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Quinn Family

Date: 06-10-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 41

That was the start, like in the water as he had her up and over his shoulder. "When a strapping lad or lass has had too much..." being his brothers had not finished that statement before, they were slipping.. "it means water trough time!" as he was heading out the door before any more words could be exchanged. There was a point where it was becoming something else between two stubborn mules.

A snort of a left-over laugh, probably devoid of any real humor, and he left. Not even looking toward Eion or Rhett before he departed. Guess this incident could count as two, maybe even three points added...if he were  keeping count that is.

He laughed as he stood and moved over to the window, then on second thought, he headed for the door instead. He'd catch up with Conor in the morning. Ah, but Conor still had the touch. How many times had they pulled one of their sisters off him when he had infuriated them?

Karina was still growling but focus soon shifted from Conor when he disappeared from view, to Segan as he began to drag her away. Wait.. had he said...... "Segan! Water trough, don' ye dare!"

He had her secured in a strong hold but not in a way she'd bruise. He was conscious of that and had learned to handle their sisters as such. Strong purposeful stride had him heading straight for that deep wooden water trough.


"Segaaaaaaaaaaan!" She was squealing, not in laughter but in outrage as every available limb went to thrashing against his grip. "Don' do it! I'll rip yer ears off and feed em ta the hogs, I swear by all the gods!"

"Conor and the girl are like oil and water." He told Rhett as he looked over his shoulder at the Smith. "He could say boo to her and it would set her off. " He turned his attention back to the two. From what he understood, she wouldn't be the first to feel that cold water.

Meanwhile she was still hollering, "Put me down! Put me down right now Segan! I'll set yer bloody toes on fire, I'll..." etc, etc, and so forth.

Right over it he swung her but like on the boulder he didn't drop her in but set her down aside while still holding her in his arms until she stopped struggling. One hand down into the cool water to bring up a bit to run over the back of her neck to help in sobering her up.

Panting a little from her shouting tirade, it took her a second to register that she was on her own feet again... and not soaking wet in the trough. Though he was still holding her with an iron grasp, and why was there water trickling down her neck? She gave a flinch, "What in hell are ye doin?" A pause, but as he continued to brush his fingers against that sensitive area of neck beneath her hairline he'd all but feel her tense in his grasp, and she let out an almost panicky demand of, "Stop touchin' me!"

"Maybe she is attracted to Conor then? Holding a flame for him so rebels against it and him. Ma told me some girls are like that as well lads, dipping a girl's pigtail in ink and the like."

He already told her what he was doing. The touch gentle and should be refreshing. Sobering. "I'm trying to help you sober up. What do you think I'm doing?" More curious for her response as he let go of her when she shouted. Wasn't the shout but just that fear in her eyes like seeing someone or something else.

The second he let go she stepped back immediately, jumped back more like, and just eyed him with a widened gaze as her lungs heaved. And then she turned away, spinning on a heel and striking off as quickly as her potcheen-stumbling would allow her further away.

"Bah! Try to help and look where it gets you." Throwing up his hands before he was around and heading back into the tavern as she ran off. If he went after her she'd be calling him something he was not.


Karina didn't make it far though, before the rocking of the 'ship' beneath her gave a sudden pitch (even though it was perfectly stable ground!). Balance was suddenly lost, she threw herself.. or rather fell to a knee, both hands planted against the earth, fingers digging into the damp dirt. Her head hung down as she took deep gasps into her lungs, trying to push down the nameless panic that made her heart beat like war drums. Her face felt hot, her vision suddenly blurred and just as swiftly, her stomach decided it didn't like that much potcheen, after all. Especially not in combination with the demons clawing at her mind, and suddenly she retched into the grass.

That's when she'd find strong hand at the shoulder in support as she puked up her guts. So he hadn't quite made it into the tavern when she went down, cursing all the way over to not leave her alone there like that. Once she was done, he'd help her up. "Care to wash your face off in the trough before we go back into the tavern?" She might actually feel a little better as in more sober for getting most out of her stomach.

And she did, in a sense. Things were a little clearer though there were still fuzzy edges around her consciousness where the potcheen warped every thought. She didn't much react to Segan's touch, this time at least, too busy vomiting up a storm. Though, considering it had been a few hours since she'd eaten there wasn't much to spew. So several moments later she was quiet except for the gasping breaths. Helped back up to her feet by Segan, she turned her eyes up to him and just nodded to his suggestion. It was hard to tell what was in that gaze of hers: remnant anger, or gratitude, or wariness. Probably more a combination of all the above.

"I don't think she does. She's never allowed Conor to touch her." He had turned away when Segan hadn't dumped her in the trough and headed back to the table where he collected his glass and Segan's sword.

She had allowed his touch at the lake in a teasing playful way. He wasn't sure why she had reacted differently tonight or that look in her eyes with that was a kind of fear. At least this time it seemed she realized he was only helping her. Nothing more. Nothing less. He guided her over to the trough, one arm around her shoulders, hand fitting over the curve in enough of a grip she didn't fall. Once there he would let her splash on the water as it seemed his touching her neck in doing so, triggered something else.

"I'm not real good when it comes to lasses, when they like someone and when they really don't when acting the way this lass did tonight on Conor." If Eion didn't think the lass was just infatuated with Conor, then most likely he knew more and a better judge. "Enjoy the sword, if you need anything else let me know." He finished off his drink as it seemed the other three had gone and Eion probably as tired to turn in. It had been good to get out again, this he admitted to himself and might start again, drag his brother with him.

Her feet were still tripping a little as they made their way, so it was good Segan had a strong arm there to support her. She sort a half-leaned half-knelt at the trough, reaching down into it to cup water in her hand, closing her eyes as she let it trickle over her face. And slowly, as the water cooled her face off her breathing and heart rate began to calm as well.

"Rhett, I don't know anyone man who understands women, or girls. And I won't profess to." He smiled as he placed the glass on the bar. "Both me brothers have more patience then I do though." Of course, there was a good reason for that. "I'll be trying the sword out tomorrow on the king's field."

He waited close by, just in case she passed out and did a nose dive into the trough. He'd keep her from drowning so she and his brother could battle another day. "Feeling better?"

One more splash of water to her face and Karina straightened up, nodding in response to Segan's question. At least she was sober enough now to register and answer questions. She eased away from his grip again, arms coming up to fold across her chest as she glanced out across the yard. "I'm goin' fer a walk." She aired the idea suddenly, but determinedly in a sort of inarguable monotone.

"I'll come by as I practice there when I have time." Which had him pause as if sharing a secret. "I am knighted under King Leoric of Kildare, honorary for a certain battle. I decided my place is as a blacksmith in my father's footsteps was just as important. Though I have given a vow that if ever needed I can be called upon immediately. I am told you are going to join the ranks. It is a good choice as time will prove to you."

He had stepped aside already, no touching. Giving her that space for her earlier reaction. He studied her a long moment before giving a nod. She seemed sober enough and there were guards that patrolled. She seemed to need time alone. understandably. "Stay safe then, Karina." Stepping even further away from her, backwards, still facing her before pausing again.

"You're right in that. A good blacksmith keeps the army going. Aye, I am." He smiled again, looking a little sheepish. "I wasn't sure at first but it seems the best course." Not mentioning that he was still healing. He would be well soon enough. "Your father must be very proud." The last added softly.

Karina just gave an abbreviated little nod, arms still folded tightly. In a strange way she almost wanted to thank him (for what? almost throwing her into the trough and making her puke?) but she couldn't summon the words. Instead she turned on a heel and struck off across the yards, towards the shadows of the streets beyond.

Which had a fuller smile. "I hope that he is. I hope to do him proud. Well, I best be heading out as I'm up early and you need be to be on the king's field." A few words with Alex before he was heading out the side door, "see you tomorrow then, Eion." He would be seeing Conor and possible the lass if she really had bits and pieces of metals to sell him. Once out the door, he was sliding the Stetson in place, pinch to the front brim of forefinger and thumb before his hand fell away.

"Good night Rhett. I'll see you then." He smiled as the younger man left then turned to speak to Alex. A letter was handed over which had him grinning. Seems Rob had written. He swooped up the bottle before turning away.

He watched her go before giving Rhett a wave as he took his leave. Door left open he could see his brother still inside as he was back up the steps to linger at the door. Frown marring his features after the night had been good up to the last part. He needed to shake that off.

He caught the wave and waved back before turning down a side street.

Hand flat to the frame of the door in a thud as he leaned in. "Ready?" They were heading back to the manor or staying here? He wasn't certain. Maybe it would be better for none of them to be around when Karina woke up tomorrow. Might even be a good idea to avoid the Thistle for a while. He would bring it up with them for what he witnessed was getting to the negative side of things, crossing that line from bantering to mean. "Eion?" As it seemed he'd not heard his first question.

"Aye, I'm ready. Did you know that Rhett is knighted?" He was curious to learn more. He shook the letter in his. "Rob wrote me. He's going to marry his lass. And there were no repercussions for him." News that had made his night.

"He told me some, grand tale in how it came about and some of these people you will be getting to meet." If he wanted to hear the story he would tell him on the way back, least what he was told of it. "That's good news!" If he had a bottle with him, he'd lift it in celebration.

"Aye it is. And I want to hear." He liked the lad." He's planning on being on the field tomorrow." He stepped outside and glanced around. "The lass leave?"

"Air did her good," not saying she had puked her brains out, "she went for a walk. I can hope to reconsider how things went tonight, reflect on them." Which by what he was learning of her personality, he highly doubted it. "The guards patrol so she will be fine." And as she had pointed out to them in not so many words, they were not her keepers, boss or anyone she had to pay no mind to.

They could share the bottle on the way back. "Aye, there is that. So tell me this tale about Rhett." He waved to Alex as they stepped out. They could take the short cut so they'd reach the manor quickly.



Date: 06-12-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 42

Boys will be Boys

Segan was still at the bar, meal finished as it turned out there had not been one at the steps leading upstairs as he had thought. Shadows this day, odd occurrences. One to make him wonder if Eion was correct or more this kind of strange was worse than extraordinarily gifted. His meal finally done, was pushed aside as well the empty tankard. Now it was evening, not earlier around one in the afternoon. Time for some of the Pure. He set out two extra glasses as a good omen a certain two would show up.

Peace and Quiet! As a child, Conor never once thought of running away. Not even a fortnight in Heathfield and he had run away more than he stayed at home! It wasn't that he didn't love each and every one at the manor but...the noise! Yes...peace and quiet, that's what he needed as he entered the tavern. Perfect timing! "Segan!" Conor called out, looking behind him to make sure no one was entering on his heels before he let go of the door.

"Conor," turning on the stool as his glass of the pure was lifted in salute. "Eion on your heels?" Not being sure if the eldest was or if Conor even knew.

Continuing to the bar, he collected one of those glasses (knowing it was for him) and reached for the bottle. "I need some of this." He shot a look to the door, then back to Segan. "Not as I know, but hopefully, he won't be long in coming." He tilted the bottle toward Segan, then swiveled it around to pour liquid in his glass.

"Any particular reason or just in general?" Eyeing his brother in a keen discerning way as if he could gleam any extra need of a drink.

For the majority of the afternoon she had taken to the streets of the village to check out the various shops that remained open.. It was her hope to meet more of the wonderful people of Heathfield. For the most part it was a success  but as the sun dipped beneath the swollen clouds she chose to surround herself within the company of the familiar, quaint tavern. Upon her arrival she took note of the voices already inside but, as one only new could deem an excuse she did not recognize the voices. Perhaps more people she could meet! Lips curled into a kind smile as she stepped within.. But chocolate depths found Conor and Segan.. So they were related! "Good evening, gentleman" To the others near or around them she offered a nod of greeting.

Kuwan was attired in a darker doeskin shift, one that was two pieces with the top overlay but not tucked into the bottom skirt. At times a little bit of skin could be seen if she reached for something. It was far more comfortable. Hair was left in loose waves with two tiny braids down either side, leather strip woven thick that encircled the crown of her head with feathers in the back as well ones in the tips of the tiny braids. A woven basket was over one arm with a certain baked good within. Steps were soft, silent, that took her within behind another as she waited a moment before continuing to the bar where she set the basket.

The glass was on the way up. "I'm a bit sore from all the verbal abuse." He grinned, then drank. Conor shifted on his stool to look toward the door. "Evening, Amaranth." His smile spread and he nodded once in her direction to add to his greeting.

"Good evening Amaranth. You left so quickly earlier I was not able to answer your question. Conor is my brother as I also, we also, have another.. brother." Though blue eyes lifted just beyond to catch Kuwan on her way in, tracing her path before a look shifted to his brother with a lift of his brows. That unspoken question he would catch without its need to be voiced.

Conor's breath caught in his throat when the woman entered behind her. He followed the Indian lass with his gaze from the door to the bar. He blinked, once, twice, and jerked himself out of his stupor. "Good evening, Kuwan." The subject of conversation between Segan and Amaranth brought his gaze to her again.

Her voice was soft, gentle, as dark almond eyes turned on the brothers. "I have brought more rabbit pies." Being it was ascertained from the other day that they had enjoyed them. Concern touched upon Conor lastly as she looked for any evidence of his wounds she'd healed, or at least had administered to with that hope. "You are well?"

"Something smells good." And it was coming from Kuwan's basket! He smiled to the Indian. "Aye, quite well, thanks to your mud...and your pies."

A blush swept upon her honey silken cheeks while her eyes washed over Segan for a moment and then favored Conor. "I had a feeling as much." A coo echoed the hollow depth of her throat. "I apologize for the sudden escape. I assure  you I will not be so rude again." She did feel awful for doing that to Segan.. Twice!


Smells like. YES, nudging Conor as he shifted. Rabbit pies! "Good evening Kuwan," being he had not given her a greeting then attention shifted back to Amaranth. "You must have needed to be somewhere else fairly quick." Though he had wondered on the man that had followed her.

"You had to escape from Segan, Amaranth?" He pulled his gaze from Kuwan to look between the two of them.

"Good evening Segan." Greeting him with the softness of a smile. She moved the basket within their reach as quietly as a shadow of the night. One comfortable in all movements. The conversation had her turn to notice the woman with a slight dip of her head as she listened.

Sliding onto a stool in front of the bar she fell silent. Adoring the sound of voices around her. But then as Conor spoke she turned to look back at him. "Aye I admit I was pulled away for a short while" While in mid sentence she looked at Segan and offered an apologetic frown.

"Alas, I think it was not me that she wanted to see so was to flee until the one of her dreams appeared and now she is here." Oh, Conor was going to give it to him as he moved away while he spoke out of elbow and even arm's length. Segan could be a real Irish stinker. It felt good to do so when such an opportunity landed in his lap likes that.

"Who pulled you away?" And Segan allowed her to be forcibly removed from his presence? That didn't sound like Segan! He lifted from his stool to reach a hand over into Kuwan's basket. "She has one of her dreams?" Conor was so confused at this point he didn't even know how to carry on a coherent conversation. He continued to look from Amaranth to Segan to Amaranth to Segan.

"I dare say, she had only met you up until now." To clear his confusion, well, might take a few for it to sink in where Conor was concern. He took out a small pad of paper, as well a pencil as he jotted down something under Conor's name if he caught that much written. Underlined, words beneath it, names. Eion's didn't have any yet. But that would soon be remedied.

Segan's words forced her smile to fade and in it's place a glimpse of curiosity was given.. "Man of my dreams?" The comment was confusing to say the least. " I have been alone in the love department for a long time" That caused her to blush.

The pad tucked away as he stared at them both. Both wore the same dense expression. "You're not even fun to tease!" Though Amaranth was blushing, so a point there.

That rush of color caused a smile to pull at the corner of his lips before he lowered his gaze to the pie in hand. He started to unwrap it. "I'm in love." He spoke, his voice a low sound of devotion and admiration. Those rabbit pies ... were to die for. Much as any man would for the love of his life.

Conor would also find some buffalo jerky in the basket. Few she had left but thought it might be a nice treat for them to try. She was listening, trying to figure the conversation out but felt there was probably a lot she was missing.

"You both are so irresistible!" A comment out of flirtation but nonetheless she did mean what she said. Dark depths looked at Conor and his pie while her smile curved the edges once more.

"Aye?" Amaranth's admission had him canting his head to cut a look to her. His gaze shifted to Segan, he chuckled low, then he glanced to Kuwan. "Thank you." He offered her. He knew she could understand their language, he just wasn't sure how much she could keep up with. So he kept it short and sweet. He loved these meat pies...and he appreciated her sharing them.

"You are welcome, Conor. It is pleasurable to share pies with those as you and your brothers." She could tell they enjoyed the wild delicacy and baked outdoors in a way they were unique. Perfect.

When their eyes met she actually felt her heart quickening and, for a moment she paused almost becoming hesitant to engage further into the conversation.. She had grown used to a life of being solo and to think of desiring another..  Well it made her nervous. So instead of speaking she lifted her cup to her mouth and took a sip of the tea. But then she felt she was being rude for not speaking to the Indian girl beside Conor. "I'm sorry.. My name is Amaranth" She offered the woman a kind smile.

He'd never had anything like them. He bit in, the juicy meat was still warm, and moist, and a small amount of gravy trickled from the wrap so that Conor had to push back a bit on his stool, leaning forward and cupping his hand under the delicacy. The juice puddled in his hand and that wasn't good, because he was also still holding his glass with that hand! He slanted a look to the counter, and what appeared before his very eyes? A napkin! And from that napkin withdrew a hand. And that hand belonged to an arm. And that Alex. The tender was on it ... always!

Oh, he had caught that. His life's chosen path had him very watchful of body language and such nuances. He'd been right and so the smug smile as he sat back to enjoy his drink.

"Well met Amaranth, I am Kuwanyauma." Easy enough for her to say. "It means butterfly wings." Which she had not told Conor as dark eyes turned there a moment then upon Segan in a curious way but kept anything noted to herself. There was probably a king's ransom in wealth of information stored behind dark eyes.

Looking back at Segan.. She managed to catch the gaze and offered to him a playful narrow of her eyes.. "Kuwanyauma is a beautiful name!" She always liked to learn other people's name and its meaning.. " My name.. Is a plant and its meaning is to mend a broken heart"

He was set to watching, lifting his drink in salute, maybe for he'd been right! before kicking it back. He was up then to collect one of those pies but wrapped up the end in a napkin before he began. He continued across the room to wait by the open door, well, half out and in, looking down the darken street.

"Thank you," words still quiet and careful as she tracked Segan's movement to the door as if expecting someone with the line of his back and stance. "It is hard to mend a broken heart."

Conor reached with gravy filled hand and glass pinched fingers toward that napkin offering Alex a nod of thanks. He let the glass touch down and left it on the counter, taking up the napkin to crunch it to the palm of his hand. Note: He DID NOT put his pie down! Since Eion hadn't arrived yet, Conor was almost sure why Segan was scanning the outdoors. Still, Conor was interested in the conversation between the women, listening to the meanings of names,
eating his pie...just listening and eating. What a life.

Eion had some letters to write and some business to tend to. Not to mention that he had been with Mel, seeing the horses that Brady had given them. He had also spent time with Gran and Aunt Chandra. Both of whom had insisted he allow them to do what was necessary to get him back to health. Which likely meant  nasty tasting tinctures, plenty of food and exercise.  He had decided to walk from the estates to the tavern and was crossing the commons right now.

Noticing Segan looking out the window she whispered. "Are you expecting some one?" Humor laced her words as a brow arched.

Could he possibly hear a whisper from across the room?

"You speak as if from experience, Kuwan." He spoke softly, she almost made you feel as if you had to speak softly or else the doe would bolt. Rooms not too full...maybe?

"I have seen broken heart, ones that could never heal from the pain until the heart stopped forever and the pain. No one has taken my heart to break it." She tried to keep any emotion from her voice in how she looked upon things, sadness still lingered about those words and maybe a touch of fear.

He bit the pie as she spoke, chewed as she finished, and then swallowed to answer her. "No one has taken it, and you've not given it. Is it because of what you've seen?"

Date: 06-12-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 43

He thought he may of heard something but it was like a buzz in his ear, "there's Eion..." hand lifting with the pie in it as he pointed then stepped back within as he turned.

"I do not know. I do not think so. No one has ever wanted it." That she knew of. She watched others but the opportunity had not come her way to even reject or accept. "You do not seem to have broken heart or have given it?" Though the woman that skipped out had that funny look to her when looking upon Conor. She had noticed that. Deciding to try it, maybe that would help, she mustered up a look that was comical at first but melted into starry eyes and a glow about her face, softening the colors and fullness of her lips.

Conor...blinked. Then he laughed! And it was a from the chest, "this feels good, I haven't laughed like this in a long time," laugh. He set his pie aside before he dropped more of the contents with that laugh. "So not you, Kuwan." He forced past his amusement and shook his head. "And, no, no broken hearts on my account." Whether he had even given his heart to another woman before in his life, he didn't answer. Because, at fifteen, what does a lad know? Love at that age consists of a nice set of lips and a nicer set of ... indeed, what does a lad know at fifteen?

Which probably for the first time she blushed. Dustier hue upon her cheeks and her smile started slow to spread showing off even white teeth, even more the contrast for the coloring of her skin. "You have very  good laugh. It should be heard more." Luckily she didn't know his thoughts!

He stepped inside and was listening, briefly. Ugh. Just what he didn't need to hear. And he made his way to where his brothers were, and Kuwan.

Luckily, no one here did, especially his brothers!

They probably have similar thoughts on love at fifteen up to say nineteen. All hormones and hormones looked for the biggest set. Like a kid in a candy store wanting the biggest one. It would do them justice if a set could poke their eyes out.  As Eion reached the door, he stepped back into the room as his brother stepped in. "Kuwan has some rabbit pies in the basket and they are excellent." A food that was as good as a dessert.

"Evening, everyone. Does she?" He looked over his shoulder. "Who are you looking for?"

He shook his head a moment, like he heard an echo of that question when Eion spoke it. "You," besides needing some fresh air but he didn't add that.

"It is good to see you again, Eion." Respectfully as she learned he was the chief of his family and that earned more due respect. "There are enough pies to have a couple." They were not large though very tasty.

What could he say to that comment about his laugh. He just nodded, smiled to her, and reached again for the remainder of his pies. Crap, with Eion's arrival, that meant there would be fewer pies for Conor! "But you're not hungry, I'm sure, Eion." A twitch at the corner of his lips and he lifted his free hand to Eion in greeting, then that same hand reached around and collected his glass.

"Ah, well here I am." He grinned then nodded toward Kuwan though Conor had him chuckling. "I'm not?" When did any Quinn man turn down food that was delicious?

Tonight? Please? Ah, comeon dammit. "Nah...thinking not." Conor added, his chuckle bubbling up and he made sure to swallow it down with some whiskey.

"I think one at least." He decided, trying to hold off his laughter. And he did help himself to one of the pies. But just one.

"I think not, especially since it would be an insult to the lovely lady and her rabbit pies. They are delicious, Kuwan." Certainly he had enjoyed the one he took for the general offering. Every bit of gravy juice caught in a quick lick as needed.

"I am please you all enjoy them." They obviously were not commonplace here in these lands. She had a nice smile when it would lift fully as it did in that moment before collecting a drink from Alex of ice tea. A new one she recently discovered and liked the taste.

Conor slid his arm on the counter, leaning toward Kuwan. "Would you be insulted if the eldest brother sacrificed his pie for his youngest brother?" It was his turn to screw up his face, pucker his lips, quite similar to what she had accomplished but in no way as lovely.

"Should you not sacrifice your pie for the Elder?" So his question only confused her but this was part of their wit she was getting a clue on. Except his face had her laughter to follow. "You look like you mistook chokecherries for sweet berries."

Backfire! Quick, duck Conor! He blinked, shot a look to Segan and Eion and sat back up straight. So totally twisted around on him that he almost did give Eion his pie.

That had Eion staring. "Are you trying to scare her, Conor?" He was laughing at the new expression too!

That's right, Eion wasn't here for her version of that look. "Aye, scare her into agreeing with me! Not backing you! Didn't work though." He grumbled good natured and rubbed knuckles to the line of his jaw.

"It is.." she wasn't sure how to translate it. "not needed, there are more than three pies a piece if one wishes to fill up full." As certainly three would fill a person up. "It would be hard to be scared of his face or yours unless one was an enemy." She studied both Eion's and Conor's for the bantering. This would be good practice for her but she might fall flat on her face in her attempts.

"Oh, by the way Kuwan, you have a nice should be heard more often." His version of her words, just as he had attempted to make that silly face she had made.

It would seem she was more tired than she thought.. Perhaps it was the cause for her spacing out.. But, as heavy lashes fluttered she snapped back to attention and it was Kuwan's laugh that brought her out of the day dream.. With hope none took note as she stared into the hearth she looked to those around her.

"I should. We all should." Hard for her to become lighthearted when use to being so serious. "I have not heard Eion's laugh." Least a full belly type one.

Amar was back to the land of the living. Reminded him of the one that came in that was so tired should could barely walk. She too zoned out, went upstairs and slept for hours before coming back. Though thought  it was hours but it was not evening like she thought but early afternoon. He watched her a moment before a hand snuck into that basket for another rabbit pie. One was not enough.

"We try to keep him from laughing." Conor started, resting his gaze on his older brother, preparing for the possible repercussions of his next comment. "He sounds much like a Billy goat..." There came the smile, and the tensing of back muscles in case he needed to dart away.

Hell. "I don't laugh too often, Kuwan." He looked at her over the rim of the glass he held, blue eyes serious though he cut Conor a look. "Except when Conor is making a fool of  himself." He might want to do just that as Eion was placing the glass on the countertop.

"He does not make fool of himself often? He acts as clown?" Uncertain but by the questions they might clarify.

Taking note of Segan she offered him a gentle smile while a hearty blush swept upon her cheeks. Then she noticed Eion and offered him a wave. "Good evening I don't think we have met.. I'm Amaranth" how did this get turned around on him!

"Beauty sleep?" While his brothers bantered he offered that excuse up that most women used. Though he was starting to grin as Eion was showing the signs of going after Conor.

Conor couldn't notice that Amaranth had drifted away or that she can come back to the room consciously...he was too busy trying to cover his arse from every angle his brothers exposed it!

Eion's that good? "Yes he does, and not on purpose. Excuse me a moment, Kuwan. Evening, miss." And with that, he was lunging for Conor.

"Yes.. I did not realize I was so tired" But the nap did feel good. Words were spoken along with a laugh. Conor was busy and so she did not expect her arrival to be the center of attention.. As a matter of fact she was rather happy it did go unnoticed.. For the most part.

"Our brother Eion," as the very one lunged for Conor. He was up and over to referee.

Son-of-a-mother's-lover! Conor jumped up, but his foot got caught in the rung of the stool and both stool and man tumbled for the floor. The noise of his demise was that of wooden chair clattering to wooden floor and man hitting hard on that same surface. He kicked as best he could to dislodge himself, all the while trying to see where Eion was at this point!

Her eyes widened when she noticed Eion lunge for Conor! Oh no.. She cringed for a moment as she watched Segan leap in to referee.. Typical brothers she supposed.

She almost reached out to help but knew this was a brotherly thing, just like the warriors at home and here in these lands. She would watch to see how agile they were instead, enjoy the demonstration.

