Post # 1
Jaxon Quinn the elder was the brother most remembered in Heathfield for
the horses he raised and his bravery in the face of the forces of the
Usurper Rath. But there were three brothers. The eldest
brother was Brian, who fell early in the war against Rath. He left
a beret widow and no children. There was Jaxon, whose tale has
been told elsewhere. And there was Michael, the youngest.
He had been traveling, earning coins at various jobs and seeing the
world, only to return just as Rath took over the realm.
Learning the fate of Brian and not knowing where Jaxon had gone, he fled
onto one of the last ships leaving the port. One of his trades had
been as a sailor before so for a time he remained on the ship but when
they landed in London, the ship was seized. Those who were English
citizens were set free. Michael was one of the unlucky ones.
He was convicted with others and put on a ship bound for Barbados.
He didn't understand his crimes until he spoke with others aboard the
ship. Most were kidnapped citizens of Ireland, who were being sent
to the island as indentured servants. They and the convicts on
board were cheap labor for those willing to pay for them, though some
had gone willingly. Michael was convicted only because he was in
the wrong place at the wrong time.
The young man's luck changed when he was assigned to a man who treated
both his servants and the convicts who worked for him fairly.
While female servants on many plantations were mistreated and misused,
and the males brutalized, David Churchill and his wife treated them with
kindness. Michael was put to work in the warehouse where Master
Churchill taught him how to keep the books since the young man could
read and write. Michael actually dreamed of the day when his
sentence would be over and he could start a new life on the island.
A fire changed his life again.
It was set by one of the other convicts, a man who hated everything
about the English and didn't care that Master Churchill had never been
unkind. Michael tried to help Master Churchill put out the blaze but the
man who set it attacked the master. David yelled for Michael to
get his wife and children out while a black slave tried to help his
master fight off the convict. Michael left them reluctantly
and managed to get David's wife, and his four children, to safety but
sadly David, the slave and the convict died in the fire. Mistress
Churchill told the magistrate that Michael's name was Michael Murphy and
he was a free man who had been hired by her husband to help with the
business. Because her eldest son was underage, Madame Churchill
was able to give Michael one of the warehouses as a reward. In
return, Michael continued to run the business until the boy was of age.
A free man, Michael reclaimed the name of Quinn after the magistrate
spoke with him and told him he knew the truth and felt Michael had
earned his freedom. He eventually married the eldest daughter of
David Churchill, and together they raised four children, two sons and
two daughters. The eldest was David Patrick after David Churchill, the
next two were the girls, Mary Anne and Martha Fiona, and the third was
Michael Murphy. He and his brother-in-law continued to be
The younger Michael was a quiet, thoughtful lad, a loner prone to wander
the wilder parts of the island. With his brother being heir, and
having no desire to be a merchant, farmer or priest, Michael set out to
explore. In time, he found himself in North America. There he
joined several expeditions into the unknown land. He made friends
with a Cherokee brave in what would someday be known as Kentucky and was
adopted into the tribe. A shy lass with big brown eyes and a
winsome smile won his heart. Her name was Turtle Dove but to him,
she was simply his Dove. Her father had been Cherokee but her mother was
a French woman who had left all she knew to follow her husband into the
wilderness. Not wishing for his children to grow up
uneducated, Michael moved them to a small English village near the
coast. To his great relief, his wife and children were accepted
and became part of the village.
He and Dove were happy and had two boys. The eldest was named Liam
David and like his father, he was a quiet, thoughtful lad with a quick
smile who found it easy to make friends. The younger was named
Ciarán Riordan and he was opposite of both father and brother.
Both were good lads though, and their parents were proud of them.
Dove became pregnant again six years after Ciarán was born but the
pregnancy was plagued with problems and in bringing Oisin or Fawn into
the world, Dove lost her life. The elder Michael turned to his
work as a smith to keep his sanity, as well as making sure his three
children were raised right. His only mistake may have been in
allowing his sons to look to their mother's people for training in the
way of the warrior but even then, his pride in his sons was undeniable
and he taught them how to use swords as well.
The two boys hunted and trapped, making money from the furs and meat.
