one large hand that rested against the arm of the chair. A flannel shirt of reds, blues and greens was worn tucked into black woolen pants and fur lined boots that laced up to just below his knees ending in a cuff. He had freshened up after seeing to his men and cattle. Luckily everything was going smoothly there although the concern on his brother in England would weigh upon him until his return.

Treve had not met the esteem Laird Maurice McDonough but got to know about him when Ruarc pulled them aside to let them know he was expecting to meet up with them. He didn't say why but nothing bad, something good even. He was a little nervous, enough to nick himself shaving which bled some and now left a red line. He dressed in the new clothes he ordered and had come. Nice light gray poet's shirt, charcoal gray vest, black pants and boots. The new heavy woolen cloak was also black. He had other shirts of brighter colors but this seemed to be the best choice in a business type atmosphere. He still needed a name for the stallion given him by his Ruarc as he rode in aside his brother Kynan. "Do you have any idea what this is about?" Glancing his way as he finally spoke up as they arrived, dismounting easily of one born to ride. The leather reins tied off on the hitching post.

Kynan was probably as nervous as his brother, maybe more. He had taken extra care as he shaved and then dressed. His shirt was a dark green , one that brought out the green in his eyes and his hair was neatly combed. He wore a vest as well, though his was black to match his pants. New boots were polished to a fine shine. His cloak was a dark gray rather then black. He shrugged as he dismounted and tied off the reins. "No idea at all, but Ruarc said it wasn't bad. Can't imagine why a Laird from here would want to talk with us though."

"Neither can I," mumbled under his breath as he waited those few seconds for his brother to dismount and tie off his steed. Once ready he was up the steps and over the porch to open the door, leaving Ky to pass through first then right behind him as he saw to closing over the door. He first noticed Alex at the bar with brows lifting in question to what they wished to drink. "Ale for me," to make sure it wasn't potcheen this night after the last debut. Eventually he would try the more potent brew again and gain a resistance. All the while he was removing his cloak to hang to a peg, hat, scarf and gloves to follow before heading to the bar to collect the tankard set out.

He thanked Treve quietly then nodded when his brother ordered the ale. "I'll have the same." Best to be safe rather than sorry. He barely remembered what happened that night other than the lovely Egyptian lass was there, and her guard. Smoothing down his hair after his outerwear was hung, he headed for the bar. This nervousness was actually welcome. Much better than feeling like a hunted animal.

Thoughts had him caught up someplace else until the sound of footsteps outside on the porch brought him around. The flash of ice blue eyes turning in the direction of the door and the two coming in. Wasn't hard to figure out who they were immediately. There were two chairs angled close by him as he gained his feet taking him to his full height. "Come join me when you get your drinks." It would be obvious to them who the giant of a man was as well.

He near sloshed the ale in his tankard while he lifted it as the man spoke up. He had not noticed him there by the hearth as he turned quick on a heel. Definitely realized who the one was after talking with Ruarc. "Good evening Laird McDonough, honored to join you." Without even looking his brother's way as he headed over to take up one of the chairs indicated. Settling in and a quick drink of his ale to bring the level down and quench his thirst at the same time.

He hadn't picked up his tankard but looked over his shoulder when the man spoke. He cleared his throat as he turned. "Good evening, sir ... un Laird McDonough. It's a pleasure to meet you." He picked up his tankard and followed Treve over. He felt like a puppy briefly but he managed to push that aside as he sat.

"We can dispense with the formalities, call me Maurice. You are Kynan and Trevet MacKay," just so there was no mistaking identities although he was uncertain which was which. "Please, make yourselves comfortable," as he resumed his seat doing just that so that they would feel comfortable in turn. "I help out the crown by helping those new to the lands, even if your family has been here a while." They were new. "If you have any questions, I am also one you can ask, those of my family, Alex there and other families that have been here a long time." Easing into the conversation.

"Yes we are, I mean, I'm Trevet," which obviously would have him know Kynan then. "There seems to be a lot for us to learn. Ruarc and Mikhail have answered questions so far. I do have one: can my brother and I practice with our weapons someplace?" A question he had of recent but didn't get a chance to ask his brother so took this opportunity.