Agile as a rhino! That was Conor at this point! All tangled up in the legs of that stool, oh he was having a damnable time of it.

Eion was right there and he was reaching to 'help' Conor, by lifting the chair with his legs still tangled in it. He studied Conor a moment. "What were you saying about a frog?" Smiling. Watch out Conor.

He would help Conor out as he gripped the chair now held by Eion and yanked it out of his way. Hard enough it would dislodge any foot temporarily caught.

Instead she moved over to Kuwan and offered her a cringe of a smile. "Do you know what happened?"

Eion already had Conor in the air, well, partially. He couldn't really lift him up. And there was Segan giving the youngest brother a hand.

Conor was laughing at this point, which made it all the more difficult to fight Eion's help. But Segan saw to the rescue and Conor's foot fell heavy to the floor with a clunk. "Nothing, you jacknob! I said goat!"

"They say words to one another that has them now demonstrate their man muscles and prowess." Hearing what Conor had to say then, "it was over a goat."

Bah. He placed his foot on Conor's chest, and he was smiling. "Goat huh?" It wasn't so much that Eion was stronger but Conor was laughing and the eldest didn't think he'd be able to get up too easily.

Kuwan's words brought a smile to her lips as she watched the scene unfold. "Men are a complicated lot.. And they say we're hard to figure out" She offered the other woman a wink then.

His fingers closed around Eion's ankle and he pretended to try to pull the pressure away, providing a grunt of effort for effect. " be exact!"

She had not seen a wink before and it oddly caught her attention but then figured it was a quirk and focus on the men again. Conor on the floor, Eion over him and Segan more watching.

Open your mouth, Conor." Sounding very authoritative.



Date: 06-12-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 44

"Billy goat. He said I sound like a Billy goat." He frowned down at Conor but it wasn't a serious one and he looked at Segan a moment. Now what was this about?

Ohhelluhuh, he wasn't about to do what Segan said! He actually shook his head, with a mmm,mmm provided with tight lips. Now he was adding a bit more of a serious effort to removing Eion's foot from his chest.

Well, he took advantage of when he spoke, tipping his glass as a few drops of the pure fell in that direction. Ooops, drops splattered on tight lips.

Lips parted and she uttered a small laugh.. They were being quite comical.

Eion wasn't moving until he saw what Segan was up to. And he winced. Hopefully that's the only place the potcheen would end up. Because if it got in the eyes, it hurt like all hell.

Wasted whiskey! They would all rot in hell for such a sin! Yes, Eion would know!

Why he better open his mouth!

Only if Gran saw it! And yes, yes he would know how badly it hurt. He eased up the pressure a bit on Conor.

"That's alcohol abuse Segan!" She preached to the choir with a chuckle.

"I'll take my whiskey sitting up!" Conor barked, quick to shut his mouth again. He brought up his other arm when Eion eased the pressure and knocked it to the back of his eldest's brother's calf.

"I'm looking for hidden talent in Conor." He got one drop in while he barked.

Hands clapped together only to rest over the brim of her mouth.. A method to keep her from roaring with laughter? perhaps.

And he stepped-staggered toward Segan. Might even bump him!

When Eion stumbled away, Conor shot to his feet. THAT was his hidden talent, speed at escape, once escape could be gained!

He did and a few big drops splattered out and down before he caught his balance and kicked what was left in his glass back.

Which had Kuwan suck in a breath, rather impressed with how fast Conor could move. "You are silver fox, one only sees a streak of on moonlit nights."

Once he had his feet under him again, Conor worked that ankle which had been twisted in the rung. He gazed down to that offended joint, swatting at the boot mark on his shirtfront, until he slanted a side look to Eion. "You are baaaaaad." He bleated, taking a precautionary step away even as he looked to Kuwan. "Silver fox? Hey, I like that." A thump marked his chest, actually in the same area as that boot print. "Silver Fox."

In listening to Kuwan she could not help but smile.. "Silver Fox.. That's a suitable name for him" She agreed with a nod.

Cripes. The females were feeding Conor's ego. How ... perfect. He snorted and crossed over to the bar, grabbing up his glass again and heading for the door. Air would be good right now.  And he'd smack Conor in the head later.

"It will be your Tribal name if you accept," which certainly seemed like he had. It would be the name she would sometimes call him from now on, when appropriate.

"You know Eion, I think our brother has the bleating down far better. One might think him a Scotsman..."

Conor crossed back over to Kuwan and Amaranth, but he didn't sit, he had better wait to get comfortable again. His older brothers were unpredictable and Conor had to be on his guard for a little while yet. "You could name me swine spittle, Kuwan, and I would graciously answer you as long as you continue to bring me these pies when you do! I prefer, however, Silver Fa..." he didn't get to finish, spinning on a heel to face Segan following his comment.  "My blood is your blood, Brother. Be careful what you taint my blood with, aye?"


She welcomed Conor's return over to she and Kuwan with a salute of her mug. "Having fun?" She could not help but crack a smile.


He laughed, looking back to Amaranth around his arm. "Always, Amaranth, always having fun." Maybe not always, but as often as he could...he would.

"In blood you are a true Irishman but your bleating.." which only had him laughing. His time for a full infectious laugh to fill the room with for a couple moments.

She laughed then just as Segan spoke she too noticed Conor bleeding and for that she cringed. "I'm sure he will survive" She teased both men.

"I would not call your words not right," hers soft that he might not notice them unless really paying attention to her. She didn't know the jokes about sheep and Scotsmen or even Irishmen. "I will bring pies for you enjoy them." That pleased her. Sure the other braves loved them but they always did, nothing new there.

He chuckled but didn't say anything. No, he was just going to lean against the rail and ignore ... certain things.

Silly Rabbit...Conor wasn't bleeding...he was bleating! "I've survived 24 years of them, I'm pressing for at least sixty more. And I do enjoy those pies, Kuwan, so thank you."

He noted Eion head outside for some air and Conor was surrounded by the fair. Easy for him to grab a bottle and join Eion out on the porch. "I brought a refill if you could use one about now?"

"For as long as I am here and can, I will share the rabbit pies." Though she noted the second brother heading to the porch were the other one was, she would come up with names for them eventually. Possibly. All depended on a few factors. "Your Elder, he is one with much thoughts to weigh."

Billy goat. Conor had already helped her along with one!

"Aye, I can always use more." He held out his glass, as he cut Segan a side look. "Need some air too?" He raised his voice. "Gettin' a little deep in there." And if Eion gets called Billy Goat, Conor will Pay.

In noticing Segan and Eion's depart she too withdrew.. But she did not leave.. She just moved to the couch where she could be a little more out of the way and allow Conor and Kuwan to speak without her right beside them to pry.

Conor grew serious a moment as he allowed his gaze to drift to where his brother had retreated. "Aye." Is all he said in response. Eion was the eldest and Conor knew well that while the youngest could play, the eldest held the responsibility of the family. Amaranth moving away caught his eye and a brow lifted in question but he didn't say anything. That chair was probably more comfortable than the stools.

He filled his glass with a lot of questions on his mind that remained unspoken. Instead he took up a lean against one of the porch posts. "I don't remember there being so many stars back at the farm." Clear night had them like scattered diamonds from dust to larger across the sky.

"Does he need you?" The question was soft and she'd not mind if his brother needed him to go. She understood what was important at times.

"Stay out there then, Eion! I have my boots on!" He called to the eldest Quinn. As long as it didn't get deeper than knee high, Conor was safe.


The chair was much more comfortable than the stool and, with a sigh she looked back at Conor and smiled. "Perhaps you should go to them?" She thought about Eion's facial expression just before he left.

"Don't you be starting that." He grumbled. "Stars are as bright in Ireland as they are here. And the grass every bit as green." He chuckled when he heard Conor but didn't have a retort this time. Except maybe one about a shovel.

Seems it was a matter of comfort after all and he nodded to her before looking back to the door. "Segan is out there."  He spoke to Kuwan, still looking toward the door.

"Aye," about to say more but he might trigger that reaction in Eion again they fought over already. Ireland didn't have winged humans although it had winged fairies and the like.

Not where Eion had seen them!

"Yes he is," but sometimes one brother was needed over another and another time another brother needed, balancing it out. "I see him as Rising Bear." There was a reason for the name, so far, not solid yet but if one imagined a bear rising, they might see what she saw.

He slowly nodded again. Aye, Segan was out there. If those two started at it, as they could very easily, then Conor would have to join in.

"I never stated it, the lands have. I still think they are beautiful over many I have seen and not less than some of the more spectacular ones in my travels. I would say that Ireland has her heart here, perhaps a twin sister or brother." If gender made a difference or all lands were females?

"I think he'd like that name, Kuwan."

"Your brother Segan, so far, he would be Crouching Tiger." What came to mind but if she got to know them better a more solid name would form, a core to their personality in the form of a totem.

He looked at Segan a moment before singing a single verse. "They say mother earth is breathing, with each wave that finds the shore, her soul rises in the evening, for to open twilight's door. Her eyes are the stars in heaven, watching o'er us all the while. And her heart, it is in Ireland, deep within the Emerald Isle." And he allowed that to fade off.

He knew she was serious with this naming business so he didn't attempt to correct her with any humorous changes to any of his brothers' names. The song drifted into the tavern, and Conor enjoyed the words of it.

Which had him sigh but the sigh was not real deep for the familiar felt here. "Once we all have jobs settled and life taking on a routine, I shall sail to bring young Mary here to see Grandmama," her namesake.

She was serious, perhaps too serious. Never the time to laugh and play as she got to watch others become light hearted. Things that eluded her that she carried inside her heart not to show. "He sings well." She took out the last that was contained in the basket. The treat of buffalo jerky. The kind that was more chewy than like a brick. These she set with a look Conor's way, to share with his brother before stepping away from the bar. Her drink long finished. "It is a long walk so I must go now." Or they would worry on her that she didn't come back until almost daylight otherwise. "It was good to see you again Conor, and your brothers." She had met Conor first so it would take time to know the brothers a little more also.

"Aye." Conor could only agree with Kuwan and he felt a twinge of disappointment as she prepared to leave. "It is always good to see you, Kuwan." He glanced to the jerky then back to her. He had started to tell her a story of Eion's singing but with her intended departure, he let it go. He stood, offering her a dip of head. "Be safe on your journey home." He'd offer to walk her but didn't know if that was even allowed in her customs. He was, after all, not one of her clan.

Which she smiled to make up for the look in her leaving. Which also touched her heart which few things did. There would be another time for the stories. "I will see you under the moonlight when it plays of silver streaks and I will say: There goes the Silver Fox on the hunt." Her smile to fall away as she was around to head out the side door, leaving the other two brothers their privacy.

"I think that's a good idea." He looked at Segan a moment. "Do you think Brady will allow it?"   He held up a finger though, telling his brother to wait.  "Let's head back together. I want to tell you about the race horses Uncle Brady gave us."  And the man hadn't said a word to any of them when they were back in Ireland.  "We might be able to stop in the stables and visit them. They're lovely lads, and bred from Uncle Brady's finest."  Even if they weren't consistent winners, they could possible bred a champion in the near future.  "Come on, Conor. We're headin' back to the manor."   He wouldn't allow the youngest to escape but then again, they were about to have a serious talk, rather than one of their 'discussions'.



Date: 06-24-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 45

After the Races

It looked like he made it here first as the cloud of dust settled around him and his brothers were not in sight yet. He relaxed back in the saddle giving himself some time to think.

Segan did manage to leave the other brothers in the dust, but soon enough they were reining in to join the middle brother at the Thistle.  Conor coughed, waving a hand before his face to clear away some of the cloud they had kicked up. Luckily, not many people wandered about town this time of night. He hopped down, paying his horse the respect it deserved for a good run by slipping it a couple of sugar cubes from his palm, then started up the front stoop.

He was making mental resolutions. Way things had been going for him, they needed a change. Change mostly came from within and not relying on luck to give a hand. Then again, one could make all the resolutions they wanted and still react how they did in the moment. Chuckling with the thought as his one brother made it. "About time. Where's Eion?" Dismounting as he dusted his shirt and pants off.

Ah, hell...Conor was relying solely on luck. "I think he got waylaid by that group of gray haired women leaving that bar just out of town." Twitch, twitch of a grin. "He prefers them ... experienced."  He continued in, glancing back to look for the eldest even as his hand flattened to the door to enter.

"You know, I still can take you both on." He had stopped to allow the horse to walk the rest of the way, to cool him down. He dismounted, tied the horse to one of the hitching posts and followed after his brothers.

"Alex, I won the Hometown tonight! A Traugott clock, and the morning off! So please, we're here to celebrate!" He was talking to Alex, but grinning back to Eion.

He might have said more but he started to sneeze from all that dust. Blast!


There was a shadow moving from the woods at an angle from the tavern. Emerging out to move just as silently amongst flowering bushes. A basket over her arm that held special herbs all covered up in large flat leaves. Attire was of the leather browns, hair left flowing in waves down her back with twisted knotted leather strip encircling the crown of her head. She noticed the brothers which brought a soft smile as she continued to come up behind them a few steps.

He was at the door, waiting on Eion some as Conor went in to brag. Except there was the vision that brought a smile and he continued to hold the door. "Good evening Kuwan." Making room that she could pass by.

"Thank you, Segan," dark eyes lifting with her smile as she stepped pass the one brother and into the tavern. She was immediately over to set the basket on the bar to be taken by Alex and set away for her.

All bragging ... ceased! Conor was reaching for the glasses and the bottle when he heard Segan. He turned, empty handed, to look to the entry. "Kuwan." He offered to the entering Indian lass, following her through the room to the bar where he was with just his gaze.

"Evening, Kuwan." He waved at the lass, sniffed and followed her in. And any thoughts of the vision before he was kept to himself.

He tried to hide any disappointment when the basket disappeared behind the counter and no pies were forthcoming. Guess his luck ended on the race tracks tonight. "How are you this night?"

"It is good to see you, Eion," as he had responded first before dark eyes were upon Conor. "It is good to see you Conor, you have been well?" He seemed quite well as she studied his features quite openly. No pies, well the ones she brought earlier were eaten up by others here. Her luck, the brothers had not been around. "I am doing well. I am spending time here so that I can spend various times at the lake."

The carriage had officially turned into a pumpkin, and Karina was definitely herself again after last night's...surreal event. Well, herself as far as appearances go though a little part of her had been changed, just a little.

He nodded to her to answer her question, remaining silent as she continued to speak.

He was in and headed for the bar, some good whiskey in the form of potcheen after the rotgut stuff he had far too much of last night. He was in a lean to study Kuwan closer than he had before as she talked to Conor.

She noted his look with a touch of red to highlight her cheeks, chin dipped some. "I had brought pies earlier but you and your brothers were not here and they were eaten up. I am sorry," feeling that was the reason on his part where she was concerned and she had fallen short. "I will see to making some while here."

Dressed again in those patched-up pants and too-large poet's blouse, cap securely atop her head as she strolled the streets the previous evening already felt like a dream. Didn't stop her from playing it through over and over in her mind, though. The streets were near deserted at this hour, leaving her alone with the starlight and her thoughts.

"You don't have to make them for me, I enjoy you being here whether you have the pies or not, Kuwan."

Obviously Segan didn't remember what Conor had ... suggested ... to him last night as he carried his passed-out-arse-out of that hole-in-the-wall-tavern! He slanted a look to Segan who was just a tad too interested in looking Kuwan over more fully. "I'm sure they were enjoyed. But needn't do that. It's more of a treat when you come in...and there you are...and there are the pies. It's wrong of me to expect them every time I see you." That grin. "Even though, I do enjoy them when you do have them."

He had been passed out, unconscious, certainly he didn't remember a thing. But he had something to say to his brothers. "I want to thank you for being there last night, getting me back." Who knew what would have happened to a passed out satyr on the Snake Pit's floor.

He took care of Conor's glass, placing it in his hand as he stared at the exotic beauty. Then he obtained his own glass. Blue eyes held amusement though his face as always, remained stoic. "We couldn't let you where you were." And he paused to add, "aye, Conor doesn't always think with his stomach." The last to Kuwan of course.

"No, Segan, too many of those blokes were eyeing you up as it was. Unconscious, Brother, you would have been easy game."

"I am pleased you like the pies," Segan's comment bringing out her smile. "Thank you." He'd not know how much those few pleasant words meant. None knew much about her for her quiet ways but there was more. Looking from Segan to Conor as he spoke up next, fortifying it wasn't just her pies but her company too. Lastly upon Eion, she wondered if he ever smiled besides with his brothers. She mentally shook off the thought as she ordered some of the raspberry punch.

A gal could only wander the streets for so long before developing a thirst, and this gal happened to know a place were drinks were free. Turning east she started back in that direction, soon arriving outside the Thistle. But rather than going to the door she paused, instead, to peek into the window... just as she had the very first day she'd arrived.

Just the mention of raspberry had Conor looking from brother.

He wondered if he could get Kuwan to help him pick the raspberries. He'd have to give her something in return too. Idle thoughts stolen away as the other comments sunk in. Ugh. He would have been good prey. The thought shot a shiver up his spine, too many recollections from the past. Things his brothers knew nothing about. He still had that ledger to write all the adventures in. "Well, I feel losing the bet will kind of make up for the other too." Raspberry picking for Grams and wall building. He shook his head before kicking back the potcheen.

He might, if something amused him enough. Right now he was watching the expressions on his brothers' faces and there was a hint of a smile there. "I haven't picked raspberries since I was a lad." And he was going to try to coax Gran into leaving at least one pie and one jar of jam for him!

Conor chuckled. "Aye, to Dandelions, raspberry bushes and a magnanimous Gran." He lifted his own glass then drank to his toast.

Seeing in a glimpse who was within, Karina quickly slid away from the window and put her back against the wall instead. She shoulda known, all of them would be in there. Oh time like the present, right? A tug of the hat, tap of the boots against the doorframe and in she went.

After he swallowed, he motioned with his empty glass toward Eion. "That's because you haven't been around since you were a lad. First strawberries, then raspberries, then blackberries and then blueberries. Oh aye...Gran is a  real advocate of berries."

She had no idea of why they spoke on picking raspberries but she had information to offer and share. "There is an opening in the woods that is filled with raspberry bushes and blueberry." Looking from Eion to Conor as she offered up the information.

Blueberries already? "You share this information with us alone, Kuwan, aye?" Don't let Mary Quinn get a hint of that! The door opened and Conor looked in that direction. He was surprised to see who was entering from that door, at this hour. Enough so that he cast a look around his shoulder to the stairs that led above then back to Karina. "Evening, Karina." He offered, testing the waters. 

Unless Grandmama had certain raspberry bushes in mind, "maybe I can find out where these bushes are if needed?" Or were they private ones but then would she have offered?

"Yes. If you wish. I can show you were they are. It is tricky path but not bad once you know where you are going." In short, miss the pitfalls that could have them end up down a ravine or into the lake.

"Dandelion." He glanced at Alex, his expression thoughtful. If he brought Gran a bottle of dandelion wine, he might offer that in exchange. He'd ask before they left for the night. "Well, we both have to pick 'em. You never did say how many buckets, Conor." He glanced toward the door, and gave a curt nod. "Evening, lass."  And he realized Conor was waiting for his glass to be refilled so did that courtesy as well.

From what Conor understood, there was a rather large spread of red raspberry bushes just on the edge of their property.

Karina had been making a beeline for the stairs but her steps dragged to a slower pace when her name was called out by a familiar voice. Glancing back over her shoulder, she looked at Conor and replied in like. "Evenin' Conor."

He was getting all kinds of scenarios here but his brother greeting one brought a distraction from those pleasant thoughts. Blue eyes shifting to the very one. "Evening," added politely.

Testing the waters too! To Eion and Segan, she offered more greetings along with the quirk of a smile. Lingering there for half a second before picking up the pace again, and jogging up the stairs to her room. "Be right back!" She called over her shoulder.

"She never told me. I suppose she would be sending me with buckets and orders until she was satisfied she had enough." Good luck, fellows, this might be an all day job they agreed to!

Seeing who the brothers greeted. "Evening Karina." Added to the voices as they had met before briefly.

If a man had to go raspberry picking on their own property when they had the possible opportunity to be escorted into the deep woods with an exotic beauty, which would you choose?

Segan...had better choose picking on the property line! But, Aye, no doubt, deep, dark forest/exotic beauty guide would win out!

The problem was, Eion had to be on the King's field in the morning. "I might not be joining you then, Segan. I'll have to do my picking on the estate grounds." Should Conor worry now?

Uhm, well, aye, he was looking between brothers now. "I'm sure Gran will want you both there, so she can order you around."



Date: 06-24-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 46

"I will see what Grandmama wants, and start before you get there." Maybe be shown the woods area one then come back later and join Eion on the property ones. Depending.

He reached around in front of him to collect that bottle and add more to his glass.

Karina made sure to shut her door before plopping onto her bed, tugging that cap off her head. But she did so carefully, holding it with both hands until it could be turned upside-down, bowl-shaped. Because inside that 'bowl' were some shinies she didn't want to lose. She took a second to prod the several small, metallic objects, flipping them over with practiced fingers in examination before reaching beneath her bed. With a few muted clinks the objects were added to her collection, and the box slid back under her bed. She left her cap on the bed as well, rolled up her sleeves to the elbow and tripped on back downstairs.

He stopped mid tilt of bottle. How could they make this sound like it was going to be fun when Conor had all but dreaded the thought of it! Where was the gratification of winning if they were going to do that!

She was clueless to their thoughts though willing to help. In ways she was very innocent though not without skills to protect herself. Still, she didn't think any of the brothers would try to harm her.

Sometimes when you lose you win. Things were starting to look up, making lemonade from lemons.

Raspberries to that!

"I have no doubt she'd be liking that." He frowned suddenly. "If she lets me even do it." She still fussed over him even if he was almost fully recovered! Raspberry lemonade!

Mary Quinn had a mind to fix pies and jellies...they would all probably be out there, including the females, including Conor still!

Karina glanced over to the small crowd again, but they all seemed to be chatting amongst themselves... and so she perched herself upon a barstool. "Anything leftover from supper, Alex?" This had become her usual pattern, sleeping late, gorging herself on a huge meal in the middle of the day, then leaving the Tavern and not returning until late for a belated meal. She asked for a cider too, to moisten her throat while she waited.

Which would mean she might force Segan to remain on the property where she could keep an eye on him? Which only meant he needed to devise a way to escape and still come back with plenty of raspberries. Even if she boxed his ears, this would be worth it.

When did she get here? Conor hadn't even realized she had returned back down until she spoke. Not that he expected her to let him know. "What have you been up to, Nessa, out and about at this hour of night?"  He brought his glass up and drank while he waited for her answer.

Maybe he'd invite Gabriel to join him for lunch. Might as well get the knight involved in family matters right away. He hid a grin by taking a drink then looked at Kuwan. "Do you know the woods well then, Kuwan?"

Sight touched upon Karina for a moment before shifting to Eion as Conor caught her attention. Focus turning to Eion as he addressed Kuwan and found he would like to know that answer.

She was just stealthy that way, buahaha. Ahem. Conor was speaking to her again, and lo and behold it was in quite an ordinary and civil tone. She turned 'round on her barstool to reply, "Oh... a whole lot o' nothin'." She offered a crooked smile as a hand lifted to rake through her short mane of curls, left down and free of last night's ribbons now.

Hard to read eyes or expression though they soften when Eion asked a question. "I have been here three years. We stayed here first. The braves hunt here first and I was shown the many paths of deer and rabbit. These to follow when game is needed. If you and your brothers wish to know the woods, I can show you." Which would make her feel very useful beyond rabbit pies and taking care of the braves of their tribe as all the women did.

It was no different than any other time he addressed her. In fact, she could have taken offense to that question as well if she had an inkling to do so. "That's a shame, there's so much to do." A twitch of a smile and he looked to Kuwan as she began to speak of the woods.

"Aye, that's what I was wondering on." He gave a slight smile as he spoke. "The hunting. I hear there are areas off limits to most."

"There are. I know where the ones are allowed and where the boundaries are. Do you hunt, Eion?" Glancing to Segan also being he seemed interested in this conversation and the look inviting him to join in. Lastly to Conor but unsure if the conversation interested him or not.

"Wellll there was a distinct lack o' Balls ta attend tonight, so." She replied, a grin started on her lips before it was hidden when she turned her face away. Her cider had been set on the bartop, and she scooped it up, taking a thirsty gulp. Just now tuning into their conversation, she glanced back their way with idle curiosity.

As long as it was Eion engaged in conversation, all would be well. He allowed his attention to linger a moment. He was a country boy, he was interested in hunting and game. Still, Karina was in a pleasant enough mood so he pulled his gaze back to her. "Why, there were three we attended just this past six hours. Where were you? Out doing a whole lot of nothing." The humor in his eyes would tell her the truth but he'd not press her into uncomfortable conversation with him.

He was interested. Forgive him for enjoying watching her expressions. How her eyes changed when she spoke of the woods, of things in nature. "It's been a long time since I went hunting."

"Aye, I do. We used to trap too, the three of us, to help make ends meet." He looked at his brothers then back. "Not that we need to now, but I think our grandmother would still like some venison and rabbit occasionally. Game birds too."

"I will take you. We can go rabbit hunting first and discover all the places the deer roam. I use bow and arrow mostly." She was wicked with the bow and arrow they would discover. She was smiling, brightly, with the prospect of a hunting party with them.

"Frogs." He said, even though at that moment he still looked at Karina, but he turned to look to Kuwan following. "She mentioned frog legs just the other night."

"I use throwing knives mostly though I could try my skill again with the bow." This would be fun. Interesting. A day to look forward to. Something different.

A brow perked as he mentioned those three balls and that grin of hers lost its shyness, spreading brightly. "Least I didn't have ta dress up fer my lotta nothin'." Then - Frogs. Frogs? She looked at him blankly until he looked to the others, and she realized. Oh, right. They were talking about hunting. She perked up a bit for this was a subject of some interest to her as well. "There's plenty o' quail in th' woods yonder too."

A smile turned Conor's way with the mention of the frogs. "There are many ponds hidden away where the bull frogs grow big and fat. You would wish this type?" On a thought and adding, "I have fine woven nets to use or you can go in and catch them with your hands."

Frogs? Now that brought back some memories. "Remember when we used to go huntin' for them at night? And usually ended up soaked clean through. She'd scold us somethin' awful and Ma would just laugh."

Not that she'd know! And look, there was her platter of food. She fell upon it.

"She was scolding us even as she cleaned and fried them, aye." The memory of them splashing about, diving after the frogs once they could no longer hunt them with stealth.


"If you like, we can have a frog race and the winner will get a dozen rabbit pies."

"A dozen?" He cast a look to Karina. "A dozen!" He liked that prize.

"Evening," distracted from the conversation for a moment as another entered then back. Frog racing. They had those when kids. It would be fun and might add to the pot.

When Conor caught her eye she managed a nod and half a smile.

"No one can make 'em like Gran does. Even Ma didn't try." He had heard Karina mention the quails too.  Traps could be made for those and other game birds. Frog racing might be fun.

"I would like to meet her sometime," quick glance between the brothers, "if that would be fine to do?" She wasn't sure of their customs on certain things but if this woman could cook as well as they praised she wanted to meet her and learn.

