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Quinn Cousins

Date: 04-09-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 61

Fort Westover

Jacob listened, absorbing all the information as he stood back being the Colonel was more talking to the Brothers. Following the man into the office as he looked up more accurate information. "Looks like we should head for Boston unless there is anywhere else you want to stop on the way.." more mussed but formulating the thought out there so plans could be made. This put out there as they were off on their own to the Inn for the night. A little something to eat as they had missed at least one meal and might their supper. Gave them a chance to talk too.

Liam had listened and his hopes lifting. Although he didn't say a word as to not spark anything that would have this Colonel stop dishing out all this information. It was in his look spared Evan as why the hell they didn't tell them all this six years ago but said nothing otherwise. It had him quietly brooding by the time they were back to the Inn, "had we known this six years ago we may have found her before she ended up who knows where." As they really didn't know where their sister ended up or in what state of affairs her life was. Had she become a street rat of Boston, selling her body? Ah yeah, the darkened look grew as he took up a seat at one of the tables to have that light meal. More, he would have a few drinks.

Hope was something they all needed after such a long journey, and Evan was as happy as they to hear some solid information about Fawn... though he met Liam's eye with the same thought. Six whole years lost because they hadn't been told a few vital details. It was his turn now to be optimistic though as they sat down at the table. A drink ordered for himself and he reached over to clap a hand to Liam's shoulder. "This is good news. We're that much closer to getting her back."

Naniko hadn't joined the family for their meeting with the Colonel. Instead she offered to stable the horses. She had no desire to be in the midst of personal matters to the brothers and their company. So once they all claimed their packs, she took their horses -along with her own- to the stables, then to the Inn, possibly after they'd already arrived since took time to brush down her own horse. Entering the commons, she gave a brief glance around before approaching the bar.

Mercy listened quietly as they talked about what had happened and where the soldiers had gone. Once they were finished, she was glad for the chance to have a bite to eat. Jacob's suggestion was a good one but it would be up to the brothers to decide.

The Colonel was thanked as they left his office. Ciarán felt a bit more hope than he had before. "If Colonel Black had been in charge, we might have but that's water under the bridge now." He didn't want to get overly hopeful though. Boston was a pretty big place and they might have to do some digging. He just asked for ale to have with his meal, not wanting to cloud his thoughts right now.

He was trying to be reassured but his mind now wandered to what became of their sister more than her being alive. It seemed that she was alive but that was six year old news. He wanted his hope up but he didn't want it slammed in his face either. He decided then and there that if she ended up in a low life style, he would just drag her from it willing or not. "We don't know if she is in Boston," then recalling what Jacob asked. "Since we are this far, maybe we should stop in Williamsburg being we had spent a lot of time there and friends that may still be there."

Jacob had his chair next to Mercy's and those subtle little things that spoke volumes on his feelings for her, at least ones that had been growing for a while although no commitment had been made between them. He gave an up nod to Nan as she came in and to the bar and just the motion of hand that she was welcome to join them. If she stayed at the bar, that would be fine as well. He was listening the while, as always before looking between Ciaran and Evan with Liam's proposal. "Do you both wish to stop in this place as well? Would it be one your sister would try and get back to if she was searching?"

Evan glanced up and waved to Nan as she came in too, noting how the woman tended to keep herself separate from them a lot of the time. Hopefully it wasn't because she felt excluded so a chair nudged out with his foot to invite her over as well. "If she's not in Boston, we'll find people who knew her and go from there." Not to be discouraged, for their sakes. At Jacob's question, he lifted a brow and looked between Liam and Ciar. "I think she'd might've gone  there," he offered his opinion.

She saw the motion to join from Jacob. Though it was the gesture from Evan that caught her a bit off-guard. The slight surprise was subtle, barely noticed, but gained a nod in response, but first she wanted her drink. It didn't take but a moment to receive, then she turned to join the group quietly, in the chair that Evan had pushed out for her. She had nothing against the group. They all seemed nice, but she was a hired hand, and not meant to be involved in  personal aspects of their journey. At least that's how she saw it.

He gave Nan a smile so that she wouldn't feel she wasn't welcome when the others made the invitation. His smile grew when she joined them then he turned to look at the others. "It's possible that she did. There were people there who knew our family, maybe some of the survivors went there. I don't think it could hurt to try." He scratched at the scruff on his chin. "Will it take us longer to get to Boston if we do?"

Mercy was glad to see Nan join them. She might have considered herself a hired hand but she was still part of the small group. And they trusted her. The fact that she accepted showed that she trusted them as well.

Liam rose from his seat as Nan joined them, a hand to guide the back of her chair before he was seated again. She was one of them, the touch of a smile was swift before thoughts were back upon their sister. He was pleased his brothers felt the same about Williamsburg but then Ciaran's had a question on it as he looked expectantly to Jacob. At that point the waitress was over with a large platter of various helpings such as rolls, breads, cheeses and various meats. Once set she didn't stay around.

Jacob's smile was indeed pleasant as Naniko joined them. For that matter he and Mercy were hired help and although he was immersed in this job, he would keep private things said confidential and not invade unless asked to join in or give an opinion. "Anyplace we stop instead of going straight to Boston will take up more time. The question is, do you wish to get to Boston only to have to turn around and back track? It is sort of on the way, slight detour." It was up to them as they had hired him and he to see them in finding their sister while using their skills. Such skills came in handy already that would never have brought to light certain information concerning them.

Probably Nan was surprised because this whole time, he'd been as brooding and forbidding as a dark thundercloud overhead. It seemed that had passed for now though...a release of emotions over and done with, and now maybe they'd get a glimpse of his more usual happy-go-lucky side. A quick smile to Naniko when she sat and then turned his attention back over to the conversation. Again his eyes went between Liam and Ciaran. "A slight detour might be worth it if we can get more recent information. And if not we only lose a few days."

The smile was subtle, but returned to the others with a nod as she seated herself. As far as their secrets, it's not like Naniko had anyone to tell, nor would she if she did. The quick smile returned to Evan between drifting attention between the three she assumed to be brothers, listening to what they had to say about the future of their journey. Clearing her throat softly, she spoke quietly. "Bonds that time cannot be severed, logic is not always the best way. The spirit speaks, and which you should follow."

"Then that's where we go." He gave a shrug then his grin returned. "Might not be a bad idea to see some folks we've lost touch with. Then where from there?" He wanted things settled before they left if possible. Of course,  nothing was written in stone.

"It sounds like a plan to me." She nodded as she listened to the discussion. "Instead of heading back to Fort Pitt, we can go to the coast. Maybe catch a ship to Boston instead of going by horseback?" She helped herself to some of the cheese and bread as she spoke.

"Then it is agreed. We will chart a route tonight and see to it come dawn in starting out." In fact he got out the map then and there, "we can go back to Hunt's Landing and tell the flatboat crew to go ahead back without us, then head for Williamsburg on horseback. From there we can go up to Porta Bello, then the York river to Yorktown. From Yorktown a ship to Boston. How does that sound?"

Liam's mood was improving as the fact he started to eat declared so. "Aye," mumbled between a mouthful before he swallowed. "I like Naniko's outlook and seems we should go to Williamsburg before Boston."

"Sounds good to me." Evan agreed but by then he was tucking into the snacks they'd been brought. He hadn't been eating right for weeks but now his monster appetite was rearing its ugly head.

Naniko just went quiet after giving her two cents. Just how she felt if she were looking for a sibling that obviously they were still attached to. Now she just fell silent with her drink while listening to the others.

"Excellent." She grinned as she looked from one to the other. It was good to see them all looking forward and upbeat. Lifting her cup, she looked at each of the brothers. "To the end of the search. A good one."

Ciar had a mouthful so there wasn't much he could say. He lifted his cup and held it out toward Mercy, then took a long drink of the ale. He felt more optimistic than he had in a long time.

He was waiting for the BEAR to growl from Ciaran's direction. Wicked grin flashed a moment before he was back to digging in. After the growing mood before, he felt good again, his more normal self.

"Then, after we eat we should see about getting our rest for the night for we will be on the trail again." Nights were not so restful on the trail for all the dangers that surrounded them. He was pleased to have Naniko with them as the more the merrier when traveling the wilds. He knew it was not good to eat and immediately sleep as he quietly asked of Mercy, "shall we take a walk once our food is done and enjoy the quiet of this fort?" Near a ghost town and would be soon.

Naniko continued to quietly sit and watch them all. Social manners were different than what she was accustomed to, but it was interesting to watch. As usual, she'd not take a room at the inn, but out beyond the walls of the fort as she always did. But she would wait until they were all finished with their meals before excusing herself. She didn't want to seem rude.

Mercy was all for a good night's sleep but the offer of the walk made her smile. "I think that's a grand idea." If they ever passed this way again, they would find only ruins. She would rather remember how it had been.

No bear right now since Ciar was busy stuffing his face but being he was nearly done, he just gave Liam a look for that wicked grin. No plotting! They were going to have a good night's rest tonight!

Liam realized he knew very little about their scout hired on, who also became someone to fight right along with them too. He had eaten his full and so was enjoying the ale. "Naniko, what lands are you originally from? Do you have siblings too?" Trying to ease into a social conversation.

As the meal wound down, he was up from his seat to offer Mercy his arm in escort. "Good night, I will see you all bright and early on the morrow." Giving a smile before he would be on his way with Mercy.

"Night." Hailing Jacob and Mercy goodnight, he cut his glance curiously over to Naniko as Liam asked the question. Listening to the answer even as he continued to stuff his face.


Hearing Liam, she lifted her attention from her mug, then offered an up-nod to Jacob and Marcy. "Good evening." Then looked back to Liam. "T'Telir are homelands of mine. Know not if Siblings I have or not." She didn't sound sad or sullen. It was what it was.



Date: 04-09-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 62

"Good night, everyone." She smiled warmly at the small group. "Rest well." She slid her arm through Jacob's glad for the time alone, no matter how short it might be.

"Night," Ciar lifted a hand then motioned to the serving lass for more ale. He looked at Nan, a slight frown forming. "T'Telir? Where might that be?"

"Good night," offered to the couple as he watched them a long moment. Hard to tell what thoughts it brought other than Liam Quinn was thinking on something. He was right back leaving her to answer the question posed by Ciar he would have asked but he would add, "what was the family structure in your lands?" The fact she didn't know if she had siblings sounded like their structure was very different.

The others were posing the questions so he'd maintain his interested silence, washing down an oversized bite of bread with a healthy swig of ale.

Looking to Ciaran. "T'Telir borders regions of eastern countries farthest." She paused for thought when Liam posed his next question, then shook her head gently. "Do not know. Taken away from family I was a an age very young."

"It's not a land I've heard of before.  Sounds interesting." He smiled then frowned when she said the last. It was not something pleasant, at least to his way of thinking.

"This is what I mean, it is normal for children to be taken away from their family to be trained elsewhere or just so many?" He was genuinely curious.

A small smirk to Ciaran. "Interesting no so much, to me. Here lands more interesting they are. High in snow mountains, T'Telir village, very small it is." Then looked to Liam and shook her head. "Females for normal, it is not. Leave home early, males go for training." Obviously with a few exceptions to the rule, because she was trained.

He smiled slightly then thanked the lass for his refill of ale. Like Evan, he was going to relax and listen.

"So females usually stay home but you were one that was taken much like the males are?" To make sure he understood her way of speaking. "Do you regret being taken away or does it not matter?" Lifting his tankard to drink down the last of his ale but he was content to sit for a little longer with the conversation.

She really didn't want to bring down their newly found happy moods with stories of her past and why she was where she was. Certainly hearing less than fine details would put a damper on things, but neither did she want to lie to them. She had no real shame in her past, only that she was trying to get as far away from it as possible with a chance to start things over. A nod given to Liam, that he understood what she'd said. "Too young was I to remember family, thus, hard it is to miss what never one has." Which was truth. You couldn't miss things you never got to experience.

Evan leaned back, finally done eating, and suppressed a burp of satisfaction for the sake of their female company. Tankard lifted up to take a slow drink as he considered what Nan said.

Well, she had a good attitude about it at least. He gave her a half smile then finished his ale. He was getting to the point where he'd soon have to head up to his room and bed.

"No. I suppose not. Although I hope one day you get to know what it is like for I can't think of what it would be like not to have my brothers in my life or my parents for as long as they were." It was a good kind of reflecting. "You were trained .. for a purpose.. for their purpose of those who trained you. You are no longer with them?"

Her attention remained on Liam since he was the one asking the questions. She shook her head. "No longer with them, no. People of mine, a legend they believed in and taken I was for that."

Evan drained his ale and pushed back from the table. "Think I might take a walk myself." Hopefully he'd find a path not being trod by Jacob and Mercy. "G'night boys. Naniko." Slow amble away thanks to his full stomach.

"Good night, Evan." He watched as their brother walked away, then stood as well. "Bed for me. I'll see you in the morning, Liam, Naniko." He be falling asleep at the table soon and then there'd be the sound of a bear snoring!

Evan might come across Jacob and Mercy in an intimate moment, smooching! Such a grin at the thought, "see you later bro." Then back to Naniko. "So you are part of a Legend of theirs? Did they expect you to go or did you go without their blessing?" His brother rising, it was that late and wondered if he should hit the sack too. He might not ever get the chance again to ask these questions so he loitered.

A small wave given to Evan and Ciaran. "Good night." Watching the two men leave as they did, then looked back to Liam. She had a feeling that though her answers were in direct response to the questions, they might not be very  insightful. "Turned against them, I did. Trained I was to fight as a warrior when taken from home, for an Imperial army, as legend foretold that a great warrior there would be." She lifted a thin strand of red hair. "For differences I have, assumed I was to be what they waited for."

He sat there in consideration of all she told him. Actually pleased she would tell him for he was basically a stranger afterall. "Sometimes what another wants for you is not what is wanted of you inside, there is a deeper calling that one must follow or be lost in the void." At least how he saw it. "Our journey will take us to Boston to find our sister but eventually it will take us back to lands far away from here that we are considering setting roots in. A long story but that seems to be it in a nutshell. Hopefully we will be bringing our sister home. Home is no longer in Hunt's Landing. You can come as far as you like with us if you have no destination in mind."

She studied him quietly as he spoke. "A warrior I am to be." That much she was certain of. "Come, show you I will." She rose from her seat, still listening. "Sister, her name is Fawn?" She'd heard them all refer to that name on more than one occasions. Despite her distance that she kept, she paid very good attention to what was going on around her, verbally and physically.

He rose from his seat as requested. "That is her Indian name, her given name is Oisin Aine." So she was clear on that in case they did find her and called her Oisin!

She motioned him towards the door leading to the outside. She'd never draw a weapon inside unless it was called for. Her culture found it disrespectful; one reason why easterners used chopsticks rather than silverware. "Two names she has?" Brow arched curiously, she looked to Liam. Two names seemed odd to her. Of course, good chance if she said her name was Nygen Naniko, he'd find that odd as last names always came first in her culture.

"Yes, three names, there is her middle name too.. Aine." Which set him to grinning as he stepped outside with her. It was a nice night out too. Warmer than it had been with that hint of life in the breeze. Nostrils flared as he filled his lungs and waited.

"Mmm.." She thought on that for a moment and shook her head. Westerners had strange names as far as she was concerned. Once they were outside and away from the door of the inn, she reached to her back to remove the katana she carried with her. "People of mine, believe they do that a warrior, true of heart, their weapon they bring to life. The weapon, when drawn, a song it will sing for their wielder."

"Yes, I have heard of this and some weapons have magical powers." Which he paused here.. "although I do not have any of such. I use my fists mostly but in time I may become more proficient with the sword." More an idle observation as he was watching her with a keen eye.

She nodded to what he said and looked at the katana in hand. To look at it outwardly, there was nothing really special about it. It was finely crafted, the sheath highly polished, the design markings of her people laid in pearl with a tsuka engraved with cherry blossoms and made of a metal that looked like copper. The only difference between her katana and most others, was that hers had a latch on it that kept the sword from coming out of the saya, should something happen, like someone grabbing to pull it from its sheath. The latch undone, she offered him the sword.

"It is beautiful work," he was impressed with even the saya and more so she would allow him to hold it. It was a special sword and he took it in both hands as one would hold porcelain. Laid over the palms the distance of his body apart. "It has a nice balance to it besides its obvious beautiful craftsmanship."

She motioned toward the sword. "Remove it from its saya." If he did that, the moment the tsuka parted from the mouth of the sheath, it started to hum. Not an audible hum, it was more like the vibration one might get from the aura of another, as if it held its own life. "Very deadly, it is, be careful." She wouldn't want the sword to harm him, after all.

He drew it from its saya as the sword immediately not only hummed but he could feel run up his arm. "Is this what makes it a part of you? It is beautiful," even more impressed. He held it so it cast off the light from the street lamp giving it an otherworldly look to go with the feel.

A nod given. "Breath of the dolls is breath the same that the katana lives from. With it, shared life of mine with." Fully removed from the saya, the hum became a subtle pulse. No one but the person holding the sword would feel it, save Naniko, but the pulse was electric. Enough to cause little flashes of static in his hair, across his clothes and fingertips.

"So you have become one with the spirit of the sword which is a part of the universe and so can breathe this same kind of life into the dolls, animating them for extra eyes." As the dolls would not have a soul or continue living beyond that breath. He was Static Man without even knowing it but it brightened dark eyes. Liam had the Druid look of all the boys. "I'm impressed." He was repeating himself while really enjoying the feel of the sword, the feel of its power knowing as it became one with her and an extension, she would be hard to take down if at all. Finally he slid it back in its sheathed, resting it across both palms of his hand as he offered it back to her. "Thank you Naniko, you have honored me."

"The sword, one with my spirit it has become. Breath I gave it and part of me now it is." She watched the charge lighten his eyes and couldn't help the small smile. That weapon was dangerous on a level all its own, without a hand to wield it. Once it was returned to the saya, she reclasped it and took it back from him. "Returned, honor is when given it is. The brood of yours, kindness and nothing less you have shown me."

"I hope we get to talk more," that fate allowed it but he didn't add that. She probably understood. Would depend if their paths held the same for a while longer and another situation like tonight. "I would like to watch you practice sometime. If that is allowed?" Not knowing enough of her culture so would need to ask. "We should get some sleep.." realizing it was getting that kind of very late.

Brow quirked curiously to his request of wanting to watch her practice after nodding to his initial statement. Her grasp on the English language was good enough she understood. "The art of katana, I can teach you." Much better than just watching, especially if he wanted to learn the art of a sword. It was nothing like the typical forms of swords that most used, or the rapier. "Late it is, rest you should." The sword returned to its holding on her back, she took a step away with a small bow.

"I would like that when we can." Not putting any pressure or a time constraint. "Good night Naniko. I will see you in the morning." Maybe a little bleary eyed but tonight had been worth it for the knowledge gained that was far different than anyone else he knew. He took a few steps backwards, smile there before he turned on a heel and headed inside to get some sleep.

And she turned to leave the fort!



Date: 04-11-10
Poster: Mariah McCormick
Post # 63

Wandering Thoughts

It was a beautiful day that had Mariah taking a long walk after closing her shop for a few hours in the afternoon. She had been antsy since the Quinn brothers left for the Colonies. Evan in particular. No word had been heard back from them but she knew that if they had sent a letter, they might arrive back before it did, if it made it at all. There had been stories on how mail got lost during Indian raids and lucky if anyone survived on the coach that carried it. Although she read something about them organizing pony riders whose sole purpose would be to ride the mail from one point to another where it was then picked up by another rider who took it to another station. Thoughts wandered over such things and if they had run into such Indians on the war path. The very thought sent a chill up her spine even if she knew they were quite capable of taking care of themselves. Not just the three brothers but two private investigators were with them.


"Hello Mariah, how lovely you look today," the words catching her attention as she realized she had wandered almost up to the Thistle. With a blink and a smile she responded to Rhett Senior and Maggie Shawnesey who were out shopping. "Thank you," and having the innocence to blush a little, "Mr and Mrs Shawnesey. I trust you and yours are all well and pleased to have spring here again." Which the conversation continued lightly touching upon how her father Ian was, her brothers and sister. From there she continued to the park not far from the tavern for at this rate she was liable to run into someone or get run over by a horse or carriage with how distracted she was. Finding a bench near clumps of daffodils, she settled there to enjoy the fresh air and sun. "Wherever you are, Evan, I hope you are safe and will be home soon and that you haven't forgotten me." Whispered into the breeze that surrounded sweet as the spring flowers.


She wondered if he still had the moonstone she gave him. If he took it out sometimes for she had filled it with her energy. Taking up her clutch purse she opened it up to bring out a like moonstone. Palming it she looked upon its glossy surface of onyx with the specs within that had it sparkle like the stars at night. Fingers folded over the stone as her hand rested on her lap. Eyes closed as her concentration fell into the twin stone and of the other that Evan had upon his person hoping to make that connection on another level that wasn't ruled by space or time. She knew they were on a serious mission and would understand if she was forgotten completely but a part of her wondered if he had at least spared her a fleeting thought. Certainly he was on her mind with all those wonders that surfaced since the first day they met. A chance meeting, which had that factor of fate wondered in there too.


Eyes opened as the stone grew warm in her hand so it was placed back into her purse. With a soft sight to escape under her breath, she contented herself to wait until his return. She would have to, logically, and then see where it went from there. It didn't stop her wonder nor in a way, her hopes. There was an attraction felt and seemed to be on his part too. Although she had been wrong before on such matters and wrong thinking others were not attracted to her that had been over her growing teen years. So much of her time was spent at home back then, nothing ever came of anything and perhaps it was not meant to. In a way she was young for her age not having become worldly as only socializing could bring one in learning. That too would be changing for the steps she had taken. "Enough!" almost laughing as she was up from her seat and heading back to the wool shop.


Date: 04-16-10
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 64

The letter arrived weeks after it was dated, in poor condition but still legible despite its wrinkles and small tears. It was written in a scrawling hand, the words tight and small to save precious paper. When she unfolded the letter itself, a small fuchsia flower would fall out, faded and dried from its pressing but still intact.

Dear Mariah,
    This will be the second letter I send, and I don't know whether any of them will reach you. I'm sorry if my writing you is too forward; I know I never asked your father's permission. If so, perhaps it can be our little secret.
    As we travel deeper into the back-country I've noticed how much has changed since my boyhood. There are a lot more villages along the road and more settlers in general, everyone seeking to make their fortune in what is still a New World. We've come across some Natives too, and even had a couple less-than-friendly encounters. It seems like relations with the Indians are only getting worse instead of better as the years pass. I'm not sure how that might be changed, but I hope for everyone's sake that it will.
    In two or three days we will arrive in Hunt's Landing. That's the town I grew up in, the town founded by my family a generation ago. It was destroyed in an Indian raid six years ago, and many people killed including my parents and all my siblings. That's something I'll tell you about some other time, if you want. Anyway, I haven't been back since it happened and I never thought I would be. Every time I think about it, I get a huge pit like a rock in my stomach. Sometimes I get so angry I feel I might burst and I know I've been a boar to be around for the others. I feel bad about that. But the truth is, the thought of going back to Hunt's Landing makes me want to abandon them all, abandon the whole trip.
    Sometimes when I'm feeling like that, so angry and bitter and sad that it's almost too much, I take out the stone you gave me and just hold it for awhile. It always give me some peace, for just a few minutes. You'll think I'm crazy, but when I'm holding it, it almost feels like you're sitting there beside me. Keeping me company or holding my hand. It makes me wish it actually was you, but since I can't have that, the stone is a great comfort nonetheless.
    I have a confession to make. Soon after my brothers and I came to Heathfield, I used to sneak over to the wool shop almost every day to look for you. Sometimes I'd hide in the bushes for hours, just hoping for a glimpse of your perfect face. Now, before you judge me too harshly remember - it was because of this habit that I was there to rescue you that day you fell from the ladder! Even swinging like a monkey from that curtain-rod you were so beautiful. If I could go back to those days of dogging your footsteps, the only thing I'd change is that I'd actually go inside the shop and talk to you more often.
    Well, the fire's burning low and sunrise is still a ways off. I just want you to know that I'm thinking of you, and counting the days until I see you again. If that's too forward, I'm not sorry this time, because it's true. I hope you're well and happy, and I even dare to hope that you might think of me every so often too. Either way, I'm
    Evan C. Hunt.
P.S. The flower is called an Azalea. They grow like weeds here after it rains. They're much prettier in person but I thought you might like it, so I decided to send one to you to see for yourself.


Date: 04-16-10
Poster: Ciaran Quinn
Post # 65

Trip to Williamsburg

It was a foggy morning that greeted the group, one that made it hard to tell if the day was going to be raining or sunny, the air cold and even the birds subdued. Mercy was up early, dressed and ready to go before the sun had come fully. Breakfast offered several choices and for Mercy it was a simple one, tea, scones and honey, and a plate of fried potatoes.

Ciaran's night was a good one, his sleep healing and he woke refreshed. He was extra hungry too, so made his way downstairs, his duffel in hand. He wanted to quiet the bear before it started. Greeting Mercy and anyone else who might be about, he made his first meal of the day a large one.

Jacob had an inner clock that went off no matter what kind of day was brought. Gloomy or not he was up, dressed and down to have some breakfast with Mercy. Perhaps that was the inner reason. He wouldn't deny it. Simple fare in breaking fast before rain gear in the form of a poncho was donned for the day may well end up in a downpour. One good thing about such a day, if it rained hard there would be no attacks to deal with. They would need to mind the trail more carefully and hope not to encounter any flooding, washouts or landslides.

Liam had gotten to sleep later than the others for staying up with Nan. He rolled over with a groan as he heard the others getting up. Once up he was quick in getting ready and downstairs to catch a quick breakfast. In spite of the gloomy day that was being offered, he had a ghosted smile in reflection of something. "Maybe it will clear up by the time we hit Hunt's Landing," or sooner, one never knew as he made fast work of his coffee, eggs and bacon and soon headed outside. A hooded slicker donned before he mounted.

Evan was not looking forward to going back to Hunt's Landing, but he was certainly handling it better than he had the first time. Thinking about it, much less going back would never be easy... but he was in a calmer state of mind than before. Down he came with pack slung over a shoulder, nodding his greetings to all before fetching his breakfast and sitting down to eat.

Nan had gone about her normal way, choosing to keep her distance from the inn and make her camp beyond the walls of the fort. Come time for the group to be ready to part from the current location, Naniko was there and waiting for them. Not that she'd been there long. Dressed for the current weather in a long black coat made of suede, wax treated to keep the rain from saturating, she dipped her head to them all in greeting.

There was a warm smile and word of greeting for each as they appeared. Once her meal was finished, Mercy donned the oilcloth cloak she used for such a day and made her preparations to leave. If it didn't rain, she'd still be warm. Spring was her favorite time of year because it was so unpredictable. As she passed Jacob, she brushed her fingers over his hand lightly. Then it was outside to mount up.

Ciar ate quickly, though not so fast to be bad manners, then donned his own rain gear. He was anxious to get started and back on the trail. With a nudge to Evan, he headed outside and after checking his horse over, mounted up.

One couldn't see the gate from the Inn the fog was so thick. Thick enough to cause the poncho to start forming a sheen. He helped Mercy to mount up before he was in the saddle and heading out. "Naniko, we have a day before us to be careful." Which he was sure she knew but also showed that he knew the downfall of a day such as this that nature could end up their enemy and their wits and training to keep them alive. Once they were all caught up they would set out in the direction they came although a shorter route might be found if it were safer to travel.

Once the others started off he spurred his steed on so he stayed close. If one wandered a short distance they could get lost in this fog.

Evan glanced up at the nudge, taking it as his cue to finish up, which he did quickly. A big gulp of coffee and he shouldered his pack, pulling up the hood of his oilskin and stepping outside after the rest. He swung up into the saddle and nodded his readiness as they set off.

Naniko offered a nod to the warning Jacob gave. She was familiar with such weather and how to travel through it, but the concern was appreciated just the same. Once everyone was ready, she turned her horse and started out the gates and back on trail.

The fog lasted for a good part of the journey, making the land seem like another place. Sounds were muffled and even the animals seemed to be having some trouble. At one point a bear crossed their path, pausing to sniff the air as he turned beady eyes their way and shuffled off again. It began to burn off as they moved further from the Fort, until finally all that was left was the overcast sky. Occasionally, a few drops of rain could be felt but that was all. They soon reached Hunt's Landing, now marked with the sign of their Uncle's tribe though the natives stayed hidden. Over the hill and down the road and they finally arrived at the small dock where the flat boat and crew waited.

Ciar didn't say much as they rode, the weather affecting his mood somewhat. He looked toward the burial mound as they rode through Hunt's Landing and gave one final salute. Then he turned his attention forward. Seeing the flat boat did raise his mood a bit. It was good to see they had made their run safely.

By the time the fog had burned off, the poncho hung loosely over his shoulders, hood down. He had kept moving between Mercy and the brothers to make sure not one of them wandered even a short distance from the group. Even lagging a little could prove fatal in such conditions. Of course with the clearing of the weather he took up his normal post. Upon arriving at the landing he was down to speak with the men of the flat boat telling them they could continue on to Fort Pitt without them for they decided to take another route, via Williamsburg. Just in case anyone was trying to find them. He paid them a few coins for waiting so they would not be disgruntled then set out to continue onward to Williamsburg. He suspected the brothers would not be keen on staying here for even a break. They could break in another hour's time.

Liam kept with his brothers. There was something about the Fog that didn't sit all that well with him so he was glad once it dissipated. He didn't mind riding onward either as the sooner they got to the destination, the better.

Evan hunched his shoulders against the fog but shook it off when it finally dissipated. The hood pushed back off his hair as they rode into Hunt's Landing, what would probably be one last time. His eyes lingered for a long moment on the mound with the two new crosses upon it. Silently, he said his goodbyes and sent up a prayer that his family would rest there in peace. Then they were moving on and he didn't look back as they headed for Williamsburg.

Nan had little to say along the way. She kept to the side of the group until the fog lifted, then occasionally went ahead just to scout their path before returning to them all. Her silence continued as they reached Hunt's Landing and eventually met with the operators of the flat boats. That somber mood had returned to the brothers reaching this point, not that she could blame them if her understandings were correct, so she just kept quite vigil from a short  distance.

