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Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 1
Relaxing with Good Company
stretched out in front of the fire, comfortably in a wingback. One
hand rested on
the table aside where fingers curled loosely around a glass. One
filled with potcheen, bottle close at hand. He wore a wool heather
brown sweater over brown woolen pants. Boots of leather laced up to
below his knees. Curling russet hair was tamed back as ice blue eyes
held a distant look to them as if here but not. Like he was
concentrating on something beyond sight.
Poster: Joseph McDonough
Post # 2
A late Christmas Celebration
mood was growing worse with each passing day and their father still
not having returned. He knew his uncle Maurice was getting to the
point to go after his brother. If Josh had any influence it was
constantly to push at Maurice to go now, not wait. Though his uncle
waited and held patience for him by the look he'd finally give that
had him shutting up. He felt like he was tied up in knots inside and
even long walks nor chopping firewood seemed to get it out of his
system. He had gotten looks of concern from the other workers and he
knew it but still couldn't help himself, splitting enough wood for
next winter. Today was another of like and even he was getting not
to like being around himself. He laid awake in bed staring at the
ceiling willing his father to return.
were tucked behind his head in a half sitting position with the
pillow behind him. The light tap startled him from wherever his mind
had wandered as he sat up while speaking, "come in
Tamara." Who else would it be or just the fact he knew it was
her and not his uncle.
crawled in beside him, tucking her legs under her nightgown as she
sat. "I know he will but when. Da has been gone so long. Do you
think maybe he forgot about us?" It might have been a silly
question but it was one that worried her. "Or maybe he can't
leave." She didn't want to cry but she was very close to it now
that she was talking about it.
She leaned against his shoulder and sighed. "But then what can it be? If Uncle Ice doesn't go after him soon, I'm going to explode. Or ... or I'm going to go after him myself." She wouldn't really but she was that frustrated. She was so close to crying but she didn't want to upset Josh more.
If there had been a moon this night, it was clouded over as a lone rider made his way up the road taking him to the ranch. All was quiet except the hooves of his stallion hitting solid ground in a steady rhythm. Any lights were dimmed with barely a glow until he noticed one flare up in one of the lower windows. Michael, his handyman was awake, watching and had caught sight of a rider as he was to the door to open it. He recognized the stallion and then the rider as Joe reigned in and dismounted. The duffel bag taken off as well the box of gifts that had been secured behind the saddle. Michael was out, grin spreading over his face, "good to have you back Sir. I'll see to your horse. I think your children might still be awake." Perceptive man but not hard to hear even soft footsteps in a quiet house at night. "Thank you, I'll go right in and wake them if not." Giving a brief clasp to the man's shoulders as he glanced up towards the windows of their rooms. There was no light to really be seen but that didn't mean they weren't awake. A smile touched as he was up the steps and across the porch to head on in. The door shut behind him but not locked as Michael would be back and see to closing up. He was over to set the box on the nearest table and shrug out of his overcloak. About to hang it up, he remembered the gifts stowed away in the secret pocket. A deft hand slipped in to draw them out for they could now be returned to their rightful owners. The fossil fairy stone looked different, an off notice that he'd probably think on later. Right now, there were two dear to his heart and mind that mattered most.
He didn't know what to do if she cried, it would probably be his undoing. Hugging her more, "he'll be back, we need to keep faith in that like you said." It felt like those very words herald the sound of a horse approaching as he shuffled around, drawing Tamara with him as he got up. "Someone is here, maybe it is Da?" He hoped to god it was for they would be triply disappointed. Getting to the window but whoever it was were already out of sight under the porch's roof and Michael, whom he caught sight of, was leading a horse away towards the stables in the back. "C'mon, let's go find out!"
perked when she heard the horse and slipped out of the bed to peek
out the window. "I hope, I hope, I hope." She said,
crossing her fingers before she was darting to the door. She paused
though to wait for Josh, bouncing on her toes with excitement.