Conor drew in a deep breath...his mouth could even begin to water with the thought of his Gran's special batter on those fried legs. He could also remember the very first time he had eaten that particular favorite. "What you think of it, Conor, me'boy" "delicious, Gran, what is it?" "Frog legs." and then, he thought of all the frogs they raced and nearly heaved, tossing what remained of the leg across the table. Which, he was ordered to immediately retrieve and finish or find himself in the next skittle of fried goods. If she could fry a frog, she could fry a fellow his size. Amazing how you start liking things you wouldn't normally just by ... suggestion.

Conor seemed lost in his own ruminations, which was okay, because she too was busy... staring openly at the stranger and his enchanted coin, mouth slack and nose wrinkled in vague disgust.

Oh, true, Conor couldn't pay much attention to parlor tricks when he was thinking about his grandmother's cooking.

She stared at the man, moving more away from where he sat. She noticed the guards with some relief.

He glanced at the Tender, that hint of a smile playing again before blue eyes were on Kuwan. "Aye, you can meet her any time. It's rare that there aren't visitors at the manor." He glanced at the guards then at Karina before looking at Kuwan once again.

...Oh. That was... a real coin... and he was using it to pay. Ehehehe. Her tight lips relaxed somewhat, but she still wasn't looking very friendly towards the fella.

When Kuwan moved from her spot, Conor snapped from his thoughts.

He finished off his drink. Evacuating his stool as the lateness of the hour was catching up to him.

"Karina, can I see you above to your room?" With this guy here, Conor would feel better if he knew that she was locked away above. Even though the guards and Alex would see that she remain unharmed...there was just something about knowing.

He finished his drink and stood as well. Dawn came all too quickly and as late as it was, he'd be lacking sleep. They weren't being so lax on him of late.

She was still occupied with eyeing the stranger darkly but when Segan caught her eye, she relaxed a little, offering him an easy smile of farewell. Which sorta froze as that request came from Conor. "..Uh..." She glanced around to the others as if the man had spoke Turkish and she needed help translating. "...Sure?" She finally replied. Having never gotten such an offer before she couldn't help but wonder about his motives. Nothing dastardly came to mind but still, it was odd. Finishing off her cider she stood from her own stool and started toward the stairs.

It seemed to be that time of night as she collected a key from Alex. She was going to stay here the week for a few reasons. Most having to do with the lake. "A good night. It was good seeing you all again."

He saw that Kuwan also received a key, which was a relief for him. Knowing she wouldn't be out and about with this guy wandering the streets, was a good thing.

"I will see you upstairs, Kuwan, with your permission." Being such a gesture was offered Karina, maybe Kuwan would not be safe that short distance upstairs in this place.

He started to the stairs with Karina, holding out a hand for Kuwan.

She looked between the brothers and it all struck her funny. Her laugher was light yet rich, "we will all go upstairs and see to our doors?" White men had funny customs like that.

"Good night, Kuwan." He had been about to offer her company until it seemed she was staying here. He followed his brothers, but would chat with the guards while they escorted the ladies.

But Segan stepped up for Kuwan, so Conor's fingers curled into his palm and his hand dropped away. "I'm too tired to run anywhere." He laughed, his hand coming to rest on the small of Karina's back without even thinking. He gave her a slight nudge to move her on up.

Ah.. yep. And there it was. Those sharp eyes of hers caught Conor's outstretch of hand towards the pretty Kuwan. Shoulda known. Karina hunched her shoulders - but that was just when she felt a hand on her back. She looked every bit taken aback as she felt and could just.. obey, getting her butt into gear and moving up those stairs.

She moved with the brothers as the strange man seemed to be arguing with himself at this point. She almost took Conor's hand as it was offered but it dropped away. That was odd. Indian giver!

At least she didn't verbally object, even though he did feel her tense.


He took up the rear as there were some nice views. Once they were seen above, they could take the side stairwell down to the side street and be on their way.


Speaking of, up the stairs they went and a short distance brought them to her door. Key retrieved from pocket she unlocked the heavy oaken door. Not sure what to say to Conor and so... said nothing!

Eion headed for the back door, where he'd met his brothers for the ride back.

Date: 06-25-09
Poster: Kuwan
Post # 47

Frog Hunting

Staying at the Thistle made it easier to be here at the lake certain times of the morning, afternoon or evening into late night if needed. She had sat on one of the ledge rocks that jutted out over the waters. Legs crossed as well her arms with her face tipped to the setting sun. Eyes were closed as she was washed in the glow of yellow-orange. The call of an eagle soaring overhead would seem he recognized the Indian maiden in her trance. She had become part of all around her. The breeze bringing its sweet fragrance, the moisture from the lake that hung in the air, the fish that leaped and the deer lifting their heads to witness the closing of a day in full splendor. The leaves that rustled, the small creatures that rummaged in the woods behind her, the great distance from land to sky, she was part of it all in this solitude.

Conor Quinn stood upwind from the Native Indian lass. If he wasn't already in awe of the dark skinned beauty, the way the sun bathed her in its setting glow, the breeze lifting and playing with the long strands of her silken hair, the very essence of her that was as much a part of this twilight scene just did the Irish country boy in. Since his grandmother had mentioned her craving for a certain amphibious favorite of hers, he had planned to make it a reality for her. Something about pleasing her had always been a top priority for all of the Quinn clan. But, his determination had paused when he came upon this scene at sunset. He had placed the gig aside, and had lowered to sit on the grass just below a tree along the forest edge. The bucket forgotten for now. Indeed, everything he had intended was now replaced with just espying this woman in her element.

Perhaps the scene was just a touch surreal as well. The way dark strands lifted held slightly out with a gentle breeze only to slide down again. Arms that had been crossed over her chest glided up as if she was taking the scene to become part of herself, the motion of them drawing back in as she rose from the seated position, much like a flower unfolding to greet the powers of the sun, be it rising or setting. For her rituals of this day, her attire was a shorten version of top and skirt in a natural light dewy gold, fringed with beading in patterns along the edges and up the front. Birds in flight in symbolic patterns and colors. She turned on the ball of a foot like the soft breeze about to start down from the ledge. It was then she spotted Conor a short distance away. Her dusk and night vision was excellent. Not a word spoken but ever the edges of her lips curled as she moved in his direction.

When she looked his way, he sucked in a breath, realizing he had actually been spying on her during her evening rituals and had been caught at it. He scrambled to his feet as she approached, quick to swat at his pants to clear away any remnants of his idleness and snatched up his gig and bucket. These he held up as proof as he spoke. "Evening, Kuwan. I...uh ... I thought that maybe." He lowered those things and forced himself to think. "... Came for frogs."

Silent steps paused within a foot or so of him as dark eyes lifted to capture his to hers. "It is all right you have been watching. It is ritual I do every so often to," pausing to find a word as a hand lifted to touch a finger lightly upon her chest, "center. To remind all of nature and our being are part of the other. A wholeness," running out of words as her hand glided back down and a smile came with the last. "I can show you if you wish some evening." She was willing to share something she found special and made all the worries of life melt away, labor becoming not a chore nor disappointments of the heart. "Eyes lowered to what he held as a hand reached out to check the quality of the gig, stepping closer with that inspection. She smelled of sunlight presently, warm, intoxicating, as if all the colors of the sky she soaked in took on their very own scent. Her hand lowering as her eyes lifted to his again. "Would you wish help? I have time and much more is done with two sets of hands."

He had been nodding faintly the entire time, even though he hadn't even realized until she finished. "I'd like nothing better than for you to spend some time with me ..." He cleared his throat, fixing that statement real quick. "Doing this I mean." He looked toward the water, scuffed a foot to the soft earth, then looked at Kuwan again with a sheepish smile.

Which had her tilt her head near sparrow like with the way he seemed to need correcting his words. "It is all right, I like spending time with you." A calmness about her voice though nothing more implied either to have him worry other than the truth of the words. She enjoyed his company. There had been no reason not to. "I know of some ponds not far from here where water is trapped before reaching the lake. There are many more frogs there but here too, there are places of small inlets where the lily pads and reeds grow. I can help you doing this unless you are lone frog hunter?" The last teasing which showed more in her dark eyes.

Conor eased somewhat, it was the last that helped that. "No, no...I've found it's better in pairs. Show me this pond you speak of."

"Come, follow me." Smile gracing her features with laughter in her eyes. The way he was distracted he would be lucky not to fall into the pond, though that was an option in catching the biggest ones that buried themselves in the mud. When she hunted them that way she could feel them under her feet in finding them. Her steps light, leaving her things in a neat pile along the shore not far from the ledge she had occupied to pick up later on their way back. She made certain he kept close. "You have a lantern?" She knew some had ones that burned a black substance and worked well in seeing better in some places at night. Nightfall would take a while to become complete.

Conor followed, mindful of his steps in the growing darkness. He too stepped with silence, experienced in sneaking through a woods when needed. He started to reach for the lass when they had to cross a creekbed, but the Indian traversed the shallow water without a second look in his direction. He shook his head with her question. "No, Kuwan. I thought to use a torch."


"A torch will do, provide you fall not into the pond or streamlets." The slight mischief in dark eyes to chase across them before turned back upon the path she was taking. A rabbit trail no less yet she knew where it went, which altering tracks to follow amongst a few that crisscrossed. She slowed when dusk outlined tall reeds and the smell of pond water prominent. The scent was different than the lake, more weeds, lilies, earth, mud, droppings of trees to skim the water's surface pooled more in certain spots than others. "Stay close, the path is tricky even by daylight." She was easing a step, moving the tip of her moccasin to guide her, painstakingly slow and having him about as close as one could get so he didn't miss the solid step.

This close to the pond the edges nearest the water could be slippery. The growth of water weeds hid many dangers from a misstep, from shoulder deep mud to venomous snakes. Conor knew his way around a pond, but he allowed Kuwan to guide him, following her steps exactly. The sound of frogs echoed all about them; chirping, splashing, croaking, along with other sounds of the night which lowered its dark blanket over the two. "How did you ever find this spot?" It seemed custom ordered, this perfect place.

"I like to find herbs for my healing potions," whether for a poultice or to be steeped as a tea. She stopped one moment, feeling him close that he had stopped before giving a little leap, turning once feet were on the solid grounding and a hand offered as he'd not really have to leap for his longer legs but guiding would be advantageous in the growing darkness. "There is a solid bank of small rocks and grass that grows short up ahead." Perfect place to start their frog hunting.

He started to reach for her when she jumped, thinking she was falling, but he smiled to himself realizing she was probably more sure footed than he was. His fingers curled around hers, using the toe of his boot to feel his way until they were situated at the water's edge. He squatted where he was, placing his bucket to the side and pulling out a small torch and a flint from it. Hunched there, he scratched the flint with stone a couple of times and then a spark took hold, lighting up the torch. He handed this up to Kuwan, then stood, placing the flint in his pocket. "I was told as a lad that the light blinds them. You have to keep in mind, Kuwan, my uncle and father were usually well into their whiskey at this point, was probably more so they wouldn't tumble into the water and could find their way back out of the bogs." He took up his gig.

The touch was noticed for some reason. Warmth of fingers with his far more rough than hers. She wasn't sure what to make of it for certainly she had touched other hands before. It was brief, thought barely there before gone as it fell away, a fluke most likely. "I have never tried to blind them with light, would not sunlight during the day do the same but yet they sit around basking in it." Or if too hot hid in the mud. Usually mud hiding was in self defense so why ponds were chosen for they had more layers of silt over the mud. She watched as he started up a spark, the spark to start the flames over the torch and taking it from his hand when lifted to her. "I shall hold the torch at your side and you will grab the blinded frogs?" Was that the plan?

He smiled over to her but the torch's glow enhanced her features, causing the already awed Quinn to realize once again whom he was with. "It also causes their eyes to light up, so they're easier to find." Again he found himself swallowing with difficulty and eased a foot into reeds and mud to begin his search. He felt as if he needed to raise his voice to be heard over the calls of frogs, so he forced himself to keep his volume controlled. "We just always went out at night." He said, searching the shallow edge of water where they stood. "Could have been because the men could drink at night, get away from the house when the women went to sleep. I don't know. I have always just thought you had to gig ... at ..." The force of his movement sliced through the water, but didn't splash until he pulled out the fat bullfrog skewered at the tip of his pole. He started backstepping silently, barely even moving the water to get to his bucket. " night." He finished, leaning over to flip the lid from the bucket and drop the frog into it.

She slipped out of her moccasins before drawing up the ends of the skirt so they didn't get wet, tucking them in at the waist exposing more of bronze shapely legs. Better exposed which was usual for her under such circumstances than leather getting soaked. She was in nimbly to be at his side holding the torch so he could see. The pond was varying depths but at this end of it no more than two and a half feet, enough to have the water rise above her knees if they got to those spots. "Eyes like red embers," she was noticing the small orbs reflecting the torch about them. Like being in inky waters with little demons all around them. It could have it nudge superstitions even of one not superstitious! She found herself staying as close to him as possible under the circumstances. She almost fell when he stopped and backtracked! Luckily she had good balance and so kept it. She was still looking at the reflection of other small orbs of red. They were being watched.

As quickly as he had moved away, he was by her side again, but he had his bucket with him this time. "Do you think you could hold the torch and the bucket?" Good thing she came along afterall! They were surrounded by frogs, Gran would be praising him for the next full week! With lethal precision, he added six more large, bull frogs to that bucket. It was when he went for the eighth one that he jerked back, backpedaling a couple of steps and practically slammed into the delicate, native lass. He dropped his gig as he spun, attempting to catch her and keep her from tumbling into the murky, muddy water. And from what he had just seen, snake infested. With so many frogs, it shouldn't come as a surprise to him that a snake would want to feast here too. Still, the size of the snake he just saw made it obvious the serpent had been eating well from this particular pond!

"Yes," wisped passed her lips for certainly they were in Frog Underworld for the gleaming red eyes. Staring. Then gone just as quick only to have another pair, or the same ones appear in another spot. It wasn't that she was afraid or held fear of the scene, it was just very eerie, kind that touched on the ethereal too closely. She had reasons for she'd been trained and one thing to go out on a spiritual journey in seeing such sights but not usual on the plane. Perhaps it was the fixation that had her so startled as he crashed into her. The torch went flying to land on the shore and rolled but luckily stopped before the water's edge. The bucket she managed to keep in her hand though her feet slipped having her go down to her knees in the mud, bringing the water up near to her waist as she slid, water rising for the drop off she was headed. Something slithered by as her whole body froze stiff, yet sinking still. "Conor," was barely rasped but who knew how he was fairing in the water. That was until the torch's light skimmed along snake skin of one very large serpent indicating it as a water snake. Seems Connor had disturbed their nest and they scattered, not knowing where to go and the large one inadvertently heading towards that which he was trying to escape. They had been blinded by the light. It paused lifting its head, tongue flicking out to try and get its bearing.

Frogs jumped in every direction. They seemed to be flying through the air. Conor was swatting at bulbous bodies and scrambling to grab for Kuwan. "I'm sorry! I'm Sorry!" His boot slipped and he splashed down, nearly going under the shallow water completely except that his hand flattened and his fingers dug into the muck that made of the pond bottom. In that position, he came nose to tongue with the very thing that had caused all this chaos. "Holy Christ!" He shouted, almost sucking in a mouthful of pond water in the process. Never having been exposed to snakes, and this one the size it was, Conor Quinn would be traumatized for life! His mud-slicked hand smacked down in front of the snake's head, causing it to recoil with surprise. About to strike? Conor wouldn't know, he didn't know the habits of snakes. But that momentary space had Conor reaching for Kuwan and catching her by an arm, yanking her toward him even as he lunged to his feet. He caught her in his arms and turned, turned, searching for the snake he now couldn't find.

It was about five feet long, bigger than most of this species got. They were practically hand fed here. Strike? No. They mostly ate fish, frogs, bugs and small birds. Anything bigger than them, they fled. Which is exactly what the snake did when it realized the monster was in front of him. It dove and swam so fast in the opposite direction it would be hard to follow in daylight. Kuwan, having realized it was only a watersnake, with great relief, burst out laughing. She couldn't help it. Soaking wet, clinging to Conor but one hand held onto that bucket. It had too many frogs in it to lose and her upbringing and skills had her manage the task in spite of the difficulties. At least she wasn't sliding along the bottom slime any more. "It is water snake. Harmless. Afraid of us." Though those eyes were all around them, staring again as the waters calmed and ripples dissipated. Though it was in that moment there was a low growl from something walking along the shore across the way. It might go away. Certainly their presence was know as she fell silent as the rest of the night around them, clinging to Conor and hoping the other was only momentarily disgruntled for having the peace broken.

He searched for a couple moments more, even after Kuwan explained the harmless nature of it. Now what was that! The only weapon he had with him was his gig, and that was now at his feet in the water. "I think these will do us." He spoke low to her, even though the frogs had started up their barking all around them. Conor wasn't one to get spooked easily, but that snake just about did the poor Irish lad in! There weren't nearly enough frogs in that bucket to feed his family, much less share with Kuwan, but the youngest of the Quinn brothers knew a well-timed retreat could make for a victory another day. With Kuwan still in his hold, he pressed through the water and the thick water weeds to bring them back to their small peninsula of ground.

That wasn't their regular barking, they were laughing at them! She had a knife tucked away in the band of her leather skirt. "You have enough?" So very quietly next to his ear he could probably feel the warmth of her breath before they were on the move. She still held onto the bucket as steps were not made hastily. "We come early morning, before the sun rises, twilight hour just before the dawn" The nocturnal beasts had their fill by then and enough light to see without the need of a torch, though one could be used to glint off those eyes. Once they reached the small patch of ground she set the bucket down. There were no more sounds from across the large pond nor splashing that would indicate the beast was coming their way directly.

Squinting to the opposite shore, Conor could see nothing. "I just thought you would wish to dry off." Conor was soaked too, but having survived this far, he was starting to find the whole situation rather amusing. "Coming back at dawn would work well." Then he could still present Gran with the frogs in the morning.

"Yes, I am not too wet." The top of her outfit was still dry down to the waist or just a little lower. She took the moment to slide out the ends to let them lay as they should for drying. "You can tell grandmother that more is where those came from. She will be pleased with the size and have you bring back twice as much more. You have large family to feed? Snake is good to eat also."

With the mention of that snake, Conor shot a cautious look back to the water. "There are quite a few of us." He answered, then brought his gaze back to Kuwan. "I will come for the other frogs before I see her, thank you, Kuwan. And...I think we will pass on the snake until another day." He gave his leg a shake, his boots filled with water, his entire body from the neck down heavy with wet. He reached down and took up his bucket, offering a hand to the native lass so they could make their way in the dark from this place. With the growling that was going on, Conor was set on leaving this place behind for awhile.

"May I go back with you to meet Grandmother after we gain more?" Choosing her words carefully in asking permission politely. She had been taught May I when first learning the language along with Please and Thank You. Her hand curled in his as he helped her up and would remain there for as long as he wanted in the going back. They would need still be careful and hopefully Mr Growls wasn't not heard for circling around the pond. Wild Cats, which it probably was and Kuwan suspected, preferred not wading through ponds.

It was Conor's turn to lead. Having come a way once, he could find it again and out of it, even in the dark. "I would like that very much, Kuwan. I'm sure she'd be thrilled to meet you." As would his sisters if they hadn't already. He didn't release her hand until they were returned to the lake. "Are you still staying at the Thistle, Kuwan?"

At least her moccasins were dry as she had slipped into them at the shore's edge before they headed back. "Yes. I am using the lake for my spiritual answers." She may have touched upon that subject before with him. Fingers curled into the palm when finally left go, perhaps a way to keep the feel captured there.

"Good." He smiled. He didn't know how far away her, hmmm, village was so he was pleased she was close to where she could find a change of clothing. Since the Satyr night, Conor had returned some of his clothes to the manor so he'd have a change of clothing if needed. Good thing. He didn't feel like traveling to his shop and he could deliver these frogs to the manor. "Shall I see you there before I head home?"

"Yes, I would like that." With the whole of the night, she was here later than she had planned but well spent in his company and the adventure they shared. Snakes and frogs and unseen creatures of the night that were heard instead. "It was different, red eyed bull frogs as big as baby rabbits." Her smile growing as she came up alongside to keep pace with him back to the Thistle. Relaxing in a way it came with a humorous reflection. "We shall tell story to brothers if they ask?" Not far from the truth but embellished.

"If they ask." He agreed, not wishing to let them know that a sea serpent had been his undoing. "Allow me to return to the manor and change my clothes." Once to the Thistle he doused the torch and saw her up to the door of the tavern with quite a few looks their way. The Indian lass wet from waist to ankles, the man fully soaked and muddied, sporting a bucket. "Thank you for your help tonight, Kuwan." Was he lingering? He found that he was.

She didn't mind looks their way, paid them no mind. "Thank you for adventure." Something she had needed. The whole of it. Her words sincere as she stepped closer. She didn't seem to mind the fact her clothing was wet as a touch of her hand came to rest against his cheek with the sincerity of her words. Darkness would hide any blush upon her cheeks if such could be seen on bronze to start. She had lingered too, not wishing the night to end. But he was soaked as well she. "You best be changed. Are you coming back or staying there?"

She stepped to him. He swallowed. The warmth of her hand touched against his chest. His breathing ceased. He looked to her, noticing the way the light of street lamps turned to a silk-like glow in her dark hair but her features  were hidden by shadows, perhaps a God-send for Conor whose heart probably would have stopped completely if he would have witnessed her blush. "I plan to return. More than likely one or both of my brothers will be here. But, my fate is not my own as soon as I walk through the door of the manor." He started to smile, lifting his hand to capture hers and offered a light squeeze as he lowered it away from his chest. "If not tonight, then I shall see you just before dawn. I'll meet you here, aye?"

She watched his eyes, wondering there for a moment if he stopped breathing. Was he afraid of females to get this close? Worried touched upon dark eyes.
"I will be here. I am happy you will return. May the spirits of the stars guide your steps safely." Her smile broadening to show perfect teeth as her hand was captured to lower and be released. "Just before the dawn," lingering too long she felt before she was quickly around and fast within the tavern, rushing through the door to the hallway and upstairs to her room before anyone could notice she was back.


Date: 06-26-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 48

Frog Hunting: Next Morning

Kuwan couldn't sleep much that night. Unsure why but it was something that happened once in a great while. When her mind became too active over something. Like when the first Whitemen appeared when she was young. This one she was trying to figure out to no avail. So she occupied her mind by making nets hung from poles. Wire circle fitted into old broom handles Alex had and was kind enough to give her. Thin sturdy twine was then wove in a way they could catch the bigger frogs without them escaping, little ones might get away but that was all right. She made two as they were not hard to do and was waiting on the Thistle front steps just as twilight was having the sky turn from black to grays. The prelude to when the sun finally rose. A warning it was coming. She had on the outfit worn last evening as it was most suited and was thoroughly dry at this point, thanks to a small fire she started in the hearth in her room than leaving them down in the main room. Hair held a few small braids that lost themselves in the thickness of unbounded hair. A strip of leather encircling her forehead with small feathers worked into the ends that laid down along the back of her hair. She watched the shadows, waiting to see a particular form.

What was he doing? Did he really think she would spend more time with him? Still, he returned to the Thistle, his pants tucked in his boots, a new pole and an empty bucket in hand. He squinted through the odd light of dawn to find the figure of the beauty seated on the steps waiting for ... him? His muscles tensed and his steps faltered, but he continued onward. "Good morning, Kuwan." He offered to her, noticing the nets she held with a pleased smile.

She was up, slow graceful rise as she caught him coming up the road. Her smile sweeping warmly as he approached. "Good morning, Conor. I have made us .. nets," remembering the word they were called, "I put them on poles so we can reach farther." Just in case there were any more snake pits. "I could bring you to another pond or we go to the one last night we know has many large frogs. If you like the net and works well, it is yours." A small useful gift but then she would be prone to give useful things. She was down the steps as a light came on in the Thistle, Alex was already up to get ready to open or it was Hazel seeing to starting the breakfast that would be served.

"I see!" He came up close, eyeing the nets in her hands. "That is excellent. I think we should return to the same pond, we could scoop up several at one time. What a great idea." He couldn't help but be impressed. She had thought ahead, knew what he could use, and made it. The effort must have taken all night at that. From what he could see, the nets were finely woven. They'd have enough frogs for Gran in no time.

"And if we scoop up a snake, they can get through being narrower than frogs." Or they could keep them to eat as well. She wasn't sure if they wished to try such. She didn't seem to have bags under her eyes for the lack of sleep nor confused and slow. She knew how to counter it but not something good to continue too many days in a row. The nets were lightweight she nestled against her shoulder being he had the pails and his gig. So she started off. "I can show you a shortcut being we are starting from here and we will avoid the marshy area that needs us to be careful." And probably more snakes in that area than in the bigger part of the pond. Her step was lively, sleek and graceful as they took to the road that would take them to the other path leading down to the lake, except she continued up the road about a quarter mile further.

He couldn't help but keep glancing over to his frog hunting companion. Even though the darkness lingered, there was enough light for him to catch the shape of her form, a silhouette of her features. "I would prefer no snakes." He confided, even if he smiled with his words. "We'll stick to frogs for the now, aye?" For the most part, he remained silent. A reverent, awe struck quiet that always seemed to descend upon him when Kuwan came near.

"Yes. No snakes," which had laughter to lace those words and lit up dark eyes that turned his way. She had a woman's body though sleek and trim without ever having borne children yet. "Frogs are better," she was agreeing. She had snake a few times but it was not choice, more in that there had been no choice or starve when game was scarce. She had a pouch attached to the band of her skirt. Not unusual but this one a bit longer than wider. She finally told him of the small delight. "I have a rabbit pie for each of us to eat soon." It would be their breakfast. With this last revelation and smile she was quick to turn down a path between two large trees to the left. Unlike the other, this one was a deer path and larger so easier to follow. Plus the deer were pickier in choosing solid paths over the small, sometimes crazy ones of rabbits.

When she told him of their breakfast, Conor nearly stumbled in the dark. "Are you kidding me?" As soon as he said it, he knew he shouldn't have. Kuwan didn't understand that he did believe her, and that the question was more so his excitement than the fact he didn't take her words as truth. "I mean...that's wonderful, I can't wait. Let's get these frogs for my grandmother to enjoy and then we can enjoy those." The path was easier to follow, and Conor had tracked the animal whose walkway they used, so he had no difficulty keeping to task along it, even in the lack of light.

They had some light by this time if one could distinguish lighter grays from the darker ones. Birds were starting to awaken, a lone call in the shadows as if alerting the whole of the woods a new day was to be born. Kuwan, stopped a moment to close her eyes and drink in this time just before birth, a time of expectation and wonder in what it would bring. Always hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. She could hear the bubbling of the brook that led down to the pond not far from this point. Though, it was best to cross the brook and there was a fallen tree she hopped up on and carefully made her way across. The brook had been a river at one time or some flood long ago that had cut it out from the rich earth separating this area a good fifteen feet down. It ended up in a small waterfall that spilled into the pond in a section they could not see last night, though she knew of it. It was down the other side not far from where the unseen creature had growled. "Be careful of the moss and fungi." Meaning on the fallen tree she was using as a bridge.