The first day went quietly enough with one shower to fall on them before the clouds broke and the sun came out again. There were more villages as they traveled, some where the folks went about heavily armed, others that seemed almost untouched by the troubles of other places. They would have to camp outside one night, taking turns at keeping watch. The next morning was another of those brighter spring ones, and as they grew closer to the settlement, there were more farms and finally a road, though muddy, still obviously well traveled.

As they moved further away from Hunt's Landing, Ciaran's mood kept improving until he was taking more and more note of the lands around them. And when they grew closer to Williamsburg, he was grinning. "Look. There's the old Smith homestead. I wonder if they still live there. Remember, Evan? They had a daughter who took a fancy to you? Or was it both daughters?" And, "That's where you got into the fight with the Davis' lad, Liam and you both turned out to be good  friends."

Not much was said for the most part of this journey, perhaps the five were becoming weary of traveling. It wore on one after a while. Jacob mostly rode with Mercy in a quiet companionship but at times he would move ahead to catch up with Nan to see how things fared on the scouting. More to make sure she stayed safe and to garner any information she had. Luckily all went smoothly though certain towns and homesteads were noted. Some looked the aftermath of a raid but then there were new places to sprout up from the graves of others. Usually two or more. Progress would not be denied no matter how many lives were taken, others came in replacement. The towns grew. Only a few became ghost towns.

Liam perked up the closer they got to Williamsburg. They knew a few in this town, or had, "I see," referring to the old Smith's homestead. "I wonder if Hennigans farm is still being run and if the Hustons still have the mercantile in town." Grinning at Ciar's remark, "I remember Peggy Sue who managed to get you behind her father's barn and teach you a thing or two. Taught a few lads," glancing towards Evan with a smirk. "I got into a few fights which landed me a few friends," literally on their back and decided he was better a friend than an enemy.

The memory made Evan laugh. "I think she liked me far more than I liked her, unfortunately. Nice girl though." A wry tone but he was smiling as he looked around. Now that the worst of their trip (for him at least) was behind them, he could relax and even enjoy the familiar sights. the trip went by quick and without much coincidence. Naniko had remained with them, never venturing far but still mostly keeping to herself unless she was directly spoken to. Now that they had reached this portion of their destination, she kept the same demeanor.



Date: 04-20-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 66


Williamsburg had grown some since they had been there last. There were more businesses, more inns and more people. It was still wild for the most part though there was a noticeable effort on the part of the people living there to deal with any lawlessness. "Should we find an inn and get settled in, or are we going to just stop at the mercantile and then move on?" Ciar was surprised to see there were still some places he recognized though they would not be close to the mercantile as of yet. He watched as two men had a knocked down, dragged out fight and grinned. Some things would never change.

Mercy didn't say much as they rode through the outlying area and then into the small city though the reactions of the brothers had her smiling. There were a few well-to-do women who watched the travelers with noses in air which had her nearly laughing out loud, and she smiled at a young Native woman and the child she was carrying. As far as Ciar's question, she'd leave the answering of it to Jacob or Liam though she wouldn't mind another good night's rest in a comfortable bed.

Liam almost didn't recognize Williamsburg it had changed so much in the six years passing. A low whistle sounded under his breath in a whoosh. "I say, let's head for the mercantile and go from there. It's early enough that if there is nothing here, we can keep going unless you think rest is necessary? We will need supplies and a solid meal." Liam was getting antsy to get to Boston even if he thought coming here was a good idea. "My bearings are off a bit here for all the changes. Isn't Huston's Mercantile down that street we just passed?" Slowing his horse in case he was right and looking at all the buildings around him he didn't recognize.

Jacob wasn't familiar with Williamsburg at all other than being a growing town that made it to the map on the Colonies. "We can see to the supplies while the three of you investigate." Naniko could either go with the Brothers, stay with them, or do her own thing which she was usually incline to do. Something Jacob admired in the young lass.

Like Jacob, she wasn't familiar with Williamsburg and her attention was as much drawn to the surroundings as everyone else's until Liam spoke up, then Jacob. Hearing what he had to, she nodded. "Go to collect supplies, I can help with." She didn't mind helping in the least, and she had a few things she needed to stock up on any ways, so she'd join Mercy and Jacob if they didn't object.

Was it down that street? He looked back over his shoulder and shrugged. "Maybe?" Giving a little laugh, he nodded at Jacob and Liam. "Sounds good to me. Stay out of trouble." He grinned as he spoke because if anyone would get into trouble, it would be the brothers.

"Oh, we will." She promised Ciar while not reminding them to do the same. "Where shall we start, Jacob?" They'd be doing some exploring too, it seemed. And of course Naniko would be welcome to join them.

Liam was eyeing that fight as the one was a larger bully picking on a wiry younger lad that was no match. In short, the fight was way unbalanced. First he nudged Evan, "what do you say? Where the mercantile is?" Not being able to watch this fight any longer, he was down from his horse for he had this drive to see things were fair and right. "I'll take you on," calling already as he crossed the street, shirt being removed as he went. He pressed it into the hands of one male watching, "hold this for me." The man mutely nodded before grinning, "sock him one for me." The crowd obviously didn't favor the one easily winning. A hand shot out just in time as he pulled the lad out of the way of the bigger man's punch and turned his head that he was missed. With the one thrown back behind him he let into the man, Chas he found out his name to be, with a good upper right hook to set him back a few paces. His first real hit of the day.

Jacob spied a butchers where they could get some dried meat and jerky. Blink. There went Liam to get involved in the fight as he let out a laugh, surprised kind but all for him doing so, obviously. "You said your brother is a boxer, street fighter?" If he recalled hearing that correctly. Seemed to fit. Leaving Liam to his fight and his brothers he pointed out the butcher and a livery place near it. There were a few places that seemed to sell just about anything you needed in these parts. Plenty of Indian blankets too of which he might get to replace the covering under his saddle. Dismounting, he turned the reins over the hitching post for it would be easier to walk to the various places from here.

Evan's thoughts had clearly wandered elsewhere, after riding into Williamsburg and noting all the differences that had come over the small town. He didn't blink back into it till Liam nudged him. Glance to Liam and he was about to answer, then SHOCKINGLY.. his brother was wading into the fray. Evan rolled his eyes and gave Ciaran a knowing smirk, resigning himself to waiting and watching till Liam had slaked his thirst for trouble. Of course he'd be ready himself to jump in if the crowd got riled, but for now he just relaxed in his saddle and looked around, trying to re-familiarize himself.

Naniko glanced to the fight and shook her head before turning to go along with Jacob and Mercy. Quiet in her usual fashion, she dismounted when they found a place to hitch and set to wandering with them, looking over their surroundings.

Well, they'd have to wait now until Liam finished sweeping up the street with the man. He nodded at Jacob, half sighing. "Aye, that he is and unable to resist getting into one." He looked at Evan and laughed, giving a shrug. It seemed the crowd was happy to see the one get beaten including the lad he had been fighting with before Liam got involved. "I think Liam might be right about the mercantile." He decided. "Down that street."

And there went Liam. She chuckled then turned her horse to follow Jacob's. After dismounting, the lead was tied to another hitching post and she patted the horse's neck. "Now don't you go getting into trouble." Maybe she shouldn't say that?  A smile was offered to Naniko as she joined them.  Now, where to first?

There was a lot of footwork, a lot of slapping hands, face, neck, arms and shoulders in between the punches. Liam took a few, which gave him a good idea of his opponent's strength. Which was a lot more than the lad he was fighting. He had a way of ducking, shifting, so that his face didn't take the punches as much. At least not badly as he never had his nose broken and intended to keep it that way. He was giving Chas a descent work over in the long run of it until one from the crowd yelled out. "HEY, THAT'S THE SCRAPPER," so he'd been recognized and Chas stopped dead backing off.  "I give, the lad wins," and took off fast. Well that was deflating as a pouch of coins was pressed against Liam's chest while a few ere congratulating him. He gave the lad that had been beaten up the coins. There was quite a few too. "Pick your opponents better next time," was all that he had to say. That's when Jeremy Wilson pressed through to clasp Liam on the shoulder. "Good to see you, we thought you had died or something." Liam gave the one a bear hug then pointed out his brothers as his shirt was handed back to him. Donning it as he walked with the old time friend back across  the street.

He caught the end of the fight, or more how it ended as the one took off once the fighting name of Liam's was discovered. Something he committed to memory as he ducked into the butcher's place. It made him hungry as he picked up certain dried meats that could be boiled into stews on the trail or eaten as was prepared. He purchased enough for them all which was then wrapped up, something he would put in his saddlebag once back out.

Evan smirked at Liam when he came back over, tussled and triumphant. "Feel better?" That was when his eyes went to Liam's companion, and his smirk grew into a slow broad grin. "Well well. If it isn't Jeremy Wilson." He laughed and got off his horse, moving more quickly with long lanky strides to hug Jeremy and give him a thump on the back. The type that could crack ribs, poor Evan sometimes didn't know his own  strength.  "How've you been laddy??"

Ciar dismounted once Liam's fight was over, grinning. He came through again. He chuckled as Jeremy was given that hug and waited to see if he did have a cracked rib or not. "Hey, Jeremy. It's good to see you!" He was one that could have gone either way, good or bad. And while he was thinking of it. "Are the Hustons still around?" They wouldn't have to wander the streets if so.

While Jacob took care of the butcher shop, Mercy decided to look at some of the blankets for sale. She purchased a colorful one then looked around. It would be nice to find a place with some dried fruit or maybe the type of bread bought for traveling. She also took note of where everyone was.

Jeremy blanched with the rib cracking hug from Evan. It reminded him of the old days. Staggering a step when released, the two had gotten in some good brawls together over a certain lass. "Remember Betty Mae?" One of the prettiest girls in Williamsburg at the time, "I married her and we have two little ones now. Got me a good job in the Williamsburg Bank as an accountant." He had worked his way up from a sort of go-for to teller, to accountant and hoped to own the bank one day. He may not have had as good a punch as the Quinn brothers but he had a mind for numbers. Liam stood back grinning, "congratulations then on both the Missus and the job. Is the Huston Mercantile still in business and where located?" Which it was hard to tell. Jeremy grinned finally, one hand over his ribs as he pointed to the street they had passed, "half way down there on the right. This street here is new and kind of overpowered the old ones." Liam nodded taking a glance, no wonder they didn't really recognize any of the places on this one! "We're going to head down there, and if you're around later, we'll be heading for that saloon there," which looked like a good place to eat. Sal's it was called as he noticed the sign. Giving his friend on last clasp to his shoulder before mounting back up for the distance and riding it. Turning the horse that-a-way as he was sure his brothers would catch up.

Jacob was out, passing Naniko on his way and back out into the light of day. Just in time as he crossed the street to his horse to place the wrapped up food in a saddlebag. He noticed Liam taking off in the direction of the other street passed earlier. Next he was into the store where Mercy was to be found to purchase one of the Indian blankets too.

"You married Betty Mae?" Evan started to laugh but then quickly turned it into a clearing of his throat. Otherwise there really would be a ruckus like the good old days. "Well, I bet the little ones are as good-looking as she. Sounds like you've a happy life and I'm glad to hear it." A hasty wave and one last grin was given to Jeremy as Liam took off. Maybe they'd see their old friend later at the saloon.  With a click of his tongue and nudge of his heels, Evan followed Liam down the new street.

Ciar clapped Jeremy on the back instead of doing more injury to the man's ribs.  "Well, good for you. We'll see you later if we can." Then he was mounting up and following after Evan. Liam wasn't wasting any time, and he could understand why. He was nearly praying that Walter Huston would remember them and Fawn. Then again, Walter wasn't that old.

Liam halted in front of the familiar building while washed over with so many memories. He sat there staring while waiting for his brothers. Kind of a spaced out look for it brought back a life long gone and for a moment he was back there.

Evan rode up and halted his horse alongside Liam. Looking at the building for a long moment himself, remembering those old days soon after the massacre at Hunt's Landing. It felt decades distant rather than just years. They'd just been boys then and now they were men.... even if they didn't always act like it. A glance to Liam, then to Ciar when he joined them. "Well, here goes." Evan dismounted and tied up his horse at a hitching post, then started for the mercantile door. With all hope old Walter would still be around... and even if he knew nothing, it would be good to see the fella.

He came out of it when Evan caught up and cleared his throat. He was wool gathering now as he dismounted and headed in, knowing Ciar would be right behind them.

Ciar smiled when he saw the building. It looked pretty much the same, right down to the porch that had rocking chairs in place with the warmer weather. He dismounted, tying off his horse and following after his brothers. A bell rang and Walter came from the back room. He hadn't changed much at all, still had the full head of white hair though he was wearing  newfangled spectacles. He squinted at the three men, brow furrowing. "Can I help you, gents?" And then he paused. "Do I know the three of you?"

Liam lagged behind Ciaran, looking around before Walter came out, "I sure hope you do! It is good to see you again. It's been a very long time."

Evan grinned when Walter gave them that confused stare. "A long time indeed.  Evan Hunt," he reminded the aging man, offering his hand to shake heartily. "And Liam and Ciaran Quinn here... starting to sound familiar?"

"Why, so it does! All grown up but I'll bet the three of you are still scamps! Margie, come out here and see who has come to visit! And not long after their little sister!"
Margie joined him almost immediately, giving each of the men a hug, and saying each of their names as she did and she got them right. "As I live and breath, t'was a miracle when Fawn appeared all grown up and now here the three of you are. And she's looking for you." She was beaming as she spoke. Ciar speaking up. "She was here? Is she well? How did she look? Where is she?" He couldn't get the questions out fast enough to suit himself. He looked at his brothers, grinning. Fawn was alive and she had been here! "She came looking to see if we knew where you were. She's well and grown into a right lovely young woman. And she said she was going to head to Boston." Ciar almost started dancing right then and there but instead, he just grinned like a fool.

Liam's jaw dropped in total disbelief. Was he hearing right or in one of those dreams that seemed so real? Mouth snapped back as he literally pinched himself and besides Margie gave him a hug which he returned. "Fawn?? She was here?? She is alive??" Surprise and hope mingled while echoing his brother as their questions were all being answered. If he was in a dream he was not going to wake up from it until they found Fawn. "Boston!" Now he couldn't wait until they got there. He wished he could fly at the moment. "She's in Boston!" Like his brothers didn't hear.

Evan's jaw dropped in shock when the Hustons mentioned Fawn. But the stunned expression soon turned into a grin to match the others'. At last, some solid clue, a sign that she was alive and well and now... even within reach. He let out a jubilant laugh when the others stumbled over themselves with their questions. Then he asked an important one. "How long ago was she here?"

Walter rubbed at his chin, his expression thoughtful. "Maybe two weeks?" He looked at Margie who nodded. "Aye, about that. She was with a woman companion and two gentlemen. And they were gone the next day." In spite of the population growth, Williamsburg was still like a small town in some ways. Ciar laughed and clapped a hand to Liam's shoulder then looked at the couple. "We've been trying to find her since we left here." Not mentioning any delays. "And this is the closest we've gotten." Hopefully she'd stay put for a time. "We thought it was a miracle when we saw her and now, we know it is." Margie was still beaming over it all.

"Two weeks," repeated before an outburst, "we need to get going before she leaves Boston!" They had tried following her before only to reach a dead in. "She is with others, this is good, means she is protected." He was shaking Walter's hand rapidly before he gave Margie a squeezing hug. "I hate to meet and run but we need to catch up with her this time." The words herald him turning and into a run out of the building. He leaped up into the saddled, jerking his horse around and started back in a gallop to where the others were to tell them. He wanted to leave now.

Evan chuckled at Liam's hasty words and hurried departure, not that he could blame the man. After chasing Fawn for so long, there was no time to lose. "Me too or else I'll be left behind!" Walter's hand was shaken again, a kiss to Margie's cheek and he was out the door. Swinging up into his own saddle he called out after Liam, "Breaking your neck won't help us any!" But he was grinning as he spurred his horse to follow.

Ciar blinked in surprise then laughed and shook Walter's hand as well. "Thank you. We'll write and let you know how things turn out." Fawn wouldn't, she couldn't, leave Boston so soon. He was out the door nearly on Evan's heels after giving Margie another hug. "Wait up! We have to find the others! And I'm hungry!" But then again, when wasn't he?!

Hooves were pounding cobblestone as he maneuvered his horse around other horses, carriages and even leaped over a cart much to the near heart attack of the man pulling it. He reined in the stallion back where the others were left across the place called Sal's. Smirk came easily for Evan's words which his actions showed his response than verbalizing one. He would wait on his brothers then go in search of  others to see how soon they could get back on the road. They had a distance to go in getting to Boston.



Date: 04-21-10
Poster: Mariah McCormick
Post # 67

The mailboy came around every morning to deliver any mail for the Wool Shop. Mariah was busy folding the new woolen blankets and ponchos that were picked up earlier from her father's Woolen Mill. There wasn't a whole lot of need for wool as the days got warmer but there was always a need for the blankets. Some to set on the ground for picnics. The thought of summer picnics by the lake had set her to daydreaming for as the days got warmer, her shop didn't need to open as often. Perhaps two days a week, she would set a notice in the window soon. The older ladies would always need their yarns to knit and crochet things but it was not a daily need. She would be able to take time at the lake this summer. Of course such leisurely time had a certain face showing up in those daydreams to be there with her. Hopeful addition until the tingle of the bell had her back to reality and the store as the mailboy came in. "Just set them over there on the counter, Billy. Thank you. Have a muffin on your way out." Which the lad appreciated.

She tried to recapture that daydream as she continued to fold the blankets precisely so. A little agitated that she couldn't as her eye kept being drawn to the small stack of mail sitting on her counter. She knew what they contained, the usual inventory from the Wool Mill, a few customers sent in their requests so they could be ready when they came around to pick them up and the ragged edged piece of mail with tears too. Wait, that was not of the usual and odd. Setting the blanket aside she was over to see what the piece was, surely it was a scrap misplaced. She didn't recognize the penmanship as she broke the seal only to jump back as the dried up flower fell out, having no idea what it was at first. Her heart leaping into her throat and then the tremble of her fingers when she caught sight of the signature. "Evan," whispered in the quiet shop. Her mind felt fuzzy of a sudden as she crouched to carefully pick up the flower and head into the back where she had a small kitchen and some privacy. She coached herself to sit, set the flatten out flower on the table with a touch of her finger against the dried petals before allowing herself to read the letter.


Mariah had a quirk in that she answered remarks made in the letter as if Evan were sitting across from her. Some might say it was talking to oneself and certainly that was true in that there was no one else in the room with her but the letter. "Second? I missed a letter," the disappointment mussed in her words. "Father's permission, dear Evan, that is sweet but I doubt one needs my father's permission to write me a letter." She became quiet as she read about their travel and the wildness of these colonies. Enrapt was more like it. Her heart skipping a few beats as he told of  the less than friendly encounters with Indians. She knew the McDonough braves and the ones with them living in these lands. It was hard for her to imagine them as savages like those told of in the colonies. They had come from the colonies. Her mind was wandering as she focused back in. The bit on his whole family being killed in a raid six years ago, was a huge bit of enlightenment on this man she was drawn to. Her heart went out to him. The note that it was something he would tell her about personally was not lost on her either. A sort of promise on his part and would mean him seeing her again.


When she got to the part of taking out the stone to squelch his anger, it had her smiling. That was the idea, well, part of the idea. To take up the stone and remember her, her life energy contained within whenever he was troubled. lonely, contemplative and so forth. She liked the idea that she managed through the stone to ease his anger. It meant a lot to her, not that he would know that. The confession, however, that followed had her blushing with no one there! She had gotten that feel someone was around or watching her and had chided herself she was just overworked. At least now she knew her instincts had been correct and not in a bad way. Anyone else she would have found this information to be just creepy but knowing it was Evan, it was sort of cute instead. "Perfect face?" that had her blink in surprise and her cheeks a touch rosier still. She had never really considered herself as having a perfect face, in fact she could name all her flaws as any young woman was their own worse critic. The idea he thought her face perfect had the quirk of a smile turn into a full one. So it all made sense how quickly he was there that day she needed help.


"Now he thinks you're a beautiful monkey." Which hearing her own words, had her laughing. It also had her looking up as she thought she heard something, oh bother! if anyone had come into the shop now. She was up and over only to find the shop still empty of customers. With a sigh of relief she was back over to take up her seat and finish reading the letter. She would have been very hard pressed to put it down in order to wait on someone. It pleased her no end that he was thinking of her as she whispered, "I am thinking of you too, Evan. Every day, many times a day and hoping you are safe and will be home soon from your journey." For it was a journey he and his friends were on, a dangerous one but one they needed to do for the missing sister. "I'm Yours," repeated and kept playing over in her head as she finished up the letter. "Azalea," was now her favorite flower as she carefully tucked it back into the letter. She was up to tuck the letter away in the small desk in the corner that held her personal things. She had set to wondering how she could possibly write back and decided to write a letter while inspired. She could ask Lord McDonough tomorrow if it would be possible to send it to the colonies and find Evan, otherwise she would give it to him when he arrived back in these lands. Taking out some lavender scented paper she sat at her desk and penned a letter.


Dearest Evan,
   You don't know how happy it made me to receive your letter. The one with the Azalea within. Such a pretty flower even dried and flat. I will visit the Florist soon and see what it looks like in full bloom, if she has the variety. The letter was tattered and torn but at least had made it here. From what you wrote, it seems any others didn't get this far. My heart goes out to you on your trip to Hunt's Landing. I wish I could have been by your side to comfort you. Alas, I could not be and at least the stone contains my energy. I'm sure both Liam and Ciaran understand your anger and do not find you a bore. I am willing to be your sounding board once you are safely back to these lands. I wish there was more I could do. I'm sending you a lock of my hair as a good fortune keepsake.
   When you hold the stone, I am sitting next you as best I can for the great distance. When you hold it, I believe I know when you have for I get this rush of feeling you are with me.
   At least now I know why I have felt there were eyes upon me when at the shop and the fact you were so quickly there when I needed help. If it had been anyone else but you, I may have found that a little creepy but knowing it was you, it only warms my heart that you bothered to keep track of me. I wish you had just come in and talked and when  you come back, I will hold you to that.
   My prayers and thoughts are with you and your cousins that you all return home safely soon. The trees are forming leaves, some flowering as well the flowers in the gardens are coming up and blooming. The air warm and soon the water of the lake will be so enough to go swimming. I think of you more often as I have more time to take walks under the sunlight.
   Thinking of you,
   Mariah McCormick


Enclosed he would find the lock of sun spun silken hair tied off in a small green ribbon the shade of her eyes. She closed the shop soon as she was done with the letter, sealing it good so it would weather the trip to the colonies. Rushing off to catch up with Joseph McDonough to find that there was a contact point in Boston that would have any updates from Heathfield to his Private Investigators and any to come back. He could easily add her letter to the package sent and so would.

Date: 04-23-10
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 68

York River

The journey to Porto Bello was accomplished swiftly and without incident, for all the brothers now had a fire lit beneath their bums. Knowing exactly where their sister was had them moving quickly, likely with Jacob, Mercy and Nan needing to catch up at times! Upon arriving in the small port village they wasted no time in hiring a flatboat, declining the offer to hire a guide as well. Evan had done some river guiding for adventurous folks during his youth and had confidence he could captain the small vessel for the short journey. As they climbed aboard and loaded their supplies, the skies opened up to rain, not a downpour but the type of drizzle that seemed likely to last hours.

Naniko didn't really have much problem keeping up, but it was rather amusing to see the brothers so excited and set on this after the previous way they'd been prior to learning of their sister having gone to Boston. When reached Porta Bella, she had almost opted stay and allow them the rest of their journey since they would now know where they were going and the journey wouldn't be near as dangerous. However, it seemed she was talked into continuing on, so now joined them on the flatboat.

Ciar was always a bit leery of water travel but he was as anxious as his brothers to get to Boston. He studied the flatboat for a moment, then shrugged. He wasn't about to delay their journey! Not for one minute. Once he was on and his possessions stored, he settled in for the ride, huddling under his cloak to avoid the drizzle.

Mercy was glad to see the brothers so enthusiastic. She quickly got onboard, and settled in, watching the others as they made preparations. She made sure to stay out of the way too.

Once they reached Porta Bello, he took Nan aside to have a talk. She had agreed to become their guide which was greatly needed in the wilderness. In that time, she had become a part of the group but Jacob never assumed anything, hence the talk. He paid her some, what would be rightly due for her services so far and more to come if she stayed on. Being she agreed to at least accompany them to Boston, he advised having her horse boarded here so that she would not have to put him on the flatboat and then a ship. In Boston, further decisions would be made on how things turned out and if needed her horse would be picked up if she continued even further with them. He was pleased she agreed, a lass far different than ones he met but that was the beauty of making friends that were not of the ordinary. He dropped off the horses then met them at the flatboat, seeing Mercy on board with him. An arm about her shoulders giving her a wink in spite of the lousy weather the day was starting with. "You're sure you can captain this thing?" Amusement there in green eyes but he didn't doubt that Evan could.

Liam was one of the first to reach the small port town for he was that kind of anxious. A few times he had to remind himself to slow down for they were not going to get anywhere faster than the slowest of their group. Not that any were slow. "I'm glad you are staying on." The exotic ways of Naniko held him curious to hopefully learn more. Probably would have already if it wasn't for dire necessity of their mission. So he settled in on the flatboat as much as Liam could settle down. Cat on a hot tin roof was more like the excess energy he gave off no matter the weather, had it been sunny, rain or even snow, it would be the same. Dare he let his heart hope, dare he let it jump for joy that his sister was not only alive but well and that they finally had found her. They had not of yet, he would remind himself.

The flatboat was a simple vessel, basically a rectangle with another, smaller rectangle set atop it. This taller level of the boat was like a flat roof and generally where folks sat during fine weather, with the gear stored down on the lower level. It was also where the oars were manned, four on this boat, two for each side and extra long to reach the water. "In my sleep," he answered Jacob with a grin despite the weather, "I've manned dozens of these sorts of boats before." As they were all loading up, the man they'd hired the flatboat from came to see them off. The old man had a few words in parting to give,
"I heard tell of high waters further upriver after the last storm, but you should be fine." Evan nodded and waved his thanks, then climbed the short ladder up to the upper level to take one of the oars. The three other men to take the other three oars. "All the gear on board? Good, let's go!" It was clear he was relishing the idea of a river journey like the summers of his youth. Once they were all settled and the oars taken up, he used his oar to push off from shore and angled them into the peaceful flow of the river. A bit of chop in it but likely caused by the falling rain.

She really wasn't sure how much of a guide they would further need, but she agreed to continue with them. The weather did little to bother her. Seemed very little bothered her and just as little was ever expressed upon her face. The hood of her coat sat back on her head some to keep from hiding her face, she looked to Liam with a nod and very subtle smile. "Thank Jacob for that, you can." Settled in the drizzling rain, seated with her back to the short wall not
covering the gear, she actually enjoyed the drizzling rain compared to the cold snows of winter.

Ciar jumped up when they were all ready and climbed up onto the top. He took up one of the poles, then nodded, "Ready, Evan." The teasing had him chuckling a bit but he had confidence in Evan's skills.

Mercy grinned at Jacob then found a spot where she could watch the river. She loved places like this, still wild, uncivilized and planned to enjoy the journey to Yorktown. A grin was given to Naniko before she was looking around  again.

Liam was not to be left out either as he was right behind Ciar to the top roof section and an oar to help out. Evan looked to be in his element for a change which had Liam grinning to himself. Then to Nan he replied. "I will when better time, over a pint or two." Jacob seemed to be too cozy with Mercy to bother him presently and he would need to concentrate on helping his brothers out.

They found a spot just under the roof where they could sit and watched through the area left without wood covering it up. "It should be a nice ride barring any turbulence," which he had overheard mentioned.

Evan glanced down to see the others settling in, then gave Ciar and Liam a grin. There were two extra oars left unmanned, along with the rudder to steer in the back, but with the steady flow of the river it was common to not use any of those extra bits. Though they were helpful in bad weather. Luckily, it seemed this rain was more of a drizzle than a storm, with gray clouds overhead rather than thunderclouds. The man had mentioned high waters upriver, but that was behind them. With Liam and Ciar each on an oar Evan had dropped his, standing instead with a hand idly on the tiller but not really using it.. more enjoying their surrounds. The chop slapped against the sides of the boats, growing a bit stiffer and occasionally making the broad boat rock a bit. In Evan's opinion though that was just a bit of extra fun. He started whistling as the rain soaked his hair. "Just like the old days, eh boys?" That said to Ciar and Liam.

A nod was given to Mercy in return for the grin with a nod to what Liam spoke. She still felt like she was in the midst of some family function, (kinda was) but she was more comfortable than she had been in the past, after her late evening talk with Liam. Now and then she looked to the others, but most of her attention remained on their surroundings out of habit.

"Aye, exactly like them." He grinned in return then used his pole to push away from some large rocks. It had been a while but it was all coming back. "The current is strong." He grinned over his shoulder at his brothers. "We should make good time."

"Aye, it should be." She gave Jacob an impish look as she leaned against him. "Not too often we just get to sit and watch the world go by." It was nice for once.

He only wrapped his arm more protectively around her shoulders, nestling her in against him. A real look of contentment over his features. "I wish to talk with you soon, once we get to Boston and the brothers find their sister." He had this certainty that they would.

It was good that Liam was put to work, something taking strength and concentration. It kept his geared up mind to expend the racing in the form of physical strength being used. Every now and then he would cast a glance to his brothers and Nan at times. Hard to really enjoy the scenery with the constant drizzle.

The chop remained but the day only grew nicer, the rain letting up as the sun began to set. Being that they hadn't started till afternoon they only had the first few hours to travel in daylight, and much of the journey would happen overnight. The sunset painted the sky in burnished pinks and golds, bright color that peeked through the remaining clouds. There were a few villages along the way but much of both shores was covered in dense forest, sycamores and swamp oaks that dropped plenty of leaves to eddy in the water around them. It was a content mood aboard the boat, rather nice after all they'd been through. Jacob and Mercy getting some cuddle time, Nan enjoying the scenery and the three blood brothers companionably together up on the top. Evan's thoughts were free to wander their own direction as he sat with a hand on the tiller, guiding the boat occasionally though there wasn't much need. As the sky began to darken he spoke up to everyone. "Why don't you all get some sleep. It's pretty calm and I can guide her myself for a few hours." That was the mixed blessing of the flatboat, it was so broad that it moved slowly... making the journey longer but making it easier to avoid obstacles too.