That was a good question. He nodded agreement and finally took a drink of the ale. Knowing Maurice would come to why he wanted to see them in his own time, he waited, trying to think if he had any questions, and he couldn't come up with one.

"Aye, there is. You can start at the Spar Hall and the field behind it. You might want to try out the gauntlet built by Sir Lancely that tests agility and balance. Timing. If you want to make a career of it, then if good enough you may well advance to the King's Field which is more select, private and ones of talents of a like you rarely see. To be a warrior above the norm, it is more than skill with weapons. There is a lot more involved." Studying each as he let impressions have their way. "I think you might well know what I'm talking about." The last especially on Trevet.

"All in time. What has me bringing you here tonight deals along this line, a career. I am told that both of you have done some fine leather working in the past. Many warriors have another steadier profession considering the lands here have been at peace since the Queen gained her rightful heritage. Would you be interested in taking over the leather shop, jointly? There are many goods there already as the one that was running it before is now in Kildare on a new path. The older gent before her is seeing to it but he is up in age and wishes to retire completely. He has been good enough to see to the shop until I could find someone else. From what your brothers told me, you are very good candidates if you like the idea as well. You would be doing the lands a service as well giving you both a means to earn coins of your own, meet others and put in some roots."

"Spar Hall," mumbled under his breath in repeating so it was committed to memory. He knew where it was so didn't need to ask that but more if they were allowed to go there. That too was answered. "It has been some time since I've done leather working but something I had in mind to continue one day. I like the idea, both, having this shop if my brother wants as well and being able to train again."

"Aye, I think it's a grand idea." He started then slowed a little. "It would mean a lot to be able to do something to contribute, and keep us busy. I mean ... help us to earn coins." He gave Maurice a boyish smile. "I need some work in training, so use of the hall would be appreciated very much." He glanced at Treve then looked back, relief obvious. This was a good thing!

His drink done he was up from his seat. "If you have time tonight, go over and talk to Tim Simons. Let him know I sent you. He can show you around, what inventory is there, clients and customers. I believe he will want to keep doing leather work and sell through you. He is just too old to do things on demand or such demands running a shop require. With both of you there it should be easier and you can work out a schedule that leaves you both time some of the days as well your nights free. I will be in touch to have you sign some papers as is the norm, copy to be kept and making it all legal." Not that they had such troubles but then one was always best prepared in doing things properly. "The Spar Hall is open twenty four hours, shifts of guards who can answer any other questions you might have. There is a variety of weapons there you can use to practice with as well, giving you the opportunity to try all kinds." He held out his hand to shake on it with them both before he needed to take his leave. He had his duties to see to and a meal waiting at home by the time he got there.

He was listening intently and up as Maurice stood. a hand to clasp his in a sealed agreement. "I will head there tonight right after a meal here." Knowing he had plenty of time to eat something as the shops stayed open a few more hours. Some later than others. "Thank you and it's been a pleasure meeting you Maurice." So not using titles especially one older than him, would take getting use to.

He stood, waiting his turn to take Ice's hand then grinned. Of course he'd be going along with Treve to deal with the shop. "Thank you and as Treve said, it been a pleasure, Maurice." He was nearly bursting with excitement as he glanced at Treve. And he knew Rurac would be pleased.

Natural roguish grin tucked within the thick russet beard as he shook one hand then the other. "Good luck as well. Know that you can reach me through Alex if there be a need." Luckily for them they would be walking into a business already established and running. Pretty much all that was needed was there but granted, new owners might wish to make improvements or renovations. Tim would fill them in on other businesses that would go hand and hand. "Oh, we sell the leather to Tim that he uses. Same deal will be offered you both." A reasonable affordable one. A wave then to Alex as he grabbed up his cloak on the way out.

He shot a grin his brother's way before watching Maurice take his leave. "Let's eat something then head over to the shop." One he had noticed in his exploring and mental note to check it out that hadn't happened yet. Now there was an even better reason. He too was getting more excited about this whole arrangement as it all sunk in.

He nodded, his grin wide after Treve's suggestion. Clapping a hand to his brother's shoulder, he laughed. "We'll make a go of this." Both the shop and their new life. He picked up his tankard and headed back to the bar.  Stew and then the shop and maybe the Spar Hall too!