The times just before daylight and just before dark had always been Conor's favorite. Even as a young lad he would wander from the house at those times, just to stand and listen. When he was young, the evening might bring the jangle of harnesses as the horses were taken from their plows or carts. Voices filtering through the air from the house in preparation for the evening meal. A dog's bark. The chirping of crickets. The morning brought similar sounds, preparing the young Quinn for the day; A dog's bark. The sound of crickets fading. A jangle of harness as the stablemaster prepared the tack for the day's chores. A snort or huff of horse at being disturbed before daylight. And in the winter months, the soft sound of silence blanketed into more of a hush by the snow. Kuwan stopped to appreciate the arrival of morning, and Conor stopped, to appreciate the woman with her eyes closed. A year ago he would have never believed there was such a woman as this. A spirit of the earth in human form. An earth goddess. Aye, that's what she was. He realized how far out of his league she was, especially now as she drank in the morning as if it were ambrosia. His gaze lowered away from her before she could catch him studying her. He watched his step on the slippery spots of tree, and kept his hand ready to reach for her if she should start to slip. As if she would.

She didn't hurry. There was no reason to hurry and chance a false step. She stayed close if he needed her much as he was there if she needed him. When she reached the thicken end of roots and hopped down, a big old possum ran out carrying little ones hanging on its body. The sudden rush had her laughing in such a sweet sound within the thickened woods with the twilight just before dawn. "It is easy from here," though the path she spoke of was a couple feet away leading downwards in tall grass, flowers and weeds. The heady mixture of scents mingled: fauna, grass, earth and those of the pond they were reaching. This time they ended up on a wider shore where the deer and other larger animals could drink or catch some fish. A peninsula banked out of sandy ground they could walk along to scoop through the water. There were many reeds and lily pads about as on the other side had many.

He too chuckled to himself as the creature waddled away as quickly as it could with its young. Little was missed by the Quinn at this point, his surroundings, his companion, the way he felt in response to both. He swung his bucket around from the crook of his arm to his hand. The time had come, and Conor needed to get his mind on frogs and off of butterflies.

She paused at the edge of the pond, looking out over it as she hummed an enchanting hymn, half words spoken in her language as it flowed out to mingle with the calm. She was giving thanks to all the frogs that would give up their life force for them. As it should be but should go with thanks. It didn't last too long before she handed one of the pole nets to Conor. "It is bountiful here." Once he had taken the net, whether to use or not she started out along the narrow peninsula to scoop hers through the water at points. Wasn't long when she came up with to big frogs that weighted down the net. Her excitement obvious, infectious, "look! Conor!" Turning with the heavy load though only two. "It works!" It was an invention for her last night to occupy her mind from thoughts she didn't understand.

She moved away to begin sweeping the water, he stepped out with his net and eased it down into the water, pulling it alongside him. He netted a large bullfrog, and grinned, turning back to look to her as she called out. "Indeed it does, Kuwan." He laughed, pulling up the net with the heavy, squirming frog in it. "Dump yours in mine and I'll put them all in the bucket."

"Oooooo," half laughing and squealing as she was near dancing his way trying to keep them in the net. They could climb out so she was trying to jostle them by bouncing, dancing on her feet as she approached. A hand reaching out to grab the netting as she eased the pole at an angle towards him. And didn't the one jump right out and cling to the front of Conor's shirt. Wouldn't for long so hopefully he was quick as she managed to dump the other one into his net.

He angled his own net and circled his and near the mouth of it so he could squeeze it tight once the frogs were in. Except, one decided to make its escape and landed on his chest. Conor, too, was laughing by this point, trying to keep the other two in his net at the same time trying to clutch the slippery, fat chest-rider. He could barely get his whole hand around the sizable fellow, though he managed, and he tugged him free to join the others in the net. He closed his hand around it just below the rim and started from the water to add them to the bucket.

Her laughter mingled with his as she was right there trying to help in making sure this one didn't escape. "He wishes to be prize if he is to be captured." Dark eyes lifting as she was only a few inches away by the time all was said and done. The excitement there in dark brown unhidden to him as the first traces of light seemed to become a backdrop. "We can catch many more quickly this way." Being they were to get back to the manor by sunrise. Her smile broke free as eyes held the moment then around and back to finding more frogs to scoop from the reeds and lily pads. "How many do you need?" Glancing his way before she was hefting up another big one caught and focus shifted quickly so she didn't lose him. Though she was back to hand him over.

He was busy scooping up his own, adding hers, doing the math in his head. "Two legs a piece, there are eight of us, anyone that stops by, some hands around the manor...probably a good score." Darn, that was a lot of frogs! As he added their next nets' results, he thought he counted a good dozen already bouncing about in the bottom of his bucket. He counted what they had caught last night. Another swipe by both of them ought to do it! These nets were the best thing since lemonade! Made quick work of frogging as lemonade did of a thirst.

Provided they had such abundance of frogs. If the nets were enhanced, they could probably scoop through the mud too as it would slide away leaving the frog. This time she caught three and had a devil of a time keeping them in, she kept knocking the one that came up back down as she was over quickly to Conor for him to take. "This should help!" This day there were no mishaps nor unseen creatures of the night growling in the pitch black. The grays were becoming lighter all the time and colors filtering in as the sun rose up towards the horizon, leaving night to other lands behind it.

Conor was squatted by the bucket when she rushed to him. He jumped up, grappling with her net too in order to keep those last three frogs from jumping out until they could be plopped in with the others. "Well done, Kuwan." He laughed, his words full of amusement and excitement for her invention. He slapped the top on the bucket and buckled it down. The sound of rolling, bumping bodies could be heard from within. "It's getting light." He spoke the obvious. "If I am to get these back to be prepared for dinner, we better get going."

Which reminded her as she propped the pole into her arm and retrieved the rabbit pie for him. They were each wrapped up in a cloth she had gotten from Hazel and would return them later on. "A little to eat as we head back." Her smile all but beaming. This frog hunting had proven fun in his company and not just something needed to be done like most of her tasks. She had not laughed like this in a very long time. She had not had the opportunity to be playful, to be her age and not of one much older with too many responsibilities that there was little room to be young. "It will not take us long to get back to where the Thistle is. Is it far to your manor from there?"

"Will it take you long at the Thistle?" The manor was some distance away, but they could still make it by breakfast if it wouldn't take her too long to freshen up. He took the pie with a huge grin, realizing just how much he preferred this particular food to any he had even grown up with. He took a bite and nodded with bliss written all over his features. "Excellent." He didn't even try to be polite and not speak with his mouth full, what needed to be said, needed to be said!

"It will not take me long." She would wear her white leathers in honor of his Grandmother. "Come, we should go," playfully as she half danced backwards taking up both nets so he only needed to take care of the pail with its live occupants that were none too happy being in there. Around she went on light steps back the way they came. Her pie being eaten as she went, done by the time they reached the log to cross. The cloth tucked away as it was even easier to see with more light though the sun had not resin above the mountains yet.

Grinning like the fool he probably appeared, Conor started after her. The bucket was heavier than he thought and it almost jerked him back around, but he soon got control of it, tucking his gig and net beneath his arm to chase after the sprite of an Indian lass. They retraced their steps, ending at the Thistle. He waited outside, knowing how he must appear, his boots and pants wet up to his knees, a bucket that pitched and bumped on its own, a gig and net tucked under his arm, and a grin to make the most mischievous wonder what he was about. He kept casting a look to the door, waiting.

She brushed out the long length of dark hair, replaced the leather strip encircling her hair with one of fine beads she had made. One matching the beadwork on the pure white leather shift with fringed panels in a V down the front and sleeves carefully tied down the length of her arm with many open spaces exposing skin. It took her possibly fifteen minutes for she was that kind of nimble and quick. She had a small basket with little treasures to offer the great woman they call their Grandmother. A little beaded purse by her own hand, small stones that were near translucent that she had polished and put in another medicine bag. A feather. Some corn seeds, dried flowers, a wolf's tooth and a butterfly wing. There was also a rabbit pie for her, herbs and some fresh berries that were wrapped up in cloths. She didn't have much and wasn't sure if their people would understand the value of her gifts but if their Grandmother was as wise as she felt she must be then she would recognize the gifts no matter her culture. She was back outside with a wide smile and ready at his side. She would take the one net she gave him to carry so he was not overloaded.

As soon as she stepped out of the door, he reached for her and took her arm but just as quickly as he had reacted to her return, he pulled his unthought-through gesture back. In that white, she appeared even more the untouchable native princess. With her dark hair, her dark skin, her dark eyes, the leather practically glowed in the morning light. "I'm sorry." He found himself apologizing again to the lass. "You look breathtaking." He whispered for, indeed, he whispered for lack of breath. "This way." He cleared his throat, sucking in a deep breath to start that breathing process again.

He confused her for a few moments. Not that he reached for her and took her arm but that he pulled back immediately. The momentary hurt would not be masked. She didn't know how to. But it was quickly gone as this time he would get to see the blush on bronze cheeks. It enhanced her features even more. For a moment she could not speak. She knew his words were a compliment and the first she had gotten. "Thank you," came in a whisper as she stepped closer to curl her hand around the bend of his arm. "It is all right to walk this way?" She had seen many do it in these lands and had noticed, liking what she had viewed discreetly.

His heart caught, his stomach clenched, but he nodded. "Aye, if you wish, it is perfectly all right." Bucket in his other hand, they set off for the manor.

Date: 06-26-09
Poster: Mary Quinn
Post # 49

Clearview Manor

"I don't want to hear again you don't know where he is." Mary barked at one of the maids, as if that poor girl would know the location of every single Quinn in the household. Conor had foisted off his berry picking duties to his brothers. Granted, yes, he had stated he won and they had lost and the bet had been berries but still, the boy had gone first thing and had not been seen since! She would like to believe he had gone back to his new residence, but Mary Quinn knew that the chances were better, considering he was a Quinn, that he had not sought out his bed, at least alone. So now, anyone who came near would be hearing her discontent until she knew what was going on. She always needed to know...what was going on! The sun had barely even risen and breakfast sizzled and bubbled in the kitchen, and Mary Quinn paced, wagging a finger at that poor maid till the girl had wrung her apron into a knot.

Segan had a few drinks after the incident last night and had yet to catch up with his brother Eion to talk about it. Not being sure what happened afterwards for he had left. Dawn was breaking and the smell of food had him up from his bed running his hands through his hair, roughed it up with his head bent forward before padding across his room barefooted to the basin of water. Cold water that with the first splash had him sucking in a sharp breath. It was what he needed to clear his senses and douse the cobwebs away. He was sure there were going to be some repercussions of the night, especially when Conor ran into the one. Maybe. Maybe she would say nothing out of sheer embarrassment. If she was capable of being embarrassed. Thoughts drifted to the exotic Egyptian woman he met and another cold splash was needed! Half toweling out his hair leaving it in rope type curls as he donned his pants and shirt, sandals on his feet and headed downstairs to the kitchen.

Eion had been to the King's field and had been informed he was to take the day off. He didn't think he looked that bad but then again, between the sunburn and his lack of sleep, he probably looked like he had a relapse. He stayed for a while to watch then decided to return home. Maybe he could escape Gran later in the day and find a nice cool spot to catch up on his sleep. The smell of breakfast had his stomach growling as he came up the walk and headed into the manor. At least he'd not miss another of his Gran's breakfasts.

Conor approached the house from the back, turning to look to Kuwan as they neared. The lights were on, burning in practically every room, and that caused the youngest Quinn to draw in a breath of preparation. He didn't worry in the least as to Kuwan's reception. Who wouldn't practically fall to their knees before her? No. It was the fact that he knew...he knew!...that he hadn't checked in for two days and that would never sit well with his grandmother. Not to mention, his brothers might be speculating on his whereabouts as well. The bucket bumped against the outside of his knee, a constant reminder that he may have a reprieve from the concern of his grandmother when she saw the fat, healthy frogs. There was only one way to find out and they were too close to the house for him to make excuses why they should turn about and find something else to do for the rest of the day.

She was in awe of the manor. Conor Quinn was far out of her league to live in such a place. She swallowed as a trickled fear of inadequacy froze her to the spot. Though she would not let fear take over and have her miss this opportunity to meet the great woman of their tribe. Her hand slipped away from his arm as she adjusted the basket on her other and smoothed down the white leather of her best outfit. It was not of the beauty the white women wore but she hoped that it would be acceptable. "I am ready to meet her." Brave words with a slight lift of her chin and being presentable the best she could.

"Who is that?" The maid had gone to the window to put some space between herself and Herself and as she looked out, saw the dark woman in white before even realizing the man with her was the very one she was supposed to be locating. She pointed out of the window in their general direction which had Mary bustling over to take a look. "" She whispered, a smile pulling into view. "Now there is a fine sight in the morning." When Segan and Eion joined her, she'd be hoping they knew something about this handsome lass accompanying their brother through the field.

He came into the kitchen just as the maid ran to the window. Moving to take a look out the pane as he pushed the curtain aside and mumbled under his breath as brows furrowed. "Seems he has a few he is collecting." He recognized the pail Conor carried. They were suppose to all go frog hunting together and other hunting. Something more mumbled that would definitely have his ears boxed if he said it out loud and turned instead to head for the kitchen table. "Smells delicious Grandmama." As usual.

He leaned to look out the window a brow lifting slightly. Not that he was surprised, they had said Kuwan could come and meet Gran. "She lives here on the Callihan estate I think it is. Name's Kuwan." He stepped back and graced Mary with a warm smile. "And it does smell delicious, Gran. Morning to you." He kissed her cheek and then greeted his Aunt and sisters.

If Conor had recognized Kuwan's trepidation, he would have consoled her with the fact that he didn't live here at all anymore. He had looked to her when she removed her arm from his, fiddling with her clothing. "You look lovely, Kuwan." He attempted to reassure her. "Look..." He nodded toward the manor house and the faces all gathered in the window. "Seems they are eager for us to arrive." It was his turn to walk backwards, a light bounce to his step as he continued that way toward the house. He even wiggled his fingers in invitation to her, back stepping, bucket swinging.

Dark brows had knitted in worry but eased when Conor started back pedaling towards the door, wiggling his fingers. Her step became light again as she was quick to keep up, laughter spilling easily to fill the morning air. The door would soon be reached if he didn't trip over his own feet and spill the bucket of oversize bullfrogs.

Mary looked over to Segan as he muttered, an eyebrow arching in question but she didn't say anything to him about that yet. "Thank you, Segan. We'll be eating soon it looks like." Eion joined them next and she smiled. Her poor, sweet boy, worked so hard under the King's command. Look at him. He was exhausted! She patted his cheek as he kissed hers and looked back at the frolicking pair. "Kuwan. What an interesting name. Is she ... Irish?" With that she wiped her hands on her apron and practically giggled to herself, knowing full well the woman did not have a stitch of Celt in her. She motioned them all to the table, making her rounds and getting a kiss from the girls first, her daughter and then the boys, yes, Eion again.

There was no time like the present as his sisters were here, Grandmama and Eion. Getting a plate filled with the delicious smelling food he was back over to take up a seat. "I have decided to leave which will be today after I square things up. I don't know when I will be back, a week, a month, seven years." Like the last time. He had his reasons and had decided this was best for him. Ironic it would end up being him than Eion. Eion had a place here. He dug into his breakfast, relishing it for he would be missing Gram's cooking.

He grinned at her question, shaking his head. "She's from the colonies, Gran. Came here with the sons of Alexander McDonough. Long story there and I'm not sure of all it but she likely can tell you." He started to fill up his own plate then paused and looked at Segan. "Have you got a contract?" He couldn't, wouldn't say much in front of Gran, Chandra and their sisters, though he had some thoughts on the matter.

Kuwan cursed him with that thought! Conor laughed with her as she started forward, spinning to prepare to mount that step leading to the back door but he was closer than he thought. The toe of his boot snagged the wooden step-up, pitching him forward into the door. He struggled to keep his footing, the weight of the bucket providing the momentum to shove him forward into the door. He grappled for the latch, the bucket hitting the wood and bouncing back,  causing him to tilt back, but the door opened, and the motion of bucket changed, shoving him inside, still failing to keep his balance. Mary Quinn's floors were clean enough to eat off of and it was a good thing, because Conor's body went spread eagle across it, face down, the bucket flew from his arm, the lid cracked at the latch on contact, and frogs....jumped to freedom in the Dame's clean kitchen. Twenty-two, marsh-wet, fat frogs rolled, tumbled, jumped everywhere in the kitchen. Conor closed his eyes with a grimace of pain and disbelief and started to push up very slowly, fearing the worst and aye, seeing it!

He was having her heart leap into her throat as she dashed forward to help, only to take a step back, or more, be bounced back as he shifted into her then forward again as he fell into the house spread eagle sliding across the floor! She stopped dead just inside as her hands leaped to cover her mouth. She wasn't sure if she should laugh or cry out. That lasted for a split second before she was over to help Conor out by crouching down and making sure he had not knocked himself unconscious first. "Conor?" The plea was in her voice as she set her basket aside to the floor with her gifts within.

"Aye, A contract and as many more I want taking me short distances or very long ones and.." but his words were cut off as Conor finally made it in with the Indian lass as well most of the pond it looked like. Certainly brought their sisters to their feet as well he was up to grab one of those fat leaping frogs by his leg.

Mary hadn't claimed a seat yet, and it was just as well, she would have shot to her feet. Her hands clamped to her mouth to smother her gasp, then she blinked as all the pond-slicked frogs jumped about her kitchen. She dropped a hand, tugged her skirts aside and in the process of going over to Conor and the woman with him, she bent and scooped up a frog by the back leg. She gathered up the bucket and tossed that one in there while the rest roamed free until they were captured by the others in the room. She knelt to take Kuwan by the arm, encouraging her to stand. "Conor always did fall head over heels for a pretty lass. He's fine." Without Kuwan seeing, she gave Conor a nudge with the side of her shoe, a rather demanding - - nudge. "Oh no you don't." She ordered, still holding Kuwan but leaning to snatch up another frog, this one right around the middle. The woman in Mary's hold would have to lean with her, but Mary was quick, and had the frog in hand and standing straight again in no time. "Looks as if dinner refuses to cooperate. Conor, take this." She didn't even look to see if the boy had stood, just handed the frog back behind her and gave her arm a shake for emphasis.

He had been looking at Segan while he was talking, not looking at the door as it suddenly flew open. "Conor's home." He said dryly, then he was helping while much laughter ensued with the chasing of the frogs. The maid had closed the door between the kitchen and the rest of the house but if the outside door was open, they'd be escaping that way. "Always did know how to make an entrance, Conor."

Conor didn't even bother to stand, he looked up as his grandmother collected Kuwan, and he just started crawling around, scooping up frogs and putting them in the bucket. He didn't get to the one his Gran was holding back to him in time and she just dropped it behind her, forcing Conor to dive to catch it, which he did. With the Quinns all on the task of frog gathering, they soon had them all collected and in the bucket or a covered pot which Concessa had been smart enough to grab. Conor didn't comment to Eion even though he nearly choked on his retort. He went over to wash his hands in the sink, glancing back to see where Gran had taken Kuwan.

Unfortunately Kuwan was not really up on such phrases and most likely take them literally than otherwise. Mary may well read the confusion that had a blank look for a moment but one that was use to passing over that which she didn't understand in these lands until she did. She would figure it out later about Conor falling on the floor for pretty ladies. Which she thought was more a warning than about her. There were a few pretty women in the room. Three of his sisters but she didn't know that and there was the maid helping. Instead of making the fool of herself by not knowing, she was quick to grab up the basket as Mary helped her up. With her lean, and her basket clutched to one side, she caught one of the frogs and holding it up as Mary finally turned to her. Another for Conor to take. "I am honored to meet you Mother Quinn." The Mother meaning much more than physical but one who took care of her tribe even if not the male that was made head of it. "I have brought you these to honor you." Which the contents would prove if she understood any of native ways.

He had helped with the frogs but he found himself checking out the attire Kuwan wore. White leather was special amongst the tribal women of the colonies. He wondered if Conor even knew. Once all the frogs were collected he was back to his seat and breakfast before it got cold. Well, not too cold anyway. He would finish it off while he watched how things progressed, pretty much keeping to himself.

Mary Quinn may not know native ways, but she knew good manners, respectful ways, a kind, gentle heart. "How very thoughtful of you, lass." Mary smiled, patting Kuwan's arm before taking the basket. "Take a seat, have some breakfast with us. Conor, see to her chair and get the lass a plate!" Mary placed the basket on the counter, finding great delight in the special and unique nature of each of the items within.

Once the frogs were collected, he stood to greet Kuwan. "Morning, Kuwan. It's good to see you." Giving Conor a quick clap to his shoulder, he sat again, picking right were he left off with his food. "Looks like you found a good supply of frogs." He looked from Kuwan to Conor, his gaze lingering on the youngest brother.

Conor jumped to it with Mary's orders, taking a chair out for Kuwan to sit and then helping to ease her in. Then he went to the sideboard to get her a plate and silverware. He didn't know anything about the white leather other than she appeared even more the Earth Goddess wearing it. He reached over her to ease the large bowl of fried potatoes over to her, then returned to the sideboard to get a plate for himself. "Aye, Eion. We gigged a few last night." He shot a look to Kuwan, hoping she'd not mention the snake incident. "Then this morning, Kuwan had made nets...and made the whole process so much easier. We were catching up two, three at a time." He wasn't as well traveled as Segan, but he didn't need to be to appreciate the fact that the native lass had saved him a lot of work in his frog hunting attempt.

It was a whirlwind after that as Conor hopped to what the Mother Quinn spoke. As it should be. She was pleased the great woman appreciated her gifts. She could tell. Could feel. Once seated a smile came almost shyly upon Eion as dark eyes lifted to meet his as he greeted. "Good morning Eion." Then to the next brother Segan, "good morning Segan." Then the women here, "good morning." Her cheeks taking on the deeper hue for the mention of her invention, though pride gleamed in dark eyes as well. She took a small amount of the fried potatoes that were offered to place that portion on her plate. She didn't mention the snake incident as she was far too self conscious at the moment.

"Good morning Kuwan, you look like an angel in white come to honor our table." Hopefully she knew what an angel was. He was banking on that for her years here and Christmas time at least. Half standing as she was seated then back down. "These are our sisters Melantha, Gemma and Concessa, and our Aunt Chandra" which they appropriately greeted her while busying themselves with either finishing their meal or helping to start the clean up. The floor was wiped up with a mop after the frogs were collected. "We were hoping to join you in the frog hunting," words were mildly spoken as blue eyes turned on Conor but as Eion's focus rested there, his rested back on Kuwan to enjoy her unique beauty.


Mary placed the feather on her window sill for now, then returned to the table, taking a seat next to their guest. She started passing her more bowls and platters. She didn't say anything, but she couldn't keep from looking to the woman next to her and admiring the shine of her hair, the healthy glow of her skin, her strong profile. Mary Quinn was definitely checking her out.

Segan had introduced their sisters so he didn't have to do that. Lips twitching slightly as it seemed he had forgotten. He felt Mel nudged him and hid a laugh while his gaze left Conor and moved to Segan, then to Kuwan. "I hope you didn't have any trouble. You should either spend the day, or come back this evening and join us in the meal, shouldn't she, Gran." He looked at Mary and this time he did grin. Course they might have to get more frogs. Conor didn't look any worse for the wear, so all was well there.

Conor stood as Mary came to the table, meaning to help her with her chair, but the elder was fleet of foot and was sitting even before Conor could start to pull his own chair out of the way. He started to lower back down, wisely not looking in Segan's direction as he addressed his brother's comment. "Aye, well, you were busy with raspberries and walls." He hadn't heard Segan's decision to leave but knew just by the tone of Segan's voice there was something not quite right. A flicker of a gaze touched on Segan before lowering back to his meal. "She did help catch the frogs, Gran." He offered to Mary, smiling over to Kuwan.

Eyes lowered with a few looking her way as she took bits from the bowls offered her. Though little from each it was custom not to pass anything offered without taking at least a tiny bit. Dark eyes darted up with Eion's invitation. Looking between them all with an anxious edge to see if they all approved. She didn't meet any with disapproval that she could discern. It mattered to her. "I would like that and if I may," turning to Mother Quinn. "I would be honored to be shown how you cook them. I am told you are the best." She could figure out who had said that and as her way she would offer her own secrets in sharing. "I will show you how to make rabbit pies as your men enjoy them very much."

He didn't wish to make her feel uncomfortable but she really was pretty and easier when she was looking down before politely averting his gaze afterwards upon Conor. "That was yesterday and yesterday's gone." Raspberry picking and wall fixing.  Which meant that either he or Eion certainly could have gone this morning if not late last night. Or had made plans when they all could but they were skipped over. Left him wondering why. Though it brought flashes back of last night and the whole incident with Karina. Maybe he shouldn't mention anything, too much was centered around that young girl. Maybe it was because she was so very young and without family? Still.

Such a nice way to start the morning. Mary looked all around the table. She felt the undercurrent of displeasure from her grandson, but she would allow him to work that out in his own way. He was a grown man, and he had managed quite well for himself so far. She reached a hand out and gave Segan a loving pat, simply because. "I think that is a grand idea, Eion." Her kitchen was open to all and to learn how to make these pies she had heard mention a couple of times had her even more excited to spend more time with this lass. "After breakfast, we'll go through the kitchen to see what we will need to make those delicious pies of yours. Girls, you may want to make plans to be here for that. The men seem to favor them, and you know what is said about the way to a man's heart..."

"I'm stuffed, Gran. Is there anything that needs done since I'm off today it seems." That question was for Herself, Aunt Chandra, or Mel. "And I'd like to talk to you before you leave, Segan." He had plenty of questions but they would wait until later when they could talk without worrying Gran. He picked up his dishes and carried them over to the sink.

Conor finally looked over to Segan fully, his gaze narrowing. Out of respect for the ladies present though, he didn't tell his brother to pull his head out of his ass. He spoke to his grandmother but didn't take his eyes off of Segan. "Those rabbit pies have won my heart." He started to stand with his plate as Eion did, hearing the eldest request Segan's company. "Where are you headed, Segan?" He stopped at his Aunt's plate and took it up to clear it away since she appeared to be done by placing it aside to listen to the conversation.

She ate what she put on her plate. Every bit though she knew just how much to put. Her smile brightening with the prospect of cooking with the women here. She usually cooked alone since they came to these lands where it was the whole tribe before, though she and Kali found some time when they could match schedules. She remained quiet while eating plus there seemed to be something else that was not of her business.

He had his breakfast finished as he was up and over to plant a kiss to Gram's cheek. The pat to his arm meant a lot to him in a way not explainable presently. Grams always seemed to know when to show that bit of affection. "No matter what happens, know that I love you Grandmama."  Straightening as a hand touched upon her shoulder and focus shifting to Eion. "Aye," was all needed to be said before he paused on Conor's question. "I've a contract, setting sail soon as I can." With that he took his leave, off to get his things packed. He could imagine the kitchen bustling with all the women of the house and Brigid MacKinlay joining with them later most likely. Almost wistful to be here for such a dinner tonight but most likely he would be on the sea by then.