Nan was more than content to sit there and watch things pass. It was nicer when the drizzle stop and hints of the sun showed over the scattered villages here and there. She wasn't really tired, but she settled in comfortably against the wall of the flatboat, mostly watching the others and the sky as the banks went out of her view.

"If you need me to take over, let me know." He yawned as he locked down the pole, then headed to the first level. An easy smile was given the three before he settled in on some sacks that were laying there. No arguing from him about getting some extra sleep.

Though she was feeling a little sleepy from the movement of the boat, Mercy tipped her head to look at Jacob for a long moment.  She smiled then, and nodded. "I'm sure we'll get the time when they're celebrating."  She felt the same, certain they would find Fawn still in Boston.

The boat had a sheltered area too, beneath the roof formed by the top level with a small place to cook and plenty of corners to curl up somewhere dry.

Jacob saw to getting food and drink to them all over the passage of time. Coming around to offer the mug of cold tea and sandwiches. This was done for the brothers up top with Mercy's help and then the two to settle together and their respite taken. More hours continued and at least they could see more of the scenery around them as it cleared up before the setting of the sun.

Lucky for them there were the extra rowers that could take over as muscles started to burn by the time eight hours had passed or something like that. "Aye, make sure you get some rest too Evan, otherwise you get grouchy," grin flashing as he teased his brother but easily took up the suggestion of some sleep and down under the house type structure to do so.

That had Evan smirking in return. "Don't worry, I'll just be grouchy up here by myself." But his mood was good enough to have a grin following. He thanked Jacob for the food and would munch on it as he waved the others off. With them all tucked in below he settled in, sitting comfortably next to the rudder and a hand casually on the tiller (the arm attached to the rudder to steer). The clouds were gradually clearing to reveal a perfect starry sky above, and to pass the time Evan tilted his head back, eyes glancing over the constellations that had once been familiar as the back of his hand. He remembered most of them, and stories to go along with them, and thought he'd like to tell Mariah some of those when next he saw her. Which had a smile on his face, though he wondered if she'd gotten any of his letters. Two and then three hours passed without incident, the boat gently rocked as it went downstream.

"Thank you." To Jacob for the food, she sat herself up to eat, laughing quietly at the banter between the bothers. Everything was quiet except chit-chat amongst them as day turned to night and the clouds rolled past for a beautiful evening, though a bit chilly after the rain. Naniko had gotten rest enough and finally pushed herself up from where she was sitting to stand with a stretch. Over and up onto the higher level of the flat boat she nodded to Evan as she approached quietly. "Join the others, you should. The boat I will guide."

Jacob saw to giving out blankets that was amongst the goods on the flatboat. This way they could keep warm while getting some rest.

Liam passed Nan on her way up. Obviously she was going to offer to help, "good luck," came low with a grin before he took one of the blankets offered to wrap around himself and find a comfortable spot propped up against crate under the roof area.

Evan didn't feel tired, per say but the rocking of the boat did have a lulling effect. He was keeping himself alert but Nan's offer was not unwelcome as the hours passed. For a moment he lifted a brow at her. "You ever steered one of these things before?" A heartbeat before he relaxed, ceasing the scrutiny and giving a sheepish grin instead. "Sorry, I'm sure you're more than capable. Alright, but I think I'll sleep up here just in case." He'd hand off the tiller to the woman, and once she was settled there he took his blanket to a corner of the upper level. He'd roll himself up in the blanket to catch a few zzz's in the open beneath the stars.

Brow quirked and a small smile given. "Similar boats, we have at home." Not exact, but the concept was basic enough. The tiller taken, she made herself comfortable and watched him wander off for some rest. Not a long period of time would pass, while watching her surroundings, a strange sense crept up on her. Not like they were being watched, but something that she could hear over the subtle splash of water against the belly of the boat and rustle of leaves. A glance cast back over her shoulder in the direction they had come, but nothing was to be seen. For now, she just allowed the feeling to linger, though she'd be the only one to sense it just yet.

Ciar fell asleep quickly, but woke close to dawn though he didn't know the reason why. He watched a moment then stared up into the darkness. He wouldn't be able to sleep again but remains where he was, his thoughts wandering to Fawn and what she might be like now.

Mercy helped where she could, with the food, or with whatever was needed. She curled up beside Jacob, falling asleep nearly as soon as she pulled the blanket up over herself. It was every bit as nice as a feather bed in her opinion.

Liam had fallen into a deep dreamless state for a few hours but something niggled at the outskirts of his consciousness and instincts. It had him first go into a dreaming state where this serpent, like the Loch Ness monster of Eire, came slithering through the lapping waters to curl around their flatboat, crushing it. The dream didn't get any further than that as he startled awake. Eyes going wide open and disoriented at first before he was up. Perspiration along his forehead as he headed back out into the open area to sit there and calm down. Maybe something he ate?

There was always a part of Jacob that stayed awake and part of him that rested enough in what his body needed. He felt two of the brothers awaken nearly the same time as it had his eyes open but he didn't move for the way he held Mercy, all wrapped up in his arms and his chin resting against the crown of her head.

Evan too fell asleep quickly, but he kept his sleep light on purpose. Being the 'captain' of the vessel and guide for this leg of the journey, he wanted to make sure he'd be able to react quickly to any trouble. Everything was peace for awhile, the river rocking them slowly to and fro, the waters rushing softly against the hulls. But as Naniko's uneasy feeling began to grow, the rushing seemed to come more quickly. That was about when Liam startled awake, and  the sounds of his footsteps coming onto the deck below drew Evan up from slumber as well. Pushing up to sit, he blinked the bleariness away and gave Liam a curious glance, about to ask if he was alright... when a distant shout caught his ears.


There were plenty of boats traveling down this stretch of river, mostly other flatboats and he frowned as he stood and went back to where Naniko was. The source of the shout was another boat some distance behind them and there seemed to be some sort of commotion aboard. Evan wondered what might be amiss with that crew when the rumbling sound started. It was like thunder at first but rapidly grew to more of a roar that seemed to be coming straight at them. What on earth?.....And then it was like a tidal wave coming 'round a bend in the river behind them. It tossed the other flatboat towards the shore like a toy and continued towards their boat, a giant turbulent wave. Evan grabbed the tiller from Naniko at the same time he told her, "grab an oar!" Then he was stomping on the roof to wake everyone up. "Take oars! Tie everything d-" and then the wave hit them, spinning the whole vessel around.



Date: 05-10-10
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 69


Liam was still a bit groggy waking in the way he had. The yells that echoed from up the river had him turning that way as he came to stand near the rail of the boat peering into the night. At first he thought he was not really awake because everything was so dark and the roar in his ears undefinable, that was until he realized the darkness was really a wall of water coming at them. Too late. He was picked up by the force and tossed out into the riptide that caught hold of him. Barely enough time to fill his lungs with air before sound had gone to watery depths and shouts garbled above in the distance. Luckily he knew what to do when a riptide grabbed one, he swam with it and slowly geared off to the right as he did. Doing such pushed him finally towards shore about a half mile ahead of the flatboat. He was 'gone' to the others left.

When the roaring started, Jacob was to his feet taking Mercy with him. "What the," the pounding above having helped to make him realize there was extreme danger. The next moment he saw the wave crash over them, Liam, who was standing in the open part was gone while he got thrown for the force of the hit on the flatboat. Flying up into the air, hitting the top before he landed atop a bunch of sacks. Water soaked but at least the enclosure kept him from being swept off the boat (or having been tossed on the crates) as they continued to be tossed under the whims of the giant wave.

Mercy was awake immediately when Jacob pulled her to her feet.   She heard the roar and then the wave was crashing down on the boat.  She was thrown about, not sure where exactly she was until she landed, hard on the wooden floor.  Gasping, she tried to get her bearings and regain her feet.  Not an easy task when the boat was being tossed and spun like a child's toy.

Ciar woke as soon as he heard the roar.  He sat up, throwing off the blanket but before he could stand, the water was crashing in on him, and shoving him into the wall.  He fell to hands and knees, coughing and choking as he tried to call out the names of the others.  It was impossible to see where he was for certain though he knew he was still in the sheltered area of the flatboat.  He couldn't hear anyone else right for all the noise surrounding them.

Nan hadn't even seated herself while manning the flatboat. Oddly, for having little to no rest, she was wide awake. So when the commotion began behind them, her attention was there, trying to get a better understanding of what they were going on about, and also what that nagging feeling was that had crept up over her. Seemed her questions would be answered as the tidal wave washed away the water craft behind them and came straight for their own flatboat. "Brace yourselves!" Called out just as it was called out for everyone to grab an oar. She didn't grab an oar, but instead went towards the front of the vessel where the awning stopped and left some of the of the lower portion open and hopped down onto the open part to grab onto the awning. One hand held her secure, the other went through her pockets as the water washed over them all, twisting and spinning the vessel. A wave that big could very easily tear the flatboat apart; possibly ripping the awning off or worse. Ducking down beneath the cover, she wrapped a red ribbon around some board or attached pole, the ribbon already tied with a few strands of her own hair, she gave a breath, nearly washed away with one word. "Secure." Along with whatever sounds the vessel made under the weight of the water, the noise increased as each nail, board, bit of rope; everything that bound and kept it together, sounded with countering pressure to ensure the flatboat kept together as best as it could.

It all happened too quickly to make sense of it at first. The water hit the boat like a liquid brick wall, throwing them in all different directions and tossing the boat beneath them. Up on the top deck, the wave hadn't had the same force, but it was enough to throw him bodily to the wet decks and against the railing, hard. Thunk went his head against a wooden post and for a few seconds, he was stunned, seeing only black spots and water. Then as the boat continued to rock crazily he pulled himself to his feet by the tiller, blinking as he looked around quickly. The others were struggling to their feet and he hollered again, "Grab oars!" The flatboat was being swept downstream at an alarming rate, far more quickly than it was ever meant to travel and with rocks in the water and the shoreline near, they were in danger of crashing. For his part Evan was keeping the tiller steady, but wait, he blinked and looked around again. "Where's Liam?!" He had to shout it over the commotion of the water and some horrible sounds the boat was making, he could only hope it wasn't falling apart.

Liam had been pulled too far ahead to hear them. Although there were shouts going on about the river as other boats were trying to recuperate after the waves. Some were capsized, some stuck along the shore trying to get their boats back out into the waters. There were a few in the water some were searching for. Rocks, tree branches and all kinds of debris had been washed from the upper shores as Liam had been tossed with them. Cuts, bruises and a few knocks on the head but at least nothing was broken when he dragged himself from the deeper waters to the shallows along the shore. He almost stepped on another in the darkness that he dragged up on the shoreline and proceeded to push the water out from his lungs against his back.

Once the boat stopped spinning, Jacob managed to his feet now that he could disentangle himself from the sacks. He was immediately over to Mercy to help her up. "Head count, each state their name. Jacob here." It was the easiest way to find out who was missing quickly.

As soon as the boat stopped, Mercy's senses returned and she could see Jacob coming toward her. She accepted his help gratefully, then looked around. Beyond the boat, she could hear the shouts from others. "Mercy here," then she moving out of the lower level shelter to see where the others were.

Ciar groaned as his stomach rebelled at all the movement. Luckily he didn't lose his contents but he'd be queasy for a while yet. He pulled himself to his feet and opened and closed his jaw a few time to make sure it wasn't broken. Hearing Jacob, he croaked out his name then stepped out of the enclosure and looked for his brothers. Had someone asked where Liam was, because he didn't see him. "Ciarán here."  He hadn't heard Evan shout about the oars since he had been in the shelter


Sure the boat wouldn't fall apart, she took up an oar while looking around. Mostly her attention went to the others to make sure they were alright. "Naniko here." She heard everyone but Liam and Evan, but Evan was still manning the rudder? Then looking out over the edges of the flatboat, others had been knocked off their own vessels, some yelling for help while others tried to make their way towards the shore if possible. She heard what sounded more like a child than an adult and leaned over the railing in time to catch just glimpses of the young man trying to keep his head above the water. Young being preteens, likely learning his father's trade. Oar let go of, she leaned over to catch the kid by a flailing arm, the speed of the water pulling on him nearly pulling her right over the edge. "Hold on!"

Evan looked around while the others sounded off, still no Liam. "LIAM!" He hollered, maybe his brother was just out of sight somewhere? He glanced in the water but all he saw was the turbulent waves and debris. Both hands on the tiller, he was straining to hold the rudder straight to prevent the boat from spinning, much less attempt any steering. That's what the oars were for but nobody was manning them. He was about to shout at the others again when an obstacle suddenly loomed huge in the river before them, namely, half a bloody boat. Eyes widened and he pulled with all his might on the tiller, yanking the flatboat abruptly to the right, enough to have them all staggering. It almost worked but the hull of their flatboat hit the jagged planks, making the vessel want to spiral and again Evan yanked the tiller to prevent it, feeling like his arms might pop right out of their sockets for the strain. "GRAB THE BLOODY OARS!" Excuse him for not being polite but if he couldn't hold this boat by himself, they'd crash for sure.

"Liam is not down here," being Jacob did a quick check. "He had been out in the open area," which of course there was no sign of him. He was up to man one of the oars in helping to steer the boat. From the top they could actually see more of those in the water, some still alive and treading water while there were some not so lucky that were floating.

Perhaps it was the brother of the one that Nan found floating aside the flatboat that Liam got breathing again, sitting the lad up and allowing him to recuperate as he went to the edge of the wake, cupping his hands over his lips and shouted.  "CIARAN...." pause "EVAN"... the young lad got to his feet and did his best to shout to those he was with.

Mercy wasn't sure she'd be much help against the water even if she wasn't a weakling. She grabbed up one of the oars to try to help. All the while, she was watching those in the water, in case they managed to get close. She was also trying to spot Liam, not an easy task, especially when the boat jerked and she nearly fell to her knees again.

Ciar was over to take the oar from Mercy, giving her a slight smile. "See if you can help Nan." He told her, ignoring the fact he had bumped his head with that last quick move of Evan's. Muscles straining, he tried not to think the worse about Liam.

Naniko had managed to get a decent grip on the young male who was yelling and pleading that she not let go after seeing a few others less fortunate to float by. When Evan maneuvered the boat with such sharp motions, soft soles of her boots, which were of course wet, caused her to slip. With the force of the water pulling on the young male, pulling on her indirectly, she nearly went over with the kid. Left arm and leg hooked over the edge of the boat, along with her right leg braced against the outside of the vessel while trying to pull the youth in closer. "My neck, grab hold!" Wet planks weren't easy to hold onto, but she managed well enough. When she  got the youth close enough, he wrapped an arm around the back of her neck, she managed to get her arm around his side to hold him there, trying to get him up high enough he could reach the edge of the boat, but she was starting slip as well. "Help over here!"

Jacob's words about Liam being nowhere to be found, had some panic that he couldn't entertain at the moment. Not while the river was raging still and there were all the others on the boat to keep alive still. He swore when Nan half-climbed right off the boat. Gritting his teeth, he let go of the tiller with one hand and reached that arm out, trying to grab hold of Nan's arm or corner of her clothing, anything to prevent her being swept away. Even as he struggled to hold the rudder steady with his single hand. Somehow he managed to grab hold of Nan's shirt and held on tight, which was the most he could do with watching ahead. "Alright, Ciar, Jacob, when I say your name pull forward with your oar, hard. When I say together both of you row. Together!" Then to avoid a broken-up dinghy in their way, "Jacob!" And so on as they continued to zoom down the choppy river at a nauseating (for Ciar at least!) pace.

Liam called a few more times but it seemed the night swallowed his calls. "I think lad, our best bet is to follow the riverbank for that is the direction the boats we were on are going. We'll eventually run into a port." The lad looked fearful in a stunned sort of way and had Liam to focus on him than where he was bleeding. Nothing profusely so it would stop on its own. The lad nodded almost dumbfounded and started after Liam as he picked his way along the embankment, going slow so they didn't end up in the water or twisting a leg or ankle.

Jacob moved so he could help Evan with Nan and the one she had hold of while keeping his oar in the water. A heave ho would have the two up into the boat again, making it easier. He would pull forward when his name was called or together with Ciar when needed. The river seemed to be easing some after the initial hurricane it became. It was still moving pretty fast and they were managing to keep from hitting any rocks, or other boats that were having a tough time being managed.

Mercy had been about to help Nan, but Jacob did before she could get around the boat. Instead, she grabbed up a blanket for the boy. It was wet, but being wool would still help to keep him warm. Next, in spite of the movement of the boat, she set to making sure things were still secure. And she kept watching the water, and shoreline for Liam.

Ciar just waved when Evan shouted out the instructions to let him know he heard and set to listening for the commands. Being focused on the oar kept his stomach settled, and helped him not to think about Liam. Knowing his brother's determination, he was sure he was alive, but there was always that tiny pearl of doubt waiting to make itself known.


Naniko held onto the side of the flatboat for all she was worth, keeping her hold on the youth while trying to get him up far enough that he could pull himself up, but he was far too exhausted and beat up. She looked at Evan when he grabbed hold of the sleeve of her coat then to Jacob as he pulled her and the lad up onto the boat. She laid the youth out where he could try to catch his breath for the time being, and took a moment to catch her own breath after a cough or two from having swallowed a bit of water, then was getting up on her feet to pick up and oar to help steady the vessel.

There wasn't time to ask if everyone was alright, though he looked between each of them sharply to make sure they were standing at least.... the flatboat wasn't yet out of the woods. The rush of water had created rapids where usually there was calm river, and for awhile longer they were all kept on their toes with the oars. Evan handled the tiller, shouting out commands so the others could help steer the unwieldy boat. Left, right, rowing forward and sometimes backwards. The adrenaline was rushing still through his veins, focusing his mind on what was before them, what had to be done NOW. But as soon as the river began to calm that changed. Evan realized after a time that he was no longer sawing on the tiller to keep it steady, that he could in fact steer more easily, and that blood was streaming into his eyes from the knock he'd taken on his noggin. And Liam... he swallowed dryly and raised a gruff voice. "We'll pull up on that beach. Liam's a good swimmer, I'm sure he's on shore somewhere." He spoke with more assurance than he felt as his glance found Ciaran for just a moment. Rowing orders given would bring them soon to that small muddy beach he'd pointed to.  "Is everyone alright?" He added as a sudden afterthought as a concerned glance shot between each of them.


They would all be feeling it later tonight. He gave Nan credit for taking up the oar so quickly to help as now two could be either side following the commands while Evan steered, Ciar with an oar switching sides as needed.. "Are you all right down  there Mercy?" Knowing she was seeing to securing things there. "If you see any rocks, yell." Which she would probably see some they would not if they got too close to the shore.

Date: 05-10-10
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 70

Liam had to keep encouraging the youth to move in spite of the fact he was hurt, tired, worn and hungry. "You can sleep once we find a town, else we will be figured for dead if not dead if we don't keep moving." At least he had a knife on him if they ran into any animals thinking them a meal. Hoping they did the usual and left humans alone. After that bear incident, he would not count on it. The shoreline got steep that he had to move inland some and through the edge of a continual never ending forest or so it seemed. Eventually the land sloped back down to the river that they could once more travel along it. At this point he had to shoulder the lad to help him move along. Sure he could abandon him and continue much faster, but that was not how Liam was.

Mercy's arm hurt but she ignored the pain while she tied down the last of the supplies. She was glad they hadn't brought the horses. They would have been lost like Liam though the chance the boxer was alive was a good one. "I'm all right." She called back to Jacob then positioned herself so she could watch the river. Likely though Evan could see from where he was.

Ciar met Evan's look briefly but didn't trust himself to say much. He nodded when Evan said about Liam being a strong swimmer, knowing that in fast water, there was always the danger of being knocked out by debris. He pulled on the oar and turned the boat where his brother had pointed, his expression grim.

Together they maneuvered the battered flatboat onto the mudflats, where it stuck like a beached whale. They'd all have to jump down into the mud to get off. By now the other boats that had been hit by the freak wave had by now collected their survivors, and the rest... well, the rest were on their way to a burial at sea. All that was left was an occasional choppy rush of water and piles of debris floating by. Evan was keeping himself strong and determined for the others' sake, especially Ciar but inside there was growing dread about Liam. Wading out of the mud and onto dry land he turned to the others. "We were moving much faster than he would have been. We'll walk upstream." He went to the lad Nan had fished out of the river, his voice gentling. "Can you walk, boy? If you come with us we'll help find your family."

Nan managed well enough to assist with the oars while keeping an eye on their surroundings for any possible sign of Liam, and the boy she'd plucked up out of the water. Once they were set to the mud beds, she too hopped off, waiting for the boy to join them. Given another minute, he did and turned to Evan with a nod. A little battered and bruised, but playing brave for the sake of hoping to find his brother. Nan got herself to the shore and went digging through the pockets of her coat for the wool yarn dolls she kept for assistance. New ribbons fastened to each with a breath to animate, she set them to run ahead to seek out any signs of Liam or possible danger should they run into any.

He was down and into the mud flats, pushing aside debris as they lugged the boat from there to dry land as he waded up and out, the flatboat wasn't going anywhere at this point. "Do you want me to come with you or stay here with the flatboat? Make a fire here on shore and wait. Heat up some food for your return?" He knew Nan would be the best tracker for them and the brothers two would want to go find their brother.

The river seemed to be settling and Liam was starting to feel the draw in every bone of his body, every muscle. Still he continued on, keeping the lad upright even if he was getting so he could barely move. There was a discipline of mind that had Liam transcend the physical and pushed to limits most never knew they had. The lad collapsed and luckily he was not of great weight for age and size. He hefted him up over a shoulder to continue. They were probably about a mile from where his brothers had the flatboat when he finally collapsed. Luckily the two were not on the rocks but moving over a grassy area when it happened.

Mercy didn't hesitate to jump into the mud and help pull the boat ashore. She was concerned about leaving it unguarded but was also worried about Liam. "I'll stay as well. We shouldn't leave the flatboat unwatched." She started up out of the mud to see if she could find dry firewood.

The boy was given a wink to reassure him, even if Ciar didn't feel so assured himself. He still kept quiet as he helped with the boat. The dolls were eyed but he pretty much ignored them. "I'm going to look for Liam." If he was wounded, hurt in any way, no one would know of it.

Evan laid a hand on the lad's shoulder and squeezed briefly - it was about the only comfort he could offer at this point. At Jacob's question, he glanced between him and Mercy and nodded. "Why don't you two stay with Chris here." Meaning the lad they'd picked up, whose name Evan had asked. "Get warm and dry, have something to eat. We'll walk for two hours upstream then come back if we don't find anything." That was about the length of time he'd calculated it would take to walk the distance they'd traveled by boat in just a matter of minutes. Nodding his farewell to the others, he fell into step beside Ciaran to start their trek. The silence was grim, he could feel it and said quietly to the younger brother, "We will find him."

Naniko waited to see who was going and who was staying. She offered a nod and small smile to Chris, who clearly worried over his brother, then set to following the dolls as they bound their way upstream to seek out Liam or inform of possible dangers. She didn't travel so fast that the two brothers would lose sight of her, but she traveled far enough ahead that if anything jumped out or tried to attack from the opposite direction, they'd know in advance. It also gave time to the brothers to worry over their missing sibling. She was far from uncaring, certainly, but some of those quiet moments between the kin were a little uncomfortable for her.

Something bumped him in the head, like having a pillow tossed at you. There and gone by the time he dragged himself from the unconscious state that wanted to keep him. Anyone near would hear a groan as he rolled over, getting to his knees and hands that didn't really wish to cooperate just yet. His body screamed for rest. Eyes opening and very slowly adjusting as he noted the lad was out cold still. Unbeknownst by him, one of the dolls had something to report as it scurried back to its source of life.

He nodded for that was a good plan. "Good luck," which was heartfelt and meant as he gathered dry wood to start a fire. He would then help Mercy with the food in getting it ready. They would encourage Chris the best one could under the circumstances and get some nourishing soup in him while they dried in front of the fire.

She'd talk to the boy while they were gathering wood, trying to keep his spirits up. It was good to keep busy too, kept her from worrying too much though she kept watching where the three had disappeared.

"I know." He answered quietly, even if he wasn't sure they would find him alive. He didn't take her eyes off Nan except when he had to look down to watch his footing.

Naniko moved over the terrain with practiced ease, but again, not so quickly that she'd lose the two brothers that followed. Far enough that she didn't really read on the air about them and their concern, though it was more than obvious and very warranted. Given a half hour of moving along the bank and occasional shores, she stopped when two of the four dolls found her. They both came running up and stopped just in front of her, she leaned down to pick them both up, watching each in turn as they made some form of silent communication with her. Being that they were just dolls, they had no inclination of whether Liam was alive or not, only that he'd been found. Holding a doll in either hand, she turned enough to look back to Evan and Ciaran. "Found your brother has been." The two dolls returned to the ground, they lead the way.

Evan was moving along without really paying attention to what was beneath his feet, more to their surroundings, his eyes raking every leaf and log as if it might be Liam. Occasionally he had to wipe sweat, water or blood from his eyes to see his path but hardly noticed the bleeding or fury of pain in his head. Especially when Nan made that announcement. "What - where - is he..." A glance swung to Ciaran then back to Naniko, he couldn't bear to ask the question but stared at Nan intently as they all started moving faster.

A concerned look followed the three as they left and a bit after they were gone with the fire going well, "I hope they find him." Not adding alive for it might upset the lad who had lost others too. The broth poured into a tin was given Chris along with a chunk of bread. It was a start and see if he could hold it down.

It was a struggle getting up, keeping conscious and trying to rouse the lad too. By the time any came upon him they would see a pretty beaten up man, clothes tattered and torn trying to lift up another from the ground just as badly beaten and bruised.

"So do I." Her eyes met Jacob's briefly then she sat beside the boy, encouraging him to eat slowly. She didn't feel much like eating anything but the heat from the fire was welcome even if it didn't help the chill inside.

Ciar had noted the wound above Evan's eye but also knew Evan would be as stubborn as anyone about seeing to it until Liam was found. When Nan called out, he looked at Evan then started to run after her. "Liam!" He couldn't help yelling out, and he'd recognize Liam even in the condition he was in.

The dolls continued their leading run, which was pretty quick considering how small they were; they used their surroundings to help. Nan quickened her pace to follow without going ahead of them since they were the ones to find Liam. The two dolls stopped just as they reached the grassy patch where Liam and the boy were. Stepping past the dolls, either with the other two brothers or possibly just ahead of them, she looked at Liam, seeing him at least up and moving about as she went to where the boy was. Being that Liam was up and about, she'd stay out of the way for the brothers to be reunited and concern herself with the boy and trying to revive him.

Evan followed, letting Ciaran do the yelling as his heart hammered. He was horribly anxious, both to get there and anxious at what they would find. It was that small flame of hope that kept him moving, kept him running until they reached that clearing and with a huge sweep of relief he saw their brother, as bedraggled as they all were, but alive. Right over to Liam to grab him by the shirt, not angrily but intensely as he then threw an arm around his brother's shoulders for a hug and several slaps to the back. He didn't trust himself to speak at the moment but that gesture said enough of how scared he'd been.

When Nan first arrived and his brothers on her heels. He eased the lad back down so she could take a look at him. "He's alive, barely, I think he lost a lot of blood, more than he is use to." Which he had as well but he knew how to push himself until he could push no more. Hence a temporarily out and then back up within that fifteen minute pass out. Next he was being turned about that had his mind and vision spin there a moment. Evan might notice how he heavily leaned into him with the hug giving one back. "I think I've had enough of an adventure on this river." Which came in a bemused way. Yes, he was alive and glad to be so!

He charged forward, barely skidding to a stop in time and thumped him on the back while Evan hugged him. Then it was his turn. "Knew the river would spit you out." He grinned then motioned to the lad. "We have one of our own. Nan pulled him out of the river." Unlike Evan, he'd keep talking just out of sheer relief.

Nan nodded to what Liam had said and began to examine the boy. Nothing extensive, but she did open whatever covered his upper body to make sure there was no damage done to his ribs or organs below, then checked his head for cuts and gashes. He had more than his fair share of damage from the river and anything that happened to scrape past him and the blood loss was what likely had him passed out. Settling on her knees, bum on her heels, she tilted the boy's head back to further open his mouth for the purpose of breathing and opening his air-way further. The boy couldn't have been older than 12 or 13, so the whole ordeal would have been a shock to him and with the blood loss, it would have made it worse. "Looks like the one we found, he does." Idly spoken, whether the others heard or listened, he did resemble the one she'd pulled from the water with the help of Evan and Jacob. Making sure that his breathing was at least somewhat regulated, she leaned down over him, putting only a couple inches between their mouths, and shared a breath with him. The same sort of breath she gave the dolls; it shimmered between them until he inhaled, taking it with him. It wasn't anything that would instantly heal him, but it would aid to slow the bleeding and bring him back to consciousness. Whenever they reached the next town, she was going to have to build up her reserve of breath. Given a minute or two, the boy started coughing and mumbling, in pain and still bleeding, but nothing he would suffer severe damage from.

Liam's comment had him chuckling unsteadily as he finally released Liam from the hug after one more slap on the back. "You look like hell," which he was one to talk! Evan looked like he had a purple goose egg implanted in his forehead, wet strands of hair stuck in the welt that continued to bleed. Head wounds are fun that way. He kept blinking too like his vision was blurry, but it didn't matter, Liam was alive. A brow lifted over at Nan as he glanced to the prone boy,  wondering and hoping that maybe he was some relation to Chris. That would be a great stroke of luck. "We should get him to a warm fire. All of us." Focus turned back to Liam. "The boat's not far, with Mercy and Jacob and our lad  there. Maybe half an hour walk, think you can make it?"