Date: 01-15-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 6

MacKay Leather Shoppe 

They had only gotten to talk to Tim Simons briefly that night after talking with Maurice. The man was very pleased, one could tell by the near toothless smile on a wrinkled weathered face. Like old leather. He invited them to come back the next evening a little earlier and so Trevet and Kynan made their way in after dinner time. The old man was at his bench not far from the counter, working on some belts this late hour. He was so bent over with the candle flame so close to his hair in order to see, Trevet thought for sure he'd catch on fire. "Master Simons," saying it loud enough so he could hear and alert him to their presence as he obviously didn't hear the tinkle of the bell as they entered. Snow swirled in their wake but he found the place to be a cozy warm in spite of the weather outside. A bit warmer than he would need it to be. One of those fleeting thoughts while heading for the man as he lifted his head finally to see, squinting faded eyes behind his bifocals.

Kynan was right behind Treve and closed the door behind. He grinned at Treve, raising his voice so the elderly man could hear. "Evening Master Simons." He watched as the man raised his head finally, smiling at them both. "We came back just like we promised." He lowered his hood to give the gent a boyish smile.

There was nothing shy about Trevet as he was over to the man's side to see what he was working on. "You've a fine hand with the leather, Master Simons," which Tim corrected them on calling him by his first name. Trevet also noticed the man's graying hair, what little was left and mostly along the sides, was singed by being too close to the candle. He discreetly moved it over a bit further. That's all he and his brother needed to happen and end up putting out the man's hair on fire. Maurice had been right, the man needed to retire.

"I've got the inventory list for yea laddies," it took him a few minutes to get up from the bench and just as slow a time getting over to the counter to take up the stack of papers to then hold out to whichever one of them was closest.

Pyper had been a restless little elf again this night, and had decided to go and see if the leather shop was still open and if Master Simons had finished fixing the strap of her satchel. She was bundled up tightly against the cold, scarf wrapped around her head so only deep sapphire eyes and pointed ears could be seen, the hood to her cloak up over the rest of her head. She stomped off the snow from her boots as she came in.

Tim had the papers held out towards Kynan as it turned out. He got a glimpse of them over his shoulder before dark eyes were drawn beyond his brother to the woman coming in. Cold breeze and the tinkle of the bell was the heads up immediately. He offered a winsome smile her way. "Good evening Pyper." Yes, he remembered her. Few that he knew so far. Which would also alert Tim, being Trevet was standing close enough, his voice up a few octaves would alert him. Tim looked up, squinted through his bifocals before waving to her.

She smiled as she unwrapped the scarf. "Good evening Masters MacKay, Master Simons." She came in more, making sure the door was closed tightly behind her. "I hope the two of you are making yourselves comfortable here, and are enjoying it so far." Remembering they were new to Heathfield.

"Thank you, sir. Uh ... Tim." He took the papers and began reading them over, looking up and over his shoulder. "Evening, Pyper." The inventory was good and would give the two time to settle in. He held it out to Treve, watching as the elderly man looked her way.

She wasn't alone and it seemed Banafrit was out doing more exploring.  Her voice cut low, off to her side to Abe and he had to tip his head down a little to hear her. Wearing colors of the sun, not unusual, she peeked her head inside, not too far behind Pyper. She puffed out a breath that disturbed the stillness of the drape of fabric from her head scarf, causing it to ripple. Abe gave her a little nudge, and she stepped further within. Her gaze was all over the place. "Good evening," she greeted.

"Aye lass, I've yea leather strap all fixed. These laddies will be taking over the shop." That's when he remembered there was a sign he made which he got from the counter and over to put in the window of the door. MacKay Leather Goods. He was back then to get the strap he'd fixed for Pyper, disappearing into the back where many things were stored. Eventually he'd find his way out again. Sometimes he took a few wrong turns. The closet was one of them thinking it the door back.

Trevet watched as Tim first went to the door, then back again only to take a double take back to the door. "Evening Banafrit." The old man must be blind to have missed the Egyptian beauty. That or his hormones dead in the aging body.

She nodded. "Thank you for fixing it for me. I do so appreciate it Master Simons." She then smiled at the brothers. "Congratulations to you both then."

She tipped a smile towards Trevet, the expression mostly showing in her eyes. "How are you, Trevet? Pyper?"