Mary's hand lifted to rest on Segan's there on her shoulder. "If you love me, Sweet Boy, you'll keep yourself safe and come home to us hale." She watched as he excused himself to prepare. It was always difficult to watch a child leave, but she could only place them in God's hands to deliver them safe and sound home again. She took a deep breath and stood, collecting a few bowls. It seemed the Indian lass had completed her meal, it was time to start preparations for dinner. "Eion, you might want to speak with Kuwan, and see if we need any rabbit. You and Conor will have to go into the woods if so. Other than that, you'll be in the way here, enjoy your day of rest. Go fishing."  She smiled, she knew that fishing often led to drinking and snoozing, probably just what that Quinn needed. "Now, lass, if you're ready, let's get cooking. We've many an outfit upstairs you can wear so not to muss up your pretty leather. Concessa, take the lass up to see her changed into something she can work in."

He watched Segan then turned to Gran and grinned then he turned to Kuwan. It was more, "How many will you need?" since he knew there wouldn't be any in the larder. Conor could come with him or do other chores. "I'll go fishing after, Gran." After he talked to Segan, and caught some rabbit. Maybe he wasn't training today, but he'd keep busy.

Conor nodded with an "oh" to Segan's answer coming around to place a hand on the back of Kuwan's chair for her to stand. "I'll come with you, Eion, to get those rabbits. I'll be out in the barn when you're ready to go." He wouldn't participate in the conversation between his brothers. Segan barely had the breath to spare him in his answer and had almost walked out without even addressing it. The youngest Quinn knew when to take himself out of the equation. "If you can spare Kuwan for just a short time, Gran, I'd like to show her the stables."

She would let them fuss over her in putting her in something more appropriate to wear for the cooking fest. All the ingredients would be given from rabbits to wild onions. Standing as she smiled to Concessa as she waited for her. "About a rabbit for each to have one pie. Unless the rabbits are big, then one for every two." Her eyes lighting up with the prospect of seeing the stables. "I loved the wild horses. They run free over certain trails. When I had time I found a place I could watch them and not scare them away."

Mary had already lifted the pot with the frog inside to take it to the back stoop. "Tell you what, let the lass change, Conor. You come help me with these frogs while she does. Then while Eion speaks with Segan, you show her the stables." Then off the boys would go to fetch those rabbits. And they would need to be quick about it! "I'm so glad you came this morning, Kuwan. Hurry about it now, so we can get everything done what needs doing." She continued to the door with her pot,  nodding for Conor to take the bucket.

Date: 06-28-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 50

Talk with Eion

Now that breakfast was over, and Gran had given her 'instructions', Eion went to find Segan. He wasn't entirely sure what he was going to say but he was concerned about things that had been going on lately. He made his way to Segan's room, and tapped lightly on the door, waiting for Segan to answer.

He was in the room sitting on the bed, staring out the window. His gunnysack packed of anything he felt he would need if he ended up not coming back for a long duration. Relying on the fact there were things he could pick up as needed too. He had money with him, money he left here for Grams and the family, money on his ship from adventures before. He was not wealthy but he sure wasn't hurting any in that area at least and more was coming in again for starting the runs for Bovee Shipping. The warm summer breeze was gentle through the window, calming him considerably. For a few moments he could actually shake off the last couple weeks and the dramatic roll of emotions like some kind of serpent that had taken over. He didn't like them. Not one bit. He was honest with himself that after trying to cease this ride and being unsuccessful, the next logical way of it was to leave for a while. That would erase his part in any of it. So he hoped. He didn't really want to leave if he was honest with himself here too but he saw no other course than this at the moment. He tried but it kept coming back as the best solution. If something wasn't done, he feared there would be a great gap between him and Conor and that he didn't want to happen. Lost in all these thoughts he almost didn't hear the knock at his door. Blinking back from where his mind had wandered as he whipped around from watching out the window and gaining his feet as he spoke up. For a moment there almost questioning if he heard the knock. Well, if there was no one there who would know? "Come in," and waited to find his answer.

He opened the door when he heard his brother, standing there a second or two while he looked at the gunnysack then at Segan. He searched his face for a moment, then stepped inside. "Thought we could talk now, if that's all right?" He respected his brothers and wouldn't push if Segan didn't feel the need to talk.

The reason why this talk would happen was for that very respect he had for his brothers. Presently, especially, Eion. Conor and he were at odds and that was bothering him tremendously and something that might not easily be resolved at the present time so best effort would be in keeping it from getting worse. Irreparable damage avoided. "Have a seat, or stand." Whichever made Eion comfortable. If he sat, there were two chairs in the room beside his bed, he would sit, if he remained standing, he would as well.

He decided to sit, even if their talk wouldn't take long and instead of dancing around the subject, he started right in. "Is your leaving because of what's been happening, Segan? It seems you're not happy with Conor at all." Seems? It was a certainty but still ....

As he chose to sit, so Segan sat on the edge of his bed. Focus on Eion as he took a moment or three, to answer his direct questions. "Aye, but there is a real contract." So he had not lied about that part to cover the other.

"I didn't doubt there was." He smiled slightly then leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees, his hands lightly clasped. "Is there naught you can do to end this between you? I'm not even sure Conor feels the same as you do." He made a slight face. "I'm not sure I even have the right to say anything to either of you, even as head of our family, but I hate seeing this, hate seeing you feel you need to leave."

"That's the crux. He sees it one way and I see it another. I know how all this is making me feel and most of it is a growing rift between us over it. I've tried to become distant, staying away from Karina and it only made it worse. Every which way I turn seems not to hold an answer to this impending storm. Except leaving for a while. I notice another lass and then he shows up with her. I think maybe I should leave until word reaches me that Conor has finally hooked up with someone." Which might be years! His brother may like the game and the playing than any settling. "If there was any other way..." but he couldn't see any presently.

"I don't believe he's doing it to spite you." He chuckled and shook his head. "If you wait that long, Gran might be sending me after you. Look, I won't try to change your mind, but did you talk to Conor?" He shrugged slightly. "I know Gran is taking this well outwardly, but it's not going to be easy for any of us. Especially since we've only found each other again. I didn't expect you to sit at home doing nothing, not with a ship waiting for you but still, I didn't expect you to be leaving like this."

"All right, maybe I'm over reacting. I thought we had talked at the SnakePit." What he remembered but he did remember talking on other certain ladies being free to look upon with an interest, which had him frowning recalling. "Let me put it this way. How would you feel if I went after every woman you looked at? That is how it is looking to me. I try to find any other he doesn't seem to have an interest in and there he is with the one. Will it be Shere next?" Because that is where he was going to focus but now was feeling if he did, next he would see Conor showing up with her. "Am I over reacting in this?"

"I wouldn't like it but about Conor, I honestly don't know what he's doing. Conor was the one who was home while we were gone and I don't know what life was like for him though that's no excuse." He frowned slightly then shook his head with a sigh. "I suppose not and if you feel this is the only solution then you'll have to follow your feelings. I just hope it doesn't turn into months, or worse yet, years." He stood then and smiled slightly. "Though I envy you being able to leave when you want." He would do as expected but already the responsibilities were beginning to have him wondering. "I will expect you to stay at the manor when you make port, even if just for a night. For Gran's sake."

He was mulling over his words coming to stand as Eion seemed to want to get going instead of continuing the talk. Though he decided to ask him one more question before he went to do whatever it was needed of him. "Do you think then it has just been a coincidence? What has seemed to me on Conor showing up with any lass I noticed or pay attention to? I'm not saying I wanted to get with any lass but it was like .. well.. there he was. As I said before and will again, I will not let a woman come between and that is surely being tested. If you think it is all coincidence and worth me giving it one last try, I'll stay tonight for the special dinner being prepared, take the run tomorrow and be back that night. The run would only take a few hours as it's only down the coast. I was just going to extend it there in Ballicastle. Meet others.." there was a port there too.

He paused and smiled, then nodded. "I would say, to give it one more try, Segan. It could well be a coincidence but there's only one way to be sure. And I think it would be worth the effort. Then you won't be wondering if it was something you should have waited out to see." He chuckled. "And it would be nice to have another man about when you're here, other than me and all these women on me own." With Conor mostly at the McDonough ranch now that he  was working there, Eion was pretty much on his own with all these women. He placed a hand on Segan's shoulder. "I wanted to be certain you were sure leaving was the right course. I'd rather you be certain then leave and have regrets later."

"Ah, so you have your own reasons," teasing him as a hand came to his shoulder in the same clan style. "I haven't been certain about anything with the crazy ways of the past number of days." Possibly weeks. "Maybe I should take on your attitude towards women and save myself a lot of headaches. I still have those passes." That might help to appease some recent frustrations. He was sure even if Eion kept his distance it didn't stop certain urges. No. Come to think of it with him leaving something in a certain dockside house that a woman in only a robe came out to return something he forgot? "Best to spend that kind of time in a better established place."

"Well, the attitude isn't something I can help to be honest." He smiled again. "I just don't trust them anymore, other than our sisters, Aunt and Gran of course." The smile grew wider though at mention of the passes. "Aye, we should put them to use." He chuckled at mention of a better place. "Well, that place on the docks wasn't too bad. Lass played a mean hand of strip poker." He became serious again. "So, you'll give it one more try?"

"Aye, I've got me ship at the ready if it continues to play out the way it has. Be it me brother or be it me, then it would be best. I caught something about going to hunt rabbits. I'll help you out with that if I'm welcome. Far as the others, let's just say I got word I don't need to go until tomorrow and just a trip down the coast." To keep things from getting remarks before he even gave this a try. He did get word and it was only a trip down the coast so it wasn't any lie, just the timing was not supportive of when. He would also do his best to change his perspective on the whole matter. That might take some doing and the hardest part.

"Of course you're welcome. You'll always be that." He paused though. "Do you mind Conor going? Gran wants him out of the way. In fact, she's also told me I best do some fishing after." He grinned. "Though it might take all bluidy day to get some rabbits if we want to have enough pies." He rubbed at his neck. "Course, they are plentiful here about."

"If I minded then it would be best I wasn't staying. Right?" Giving Eion a friendly shot to his arm. "I am going to try and believe some things were only coincidences and stay away from women with any of those kinds of thoughts. If I need a woman, we got those passes and I know where to get more." He could afford to have one on a continual basis if he wanted. If it would help. Of course these ladies were different than the ones found down at the docks. He honestly was surprised Eion bothered there! Though he'd not say so unless it continued.

At the time, Eion didn't have a means to go to the Garden. Now he did. He gave Segan a grin and rubbed his arm. "About time you got some strength, little brother." Teasing before he motioned toward the door. "Shall we?" He was pleased with how this turned out. Maybe he'd do all right as head of the family after all!

"Aye," he kicked the gunnysack under the bed before heading out with his brother. He really didn't want to miss the meal of frog legs and rabbit pie that was planned for tonight. Good excuse. Right. Half true.



Date: 06-28-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 51

Wabbit Hunting

Kuwan had been nervous but the longer she was around the Quinn ladies, the less she felt so. Concessa, Gemma and Melantha whisked her away to change into one of Concessa's dresses. A pretty thing in a dark yellow and white eyelet flowers. It went well with her skin and dark hair. Concessa's coloring wasn't all that far from her own yet she didn't look native like Kuwan. She had never been so fussed over as with the three sisters, laughing together and a throw back to when they were young and dressed up their dolls, though this one was a living one. They also set to fixing her hair, though keeping the circlet of beads around her crown. They brought up the thickness of her hair to loop around to center back, leaving most of it to flow loosely down her back from there. Once done the four were back down so that Conor could take her to see the stables. By that time, Mary and Conor were finished with the initial preparation of the frogs.


The stables were a wonderful sight and so many grand looking horses of a like she'd not seen before. She had not gone to the races so far but the idea to go had become an appealing one. The buildings and stalls were kept clean and with fresh hay changed daily. She loved the scent of the hay as they wandered through the buildings. The newest additions were a particular delight as she petted the colts and filly. The walk along the fencing where the horses grazed in the meadows all took their toll in relaxing her further. The Quinn family was of a kind to make her not only feel welcome but if she was a part of the family. Something Kuwan had not had in a very long time. Though she was with her friends that cared for and loved her, she had always felt the loner. Always felt that one step out from the inner circle that a family wove around its members. Here, this day, she had the benefit of having the feeling shared with her again. This day would always mean far more to her than they would ever know. All too soon the trip ended but there was work to be done as Conor escorted her back to the house. The sisters and Mary were waiting for her that they could begin the fixing of the frog legs and gathering the ingredients for making the rabbit pies while the brothers were sent out to hunt the rabbits.


Eion had found some smaller crossbows made for hunting, though he knew Segan preferred knives. He liked the smaller ones for the fact that the smaller bolts didn't destroy the skins. Once he had everything ready, he waited outside of the manor for his brothers, watching the horses in the fields. He could hear the laughter of the women and smiled. For the moment at least, there was a feeling of peace and contentment.


For the rabbit hunting he would go with the smaller crossbow, small clean arrowhead did less damage than a knife would and further distance gained. This was a short notice trip and they needed to come up with a few rabbits. He was still mulling over in his head all that was said between him and Eion first and realized his brother was right, he should talk to Conor. Even if it ended up in blows between them, they should talk before it got worse. Now that he had some time to think, he could be kicking himself over a few things but one couldn't help emotions even if they made no sense in the long run. No matter, they needed to clear the air between them. His original idea of leaving, he realized, was an attempt to run away from all the welled up feelings he would probably eat dirt over. Not a warming prospect. He chose one of the crossbows and headed out to where Eion waited. The fact he was still here would make a statement and well open up the means for that talk with Conor.


Conor lingered in the kitchen, watching as his family gathered Kuwan in as one of them. He pushed up from his lean, meaning to go outside, but his grandmother turned on him causing him to jump as she spoke. "Are you here to be with the women, lad? Or will you be going hunting with your brothers?" Conor laughed, waved to her and Kuwan when she turned with his grandmother's question, and went off to join Eion and Segan. He gathered a crossbow and a pouch of arrows and went to seek out his hunting companions. "We've a good number of rabbits to flush out." He commented as he joined them, hooking the leather strap of the pouch over his shoulder so it wouldn't be in the way.

"Aye, I'm figuring ten?" He grinned at Conor. "So there's some extra. That lower field might be a good place to start. It's at the edge of the woods and still plenty of plants for them to hide in since it's not been cultivated for some time." He started for the path that lead past the fenced in areas and to that same field. He also intended to be out of sight of the manor. Never knew if their sharp eyed grandmother was watching out for them or not.

He watched his brother heading out to join them with the look of one that had a lot on his mind. "I'm ready. Ten big hares," glancing between them both before pausing, then moving around to come up alongside Conor as they started off after Eion towards the lower field. "I think we need to talk," way said was to feel him out in if he agreed with the statement or not. He had already done enough assuming. They would only be hunting rabbit. Very quietly. Stealth required.

Conor didn't turn to look to Segan, only shot him a look from the corner of his eyes. "Aye?" He targeted Eion a good ways ahead of them, then nodded slowly, drawing in a breath and pausing, knowing they couldn't talk when they neared the field or the rabbit would scatter with little to no hope of finding them. It would be difficult enough once they started hunting to keep the rabbits where they could be found. "Out with it then." Conor knew by instincts alone that Segan was chewing on something distasteful. What it was Conor would have no idea until Segan spit it out.

He kept moving until he came to the field and started in hunting. They could talk and though he was a distance away, if necessary, he could be back quick if they came to blows. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that. With a wave of his hand, he headed into the thicket. They might not see him but he was there!

This was going to be a good talk to have with weapons in their hands! Though neither would resort to such when they had their fists, far more personally that way if it became the way of it. He did some quick thinking as he glance to where Eion was, a glance over his shoulder where the manor could be seen, if it could be seen then they could see them too. Another glance to their right would put them out of sight for the wall that started there and the big oak that grew alongside it. "There," heading there as he spoke and once there to rest his back against the cold stones of the wall. Eion would know what he was up to and he would be quick about it as best he could all considering.

Conor followed the direction of every study that Segan made and when his brother indicated the wall, Conor's eyes narrowed. Blocked from the manor house witnessing anything...okay. He went along anyway, not quite sure what to expect, but the youngest brother never really did, did he? He could only be prepared for everything.

"I've been acting odd and it has affected some around me and I think it owes an explanation. I was going to just set sail and ride this tide of emotions but that is not the right way of going about this." He took a deep breath here then let it out. "We talked some at the Pit and I thought maybe that was the all of it but there is more. If you will hear me out..." If he didn't want to, now was the time to stop him before he began.

The slightest cant of head acted as a nod. Conor still wasn't sure where this was leading, but he knew it was important to Segan to see it through, so Conor would listen.

Every so often they might hear a curse from the brush. Eion didn't always move with the most grace but he was fairly quiet. A small rabbit, too small for the pot really, darted out the field and stopped near the two men, whiskers quivering.  He was followed by another who froze in his tracks and stared at the two.

"Interests. Defining interest not so much a I plan to marry the one but getting to know with that option there." Was the one word to sum it up if one could. "We talked on Karina, and how you liked her, hard not to like the scrappy sass of a sprite even if you feel like turning her over your knee when she gets pushy and rude. Well, I thought with the way you reacted around her, your interest laid there. So that left me some other options of those we met, like the Indian lass. But next I see you showing up with her alongside you. Frankly, kind of had me jealous, first Karina with an obvious crush on you now the Indian lass. I am not proud of that feeling that it seems all the lasses gravitate to you but couldn't help it and set me in a mood even if I don't have that kind of interest in Karina nor the Indian lass for I met another. Then wondering if I showed up at the tavern, there you would be with her too."

"Get now with you!" Conor hissed, stomping his foot to the two small, frightened creatures, sending them scampering away to safety deep within the briars.

He almost lost it then and there with the scared rabbits and Conor stomping his foot at them and stared.

He was listening! "So, you're looking for a lass to marry but not Karina or Kuwan. And you're not interested in them, but it still pisses you off when you see me with them?" He lowered his head and looked at his boot, kicking at the soft, dark dirt with the toe of his foot for a moment. Then he glanced up to Segan again. "You're a wimp-ass sea captain, Quinn." He smiled slowly. "But I guess my jaw and kidneys should be thanking you." He shook his head, glancing toward the thicket where Eion had disappeared. "Because if you would have acted on that undeserved jealousy, I probably would have been eating porridge tonight instead of frog legs and rabbit pies." He curled his top lip over his teeth and smacked them together to indicate no teeth at all in his head. "Kuwan is so out of our league it is almost laughable she honors us with her presence. But hell, Segan, I wish I did have the power over women you dub me with...but I don't...and I don't want what you want right now in my life."

"No." He was staring at Conor again. "I am not looking to get married and you being with them in particular was not pissing me off. I was battling with my own feelings of lacking that maybe I should become like Eion and not look at a lass at all. Leave them all to you and it wouldn't matter then. I was just feeling I was not appealing to them and it had me grumpy. If that makes me a wimp-ass sea captain then I guess I am." He wasn't sure how to take some of his barbs but figured maybe he deserved them, least in Conor's eyes. "Kuwan is not out of your league unless you want her to be and if you can't see that then you're the wimp-ass." Tit for tat. Maybe clear some of that up too on what was wanted. "I have passes to the Flower Garden if you're still interested. Even Eion is interested in those." So there was hope for their brother.

Hey! He didn't trust women. Didn't mean he didn't have certain needs!

"Damn you are grumpy." Conor grumbled. "I meant ... bah ... never mind that. Yes, I want a pass to that garden! You've always been my idol, older brother. What with all your adventures and conquests. Having to stay at the manor I had to listen to Da talk about any word he got from you, about you, and I'd just have to think what it must be like to be you and not me." He shot out a hand to thump his older brother on the upper arm. He heard what Segan said about the Indian Goddess, but Conor wasn't quite agreeing with him on that one yet. "Talk about jealous." He jerked his head toward the lower field. "Come on, Segan. Let's go show Eion how to hunt. Or else we won't have any rabbits to fill those crusts, and I, for one, want some of those pies."

"There is a lot to admire in you Conor, the ladies see it too." Ruffling up Conor's hair in a quick swipe as it was time to go help Eion out with those rabbits or all their hides would be in jeopardy.

He had managed to get two of the devious beasties but the rest were hiding from him. So, if necessary, he'd be stomping around to scare them out for his brothers. Maybe he'd get a dog for hunting.

Conor tugged down a long, slim branch, plucking off the leaves as he walked. This he'd use to poke deep into the burrows or briars and chase those wee beasties out to them. The Quinn brothers wouldn't return without enough rabbits to see Kuwan's pies completed.

He was into a jaunt to make up the distance to where their brother was. From there he went into stealth mode of hunting rabbits. Going to kneeling as he got the crossbow ready. His first shot was successful one rushed out from its hiding place. Eion was right. there were many down this lower meadow.

Maybe extras? He made sure he was far enough from his brothers to not catch either of them. That would be bad. Of course from here, he couldn't tell if his brothers were getting any but they'd find out shortly.

One barely down and another arrow in place before he was aiming, moving the crossbow following the beastie before the arrow was let loose, taking down a large jack rabbit. He was up to collect them, sliding them in a sack hooked to his belt before into the brush to scare out more.

Ssssh, he was wabbit huntin'...twapped by his own twacks!  Conor had brought his bow around and notched it, thrusting that long stick deep into the thicket which spooked three fat, soon-to-be-pie hares.

Seems he hit the jackpot for once as he scared out a tribe of them so arrows would be flying and rabbit hunting a success for those rabbit pies. He had about five in his sack and he knew Eion had as much if not more and then there was Conor with as many, there would be plenty and more to boot.

They wouldn't be out long at this rate, then Gran could chase them off to go fishing. Though Eion might take a nap in the shade instead. He chased out two more, got one and then there were a slew running around.! Plenty of pies tonight and maybe some rabbit stew as well.

Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Mary Quinn
Post # 52

The Right of Way

The sun had just begun to taint the sky with the gray glow of morning when Mary Quinn bustled toward the bunk house of the Heathfield warriors in training.  A large, heavy basket covered with a Quinn plaid was hooked to one arm and her steps were determined.  Aye, she had walked!  All the way from the manor house!  She was Irish!  Any Irishwoman would walk 10,000 miles for the man she loved.   Mary had several men she would traverse the globe for.  The hem of  her skirts were wet up to her ankles from the morning dew, wisps of hair had fallen from her usually well-tucked bun.  She had on sturdy, brown walking boots but she appeared every bit the grand dame she was as she started to march past the first guard.  His arm shot out, the straight line of it hitting against Mary's chest, which had him jerking it back.   "Hold, Ma'am, but you can't go in there."  Mary swatted it the rest of the way.  "Oh, but I can, Young Man, by placing one foot in front of the other like works quite well. So pardon me."  She started on her way again.  She feared the contents of her basket were already starting to get cooled, she needed to see them delivered at once.  She had used the kitchen of the Thistle with Hazel's kind assistance to cook this food, which had put her even earlier on the way this morning, so she wasn't about to see it go to waste.  The guard didn't know what to do from there, he opened his mouth to speak, started to reach for her again, shut his mouth, lowered his hand, and looked around.  He closed his eyes and shook his head. There was the captain to answer to...or this feisty old broad.  He decided to take his chances with the captain and returned to facing eyes straight ahead.


The next gate, the next guard.  This one was not as easily bypassed for he stood at the doorway to the barracks themselves.  "Out for a stroll this morning, M'Lady?" He asked cordially, though he had stepped directly in front of her when she tried to pass.  Mary looked him over, a cant of head to search from the highly polished toe of his black boots up to the well cropped head of hair.  "No, Sir, but to deliver something to my grandson.  Surely you know of him.  One of the finest young men training under our King.  Eion Quinn.  As handsome, strong, and as devoted to Heathfield as you, I'm sure."  She stepped to the side to pass him by  but he edged in that direction as well.  "Only those men in training, those training them, and the King and Queen Themselves, are allowed past these gates.  I'm sorry, but you are not allowed to pass."
  Well now.  Had anyone ever denied Mary Quinn anything?  Attempted to stop her from doing what she had set her mind to do?  Perhaps, but they had not succeeded in their endeavors to be sure.  She had to credit him in his kind cajoling efforts.  "I'm Mary Quinn, Sir.  I'm sure your King would not mind my passing through."  She sidestepped again, pulling her skirts aside with her free hand to start forward.  Again, the large man moved in front of her. This time the look over the man was not as appreciative but more so a sizing up of the fellow.
"What is your name, Sir?  Your full name."  She demanded, leaning to peek around him...she was planning something to be sure.  "Bruce Saint Court, Madame.  Set this day to guard the barrack gates."  As if that would deter her.  Her!  Mary Quinn.  Poor lad.  She reached out and patted his arm.  "And a fine job you're doing of it to.  St. Court you say?  By chance, any relation to Eugene Saint Court?"  She seemed to fidget but in truth, she inched to the right.  "Well yes."  He answered, his tone holding a touch of amazement that she would know since he had never heard of her.  "He is my father, and one of the guards stationed in the castle."  Mary nodded.  "Aye." She seemed all agreeable and such.  "I knew your grandmother, lad...and wiped your Da's arse when he was but in cloth pampies."  She stepped to the right quick, which caught him off guard and he had to gather his wits to scoot in front of her.  But Mary had always been a quick, agile thing and that hadn't changed since her youth and she was even quicker to the left, squeezing on by him on that side.  He spun but the woman was already sashaying her way to the first barrack door.  Thank you, Bruce. A pleasure to meet you!" She called to him, her hand lifting in a wave though she didn't look to him.  He stood where he was stationed and stared after her.  She was probably right.  If she knew his Da, the King probably wouldn't care ... too much ... if she spent a few moments in with her grandson.  He'd allow a few moments...  that was all. 

Eion had just started to stay in the barracks at night, getting used to the camaraderie once again.  It wasn't that he didn't want to stay at the manor, but sometimes, all the female company got to be a bit much. Especially when Segan and Conor weren't around.  It was also easier to get away in the early morning even if his Gran had been up for hours before.  There were lads and men about, in varying stages of dress or undress, depending on one's point of view.  Eion himself was still seated on his bunk, bootless, shirtless but wearing his pants,  His hair was standing up every which way and he definitely looked sleepy. That would change when he was on the field.  He blinked once,  then twice when he thought he heard Herself outside.  He pinched himself, hard enough to make a mark then bit back a groan. No, it couldn't be.  She wouldn't.  And then  ... he knew she bloody well would! 

She came through the door, all bustle and bump, for only a woman with Irish blood could haul such a basket as she with as much in it as she had.  "Good morning, Gentleman." She called, searching out the faces for one man.  She was phased not at all by their attire, or lack thereof.  None had anything she hadn't seen before and her Jaxon...well...there would be none there that could even compare so why bother even looking?  "Eion, my boy!" She cooed, bumping her merry way from the door, past anyone who didn't move fast enough for her, toward the young man on the bunk.  "Warm apple fritters, freshly baked biscuits to butter, or add ham or the sausage links.  Fluffy scrambled eggs with onions and green peppers.  Are your friends hungry, Love? There's plenty enough to share."  The aroma of freshly cooked foot wafted from the basket as she hefted to his bunk to relieve her arm and lifted the plaid.  "Oh, aye, and apple cider, fresh milk, and just squeezed orange juice.  Conor got some oranges from the market! I used them for you." She gave him a wink and turned to wave any others over that were hovering just outside their immediate location.  When she turned back she frowned, leaning in toward him then straightening.   "Good Lord above, Sweetings.  You look tired, lad.  I'll need to speak with the Queen about that husband of hers working you so hard."  She patted his cheek gently then sent out a searching gaze for a place to spread out the breakfast. 