When they grew old enough to travel alone, they often went to
Willamsburg to trade in the furs. Evan Hunt, Liam's best friend
started to join them. The three young men soon discovered the
seamier side of the town, finding trouble as often as possible though
they always made sure to return home with plenty of coin and always with
a present for their father and Fawn, her favorite being candies from a
shop in the town.
After one such journey that they returned to find their father dead as
were many of the villagers, including Evan's family, the village burned
and Fawn gone, rescued by British soldiers. Because she had been
injured, they had taken her with them. They still had the gold of
which they used to try to track down Fawn. It was when they
followed the trail to Philadelphia only to find it was another dead end
that they finally gave up. Their money was getting low and the
three knew they'd have to earn more. That was when they took their
first job. It was an easy one, serving as guards and escort for a
man delivering papers from Philadelphia to Virginia. Other jobs
followed. Sometimes they would serve as soldiers, sometimes bounty
hunters, and then there were the jobs that were on the other side of the
It sometime preyed on their conscience but they were quick and efficient
and all too soon found it easy to forget, Ciarán especially.
Perhaps they became a little too confident, a bit cocky but
they were earning a good living. Liam sometimes worried on
how easy it was for his brother to do what was necessary but Ciarán
laughed it off, teasing him out of his worry. Liam watched Ciarán
closely and when he felt that the younger Quinn was becoming too hard he
suggested a change of scenery. They decided to go to Barbados, for
their cousins still lived there both Quinns and Churchills. Perhaps they
would be able to help them find their sister or at least put feelers
out. Any jobs taken along the way to keep them going.
The three, Liam, Evan and Ciarán had traveled far and wide by this
point. From Philadelphia they traveled to New Jersey to board a ship in Delaware
City taking them to Barbados a few weeks later. It was not a promising
prospect here either as rain continued relentlessly, keeping ones
heads bent against the downpour. At least they were away from the bitter
cold that had a hold on the Colonies. The brim hat worn at
least diverted it from his face. The roads were bleak, dingy and
dark as was the town itself. The kind that had your hand on the hilt of
your weapon, beneath your cloak, often. You didn't stop nor directly
look at anyone passing, the calls of certain women ignored as well. Not
something wise to partake of in unknown territory. A tavern was found
whose lights seemed a touch brighter or it was the night had grown
darker, either way Liam gave Ciarán and Evan a look as he diverted his
steps in that direction. Once inside a table was sought that ended up
being next to a man who introduced himself as Richard Churchill and
invited them to his table. Their luck was good so far.
Richard studied the three men in front of him, then smiled slightly as
names were given. "I know of you through Dale Quinn, your
cousin." They had contacted him when they had first arrived,
knowing his name from their father who had kept in touch. Evan was
included as family. "And I've need of your talents, if you're
willing." He glanced around but no one was paying attention. A
paper was slid over to Liam and then he ordered a round of drinks. The
paper was a map, marking a certain house in the town. He waited until
the barmaid left to continue. "This is the home of Leonard Hampton.
He's interested in the position of mayor as I am. However, if he becomes
mayor, both the Churchill and Quinn families will suffer. He has
contracts with certain men, who are written on that paper, and if I can
get those contracts, I can convince the governor he's not the best
Evan slid into his seat alongside the Quinns, keeping his silence as
they met Richard, his own greeting a simple nod in the older man's
direction. The way he was grouped in with the brothers didn't faze
him, in fact he appreciated Richard's turn of phrase. As far as he was
concerned, the Quinn's family was his family now. And his only
family at that. A slight smile was given the barmaid as he took his
drink, moistening his throat with the drink until the map was slid their
way. Arching his neck to get a better look at the diagram. His own
glance exchanged with Liam and
cleared his throat slightly. A slight lean forward as he kept his voice
pitched low to ask Richard, "how will we recognize the correct
papers?" The man could have dozens of parchments, contracts and the
like, and if the rival was as tricky as Richard suggested he would have
made certain to disguise them.
Liam drew over the sheet with one hand as well opening it that none
other then his brother and Evan could see. So Richard knew their
profession. There was a rough edge to his voice as he added.