That was more than likely the reason. He was looking over some of the stock in the main room when Treve spoke the name of the Egyptian lass. "Evening, Banafrit, Abe."

"I hope you are doing well, Kynan." She had trouble with their names, they came out slowly. She glanced over the place, pursing her lips. Abe nodded to the others.

"Evening Banafrit," she said to the young beauty, knowing how she paled in comparison. "I've been well, and I hope the same for you." She chuckled as she saw Trevet's look and double take.

Oh yes, Abe was there as well. He cleared his throat to give the guard a nod in welcome. Sorry if his notice at first excluded the one, big as he was. "I am doing well, we are to take over this shop, my brother and I." They might come up with a different name but their surname would do for now. Tim was anxious to be out and now that Trevet got to watch him more, best it was. He took the sheets of the inventory lists to skim over. Nodding at times as certain items were read and a sweeping glance up to see where they were located in the shop.

"Is that so? Congratulations to you both." Yes, Abe was near Banafrit. And he leaned to say something, something that had her glowering. She took a step from him, and turned her attention towards Pyper. "I have been quite well, thank you."

He was wandering about, looking at some of the items. "You're braving the snow again, Bana." Just a hint of teasing in his voice. More than likely, he wouldn't say much, being a touch shy when he wasn't drunk.

"I am. I have also braved the ice." The grin was hidden, but still, her eyes gleamed with it.

That was something even she hadn't done yet. She gave Banafrit a bright smile for that accomplishment.

Tim had still not returned as Trevet was over to set the inventory list back on the counter. He leaned trying to peer through the open door as he listened as well. He didn't see anything but it was at that point he heard a loud crash. He was fast, there one second, gone the next, so fast one would have to assume he went through that door back behind the counter. Counter being in his way hadn't stopped him either. So there was some cursing under his breath but at least it was in some Ancient language, a dialect before the known Gaelic and somewhat like Elven. A mixture perhaps. About five minutes later he emerged with Tim, a hand under his arm. The man seemed to be all right other than a nice goose egg on that bald pate. He brought him over to a chair to help him be seated. Tim was trying to swoosh Trevet away; that he was fine. Tim had Pyper's strap in the one hand, offering it out to her.

Pyper was over in a second as Trevet brought out the elderly gent, gently taking the strap but more concerned about the bump on the man's head. "Are you sure you are alright?"

He had froze in place when he heard the crash and partly followed Treve, peeking to see what happened. It was going to take some work to reorganize the back rooms but they could do it. He was laughing when he returned, though his face was expressionless when Treve and Tim came out. Not that he had been laughing at Tim. It was more Treve's reaction.

She blinked for the commotion and almost stepped forward when Treve came out with the old man. Abe reminded her of something and she murmured, "I have to go, I hope you all have a good evening." With Abe following, she made her exit.

Well, that was a surprise. He watched her and Abe leave then smiled at Tim. "Maybe you should have a cup of tea or something?" He was hoping there were sons or someone to see Tim home when his day was done. He didn't like the idea of him walking alone.

If anything Pyper would walk with him. She reached up to gently touch the elder's head, whispering a bit softly, a soft smile on her face, deep sapphires watching him closely. Her other hand was holding his.

He blinked, so concentrated on Tim, he barely heard Banafrit before she and Abe were quickly gone. He looked at his brother a little confused but then shrugged. Maybe it was their way of things. Pyper might notice it was only the strap to her satchel and not the satchel attached. He probably forgot that part when he worked on the strap.

"Thank you lad, lass." Appreciative of their help. He knew he was getting on in years although forgot just how many at this point. Last he remembered it was around seventy nine. His head was feeling better and his eyes, bad as they were to start, regaining focus.

They might figure out their ways later. He shrugged in return then watched Tim and Pyper. A question popped up though. "Is there a flat with this place, Tim?" He couldn't remember if Maurice had said anything about one or not, and if so, he didn't know if he and Treve were going to stay there or at the manor.