All he could do was stare as the Irish whirlwind known as Mary Quinn came into the barracks. Had he not been so surprised, he might have laughed as some of the lads scattering and trying to pull on their pants.   He stood as she neared, still somewhat speechless even though the mention of all that food had his stomach rumbling.  "Isn't the basket heavy, Gran?"  How could he scold her after all that and how would he dare?  He was over to drag a small table near his bunk then he looked sheepishly at his bunk mates.  "She's made plenty I'm sure."  Mention of speaking to the Queen had him blanche!  "Uh, Gran, it's fine. I'm always this way when I first wake.  You don't need to say a thing, really."  He could just imagine the teasing but some of the lads were gathering plates and flatware from somewhere and it was apparent they'd be more than happy to share.

She floofed away his concern, starting to set out the food to that small table.  Hopefully it would hold it all.  "A basket filled with love is never heavy, Sweet Boy'o'mine."  She reached over to him, taking by the back of the head and pulling him to her so she could pop a kiss on top of that pate.  His face would be dangerously near smothering in her bosom, but it was a grandmother's bosom, just a cushion to the caring heart beneath it.  She released him with a loud pop of that kiss then went back to fixing. "Do they not feed you here? Goodness.  Strong lads need food to fill their stomachs!"  She tsked her tongue and waved them all over.  "Eion first." She chided, actually taking a plate and utensil from the closest man to her, that was his problem for being in such a hurry!  She handed this to Eion.  "Eat up, and get some rest, aye.  Or it's straight away to the Queen I go!"  Oh, and Mary Quinn meant it...and Eion Quinn would know it to be true.  "Good day, Gents." She said in a merry Mary way, starting her way back to the door.  "Bring the basket and plaid home tonight, Eion."  Oh, aye, that was an order to be sure.  Eion Quinn was expected for dinner.  "And any of your handsome friends you wish to come along, are welcome, of course.  We have a couple of lovely lasses about the place might could use such gallant company."  She twitched off a wink to a lad she passed and out the door she went.  Even before it shut behind her, the interior would hear.  "Bruce, now don't be shy, there's food aplenty in there for you.  Do tell your Da that Mary Quinn said hello, won't you?  Go eat...none inside will says you've left your post."  And click, the latch sealed off the whirlwind from the inside...but surely it continued outside the safety of barracks walls. 

Eion actually turned red. Red! But he grinned at his Gran.  He really was a lucky man whether she had disrupted the entire barracks.  He grinned at the man whose plate and utensils she had taken, biting back a chuckle when he took that of the man behind him, and that continued until the last had to collect another set.  "Aye, Gran, I'll be sure to return it, and yes, plenty of sleep and food."  Just repeating.  It was best not to argue.  He was going to enjoy the food, even if they all had to pay for it later and one of the lads, hearing her at the door, filled a plate for Bruce.  And there were still leftovers.  Eion even checked the basket to make sure there wasn't some trick and it wasn't bottomless.  And amidst the teasing, he just grinned proudly.   If there was hell to pay for later, well, he'd deal with it. It was worth it to have Gran's cooking first thing in the morning!


Date: 07-09-09
Poster: Mary Quinn
Post # 53

Old Friends

Alex got Matthew to cover for him this later afternoon when few were about. There were times of the day when there was a lull, like around dinner time when most ate at home. Those that ate at the Thistle seemed to come in either earlier or later for that meal. His brother Allan had come in after writing to him and so a note was sent to Mary Quinn at Clearview of their intended visit, though he said nothing of Allan in the note, and if it was a bad time to send back a note to the tavern. If no note arrived they would assume the time was agreeable. Not having gotten a note back, he had a carriage brought around, his brother having freshened up and now only waiting on Hazel. The two were similarly attired though Alex had on a darker blue shirt than his brother's with was more a silver tone. Both had on black pants and boots. Those who got to know the identical twins knew that Allan had a small mole on the side of his neck, the rest of their features even after all these years one had to really know them well to know the difference. A certain squint of an eye or twinkle there, the quirk of their smile a certain way.

Hazel had taken some time to dress after instructing her daughter and grandchildren on what they might expect tonight while they watched over the kitchen. She put on her best dress of lightweight cotton, blue with a floral print -- tiny daisies all over. A shawl for later if it became cool, her best bonnet and a basket with an assortment of sweet rolls. She knew Mary was a good cook but didn't want to go empty handed. She smiled when she saw the brothers. "Don't you both look fine." She knew which one was Alex after all this time but pretended not to, tapping her finger to her chin as she studied them. There was a hint of laughter in her eyes. "Oh dear. Now, which is which?"

Allan nudged Alex, "I don't know there brother, seems Hazel doesn't recognize me anymore." Teasing as if he was Alex with Alex giving him a look. "Oh, I think if put it to the test she would know which is which. Though you might like that testing too much brother." Alex was over to get the door for Hazel and once inside, both brothers would take up the opposite seat as the driver would see them out to Clearview Manor. The sky still sunny where it came through the trees at an angle having it in shards that marked their ride. Once there the two would be out to see Hazel out and up to the manor door to ring the bell.

Which had her laughing. The ride to the manor was pleasant and she was actually looking forward to being out and away from the tavern, for a little while at least. She studied the manor as she was helped out, and nodded. "It's good to see it lived in again."  It was the same with so many of the older homes. Empty for so long and now filled with laughter and life.

The time had arrived and her company had as well. Old friends were dear friends and Mary had practically paced a worn path on the floor from kitchen to front door with anticipation. This time when she went to the front door, there they were! She clapped her hands together at her chest and hurried to open it even as they were lifting a hand to ring the bell. "Tis so good to have you at my front door, Alex Flaherty, my old friend. Better to have you at the kitchen table!" She motioned them in. "Hazel, you are as lovely as ever. I swear you are as pretty as the days I used to wish I were you...come in, come in...share some tea with me." Then, Mary hushed and fast. A slow blink of eyes as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing. "Who you got there with you Alex? Looks as if the devil has slid on some human flesh and came a'calling." She slapped her hands to her cheeks with a huge grin and then added a genuine laugh. "Allan, you devil dog you. If me old eyes be trickin' me, let them never cease! You handsome, old coot, get your arse over here and give me a hug!" She flapped her arms toward her chest then threw them out to get that hug she was demanding.

Alex was the first to give her a hug before ushering Hazel in so Mary got to see his mirrored surprise in his brother. Mary knew which was Allan too as Allan stood there before her with a widening grin. "You haven't changed since I last saw you, Mary Quinn." Though certainly both of them had in the twenty or so years at this point. "Still the beautiful woman that lucky Jaxon was able to capture." Not a single bitter word for he knew the two had been very much in love. He only to kick himself for being so slow in saying anything so ended up saying nothing at all. Didn't take much to encourage him to give her a hug as she was soon wrapped up into his arms. Maybe she could feel the emotional tremble that he certainly felt in that moment before finally straightening to hold her at arms length. "Mighty fine woman." So many years in the passing that wrote their lines on their faces but it was the eyes that didn't change and that was where Allan's focus was.

Mary couldn't have said anything that would have surprised Hazel more. "Why thank you, Mary, but I'd be less than honest if I didn't say I was wishing I were you, and you're every bit as lovely as you were then." She chuckled as Alex and then Allan greeted her and Allan with such words. It struck her that some would be surprised to hear the tenders. "I brought some sweet rolls, though I know you're always cooking for this large family of yours." Yes, she was definitely feeling less nervous about this visit.

Her eyes welled with tears as she held him. So much time, so much pain since the last they had seen each other but it was soo see him again. To see them all! She swatted at him with that last comment, sniffing back her emotions to return her demeanor to the Grand Dame of the Quinns. "Did I have an extra set of spectacles, I'd not be loaning them to you lest you see the error of your words." She slipped her arm through his and guided them all through the door toward the kitchen. "Hazel, weren't a man alive in Heathfield didn't crick their neck when you walked by 'em. Every lass was wishing they was you." Although Mary had eyes at that time for only one neck stretcher,and a lass' first love, no matter how deeply she loves another, always has a special place in her heart. "Those rolls smell wonderful, let me put on our tea, and we'll talk while we share them."

"Ah," and Allan's brogue was thick, "the error o' my words were to 'ave never spoken them at all." Now he could and he meant what he said. That was one trait of the traits both brothers shared. Her arm in his as she would need lead for knowing where the kitchen was. "How many lazy afternoons did we sneak into the Thistle's kitchen, at that time it took a coin, to see what the cook would give us to share of her cookies and pies?" Actually he and Alex would go there earlier and do some chores for those treats when they brought Mary back and a few others that use to hang out with them. Alex gave Hazel a wink, it was just as he said in their little talk. Both she and Mary were fine women that a man would be proud to have on his arm if not call them their own. Never too old some would say but one learned to enjoy every moment instead of rushing ahead as they got older. Alex escorting Hazel behind his brother and Mary, "I do believe you still brew a smooth cup of coffee with a touch of a good whiskey, Mary."

"Psshh." She actually colored for the compliment. "I never noticed." She paused and amended that. "Well, unless I was with my friends." And they teased her. Hazel had been working with her mother in those days and usually was rushing about following orders as it were. She smiled back at Alex, very glad she had agreed to come visit. "I thought I'd use a recipe of my mother's for them. They take a bit more work than what I usually make." Why she saved that recipe for special occasions.

"I can still brew that...and a good deal more, Alex Flaherty, if the proposition be good enough to consider." She winked to him, pulling the tea pot from the eye and dumping the water into the coffee pot instead. "Hazel, love, will you get those small plates out of the cupboard, just next to the sink there for our rolls and take a seat next to Alex. next to Allan, aye, so I can sit next to Hazel." And yes, that would leave Mary next to Allan as well. She smiled the whole while she set that coffee on to perk. Though Hazel was a bit younger than them, and didn't float in their circle of friends, Mary Quinn knew of the lass well. The older girls always kept an eye on the younger ones, especially when they were as comely as Hazel Mac Kay and could cook as well. A double threat of sorts to those who had a need to feel threatened as some of her closer friends did. "The recipes handed down are always the best I've found." She turned, returning to the table with some cloth napkins which she went about placing at each place. "So, gents, tell me how much Heathfield has missed me these past score of years." She stood for now, next to where Allan sat, her hands on her hips as if she'd hear nothing but how Heathfield had never been the same without her. She had heard Allan's comment and it pleased her greatly but Mary Quinn wasn't a woman to let on that she picked up on a man's subtle compliments even if Allan could make her feel a giddy girl on the inside. Oh aye, she felt her heart just a'skipping rope within her chest with this fine company she was keeping. Both the Flaherty brothers had always been a lass' dream; strong, dashing, considerate, kind. Since Mary was one of the lasses who spent a lot of time with them, she saw how often the girls would press for a chance to spend time with them, to the point of trying to be her do so. Such memories, such adventures!

Alex and Allan were pulling out chairs and moving round them, changing places then back to switch places again like musical chairs. Be it not said the Flaherty brothers were without humor. "Allan, I think you're suppose to sit here and I there." Then Allan retorted. "Actually brother, you would need to sit here and I over there to have it all turn out right." Which would put him next to Mary. "Ah, I see how it is," as he came to take the seat next to his brother. So that Hazel could take the one next to Alex and Mary next to him putting them next to each other. A girlie thing, no wonder it had them confused or more, bemused themselves while the ladies saw to the coffee and plates. They both remained standing too with a hand on the chair to seat Mary and Hazel respectfully. For a moment they looked like bookends with a hand out opposite in mirrored images. That was until it became clear they should sit but a hand would rest on the chair of the lady to be seated still. It was Alex that spoke up first, drawing back to those black days. "I had been sent north to negotiate with lands there we were considering becoming allies with in King Andrew's stead. He usually went but it was his wife's birthday and her people, the Silver Elves had planned a special one for her. I came back with a preliminary agreeable papers only to find the whole world I knew turned upside down.." and he paused for he never really got over that day. Guilt heavy on his heart he wasn't there as Andrew's first knight to fight. Feeling, had he been, it would have been different.


"Rath had murdered them both and none could be sure about the twin girls for they were missing." At first he hoped that Atessa's people had managed to steal them away but it was not so and Thalan never told anyone for their safety. He cleared his throat as he continued. "I had a small troop and the best we could do to be effective was head for Ballicastle where the war was already raging. I joined up with Allan there to fight. I had heard that Jaxon had freed the horses into the wild and fled from the lands taking you with him. In that I felt good, that you and he would be safe and taken your children with you. Many families didn't fare as well like Gates Barrington. You may have remembered the dashing Lord and his wife. He was dragged off to prison on trumped up charges while his wife perished in the burning of the manor. A part of it. He haunted the house." Which was something Mary would not know and to have known the ghost as a man when alive. "His nephew inherited the place and is the spitting image of his uncle." Allan reached over to settle his hand upon Mary's as the past was drawn up. It was something to be addressed for they had all shared in it. Allan speaking up then. "In spite of those years, there were many good ones before those and many good ones after the pretender was taken down and the daughter to take her rightful place." He knew Alex would become quiet as he had lost his wife and eventually his daughter.

Mary tsk'ed her tongue, shaking her head slowly as she joined Alex in the memories. "Some dark days indeed, Love. Dark days." She laid her other hand over Allan's, patting it lightly as the tale continued until Allan spoke up. "I must continue to believe all has its purpose in time, whether we know the reasons for them or no." She returned then to the stove, pouring out four cups of coffee, adding the whiskey, and then a dollop of thick, fresh whipped cream that she had prepared to place over some strawberries later. Mary placed the cups on a tray and brought them over to the table, serving those, who served Heathfield all these many years.

Once she had the dishes in hand and placed on the table, Hazel went to stand behind her chair. She chuckled as she watched the two men then turned to Alex, watching him as he spoke. Those dark times had been lonely for her with many of her friends gone and having to practically hide in the kitchen of the small inn where she worked with her mother to escape notice. She was the one to reach over and pat Alex's hand, knowing how heart-breaking it all was. The coffee smelled wonderful though and the subject changed. They would talk of other things now.

Alex cleared his throat as his hand turned to give Hazel's a light squeeze while Mary was addressed. "Aye, hard times," he had lost everything heart wise at the time but he continued and continued to fight for what was right. "I could hope there is a reason that someday I can accept then all that happened." Allan nodded his head as his thoughts went to his son that left being chased and never heard from for a long time then only word once that he was alive but could never return for the pain it brought in losing his mother and brother. That was all. He could have grandchildren all grown up. "I see Melantha has followed in her grandfather's steps and has made friends here. Including an upstanding knight." Allan would have no idea if Mary didn't know about Gabriel or not but said a friend. "You have return," in that Allan found some solace and a bit of his life given back. Certain friends and though he had married and his wife died during those times, one never forgot their first love even if she'd never been told. "Your grandchildren have come back and picked up what might have been had time not been interrupted." He may take care of the Bali Hi Pub but he was keeping tabs on the Quinn family, personal interest. Alex stood as Hazel hadn't taken her seat yet and saw to it that she could get comfortable with them.

Hazel squeezed his hand gently in turn before she too, took a that Alex would sit. She smiled at mention of the Quinn siblings. "They're all ones to be proud of, and it seems each has found their niche. Your daughter too, Mary. Have you managed to see all the old places yet? Some are run down still but so many of the old homes are lived in again."

As she set their places with their coffees, she worked her way around, a hand touching lightly to Allan's shoulder before she lowered to take her seat again. "I've always been a proud one, aye?" She chuckled, casting a smiling look to the two men who knew her well when she was younger, and no less proud then than now. "But indeed, my grandchildren make it all the easier to be so." She sat back, bringing the cup and saucer closer to her at the edge of  the table. "I haven't been out and about much yet. A walk here or there mostly." Considering Mary's 'walks' she had covered quite a bit of ground. "I plan to get myself about soon though, just to see what is and what isn't and whatnot." She brought the cup up carefully, taking a tiny sip of the hot liquid past the whipped cream.



Date: 07-09-09
Poster: Mary Quinn
Post # 54

"There is a good kind of pride and you've always had that Mary. Something I admired in you, a woman that stayed with your beliefs when others tried to talk you otherwise." Allan had noticed a lot of things in their teen years then twenties before the dark times descended. But it was her other comments that he added up a suggestion, "how about we all get out. None of us do much else aside our chosen duties and we're not too old to all go on a picnic together." Though he was inviting everyone with the notion his eyes were on Mary as if asking her in particular. Alex coughed into his hand, immediately, "thank you Mary, Hazel," for the coffee and rolls. It was the first time he witnessed his brother being assertive in that particular area. He had it in plenty of others so good that he took steps towards goals he wished.

Hazel smiled at Alex when he coughed then looked toward Allan. Though it was rare that she saw him, she couldn't help but smile again. Fiona was glad to take over the cooking at the Thistle when her mother needed to do something so she'd have no problems getting away. "I think that's a wonderful idea, don't you, Mary?" She and Alex could always slip away, give the two some time together.

Mary smiled, leaning forward as she placed her cup back on the table. "I'm very agreeable with that idea, aye, very much so. But only if the boys are doing the picnic packing." Her elbows found the tabletop and she placed her chin on the top of her uplifted, folded hands, looking between the men. "I'd like to see what they've got up their sleeves after all these many years." Her smiling eyes rested on Hazel. "These two used to pack a mighty fine picnic party, Hazel. Ne'er a dull moment these two, steal a lass' breath with just a look. And many a lovely lass fell at their boots because of it too." She reached out a hand to Allan, resting her palm against his wrist where he held his cup. "And you married one of those lovely lasses too, Allan, aye? One of the loveliest of them too as I remember it. She was all long lashes and smiles for you, Allan'me'love." Her fingers trailed from his wrist to rest on the table closer to her own cup then. "But aye, we'll plan a day of it. The taverns will be just fine for a spell without you, and all ran well enough here prior to my arrival, I'll have to accept it will do so again for a few hours." She sighed deeply, as if it pained her to think of what may transpire in her absence.

It was Alex to speak up this time as his brother's idea was a welcome one. "There is a sandy cove at the lake that is not known about by most. Some fishing and fresh fish to be cooked, plenty of beverages to your liking. Now, I would ask that either of you ladies provide the dessert as we can cook but no finer baker are we over either of thee. The blanket, table, canoe ride or even a little private race with rewards," he was eyeing his brother as Allan would probably pick up on a few of these ideas. Allan left his brother to the talking as his free hand slid over the top of Mary's upon his wrist. In this moment he felt good, a deep kind that touched his heart deeply and he didn't trust his voice so better Alex do the speaking as he met his brother's gaze with a minute nod. They would have plenty of fun for their ladies of the day like when they were young. Alex caught that nod as he added in, "and don't forget your swimming attire." Allan was watching Mary as it brought back bittersweet memories. "Aye, Maybelline. She had spunk and that spark in her eyes so full of life like you possessed too." His hand moving away once hers had started moving. It had been a brief contact. "Both taverns will be seen to. I've got any of the McAndrews lads to see to Bali Hi." Alex then interjected, "and I've got Matthew Myers now that his curse is lifted." It was going to be tough to leave the hardships behind, the losses, to steal a bit of time in a lighthearted way. His hand reaching for Hazel's to curl over with a light squeeze. "I think we will have a wonderful day. If either of you ladies have any particular requests, please add them in."

Ah, aye, Maybelline. A bonny lass, that one. Long, flowing hair to make the rest of them envious. That and the way Allan had looked upon her. Mary knew many a dejected lass cried upon her pillow when Allan Flaherty set his cap upon Maybelline. And then, the other Flaherty brother chose a bride. Heathfield's lakes were filled with salt water to be sure from sobbing females. "Hazel will join me here. Aye, Hazel? And we'll bake up some delicious, sweet  surprises for the both of you."

"I do remember the lasses flocking around the two of you, and me wishing I was a part. It seemed like you all had such fun." She offered Alex a dimpled smile as he placed her hand over hers. Swimming attire? She wasn't sure where hers was it had been so long. Well, she could hurry and buy another. "Oh aye, that we will," and great fun it would be. "I just have to remember to tell Fiona not to add too much pepper to the stew." She'd leave her daughter a list of what to do and what not to do. "The only request I have right now, is that there's potcheen punch among the offerings." She enjoyed a glass now and then and if she wasn't going to be working that day, well, she could enjoy it then!

"Consider it done," Alex piped right up. "A sampling of all the flavors we have." Now that should prove very interesting. They were lucky, all he and his brother needed was an old pair of cut off pants to wear swimming. "These rolls are very good Hazel." He wasn't sure if he had them at the Thistle or not before. Then again his meals were on the run and he didn't always eat rolls. Allan immediately added to the compliment. "I heard you were very good in the kitchen and now I see the praise has been accurate, Hazel. I also heard that Mary baked a breakfast that appeased a whole barrack of warriors." At least he heard the true rendering.

"Thank you both. I don't make them too often. Mostly at holidays." She was very pleased with the compliments and it showed in her smile. "She did and in the Thistle kitchen. It was quite amazing to watch her organize it all."  Another laugh escaped. "And I had a few requests for whatever was making that delicious smell in the kitchen so had to make up something similar though I'm sure it wasn't as good." She looked at Mary, eyes filled with laughter. "I hear that you made more than your grandson's day." A few of the younger men had been homesick and Mary's cooking had helped eased that. *

"Aye, well, I've cooked for Heathfield warriors before." One wink was spared for both of Heathfield's warriors at her table. "It's a pleasure to surprise a young man or two, even at my age." She laughed, taking another sip of her coffee. "And if Hazel hadn't been available to help me now, I'd have had to settle for just one boy enjoying a hearty breakfast instead of all of them." She drew in a deep breath, releasing it with a sigh. So many young men who had only an inkling of an idea, if any, what these two men seated in her kitchen, had fought for to see them have a land to train in today. So many young men then...fighting to the death without a moment's hesitation to bring about a sense of security, of peace ... today. "I think we should make it a monthly happening." She nodded, as if making that plan firm in her mind. She may just speak with the King, so that he understood, that Mary Quinn was right about this, as she was about so many things.

The brothers had always tried to remain anonymous of past conquests and deeds but eventually someone would find out and it would leak out. Not anything they shouldn't be proud of and quite the contrary, it was more they didn't need any fussing or times of a past left to rest, continue to sleep. Presently, that couldn't be for all four here had been affected by the deeds of Rath to one degree or another. Here the brothers didn't mind, though too much would become hard. It was Allan to speak up first, "I might sweep you away to cook at Bali Hi." Teasing Mary though they had a good cook, she was nothing like Mary or Hazel. Most came to drink at the Bali. "Aye, once a month or maybe twice if we can in these warmer months even if only for a ride in the country. And if we get reunited with any others from our past, they will be welcome to join in." Alex didn't add to Allan's words but nodding in agreement as he turned a charming smile on Hazel then back upon all as he spoke up to his brother. "Allan, I think you and I are the luckiest men in both lands to have the most desired ladies in our escort." How he saw it, no matter the years that had etched their marks upon them in wrinkles, in aches and pains of their joints or their slowing down, though they both had not given into that area as of yet. Allan's words mingled with his brother's, the two having near the same deep quality and accent, "aye brother, that we have. Like the old times Mary spoke on." Though how seen through her eyes was not really seen through theirs at the time necessarily.

Mary laughed. "Well now, Allan Flaherty, if you were going to be sweeping me away, you should have done so back when my figure wasn't supporting so much of my cooking." Her gaze lingered on that particular brother just a moment, then just a moment longer before she leaned in a tilt toward Hazel, acting as if she shared a confidence with the younger woman. "Once a charmer, always a charmer, aye? And lucky we are for the truth of it."

"Oh aye, we are at that." She was laughing and for a moment wondered if Mary's suggestion had been misunderstood on purpose so they could plan for these days off. "I think it's a lovely idea to plan for it." Of course, once Fiona started to teach again, Hazel would be making other arrangements but she had a lass in mind. "And I think too, that we should definitely make the breakfast a once a month affair. Some of those lads have to be longing for a good home cooked meal." Not that the cooks at the barracks weren't good, but it wasn't the same, was it?

She loved both of these men dearly. History alone would make it so, but there was more, and she knew it. Though for now, Mary would be Mary, she could be nothing less and she placed her cards carefully on the table, those she wished to expose, the others she kept close to her chest, out of sight, out of knowing to any but herself. "Aye, breakfast." For indeed, that is what she meant, but she wasn't about to thwart Allan's attempt to have them enjoying time together once a month! Heavens no!

The ladies could do the barracks breakfast thing and the brothers would pick them up afterwards for a day planned of events. Nothing too tiring or taxing but geared for fun and time shared. Mary had stated that she had not seen much of the lands. "Aye, we offer then to escort the two of you someplace you have not seen yet, a good deed for a good deed." Allan nodded firmly knowing his brother would agree and all too willing to spend time with the ladies. So many years, seeming to be countless at this point had gone without such time off to be enjoyed. They would have to forgive their exuberance. Alex was only chuckling seeing his brother get a little flustered over a misunderstanding of words. Though it was getting time for them to get back to their duties as he was sure Mary had things to see to with over looking the large Quinn family. Least with three grandsons that probably kept her on her toes. Boys would be boys after all.

"And again, that sounds delightful." She stood and carried her cup and saucer over to the counter. It was growing late and she had a few things to do for tomorrow's baking. "I've really enjoyed myself this evening, Mary, And I'm looking forward to spending time with you all." Especially Alex but that didn't need to be said. "Would you like to keep what's left of the rolls, Mary? I made extra for the Thistle."

Forgive their exuberance? Mary Quinn expected nothing less than exuberance where the Flaherty men were concerned. It was the way of it! And aye, boys would be boys, and it was because of these two 'boys' and the few others that gathered with them in the days gone by that she had managed her husband, and her sons, and now the grandsons and in laws as well as she did. God love them all. She stood, gathering up Alex's and Allan's cups and saucers to take them to the sink. Hers remained on the table, she'd be finishing hers off when her guests took their leave. Aye, and may even have a bit more...minus coffee. "Oh, please, Hazel, if you could. I'm sure my family would be much appreciative of so delicious a treat." Hands free of cups reached over and pulled Hazel into a fond embrace. "I'm so glad to get to spend time with you even now, Hazel MacKay." A light pat touched to her back. "A young, lovely lass is always better to have as a you can keep an eye on her, aye?" She leaned back, grinning to Hazel before she released her from her hold. She then reached out one hand for the men to join them. "Come now, and give me a hug in farewell, Flaherty lads, so I'll have something to sweeten my dreams besides just the memories of Hazel's yummy rolls."

Alex stood in unison with his brother as the ladies were up and seeing to the empty cups and plates. Alex was the first to speak, "I enjoyed your hospitality very much Mary and now have days to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. I will find an agreeable date for our first excursion to the lake." Not calling it a date but certainly it was a date even if amongst friends. He was over to give Mary her hug, good squeezing one before he was at Hazel's side. Allan hung back a step or moment behind his brother as he added in while the hug was being given. "Very much enjoyed the time and look forward to more such good times." Something to covet in the way of it as he slipped Mary into his arms gently but the hug was firm and so very sincere as he closed his eyes, where she'd not see, and soaked in the feel of her in his arms even if an innocent hug. She felt good and later he could replay it in his mind. Easing away with a step back and certainly eyes open. "Until then, golden days and lighthearted laughter. I will see you again Mary. The parting sweet sorrow," a sentence from some play he believed but it was true. Alex had this grin as he watched his brother, easing Hazel to the door the while. Giving Allan room and though some might find him a bit corny, Alex knew he meant his words to Mary.