"Aye, he kept speaking on a brother when I revived him from the water after dragging him in with me. More a groggy reference and of which I used to keep him going. I can hope his  brother is alive." Watching, no, staring a moment as she breathed life into the lad, better than smelling salts for the effect. Then to Evan's comment, "I feel like hell and you and Ciar don't look much better. I don't think we'd score at even the dregs of a tavern. Especially since a goose laid a purple egg on your face." Then with some seriousness, "a warm fire sounds like heaven at the moment. Who is in the best of shape to help the lad?" Not being certain he could still walk but best if the lad could. "I can manage the walk long as we don't run into any bears." Giving a  return thud to Ciar's shoulder as well Evan now that he had revived enough. Amazing second wind when his brothers showed.

"You both look like hell." He didn't know what he looked like even if he felt like he had been beat over every inch of his body. "I'll carry him back." Or they could take turns. "They said about food too." Of course he'd bring that up.  But after that little bit of wildness, they should all be hungry!



Date: 05-21-10
Poster: Jacob Anderson
Post # 71


Between them they managed to get the half-unconscious boy back to camp, where the warm fire and a reunion with his brother did wonders to revive him. After devouring their food, everyone settled down for some much-needed rest, and the next dawn saw them setting off again in the battered flatboat. The river was littered with debris, making it a slow journey to Yorktown - but that was alright because it also meant there were no more freak currents. It took an hour or so to reach Yorktown, where they parted ways with Chris and his brother, who set off to find the rest of their group. The docks were bustling and as they waited for their ship, Evan went to chat with some of the locals. He came back to the others with news, "I found out why the river went crazy yesterday. A shipwright bloke over there said a dam broke upstream. It must've released tons of gallons of water."

Mercy was glad to see Liam and hugged him when he and the others re-joined them at the camp. She had set out some of their things to dry, though hadn't really gotten into the others' bags. After making sure both boys were settled in, she cleaned up and settled in for sleep. The trip to Yorktown was calm enough at least and it was with relief that they finally docked. After seeing the two lads off, she waited to see what they'd do next. "I wonder if it was sabotaged."

Ciaran was hungry of course, but he was dozing before he was through. He curled up on a blanket that had dried out and snored away until it was time for him to take watch. On the short journey to Yorktown, he watched the river, making sure the boys were distracted from what might be bodies. As in any city, he was all eyes, watching their backs for crooks and enjoying the sights.

Liam winced when hugged for the bruises like he never had before but he certainly enjoyed being hugged by a beautiful woman. "I think I will stick to boxing," mumbled low as the hug was returned but with a wary eye on Jacob so kept it quick. He ate good of what was offered in spite of feeling he'd been spit out of hell. Sleep was restless at best and he was glad to finally land in Yorktown that he could get into a change of clothing as well a bath. A good full meal in his stomach. Simple things in life but a piece of heaven for him. "It sounds like something happened be it on purpose or accident, maybe a newspaper in town will have details."

Jacob was pleased to see Liam alive and not in too rough of shape. Although that would be debatable by Liam he was sure. He could have been in worse. A slight grip to his shoulder after the 'hug' before all were seen to with a sparse meal before making the trip to Yorktown at dawn. At least the rest went without incident to the thriving town. "I will get the time and passage of the next ship out to Boston. There is a hotel near called the Swan that we can get rooms and a meal for as long as we need wait." Speaking up once on land as he hailed a carriage that would fit them all. "I would be interested to see if the paper here has anything on the dam breaking."

That was a thought that hadn't occurred to him. "I have no idea. The shipwright said there's several people reported missing though, folks who were on boats at the time. Several known to be dead as well." He was grim over those facts before nodding to Liam. "I'll have to find a paper later." First a bath and a rest sounded wonderful. He turned to alight the carriage that Jacob hailed and wouldn't you know it, bumped his poor wounded head on the way in. "OW.." He made a face and rubbed his crown gingerly as he plopped down on a bench. The man had always been a bit of a klutz and that didn't seem to be changing much as he matured... no matter how smooth he'd become with the ladies.

Mercy was very grateful for the mention of hotel and meal. The thought of a hot bath sounded like heaven, a good meal and a comfortable bed adding to what would be a perfect night. She waited her turn to climb into the carriage,  her eyes going wide. "Evan, you're going to have to let either Nan or myself look at that once we're at the hotel." No arguing either. She'd see it done.

Ciar bit back a laugh and instead winced when Evan hit his head. "Lucky he didn't knock himself out." Muttered to Liam. Once they were seated in the carriage, he eyed Evan. "You're going to be black and blue right up until we get back to Heathfield, aren't you?"

Naniko wasn't keen on enclosed spaces. It just...wasn't her thing. She missed her horse. Odd, yes? She was seated amongst them, listening to them like they were all one family. Or at least close kin or best friends, while looking out the side. Hearing her name, she glanced to Mercy then to Evan with a nod. She'd mend if Mercy didn't want to, but then her attention drifted once more through the window, watching the landscape in gradual change over the passing hours.

"Some things never changed," mumbled with the hint of teasing mischief when Evan hit his head. "Still hasn't knocked any sense into you." Adding to the tease. If the two weren't so bruised up already they could get into a nice ruckus right here on the docks. Probably have them end up in the ocean too by the end of it and many with them. Instead he was into the carriage, taking up a seat near Nan. She was an unusual woman that he learned to appreciate. Quiet, reserve but had a good head on her shoulders. He touched his hand over hers, briefly, not knowing if she was one that didn't like to be touched. It was his way of saying thanks for her help in finding him and helping out. Smile touched that reached dark eyes as his hand moved away and she'd probably get his profile if she looked at all from the window. "Just think of all the stares you will get your way, Evan, all the stories you could make up on how you got such a goose egg." There was a humorous side to this!

Once they were all in, Jacob closed the door. They were crowded as it were. "I will ride with the Driver, someone I know." Which he could then get the load down on a lot of things, anything going on in this small town and all the way to any news in Boston. Once he was up onto the seat that fitted two, the carriage was off taking them to a nice section of the Port area and the above average hotel call The Swan. Once there, he was down and in before the others were out to procure them rooms and see to a certain mail box kept here. A large manila enveloped was handed over, which he tucked under his arm. A good size regular envelope was handed off to be posted back to Heathfield. By this time the others would be in as keys were handed off. "Meet you in an hour in the dining room." He too was going to soak in a bath and then get into clean clothes.

"Bah.." He raised a hand to wave off Mercy's concerns, but it wasn't too strong of a gesture. He'd hem and haw about it, of course, but in the end would submit to their exam like a good boy. He gave Ciaran a look then Liam the same look at his comments. "You'll both be black and blue if you don't watch out," he growled it but there was a smirk on his lips too. A very slight touch to the huge bump on his head, hopefully it would heal before they got back to Heathfield. He already had some other scars from this trip, namely those claw marks on his chest from that bear. A cursory glance given to the hotel once they arrived, he nodded to Jacob then trooped up to his room. Shedding his clothes which still stank of the river he'd sink into his hot bath with a deep sigh.

Mercy didn't say much more on the trip to the hotel. But she laughed at the comments made. Once they were at the Swan, she hopped out and followed the others in. It wasn't long before she too, was making her way up to her room and the promise of a hot bath.

He just laughed at the threat from Evan, he was happy to be out of the carriage and heading inside. He couldn't help but snicker as a few people looked at the muddy, tired group a bit askance but they'd be presentable soon enough.

Willing contact was strange. Enough so that she looked from the window to her hand where Liam had touched it, then to him just barely in time to see the small smile. It was returned shyly, then back to the window. She was amused by the sibling banter passed back and forth, but when they reached the Swan she was grateful. The promise of a hot bath was enticing even to her, and the chance to get out of cramped quarters was incentive to hop out as she heard the idea to meet for dinner. Sounded good to her, and she was on her way to the room like the rest of the group.

They would each pass the time in their own way, Jacob got a lot accomplished in that hour, from bath to clean clothes to getting them passage on the ship leaving at dawn. He was already in the dining room seeing to a small feast for them from the specials of the day. Roasted chicken, sauteed haddock and a melee of seafood, some in a bisque and some on skewers with chunks of grapes and pineapples. A dinner wine chosen as well water on hand as he awaited the group to come down.

Liam spent his time soaking and for lack of sleep had alerted the chambermaid to make sure he was awake in fifty minutes. The rapping on his door startled him from the soak as the water was beginning to cool anyway and he a prune at this point. He hurried out yelling his thanks as he tried to dry off and get into the clean clothes in five minutes. Obviously it was something he had done enough times before to accomplish it before he was down, hair still wet and curling with drops of water along the tips. Seeing the table laden gave him a second wind. "I'm starved. Do I have to wait for the others?" Rude as it might be and not something he practiced, he was far too tempted as he took bits to sample. "I'll just check to make sure all is on par," as he made his way around the table sampling as he went to finally claiming one of the seats.

Mercy didn't waste a minute of the time she had. She bathed, washed her hair and when the 55 minutes were up, was downstairs, wearing the gown with her hair pulled to the side and falling down over one shoulder. She saw Liam sampling the food but only smiled impishly at him before she moved over to Jacob. "I think I've gotten spoiled from not traveling for a while." She didn't mind camping out and not enjoying the luxuries but it was so nice to have a hot bath and a comfortable bed.

Ciar was tempted to jump in the water, clothes and all, but instead he asked the maid if it were possible to have the clothes cleaned before morning. He bathed, shaved and combed his hair, and even polished his boots before pulling on dry clothes and heading down the steps. Rubbing his hands together, he laughed as his stomach growled. "I think the bear is getting impatient."

Naniko was relieved by the bath! Her normal clothes were in serious need of a bath as well, which she would have to get around to later and hope they were mostly dry by dawn. So she'd have to settle for her other clothes. She'd likely be the last to arrive because she was slow. Red hair gathered at the base of her neck and braided from there, she wore a black qipao with black slippers to match, and quietly joined the others.

Evan, too had dozed off in the bath, head tilting sideways against the porcelain and mouth ajar to admit a steady stream of drool. He woke only when he heard a door slam and footsteps clumping downstairs: Liam. He stumbled out of the bath and into some clothes - pulling on his old shirt before wrinkling his nose at the stench, and fumbling for a clean shirt. He was tucking it into his pants and his hair was still dripping around his face as he hurried into the dining room. "Sorry I'm late.." trailing off as he noticed the massive feast laid out and his eyes widened hungrily.

"You look astounding," quiet words to Mercy as he saw to her seat. One next to his of course. He was greatly amused by Liam showing up still dripping wet as well Evan in near the same condition then Evan. He waited for all to arrive before speaking up. "A feast you all have earned as we head to the final destination of our journey, Boston. We are booked to leave tomorrow morning at six." He started to pass around the plates that they might fill theirs up and be seated before he continued.

His plate was already filling up by the time the others got there. When both Mercy and Nan arrived he stood in all due respect and would see to Nan's chair if she happened to pick the one near his. Attentive to Jacob as he started what sounded like a speech. Usually feasts had such!

Even though the gown was the same one, she was still pleased with the compliment and smiled as Jacob sat beside her. She was glad to see that everyone was in such good spirits, likely because the three brothers felt they were close to the end of  the search. Accepting a plate, she glanced at the others and smiled. They did deserve this.

Ciar ran a hand over his wet hair before he sat, waiting for the ladies to do so first. He glanced at Liam and laughed, knowing he had to be starved too! And once they were all settled, he was sure Jacob would say more. He had already decided once the meal was over, he was going straight to bed.

A small smile given to Liam, she lowered onto the seat he offered and looked at the feast provided, then to Jacob. Taking her plate, she looked over the selection of food; some of which she recognized, some she didn't. So she decided to stick to what she knew. Fruit! "This is very nice." Spoken slowly, trying to better her English.

"Here in Yorktown we have a box," meaning mail box, "which we use for communication and return communication from Heathfield. Laird McDonough has friends in many places and many countries." Which he paused picking up the odd envelope that had the scent of lavender. Pulling it out from the rest, "it would seem there is a letter for you, Evan, included." Which he passed by his nose before passing it to Ciaran to pass down to Evan before continuing. "The most notable event of the year will be taking place two days hence we arrive in Boston. Our timing impeccable it would seem for the Grand Charitable Ball given at the Rochesters. It is also known as the Cinderella Ball for those of all births will get to mingle this one evening as a oath to good faith. We have been sent tickets, which include you as well, Naniko." Obviously the one heading this excursion paid for by the Quinn's, knew of her being hired on. "We are to see Madame Bakenstein who will see to proper attire. She is a good  friend of Birdie's." Which they would not know of but he and Mercy certainly did. "Which says a lot in that if your sister is in Boston she will be at this ball." He raised his glass of wine in toast, "may  the cards fall in your favor."

Evan got a letter? Purple envelope that even he could smell the lavender as it was passed to his brother. Brows went up a few inches and if they could go further they would at hearing of this ball. "Goose eggs and all." Which had him chuckle as he raised his glass to the toast. "Seems we have a date calendar." The ball might prove to be very interesting and hopefully their sister there.

A ball? Well, that was a surprise and a welcome one. If their sister wasn't there, they might get a lead on her at least. "Birdie's friend. Now, wouldn't that be something if he was there." She chuckled then looked thoughtful.  Ball gowns meant all the accessories, and she'd have to think about her hair but that was a few days away and she just wanted to enjoy her meal.

Ciar was busy shoveling food into his mouth though he paused to take the envelope to pass to Evan, after sniffing the scent of lavender.  Niiiiiice. . He hid his laughter by taking a drink but the next part had him lowering his tankard and staring. "A ball? As in getting dressed up, socializing and dancing?" They might have to hunt him down once they reached Boston even with the prospect of Fawn being there.

..what? She looked at Jacob and blinked. "...." She had no idea what they were talking about as far as a ball and all that, so she just decides to eat quietly and watch.

"Cheers," he raised his glass to Jacob's toast, clattering to his seat even as he reached for his fork and knife. He was already shoveling food in when he caught wind of what Jacob said. A letter? He lifted a brow, wiping off his mouth as he took the letter from Evan. He looked puzzled indeed for who would send him a letter? Then he caught that whiff of a familiar scent, one which evoked a sudden flashing image of a pretty girl in his mind. Could it be? He barely heard the talk of the Ball as he ripped the envelope open, hastily but carefully. Unfolding the letter had something spilling onto the table. He picked it up carefully, holding the lock of blonde hair bound by its green ribbon in his hand... holding it like a sacred relic. "It's from Mariah." He said it in a shocked voice, looking up at his brothers but after a blink, disbelief broke into a huge grin. Eyes trained on the letter he pushed away from the table, near tripping on his chair as he went off to read it somewhere a bit more private, the lounge room next door.

Not a word said but the chuckles started to rise like bubbles in boiling water before a true laugh broke through, "something that actually rated over eating." Evan had it bad and would have the good ribbing of his brothers and certainly there would be payback one day. He eyed Ciaran knowingly. He would make sure he went for if he had to go, they all did! Poor Nan, would probably end up ushered into it clueless but it would be a rude awakening. She and Ciaran could hide behind the banquet tables or those large leafy palm plants they always had at such places. Liam would find it all amusing like a grand theater production.

Jacob was done with all he had to say presently and so set to making short work on the delicious meal set in front of him. He would not be long to bed for being tired had caught up. The extra glass of wine also helped. "Mercy, if you would like to take a stroll with me before we turn in?" Rising from his seat with the inquiry. "Naniko, Liam, Ciaran, Evan, I will see you all at dawn." If Evan heard him from the adjacent room. Stepping away from the table in the hope Mercy would join him.

It had become a sort of nightly ritual when they were in places where they could take a walk. She had finished her meal just in time too, it seemed. "Yes, I would. Good night everyone, and tell Evan good night for me, if you could? Rest well." It was a warm night so she'd not need her shawl.

He knew that look from Liam and frowned back at him. He'd go but he wouldn't dance. Hiding would be the thing. Maybe they had an outside garden? "Good night Mercy, Jacob. We'll be sure to tell him once he comes back down to earth." He hoped it wouldn't happen to soon to him. He wanted to enjoy his freedom for as long as possible.

Naniko wouldn't be going anywhere near an event like that. Good chance she'll either find her own entertainment, or a bit of trouble. It's good for her. Finishing what was on her plate, she looked at the others. "Excuse me." She was tired and still had to clean her normal clothes. With a polite nod, she rose and turned to leave.

Evan read that letter quickly first, eating it up like he would have scarfed down that feast, then read it again more slowly to absorb every word. A smile was on his lips throughout, overflowing at some points into chuckles. Finally when he'd read it three times he leaned back in his chair in a happy daze, the lock of hair and letter in one hand, while the other stole into his pocket to touch that moonstone. His meal would grow cold without him but he barely noticed his growling stomach. She was thinking of him! Life was good!

Pleased with the acceptance, which he didn't take for granted, he gave a final dip of his head to the others before leading Mercy away.

He rose from his seat, hunger sated, life was good! Tipped grin he headed outside for a cigarillo before he would head upstairs and sleep. The chambermaid had offered to wash his worn clothing, mend it even, so he would wait for his stomach to settle and she out of the room. Of course he would leave her a tip for doing all that. He figured that was why.



Date: 06-16-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 72

Rodchesters' Cinderella Ball

The time at the museum had been enlightening for both Oisin and Fiona, whatever their thoughts had been on him for how many knew Lord Bradley Harrington? Knew him for various reasons ranging from social status in name alone, a family fortune, his good looks that attracted the women like bees to honey, flies to shit others would say that hated the man. But the most intriguing reason was the politics he was immersed in than have him looking at the flittering butterflies around him. The presenting of the esteem tickets to the Cinderella Ball held by Stuart and Martha (he was on first name basis) Rodchesters was the surprise for the girls. The ball would consists of senators, lawyers, doctors and those behind the movement for independence from England. Bradley provided the funds to see both Oisin and Fiona decked out in Boston's finest. Their gowns of their choosing guided by the expertise of the dressmakers of Macey's. There was fussing and laughing heard from the two girls that only heightened this evening as they were finally gathered to the carriage that brought them to the Rodchesters' Mansion.

The good lady Fiona was all in a flutter as she hurried Oisin out the door, turned back to get a forgotten fan, ushered Oisin out again then turned BACK for a second handkerchief. They were running late to begin with and that only put her into more of a tizzy as they bustled off to the carriage. There was a lot of rustling of silks and whispering of petticoats, for they were indeed bedecked in the finest of gowns. Fiona wore a deep cranberry silk that dipped low (but not TOO low) along her impressive bosom, hugging her waist down to her wide hips then sweeping out in yards of bustled silk to the floor. The color threw an even brighter hue than usual up into her cheeks and a sparkle in her eye. "Hurry, no need to dally!" She was saying as she swept everyone out of the carriage upon arrival.

Adam had informed Bradley that he would meet them at the mansion as he had a few last minute details to deal with. He was there when they arrived, standing just outside the doors though he had been inside briefly. The gates were thrown open and were decorated with cloth-of-gold. The driveway leading to the mansion was lit with many torches, and the scent of roses hung heavy in the air. Each coach stopped in front of the double doors so the footman could open the door of each coach and help any needing assistance out. He was dressed in blue satin livery and wearing a powdered wig as most of the servants did. Ladies in expensive silks and satins, dripping with jewels, and gentlemen in their finest, were then directed into the foyer and from there to the ballroom. Candles were lit in gold candelabras, mirrors behind each giving off more light. White and red roses, both real and made of silk, decorated the ballroom and there were chairs where one could sit to watch. Doors to the outside were open to allow air or for guest to wander the gardens that had torches here and there along the path. Another set of doors had been left open so that guests could step away from the music and enjoy a light meal. Servants wandered about carrying trays of drinks, and there were maidservants to tend to any of the ladies as needed. Adam was watching each carriage as it approached with his usual expression of amusement.

While Fiona was working herself into a tizzy and possibly on the verge of fainting from all the exertion she was putting forth, Oisin was quite content to take her time while running back and forth for this and that which had been momentarily left behind. Oisin was near the point of simply waiting in the hall until Fiona was sure she had everything. Before meeting Bradley, Fiona was gently grasped by an arm to get her attention, and a warm smile given. "Madam you are going to work yourself into an unsightly glisten if you do not slow down. The ball will not end before our arrival. Take a deep breath." To make her point, Oisin took a deep breath, gesturing Fiona to do the same, then they would be on their way to greet Bradley and the carriage. Where Fiona was dressed in a rich, dark shade, Oisin was the opposite. Her gown of soft white satin was fashioned with an empire waist and cap sleeves that rested at the very edge of her shoulders with a scooped neckline. The material over-laid with white mesh sewn with patterns of white and silver beads, complimenting her youthful face with her hair drawn back into twists on either side of her head and beaded netting to hold the twists in place, leaving the length of soft brown curls down her back. With Fiona's instruction, they were all gathered into the carriage with a nod to Bradley.

Wigs were not required although many would wear them. They were at that point of falling from fashion so it was a mixed group of heads. Bradley would forego the wig as they made his scalp crawl as he put it. His attire was of a midnight blue silk offset in light grey. White ruffle shirt beneath the waist jacket, tailored pants and highly polished dress boots. "Ladies, you look resplendent," eyeing Adam waiting outside as the words were spoken while the carriage arrived, the ladies to evacuate with the help of the footmen waiting for that very purpose. Once out, Bradley offered each an arm as they headed up to where Adam stood, arms lowering as they would enter from that point into the hall, once to the end of it they would be announced where the greeter waited. Stuart had wanted Bradley there early for there was a stir which he was informed about. Once arriving, Stuart was right over to whisk him and Adam away for whispers on the matter. Martha doted on the two ladies, distracting them to the table of appetizers and champagne.

Fiona gave Oisin a tart look but nevertheless, obeyed the instruction, drawing in a deep breath that nearly burst her tightly-cinched corset. Breath released quickly before disaster could befall her gown, she gazed up at the mansion eagerly. "Ooooh, look at all the gold, and all the people! Isn't it just like a fairy tale!" And the gushing would continue once greeted by their hostess, Martha. Fiona nearly fell over herself with her gracious compliments to the decorations, the company, the food, everything in sight. It was all genuine for all her fawning. Fiona was living a dream... tonight in this place, any woman no matter how low-born could feel like a princess.

Adam had chosen to wear his dress uniform, though he looked no less splendid. The coat was royal blue with pants that matched. Buttons were gold as was the trim and piping along the sides of his trousers. His hair was pulled back neatly, though he, like Bradley, had done without a wig. Though he carried his hat, it was handed off to a servant before he was dutifully following the ladies.

"You look devilishly handsome, Mr. Harrington." A brilliant smile flashed to Bradley before her attention turned out the window of the carriage to spy the setting of the night and smiled thoughtfully. It was nice to return to something familiar, though she'd undoubtedly enjoyed the adventures they'd come across. If Oisin was impressed by the set up of the evening, it barely showed beyond the attempt to take it all in as they passed into the ballroom. No sooner was their arrival, they were passed off to the hostess of the event, who received compliments on how extraordinary and splendid the entire event appeared thus far.

As with any such elaborate Ball, there were the English fops to attend. The style of Britain and one that stood out amongst the others was Birdie. An orchid waistcoat lined in yellow silk matched the bright yellow tailored pants he wore, ribbons at the ankles over white boots. Shirt was pink with flouncy ruffles but it was the wig worn that would soon have all attention there. Curls upon curls that wrapped around a small bird cage, with only the front exposed, with a real bird in it. It was the detested widow Farley (of Farley and Farley Shipping Enterprise) he was flattering as when he bent his head over the buxom woman where she sat to kiss her hand, a bird dropping landing with a splat on what was exposed of her breast. The shrill scream followed as the monstrous woman was up and moving fast like she never had before, had many turning to smother any sniggles at the sight. Birdie was twittering his apologies but any that really knew this man, would see that devilment in his eyes. Stuart had the band start up the music for dancing to hopefully cover up the scene.

Jacob had received the monies to cover their attire and tickets from Bridie. Birdie would be at the Ball and it meant it would not be dull in the least. Madame Bakenstein was not only good but got them attired in record time. He chose a tan waistcoat, maze ruffle shirt and dark brown pants. He saw to a carriage that ended up late for a wheel that became loose while on its way to The Swan.

There was nothing like getting ready on the fly for a Ball no less. Anticipation was high as Liam got ready in the duds done up for him. He chose a dark brown waistcoat with minute black stripes, black pants and boots with a splash of color in the pale yellow ruffled shirt. A derby worn on top as he was out to wait with Jacob for the carriage to arrive.

Evan would always be more comfortable on horseback than in fancy dress. Nevertheless the man cleaned up well. Madame Bakenstein had set him up with clothes that fit close to perfectly. His pants and waistcoat were deep black, as were his polished boots and cravat. To contrast the dark colors he'd chosen a light green shirt that set off his hazel eyes. He was twirling a bowler hat around in his hands while they awaited their carriage. "Don't see why we can't just walk...."

"Because it is across town and this late at night, dress the way we are, we'd probably get mugged or at least a skirmish," retorted with a grin as he shoulder nudged his brother.

"Sounds more fun than a ball," he muttered but said no more than that.

Liam would agree with that but it wouldn't do well for the plans set. A grunt came under his breath in more a laugh.

Ciar was with his brothers, waiting for the carriage, though he leaned against the wall. His clothing consisted of dark gray pants and matching waistcoat with a lighter satin vest over a pristine white shirt. No hat for him, thank you, but he had his hair pulled back from his face. Black riding boots were nicely polished though he still felt foolish. He didn't say anything as he listened to his brothers, smiling slightly.

It was lucky that the carriage was late for it had taken some time for Mercy to convince Naniko that she should accompany them to the dance. Hopefully, it was the fact that Mercy had finally asked her to do so as a favor so that she wasn't the only female with the four men. She wouldn't feel quite as out-numbered even if they were perfect gentlemen. She had chosen a gown of amber satin that set off the gold in her eyes. The neckline showed just a hint of cleavage and was ruffled with the same satin material. Short sleeved, it allowed her to wear lovely elbow length gloves. She also had a gold and white Spanish shawl and a lovely gold fan as accessories. Madame Bakenstein had added topaz jewelry -- a necklace and earrings to match and of course, her shoes matched as well. Her hair was done up in curls that cascaded from the crown of her head and fell beyond her shoulders. She smiled encouragingly at Nan as they made their way out to join the men.


There had been more than once that Naniko looked at the seamstress like she'd lost her head while the woman attempted to get the foreigner into the normal layers that were customary to the English. Naniko simply did not understand why all the layers and hoop skirts and everything else that went under a dress. Had it not been for Mercy's plea of not wishing to be alone with the men, Nan would have been content to wander herself outside of the town. However, she'd been talked into it. If she was going to be in an environment that was beyond her comfort zone, she was going to fuss over all the layers of attire. It would have to be a compromise though between Nan's comfort and the seamstress's available fashions to come up with something that resembled a qipao with lifted neckline and long, fitted sleeves colored in a pale moss green and wheat gold. Her hair fashioned in a tight braid twisted into a bun, and she was quite obviously rather uncomfortable in the attire. She put on a ... smile...well kind of a smile nonetheless.

Jacob wasn't big on Balls although he had attended some in his sordid past. Seeing Mercy had him up from the lean he'd taken against the way and staring. There was one good reason for a ball and that was to see her attired like this. Everyone else faded into the background. "You look stunning, Mercy, will you accept my escort?" Like she had a choice as he was over to offer his arm. The carriage was finally arriving as the coachman proceeded to give the long detail of being detained. At least they had not been sabotaged, or they had been but it was caught. Had the wheel fallen off while they were inside, who knows who would have gotten hurt. The footman was around to open up the door to the spacious carriage and also to recheck all wheels at Jacob's request.

"Ladies, you look beautiful. Perfect for the Ball tonight." Encouraging smile Naniko's way as he knew this was very foreign to her. It was foreign to a few of them but would be even more so for her. He would enter the carriage after Jacob, Mercy and Naniko.

Evan turned to greet the ladies when they emerged, and a slow appreciative smile spread across his lips. Mercy was lovely and he almost didn't recognize Nan in all her getup, but she looked just as beautiful. "Ladies. You take my breath away," there was that hint of the famous Charmer but his smile was genuinely warm. He'd follow to the carriage, offering a hand to help Nan up into it, and giving her a wink and look as if to say that he shared her discomfort. Up to find a seat on the bench and they'd be off.

Ciaran let out a low whistle as the ladies appeared, though they likely wouldn't hear it. He smiled at them both, and nodded. "Aye, I have to agree with my brothers. You both look lovely." He waited for everyone to enter the carriage and slid in last. Luckily the ride wouldn't be horribly long.

Mercy nearly laughed at the way the four men looked at them and yes, she was pleased with both Nan's appearance and her own. She offered a dimpled smile to Jacob as he was over. "Thank you, gentlemen and you all look very handsome this eve. Of course, Jacob." She slid her arm through his as he escorted her to the coach then smiled again. Not only would the ball be lovely, but what they might find out there.

Naniko offered a smile to Liam and to Evan, more so Evan for his wink of understanding. She could agree that Mercy looked fantastic, but she looked like she was born for it. Nan...not so much. She'd feel more comfortable naked than in this get up. The men looked handsome though, and she took a moment to look each over before entering the carriage behind Mercy, taking the offered hand from Evan with a hint of blush, not used to such gestures.

"It's a pity one golden haired lass wasn't with us. I wonder how she would look dressed for a ball." Although the wondering was more for his brother's sake as he made eye contact with Evan before climbing in and taking up a seat across from Jacob, Mercy and Nan.

All said and done they were finally on their way. They would be over an hour and a half late but Jacob wasn't too concerned. Balls like these had people that stayed the whole duration and others that showed up fashionably late, the greeter would stay at his station announcing right up to the end of the Ball if necessary. There were not as many carriages about by the time they arrived, no line to wait in as they pretty much pulled right up front. Only one other before them and none behind. Once there, the Footman assigned opened up the door to assist the ladies and even any male that needed some, like the older more feeble ones.

Which had Evan socking Liam in the shoulder with one balled fist. Though there was an irresistible grin that came boyishly to his lips at the thought. Indeed he wished that certain lass could be here, and reached a hand into his waistcoat pocket where her moonstone rested, next to his heart. A thought and prayer sent winging across the ocean to where she waited, and then they were at the mansion. Out he climbed and again offered his hand to Mercy and Nan if they needed it, then mockingly offered a hand to Ciaran as well along with a bow.