"Aye, laddie, there is one the size of the store although I had no use for it. There's a key in the drawer beneath the register." Motioning with his hand as he didn't feel he should get up presently. Tim had his own place not far from the shop where he had lived with his wife until her passing a few years ago. Now alone. One of the things that had him lose some zest for life although their children came to visit him regularly. It was at that point that one of his sons, Zack, came into the shop to see him home. His daughter Terese would have supper made and the two would see him to bed before taking their leave to their respective homes. "The store is yours lads," getting up with the help of his son. A tall muscular man in his fifties. Zack noticed the bump, knowing Terese would fuss over their father and probably stay the night just in case. He thanked the ones there for helping his father as he saw to his coat then taking their leave. "Good luck," Tim called out before outside and the door closed behind them.

He wondered if Zack was use to finding his father with a bruise here or there as he bade them a good night and watched them take their leave. Until the door was closed, thoughtful look then back to  the present. "We'll have to find out where exactly he lives and pay him a visit, aside the fact he wants to sell leather working as he has time to do any." This to his brother of course.


Date: 01-15-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 7

"Thank you, Tim." For both the information and the turning over of the store. He looked at Treve and grinned then told them good night as they left. He met Treve's look and nodded. "That's a grand idea. Let him know how we're doing and give him some company. I'm sure he'd appreciate that." He couldn't help the sigh that escaped. "He's a nice man."

She smiled to Zack as the lad came to get his father, then to the two brothers, glad to see them enjoying their new freedom in a way.

He smiled at Pyper again then headed to the window to look out. "This is a nice location." Close enough to the Thistle if they wanted to go for a drink after the shop was closed.

"Aye, he is but I think this has been too much for him with his failing eyesight. His hair was singed. His children are probably relieved he'll be home mostly now, still doing that which he loves. How are you doing Pyper?" Smile was back, one that reached dark eyes as he got a moment to be social. That's when he noticed the shelves of Stetsons. Like a bee to honey he was drawn, making his way over to try on one, an off white with a dark brown band of leather.

She nodded. "Aye, a good location, right in the midst of everything so lots of customers to pass by." She chuckled as she saw Trevet shoot off to the shelves of hats. "I'm doing well, still exploring and enjoying the snow."

"That's good to hear," turning back around from one of the rows of shelves with the Stetson angled just so, perfectly tipped. "Y'all be rightly careful out there in the cold." Saying it with an effective drawl.

She tilted her head, looking at him with a twinkle in her eyes. "Is that how that is supposed to be worn?"

"Aye," fingers pinching the tip to dip her way before he spied the long leather trench coats. Perfect. A woolen vest worn over a poet's shirt and tailored woolen pants of dark blue that matched was his attire, disappearing under the coat he picked out. One that went to his shins, well more his boots over his shins. "Now all I need is some spurs and a whip." He didn't care much for the flintlocks.

"And who are you supposed to be?" She was lost on the costume.

"I think it looks good on him. Don't you, Pyper?" He chuckled as he watched his brother. "Then again, I think he's going to be his own best customer for a while." He liked how it looked, at least the coat. The hat he might skip.

He was skilled with the whip too, could flick a fly off a fence eight feet away. The question had brows to lift. "Myself of course. I hear ones in the colonies dress like this."

"Oh.... " she chuckled, still not quite getting it though. "It does indeed look very handsome on him. I think it would on you too."

He divested of the coat but one he would save up for, as well the hat. The hat he would purchase first as it was put back to the shelf he had gotten it from. He went quiet as well, which meant he was thinking.

"I think I'd get the black hat instead of that color though. Otherwise, it seem like I'm trying to copy him." He grinned at Treve then watched him go thoughtful before he looked back to Pyper. "What did Tim fix for you? A belt?"

She canted her head again as Trevet got quiet, but didn't comment. She had forgotten about the leather strap in her hand actually until Kynan mentioned. "Actually it's supposed to be the strap to my satchel, but it seems the rest is..... well... not here." She chuckled.

"Hmmm. Well, if you wait a moment, I'll see if I can find it." He grinned as he headed back into the store room and tried to root around where things had fallen. All he needed to do was find a satchel with no strap, right? Of course, since he had no idea what Tim's system was, it might take a little while. He tried to put a few things away as he looked. "Does it have lots of buckles, Pyper?" Called out from the room.

"Um no.... its rather quite plain actually..... with a few symbols on it is all." She chuckled.

"Hmmm. Not that one then." They'd have to decipher Tim's writing! "Ah, I think I found it." He brought out a plain satchel with writing on it that was missing a strap. "This it?"