She gave Mary a hug in return, chuckling at her words. Younger she might be, but Mary was every bit as young in her heart. "Oh, aye, that's so true." She chuckled then stood back so that the two men could also bid her farewell.  As she watched, she was glad to have been a part of the visit. When Alex came to her side, she smiled up at him. "Good night, Mary, and rest well." She was more than willing to step away with Alex and give Allan these few moments before they returned to the Thistle. It was still a lovely night and the ride back would be enjoyable.

Don't think Mary didn't notice Alex and Hazel easing away and don't think she wasn't thankful for these few moments with Allan! She reached up, cupping his face in her hand as she smiled up to him. "Anytime, Sweet man. Anytime. My door will always be open to the likes of you, Allan Flaherty." Then she lowered her hand and looked to the door. "To you all, aye? Anytime." She started to the door to see them on their way. In their company, her load seemed light, her mood, lifted, her it should be. It was good to be back in Heathfield when friends and family were gathered together. Everything happened for a reason. It would all make sense, when those reasons were revealed at last.

Date: 07-10-09
Poster: Gabriel Vaughn
Post # 55

Meeting with Mary

Gabriel had been pretty busy as well Melantha with her horses since the night he talked to Eion, Segan and Conor. It would not be good to allow too much time to linger in requesting to talk to Mary. Sometimes one had no control over time in spite of efforts made or good intentions. He sent word to Melantha that he would be arriving tonight, if they could see Grandmother then head out to the tree house for a while. Raphael could be there chaperone if needed! He would be arriving after the dinner hour as he had yet to make dinner at the manor in some time, one he was always invited to. There had just been a lot going on with training and helping Lancely get the Water Gauntlet ready for the summer months.

Melantha knew her Grandmother would be home tonight. She also knew that she was enjoying her quiet time, but Mel was certain Herself wouldn't mind being interrupted for this. She sat on the front porch, enjoying the breeze and watching as the sun set. It was the time of year when lightning bugs began to appear as darkness settled, giving a display that could rival the night sky.

Mary took a respite at the kitchen table. Both of her feet were propped up on a chair opposite her, her skirt hiked up to her knees. She sipped slowly at a glass of pure, though it was in a coffee mug incase anyone happened by. Not that she had anything to hide, it was more a lady didn't down shots. Her other hand used a cloth napkin as a fan. The opened kitchen door did more for a breeze than that floppy attempt but it was the motion that mattered at this point of the evening. All had been cleared away, cleaned up, set to rights and everyone shooed away as Mary Quinn enjoyed a bit of 'pure' quiet time.

Amongst the shadows one appeared walking through the others as who it was would gradually become known as he reached the porch. "Pssst," the white of his teeth seen in the smile emerging, "let's go around back to the kitchen door so I can put these in some vases if you have them? Water too," though went without saying really but for Gabriel it was all new. In each hand he held a bouquet of black-eye Susans, daisies, some orange lilies and baby's breath. One for Melantha and one for Grandmother.

She laughed when she heard him, somehow knowing he was near. "All right." Moving from the porch, she stood on tiptoe to steal a kiss, even if he couldn't hug her properly with the bouquets in his hands. She slid an arm around his waist, moving in close. "They're lovely." She loved wildflowers more than the carefully cultivated flowers in the garden, except perhaps for roses. And so they made their way around back to the kitchen door.

A soft hummed tune from within the kitchen blended with the sounds of the evening outside. Mary had closed her eyes as she enjoyed her own Irish melody, the flapping of cloth, the tap of a finger on her cup.

He felt these were perfect for this night and to give both. They could do them in separate vases or make one large bouquet of them. He caught that kiss though his hands were full, a quick nuzzle against her cheek before off to see the Matriarch. He was right behind Melantha and couldn't really get the door unless he tried using his teeth! So she would need to go in first and he'd be right behind her with the flowers.

The kitchen door was open so it was just a matter of stepping through, and spotting her Grandmother sitting there, humming and flapping the towel. She tried to stop Gabriel but only ended managed to bump into his chest when she backed up.  She couldn't go anywhere! Still laughing, she looked at her grandmother, much like a startled deer. And her cheeks were as red as the roses that bloomed just outside of the kitchen door. She cleared her throat and hoped she didn't scare Grandmama!

Which had him coming up short behind her and his arms raising with the bouquets of flowers so they didn't get crushed. "Whoa!" Came out before it could be stopped in that kind of moment. At least the flowers were safe. The sight might be amusing however, Melantha laughing plastered up against his chest of the much taller Gabriel standing behind with raised hands full of flowers.

Mary eyes opened slowly, as if she was actually in an altered state induced by the song she hummed. When she saw Melantha, she smiled. "Evening, Love." But then, she realized she wasn't alone as the lass spun to escape and smacked into the bouquet bedecked chest of a rather tall and handsome gentleman. The matron dropped her legs fast, swatting her skirts back down to her ankles and struggled to her feet. She left her cup on the table and the napkin next to it. "What a nice surprise, Melantha. Don't be shoving that darling man out the door, Sweet'ums, bring him in! Bring him in!" She waved a hand as if by that gesture alone she would draw them both inside the kitchen.

"Dame Quinn, I am Gabriel," slipping around from Melantha as he offered her one of the bouquets. "Here to honor the two most lovely ladies in the lands with the prettiest of wild flowers I could find." So, yes, he had picked them and if Cole could hear him now he'd be choking. The thought had him grinning. "I am the man that has been seeing your granddaughter with the blessing of her eldest brother."

Any introduction she could have given would have paled beside what Gabriel did. She just couldn't stop smiling as she listened to him then turned blue eyes to her Grandmother. Of course, she was certain there'd be questions, but how could even Mary resist Gabriel?

Oh, but she couldn't resist him! She smiled, both eyebrows lifted with delight, and she tilted to the right just a bit to catch a glimpse of her granddaughter behind the man. "And Gabriel, have you no family name?" She took the flowers he held out to her and brought them under nose. Her granddaughter would know what Mary was getting at with the mention of a surname. Did she know his family? And...was he Irish? "Melantha, Dear One, get us a couple of vases to place these beautiful flowers in. Then get the lad a drink, aye, to fill his hands where once the flowers were."

"Indeed I have, Dame Quinn," until she offered him the honor of giving a name less informal to be used. "Vaughn. Sir Gabriel Vaughn, knighted under King Peter O'Neill. Originally of Daurenia but no living relatives that I am aware of. Daurenia was wiped out and though we returned to lift the veil spun by a wizard, not everyone was returned." Including the woman Aiden had been engaged to. Those of higher families went missing still. He was Celt though born in Daurenia. He knew it was best he told her everything, well, that she should know before word reached her ears. A bit at a time and perhaps Mel would help that along.


She hurried to collect two of the cut glass vases that had been in the cupboard and filled them with water from the pump. Then it was a drink for Gabriel and one for herself, though she gave him potcheen and herself a glass of  lemonade. "Gabriel is also one of the knights that Eion trains with, Grandmama. And King Peter is a close friend of the King and Queen. Gabriel is stationed here, in Heathfield." She would help Gabriel any way she was able!

Melantha knew that Mary Quinn was all about name dropping, and Mel had just dropped quite a few impressive ones! "Come sit with me, aye?" She motioned to the table and lowered once more to her seat. "I'm sorry to hear of your family, Sir Vaughn. Family is dear to us Quinns." Having said that she looked to Melantha. The girl was practically aglow it seemed with having her fellow here. It warmed Mary's heart to see her so. Mary had 'overheard' part of the discussion with Eion the night that Gabriel came to the manor to speak with him. She wouldn't divulge that though. Oh no. Not Mary! "So you've made Heathfield your home, though you serve the King's friend, King Peter  O'Neill." That wasn't a question, really, more a confirmation in Mary's mind that Melantha wouldn't be whisked away by her knight to some foreign land when Heathfield was such a splendid place to marry, live, raise a large family.

He was around to see to Mary's chair first then Melantha's before taking one right next to Mary. Melantha on the other side of her as if she was queen. In a way she was, queen of the Quinns and rightly so. "Thank you," words came low and there was no way keeping the trace of emotion to them. He had not spoken on his family at all to anyone. Gabriel still hoped there was a slight chance they were alive. "Family is important, and since I've come here, I've adopted family. I hope that you will be one of them, Dame Quinn." A dark eyed glance was given Mel next to Mary as he lifted his glass for a drink. Something to coat his throat. "Did Eion tell you of his testing to become a knight?" Being Karl had not knighted him of yet. That would be in time as Eion proved himself.

She smiled up at Gabriel as he saw to seating her. That smile was turned on grandmother then watched Gabriel, her eyes growing soft when he mentioned his family. Mel hadn't known that he wasn't sure what happened to them. She knew Aunt Chandra had been one of those who had adopted Gabriel when he was here working.  She smiled again when he looked her way, giving a slight nod, then looked at her grandmother. She knew Eion had talked on the testing but wasn't certain if she had been told of Gabriel's wings. Then again, if all three brothers had talked to her, surely one of them said something. Well, if not, she and Gabriel would tell her  tonight.

She twitched off a smile with the mention of her being a part of his adopted family. "Now, I'd be thinking that would be up to Melantha in the end, no?" Though Mary would welcome in any and all to her bosom, she always had, and would continue to. But, she also wished to make it clear that it would take two words from Melantha's lips to make him as good as Quinn. She smiled to Gabriel and reached out her hand to pat his. Large, strong hands. "He is a mighty fine looking gentleman, Melantha. And strong to be sure." Let's just talk about him as if he wasn't here. "Besides your brothers, I've yet to see a finer young man in these lands." A squeeze followed to the pat and she pulled her hand to rest on her lap. "Eion has told me that he is under the strict training of several knights who serve our King, Queen and Country." Her voice lowered and she frowned, as if now talking to herself. "But not exactly what it entails." Perhaps to keep her from trotting herself off in a huff to complain to young Honeee about her husband's methods! "But, he is a Quinn, I don't doubt for a moment he will be knighted and soon." She knew nothing about Sir Gabriel Vaughn except he had come to speak with Eion that night and was, this night, here politely speaking with her. She knew many a lad back home that would have never thought to approach the grandmother once the eldest male had given their consent. She couldn't help liking this young man a bit more for his consideration and respectful ways.

He didn't mind, they could talk about him as if he wasn't there. He drew in a breath to slowly release. "It took me many years to find Aiden who had come to Heathfield first. In that time, I awoke with a tattoo on my back I had no clue how it got there or when. It wasn't until I reached these lands that the tattoo proved to be more than markings on my back." He was giving it in a nutshell as she might well picked up on. "You should know, Dame Quinn, that I have wings. Wings that don't show until needed and come alive, growing out from the markings on my back. Your grandson Eion did very well with forces not of the norm and all in use to the King in keeping these lands safe. Keeping you and your family safe so that what happened long ago will never be repeated. There are very special men and women in these lands that your grandson will become as one with." He hoped his way of telling it did it justice and that she learned from himself. "I wish you to hear it from me than find out eventually through idle talk."

"Aye, he is, Gram." She shortened Grandmama to a favored nickname as she reached for Mary's hand. "And more than a fine looking or strong man, he's kind and considerate." She looked at Gabriel and smiled. "And I couldn't be any happier than I am. The wings are part of him, of what he is, though it took coming to Heathfield for those to appear." She took a breath. "We're learning together." She had been told all her life what a magical place Heathfield was and now she had found it was the truth.

Mary had noticed that ink on his neck and was just about to ask after it when he started to explain yet another tattoo. A mark that sprouted wings. Well, they were in Heathfield, were they not? He didn't need to convince Mary of the importance of Heathfield's special forces. She nodded ever so slowly as he explained in such a way that he was perhaps used to having to. When Melantha joined, in, Mary smiled, looking from one to the other until her granddaughter had finished. "I'll tell you both something now." She started, tapping a forefinger on the table in front of her. "You be good to one another. Speak your minds always but listen as well, aye? I don't mean hear...I mean listen. While love is young, it's easy enough. But with years, hearing goes...and with it just as easily the listening." She said nothing about his wings, about his ability to fly or whatever else came with his skills. Those may be important to Heathfield, they were not as important to Mary as her granddaughter and her beau...and their possible future together. It would seem she cared not at all that Gabriel had just told her he could one moment look as he did, the next be sporting a set of wings. No. This was Gabriel. And he was dear to her Melantha. It mattered not one wit. "So, never swallow down your words...and always listen when the one you love speaks to you of theirs." A nod, short, firm, and heartfelt.

Dark eyes had lifted as Mary spoke, there upon Melantha sitting to her other side. They turned that incredible summer sky blue. "You are as wise as I heard tell. Aside being a fantastic cook. I can hope that Melantha is much like her Grandmother. I had never thought I could feel such as I feel for Melantha. It is why I am taking the first steps of courting. The hope that it will become more as the days progress and both of us are sure." Which he paused here, "I have grown to love her, to wish to protect her, to love all and who she does to the best of my ability." This was probably a surprise to Melantha as being the first for him to use the word love. This was a new road for him and harder for to admit to what he felt deep inside when he showed it in actions instead.

Melantha felt overwhelmed with her grandmother's words. Mary Quinn had always been a wonder to her and her acceptance of Gabriel meant more than she could say.  Her eyes grew moist as she listened though no tears fell. Her smile was warm, her heart swelling with all the love she felt. "I've come to love you as well, Gabriel. You've become as much a part of my life as my family is." She couldn't believe she was saying those words. Not so long ago it had seemed she'd never find someone that saw her as more than a pretty face.

Now wasn't Mary just completely overjoyed as she looked from woman to man to woman at her table while they did actually speak their minds, hearts...and the other listened. She remained a moment more then stood, taking up her cup. "You two spend some more time here before you head out. And Melantha, see when the bonny man can join us for a meal, aye?" She leaned to place a kiss to the top of Melantha's head, then crossed to place her free hand on Gabriel's arm. "Then, I'll ask who has been spreading rumors about me." She chuckled to herself, rather pleased with the events of the evening, and prepared to take her leave. She'd enjoy the rest of her mug up in her room and think about a man she had loved and lost...and another that she was mightily fond of for all her youth and now had come into her life once again. Aye, a mighty fine evening indeed.

Ah oh! Seemed, perhaps, some of the rumors had gotten to reach Mary's ears. She would have a grand time of it finding the culprits .Wasn't Gabriel, he was not the type. "I am honored to meet you finally Dame Quinn," rising as she rose in all due respect but he stayed by his chair. They would finish their drinks, then he would fly Melantha down to the tree house. It was only accessible from above unless one of them were there to open up the trap door and let down the rope ladder.

She stood as well, but so she could hug her Gram and kiss her cheek. "Good night, Grandmama. Rest well, and I'll certainly make sure he comes for a meal." During the winter, there was more time for such but she was certain Gabriel could make time. After her grandmother left, she was over to Gabriel, hugging him tight. The night had gone well, her grandmother approved and her happiness was complete! And she would work on her cooking so it was as good or nearly as good as Mary Quinn's!



Date: 07-15-09
Poster: Eion Quinn
Post # 56

Information Gained

Eion had the Thistle to himself, an unusual event.  He had spent the day painting again, and felt it in the muscles across his back.  He knew if he stayed at the manor, he'd never make it to the King's field so, it was the barracks tonight.  After a drink.  He was sitting in one of the winged back chairs in front of the darkened hearth, just relaxing while Alex tended to duties.  A glass of potcheen and a bottle sat on the table beside the chair.

Karina had hit the streets only an hour or so earlier, her usual routine, but for some reason it had been another evening lacking her usual motivation to pursue her... 'career'. It wasn't that there weren't plentiful opportunities but Karina had taken Amergin along tonight and she was rather just enjoying strolling along with him trotting on his leash ahead. So she'd diverted her wanderings to the edge of town, but there weren't as many torches posted around the area and when the moon began to hide behind a thick layer of clouds, she turned back around and headed home. Home... now it was strange that she'd come to think of the Tavern as that. She wiped her boots off at the door then let herself in, nearly tangling herself in Amergin's leash, for the puppy spotted Eion immediately and made efforts to get to him. She managed to unclip the leash before losing a finger and the pup bounded at the Quinn. "Evenin', Eion...."

He looked up when he heard the door opening, straighten to catch the pup as he came close.  "Evening, lass.   Nice night for walking a pup."  Lifting the husky pup, he placed him on his lap, scratching him behind the ears.  "He's a happy lad.  Means he has a good home."  And was well fed.  "Taking my sisters to the kennels tomorrow, and the lass who stays with us." His Aunt and Gran had made it clear what kind of pup they wanted.  Blue eyes lifted to the girl and he studied her a moment.  "You've been well?"  Meaning, had she stayed out of trouble.

"He's never anything but happy," she added with a slight grin of fondness as she watched the pup nuzzle and nip Eion. She pulled off her cap as Eion spoke of his sisters and going to the kennels, hey, seemed like he was buying the whole kingdom puppies! Her cap was tossed onto the hat rack near the door and she lifted a hand to rake through the tight curls on her head. Though paused as Eion seemed to study her. "Aye... well enough.." She wondered if Conor had said anything or if that's why Eion was asking... or maybe it just was a genuine question. So she hadn't been that great but at least... "Not been kicked by any fat men lately," she added with a faint smirk. "Yourself?"

No, just puppies for his family.  Truth was he hadn't seen Conor for a few days and hadn't managed to get to the ranch where he was working yet.  "Not being kicked is always a good thing." He put the pup down on the floor. "I've been doing well enough.  Between the training I'm doing on the King's field and the work at the manor, kept busy.  To the point I'm not always sure what day it is."

That light just drew a little smile to her face as she headed to the bar to get a bowl of water and mug of hot cocoa from Alex. Guess which one was for the dog? Lingering at the bar a second she glanced back over her shoulder to Eion, who didn't seem to be angry with her anymore, at least not to the naked eye. And so she'd venture further conversation. "How's the training going? Not eating dirt too much I hope.."

It had been a rough night and that showed by his appearance. There was a cut along his arm that was wrapped up, sleeves rolled up and a bruise along his cheek. Blood on his shirt, torn some but Segan was in good spirits as he came through the side door. Even the brown pants had a tear in the side with a scratch beneath from the tip of a blade. Nonetheless he seemed nonplused as he headed for the bar and a bottle of potcheen to be had. "Evening Eion, Kar," then back to Alex as the bottle and glass were delivered. He bypassed the glass to take a long drink from the bottle. That ended with a swipe over his mouth with the back of his hand as he turned towards them. "Anyone see Conor lately?"

He hadn't liked the tension he was feeling that night. It tended to set his teeth on edge. "Only when I forget who I'm up against. I still get beat when I go against the King's men and some of the elder knights." Not older in age necessarily but in service. He leaned forward when he saw Segan, watching him cross the room with a shake of his head. "No. I haven't seen him since the night at the Pit." He refilled his glass picking it up as Segan approached. "Down at the port ? Or did you run into Brady again?"

Segan's arrival brought a glance to the side door, which became a double-take when she noted his roughed-up appearance. "What happened to you?" Pause. "Why do I even ask?" That added more to herself. It hardly took three guesses to conclude that Segan had been in another bar brawl. When Segan's question came she just glanced off behind the bar and shook her head No.  Oh and there was her cocoa, and the bowl of water for the puppy who was sniffing about. She'd carry both over to the hearth area where Eion was sitting, opting to plop herself down on the floor.

"Actually I was jumped in an alleyway coming up here." Then muttered something under his breath but didn't say anything more other than. "I left them in worse shape." There was a slow glance Kar's way for the bit more to herself before back on Eion. A slight tensing of the muscle along his jaw for some thoughts. Then shoved aside. "I got the Spanish leather to have Conor use on my saddle along with the leather from the McDonough ranch." He also knew he better not show up at the manor until things cleared up. Why he was trying to find out where Conor was.

Oops, her mistake. Guess it was true what 'assume' spells. She'd been about to say so when Segan went on, and she decided to stay out of the conversation altogether for now. Instead she settled herself on the ground, placing the bowl of water down so that Amergin could skip over and drink from it. Once the pup was settled she curled her fingers carefully around the warm mug and blew across the content's surface.

"Did you recognize them?" All business now as he sat up. From the injuries, he was guessing at least two possibly more, but, "how many were there? Conor's not at the manor. I figured he's at the ranch getting those orders done." Otherwise, they both would have been painting.

"No, but I recognized their accent, English. I suspect they were from that ship anchored but can't be sure." They didn't know everyone in the port area and there were English sailors on other ships.

And now she would pipe up from behind her mug. "Came across some English blokes myself earlier."

He knew this would worry Eion but better worried if was something to worry on and be prepared. "I'll head there tonight and bring the goods with me." He would not put it past Grandmama to make a trip down to the port to find him. Since they were at the hearth, he was over to take up one of the wingbacks, sliding into a comfortable slough. He was sore but he'd not admit to it.

It did worry the eldest Quinn though he didn't really show it. If they tried to take him back, there'd be a real fight on their hands. He wasn't going back alive. "Where did you see them, Karina?"   He'd not be avoiding the port area either but he was concerned about a certain young woman there.

Another long drink of the pure before he set it aside to the small table next to the arm of the chair. They wouldn't notice if he closed his eyes for they felt that kind of heavy. He would rest them while listening.

"Just on the edge of town," She answered Eion, before taking a tasting sip of the hot beverage. A glance over to Segan as he lounged before she looked curiously back at Eion. "Why?"

"There are some Englishmen who would sooner gut an Irishman than look at him."  He gave a slight shrug. "Unfortunately, we've run into more of those types than the kind that don't care. Except here." One of the reasons Heathfield was so appealing.

Andre came in the side door. Concern marked his features by the furrow of  brow that he couldn't totally conceal. A slight dip of his head in the direction of where Segan sat and one he knew to be his brother. The lass he'd seen around the docks but she probably had not seen him until tonight. "Oui, a glass of Chablis," in answer to Alex as he slid a fat envelope with Segan's name on it to be put aside in giving it to him later. Man looked like he needed sleep and Andre knew all too well days, nights, weeks, like that.

Well, that was no news to her. Such a relationship between those two countries was an old one. "No wonder you don't want that lot here then," she commented into her mug as she took another sip. Wide-set aquas lifted as the side door admitted another man, a stranger to her, though he did look slightly familiar... but she couldn't place him.

"Evenin'." He greeted the man who came in then looked at Karina and smiled slightly. "Not all of them are bad. Just a few that can make things miserable."  Blues moved to Segan, concern etched on his face then looked toward the bar again. "You're welcome to join us."

Karina nodded to the man in neutral greeting as well, sitting on the floor with her back leaning against the stony wall next to the hearth. Her husky puppy Amergin lounged against her, looking nearly as sleepy as Segan.

He would not be impolite as he collected his glass and was over to take up a seat near the men. "I am Andre Bovee, your brother has been working for me. Est une assez  bon travailleuse, oui." Lifting his glass before taking in the fragrance of the wine and then the taste. It was always of the best here in this tavern.

"Aye, he's mentioned you. It's a pleasure to meet you at last, Andre." He smiled slightly as he spoke. "I'm Eion, and this is Karina and Amergin."

Andre had seen Segan fight, the look in his eyes of determination and skill  of one that had been through years of it. "Il physique semblable à un peu garçon," which had a chuckle as he spoke the English. "He looks like little boy sleeping." At least the man was safe to sleep here unlike some other places. "Le c'est mon plaisir, my pleasure, to meet you both. I have heard much on you Eion. Good things."

"Amergin's the dog," she explained with a slight grin and nodded to the man again, setting her curls a-bouncing. Then leaned back again to let the boys talk, though Andre's characterization of Segan drew a faint smirk to her face as she glanced to the dozing sailor.

Did he understand a word of French? Not at all. Blue eyes held a hint of amusement though at the interpretation. "Our grandmother says he has the looks of an angel until you see the devil in his eyes." The last had him giving Andre a slight look of surprise. "I'm glad to hear that. We were afraid we hadn't made the best impression when we first arrived."

He almost snored, almost, woke him up as he swallowed in some air, coughing it out as he sat up. One blink as Andre was there. "I was making sure there were no holes in me lids." Slight smirk especially hearing the last of what Eion said. "I believe she was speaking on you, Eion." Or on the lot of them. "It is good to see you Andre, you have been introduced?" Well, he didn't hear those if there had been ones but he suspected Andre would introduce himself.

"Oui and the dog is Amergin." Which had him slowing grinning Segan's way. "There is an envelope left with Alex for you to collect later." So he was aware but nothing  that needed immediate attention. "The guards, they found two unconscious men in the alleyway. Nasty looking knife under the one with some blood on it. A third they found dragging himself down another street and got the story from him. Adrian and Adam both came up. The captain of the English ship notified and told to take his crew from our waters. They had been warned when they tried harassing Marlana at the Blue Marlin and her bodyguards had to take a few out. The ship, she is sailing out and one of Peter's warships is alerted to make sure she leaves or she will be meeting Davy."

"Bah. I don't look like an angel." His nose had been broken once or twice, keeping him from looking too 'pretty'. He looked at Andre, suddenly quiet while he spoke. "Regular navy or was it privately owned." They had some big trading companies there he knew.

"They dressed fancy enough but I do not feel she was of the English Royal Navy. One trying to give impression that way."A gut feeling and Andre was good on those gut feelings. Little things that added up."I could have one of my ships follow it undetected if you have wish?"

"Aye, that might be a good idea." Even if the ship had no meaning to Eion, it might to the Crown. "Is it odd to have this many visits from them?"

He was listening to Andre but watching Eion the while and taking another long drink of the potcheen, medicinal tonight.

This all sounded remotely intriguing, or at the very least a good distraction from her own thoughts. Drawing her skinny legs up to her chest, Karina propped her mug on one knee, sipping from it occasionally. Her glance moved idly between each man as he spoke. Though it lingered on Segan a second, who was awfully quiet. "Sorry I assumed ya'd gotten yourself into a bar brawl, though I was half right," she offered the sailor with a faint smirk. "You doin' okay?"

"We have not gotten many over the years. England keeps mostly to her own unless she had a need. A need that usually means greed." Though France was not much better, then again he was disassociated with his country. Former country. Even then he had spent most of his time on the high seas, stealing from pirates, including Black Doom who should have been dead when the blast went off. He sunk his first ship. Doom was like a bad copper. "Have my medic take a look over you Segan, or your own. I do not trust the blade of that knife not to have had something on it."

"Aye, I'll be fine." Stubborn mule that he was until taking pause with Andre's words. If it had been a deadly poison, he'd not be alive but one could use something else that would take time then not be able to link to the culprits. "I have to go back down tonight so I'll have my physician take a look. Thanks for the heads up." Better safe than sorry.

He nodded agreement to the comment about greed. He had seen that first hand. Eyes shifted to his brother and he nodded again, this time with approval. Don't make him send Gran down there!

His glass of Chablis was finished off and taken up with him to drop off at the bar on his way out. "I have a man to see about a horse." Having picked up that saying and finding it amusing. "Bonne nuit, I will see you soon, Segan. Mon plaisir Eion, Karina." Giving a nod their way before he was on his way.