"Then we'll know our good luck worked."
da!" Scooping Tamara up in his arms as he raced out, not
wishing to be detained a second for she wasn't quite as quick as he.
"Da!" Setting her down at the top of the steps as he
charged down them and out of his usual reserve, his arms went around
his father's neck in a quick hug like he use to when young.
The sight of them running down, brought tears to his eyes as arms went around them both. Burying his face against the side of his son's then his daughter's. "I love you both, you know that. I'm so sorry this mission took longer than any of us expected and that I couldn't even send word. A number of reasons but I'm home safe and sound now. Birdie has come back with me along with the son of a friend who is going to stay with us, not tonight though. They will be by tomorrow." Keeping his arm around them both as he headed for the large waiting room where he left the box. "I didn't forget you for Christmas." This reunion only strengthened his resolve it would be the last mission. "I still may need to go to Kildare, the information I gained will help the King and Regent there." At least it was not away to England. "I'm thinking maybe you'll both would like to go with me, at least to the castle for the time I'm there." The better of his information came in the form of a woman which they would eventually find out.
"I love you Da," all his worries wiped away as he was on his father's heels after the hug ended. "We have a surprise for you that is waiting, meet us in the living room please." Giving Tamara a glance with a spreading grin as he averted his steps in that direction as their father continued to the waiting room.
"I love you too." She was nearly dancing as she followed after the two then she gave Josh a wide grin before she was grabbing his hand and leading him to the living room. With Uncle Garath's help, they had gotten a live tree, keeping it in a large barrel of dirt so it could be kept alive. It was still decorated and they had packages under it for their father.
Upstairs, Garath had awaken with the sound of the horse. He opened his door and listened while the two greeted their father. This was their time, their moment and after a moment, he shut the door, a smile on his face. He had enjoyed staying with the two, even with all that it involved, but for their sakes, he was glad it was over. He'd cherish the memory of these days forever but even more, the joy heard when Joe came home.
Joe got the box and something he had hidden in his cloak, something big and long that was wrapped up in cloth then an oil skin. That tucked under one arm while the box was tucked under the other. Smile on his features as he stopped upon entering the living room. Eyes got a bit wider and a bit misty for the truly memorable moment. "You still have the tree." He knew his cousin had to have helped them but he figured it was their idea. He set the box and long wrapped item to the coffee table before bringing his arms around them both. "This is a remarkable Christmas but the last I will be away while you both still live here." A promise made he would keep and never gone so long as this trip took. He was home for good and the Investigator Business would keep his hand in something he was very good at. "Come, open your presents," in one very large box for Tamara was a porcelain doll but what was unique, she was attired in the same sunny yellow and white fancy spring dress with lace and little blue and pink flowers. There was a bonnet and slippers to match. Another box for Joshua was a finely tooled sheath and once he opened that, he would give him the other, a sword he had specially made for him by Rhett.
He hugged his Da then his sister before getting the presents he had waited to give them both. Silk ribbons of rainbow colors as well a carved owl for wisdom for Tamara. The Owl would watch over his sister, so he felt a totem of sorts. His father got a carved fox for he knew he was that kind of cunning and a totem as well. Aside that he had bought him one of the saddles made by Trevet he befriended. That wasn't wrapped but had a cloth covering it to be easily pulled off.
She was of course, delighted with the gifts, squealing with delight over the doll and the ribbons as well as the owl. She had a special place for him. For both her father and brother, she had made shirts, with help from Sarah. They had used shirts from their closets and Sarah had showed her how to measure and cut. The stitches were tiny and nearly perfect. Her father's was a dark blue while Joshua's was a paler shade. His was a little big because they had to allow for growth. She also had miniatures of her and Joshua for her father and for Joshua, a new leather belt. She had bartered for both.