Mercy wasn't sure whose hand to take as the Footman stepped back. She laughed softly, allowing Jacob to help her though she winked at Evan in thanks. She looked at the mansion and whispered, "I'm impressed," to Jacob, though she kept her voice low enough so only he could hear.

Ciaran looked at Evan's hand, then, with nose in air, pretended to allow his brother to help him down. "So very kind, sir." He sniffed as he stepped past then laughed. Clearing his throat, he waited for the ladies to go in first and he'd follow Evan. Maybe he could spot a way out.

Once more the offered hand was taken and Nan stepped out of the carriage to look at the decorations and the people and everything in general, and just sort of staggered there for a moment. Not that formal events didn't happen where she was from, but they weren't much like this, really. Did she really have to go in? She waited for Mercy and Jacob to lead the way and came up behind them at a distance, feeling as though her heart would be the death of her beating in her throat at the moment.

Jacob was right there to offer Mercy a hand down and to keep it upon his arm as they started off towards the door. "Keep alert, there are things afoot." Which the men would understand that it may not necessarily be safe even for a Ball with all the political intrigues of late in the Colonies. Once within they would be announced to all within the Ball room if they were paying attention. "Their lordships Jacob Anderson, Liam and Ciaran Quinn, Evan Hunt, Ladies Mercy LaCorte and Naniko."

"It wont be so bad," Nan would hear his voice low by her ear as he offered his arm in escort as he caught up, Mercy and Jacob just ahead. "I think Evan wishes to escort Ciaran anyway.." adding a bit of humor for the antics of Evan at the carriage. Music filled the air as one could tell they were dancing and had been dancing. Food was already out on the banquet tables as some lingered there instead. Although most were watching those that were out on the dance floor.



Date: 06-16-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 73

"I'll let you know if I find an escape route," he leaned over to say out of the side of his mouth as he passed by Liam and Nan. The poor girl seemed horrified and he couldn't blame her. "Well, here goes," that to Ciaran as he took his bowler from his head and handed it over to a steward who was there to collect hats and coats. A hand smoothing back unruly brown locks that would likely be flopping in his face again after a few dances. Entering the 'fray', he tried to stick close to the rest of the group but it wasn't long before he was sucked up by the crowd... and drawn inexorably towards the gleaming table of delicious-smelling food.

Mercy looked up at Jacob briefly then looked forward and smiled slightly as they were introduced. It had been sometime since she had been to a ball and though she didn't show it, she truly was impressed by it all. She also was worrying that Nan would feel overwhelmed. A few looked their way but most were too busy with other things.

Ciaran near groaned out loud when he saw all the people here. At least they had food, and an escape to the outdoors, though likely it was only to a walled garden. He decided the best bet would be to wander along the walls and eventually make his way to the food.


Naniko looked first to Liam, unsure that she agreed that it wouldn't be so bad, but took the offered arm, then looked over to Evan with a nod. "Very much, I would appreciate." Spoken with a lean towards Evan as they entered and were introduced. No longer did she feel out of place, but very intimidated by the amount of people gathered and everything going on. She would very soon be looking for an exit!

At that particular point, Oisin had been swept around the dance floor by Bradley, who so kindly asked her to join him and was appreciating the time away from introductions and other formalities. Conversation at the moment was minimal due to the dancing and enjoying of the music played, and barely over the noise volume of the room did she hear the announcements of those still arriving. There were three names, though, that could not be mistaken nor missed, as it seemed those very names were the entire reason she'd left home. Out of the blue, she stopped, looking up at Bradley wide eyed and bright. "Did you hear those names just announced?!"


There was a commotion going on as after the Widow decided to make her leave and Birdie slipped out into the gardens, he came across an armed man he knew to be one of the English Royal Assassins. Perhaps one saw a wig go flying by one of the windows down along the stretch of gardens not so lit up. A section away from the favored walks the lovers liked to take. A man rushed in to take Stuart aside, who really could not leave the Ball, orders given as the other man was quick to leave and a few to drag away the assassin to another location where he would be interrogated later.

Bradley had intended to dance with Oisin as one of the dance songs he recognized became the very chance to do so. Although an accomplished dancer, the was not up on the latest ones for his time spent on other intrigues. He noticed the commotion and knew by instinct what must be happening, knowing Stuart would tell him later when he could. As focus had originally been on Oisin, it had been averted until she asked him a question as she stopped. First he had briefly wondered if he had stepped on her foot. Luckily he had not even for the distraction. Stopped now he blinked with the question as his mind whirled back. "Anderson and Quinn I believe. LaCorte and Hunt." He had a thing for names that even distracted, another part of his brain picked up on those names.

Liam escorted Naniko right over to the banquet table in case there was something she'd like to eat or drink. He noticed the skirmish but whatever was its cause, it seemed it was being taken care of without further incident. Although he became more alert just in case. "If you'd like to dance, I will gladly see you to a spin around the floor." Realizing she might take that literally, "a dance out there.." with a slight gesture of hand to the dance floor.

Jacob didn't waste any time getting Mercy to the dance floor and over to the window where they might see anything going on outside.

Fifi had coaxed Captain Smith into a dance, 'just one dance' she had put it as she offered the man a beguiling smile... which had become another dance then another. She was laughing freely as they gave a twirl about, one hand holding the ends of her skirt up, the other resting on the much taller man's shoulder.

Evan meanwhile had made himself quite comfortable at the banquet table. An overloaded plate in one hand, fork in the other, he shoveled the grub in with only enough neatness to keep from getting anything on his new clothes. A few girls were clustered nearby, giggling behind their fans and trying to catch his eye, but he seemed to not notice them or else determined to ignore them.

Adam didn't mind having a few dances with Fifi though he would have to break away eventually and dance with a few others. He did notice the commotion but didn't let on as he smiled at the laughing woman. He did quite enjoy dancing and it showed in how well he did so.

Mercy was curious to see what was happening. She looked at Jacob, then motioned to the window. "It seems your caution was right."

Ciar chuckled as he watched Evan ignore the lasses trying to flirt. He helped himself to a few things, then headed well out of the way of any dancers, fanners, or arm bumpers but still he could see the dance floor well enough to watch. He might even consider dancing later after the bear was fed.

Nan looked at Liam, then out to the dance floor with the gesture and shook her head. "Thank you, but no. Many people. Too many." Way too many, but she smiled some, grateful for the offer. She would be fine keeping the food safe as she eyed the outside and the commotion for a moment.

If possible, Oisin's eyes lit up with a bright, genuine smile. "Yes! Quinn and Hunt!" She gripped him tightly for a moment with all the excitement she contained. "I have to find  them!" As rude as it might have appeared, that was not her intention in the least, but at least she didn't leave him standing there. Her hand still clasped in his, she turned to start weaving her way through those dancing towards the doors, up on her toes to try and peek over shoulders and heads to see if would be able to identify those with names she recognized.

Bradley had no recognition of the names but as she kept her hand in his, he went right along with her. Would have anyway for the disturbance and was acting bodyguard although she had no idea he was doing so. He gave a quick glance towards Adam as there seemed to be something up he was not quite sure of. "How do you know these surnames then, Oisin?" Maybe he could find out something as they moved through the dancers then off the dance floor and through the crowd as she searched.

Liam was taller than most as were his brothers. With Naniko's refusal he gave her room, not wishing to crowd her either. He got himself a plate and was about to eat as he turned to watch the crowds, there he caught sight of a dark haired lass that struck a chord. "Ciaran!" Pointing with his fork that had food dangling off the end of it towards the woman making her way through the crowds dragging a man with her.

"Birdie is out there, shall we go see if we can be of any assistance?" He would also get to touch basis with the esteem man in drag. No one ever suspected the fop! A hand sliding down around her waist as he would keep her close through the crowd before escaping down the vacated corridor and a door leading out to the garden where he saw the men. There were guards posted at various exits to keep the guests from wandering the mansion to rooms off limits. The guard would let him pass once his name was given.

In his feeding frenzy Evan had lost track of the others, and glanced up from a now-empty plate to see none of his group. Though those three girls were still there, giggling and batting their fans. Evan gave them a nod and brief smile in passing, "Ladies," and as he walked there was a flurry of squeals and hushed whispers behind him. He grinned and shook his head. The commotion had caught his attention too and he just barely saw Jacob heading out one of the exits, and decided to follow suit. Completely oblivious that his brothers had caught sight of one particular person.

Fi wouldn't pout... too badly when Captain Smith went to see to other guests. She did notice that he seemed a tad distracted as they danced. "What is it?" Trailing off as she followed his gaze to where Bradley was passing by. Or rather, being dragged by, by Oisin herself. Eyes widened, she'd have to remind that girl later that dragging men about the ballroom was hardly proper... but for now curiosity won out. "Whatever has gotten into you?" She called after her charge.

"I'm not sure." He watched Bradley and Oisin and chuckled, "shall we follow and see?" The other ladies could wait, this was far more intriguing. Without waiting for an answer, he offered his arm then led her after the two.

Mercy nodded, eyes bright. "Why am I not surprised that he's here." She wouldn't mind finding out why though and kept her curiosity tempered as they headed for the garden.

Ciaran heard his brother and looked where he was pointing, then put down his nearly emptied plate. With a nod to anyone who was near, he headed toward the young woman and the man she was dragging, meaning to intercept her. As he grew closer, that same feeling that had struck his brother, struck him.

Nan appreciated the space, though she hoped she'd not offended Liam in any way. She hadn't wanted to come off rude or any such thing, but this was just beyond her realm of comfort. A small plate was picked up with a few finger-foods but kept close, soon following Liam's attention curiously when he called out to his kin.

"My brothers!" Called back over her shoulder with a split glance as she pardoned and excused herself through the crowd. She'd been on her way towards the steward but then vaguely heard Liam call out to Ciaran and turned in the direction she thought she heard the call from. "Ciaran! Liam!" All else lost at the moment, that same nagging feeling that she'd had at home guiding her through the crowd to be met by Ciaran. Bradley was released from the death-like grip on his hand so she could all but jump into Ciar's arms, wrapping her arms around his neck. She couldn't forget any of their faces no matter how much time had passed.

Liam was at a different location that had him a spilt few seconds after Ciar in reaching Oisin. "Lord above! It is you." Tears clouding his vision as those around luckily took steps back as the three became a little welcoming group. Whispers between a few in wondering. Ciar would not have her long as he would follow to get in a good squeezing bear hug.

"Brothers? Grand!" Maybe a little shocked too as once she released his hand he stopped short of the three and watched. A slow grin starting to beam. Although his Uncle and Aunt would be a little heartbroken, they would be very happy for her too. There would be changes now that she was reunited with her brothers.

It turned out that there was more than one man, Birdie disclosed to Jacob and Mercy. Wig was gone and so was his waistcoat as one of the staff brought him out a dark cloak to cover  the rather bright clothing. He was going to head over to the hidden location they had brought the three men to help interrogate. "I can fill you in later, please go back in and enjoy the ball." So no more would be drawing the attention of the guests to this incident. Also, Birdie would need to keep his cover here in the Colonies as he did in England. It was only in Heathfield he could be his real self.

"Nice night out here, we'll return but not too quickly." Clasping a hand on Birdie's shoulder as he would not detain him any longer. They would talk soon he was sure. "Shall we take a stroll, Mercy?" Turning to the beautiful woman at his side.

"I suppose - oh!" That added as she was whisked away whether she agreed or not. Though clearly she didn't mind from her giggling. She wove her way through the crowds with the Captain, coming to a stop abruptly before the hugging group of three. At first she was outraged at the strange men all but tackling her dear sweet charge. Then one of them pulled back enough for her to see his face, and there was a tug of familiarity there. Recognition, though she'd never met him. He looked like Oisin... and she suddenly knew what this meant. She went very still beside the Captain, transfixed and staring in shock.

"Hunt. Evan Hunt." He repeated his name again for the guard at the door, but no use.... his name was simply not on any list that allowed him to get through that door. Craning his neck to see past the guard, he finally gave up with a harrumph and turned back to face the ballroom. Now what. He could go eat some more, he supposed... or try to escape elsewhere. He didn't even see his brothers at the moment to nag. Just as he was standing there a bit lost he was accosted by that same gaggle of girls as before. Now surrounded he was walled in by their flirting and giggling and reached up to scratch the back of his neck with an uneasy chuckle.

Ciaran blinked in surprise then hugged his sister tightly, burying his face against her hair. Hopefully without causing damage. "Fawn... " he whispered, "is it really you? Thank God." He held her as Liam joined them then finally stepped back so Liam could have his chance. Suddenly aware that Evan wasn't with them, he looked around for that brother and when he spotted him, waved him over. Maybe that would offer a way out.

"Well, I'll be ... " There was no doubt in Adam's mind what was happening and he chuckled as he watched the reunion. Quite unexpected but not unwelcome.

She smiled at Birdie, glad to see he was all right but understood his need to wait. A nod was given to the man then she looked at Jacob. "A walk would be nice." They'd have a surprise waiting for them when they went back inside.

Nan stood in silent confusion for the moment with a tilt of her head. The moment seemed a family one despite the atmosphere and it was a good chance for her to sneak away into the gardens or somewhere equally more comfortable. It wasn't hard to sneak away.

Oisin hugged onto Ciar like he might disappear and smiled. "I can't believe you're here." Whispered back with a few slipping tears, she looked at Liam then for the same sisterly hug, almost unbelieving that they were both there. When he waved for Evan, she leaned off some, looking at them both. "You're both so...healthy!" And followed Ciar's attention, but was too short to spot Evan.

Liam hugged her dearly, "we never forgot nor gave up and now, now I can hug and hold you again. Fawn, little Fawn." He was getting choked up so words faltered there as well the hug to end. "We should go back to where we are staying, they have a lounge where we can talk. We will see to a room for you there for I've a million questions that span the years we were separated." He too had spotted Evan with women surrounding him and a slight shake of his head. Fawn would learn soon that Evan was her half brother. "Evan, over here!" Giving him verbal reason to escape.

It turned out there was no real secluded place to get Mercy alone. Each attempt that had him stop and step to her closer, another couple would show up or even a group and linger. He finally gave up as it was getting late, "would you like something to eat and a dance before it is time to leave?" Guiding her back in the direction of the doors that would lead them back inside.


Bradley stood there glued to the spot and that smile to remain. He knew how much this meant to Oisin. A glance given Fifi with a wink in sharing the moment as well a look given Adam as he ended up next to the pair. "There will be changes.."


Fifi was still blinking, a stunned look lending a mask to her features. Finally she blinked one last time and swallowed, hard. A breath drawn as a smile was put upon her lips, and she stepped forward to meet the strangers who meant so much to her little girl. "Well. Are these the wild geese we have been chasing?"

He saw the waving out of the corner of his eye and was relieved. "Ahhh, I'm very sorry ladies but I'm being summoned, excuse me," and he extricated himself from the disappointed girls to make long strides over to his friends. "Thanks mates, I owe you o...." trailing off mid-word as he caught sight of the girl that they were surrounding. At first he only blinked in confusion and then recognition crept over his face. Surprise and joy soon to follow. "My God...!" And he started to laugh, unceremoniously grabbing Oisin up in a bear hug that he quickly aborted so as not to crush her. Setting her back down to her feet to grin down at her, the same boyish grin he'd always had. But there were tears in his eyes too. Until this moment he hadn't been really sure whether she was alive or not. "You're a woman," that was all he managed to get out.



Date: 06-16-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 74

Ciaran was grinning from ear to ear, though when he heard another female voice he turned to look at her a moment. "If you mean, are we her brothers, yes we are. I'm Ciaran, that's Liam and this is Evan. And you are?" He was being polite because he was so happy though he was beginning to think they should leave as well. They were drawing a lot of attention.
Adam didn't say anything as he was listening to it all and taking everything in. He looked at Bradley and nodded. Yes, it would change things and hopefully for the better.

Well, she was a bit disappointed but smiled and nodded. "A dance would be almost as nice." She teased. As they walked back inside, the small group couldn't help but be noticed. "Jacob, look there."

The smile remained, she brushed away the tears of joy as Liam made his offer, almost having forgotten about her own companions and company. She looked over to Fi, then was quickly swept up by Evan. The bear hug returned to him as much as she could. Returned to her feet, she grinned at him. "And you're...not." Hiding her laugh, she looked to Fiona again and rushed to her side. Her hand grabbed between both of Oisin's, she moved her forward closer to her brothers as Ciar gave introduction. "Madam Fiona, my Governess. She's come with me all this way to find you all." Lovingly she looked at her brothers and Evan, then to Liam. "We have rooms not too far from here." Remembering her manners, she motioned to the other two gentlemen who were with them. "Captain Adam Smith and Bradley Harrington, my cousin."

"Yes she has, all grown up and beautiful," certainly he was prejudice but that went with the territory. Dark eyes turned upon the outspoken one that was with their sister. Dashing smile to follow as Ciar introduced them. "Pleasure to meet anyone our sister calls friend, or governess, Madame Fiona." A touch of merriment lit up dark brown eyes that shifted when he greeted the men, "well met Captain Smith and Bradley."  Of course he would wonder on how Bradley was her cousin but once they got to talk, all would be enlightened.

Bradley shook hands with the brothers. "She had hoped against hope that you were still alive and I'm very pleased for all concerned that you are." He would not hold them up, leaving them to get reacquainted although spoke up on one more point of interest. "We have flats and I'll be staying at mine although not until later." He and Adam had some places to visit, some people to talk to. "Stay at the Swan and as much time as you need, Oisin, you know where you can contact me when needed. I sent a missive home to your parents and will send another to update them unless you wish to send such instead?"

Jacob had returned with Mercy in time to see the reunion and so got something to eat while watching from a discreet distance. He would then see to a dance or two before the night faded away and their chance with it.

Madame Fiona looked all three boys up and down with a stern eye, the kind of glance that might make them subconsciously straighten up and look contrite... a very schoolmarm-ish look. Then she relented with a smile. "Well. I hope these lads are worth the long journey. It's a pleasure to meet you all."

Evan had to sniff those 'manly tears' away but he was just beaming as he glanced between them all. He kept looking at Oisin too and grinning, almost as if surprised each time that she was still standing there.

Ciar stayed close to Oisin, even with the look her companion gave him. He gave her a boyish smile though, trying to be disarming. "Aye, it's good to know that she's in such good hands." He winked at Fawn then shook his head. "You grew into quite a beauty, little sister."

Adam shook each man's hand as well and nodded. "I'll be on my ship most of the time, or the lads there will know where to find me. Gentlemen, I'm truly am pleased that you found one another." Instead of having to hunt all over Boston.

"I will write them." She nodded her thanks to Bradley. It was better that her parents read it from her than from anyone else, knowing that they expected this journey to be for naught and the whims of young woman. She was all smiles,  even to what Fiona spoke, but then realization dawned on Fawn and she looked to her companion and governess with a fading smile. "Madam.." She felt bad that Fiona had come all this way and would feel worse if she felt that she had to stay with Oisin now that she'd found her brothers.

Fiona, too was trying to come to grips with what this meant, for her. If Oisin planned to stay here with her brothers, where would Fiona go? She could return to England but without Oisin, there really was no place for her in the Harrington household. Still, she put on a reassuring smile for her charge. "Oh now, don't give me that look. Plenty of time to sort things out later.. after you've had a chance to enjoy your reunion." Another brave smile as she reached out only briefly to gently smooth a stray tendril of Oisin's hair.

Liam straightened but not so much out of fear of schoolmarm look upon the one. More a devilish smile and glint to dark eyes. Perhaps he read their looks as he would start up the conversation that was in need, "we no longer live in the colonies. A rather long, exciting in a way, story that we can tell of another time but it does have us moved in with our cousins in Heathfield lands. The family is prospering there and I am hoping that you will come with us little Fawn to be family again. Your surrogate parents are welcome to come any time or you to visit them and Lady Fiona, whatever she would like, to go back to England or to stay with you and come with us." Hoping that Fawn would come stay with her brothers as too many years were lost between them already.

Both Bradley and Adam had as much spoken their farewell, leaving Fawn with Fiona to be under the care of the brothers while they slipped out. In the least, they knew where to find him, in the hardly used flat next to theirs he'd gotten.

Jacob noticed that Naniko was missing as well the two with Oisin leaving and so he would convince Mercy into slipping away with him to spend some quality alone time which they had rarely gotten.

There was so much he had to say, so many questions but he just stayed silent, suddenly overwhelmed by it all and there were too many people looking on to suit him. He smiled again at both Fawn and Fiona then glanced around. Mercy and Jacob were off together and he didn't see Nan anywhere so she likely sneaked out. Looking at Liam, he almost felt like a young lad. "Can we go talk somewhere else?"

The smile was only mildly reassuring. She still worried, knowing that this was not home to Fiona, but she could make it home with enough effort. Hearing Liam, she nodded and took Fiona's hand. "Madam, come with us? My life would not be the same without my best friend. You and I, surely we can find something suiting for us both and see this as a new chapter to both our lives?" She agreed that they should go elsewhere. There was a great deal going on around them. A warm smile to Fiona. "Come with us, acquaint yourself with my brothers. You are as much my family as they are."

They had attracted attention from various guests at this Ball. Which Liam took note of now as this interest had not waned either by a number of them still looking on. He cleared his throat with a charming smile to follow. "Aye, let us be back to the Swan where we can talk our concerns and catching up privately." A pointed look given to a group of gentlemen in particular that were all but staring at the ladies. He caught hold of one of the staff to have them bring around their carriage. "Shall we?" Offering an arm to his sister and her governess to escort them out. Yes, he had heard his brother! A pointed look given Evan as he had news too to share and definitely a blood related part of this family now.

Evan caught Liam's look and gave a slight nod. All in good time. God knows they had plenty to tell each other, but there was plenty of time to share it. A good feeling and he smiled again as he prepared to leave with the others. Likely it had been the best Ball of his life... and he hadn't even danced!

"Oh, my..." Now she really was going to cry. A hand lifting to fan her face as she blinked away the tears rapidly. Oisin's words touched her heart deeply... and she knew really it was the only choice. Swallowing hard she nodded and finally spoke, "Yes, well, I don't want you going about this Heathfield dressed sloppily and you are hopeless without me..." Giving Oisin a brilliant smile then and taking the offered arm to exit.

Dark eyes rolled slightly at the accusations that she'd dress sloppily. Oisin never dressed sloppily, but she had been known to dress comfortably. Especially when dashing away from the house to spend some time in the freedom of the woods. But she was ecstatic that Fiona agreed to go with them and took Liam's arm with a bright smile. "Let us depart then!" Ignorant or ignoring the looks that they were getting, she smiled to Evan and Ciaran, bending an arm for either of them to take. "We have so much to catch up on."

That would be Ciaran's privilege. He gave Evan a grin as he stepped up and slid his arm through Oisin's. Then he looked at her and nodded, "Aye, we do at that." More than she realized!  He cut a dangerous look at the men who were staring then ignored them. No point in starting a fight tonight.

They got some looks but who cared at this point. This night was one to be remembered as it was the first day of the rest of their lives. Once more a turn but this one for the better as they all linked arms and headed out for the carriage. He would see to both ladies getting within then in with his brothers, literally both. The driver was given the destination and once they were all settled, he tapped behind him to let the driver know. They were on their way which would only take a half hour's time across town with little traffic this time of night. Once arrived at The Swan the footman would be around to open the door, Liam would get out first so that he could assist both sister and governess out.


Fiona alighted the carriage with all the delicacy of a lady, despite her rather broad size. Evan soon to follow and he even offered his arm to Fi to step into the Swan.

A bit of chitchat along the way for the ride, but news and stories were saved for when they were settled comfortable at the Swan. After entering the carriage, Fawn's hand not for one second left Fiona's, just as the smile never left her face. Once they arrived, she let Fifi go first and followed her out with a deep breath. Truly, a new life had been allotted them and she was thrilled with all the possibilities and knowing that her brothers were right there with her.

During the time they were in the carriage, Ciar kept watching Fawn, at times reminding himself not to stare and make her feel uncomfortable. Maybe he should pinch himself? He was out of the carriage after the others, tossing the footman a coin and telling him to share a drink with the driver. Then he followed the rest of the family inside.

Liam saw the ladies in along with his brother's escort of Fiona. Once inside he procured a private lounge for their use. Drinks and a platter of finger foods would be brought in being they had not eaten at the Ball. He too had not danced but then there had not been anyone to dance with being Evan had hogged the attention of the three single sisters and Nan didn't wish to! Of course he would get Evan later with such accusations when in reality he had been better at avoiding such attention. The couches that faced each other along with a few chairs, arranged for a group sitting, would be made use of. Once all settled he would start, "Fawn, tell us how you have been near a decade away from us. Were you taken care of, were you happy?" She seemed to be at least presently.

Just as long as Liam NEVER mentioned those girls in front of Mariah. Or else he'd kill him, brothers or not! Evan escorted the much shorter Lady Fi into the lounge, seeing her seated comfortably, just like a gentlemen ought. He was on his best behavior, having seen how close the Governess was to their sister. She seemed an important woman to make friends with in their new life! Though one whose approval seemed difficult to earn.

Fifi merely nodded her thanks when she settled herself in the chair Evan brought her to, though she did like how polite he seemed to be. Never could tell though. Fi was happy to hold Oisin's hand until released and listened quietly for now, still absorbing the whole evening.

Fawn followed into the Swan and finally into the lounge and took her seat across from Fi so that they could all gather in a mingle fashion. Happy wasn't the word that could have properly described how she felt as she looked at her brothers and to Evan. There truly wasn't a word to describe how she felt right now. Her smile turned to Liam. "I was well taken care of and have been happy with the exception of wonder of my brothers and their dearest comrade." To Evan, of course. "Madam has been with me all these years in the home of a family that took me in as their own and saw to everything I needed. Mother and Father have been most kind to me. And what of you all? How did you come to live in Heathfield, and how did you come to be here?!"

That would rule out his attention upon Lady Fifi then too? Boy, Liam had ammunition if ever needed. There were some other incidences along the way to start calling his brother, Don Juan. "We have cousins that have moved to Heathfield from my understanding it stems back to our mutual great or even great great grandfather. We were to.. well, I will let Ciaran tell the story for he is much better than I in such.." Which wasn't really the case but he was near starving so started in eating that which was brought.

Ciar was more interested in a drink than food though he had enough presence of mind to eat a little bit before drinking any ale. He did think to bring one of the trays over for Oisin and Fiona before serving himself too. And he looked at Liam, brows lifting then cleared his throat. "Well, we started to search for you as soon as we made our way back to the village and learned you were alive. After father's funeral of course. Traveled all over and finally ended up in Barbados. We were forced to do work for an English lord," he cleared his throat since the two had been in England, then continued, "And sent to Heathfield to kidnap one of our cousins. Instead we made our way there, and spoke to him, then headed back to Barbados with him and his brother." He considered a moment but decided to not tell how they had sometimes acted as mercs. "Once that was all straightened out, and it turned out, the lord had at one time been a friend of our cousin, whose name is Eion, we went back to Heathfield. We were put in touch with private investigators from there, whom you'll meet later, and came back here. We talked to old Walter Huston in Williamsburg and he said you were going to Boston and here we are."

Evan returned Fawn's smile as she referred to him as 'dearest comrade', which wasn't exactly the full story now... causing a brief sheepish look but he held that news for now. Instead he stuffed a few of the tiny snacks into his mouth and let Ciaran do the explaining... or synopsis really. Telling the entire tale would be a work of hours and days.

There'd likely be plenty of questions on both parts so yes, he kept it as short as possible.

Well, while she was totally enthralled by the entire story, and completely ignoring food or drinks at the moment, she quirked a brow at Ciar and tilted her head. "You were meant to kidnap one of our cousins? Did you know he was our cousin? Why were you kidnapping him?" She of course was saddened by the news of their father. It took a moment to sink in and come to realization, she took a deep breath and eased back against her seat, looking down at her hands for a moment before looking back to Ciar.

He ate some as he listened, his thoughts going within on a lot of things as he was not really needed here. His features schooled instead as a few shots of whiskey followed the bits of food.

"You didn't know about Da?" Ciar frowned as he placed the tray back. "We were wondering when we heard his last name. The story is long, but Eion thought this friend was dead and it was his fault." Not telling her about the sister because he felt Fawn was too innocent! "The friend wanted him to know that he wasn't dead. Eion had been framed for a robbery and put in prison and it turned out it was to keep him safe." The last was said with a touch of sarcasm.

"We had no idea we had relations in Heathfield, or anywhere else really," Evan put in. Only after a few seconds did he catch that he had used the pronoun, We. It actually surprised HIM that it had slipped out... or that he was beginning to think of it that way. But he held his tongue in case Fawn hadn't noticed. He did notice Fiona lifting a brow at him though.



Date: 07-02-10
Poster: Ciaran Quinn
Post # 75


Liam finally spoke up after eating enough to appease his appetite. "The night grows late and we'll have plenty of time during the trip by ship to Heathfield for it will take two weeks or more. So much to catch up on but I prefer leaving this place as soon as we are able. I'm sure you will have need to pack your things and contact anyone of importance, Fawn and Fifi. I will see to getting us passage on the ship back and if Jacob as well Mercy plan to go back with us." Being he was the oldest it was left for him to make such decisions. Although he would leave them to tie up all ends needed too. Liam had been too tired to catch the fact Evan used 'we' in speaking with Fawn.

Despite how content Fawn was to sit with her brothers and catch up on things that had passed during their time apart, she too was tired. A nod given in agreement to what Liam spoke, she took a moment longer to look over her brothers, and Evan of course. She wasn't sure she had ever really been so happy.  She might have been able to sit there all night, just to make sure that having found them wasn't anything more than just a dream of her heart's longing, but sleep was calling to her, and more than likely Fifi would be ushering her off soon enough. Up from her seat, she gave each a kiss on the cheek. "Until morning."

Evan was a bit relieved that Fawn had not noticed his misstep of speech. Certainly he wanted her to know that he was more than just her brothers' friend, now... but all in good time. There was more than enough of time for that on their way back home.  Home.... it felt strange to think of Heathfield that way, but they say home is where the heart is. Evan reached up to ruffle Fawn's hair lightly when she leaned down to kiss him, much as he had done when she was little. This followed by a grin. "G'night, wee Fawn."  Though she was not so wee, not anymore.