"You've not heard from our father in about four years, he was
murdered in a raid along with many others. Our younger sister
missing." He wasn't sure that news had reached this island. He took
in the information as he studied the map and the house marked on
it. "Politics, do determine what families succeed and what ones
fall." More muttered under his breath as he took a drag from the
fag held between the fingers of his other hand. The hazy gray to
ease away from his lips on the exhale. "I'm
willing," dark eyes slipping over his brothers as well the
piece of paper
discreetly their way so Ciarán and Evan could view it easily
but not others about. A grin half tipped as now Evan would not have to
crane his neck at that odd angle. Leaving Richard to answer Evan's
question in point.
That he knew of their profession might have something to do with Ciar
but he hadn't written to Dale for a few years. "Aye, and we do want
to help family, don't we?" This was a chance to cause a bit of
chaos too, and Ciarán was always up for a bit of trouble. He waited for
Richard's answer, taking his first drink of what proved to be a good
Evan tensed at the mention of the raid and went silent. Cup brought to
his lips for another swallow he listened to the others' answers.
"He'll have them put away in a special place. A servant who is in
my employ said that those papers are marked with a seal in the shape of
a trident, and tied with a blue ribbon. He keeps them marked in that way
so he can grab them quickly. Supposedly a secret room, though the
servant's repeating what she was told." He smiled slightly.
"And of course, you'll be compensated. Family or not, it's only
fair. His wife and three younger children are away, visiting
family elsewhere. He has four men who serve as guards. Two on for
several hours, two off. Most times the two off are around, but they tend
to sneak off for a drink or two. Only others should be servants, and his
oldest daughter." He sat back, hands on the table. "And of
course, I'll furnish whatever you need."
The fag was crushed out in the ashtray after a last drag while he
listened. A drink of Kilbeggan taken before he'd speak up again.
"Two guards on duty, two off that may or may not be around and if
they are around they most likely will be drunk. The wife and children
gone leaving Hampton basically home alone. Are there any servant's
entry, any late night visitors that come to the back door of the kitchen
or such that you know of? Any balconies, trellises.." all
information could be made use of to gain them entry with as little
complications as possible.
Evan nodded slightly, lowering his mug after another swallow. A
trident-shaped seal.... sounded like some Nautical Nonsense to him, but
that theory was kept to himself. Likely Richard already knew what those
papers contained, or else he wouldn't have to gone to such lengths to
get them. As usual Liam was a step ahead in the thought process and he
couldn't resist a smile at the barrage of questions he sent Richard's
way. Evan wouldn't add any further questions for now but would listen
for the answers and help strategy later. Rather he lifted a finger
towards the bar to signal a request for another ale. The brothers
already knew that he could out-drink most two to one without feeling
"And do you have any idea how many servants there are?" He
tapped the map, then looked up. "It's not far from the town. Will
they sound an alarm?" He wanted to know how much fighting they'd
have to do if so.
"If you go to the back, past the kitchen entry, there's another.
The servants use that. My lass has the night watch at that door. And
I'll let her know there will be three of you. The doors can all be
locked from the hallway and except for the elderly butler, and a few
lads, they're all women. The field servants live in houses far enough
away that they'll be no problem. The master bedroom has a balcony and
there are trellises in several spots. Now, his eldest daughter will be
there but she's likely locked in her room. She is uh... a handful for
her father. Her bedroom is at the back of the house. Depending on
the time of night, he'll either be in his study downstairs, or the one
connected to his bedroom upstairs. Front left I believe. Belle can tell
you exactly where before you lock her in her room." He had made
sure he had as much information as possible.
"So the secret room is on the second floor?" Probably near the
master bedroom. Turning the map so Richard could point out approximately
where it was. That would help. At least they had established an in and
would dress as servants delivering produce or the like. "We'll need
rope, grappling hooks and enough coin if we need to purchase anything
else to get this job done. We will also need a place to stay that
is not at an Inn announcing that newcomers are in town when
the shyte hits the fan on this. Hopefully you know of an abandoned cabin
owned by yourself or someone else trusted. We'll also need three horses
with the usual equipment and a lad to keep them ready down behind this house
in the alleyway. The way it is laid out he should be able to keep
them undercover between these two buildings and not be noticed."