"I do believe you get better at your carving by the day, Joshua." There was pride in his eyes and the fox would be cherished because it was made by his hand. Something he would proudly show to Ice for he had the gift as well. He set it on the mantel before taking the cloth from over the saddle as indicated by his son was his. Giving a low whistle as a hand ran over the fine leather and tooling. "I will have to recommend the maker of this saddle to others." Which he got the name of the one from Josh in the query. The shirt he held up against his chest. "I've not seen one made so well, Tamara?" Having a wondering if she made it.
Unwrapping the sheath, it took him by surprise. One, he didn't have a sword and it was empty but seemed to be a promise of one. Which came right along as his father indicated the long wrapped up package was for him. Unwrapping it with zest before handling it carefully. It was the finest made sword he'd ever seen. Holding it up so it caught the light that ran down a perfectly balanced blade before tucking it in the sheath so no one got cut for the blade was sharp as it should be. A real sword. Tomorrow he would try it to hand while outside. The shirt, when he held it up had him giving a glance to Tamara with a gleam in green eyes. "I'm not that fat you know..." Like she had thought him bigger than he was.
"I made it, Da. With a little help from Sarah." She giggled and wrinkled her nose at Joshua. "But you're putting on muscles with all the work you're doing. You'll have all the girlies drooling over you." She was over to throw her arms around her father's neck. "I love it, Da, but the best present is you being here." She buried her face against his neck. "I knew our lucky presents would keep you safe." Even if she did start to worry.
"I'm impressed, seems both my children are very talented." There was a moment of silence before he worked past the lump in his throat. "The best present is being here with those I love most." Grabbing her up into his arms as he hugged her snugly. One day she would be a grown woman and he planned to be the man that gave her away at her wedding. Which reminded him as he eased from the hug. "I found the presents, which I have to give you back so they can continue to bring luck for each of you." He had put them in his pants pocket in order to carry the presents in. Taking them out as the stone was returned to Tamara and the fossil fairy stone to Joshua. The talisman he had made for him he would keep. "I do believe they brought me luck for there was a time I had gotten hurt but mended far quicker than believable."
"At least it will be muscle and not fat like Georgie that keeps making eyes at you." Teasing her good of one of the hired men's sons that kept coming around whenever Tamara was. Oh.. realizing he said it in front of his father. Well, best he know that the boys were already starting to look at Tamara.
He caught onto the teasing, surprised and yet not. It was bound to happen. "Georgie is a nice boy and will grow out of his..." trying to be kind, "roundness as his father has him here to start learning the cattle business."
blinked and looked at Joshua as she took the stone from her Da.
And she darted over to Joshua to tickle him. "Georgie doesn't
make eyes at me. He comes round cause he likes that Cook gives him
pies and cookies." She was red too, well aware she wasn't
totally telling the truth. "And boys are silly, except for
you." Back over to her Da for another hug. "And men like
Da and Uncle Ice don't count."
"There is nothing wrong if Georgie notices you, Tamara. I would say the lad has good taste." For he could tell by the color of her cheeks she was not admitting to the fact she knew better. It was more than cookies and pie he was coming around so conveniently, probably using them as an excuse. Poor lad, he could feel for him, probably gain twenty pounds in his excuse to be around Tamara. He noticed Josh yawning as he took Tamara up into his arms in a hug. She was still small enough he could carry her upstairs. Two more years, not so. "I think it is time for us all to get some sleep, tomorrow we can have breakfast together and the day to ourselves. You're off duty tomorrow as well Josh, you can practice with your sword. I'll show you some techniques to start with and we can have a picnic out in the grove by the lake."
Uncle Garath have breakfast with us too?" She knew he'd
probably leave after talking to Da, but it would be nice to say
good bye. She leaned her head against her Da's shoulder, yawning
now as well. It was very late. "My presents." Didn't
want to forget them.
He headed up a step behind his father and sister, making faces at her where she'd only see. Something near a routine.
Sale of a Horse
Too Old - Never Too Bold
Fine Day for a Walk
Horse for Sadie
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