For her part, Fiona was standing by, and yes, waiting to whisk her young charge off to bed. "It's been a long day. You ought to get some rest for all the talking you'll do on the morrow." A knowing smile was offered as she held out an arm towards Oisin, and would wrap that arm around the girl when she came. A nod given to all of them. "Have a pleasant night and sweet dreams."


Ciarán was awake enough that he did catch the slip, but he kept his reaction to himself and didn't even glance Evan's way.  Since he had been smiling so much, it didn't really matter but he was curious what Fawn's reaction would be.  Not that it really mattered -- no matter how she reacted, it wouldn't change things.  He stood as she approached him, returned the kiss to her cheek and giving her a hug.  "Good night, Fawn. Sleep well and have happy dreams."  Once he released her, and Fiona ushered her off, he looked at his brothers. "Guess it's time we do the same."  He wasn't sure he would fall asleep right away but they had a busy day tomorrow and he'd at least try.


The day had not only been long but exhausting for them all. Rest was needed in spite of wanting the moment to last after all these years. He snagged Oisin before Fifi could rush her off, hugging her up tight, "sleep well little Fawn," words quiet by her ear. "Until morning," stepping away with a smile turned on Fiona as she seemed to have become an important part of his little sister's life. A new life to begin for all of them but one Liam felt would not only be best but good. There was a lot to talk about and a lot to do in the days ahead of them. A lot to share and Liam would be thanking any gods above that had brought them back their sister. Morning came all too quickly as it had been late they got to bed. Liam was up early nonetheless as he was out to secure them passage on the next ship heading for Heathfield. One was leaving on the next day giving them a day to do anything needed. He ran into Jacob who was also securing passage for he, Mercy and possibly Nan as the lass had not given him an answer if she would be coming with them. Jacob had encouraged her to come unless she had a different destination. They would all have dinner this night together to discuss anything left that needed to be.


The ship was late getting into port but the trip itself wasn't bad considering how long it took. A good two weeks out at sea and Liam was wanting some real food. Instead of heading to the Quinn manor and waking anyone up, he opted to stay at the Thistle, as well the others. The motley crew, for certainly they looked as such at this point came piling in, weary and worn.

A thick fog had rolled in with the stars this evening, accompanied by a drizzle that was so fine, one couldn't really justify a raincoat. It was more like walking through a mist but Evan relished it. After weeks at sea on a moldering boat, able to wash only with salt water, the mist felt wonderfully cleansing. The others might be weary and worn but he was refreshed, ready for a drink as he came tromping in with the others. "I wonder what's on for dinner tonight," he was already asking before halfway in.

Fawn was....ecstatic! Happy to be off the boat and happy to be here where her brothers had claimed their new home. She was eager to meet the others that shared their surname, and slightly disappointed that they would be staying at inn, but it was understandable. So, with a brilliant smile, she followed on Evan's heels into the Thistle, prodding his back with one finger. "Liver and onions." Teasing him, she was happy for the drizzle. It washed away the feeling of salty crust from being on the salty waters. Though the cover was nice too.

Maggie was there of course to greet any guests, apron tied about her waist and dark locks pinned half-up in a couple different braids. She was currently sweeping near the bar but glanced up automatically at the sound of the door. And she actually did a visible double-take when she saw who came in. "The Quinn cousins, you're back! I was beginning to wonder whether we'd see your hides 'round here ever again..." A warm smile on her lips, and they even looked to be all in once piece too. There was a girl she did not recognize with the lads and Maggie gave her a friendly, albeit curious glance. A chuckle at the girl's words, "Hazel made chicken and wild rice soup tonight, main courses are her Hodge Podge or stewed duck with turnips, or lamb shanks braised in stout." They looked as if they had appetites to fill!

"Evening Maggie.." big smile flashing her way before glancing over his shoulder as he was sure Ciar had been right behind him. "Stout braised lamb shanks.. bowl of Irish stew, sounds like it might fill me up some after that rot gut that ship served." It had not been one of the ships from here but it was one that was coming the soonest from the Colonies. Straddling up a stool as he would have a pint of ale too.

Ciarán wasn't that far behind but he had stopped at the fountain to watch the water briefly. It hadn't been running when they left! He took his time catching up to the others, making his way inside a few minutes after they had all settled in. "Evenin' Maggie, Alex." He made his way over to the bar and just shook his head at the thought of food. Ale would be good enough tonight.

Evan's glance immediately swung around the tavern once they got inside, and was that a look of disappointment briefly on his face? It vanished at Fawn's poke, sending a grin over his shoulder. "You wish," teasing right back before sending a smile to the waitress. "Nice to see you again Maggie."

Fiona was nearly as green around the gills as Ciaran, if not more so. She walked into the tavern like a blind woman, hand outstretched as if to catch herself in the event of falling over... which didn't seem unlikely. "I think I will just go up to bed, dear..." muttered with a pat-pat to Fawn's head on her way.

Fawn just poked at his side with a giggle and paused to turn to Fiona with a small pout. "Are you sure, Madam? Perhaps a good tea to settle your stomach before you go?" She'd seen the waitress and offered her a bright smile, but her concern was for Fifi at the moment, knowing she'd not faired well on any of the ships they'd been on.

No, Fifi did NOT do well with ships, and if she had her way she would never leave dry land again for the rest of her days. Features pale, her nose wrinkled at Fawn's suggestion. "I think not, I only wish to sleep." In a bed that did not rock to and fro all night long. She managed a reassuring quirk of her lips to the young woman. "I'm fine, darling, you enjoy the time with your brothers."

Liam caught the look on Evan's face for he'd been looking his way with the idea he would order something too. "It is very late.." he didn't expect anyone to be up, they were lucky that the kitchen was still open.

Maggie whisked by Liam, delivering his bowl of Irish stew and its side of bread along the way, setting it down steaming and yummy-smelling before him. "The rest should be 'round  in a moment," called over her shoulder.

Evan was still looking around, which was silly... as if she would pop out of some dark corner. "Aye, it is late." He agreed with Liam. It was totally logical she would not be here this time of night.... but it didn't stop a man from hoping! Evan's nostrils soon sniffed Liam's stew, "Maggie, a bowl of the same for me, would you please? And let's see... I'll have the Hodge Podge and some cherry pie for dessert too."

"Thank you darling," sweet sounding and drawled out as he dug right in and gradually slowing as it was fairly hot. The pint right by his hand was taken up for a cooling drink. "A slice of  blueberry pie for me." He had gotten his appetite back or there lack of good food but he'll probably have trouble sleeping. Still, it would be worth it.

A tilt of her head, Fawn smiled softly. "Very well, Madam." She pressed a soft kiss to Fi's cheek. "I'll come check on you before I retire for the evening." With that, she left the woman to relax in comfort and turned for the bar to join her brothers and Evan. A smile to the woman tending the counter. "I'll have the same." Pointing to what Evan said. She was starving and not at all a dainty eater when she was that hungry!

It wasn't the journey that had done him in this time, but the food. He'd be back to normal in a day or two. "Good night, Miss Fiona." The ale was good though and he'd be satisfied with it.

"You're a sweetheart..." Fifi could be as affectionate as anyone, so grateful was she to be on solid ground! A key was procured with ease, she waved her ta-ta's to everybody and would soon be snoring in her very own guest room.

"You've large appetites," she said with a smile to them all, bringing out another two bowls of stew, one for Evan and one for Oisin. Whom she paused before, tilting her head thoughtfully. "I don't believe we've met before, I'm Maggie." Blue eyes flicked between her and the lads and her eyes widened. "You've their look... could this be the long-lost sister they went to seek?" The story of course had become well known in Heathfield.

"Good night Lady Fiona, sleep well, the bed wont be moving at least!" Shooting a smile her way before he was back into finishing up his stew.

She watched Fi wander off and looked to the woman across the bar from her with a brilliant smile. "I am. Fawn. It's a pleasure to meet you, Maggie."

"Oh my, how wonderful!" Her smile was bright and genuine, she almost felt like hugging the girl.... even if she knew none of them very well. It had been a beautiful story, their journeying so far to find her, and she was thrilled for them it had a happy ending. In the meanwhile she'd gone to the kitchen window and returned with Liam's lamb and Evan's mutton dish. The same brought a moment later for Fawn. "It's so lovely to see you here and safe."

It had been wonderful! Fawn was grateful to her parents in London, for surely without their support she'd not have found her brothers as she did. "Thank you, and thank you." For the kind words and the dish. "Shame you didn't get to meet Fiona, but I'm sure you'll meet her tomorrow." Poor Fiona and her ship-hating pallet. Tonight was bound to be a wonderful night, but at least she could enjoy it on a bed that wouldn't rock.

Liam's manners were on the back burner as it completely slipped his mind to tell Maggie. They got a look up, dark eyes spiking a glance between both before he was back to finish off his stew and start on the lamb. All was fine.. Maggie was at least quick.

"She looked a bit peaked," Maggie cast a sympathetic glance up the stairs where Fiona had disappeared. "I'll see she gets a good breakfast tomorrow, that ought to help settle her stomach," Fawn was given a wink, and then she went back to her sweeping to give them a chance to eat and chat.

Evan was busy.... very busy.... shoveling food into the near vicinity of his mouth. "Aren't you hungry?" He said through a full mouth, or at least... it sounded something like that as he glanced to Ciar.

He shook his head as he finally figured out what Evan had said. "No, I'm not." A half smile appeared with his answer. "Odd, isn't it?" And not something he could explain.

He was already half way through the lamb shanks, enjoying how they were seasoned and all but fell off the bone. The look he gave Evan was .. maybe this was a good time to tell Fawn, before they got to the manor home and it all came out.

A smile flashed to Maggie, then she was digging into her own meal. Perhaps a bit more daintily then her brothers and Evan were, but still not quite proper for the way she was raised. Though she slanted a glance to Ciar skeptically. "You're not hungry?" Utensils were set down, she reached over to put a hand on his brow and check him for fever, trying to hide her grin.

"Very odd," he agreed emphatically as he stuffed a big forkful of mutton between his lips. He did catch that look from Liam, and flicked a glance to Oisin, but he didn't say anything. All in good time... that's what he had been telling himself, but over two weeks had come and gone and the 'good time' still had not come. He couldn't have named what was holding his tongue.

He chuckled and tickled her side. "I'm not sick either even though I usually feel like Fiona on board a ship. I'm sure after a good night's sleep, I'll be shoveling food in like Evan."

Giggling, she swatted at his hand and looked at Evan. "I'm not sure anyone can shovel food in like he does." Teasing of course.

And just to be obnoxious he bared his teeth at Oisin... mouth full of food, of course! Mushed up mutton and peas, yum yum. It was easy to act like a kid again with Fawn around.

Nose wrinkled up at the sight. "Evan, I'm sure that's some charm enough to attract any woman. I'm not keen on see-food however." Giggling quietly, she went back to eating.

"More like a female gargoyle.." muttered with a chuckle before he finished off his lamb. "That was delicious." Pie would be last after all settled in a few minutes. "Has anything changed much since our departure a few months ago, Maggie?" Seemed like a year or more they were gone. He would also see about getting them their own place than piling in on their cousins. Although they would have to until they could get a place.

"Oh aye, that's very attractive, Evan." He laughed and turned to face the others, leaning against the bar when Liam asked his question. He was interested in the answer too.

Fawn clapped her free hand over her mouth hearing Liam to keep from spilling the food she'd spooned in and swallowed not only that, but her laughter, almost choking. Laughing though, still.

He just gave Fawn a grin that might have been charming without the mouth full of food, and went back to eating. He'd wash it all down with half his tankard of ale.

It was nice having pleasant, jesting people around... not that the Tavern usually lacked for such company. Maggie was smiling as she went about her sweeping but paused again at Liam's question. "Aye." She leaned in a bit against her broom. "The King has returned." A soft smile at that though it faded as she went on. "It is said he suffered grievous wounds, though from what exactly, nobody seems to know for certain. The Queen is tending him still. The King of Kildare and his knights are in town as well, waiting to speak with King Karl, I would imagine."

"That should do the lands well, being if he is a beloved king." Which he figured was probably the truth of it. The latter had him frowning. "I hope all comes to light and things resolved." Which he was sincere about but really could not comment much further being all was pretty far from his life at the moment. "Sounds like a summit meeting to address what happened and do something about it if possible."

"And what about you, pretty Maggie? No beau to speak of?" He teased a little as he finished up his ale and set the tankard aside.

"Oh aye.... everyone rejoiced when he came home safe." It was said the clouds lifted from Heathfield that day, making everybody's mood a bit brighter. Nodding thoughtfully at Liam's words she was surprised next by Ciaran. A dark brow lifted and she let out a laugh. "I've enough men on my hands, getting food and drinks for all the louts like you who come in here, don't you think?" A wink.

"One day she wont be calling some special man a lout..." grinning before the chuckle came.

"True but then again, Liam's right as well." He stood and stretched then grinned. "I think I'll be finding me bed now. Get a good night's sleep before we're off to visit the cousins and introduce them to Fawn." Which had him cutting a glance her way to make sure she was still awake herself.

She was still awake. Though now that she had a full belly, awake wouldn't last long. "I think I will as well, and stop to check on Madam." She smiled to Maggie. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Maggie."

"We'll see about that," she replied with a light snicker. Which became a more genuine smile as she glanced to Ciaran, "Good night and sleep well." Hopefully the others had still saved room for dessert! "You as well, Fawn," beaming a warm smile to the girl as she went to fetch the two plates of pie from the kitchen. The cherry set before Evan, the blueberry before Liam, whom she then regarded with a breezy smirk. "Of course they flirt, but there's no harm in it." In fact she considered it part of her job.

"I'll bet you've a bushel and a peck of," wait.. he better rephrase the next, "men about flirting to hopefully win your notice.. and more." Then adding, "I think I'll pass on the pie for tonight and have it with my coffee in the morning." He was tired, and eating sweets would certainly have the strange dreams to come. Vacating his stool and a key for a room, "I think I'll adjourn for the night too."

Evan smothered a belch, realizing he wasn't out on a ship amongst rude sailors anymore... and lifted up his plate of pie along with its fork. "And I think I'll take this up for a bedtime snack. Thanks for everything, darlin," That his farewell to Maggie.

He would escort Fawn up as she was barely awake at this point too. "Good seeing you again Maggie..." which he would have teased her more if he was more awake.

And so Liam's pie would be saved for the morrow, and a smile given to them all. "Sweet dreams, everyone!"



Date: 07-04-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 76

Leisure Time at the Lake

Liam was relaxing, taking the time to do so for he knew he would be busy enough, soon enough. Being daytime and anyone might come to the lake, including children, he wore cut off pants that allowed easy movement for swimming. Lounged out, floating on his back as he watched the clouds above change shapes.

A lazy Sunday afternoon with little to do. It was a bright and sunny one too, the heat shimmering in the air and humidity seeping into every seam of one's clothing. The kind of weather that drew many to the lakeshore and cooler breezes. Evan came strolling up, fishing pole over one shoulder and sandwich in the other, which he was munching on as he walked. He rather expected to see a crowd here today, but was glad such was not the case. The only person he could see was a familiar one, floating oh so peacefully on the lake's surface. Evan grinned through his last bite of sandwich, stopped where he was and set down the fishing rod. Sandals kicked off and then he was stealing down to the beach, where a pebble would be plucked up. Hefted in his hand before he threw it with perfect accuracy to hit Liam's protruding foot.

"Ow!" as the pebble stung his big toe. "I ought to clip you one for that, Evan," but in spite of the startled and sharp pain there was that usual amusement in his tone. There were others down further along the beach swimming. Parents with little ones he had avoided wishing for some peace. There were a few older men out in rowboats fishing along an adjacent shore. "You just ruined my feeling of being on top of the world," in a way he was with floating on the water which was on top of the world's crust. "We found a good place to live. Found family we didn't know we had. Found our sister whom had been lost to us and you still need to tell her that she is your half sister too before she finds out somehow else." Not that he would be telling her but Evan should soon, in his opinion and Liam gave his opinion when he felt he should.

Oh hey, there were other people here. Evan might be caught staring hard in their direction, as if trying to find a face, before looking back to Liam. A smile of agreement fading into a frown as he plopped himself down to sit on the sandy beach. "I know," he acknowledged, silent a few moments as he picked up some sand to dribble it through his fingers. "I just figured, she just found us again, now she has to adjust to a new life here... I didn't want to throw too much at her at once, ya know."

He had swum into shore as Evan spoke, coming out nice and cool as water ran in rivulets down his body and dripped off the frayed ends of his shorts. "I think she is a lot stronger than you are giving her credit for. Look how well she has survived and managed. Made herself a good friend too. I think she is going to be thrilled to find you are even more than friend but brother too." He was over to collect his fishing pole and bait it with a minnow as he had a pail of them set in the shade. "See how good our luck is for some pan fries. I'm hungry." And he was limping a little for that hit on his toe, favoring it until it settled down.

But would she be thrilled to find out her father had dallied with Evan's mother? That was what Evan was wondering but didn't pose the question aloud. He frowned in that stubborn way of his until Liam changed the subject. Up he went to get his pole, sliding a bit of bait onto the hook. "They've been biting pretty good so I guess it will be a matter of luck." Some days the fish favored them, sometimes not, that's just the way it went. He glanced up to briefly conclude their last talking point. "I'll tell her soon. Next time I see her."

"Good." Pleased smile and that being the last of it as he was not prone to harping on his brothers. He was the head, the laird and felt the weight of responsibility to speak his mind on 
 certain matters of importance that were family matters too. Rarely would he give personal advice unless asked. Or he was seeing something that could be fatal to the mental health of his brothers or sister. Matters of the heart certainly were not easy and he would most likely stay away from them especially giving advice in a area he didn't know all that much. "So have you seen... ah.. what's her name?" Such eluded him a moment as he cast his line. "Oh, Mary? Mari, Mariah?"

And Evan appreciated the way that Liam spoke his mind then dropped the subject. He was not a man to react well to being badgered. Coming down to the beach a few yards beside Liam, he cast his line, the hook sailing out to land some distance on the lake. A side glance given to Liam at the question and this time, he looked decidedly sheepish. "Mariah. Uhh... no, not yet." Why the hell not? He'd imagined going straight to her shop the moment he set foot back in Heathfield, but upon actually arriving here, he'd lost his nerve. And now that a few days had passed he was starting to feel rather cowardly and stupid about that... which made it harder to bring himself to see her. Vicious cycle!

"She's probably heard that we have arrived but I don't see a lady coming to seek out a man there is not more between." As in it would not be proper for her to do such or she had tried and their paths just missed. So there was a little advice in a round about way. Unless the woman was still here in the lands and that she wasn't sick or something? "I think that Miss Fiona is taken a bit with you too." Evan, the lady's man, the Don Juan, the Casanova. Not saying those but the smirk on his face, Evan may well have an idea of his thoughts.

He was frowning again for he'd been wondering the exact same thing. If she had heard that they were back... and if so... why hadn't she come to find him? Which was also stupid for he hadn't gone to find her either. The thoughts made him restless indeed. He was getting fed up with himself and almost resolved to go to her shop this very day. Attention stolen back by Liam, he blinked then gave a smirk. "She is something else, Miss Fiona. I have the feeling that if any of us were to do anything at all to hurt Fawn she would wring our necks with her bare hands. Brothers, half-brothers or not."

There was another thought which he hesitated to bring up but in the long run felt that he should for the possibility of it and it reverted back to what they first talked on but a side note sort of thing. "It is possible that Fawn has a crush on you not knowing such thoughts should not be entertained." He had noticed how she gravitated to Evan over himself and Ciaran. Which would be natural too, if Evan were not her brother which she didn't know he was and hence the real reason he had brought it up to start with. At least now expressing his real concern. The last had him laughing, "the man whose heart falls for her will have his hands full."

Well NOW Liam took Evan by surprise. Hazel eyes glanced over to gape at his half brother and then he burst out laughing. "I don't think so. We've always teased back and forth like that." Which was true. The difference now of course being, Fawn was a woman grown up as Evan was a man grown up. Could innocent teasing actually be flirting, as Liam suggested? Evan dismissed the thought. Nah. "You're right there though, she's a firebrand. I always liked that about her." A fond smile on his features as he tugged his line some to dance the bait around where it floated. "You know.... when we were younger I did think she was a pretty little thing." A strange thought now, knowing what they knew. "But we've always been like brother and sister even without knowing we shared blood."

"She was a pretty little thing and still is, maybe even moreso. I might have to beat off the men, being the eldest and all." Which his boxing skills would come in handy and what a reputation he'd earn for himself! He let the little visual play out but not overly as his line was tugged then tugged hard. He was reeling in a good size bass.

"Yeah, you might," he agreed, "And I'll help." He was very protective of Fawn and especially now, actually being family rather than just a family friend. Any man who sought Fawn's heart would have his hands full...both with Fawn herself... and getting past her brothers! Evan glanced over to see Liam reeling in his line. "Not fair," he complained as his hook remained without a nibble. There was a pause. "Do you really think Fawn might feel like that about me?" He still doubted it but there was that uncertainty... since Liam had brought it up and usually his half-brother only aired what was important.

"Aye, as will Ciaran." Fawn was going to have her hands full if she ended up liking a certain bloke, he would have to pass the brothers' test first. Or he wasn't getting near her without a bruising to follow. With a last heave the fish was up on grass flopping around as Liam was over to hook his fingers behind the gill and take out the hook. He had a large bucket to put the fish in to keep it alive until he was ready to kill and clean it. The large iron pan was out on one of the flat rocks of the stones around the pit. A low fire burned there, kind good for cooking.

"That's a good one," he had glanced over to see the bass which Liam had caught. Still waiting for Liam to answer his question, though. Eyes moving out to the lake he decided to change it up a bit. His line was reeled in, the bait adjusted quickly before he re-cast the line to land in a slightly different spot.

"I can't be certain other than the odd feeling it might be so." Giving a shrug with his reply but when Evan told her of being her half brother, if there were any such notions they would be dashed. They might not ever know, certainly if she were asked she'd most likely deny them anyway. Who knew.. so it was just a thought to consider coupled with the fact it entered Liam's mind in observation. "A couple more of these and we'll be eating fine in another hour." Then an odd thought came as he baited his line and soon had it cast out near a shady spot near the rocks and reeds but not in the reeds. "I sometimes wonder if I gave it a try if I could attract a lass or would I still go unnoticed?" Then again Ciar never tried. It had only been Evan and if he got hooked then who was next to fill that slot?

He guessed they couldn't really know unless she just confessed her feelings to him one day... something he did not expect, but if there was the chance it was possible, he needed to let her know it could never be. That resolved him there to tell her as soon as he could. A slight nod given as he determined to do that. Evan was a bit surprised when Liam went on, glancing over and looking at him a moment, then offering a grin. "Sure you could. You're a bloody boxer. Girls would be all over you, IF you let 'em, which you usually don't."

"Aye, there is that." He had never really tried, that was the crux that had him wondering and wondering if he even should chance being disappointed after watching Evan reeled them in like he was reeling in yet another fish even bigger than the last, giving him a good fight too.

He eyed Liam another few moments. "I can't believe it. Are you actually starting to crave a woman's company?" He couldn't resist the jibe... Liam had been so nonchalant about the attention of girls for so long, when really he could have had several along the way. This was a change. He grinned but then attention was stolen by a tug on his line. "Ah-ha!" He began reeling in furiously.

Grabbing the fish by the gill before getting the hook out, taking his time as he considered his words. "Well, there have always been those oh so willing kinds that you bed once and never see again if you've a need." Not that he was one that had that need all the time or would screw anything he could pin down. Not at all. Rare in fact to the point he wondered if there was something wrong with him for he was on the other side of that scale. The fish then tossed into the pail with the others as the back of one hand was up to rub across his forehead then down to scratch along the stubble on his cheek. He forgot to shave this day. Beard would grow in fast if he let such go a few days. "So, aye, I've been thinking on it. I see you.." then came the laugh, "I think Ciaran is worse than me when it comes to thinking of love and a real relationship."

Evan was listening to Liam, even as he reeled in his catch, another bass, though this one was a meager size. Not even worth cooking for it would be mostly bone. Evan slid it off the hook then threw it back into the lake, moving over to get more bait. "Well, it's not somethin' that can really be forced. If Ciaran ever meets the right girl, that'll change." He looked up then to grin mischievously. "There's plenty of pretty ones here. Tell ya what. You tell me when you see a girl you like, and I'll help get her attention for you."

"Aye, there are at that. Pretty ones here. I wonder if there is a step between, like date different ones before getting too involved with one." Knowing well that meant not getting involved physically but there were the courtesans for that. He heard they had a nice setup of such in Ballicastle and he need only get hold one of the unmarried McAndrews men. They had enough fish for a meal so he set to cleaning them, which also meant filleting the meat from the bones. He eyed Evan while still rolling over in his mind of what was said, "so you would help me out if I saw one I liked.." more a statement for he didn't really doubt his offer. "It might take both of us to help Ciar out.."

"There's plenty of steps in between, mate," a wink and his charmer's grin. After his latest unimpressive catch, Evan decided to give up on the fishing for now. Taking up a seat alongside his brother and grabbing one of the fish to clean. "Well, we'll find you a pretty lass first, then maybe by then Ciaran will have realized what he's missing."

This was a serious enough brotherly talk, sans the heavier teasing, but always that light touch that came natural. "So this lass, would she be one of those steps to others or how would you rate steps?" Being this area was so new for him to even be talking about, he needed some guidelines. Evan seemed to be the lady's man more the expert than he or Ciar.

"What lass?" Then he realized, wait, were they back to talking about him now? "Mariah?"

Give him boxing any day.. there was no hesitation and he knew exactly what to do. That included thinking on the spot for no two boxers were the same, no two matches. "Aye, unless you have some other steps I don't know about?" This was Evan, the Casanova, the Don Juan.. he could have a string!

"No, I don't," he frowned almost defensively. Taking a few moments to de-bone the fish before answering. "Mariah is.... she's not like any girl I've ever met." There was that dreamy look in his eye, the one he'd had when getting her letter in the colonies. "She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. And she's so nice, to everyone, and real smart - did you know she runs that wool shop all by herself?" Everything about her, in fact seemed impressive to Ev. "She doesn't deserve to be a step in anyone's.... staircase." He added, about as eloquently as he could.

He paused in filleting the fish with a half grin, one tipped up the side as he studied his brother, "you're going to lose your title. Ciaran might have to take up the mantel." Being Liam didn't see himself as a Casanova. He caught that look upon his brother's face and knew he spoke the truth. "If that can happen to you, surely it could happen to me and Ciar." Which in a way he felt Evan would be harder like the saying water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. He had all the ladies swooning but not suppose to fall for one. "Aye, she's a wholesome girl and maybe it might not work out between you two but she's not the kind to be just a step." If that made sense? Maybe he was learning or knew more than he thought? He was quite proud of that answer! He stated up the glaze and seasonings to put the cleaned fish into and set the pan over the coals. It didn't take long for the scent to fill his lungs and have his stomach rumble.

"You'll know when it happens to you," Evan agreed, and he gave a shake of his head as if batting flies away with his overgrown hair. "Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my bloody mind thinking about it too much." This was muttered more to himself, but when he caught Liam's eye he couldn't help but laugh. "I know, I know. I never thought I'd meet a girl who made me forget every other girl I'd ever met." But such was the case. He grew sober. "I dunno how long she'll tolerate me hanging around, but as long as she does, I want to do right by her. Not hurt her." By flirting with other women, he meant... but there was more than one way to hurt a person. He blinked and stared off at the lake a moment as a determined look came over his face, then launched to his feet. "I gotta go."

"I heard it said it is like catching a disease. Hounds you day and night, seeing her face in your dreams, longing to have her in your bed. If anyone else looks at her, a rage rises inside you never had before." But then Evan was to his feet, naturally having Liam gain his too. Blink. "To relieve yourself in the woods?" Liam had that dumbfounded look which was probably as comical as his question.

"Aye, that's exactly it!" As he was quickly gathering up his things, his shoes and surcoat and fishing pole. "Nah, mate. I gotta relieve something else." There was that flash of a grin as he clapped Liam on the shoulder then took off running across the field back towards town. "See you later!" This called over his shoulder as he went.

Liam stood there with still that dumbfounded look, one thing to talk about it but another to see it in action. He watched his brother until he was out of sight then went back to cooking his fish.. he would have a nice meal.

And Liam would understand how serious it was because... Evan had actually SKIPPED a fresh fish fry meal!

Date: 07-09-20
Poster: Evan Hunt
Post # 77

The Kiss

Evan hadn't stopped since he left CrystalGold Lake, running through town like a man possessed, which indeed he was. He had to dodge people and carts, and got alot of odd looks for his appearance: still barefoot, shirt half untucked from his pants, fishing rod over his shoulder and hair a wild overgrown mop of brown over his eyes. Skidding to a stop at the woolshop, he swallowed and drew a deep breath, lifting his hand to knock - which is when he saw the note in the window. Carefully unpinning it to read, he glanced up, and around. He had never been to Willow Lake but by God he would find it. After re-pinning the note he was off again. Of course.... being new to Heathfield, he had only a vague idea of where he was going. When he finally arrived at the lake, it was via a near tumble right out of the bushes. He'd taken an accidental detour through the woods where there was no trail, and the bits of leaves stuck in his hair and shirt testified to that. He skid to a stop again and looked around, catching his breath after the flight. Had he missed her? Was she somewhere else now?

The day had been far too hot and was only getting worse. Even with the fan her father had installed in her shop, it couldn't keep the heat down. No one sane was around shopping this day unless it was a necessity. To stand around in such heat was asking for sunstroke or dehydration. Most stayed indoors or at the many lakes, both large and small. Some took to the forest brooks and swimming holes set in the deep woods. Not Mariah, the closest place was Willow Lake and one that she knew would not be crowded. Stripping down to the pantaloons and camisole top she had emerged with a sigh, the waters cooling skin and reviving her from the sluggish heat. She had dipped beneath, holding her breath while swimming underwater to see the bottom until she could stay no longer. Up she went surfacing as blond hair streaked out upon the water around her. Lashes heavy with droplets were blinked away a few times, and blinked a few times more when she saw what looked like Pan coming out of the woods about a hundred yards from where she surfaced.