The Elven runes on the side would probably give it away a bit. She looked as Kynan brought out the satchel, smiling and shaking her head. "Aye, that's it."

"Did he say what he was going to charge you?" He looked the satchel over but didn't see anything that gave the cost.

She shook her head. "No, he said we'd discuss it when he was finished." She started putting the strap onto the satchel, buckling on at both ends, and tilted her head a bit as the second buckle didn't quite fit and the whole strap looked a bit short. "Um.... I don't think this is the right one either....." she gave a sort of I'm sorry look to him, knowing he was trying to be helpful.

"Okay. I did notice some straps in the back." Those were all together at least. He retrieved them, placing them on the counter. There were five different ones. "One of these, hopefully." He studied the satchel, then picked one.

While Kynan searched in the back he had the list again and going over the stock out on shelves to make sure all matched up. "I think there is one under the counter to the right of the register." He called over as he turned from one of the isles.

There was another. He nodded at Treve then was over to collect it. Returning, he grinned and held that one out. "Treve's right. That's it."

Looking at the five, she knew instantly which one was hers, but was curious to see if he could match the correct one, not having seen it before. She figured he would be able to, but still wanted to see his still in practice.  She smiled and nodded. "Aye that's the one that matches." She was impressed.

"Are you finding everything, Treve?" He was curious as to what his brother was doing and leaned slightly to look. "I'm not sure what Tim wanted for this."

"Tim might not be able to see too well but he was excellent with his inventory. Everything listed is there." He was impressed as he was back over to the counter. "So that is the one for the satchel." Maybe he had noticed the rune working on it. Recognized them even at a glance of something under the counter. "I think all considering, no charge. It seems he didn't intend to charge you," as he had noticed in the ledger on the work done but had put a line for the price, unlike other things he had listed there.

She shook her head a bit, not thinking that right or fair. "I.... I don't feel right not paying you... or him... for the work....." she was funny that way.

"I would say two copper then and I'll make sure he gets it." It was minor work and probably why he wasn't going to charge the lass.

She nodded and pulled out the suggested amount out of her coin purse, placing it on the counter.

He grinned at Treve, glad he found the ledger. At least they'd have an idea of prices. "His work was excellent, though I think some of the items may have been worked by the other who was here." Different styles of work, though subtle.

"Laird McDonough had said there were ones that they bought work from directly to resell and some worked by commission. Which do you prefer to do," glancing up from the ledger he was leafing through to Kynan. Back again as he found the pages with those they bought finished items from. He turned the page and gave a low whistle. "We'll be kept busy with the stock of leather in the back from the McDonough Ranch." Which the laird had also mentioned. He turned the ledger so Kynan could see it. "Fine grain, the best."

She chuckled a bit, deciding to leave the two brothers alone to take stock of their new occupation, bundling up again once she had fastened the correct strap back on her satchel. "Good night to both of you. I'm sure your business will flourish tremendously." She said with a smile, as she pulled the hood of her coat back up over her head, her eyes twinkling with mirth at their excitement, as it should be.

"The system seems to work fine the way it is. I'll go with just selling whatever I work on and adding it to the till." He grinned then smiled at Pyper. "It was good to see you again, Pyper. Take care."

"Good night Pyper. Nice seeing you again. Keep warm." Which had him recalling something she said as he mumbled to himself while closing the ledger up. "I think I will see about getting a toboggan and some skates."

"It was nice to see you both again as well." She chuckled at hearing his mumbling. "Aye, you should. I hear many have been on the hills and the lake, enjoying it."

"I haven't been on skates for a long time." He looked thoughtful then shrugged. He'd wait and see if it was something he'd like to attempt again.

"Well I have not even once. So don't let time discourage you." she grinned, then opened up the door to head out, raising one small hand upwards, whispering softly in elvish as the bell tinkled, for good luck for them and their business, before heading out completely, down the street towards home.

He had been under hills for a long time but best not to even mumble that one. The Elf would hear and might start to wonder. "Aye, it's been a long while being we don't get much snow in Eire to start."

"It has at that." He looked at Treve for a long moment. "So, will we be staying here or at the manor now?" He wanted to know that first of all.