Which he pointed out on the map. Close enough they could get to this
point once the deed was done and ride off to a hiding place.
Bit by bit, the information offered was filed away somewhere beneath the
tousled brown locks of his hair. Another wry smile was kept to himself
as he wondered just how Richard had the acquaintance of Belle, the
servant girl at the Hampton's. Another question best left unasked.
Instead he went with a more business-related question, once Liam had
finished speaking. "Is there any indication of where the
secret room might be, or if Hampton keeps a key for it separately?"
"Key or hidden panel?" Glancing from Evan to Richard.
"She hasn't been able to find out much more. He's pretty careful
about it but she says it's a panel. She's gone into the room to
clean and hasn't found a door that's locked. There's a cabin just a mile
to the east of town. Road follows the outskirts. If you can't make it
there, depending on the weather, I'll have Dale at the Blackside Inn.
Back room. He can let you in, make it seem like you were in there
playing cards. Now, there is one you're going to have to watch out for.
Captain of the guard by the name of Picard. He's suspicious of any
newcomers, and makes it his business to know names. Likely he knows
yours already. He usually speaks to the captains of the ships that make
port. I can have the equipment for you tomorrow, as well as make
arrangement for the horses. The cabin you can claim tonight."
He noticed there were more coming in and some of the men glancing their
way. Maybe because Richard, a known figure in town, was talking to some
strangers not seen before. Liam's voice went up an octave so he was sure
to be heard. "Sae say yea, we can git these steeds tonight so we
can continue our journey?" Like he and his were anxious to be on
That was good news. If Belle had gone into the room before, they'd be
able to ask her exactly where it was when they arrived. Nodding to the
answer he leaned back in his chair slightly, then glanced about
when Liam did. Yes.... disguises seemed to be a good idea for this
venture if the Captain and locals were as nosy as they seemed. His
second ale had arrived by now and he made quick work of decreasing its
Ciarán glanced over his shoulder, eyeing the men with an almost hostile
air before he looked back at the others. He hid a grin by taking a
drink. What he didn't see was them sitting and murmuring among
themselves. Instead, he put down his tankard and leaned back.
"Yes, tonight. You can accompany me to the stable and we'll see to
them." Richard tossed coins onto the table as he stood.
"You'll find the trip across the island doesn't take long,
especially if the rain lets up." Being this was the rainy season
though, it wasn't likely. "Shall we?" He nodded to the men who
had come in, knowing them by name.
Liam kicked back what was left of his whiskey as he stood. He didn't
like the feel he was getting around some of the ones that recently
entered. "Aye, that would bae grand o' yea as we'd like tae look em
over," like they were concluding a business deal of selling horses.
Nothing uncommon for strangers passing through. His hat was slid back on
and dipped to cover part of his face, leaving the rest in shadow. The
collar of his cloak turned up as naturally he would be preparing himself
against the rain that would be encountered outside. He was right on
Richard's heels. They could talk more once far enough away and certain
no one followed them.
"Aye," he spoke up, playing along as if agreeing with Liam.
"They'll have to be of strong build to carry us the distance we
plan." Hopefully the nosy neighbors would take that to mean that
they were going far away, for quite awhile, and spread the word. Gossip
had an almost magical power amongst townspeople such as these. They'd
believe what they had been told. Finishing off his drink he stood as
well, turning up his own collar and hunching his shoulders as if cold -
and to make his build seem smaller. Head ducked as he passed the
strangers on his way to the door.
He stood with a grunt in answer, since his brother and Evan had said all
there was to say. The hat he wore was fixed as well as his collar, just
like the others. Rain was rain, whether here or in the colonies and it
was falling heavily. He was the last of the four to leave, grumbling a
little as they went outside.
Wait until Ciarán finds out he would end up taking care of the oldest
daughter if she proved a problem! Liam had that already worked out.
Now that could prove to be fun!