Yes, it was bloody HOT out; he had come to realize this somewhat painfully in his run across the lands. He was sweating like a racehorse and grateful for the shade. At first he could see nobody, only a small lake, an idyllic setting for its quiet and intimacy. He started to get that pang of disappointment and failure when with a muted splash, she suddenly surfaced. A mermaid or Grecian goddess or water nymph... none were an exaggeration in his mind for how she looked floating in the lake like that.. and wearing only that. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he looked at her, then blinked rapidly to recover himself. "Uhhhhhh..." What an intelligent greeting, Evan. He blinked again. "I uh.." he motioned towards the fishing rod over his shoulder. "..was just looking for a good fishing spot." He nearly grimaced, that wasn't what he'd meant to say at all!

Only 'that' was worse once she found footing and started to emerge. It left just enough to the imagination as it clung to her skin. Nimble fingers pulling at the wet clothing unconsciously to unstick it. Eyes held upon him the while as she realized just who it was. It was not Pan at all but Evan! Her smile growing like sunshine to brighten her features. "Hello Evan, I was hoping to see you now that you are back." Although the last had her blink as she stood there in the wake of the lake. "The fishing is much better at the bigger late if you want to catch something huge.." figuring he might not know that. "Although there are plenty of pan fish in this lake." She pointed out a small cropping of rocks down a short distance. "That area seems to be a good place for them to bite."

So she had heard that they were back. That made him feel sheepish all over again. And as she stepped out of the water, soaking wet and barely dressed.... he could hardly look at her. "Uhh.." He darted his glance sideways, lifting a hand to rake through his hair... finding a few leaves and tossing them away, then rubbing the back of his neck. A quick glance her way then he followed her pointing finger. "Oh. Right." He looked at the outcropping of rocks some distance away, then found his nerve. "Actually, no, I uh... went to your shop to see you and found your note." Phew! He'd said that awfully quickly. Hazel eyes moved back to her sheepishly. "Do you want to. Uh." Motioning towards the other clothes she'd left abandoned on the lakeshore.

That pleased her far more for a pout almost started that he was not here to see her but go fishing after being back. Especially since his letter and all it had said; presently his actions had almost negated the words. Relief flooded her. "It was why I left the note, in case you came." Words became quiet as with the last she dipped a glance over her makeshift swim wear. It was not uncommon to go swimming in such but of course she could not see what he could further away. "I am sorry, I didn't know I was indecent," again her words were quiet as she was over to put on the wrap around skirt and peasant blouse that only added a layer over the camisole top. Left her shoulders bare for the cuffs going down over the top of her arms. She turned around in a slight swirl of skirt, "there, is that better?" Top was dark blue which brought out the color of her eyes and the skirt white with bright splashes of blue and yellow.

Blink. There was surprise at her words about the note, then a deep glowing pleasure. "Really?" A grin was starting on her lips but paused when she spoke of being indecent. "No, I didn't mean..." he trailed off when she twirled about in that fetching ensemble. "Ah, yes," he gave a slight laugh, "I just didn't want you to get a chill." He was grinning shyly again, but this time he was teasing both her and himself... it was hardly the type of day that one could catch a chill no matter what they did! He finally stepped forward, now that she didn't seem almost naked.... he still held his shoes in his hand, so he tossed these onto the grass, and his surcoat and the fishing pole as well. Then he straightened, trying to think of what else to say, but just ended up looking at her again. Soaking her in after not seeing her for so many months. This was the moment he'd been waiting for, for all those months too.

"A chill, silly lad, it's far too hot to catch a chill, from the weather.." not that she really thought of Evan as a 'lad' but it was a common phrase for the Irish born. Only chill she might catch would be initiated by something else, that which she eluded to. Coming closer as she spoke and a serious expression to capture her features. He stood there so silently it near caused her to pause a step leaving her at about two feet away with her head tipped back a mite so she could drink in his features. "I thought you were Pan," which was humorous to her. "How did your trip go?" Leaving it wide open to say as much or as little as he wanted. She was very interested.


Didn't she know what she did to him, walking towards him all dripping wet, and tilting her face up like that?! Evan swallowed as she approached, turning his gaze down to look at her in return. For a moment he looked very solemn, his hazel eyes locked on hers with that magnetic force.... and then she spoke. Ev cleared his throat and scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. "Ahh, yes... I uh, took a shortcut getting here. Well... I didn't know the exact way and sort of lost the trail in the woods, actually," there was a boyish grin teasing his lips as he admitted it. "The trip was, real eventful. A story for a few hours and at least a few drinks." There would be time enough for him to share all that had happened, and share he would, if she wanted to hear it. But for now he just ended up murmuring the one thing from the journey that stuck out in his mind. "I missed you." A gaze flicked to her eyes, held there.

Mariah was not male savvy. Sure she understood some things but most was due to lack of experience. It wasn't until she sucked in a breath of a sudden that she realized she'd been holding one with him this close. His escapade in getting here drew a smile to warm her features as she kept her stance and eye contact. "I would love to hear every detail, when and where you'd want." Knowing a different location might suit better. Like her kitchen table at the wool shop. That's when words came out in almost a whoosh, "I got your letter and responded. Did you get mine?" All the while eyes held to his which had her become dumbfounded, or so felt, in what to say. It was all so new but with each bit of communication it was becoming easier. There was a buzzing feeling in her head when he admitted to missing her and sounding like a parrot, except it was the truth, "I missed you too." Quiet honest tone.

"I'll tell you everything you want to hear about it," he promised. "Just so long as you tell me if your ears start to fall off from me talking too much." Another little grin, and each one was just a bit less shy than the last. He was starting to feel more and more silly for avoiding this for so long. Well.. it had only FELT long to him, only a matter of a few days in truth. Her mention of the letter had him nodding vigorously. "Aye, I did, I was real surprised to get it. Did you only get one from me? I sent a few but I guess they got lost. I thought any you might send might get lost too, but I did get the one from you. I was really pleased to get it...." Yes, he was babbling and shut himself up abruptly. Going quiet when she said she missed him, too. His heart missed a beat or ten as a warm flush took him. "You did?" His hand crept out, daring to take her own fingers lightly in his.

"Everything you want to tell me," which would be all she would want to know in this matter. "I will let you know, I promise but I know that will not be the case". The next question had her to pause. "There were other letters?" See her pout, not even realizing that her bottom lip became fuller and slightly more protruding than previously. Next moment it was back to normal as blue eyes brightened, "what did they say?" He wrote them after all so would be able to at least retell them. Hopefully. Her fingers slid to lace with his, in that moment she wondered if he was as shy as she, or maybe even more shy than she was!

She was... adorable, when she pouted like that, and he was not usually the type to use the word adorable. He had to blink to register her questions. "Aye, a couple others and you'll hear everything that was in them... later. Since you said you wanted to, and I'm gonna hold you to that." Another little grin and, encouraged by the way her fingers slid through his... Evan's other hand reached out to hold her other hand as well. It wasn't really a step he took but he did seem to move a bit closer to her. "One of 'em said.... your hair was like the morning sun. And your eyes like a lake we passed, crystal blue and clear to the bottom."

Getting to hear it later, meant she would be seeing him again in order for that to happen. The thought thrilled her but the chill came with the skipping beat of her heart when both hands were taken, fingers interlacing and he all that closer. She took a step towards him as a natural response, head tipping back a touch more for the height difference. She was becoming very aware of him, the breadth of his shoulders, his scent. The way his eyes kept hers there as if she could read beyond words but the words had the flush of pink to her cheeks and her head feeling like it was full of the wool she sold. Her eyes betrayed her thoughts in that moment as lush darker blond lashes dipped and caught sight of the curve of his lips.

She had not pulled away yet and the thrill of being so close to her was intoxicating. A subtle movement drawing him yet closer, until their bodies nearly touched, a tantalizing bare centimeter of space. "Another one said..." his voice became hushed, "that nobody could know what would happen... or if I'd be coming back. But that it would all be worth it, if I'd only gotten to..." he trailed off then, hazels faltering to her lips. A man could only resist for so long... and inevitably he found himself leaning yet closer... stooping down a bit closer to her height until their faces were only a whisper apart. His eyes closed as he hovered there a moment, breathing in her natural perfume, a heady scent. It was an almost agonizing pause as his cheek pressed against hers... giving her that moment to pull away or, you know, slap him. And if she did not... his lips would ever so gently press to hers.

A torturous bare centimeter. She could feel the heat from his body. Her mind was mush, her heart doing leaps and bounds. Her knees getting weak with a strange feeling that ran down them. "Yes," came quietly, her eyes softening with almost a glazing effect. A long breath sucked in as he came closer and at this slow rate she wondered if the torturing would have her faint way in anticipation. How many nights did she try to visualize how it would be to be kissed by Evan. Never quite capturing it for lack of kissing experience. She felt so naive at the moment that surely he could tell and be repulsed. But one had to learn somewhere, didn't they? Although she had been swimming there was still a touch of jasmine to linger about her hair. Lashes were lowering, eyes looked like they were crossing to keep focus on his lips this close. Eyes closed as cheeks met, she took in a breath, one almost swallowed as she was caught in the lure. Turning. Turning, so slow until his lips were found simultaneously. A sweet touch, a gentle molding...

The end of his sentence went unspoken... at least in words, for he had been about to say, to kiss you. Instead, the act itself, a slow tilt of the head and gentle claiming of the lips. Every movement was slow, careful, ever so gentle especially for a man of his size. He too would be in danger of fainting dead away for he almost forgot to breathe. He, too had imagined what it be like to lay his lips against hers... and the reality was even better than all those fantastical dreams. Her lips as sweet as honey and the kiss, good enough to make him die a happy man. It was almost painfully exquisite, and he had to hold himself back from devouring her lips like a starving man faced with a plate of food. Instead he was slow, and tender, one hand extricating itself from hers to slide up her arm, and gently cup her cheek. Even if he had to hold himself back.. he would never let anyone hurt her, including himself. He knew in that moment he'd kill anybody who so much as harmed a hair on her head.

It was almost as if she had read his mind, or was it something she wanted as much as he? Oh, the reality was far better as nothing ever had her toes curling before. The feel like she was falling and yet not enough, she wanted more, the little hussy! She couldn't help it as a hand lifted having fingers curl into his shirt in a vice grip. She felt like it made her his and she didn't balk like she would have with others. No, she was riding the wave or more like waves of this new experience. Getting kiss by the man you dreamed about was exquisite! He was exquisite and his lips were full of magic, branding them, making her body feel like gel. The other hand slid up and around his neck, fingers locking into his hair there, he wasn't going to get away, least it might give that impression!

Evan had a moment of wondering if he had fallen asleep or been knocked out by some tree branch along the way. Surely he could not be this lucky, to have her not only letting him kiss her.... but returning it. Seemingly with just as much feeling. Her letter had been sweet and kind, filling him with hope but he had never dared to hope for so much. Her fingers claiming his shirt, and sliding up into his hair made him almost shudder, and now that his other arm was free, it moved to wrap around her waist and pull her that much closer against him. The man was thoroughly swept away with it, drunk on passion which surely inhibited judgement as much as wine could. He was endeavoring to keep it gentle, soft and sweet but for just a few seconds... he gave into it, putting more pressure against her lips in a brief burst of emotion.

She wasn't experienced but she made up for it in feeling behind her kiss and the need that was there naturally for his kiss. She was being swept away, coherent thought abandoning her and the rising desires scared her. The more passionate kiss went from a heady to dizzying quality that at first she met, and the promise of passion was given before drawing back; her heart pounding in her ears as she took in a few quick breaths. She went to say something but she had no voice.

It was a good thing she pulled back too, just in time, before he really got run away with it. He surfaced from the kiss with almost a gasp for air, immediately contrite, for he'd sensed that moment of fear in her. "I'm sorry," he murmured, tender and careful once more as he pressed a warm kiss to her cheek, "I'm sorry," repeated with another kiss to her other cheek. Only then did he pull his face back, just a tad, enough to be able to peer at her... and make sure she really was alright. His arms had unwrapped from her slim frame, hands sliding down to take hers again, but his eyes didn't waver... the hazel eyes so warm and caring as they looked deep into hers. "You may smack me if you wish." He spoke it quietly and almost looked like a puppy, trail drooping as he awaited a thwap across the nose with a newspaper.

"I'm not," came in a whisper back even if she needed to end it, try and assemble all that the kiss invoked in her. The grip to his shirt remained, an anchoring fact and she was now well aware of how her body molded against his. That may have been half the effect the kiss was having. Her cheeks turning a brighter pink as the unwanted sight of the ram with the ewe played and was dashed away! She was embarrassing herself. She had a healthy glow, that kind that was as intoxicating to a male to see as was the warm feelings it generated inside or more a reflection of them. "It is hot," and hotter still after that kiss. There was some relief as their proximity was distanced enough to allow coherent thought attempt a come back. "You would have to smack me then too." She was just as much a part, "shall we sit?" Before her legs gave out on her!


He relaxed in relief that she was not angry or upset with him. And he was more than happy to hold her up, easily done with one strong arm, as she seemed to be limp and sagging against him. In fact it was a wonderful feeling holding her like that, and brought those protective instincts to surge within him again. He saw the way her cheeks burned and eyes blazed, and he looked much the same, flushed and eyes almost glowing with inexpressible happiness. A nod was given at her words, yes, it WAS hot... enough to have trickles of sweat sluicing down his brow. A chuckle burst free at her words of smacking her, as if he would ever consider such a thing! And the chuckles bubbled into true laughter, a sunshiney grin cracking across his face. "I've a better idea. C'mon." He pulled back but kept hold of one hand, a gentle tugging towards the lake. "You already got to have a swim, and you had the right idea I think." He would turn it into a race too, dropping her hand to pull his shirt over his head and running towards the water. Well defined muscles of the shoulders and abdomen rippled, and his new scars from that bear claw in the Colonies shone pink and healing in the sunlight on his chest.

She looked like she was coming down with the flu but there was a difference that separated it from a sickness. She was well aware of his strength, of feeling protected while in his arms or close. These were all new sensations that she needed to get use to. She finally understood what Scott and Carisa had, Christopher too if he felt that way for AJ. But this was all her own and she delighted in it. Laughter slipped free in an almost startled way. The challenge she rose to as she slipped out of wrap around skirt and the blouse, leaving them discarded behind while following him. Soon feet were splashing in the wake as she got closer and saw the scars. "Evan, what happened?" Her voice higher pitched with the concern.

Evan was laughing also as he ran like a demon was on his heels, throwing himself into the lake with a wild abandon. Even still it was not enough to release the flood of joy that months ago, he would have considered ridiculous. She'd kissed him back!! Surfacing from his dive, he pushed his overgrown hair back from his face, blinking the water from his eyes with a grin. Then her question came and he sobered some. "We ran into a grizzly bear." He said it so gravely it might almost lead one to believe he was pulling her leg. Too bad he was dead serious.

She had paused and watched him until he surfaced and was around. Swimming out to him she tentatively touched the scars left as he spoke on them. "Grizzly, you're lucky to be alive." The last word near caught in her throat for the reality of it. The length of blond hair was starting to float about, tendrils reaching out before she half ducked in the water to come closer, touching her lips to the spot as if that would make the difference. She recognized the mark of a grizzly.

"Aye... I am." He replied, still in that grave tone of voice, for she was absolutely right. It had been a close thing, that battle between man and beast. He watched as she drifted closer, enchanted all over again by her floating hair, the way the water beaded against her skin. He tilted his head down when she pressed her lips ever so lightly against his chest and the puckering scars there. "Not to worry," he said more quietly, lifting a hand to gently run through a few strands of her hair. "We fought it off, and managed to best it in the end. I even delivered the killing blow." He wasn't bragging persay, but there was a shyly proud grin surfacing there.

"This is one of the stories." She also realized it was getting much later than she had planned to be away from the store. The food in the basket untouched yet too. "Would you like to come back with me to the shop and have something to eat? I would like to hear the full story," even if they got interrupted if any customers came but most likely it would only be the deliver lad from the wool mill with more supplies.

"Would that be alright?" He brightened further, if that was possible. "Aye, I'd like that, and I promise to tell the story well to make it worth your time... with voices, and animal sounds, and everything." That boyish grin which all the ladies found ever so charming came naturally to his lips.

"You will be the grizzly?" That actually sent a chill up her spine as she playfully splashed him. His smile worked on her but not for its usual charm on others. It was because it was his smile. Hers curled adding a dimple to her cheek before she was around and doing her best to run through the water gaining the shore. From there she would be collecting her skirt and top to pull over the pantaloons and top over the camisole.

"Aye... And I shall get you, me pretty!" He even let out a growl as she ran from the water, and he gave chase, splashing and sloshing none too gracefully from the lake to run after her.

Which had her squealing and a lot of trouble for how quick she got on that wrap around skirt, half falling off as well the top. She grabbed up the basket like a shield but then pressed it to his chest when he got close. "Your treasure lies within.." food. Smile like sunshine burst forth as she hooked her arm round his so that they could walk like they belonged together too.

"Rawrrrr," he growled again, pretending to grab her up, but it was a careful and brief embrace as she was still trying to shimmy into her clothes! The next time he lunged, she blocked him with that basket, and he reached up to take it and swing it from his own hand. His stomach producing a real growl at the mention of food, "I can't wait." He looked down at her when she linked her arm through his, and his smile was megawatt as he pulled her just a bit closer. Grinning down into her sparkling eyes, he could've confessed his whole heart then and there. But...time enough for that. And what a grand feeling it was to know that they had that time.



Date: 08-19-10
Poster: Oisin Quinn
Post # 78

The Talk

Oisin has been avoiding everyone like the plague as of late. Fiona, her Cousins and other kin in the manor and Bradley. Though avoiding Fifi was a bit more difficult, but she hadn't wanted to speak of what had happened and she knew that Fiona would want to know. She didn't want to lie to the woman. She wouldn't lie to the woman. Instead, she'd just avoid her if she could. She'd been under the impression that Fifi had taken to the markets for the afternoon, and thus felt free to be out and about the gardens of the manor with a book and some peace and quiet. Found on a bench somewhere in Herself's garden with the fading colors of daylight as the sun set.

Fifi had indeed gone shopping, but the day had been so hot, even her favorite exercise had soon soured. She only had two packages beneath her arm though her cheeks were stained with bright color as she huffed and puffed her way into the manor. Fiona, too had been avoiding certain people lately, namely Herself, a woman whom Fifi found almost intolerably stubborn and headstrong. Of course it did not help that Fifi shared those same traits. Rather than butting heads or getting underfoot, Fi had been spending much of her time away, but it was a lonely endeavor with Oisin a ghost and hardly ever seen. After dropping off her shopping in her chambers, Fi stepped outside into the gardens for some fresh air. A deep breath drawn in as she smoothed the dark curls where they sprung from her temples, loosened from their coiff by the humidity. Roving dark eyes soon found Oisin and the governess drew in a breath. Then picked up her skirts to walk over to the girl, offering a smile. "Well hello dear, are you enjoying the evening? It has been ghastly hot today, has it not?" She seated herself on the bench beside Oisin. Uninvited? Of course.

Uh oh...Oisin's Fion-nar was getting rusty. She hadn't been aware the governess had made it back much less coming out into the gardens. The rustle of skirts and the greeting was all she needed to hear, though. Fiona was never uninvited, just sometimes Oisin waited until the heat of things passed so that she wouldn't have to answer questions she didn't want to answer. Dark eyes picked up from the book with a smile to the older woman. "I am enjoying the evening as it cools now. Absurdly hot. I cannot wait for the winter months." She moved on the bench, making room for Fiona to join her. Maybe Fiona'd forgotten about the whole ordeal that had upset her. One could hope, yes?

One could hope, but Fiona had the memory of an elephant, and you know what they say.... an elephant never forgets! "Aye, nor can I, though I heard they had a dreadful winter this year. So much snow, but I suppose we can hope for a milder season, this year." And with that, she decided that was enough of the chit-chat. Fiona settled her hands in her lap and turned her eyes to Oisin's. "I spoke with Mr Harrington about your little quarrel." She was not one to mince words nor shy away from the point, much as it might make the other wince.

She knew it was coming. 5....4....3....2....1....yup. When the woman turned to face her with her hands on her lap, she knew that was the moment. The book was closed and laid on her lap while listening to Fiona. "There wasn't a  quarrel, Madam. He accused me of accusing him, then rubbing salt in the wound by reminding him of it. That wasn't the case at all, but my explanation was not good enough, so he said he would avoid me." For having only a bit of  practice at the act, she did very well keeping any emotion from her voice and state the facts (as she saw them) as plainly as possible.

Fiona sighed heavily, a long-suffering sigh. "Mr Harrington agrees with you on one thing, that it was not a quarrel. And yet it left the both of you refusing to speak to the other." Her lips pursed wryly, a mixture of exasperation and fondness as she regarded the younger girl. How to get through to her? "I was not there to hear the particulars of the quarrel, excuse me, the conversation... not that I trust your explanation. But it seems to me, it matters little. The two of you have been quibbling over slights since the day you met, and it seems to me, you are both much too old for this to be seemly." Tough love.

Oisin listened quietly and refrained from rolling her eyes when she disagreed. A deep breath was taken. "I never refused to speak to the man. That what his idea. I must say that while his intentions were good, his way of going about it was wrong. I explained to him politely what had bothered me to potentially avoid in the future. He took that as my attempts of drudging it up again for more quarreling, which was not my intention. When I tried to explain why I mentioned it, then he suggested that we shall never agree, and that he shall avoid me. If he feels this is the right course of action, who am I to tell him otherwise since it seems my feelings mean so very little to him?" She looked pointedly at Fiona. Of course Oisin's recall of the events and Brad's were likely from their own perspective, but Oisin believed she spoke the truth, mostly regarding how he'd hurt her feelings.

"You ought to know by now that Mr Harrington is a prideful man. Now, this does not excuse his actions, of course," she added this to soothe the girl's already-ruffling feathers. "But pointing out each and every flaw may not be the right course of action." Fiona was striving to speak matter-of-fact while being fair to them both. She really was trying! "I suspect he is frustrated, the same as you are, and came to the conclusion that avoiding you would be easier. Quite frankly, avoiding him altogether will be impossible, darling, you know that." Dark eyes caught the girl's to study her reactions, and Fi's voice softened a moment. "I think your feelings mean very much to him, and that is why he became upset when you told him of your misgivings."

Oisin decided she no longer wanted to speak on this matter. Fiona hadn't been there. The one thing Oisin pointed out was that each time Brad did something that upset her or Fi, he seemed to gain a prideful expression in his eyes, like he enjoyed it. "Indeed. I'm sure he's so very upset over the feelings he had no desire to hear about." A flip of dark curls off her shoulder, she looked over to Fiona. "What did you purchase in the markets?" A bit more enthusiasm returned to her voice now.

Oh no, she was not done talking about this. She pointedly ignored Oisin's question about her shopping. "He did seem upset, and confused. Yet as stubborn as you yourself, God preserve my sanity." She sighed shortly. "No, I do not know every word exchanged between you, but I will tell you the same thing I told him. Have some patience with the man. He can only try your temper as much as you let him."

She'd looked off when she realized that she wasn't getting out of it that easily. "Your sanity will be preserved much longer if you try not to figure that man out. Why must I give him room to try my temper at all if it is my feelings that he concerns over. If he didn't find my or your frustration humorous enough to light up his eyes, then there would be no qualm with the man."

"Perhaps you are right, perhaps he is prideful and judgmental, all the things you believe. But perhaps he is not. Perhaps... you only see in him what you expect to see." Fiona shrugged one rounded shoulder lightly. "All I am saying is, give him a chance. If he throws it back into your face, well, then we will know for certain what a cad he is, hm?" Trying to infuse some humor in, she smiled a bit as she smoothed a lock of Oisin's hair.

Oisin closed her eyes, again to keep from rolling them. Some part of her knew that Fiona was right, but the stubborn part of her really had less desire to mend things with the man and more desire to further instigate with him when she got the chance. "Are we finished with this discussion now?" She was done with it. If Fiona didn't let it pass, Oisin would simply get up and walk away until she was in a better frame of mind.

Stubborn mules... the BOTH of them. Fiona looked at Oisin with narrowed eyes a moment longer, then nodded grudgingly. "Aye, I suppose, and I shall leave you with your book now." She allowed a bit of hurt to seep into her voice as she rose from the bench. It was true that Oisin had been avoiding her lately, leaving Fifi much alone... but far be it from her to point that out.... instead she would sulk and sigh.

She looked up at Fiona as she rose to leave and reached out for her arm. "You think you'll escape so easily when you've had an afternoon without me? Did you find anything of interest in the markets?" Something of interest being something that Oisin could go and investigate at a later date.

Fifi was mollified almost immediately. Sitting back down without protest, she turned towards Oisin with an eager expression. "Well, I found a lovely new pair of gloves, you know how my old ones are wearing out." Becoming just slightly off-white, more like. "And I found the most darling little hairpins for you. Now, I know you don't like alot of jewels, but these have the most adorable little bumblebees on them, all tiny yellow sapphires and obsidian."

Well, even if Oisin couldn't get out of the talks she wanted no part of, at least she could put Fiona back in a good mood. She listened with a smile...until the mention of hairpins with bees on them? "Madam...." Sometimes she felt  like a doll, but if it made Fiona happy....she smiled lightly, genuinely. "They sound delightful. I cannot wait to see them."

It did make Fiona happy, and yes, Oisin was her own personal porcelain doll. Fiona was watching Oisin for her reaction to the hairpins, but smiled brightly. "They are delightful, and will look so fetching against your hair," hair  which Fifi so loved to smooth and play with. "You can wear them with that yellow silk of yours..." A thoughtful and even mischievous look coming onto her face should have warned Oisin for what came next. "Have any of the young men here caught your eye?" long as Madam was happy. Though admittedly the attention was nice and it made Oisin happy too. She and Fiona had a bond that wasn't quite sisterly, but certainly family that she didn't share with her brothers. Most likely because Fiona was a female. Brow quirked a bit to the question, Oisin shook her head and laughed quietly. "No, Madam. None have caught my eye. In truth, I prefer it that way." She eyed the woman for a moment before grinning. "Why?  Has someone caught your fancy, Madam?"

"Now, now, we are talking about you, not me," Fifi laughed. "Besides, I am much too old and fat to catch anybody's eye." Neither was true but that was one of Fiona's usual lines. She tutted lightly when Oisin said she preferred it  that way. "Sweetheart, you may not always think that way, and when the right man comes along, I hope you will have your eyes open enough to see it."

Finding herself a man was not what she wanted to speak of right now. "Madam, I am only 19. I have my entire life before me. If I spend my time now worrying about finding a man who fancies me, then I waste all else that I could enjoy or that will give me direction in my life. And you're not old or fat. You'll catch a man's eye soon enough with your charms. All of them." Smiling, she nodded matter-of-factly to her.

"I did not say you should spend all your time looking for love, merely that you shouldn't ignore it if it comes you're way." That's all she would say about the matter. She pooh'ed at Oisin's last words. "Well, I don't know about that. Although... there are quite alot of handsome men here, aren't there?" She leaned in to say that more quietly, with a wicked smile.

"Have I ever been closed to things that naturally come my way?" Curious now, she tried to be open to all things. Well, maybe not all of them. Some of them wore thin the first time she crossed their path. -coughBradcough- She eyed the woman skeptically and laughed softly. "Madam, you might hear me admit to such a thing, but you'll never find the specifics of such from this tongue for you I know you'd go out of your way to see more come than simple compliments." She knew the woman far too well.

"Oh, nonsense! I would do no such thing. Besides, you know how much I love gossip, would you be so cruel as to deny me?" Batting her eyes in a hopeful way at the younger girl. Oisin could be secretive but Fifi certainly hoped she would share all the juicy details of any crushes she might develop. "You don't have to name names, how about that?"

She tilted her head a bit with a dramatic sigh. "I'm afraid I've not been out enough to give you such details. Most of the men I have seen in the commons or my few visits to the tavern are all splendidly handsome. The women equally  as lovely. I cannot wait to meet Segan's future bride. I hear so highly of her, but have yet to meet her."

"Oh yes, she keeps those Gardens of hers in immaculate shape, I hear." Something Fiona approved of. "Though I also heard she took in a street girl with no family to speak of, and a questionable history." Something Fiona did not approve of, but she wouldn't hold it against Vanessa either. "And that Evan Hunt has a sweetheart too, I hear, the lass who owns the wool shop." Fiona was highly skilled at ferreting out such pieces of gossip, hoarding them as a mouse would bits of cheese.

"She couldn't be too questionable. Segan speaks highly of her. I understand she works there at the gardens and Vanessa has taken in her sister's child as her own." She fell silent to listen to rumors of Evan's love and smiled. "He does indeed. I've not met her either, but she must be quite the woman to have caught Evan's eye. I can't say I remember anyone ever catching his eye."

Nobody had caught his eye for long, at least!

"He seems quite besotted. Your brothers like to give him grief over it, as well." She smiled when she mentioned Oisin's brothers, then her smile faded, and she studied Oisin a moment with a serious expression. "Oisin, dear, may I ask you something?" And of course she would proceed either way. "I know that you are happy to have found your brothers, but are you happy.... here? It was quite a big change, quite a journey.. I just want to be certain you are content with your choice."

"My brothers would give anyone grief and find it funny until it returns to them in the same manner they dish it out." One of them would have eyes for someone one of these days! She looked at Fiona curiously as she posed her question and nodded. "I am quite happy here. I have my brothers, I have you, and soon my parents at least for a visit." Which she still had mixed feelings about their possibly taking up residence. "IT is far more peaceful here than it was in London with a wide variety of beings that are as beautiful to watch as they are exciting to meet."

"Well... good." That seemed as convincing a testament as any, and Fifi smiled softly. "If you are content, then I am."

She smiled and moved closer to the woman, taking one of her hands with her own wrapped around it. "Madam, I want to do something here. I find the days rather dull with my brothers at their own work and seeking a place for us to reside, and my cousins off doing their own business. I had thought perhaps a small boutique would suit us. With hats and gloves and hair bobs and all sorts of lovely things. What do you think?"