One had to take to the mountains to find some. "If it's warm enough up there once we get a fire going, there are beds and some blankets, I'm staying the night." He didn't really feel like heading out into the cold at this point anyway. Which he first locked up the door then was over to get the key to unlock the door to the stairwell leading upstairs. It was just inside the door that led back to the storage area. "There's a kitchen back there too but I don't think Tim used it much." Some of the rooms they would need to clean up, organize and the like if they were to live and work here.

"Sounds good to me." He looked thoughtful again. "We'll have to see if there's a stable in the back." So they would know where to put their horses.  He found he was excited about having a place of their own, even if they didn't stay here all the time.  It might keep them from getting into trouble with their family.


Date: 12-17-10
Poster: Mikhail MacKay
Post # 8

Older Brother
Thistle Tavern


Mikhail had been on one of his usual hiatus to the mountains. A cabin there he found and frequent when doing some soul searching or just the need to get away and clear his mind for when he read cards. There was always residue left over if he did too many in a row and so took a break. It was why he didn't make a business of it, for he was a real seer not just a show to earn a coin and say what people wanted to hear. He told them what the card had to say for otherwise it was a sham. Luckily the deck that chose him was one that looked upon all as a journey along a path, one that held choices and possible encounters to grasp or avoid. He had come into the Thistle early enough to enjoy a large meal with a tankard of ale and now sat in front of the hearth relaxing with a tumbler of the pure. Boots wove up to below his knee, rugged pants of a fine wool were worn under a tunic, sleeveless that fitted over a flannel shirt. A beard had grown in fully and would serve his face warmth over the winter months.

Kynan had made a few deliveries for some folks and decided to stop at the Thistle to warm up. It wasn't normally done for their customers but this time of year, exceptions could be made. As he entered the tavern, he spotted Mikhail and grinned. Even though his brother likely would notice him right away, he tossed a small bit of snow from his cloak toward him. "There you are. We've been wondering if you'd show up soon." He knew Mikhail would never miss the holidays. Removing his cloak, he shook it off, then headed to the bar first. Potcheen his request of course! He was dressed warmly enough in wool pants of black, knee high boots and a heavy wool sweater over a lighter shirt. Once he had his drink, he was over to join Mikhail though he didn't disturb the cards. Just sat and looked at them.

His free hand shot up to catch that bit of snow shot his way, without looking, and smeared it in against his throat. "Ahhhhh," coaxed out as it felt good. It was then he turned a look on his little brother. "You wanted to see me?" Slow grin came gradually full as he watched him under keen dark eyes. "You should know that I will show when I am needed if not before." He had his own agendas too. "Have a seat," noticing him looking over the cards spread face up on the table. He wasn't doing any reading but more like letting them air out, faces showing to do so. "Looking to get your card read at all?"

He hadn't realized he wanted to until his brother asked and nodded slowly. Pulling out a chair, the youth eyed the cards then shrugged. "I just think they're interesting, but I wouldn't refuse it either." A boyish grin appeared and then he looked at Mikhail. "Just feeling a bit uncertain about where I want to go with my life."

"You are hoping that maybe I can help direct you on a path that would fulfill what you feel is empty inside?" Which actually had him smile in a way that he was pleased that he would come to him if he could help. He gathered up the cards making sure all were faced down in his hands as he shuffled them up. Once he felt it was at a good point, he set the deck in front of his brother. "You know the routine."

He took a drink before reaching for the cards. Of course he knew! But he was pleased that Mikhail acknowledged that. Once they were done, he placed them down in front of his brother.

Once he was done, eyes upon his brother as he turned over the card. His brother would see it a fraction of a moment before he would. It was Strength. The picture portrays a muscular, powerfully built man with curling chestnut hair wearing only a red loincloth. He is engaged in a savage struggle with a lion, and has managed to wrap his strong hands around the beast's throat; at the critical moment he is winning the fight. Around man and lion loom the rocky walls of a dark cave. Through the mouth of the cave can be seen a barren landscape of brown hills. Taking a moment as he watched his brother he gave the divinatory level of this card's meaning, "when this card appears it implies a situation where a collision with the lion within is inevitable and where a creative handling of one's own rage and senseless pride is desirable. Courage, strength and self discipline are necessary to battle with the situation. Through such an experience we can come in contact with the beast, but also with the part of us which is Heracles, the hero who can subdue it. What have you determined so far of your inner struggle, Kynan?" He also knew he would draw another card, to clarify.. and even a third card but that would be all.

Kynan studied the card, frowning slightly but when he looked up at Mikhail, he smiled. "I didn't think I had any rage, but, aye, sometimes I have too much pride. I need to work on self-discipline if I'm going to find the right way for me." At least, that's what he felt.

A card could come up close to what described the situation but might not be every particular. As in this case, the general idea of an inner struggle. "What do you think would be best to do that would give you this self discipline?" There were a lot of varied responses to such a question, as varied as the one it was posed to.

Kynan looked down at the card again, his expression thoughtful. "I think I need to train harder, not only physically but mentally, and keep training in the old ways as well." He looked at Mikhail again. "I want to serve the Crown, Mik. I'm thinking maybe this is a confirmation of that."

"Aye, more than likely that is why the card showed. Call it a nudge." Although he went silent a few moments before adding, "training in the ways of old would be good. I can help you there. Do you feel a draw to become a knight of these lands, becoming a squire first."

"Aye, I do." He gave his brother a sheepish smile. "Seems like most lads my age look for that, but I don't want to do it for glory. I want to do it because I want to serve here where we found another home." He shrugged slightly.  "I guess I'll have to be tested though first, aye?" He wouldn't expect anyone to favor him, knowing that not even the prince was shown such.

"There will be a few squires knighted soon leaving a few Knights free of such that you will have a good chance being assigned to one. I will not patch your way in, you can earn it for I know you have it in your heart and soul to make a good squire and an even better knight when you're ready."

Kynan smiled and looked down at the card again, then up. "Then I'll work even harder, Mikhail, because you believe in me. I was beginning to doubt myself to be honest. Wondered if I was growing lazy. Or if I would ever do anything worthwhile."

"Certainly this is a worthwhile step and see how far your skills can take you. These will awaken now that you have made a decision. You are a MacKay, you have fire in your blood to drive you to heights that some can only dream of. Of course I believe in you, and your ability to shine for you will work hard at it."

"I just ... " He frowned and shook his head. "I don't want to disappoint anyone. I think that's my biggest fear. All of you risked so much to bring us to safely, here to our new home, and if I fail ... " Yes, he had that fear, always had since he was very small.

"As long as you live up to your own expectations, not those of others, you will not disappoint anyone, especially not yourself. Disappointing yourself is the worse. If you want any words of advice, the best ones I know is to warn you to never do anything you cannot live with."

He finished the last of his potcheen before he stood. "Good night, Alex." A look was given to Mikhail. "We better go tell Hazel good night." Or they'd be in trouble!

"Of course," as they could leave via the kitchen, knowing she would probably send pie with them too. From the kitchen they would use the back exit.

"What if they aren't high enough?" He offered Mikhail an impish grin but only to show he was kidding. "I won't. And I'll always try to do the right thing, even if no one else agrees with me." He leaned back in his chair. "Just have to remember not to be stubborn all the time." His eyes grew wide and he laughed. "There's so much to think about."

"If worse comes to worse, I'll just have to beat it into you," Teasing back with a wicked grin to emerge. "Deal?"

And his eyes went wide though he laughed. He knew if he deserved it, one of his brothers would see to it! He offered his hand to his brother. "Deal."

One strong hand to clasped his hand while the other crossed over to clasp his forearm clan style. "I am proud of you little brother who is not so little anymore." Releasing the grip with the last as he studied him another moment. "Is there anything else on your mind you need to get off it?"

Kynan thought then shook his head. "No, nothing. Other than, do you think we'll ever find Eimear? I dream about her sometimes. Nothing about where she is, but from when I was younger." They had lost their parents. He was hoping not to lose any more of their family.

"Yes, we will find her. I know she is alive but cannot pin point her and I don't think that Ruarc should go again. I know he feels the weight on his shoulders being head of our clan but if they kill another head of clan it will be the end of it, unlike the others before him." Their father included of course. "You learn that sword for I feel you will be part of getting her back as well myself and possibly Trevet."

"I will, Mikhail. I promise." He looked solemn. "And whatever I have to do to help too."

"Then let us head to the barracks and see about getting this all in motion. Never a better time than the present," rising as he would escort his brother there.



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