"You think we should open our own boutique?" Fiona frowned slightly, considering the idea with a thoughtful air. "Hmm... I have no experience running a business, but I suppose I do know about such things, hats and gloves. And we both have good taste if I do say so myself." She was warming to the idea, the more she thought about it. "Oh, I could even make some things too, I have let my sewing go for some time but I could take it up again... and ooh, do you think we might sell handkerchiefs and scarves and things as well?"

"We could always find someone savvy with keeping the books for us. I'm sure there are accountants here. They seem to have everything else." She smiled, listening to her as she warmed to the idea. "We can sell whatever you like. We could always have a boutique and seamstress if you wanted to do that. After all, what is a lovely dress without the proper accessories?"

"You are right." Fiona nodded, a smile coming to her face. "Very well, I love the idea. We should go about the town soon, see about renting an open space for our shop. Then we'll have to decorate it nicely to attract customers, of course. Would you like to see those hairpins I bought you? I believe I smell dinner as well." She rose and offered her hand down to the girl.

Oisin liked the idea of their shop. It was quiet a fanciful idea that would suit them both. Taking the offered hand, she rose with a nod. "I would love to see them, and I believe you are right. Shall we? Before Herself gets to worrying?"

"Goodness, don't remind me." At the mention of the good Lady Mary. The sooner Fifi had a bit of her own space, the better! She'd link arms with Oisin for their stroll inside.



Date: 08-30-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 79

The Manor

Liam sent a surrey for Oisin and Fiona, pack what they had for it was time to move into their new manor. A name still needed to be chosen as well furniture to bought. There were a few beds so they would be given the women until more suitable furnishings were gotten. Something he would be talking on with both Oisin and Fiona. He never, ever, thought he would be head of a household and main decision maker.  Evan and Ciaran were made aware of the trip this evening and so he hoped they rode in sometime soon. Liam rode a few minutes ahead of the surrey so that he could unlock the door and make sure there were no furry friends within.

Ciar rode in not long after Liam. He stopped the horse a short distance away and studied the place, then shook his head. Dismounting, he allowed the horse to graze while he walked a little closer, mostly to see if anyone else had arrived.

Fifi rode along in the surrey with Oisin, encumbered by the large hatbox in her lap. They were surrounded by the rest of their belongings, mostly Fiona's, dresses and hats and of course, the necessary unmentionables. She was anxious to see their new home and chattered along the way, wondering what it would be like.

As much as she was learning to love her family, Oisin was grateful to be getting out of the house with the other Quinns. It was just far too crowded for her liking. Her chatting was here and there, but nothing overly grand. She'd sort of been in a melancholy mood as of late for no particular reason really. But, she donned a small smile that was genuine.

They could put Fiona up in the tower as he eyed that part of the manor coming upon it. The horse in a prancing walk and moving sideways as he rein him in. "Ciaran," calling out to his brother as he noticed him a short distance away, sitting there just taking in the view. Nice bit was the smaller home behind it off to the left that employment could stay year round instead of directly in the house which gave them more privacy as a family. He didn't mind having a staff and certainly they would be getting a cook, butler and chambermaid in the least. The latter would probably be a young girl around sixteen. The cook older with experience and the whole idea just boggled his mind. Having holiday get togethers with all the trimmings, things he had gone to in the past without a second thought to what went into them. Leave it in the hands of the women, the tiny voice called out. Certainly he would give credence to that thought! Once to the gate he was down immediately to tie the horse to the post while waiting on the others.

"Liam." He gave his brother a half smile. "Is this place haunted?" He shoved his hands into his pockets as he asked.

Fiona planned to help out around the manor, as well. Back in England, she had not only been Oisin's governess, but occasionally acted as maid or cook as well. There was no reason not to continue that role here, and besides, Oisin was getting a bit old to have a governess. Fifi would be happy to help out around the place, and moreover, she would insist on doing so. Otherwise she'd get far too bored! She had noticed Oisin's rather glum mood lately, and had  her own suspicions why, but kept these to herself. And hoped that a change of scenery might cheer her some.

The surrey would eventually rumble its way to its destination. Her arms held over her own hat box to keep it in place, she watched the scenery as they approached what was to be their new house. It was hard to tell if she was in awe or shock, but she was definitely taking in the view as they neared, leaning over Fiona to see past the surrey canopy to keep the whole house in view. "Look at all the windows..." That was all she wanted as far as requests for a room. That it have lots of windows.

"I think that tower must be in the least and the attic." More mussing under his breath tempered with a chuckle. "Have you seen Evan?" Realizing their half brother had not made it yet. He could hear the surrey coming up the road, one that would need more clearing in the near future as it was overgrown but passable. The house was in excellent condition for an old manor home, mostly barren but solid with a lot of possibility. Especially under the care of a woman, in this case.. two. Jack, who was manning the surrey for the ladies, was hired on for the livery and helping around the place with odd and ends as needed. Handyman. As the surrey pulled in, he took hold of the bridle, petting the stallion's nose. The surrey and horse was theirs too if they were not aware of it, they would be soon enough. "Ready ladies?" Coming around to see to the door and helping them down.

He just grunted then shook his head. "No, I haven't." He watched as the surrey approached, then waited for them to disembark.

"Ooooh, look at that tower!" Fiona exclaimed. It was a lovely home, its design simple, but unique. She'd never seen a place with quite such a design, the tower and rounded walls, and that huge porch. "And look at that porch, it seems as if it must wrap all the way around." Once the surrey rumbled to a stop, she climbed out carefully, arms awkwardly around the hatbox and silk skirts tangled about her legs. But her smile was bright as she greeted the brothers. "What a lovely house you've found."

Fawn moved her box aside, refusing to carry it around with her. Following Fiona out, she offered a smile to Liam, then to Ciar. "It is a lovely house." Spoken softly as she looked back to it, happy that Fiona was so thrilled over it.

It was then that Evan finally showed up, running and out of breath, cheeks flushed and hair all askew, but grinning. "Sorry I'm late," he puffed as he skidded to a stop. "Miss Fiona, you are looking lovely, hullo Oisin," as he put a hand briefly to his younger sister's shoulder. Then he followed the others' gazes up to the new house and whistled appreciatively.

Liam liked the porch. A place to get away when at home and lots of room around. "Aye, it wraps all around, lots of roof for Oisin to climb out on," giving his sister a wink as if she would do one of her escapes by climbing out on the roof and down a tree. Certainly enough trees around too. "Second floor rooms have a good view of the lake as well the tower rooms. If you ladies would like to choose a room, Jack will move the two beds into them for tonight. Tomorrow we will be buying furniture and gaining some from the Thistle warehouse." What he called it for it had so many odds and ends in good condition just waiting for a home." He was over to open up the outer gate while Jack saw to the surrey to the small stable in back. He would be living in the staff house. Liam was up to make his way over the porch to unlock the front door for them. Leaving the double doors to swing wide open. A chipmunk ran out while scolding.

"I should hope she won't be climbing out onto the roof," Fiona gave Oisin a very stern look. Then she looked back to the house, considering which area she might want to live in, before those skittering sounds came. And a chipmunk ran by, nearly getting caught up in her skirts. "OH!"

She smiled to Evan. "Hello." Then smirked to Liam and Fiona for her look. "I might very well do such things when the winds call me." No doubt she would sneak off if she felt the need to spend time outside. A soft snicker was given to Fi's outburst from the chipmunk. "Madam, it's a helpless little bit of creature." And before she could be scolded, she moved off to explore the house and find her room.

Evan was a bit surprised that neither of his brothers had jumped in to jibe him about his tardiness, but counted himself lucky. "This place is great." And he let out a laugh when Fiona squealed, offering his arm to escort her inside. "Don't be frightened, I'll stomp on any rodent that dares to startle you," he winked."

"You most certainly will not be climbing onto roofs, no matter what the winds say." That she had said firmly to Oisin before the handsome young man offered his arm. In they went and she lifted her skirt gingerly off the dusty floor, stepping carefully lest she disturb any more... wildlife.

Luckily Jack would bring in any packages left in the surrey and set them on the table just inside the foyer. One that would hold incoming mail or packages to be sent out in the future. "Fawn, you kin our brother here has got himself a lass?" As if saying that was the reason Evan was late and none other! Of course after Evan's gallantry with Fifi, she might assume that was his lass. See Liam smirk as he headed inside. There were other rodents that had gotten in, a few squirrels, another chipmunk, a raccoon in the tower and a big ole harmless black snake in the pantry. They were in the country. Of course there were the minor residents of spiders.

"Yeah, lovely." He muttered before he followed the others in. He was looking a bit scruffy today, unshaven which was normal, his clothes older ones that he had but clean. Hands went back into his pockets and he took up a lean against the front wall.

Fawn just smiled without another word. What she didn't know wouldn't hurt her. She certainly didn't bother with her skirts as they entered the house, and whatever wildlife still resided didn't bother her in the least. A brief look around the foyer and rooms accessible from there before she jogged up the stairs to the second floor to see what she could discover as far as bedrooms went.

Ciaran was different this evening as Liam finally noticed after all going on to consider. A slight frown marred his features as eyes narrowed a moment. "You need a woman in your life Ciaran, smooth out those rough edges," like his brother was going to agree. Nope, he was not expecting that but he was going to poke and prod his unkempt brother in what was bothering him.

Evan gave Liam a look then glanced around to the others, sheepish, but unable to hide his grin. "I wouldn't say 'got myself', not like I kidnapped her or anything but... Aye. She seems to like me well enough, no idea why though."  Another grin before he listened to what Liam said to Ciaran, glancing to their younger brother with a more thoughtful look. Ciar did seem a bit off and Evan wondered why.

"No, I don't." He snorted then looked at his brother. "I like my rough edges." He gave both brothers a half smile. "I'll let you two deal with lasses in that way."

"You smell like the sheep she's been around most her life?" Offering up a reason to Evan's comment which only had him finally laughing. An obvious tease. His hands were up, "not I but then I don't have those rough edges you're sporting tonight Ciaran. Did you lose a few card games?" Hands lowering as he spoke, leaving the ladies to explore the house. He already saw it all and would wait on their choices of rooms before picking one for himself.

Liam earned himself a shove for that, but luckily it wasn't too hard a push, since he had a lady on his arm and all.

"No, I was working tonight." He gave another shrug. "Might get a room down at the docks so I'm close for the days I work. Other days, stay here." He wasn't sure how anyone would react to that though.

"Well, you seem an eligible sort of man for one, and you are not exactly monstrous to look upon," Fiona offered explanation for Mariah's attraction with a little giggle. It wasn't as if she had any true hopes for Evan but a little flirting was always fun! And she stayed on his arm as they began to explore the manor. "Oisin? Where did you go, did you find a room you like?" She called out as the girl seemed to have disappeared.

Fawn had indeed disappeared! Well, not really. She'd found a room that she liked and after opening the window and gathering up her skirts to ensure none were torn and removing her boots, she'd climbed through the window and crouched there on the roof over the side of the porch to see the view without the window being in way of her sight. She'd opted for the room at the end of the hall with windows that faced both front of the house and one on the side.

"We're certainly close enough to the docks, why this place was chosen." The muscle along his jaw clenched so that he didn't say anything more. Instead he changed the subject. "We need a name for the manor. Oisin is by default head mistress until I get married. Which she will probably be wed and long gone to her own home by then. I would like to put you, Fiona, if you accept, in charge of the household and teach Oisin such duties." He certainly could not and he was sure their mother would wish her to learn. Which would have Fiona start making a list of all the furniture that would be needed. Drapes and so on, teaching Oisin along the way. If she could not hold such a station, then he would need to hire someone and soon.

Good luck with that!

Evan allowed Fiona to venture off in search of Fawn on her own, and turned back to his brothers when Liam began to speak. Ciaran's comment, about living on his own down at the docks, had Evan's eyes narrowing. But he bit his tongue... for now. Instead nodding to Liam's words. "I think that's wise, putting Fiona in charge. I have a feeling she'd be taking charge anyway." She had that bossy sort of personality, but also seemed like she'd be good for the job, a competent organizer.

Fiona was confused when she stepped into the room at the end of the hall, only to find it... empty. She stepped further inside, groaning, then saw the window open. And her head would soon appear to stick out and give Oisin a mildly exasperated gaze. "Oh, honestly. Can't you just sit in a chair like everybody else?" But there was the hint of a fond smile on her face too. Oisin had always been like this... a wild child, and while it often drove Fifi crazy, that was part of the girl's charm too.

He would agree with Evan's thoughts but knowing too, he would probably end up butting heads with her at times. Luckily he was as stubborn as a mule with a hard head. He was going to take the third floor room with the three windows. Lake view supreme as did the third floor tower room.

Ciar had pretty much made up his mind about the room so he didn't answer about the location. Didn't say anything about Fiona taking over either though he agreed with Evan about her taking charge. He pulled his left hand out of his pocket and flexed his fingers a few times. As far as a room here, any would do, even though he had said about a lake view.

She smiled over her shoulder and stood up, moving closer to the window. "Oh Madam, can't you stop thinking about normality and look at this grand view?" She wasn't going to attempt to pull the woman out through the window, but moved so she could easily see. At least she didn't attempt to pick the third floor with nothing more than a ledge to crawl around on.

"It is a lovely view," she admitted, only a little grudgingly. Easing herself to perch precariously on the window's ledge, she gazed out, smiling at the gorgeous view. "With so many windows, there is not a room with a bad view in the whole house. Your brother has good taste," high compliments from Miss Fifi! "Perhaps I can take the room right next to yours, won't that be fun?" That way at least she would be able to hear if Oisin were to, say, fall off the roof some time.

Evan was busy looking around from where he stood. "Maybe I'll take the room at the top of the tower. Bet I'd be able to see clear across town from there." Perfect for watching for a certain somebody. Then he realized the two of them were being awfully quiet. Hazel eyes glanced to Ciaran, then Liam, then back. And he cleared his throat. "Alright, if nobody else will say it, I will. Ciaran, why would you take a room at the docks when there's plenty of good rooms here with us? We're close to the Docks here anyway. Do you have a sweetheart or something, and we embarrass you?" He was half joking but half serious. It just seemed sudden and unlike Ciar to want to live alone and away from them.

There were three rooms in front on the second floor, two rounded and one between that all had lake view windows. There was also the second floor and third floor tower rooms. Plus there were many rooms between and to the other side of the house. One of them a dormer bedroom. Plus there was an attic, one in various sections for the layout of the rooms upstairs.

Oisin would never fall off the roof. She had far too much practice that Fi didn't even know about. With her back to the wall, she crouched down next to the woman and nodded. "That he does." Mention of taking the room next to hers, she smiled over to the woman. "You know I'd have it no other way."

"No, you don't embarrass me and I already said I'm not interested in a wife or girlfriend. We aren't that close and some nights I'm going to need to be available at a moment's notice. When I'm not working, I'll stay here." He looked at Liam. "It's a matter of convenience."

"Good, that's settled then." Fiona smiled contentedly and spoke her thoughts aloud as she looked out across the lake. "This place has potential, but will need quite a bit of sprucing up. There's no furniture to speak of, nor drapes, and I am sure the kitchen is a mess.... you'll help me to get the place settled, yes?" Fiona was already taking charge.

"Then go pick out your room with a view." If he truly was going to stay here when not working, he may as well have a good room with a view. There were a few left to choose from and even the one he would choose for himself if Ciaran wanted it. "There may be nights I'm not here but most likely you'll find me at the Warehouse," the one with the boxing ring and he'd have a room with a cot in it for those longer nights.

Evan wasn't sure he bought it. He was eyeing Ciaran in that skeptical way, but let it go with just a grunt. They'd discuss it further at another time, maybe. "I'm going to go have a look at that room." And he'd make his way up to the third floor of the tower. It was a smaller room but that was just fine by him... and the view was spectacular. He stood there looking at it for a few minutes.

Fawn looked at Fiona and wrinkled her nose. "You're going to make me assist in decorating?" Fawn had no problems cleaning, but to pick out eggshell vs. beige....Fiona shouldn't hold her breath on that. Fawn might have looked all girlie in her dresses and with her hair fashioned, but she was no decorator and would never pretend to be.

He pushed off the wall and headed upstairs. The room he'd pick would be the first empty one he came to on the second floor, and that suited him fine.  It even had a view of the lake though not as good perhaps as the third floor.


"Don't sound so horrified. It won't be too painful, I promise. Don't you think it will be fun, picking out paint colors, upholstery for the furniture, lamps and ooh....we will need to decide what era we wish to decorate in." Fifi looked thrilled and oblivious to Oisin's dread.

Yes, it was dread. She looked at the woman blankly and before quirking a small grin. "Not particularly. I don't know the difference between colors like purple and lilac or silk and satin." Well, the latter wasn't true, but pretty sure she got the point.

"If that is the case, I have been horribly remiss in my teaching." Fifi did look truly stricken to think that her pupil was ignorant of such things. "Well then, now is the perfect opportunity. Some day you will be in charge of your own household, and you'll have to know about such things, even if you never like them very much."



Date: 08-30-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 80

She shook her head. "No...I plan to own a lovely little cabin somewhere in nature with simple furnishings." Bet Fi would love that!

"Well then you better hope your future husband wants to live in a little cabin and... commune with nature." Her mild smirk said that she doubted that very much.

"Who says I'll be married?" She grinned coyly and shrugged. She had no intentions of anything with a man that might lead to more than a possible friendship.

Cue long-suffering sigh. "Oisin, dear." She had that tone she used when she was reaching for patience. "You may enjoy these years of your youth, your freedom, and even may court a few men if you so wish. But someday you must pick one to wed and settle down, to begin your own family. That is simply how it is."

She eyed Fiona with that look...the look that only she got when thoughts popped in her head that would likely exhaust the poor woman. "You first." And beamed a smile.

Luckily Liam was not near the two to hear the conversation. He was checking out the third floor then back down to get a fire going in the hearth. Jack was in and following his instructions where to put the two beds available, one in Fiona's and one in Oisin's room. Jack would also start the fires in each of the hearths for it was getting a touch chilly at night, especially out in the wilderness. They could still hear the frogs, katydids and crickets down at the lake as the evening rolled in. A mist forming over it as the air got cooler faster than the water and grounds. Tommy rode in from the Thistle with a variety of meals served that evening for a nice respite for the family. Tomorrow, Fiona's first job would be to hire a cook of a few that were available.

"Oh! For goodness' sake." She threw up her hands in exasperation. "I am not a woman of any social standing, Oisin, my marital status does not matter a whit. But you... people will begin to talk if you go unmarried for too long."

She turned enough to look at the woman, baying her amusement. "Madam, we are no longer in England and while my social status might have spoken something there, it does nothing for me here. If I am destined to grow old without a husband or children, then so be it. But I will not go out seeking one or veer from the life I desire to have simply because in England it would be the proper thing to do. If I am to wed, then I will wed a man with tastes as simple as my one." Though she really had absolutely no interest in men.

They should put Oisin in the tower room!

No locking her away in the tower!

Sometimes... Fiona did not know what to do with the girl. She sighed again. "I am not saying you must go chasing men around, of course, nor that you must choose somebody you dislike. But surely there is somebody here suitable for you." And didn't you just know, Fifi would be on a quest to find one from this day on.

She batted her eyes at the woman and smiled. "If love finds me, then so be it. I have little interest in the male gender or thinking ahead to a day that may never come. Right now I want to live my life, and I want us to have the little boutique that we spoke of before arriving. A quiet life without all the social festivities and noise that my mother and father prefer. Is that so wrong, Madam?"

"No.... that isn't wrong." Which was about all she could say at this point, without causing Oisin's temper to flare. She didn't want to ruin this happy occasion. And at a certain point, stubbornness tended to deafen Oisin's ears. Fifi was well used to this and knew when to pick her battles.

It would be a comical day when Fiona attempts to set Oisin's heart up with some handsome man just to see Oisin flirt her way right out of it. She smiled to the woman. "You should remove your boots and come sit with me, watch the sun set."

By this time Liam was out on the front porch, a few chairs there that were sturdy enough to use as he sat having a cigarillo, paying Tommy before he left. The scent of food in the air.

"Heavens, no. I would topple right off. I'm quite comfortable here, I'm sure." And she would be keeping her boots on, thank you very much! She lifted her head suddenly like a bloodhound, and sniffed. "It smells like supper." Which was peculiar, since they didn't have a cook yet. "Shall we go see?"

Ciar headed back down the stairs and followed the scent of the cigarillo outside. He watched as Liam paid Tommy then took a lean against the rail, just listening to the outside noises.

Evan wandered out to join the others on the porch, taking up a seat on one of the chairs with long legs stretched out before him. He lit up his own cigarillo, enjoying the evening and the companionable silence. Key word, silence.... he had a feeling they might not be getting too much of that with the women living here.

"You go. I'll be down shortly. I promise." She was going to sit there and watch until the sun was gone and the last of color faded from the sky.

"Alright, but don't be long." Fiona left Oisin to her sunset-gazing, gathered her skirts and went back downstairs. The empty house had her wandering out to the porch, where sure enough, she found all three of the gentlemen gathered. The smell of their cigarillos assaulted her nostrils, and she coughed politely, waving her hand before her nose as she stepped forward. "A lovely house. But you do realize it is nearly empty, yes? We will need furniture, carpets, all sorts of things to make it into a home. I suggest checking with Mr Alex at the Thistle Tavern, I hear he has a vast collection of things just collecting dust in his attic. Perhaps something there will suit."

Fawn returned to her crouched position so she could watch the setting sun and changes of the sky. She could smell the cigarillos being smoked and hear the chatter, though the topic eluded her.

He would not give up the cigarillo when outside. Inside there would be a separate drawing room for the men to smoke if weather conditions didn't allow outside accommodations comfortably. The food had been left on a bench and so Liam was up to wander in that direction and see what there was to have. Grin spread around the clutch of the cigarillo between the white of teeth in passing his silent brothers. The basket lid flipped open and a chicken leg taken out to much on as he wandered back to his seat. Settling in his seat as he took the moment to respond to Fiona, as if the lapse in time he was considering a number of things, "aye, there is much to be had from the Thistle and we shall visit there first. What cannot be had will be sought from Sean MacGrath furniture."

"Hell, I can build some things, too." Not that he was a master carpenter but he certainly had those skills, and enjoyed doing it too.

Fawn stood up and walked around the roof to where the porch seats were and she could hear the others talking. Let's see how much of a heart attack she can give her poor governess. To the very edge, she knelt down and leaned over to look at them all upside down. Just in time to hear Evan's comment. "You just be sure that it's not more blood than wood." Kidding, of course.

"Every bit will help but I will leave drapes, kitchen things, rugs and throw rugs in the hands of the ladies." Next he went silent as he dug into the chicken leg.  Tearing a piece of tender cooked flesh from the leg as it was devoured. "Fiona, you should check out the kitchen and see what it needs. That will be our first priority." He was the Boss! Giving a wink to the upside down Fawn too.

And to Oisin's amusement, and the detriment of the others' eardrums, Fiona let out a piercing scream. A hand flying to her heart as she gaped up at Oisin, then scowled. "Oisin Aine Quinn, you get away from the edge this instant! "What would your mother say if she saw you like that?!" A dry swallow as her heart continued to flutter, then she turned attention back to Liam, smiling tightly. "Of course. We shall need to hire a cook as well."

She looked at Fiona and smiled. "Well, if you insist." What was the quickest way away from the edge? To climb down, of course! So she disappeared and turned, one bare foot coming down with every intention of climbing down onto the porch railing. "Mother never has to know..." Then came down the other foot, the hem of her dress just below her knees.

"Not THAT way!" Fiona exclaimed, then shook her head, truly dazed by the girl's mischief sometimes.

Evan meanwhile was trying to hide his chortles behind a leg of chicken he was munching on. But he failed at Fifi's latest exclamation, letting out a laugh. Stepping over to the railing, he tossed the chicken bone into the grass, then stuck his hands into his pockets as he looked up to grin at Oisin. Ready to catch her if she fell, but mostly he just wanted to watch this.

He just shook his head though he smiled at Liam then joined him to check out the food. He nearly choked when Fiona screamed, coughed then watched as Fawn started to climb off the roof.

That tossed chicken bone was quickly grabbed and dragged away by something quick from the shadows. Liam was still rubbing at his ears to get rid of that high pitch ringing. "How about Lakeside Manor as the lake is a stone's throw away from here?" Getting them started on a name for when he let Maurice know they were taking this one.

Yeah, she wasn't climbing up now that she was half way down! She inched way down over the edge of the roof, catching the edge with her hands so she could swing down and place her feet on the railing with a keen grin. "Madam, you must learn to expect the unexpected." Fiona really should have known that by now!

"Oh for goodness' sake." Fiona was losing her patience rapidly. "Fine! Climb about the house like a monkey, break your neck, just do not come crying to me after." Huff.

"I like it." Spoken to Liam as she crouched down to hop off the railing. Then she was right over to Fiona, around behind to wrap her in a hug and lay her cheek on the woman's shoulder. "Is that your way of giving me permission because you find it amusing as well?" She sounded so very sweet.

"No, I do not find it amusing. Nor is it ladylike. You are far too old to scamper around the place like that. What if you were to slip?" Her heart near stopped for a minute as she turned to look at Oisin with wide eyes. "At least promise me that you will never do that in the winter! It could be icy, or slick with snow..."

"I thought it was called Lakeview?" He managed to speak in between Fiona and Fawn. "Lakeside sounds good too though."

"Lakeside Manor sounds perfect." He spoke up to answer Liam, but his eyes were dancing with mirth as he watched the two women. "Miss Fiona's right, Fawn, you need to be careful at least."

She smiled brightly to the woman. "I promise I will never climb down from the roof unless it is dry." Then she looked to Evan, quirking a brow. "I'm always careful."

Evan just lifted a brow at her in return. "Are you?"

"Of course I am. Do you think I want Madam hovering over my bedside saying I told you so?" She smiled and gave Fiona a kiss on the cheek.

"So what have you ladies, Lakeside or Lakeview manor?" Trying to distract them amusingly.

"Certainly my climbing trees and rooftops is nothing more dangerous than what the three of you do." She narrowed her eyes at all three of them. "Lakeside works for me."

"Madame likes you as you are, all in one piece." She was still sulky, not happy with Fawn's dangerous antics, but there was only so much she could do. "What about... Lake Vista?"

He had not said a word. Not even with her coming down from the porch roof as if it was an everyday occurrence with her. "Lakeside Manor, Lake Vista Manor," testing them out in how it sounded.  "Willow Song Manor," as he noticed with the breeze you could hear it in the weeping branches of the willow trees. "Or Willow Manor.."

"Why do you call her Madam?" Ciar asked Fawn, with more than a hint of amusement showing in green eyes. He had been curious about that since they had found Fawn.

She looked at Ciaran and smiled. "Because she is a woman of authority to me, and it is my show of respect to her. Besides, it suits her much better than Miss." Fawn may have been defiant when it came to her antics, but she had a great deal of respect for Fiona.

"or Weeping Willow Manor," mussing now as they went on and he was dedicated to finding a suitable name.

"And when Oisin was a little girl, I tried to teach her a few words of French. I'm afraid Madame is the only one which stuck." A slight laugh as she softened, looking at Oisin with a little smile.

"Weeping Willow sounds so dreary. Why not call it Sunny Lake Manor?" She looked at Fiona and smiled. "That's not true. I can say oui and no, as well."

"Ah, makes sense." He nodded, smiled at them both, and continued to enjoy the food while Liam went over names. "I like Willow Manor." Nice and simple. Though he still thought the house looked haunted.

"Willows are so dreary though and everyone associates them with weeping." She frowned, loosening her hug on Fiona.

"I do too. So we will leave out the weeping and just have Willow.." grinning as he finished off his second chicken leg.

She didn't like Willow. It just sounded dreary. Even by itself. Looking out past the porch. "What are we going to do with this land?"

"A Sycamore is another lakeside tree, and so lovely with its white bark. Why not Sycamore Lane, or something similar?"

"They're one of the first trees to get leaves in spring too." He finished eating and went back to leaning.

"That sounds nice. Like some little lane that should be lined with lovely trees and birds singing."

He pointed at the lake, "Willow Lake, maybe Willow Lake Manor. I hear there is as story on how the lake got its name. The lost of a love one that was held so dear in the heart of a woman, that her tears filled the barren area with water that then nourished the land from there onward." Trying to wipe out the grin that threatened, "would you rather Sycamore Manor then?"

"See...that's so sad...." She frowned and leaned against the railing. "We could just call it Rampaging Quinn Manor." She smirked and shrugged.

He gave a little shrug, "bittersweet if one believes in lost love and something given back in return.."

"That is rather sad," she agreed, uncertainty. Glancing between sister and brothers and like Evan, wisely staying out of this one!

"Do we have to name it now? Something more appropriate might come along as we make it our home."

"No, we do not have to name it tonight but at least we have a few names to think on or something else might prove better. It is time to get some sleep as it will be a long day ahead of us tomorrow in getting all organized and making this a home. I would like to have our very first meal tomorrow or the next upon our own dinner table here in the manor." Sort of a home feast.

She looked at Liam and smiled. "Who could possibly sleep now with so much excitement of a new home that is our own?" Fawn was all kinds of wound up!

Fifi, for her part, was yawning discreetly behind one hand. "Well, you must get some rest, tomorrow will be quite busy. A feast sounds lovely. I'll look into hiring a cook first thing, and getting the kitchen set up."

Bah. Bunch of old people! "Fiiiine." She'd just sit out on the roof and write or something until she was tired.

He was tired as he was over to scoop Fawn up into his arms, spinning around in a waltz that had her up off her feet. "I will see you come sunrise, little one."

She giggled as she was waltzed around and smiled brightly. "Indeed you will. I shall be on the roof crowing the sun's rise."

Ciar glanced around and looked at the others. "I think I'll sleep out here tonight." There was no furniture in his room anyway, and he did have a bedroll with him.

"I might be out there with you," whispered by her ear as he set her to the floorboards. A slipping glance Fiona's way then back with a wink. There were bed rolls brought. "Good night everyone, don't let the mosquitoes eat you alive, Ciar!" Hand up in a wave as he headed inside.

Another giggle, covering her mouth, to the whisper. "I might beat you there."

"They don't bite me very often." 'He laughed. "I'm too sour." And he found the perfect place on the back porch, where a breeze drifted and the sun wouldn't hit come morning.


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