"Aye, I will see you soon, Andre." As well Pierre for that matter. Slow smile as the two of them were indeed very good friends to have made.

"Good night, Andre. Again, it was a pleasure." He watched the man leave then looked at Karina. "When did you see Conor last?" Yep, right to the point. He would have asked earlier but Andre came in and he wasn't sure she'd answer.

She nodded a farewell to Andrew, rather content with the evening...  keeping to herself, enjoying her cocoa, not thinking about - Dammit. Her gaze flicked over to Eion as she swallowed her cocoa before replying.  "Same night you did. A while after we left the Snake Pit." She turned her face down to scratch Amergin behind the ears.

"That same night?" It had been late when they left. "And are you two still  ignoring one another like each has the plague?"

She took a breath and released it slowly. "No actually." Her mug was set on the ground beside her, and she continued to rumple the pup's fur. "We talked and decided to be friends." Just friends was added in her mind but not aloud, nor would she glance up to meet their eyes. Amergin was sooo demanding of attention right now, wouldn't you know. Even though he was half asleep and mostly oblivious to her.

"Well, it's good you can be friends." That's what they all were, just friends. Best considering her age, not quite a child, barely a woman. Many years ahead of her. Which had him recalling when he was her age for that is how his journal would start.

"Yeah." She echoed in agreement. "It's good." Yep and that was exactly what she'd keep telling herself.

"Good." He wouldn't need to say anymore than that for now. "Now you just stay away from fat men with big wallets, and you're set. Or skinny ones that run fast." He downed the last of his drink and stood, grabbing the bottle as well. It was getting late and he needed to get some sleep.

"...and steel toed boots." This he found out and punched Black Jack out, right off the pier earlier tonight. Man wasn't sure what had happened but he had to take the boots off or sink, they were too cumbersome to swim with. Long night. His body was feeling it in an ache all over it seemed. "I better collect that envelope and head down to wake up Charlie." Whiskers would be in a fuss.

There went distraction, as the boys visibly prepared to head out. Still, Karina glanced up from Amergin with a crooked grin. "I'll do that. G'night."

"Sleep well, Karina." He winked at her and waited for Segan. They could walk together until their paths parted. He had a few more questions about those men, even if they were found and shipped off.

"Good night, Karina." Smile tipped off to the side with a glint in dark blue eyes before he was off with his brother. If the blade had been tainted and he passed out, at least his brother could haul him the rest of the way.



Date: 10-06-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 57

Visit to the Royal Stables

It was late that he finally got some time free and headed for the Thistle in hopes of finding Vanessa as passing her cottage no one was there. Wind swept in colored leaves as the door flew open allowing his entry with the brisk cool air. He was in a riding outfit, vest of leather as well pants and boots fitted well. A tier cape kept the chill from his shoulders and back, all he was missing was a top hat to be fully dressed. A far cry from when he went rabbit hunting.

Vanessa was there. She'd gone out for a ride, so Tennison was out near the front of the Thistle and waiting for her. Her usual dose of cider to warm up was called for before returning to the cottage for the night. She'd been there for only a few moments and only managed far enough to remove her gloves, which were laying on the bar. Her own attire was a dark skirt with a calf length coat over, fastened around the waist with coat sleeves and a hood, shaded in a rather rich color of velvety green. Blonde curls pulled and pinned so as not to be a bother. When the door opened, attention drifted that way with a small grin to Segan. "Well, if it isn't the wicked one come to make stars in the eyes of hopefuls." Teasing, of course.

Wind had strands of blond hair coming loose from the tie at the nape of his neck. Couldn't miss the smile however, went from ear to ear with a spark in blue eyes to light up. "Vanessa," sweeping a bow with the energy felt this night as one hand crossed over to his left side as he bent forward and just as easily swooped back up. "My sister has time and is out working with the horses still, if you are not waiting upon your beau, I will sweep you away with me to fulfill a promise I will enjoy doing." Segan had been taught well in the prime of society as displayed presently though his preference was more with the wild.

Brow quirked slightly at his more formal greeting and appearance. Handsome devil. If he'd not spoken of his sister and the stables, she'd have thought perhaps she'd forgotten plans, and would have felt bad. "Beau? Who's been telling you fibs?" She smiled and turned enough to set the mug down in exchange of her gloves, thanking Alex for his hospitality. "Sweep me away, but leave my feet on the ground, please." Spoken to Segan as she turned back and approached the door, pulling her gloves on.

"A lady such as yourself certainly would have a few beaus waiting," teasing her while he half turned as she passed him to the door, in step next offering the bend of his arm. "So that is Tennison outside, he might well like the visit." He was riding Big Red and tonight he would ask Melantha on what she would wish in trade or coin. Guiding her out as he would see to helping her up before in his own saddle.

"Perhaps. Though if that is true, they must be in hiding." A meek smile, she took the offered arm and guide out to where Tennison waited patiently. "I'm sure he will. The only other time he sees other horses really is when we go to the races." With help, she was up on the side saddle easily enough. Her hood pulled up over her head, she took the reins and sided Big Red. "Lead the way, Mr. Quinn."

With the sun setting and still plenty of light, minus many of the day workers, Gabriel was working with his stallion. Race horse he might be there was a strong rapport between he and the chosen one. A field to himself as he coaxed the equine into a trot as wings lifted up and out from the slats of his tunic to lift himself and the stallion so that hooves were not touching the ground. He could lift such weight at this point and a special saddle made, "aye, keep the hooves moving Blackbird," as he eased enough that they touched earth again, "you'll get use to this." It was not something he had told Melantha about but knew she would be out this way soon as the day was coming to an end and see how well RW Blackbird was doing. It had been many days just to get him use to his wings while in the saddle.

Melantha was in the stable as was usual this time of day. She went over the books in the office, then made sure the horses were settled in their stalls. The three foals were growing by leaps and bounds but by nightfall, they were more than ready to settle in with their mothers for the night. She knew Gabriel was out in one of the fields with RW and decided to join them. She saw his wings out as she approached but hadn't seen what he was teaching the stallion. Climbing the fence, she perched on the top rail, feet resting on one of the lower ones to watch.

And so Segan led the way on the road taking them north. Past the commons and Hospital on the outskirts and towards the lake but averted taking a road to the right instead. It dawned on him how little he has taken the time to see of the lands but mentally would remedy that. "As much as I like spring and summer better, I can't deny the beauty of the trees as they change color. The crisp air that has you with a better appetite and the knowledge of getting to be in front of a warm fire later. A cloak and heavier clothing to keep you warm in the meantime." They were at an easy canter coming up the long drive that would have them passing the Stables long before they reach the manor. The stables were where they were headed anyway. A hand lifting as he caught sight of Melantha perched on the fence. "There is Melantha now and her knight, Gabriel in the field riding." If one could call it riding!

Vanessa rode along, lost in the visions of mother nature changing her dress for the season and all the colors with the falling of the sun. Tennison kept pace easily enough as they passed various places on route to the stable, and as Segan spoke up, attention turned to him with a smile. "It will make me appreciate the spring and summer all the more. The change in colors is nice though. Gives a new view of the world around us." Coming into view of the stables, she looked ahead over the scape and those who occupied the scene when spoken of. A different version of riding, perhaps? "This is very nice of you. I've looked forward to it since you made mention."

Smile swept as he passed, wings had grown bigger and stronger since first discovered. Black as night with a blue shine to them and the red patches like coals set fire. There was a reason for that as a few found out the one night he and Raphael gave a show over the lake. The stallion was as black as his wings and the two looked like something spun out of a fairy tale. He was putting RW through his paces only to lift him up to get the stallion use to being off the ground. That experience was done in baby steps for it was not natural. Now that RW was getting use to it he even showed off for Melantha by rearing his head in a shake of long mane while legs still moved as if on solid ground. Gabriel kept him up a little longer, a little higher before easing down. Great wings of twenty four foot span expanded up, cupped with an arch to use the air like a cushion before easing in on the pace taking him to the section of fence and his wings disappearing instantly under the black leather special made tunic, eyes of near black turned the sky blue Melantha was use to seeing on occasion, especially when emotions heightened. Presently it was one of the excitement in a task being accomplished. He reined in RW as he noticed ones coming up the lane, recognizing Segan but not the other. He switched over to the fence, once released of the confines set up for this particular saddle, and let RW take his run to cool down. "What do you think?" Giving a slight lift of his chin, "we have company."

That smile had hers growing brighter as she caught it, her heart beating a touch faster. She laughed out loud when she saw RW showing off and shook her head. Not much surprised her lately, and it seemed RW's back muscles would be strengthened more and more as Gabriel worked with him. If the wings had remained in place, she would have stroked them but instead she leaned to brush a kiss to his mouth before looking toward the road. "Aye, it's Segan. He's brought someone with him to visit." She looked back, blue eyes bright in the light of the dying sun. "I think it's amazing how RW has adjusted. Are you planning on lifting him higher each time?" She'd worry of course, but knew Gabe and the horse shared that special bond. "Shall we meet them?" She climbed back down and waited for him. Still in her work clothes, doeskin britches dyed dark brown, and a flannel shirt beneath a brown vest, with fringed knee high boots, she wore her hair back in a single braid. Hand out for her knight while she watched the two approach.


He waved with one had, grinning, as they neared, trotting in to slow and halt near where they sat. "Melantha, Gabriel, I would like you to meet one of our newest citizens, Vanessa Baltimore. She has an affinity for birds." Which in saying had him amused for Gabriel's wings, though now gone to the tattoo on his back. Vanessa might wonder if she really saw what she did but there was enough light still upon the horizon to see clear. Although, in another hour that would not be so. He dismounted only to come around with a hand offered Vanessa in helping her down.

While they would be dismounting, the ground would shake as a massive bronze dragon lands not too far away. Having caught Vanessa's scent from the air, he followed it to this place within this kingdom. Slowly he shakes his wings before tucking them close to his body, looking around until he spots Vanessa.

When introductions were given, she smiled to Gabriel and Melantha. "Pleasure to meet you both." One gloved hand waved to the pair as Tennison was drawn to a halt. The wings were noted, as was the vanishing, but she'd seen strange things. Who'd have guessed Vanessa had feathers now and then herself. With Segan's help, she slid down from the saddle and smiled to him. "Thank you." Morjin's presence was hard to miss. The two hundred foot dragon landing nearby probably rattled the dead. Pupilless gaze of golden hue turned towards the beast with a friendly smile and a wave. Not calling out to him across the distance since he was in fact a distance away.

They might well have a very interesting conversation some evening, along with Raphael and Maureen. Two others with wings she had not met nor the shadow caster. "A pleasure to meet you Vanessa, I've heard much about you, all good things," so she didn't take it wrong, "from Mel's brothers." Smile was sincere as he was down from the fence, helping Mel down by gently picking her up to set and a hand resting lightly to the small of her back. He noticed the dragon with a questioning look given Melantha being it was her family's lands and if she knew of the one.

It would come to figure, she would be among other people. But slowly he begins to walk towards them. The scales on his hide gleamed, but had broken pieces here and there, and scars could be seen that hadn't been fully gotten rid of. One could tell that this ancient beast had seen many a battle in his long long life. Once he gets close enough, Morjin nods to her, acknowledging her, and looking to the others in silence through eyes of gold, slitted like a feline's in a way.

"Aye, that would be me and Eion," giving a wink to Vanessa as then he noted the dragon and Vanessa's recognition. "Someone you know?" Being Gabriel was asking Melantha but he didn't think his sister knew of the one. Of course he would not recognize him in this form.

There were fences, walls and hedges as well as stands of trees that might make walking close a bit awkward for the dragon. She smiled at Vanessa as Segan introduced her. "Vanessa, it's a pleasure to meet you finally." But with the presence of the dragon, the horses began to become restless and Mel looked toward the stable. "I better see to calming the horses. I don't want the foals to get hurt. You're welcome to join me." She glanced at RW to see how the stallion was doing but knew Gabriel would take care of him.

RW Blackbird was over with a bit of a wild look in his eyes but words in Gaelic coming from Gabriel calmed the beast in him and soon was storming way, tail and mane flying as he galloped full speed towards the stables and his paddock. One of the stable boys would see to brushing him down and blended feed of oats and grains. They could all head that way, "you have a fine horse there, Vanessa." Letting a hand run down along his neck in passing as he went with Melantha to help her out. "Come see the stables."

A nod given to Gabriel. "I'm not sure I believe that. Segan I'm sure can twist a tale with the best of them." She snickered softly and smiled to Melantha. "Pleasure to meet you as well." To Segan's inquiry, she glanced back to Morjin with a nod. "Aye. The man that was in the Thistle the other night Sean introduced himself to.." A tilt of her head to motion towards the dragon, then looked back to Gabriel. "Thank you. Prideful beast. I'd like to see the stables."

Indeed, it was rather awkward for him to try and tip-toe around the ornamental shrubbery and trees. So he would keep his distance. Taking his human form might be too risky in a place like this. Backing up slowly from there, he finds a spot to rest his massive frame, curling up on the ground and watching the others in the distance, listening, silently.

"He seems docile for a dragon or one on his best behavior?" Realizing then the connection with a hmmm, to himself. The man met that night was quiet but seemed all right to him. Sean had done most of the talking with the one. He would take the reins of Big Red which reminded him. "Melantha, what would you wish in trade for this horse or coin?" However she wanted to do it, he'd grown accustomed to the oversize Roan. Walking in an easy gate so that Vanessa could walk beside him the horses behind. "I keep my promises," word low with a growing smile while slanting a glance her way. More a comment from something said earlier.

She had run ahead but not to be rude! By the time the others came inside, she was crooning softly to the nervous horses in Gaelic, using the words her father had taught her to calm the animals. Once the mares were certain their youngsters were safe, and that they and the other horses weren't going to be dragon food, they all calmed. Oddly enough, she had heard her brother. "You've done plenty around here that I can't see why you can't just call him yours," she answered as she turned from Windchaser. "Especially with keeping Grandmother happy." She was a bit worried that Herself might spot the dragon, but prayed it would be otherwise. "And welcome to Clearview and the stables, Vanessa." She motioned. "These are my lads and ladies." The three foals, two fillies and a colt, couldn't see over the gates, but they could certainly tell someone new was there.

"He is quite friendly and kind. He assisted Jon McAndrews in putting up the flight cages and the moats around them." She looked back to Morjin for a moment, then to Segan when he teased. "I certainly hope so. You have a few more to fulfill." She gleaned a smile to him and looked to Melantha with a nod. "Thank you. It's very nice out here. And quite the lovely gathering of lads and ladies you have." Reins of the Andalusian kept in hand until they reached the stable front before she'd let him go to stand, hopefully out of the way and unbothering of any of the other horses.

"Morjin," remembering the name given of the man that evening. "If he can change, he might find it more prudent in human form here." This part was where the Royal Barrett Racing Stables were and all their horses. Horses would become irate if a dragon passed by they were not use to. His smile positively flashed with Melantha's gift of the horse to him. He had one of the racing horses but he'd not ride him like he would Big Red. "Though Grandmama is the one that drives us," she knew he would do it for her anyway when on land and not out at sea. Tonight he looked the part of the gentry in the finely cut riding ensemble, maybe a little stiffly in walking for his preference. "If I can be of future service, Mel.." though attention was back upon Vanessa. "A few and growing if we keep on betting." Which proved to be too much fun to considering not when able to make the races.

Morjin wasn't interested in making them food. In fact he hadn't tasted human blood for over an eon. Seeing the horses being taken to the stables, he watches the people and Vanessa, who seemed to get along quite well. Perhaps it was a mistake for him to follow his senses here to see her. It might be best if he leave. It was something he was contemplating.

As they moved into the stables, Melantha would catch Gabriel's look a moment before he disappeared back outside and headed up to where the dragon had curled up to rest. "Hello there, if you are thirsty there is a large pond beyond the brush and trees behind you." He hadn't made any threatening moves and hence the approach. He wasn't sure if he would understand him or not but willing to give it a try.

He nearly had her giggling with his offer. It sounded so formal! "Let me introduce you to our three youngsters." She opened each of the stall gates part way, coaxing the two fillies, Dusky Lady and Shimmer and the colt, Magic Night, out into the corridor. They were not as shy as they had been at one time and were nudging hands for treats and scratches. It didn't matter who. Gabriel received a smile and nod before he disappeared.

The dragon's massive head looks down to the man, having heard him and smelled his scent long before he had come close enough to speak. Nodding, his voice was a low rumble, like thunder in a distant storm. "I see, thank you." And that would be it. A dragon of few words.

Maybe it had something to do with the cut of the attire. At least it had not raised his voice any! He would hang back while Melantha showed off the foals.

She would have suggested that Morjin take his human form, but he'd once explained that it was less than comfortable for him, so it was not something she would suggest or insist, finding it rude to his personal comfort. Though she felt bad for leaving him out there. She couldn't very well invite him nearer the stables though, knowing he would likely spook the horses if they were not used to such as dragons. To Segan, she cast a grin as she removed her riding gloves. "I need not bet with you. You seem keen on making offers and promises regardless." And her attention fell to the two foals. Her hand went to one attentively. "They're beautiful."


"You are not from around here. I imagine you would wonder on how you'd be received." He had no problem in talking. "I am Gabriel, I came near two years ago." It had been an interesting adventure and continued to be one. The connection to an ancient past through the vortex of a tree house yet to be addressed. It was the reason for training his horse as he was.

"Dusky used to be afraid of everyone." She smiled as the three vied for attention, "but that's changed. She and Shimmer are the two brown ones. Magic is the other. Shimmer will change to grey like her mother." She paused a moment, pursing her lips. "They call the color grey but she'll seem white. Has to do with their skin color." She gave Vanessa a smile. "And if you know that, I apologize. I have to explain that to a lot of visitors." It wasn't that they were afraid of all dragons. There was more than one in Heathfield though he usually kept his human form. It was more that Morjin was a strange one. In time, his scent would become familiar to them.

"I am not. I happened upon Lady Vanessa's home one day when I was injured. She helped me, and in turn, I helped her with her cages for her birds." After Vanessa head disappeared by the stables, he now looks down to the chattering human male. At his introduction, Morjin would merely nod. "I am called Morjin Wingheart."

"Am I that bad?" Though his words held a laughing tone to them. "I could say the same of you," had she realized the bet was only to see her train a falcon that she turned it into giving him one and training him to train it. The thought only had him smiling instead of teasing her more at the moment, leaving her to enjoy the thoroughbreds and get to know Melantha.


Gloves were tucked into a pocket of her riding coat before crouching down some. She smiled up to Melantha. "Aye. Darker skin makes the gray more visible than paler skin. My sister's husband breeds horses." Which was how she came into ownership of Tennison. Then to Segan she snickered softly. "I blame you for that. I hope you realize."

"She seems like a very nice lady." More from the good things others had to say about her. "Have you healed?" Wondering on his condition for the statement made. "I hear she has an Aviary, something I would like to see." He had his reasons. "That was good of you to help out." Which said a lot of the dragon. "Well met Morjin Wingheart." Though didn't seem a handshake would be the way of it.



Date: 10-06-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 58

"Wonderful." She was pleased to hear that Vanessa knew horses then. The horses had forgotten the dragon and were instead sniffing the air at the scent of a new stallion. "What kind does he breed?"

"I do what I can, for those that I consider my friends." Laying his head down on his massive claws, he nods. "I have healed quite quickly thanks to her care."

"I'll take the blame," though not really sure other than it was a continuing of their teasing. "I wear it well I'm told by me brothers." Whom he had gotten into stickler situations a few times over. Racing through the streets of Ireland where they were from, jumping over carts to the near heart attacks of the owners. Brawls especially with the English. Trouble found him. Although since they moved here, there had not been as much except the unwanted rivalry with his youngest brother.

Tennison, despite being a prideful stallion, was rather patient and interested in those gathering around. Vanessa stood and dusted her skirt off. "Andalusian and Morgans. Tennison came from his stables." Laughing some to what Segan said. "You do wear it well. Glitters like a gem from you."

"Aye, that I do as well. There is honor in that." Which had him keenly studying this dragon. "Sometimes friendship spans centuries, of ages long ago lost in the dust of time. I know of two others here whose father was a platinum dragon and part Elf. I'm told they have the ability to take on that form if necessary, the male had but it's been many years ago. I imagine there would be a surge of power felt just in the sheer size difference." He knew some on that score but differently too.

She nodded then chuckled to hear Segan and Vanessa banter. The foals were sent back to their mothers and then she introduced the other horses to Vanessa. "We have an indoor training hall for when the weather is bad. When it's nice, of course, the training is done outside. Segan, Eion, Conor and Gabriel have done a lot of work for me here, but Segan will find more trouble if possible." Teasing her brother because she could.

He gives a shrug of those massive shoulders. By Gaia, this one was the chatty sort. "There is no real difference when dragons change their forms, merely size. And when we obtain flesh, we become more vulnerable." As he had found out himself the hard way.

He was practicing being personable. Although he would not pursue to become an annoyance. Gabriel was not one to waste his time where not wanted. "Interesting," though the last part was a given. "Well, if you get thirsty..." leaving it go there as he headed back down to join the others in the stable. Especially since it meant spending time with Melantha.

Vanessa followed to look over the other horses and span of the stables and ground from where they were. "I would love to find a companion for Tennison. Now that we are no longer in Eldyn, the only time he really gets the company of other horses is when we go to the races. But I have to build the barn to suit another." As of now, it was more a small shelter than anything else.

Nodding to Gabriel, he watches him leave, then sighs and closes his eyes gently. As long as he knew Vanessa was safe, he could rest easily.

"The foals are too young, but it's possible one of the other stables has horses they can sell. I know Rory McDonough has a large herd. Eion and Segan are going to go there soon." She stroked Royal Pride's velvety nose as she continued. "And I'm sure they'd keep it until the barn was ready."

He only grinned, distracting himself to one of the stalls where he petted one of the mares. Roxanne. "You get to know them other than them speeding around a race track." More to himself as he found a small apple from his coat pocket to offer. He always carried a few of these smaller wild kind.

He arrived in the stable to come amongst them, "the dragon seems to be fine. Curled up resting a distance away. He wasn't very talkative though I tried to make him feel welcome." It was normal the horses would react the way they did. "Maybe too tired to be social.." leaving it go there as he was over to see that RW had been taken care of already or he would brush him down.

"I will have to look into that." She smiled lightly and watched Segan, then Melantha with the horse she currently petted. "Morjin is a bit shy at times."

"The McDonough Stables have been around a long time. Aside the thoroughbreds they started up, they have many bred for the lands in working. War horses and such than these pretty ones." Giving Roxanne a last pet as he was back to join them. "He gets many from the wild which are inbred of thoroughbreds of long ago before set free. Far heartier and many with speed." Which he turned a wicked smile on her, couldn't resist, "though not shy with you?" Maybe it was men he didn't care much being around?

"Aye. From the original ones that our grandfather took care of before the war." She was over to join Gabriel, giving him a hug while she looked at Vanessa and Segan. Sure, and he was a devil when he wanted to be.

Listening to Segan, she nodded again. "Well, wouldn't want her so fast Tennison couldn't keep up with her." A grin flashed, she found another to pet before slanting a glance to Segan with narrowed eyes. "Much like him, I do not hear you complaining of my charms." Another grin before looking into the stall she stood in front of.

"Here I thought that would be perfect so she could have him chase until she caught him?" There was a saying that went along those lines. "No, no complaints of a woman that banters with me and offers to teach me to train a falcon. I do believe that is next on me list of things to do if Grandmama doesn't find it and fill it in with mending walls that I have to escape to my hiding place." Which he realized he just gave away in that Melantha would pick up on than the others.


Which he hugged her right up, a few words passed by her ear in the warmth of a breath only she would hear. Fleeting and discreet as he had her around. "Is there any other part you would like  to see, Vanessa, while we are here? The Tack room, training area or the like?"

"Perhaps a parrot to return some of your banter and greet you with funny quotes that your brothers and sister will teach?" Brows perked up some with a smile. To Gabriel, she smiled. "Perhaps the training arena. Is it open to those who wish to use it?"

She tipped her head, giving him a side look beneath her lashes, then she smiled at Vanessa. "Not to all, but I was going to make the offer to you being, especially when the weather is bad. And of course, you'd be welcome to let Tennison enjoy the fields." She kept her arm around Gabriel as she motioned toward the eastern door. "The arena is out that door." It couldn't be missed either, large and white with windows along the roof and torches inside for night training.

He squinted an eye taking on the sailor's ways, "aye matie, mae siblings be stari'in 'n 'orror after me parrot makes 'em walk t'e plank afore t'ey know it." A parrot on his ship would learn all kinds of things to say and new tricks, right alongside one of those little monkeys.


A bright smile to such generous offers. "That would be wonderful. Tennison is trained in dressage and front line battle techniques. But keeping up his talents in dressage I don't have the space to work him with it anymore. The gardens aren't really the best of places with the birds that roam free on the grounds." She had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing at the sailor speak, which was horribly out of place from what she knew of Segan. "I can  imagine. I might give them a parrot just for that."

Smile was tipping lopsided with his arm around Melantha as well, loosely in a way they could move easily out the east door. Stepping behind as she went first then back to her side once out.

Part of the reason Mel picked who could train here was because many of the horses here were owned by the Royal family. She laughed hearing her brother, then once they were outside, motioned to the arena. The lads who stayed in the bunkhouse here most of the time had made sure the torches were lit and would see they were out after the tour. She liked sharing warmth with Gabriel, moving through the arena door after stepping away from him reluctantly. The  floor was a mix of sand and dirt, swept and raked as needed.

Morjin would be getting thirsty soon, and slowly getting up onto his legs, his muscles and bones would creak and crack a little. Groaning, he moves towards the source of water and begins to take big laps of the surface of it. If there were any fish, a few would be consumed with ease. All seemed peaceful here for the most part.

Vanessa follow through the doors and out into the arena to look around, taking in the design, size and make of the ground. "This is very nice. Tennison would no doubt appreciate it."

It was a group move as he lagged behind. He'd seen the arena a lot, helped to construct it along with Eion and Conor. Once inside he leaned against the wall to the right of the door. He would watch and was mentally reminded that he needed to continue his journal.

Gabriel only moved away from the closer proximity once inside as he set to watching, there if needed.

It was quite large so that several people could work at once if needed. "We found the old plans of the original one here. Apparently it had been burned down. Segan suggested the higher windows so there's natural light during the day. It's heated too with a series of pipes though not overly so. Don't want the horses getting over heated."

A nod given to the insight given by Melantha. "It's very well done. I can certainly understand why these stables receive such high praise from others."

"The Queen and King are very generous and have been since the day I arrived. And they've carried that over to my family." She had to laugh. "I don't explain the heating much because I tend to forget how it works. My concern is for the horses and their well-being. I let the rest to the lads who work here. And my brothers." She motioned toward where the two men leaned. "Shall we join them again?"

"When done here, would you like some warmed up cider and Grans apple pie?" Small slices were perfect for the late hour. "I will see you escorted back unless you would like to stay the night?" They opened up their home to others. Pushing up from the wall as they were about to start their way.

"I feel the same about the birds. I provide heating spires in the flight cages. I'm not entirely sure how they work, but they work." She smiled and gave a nod. "We shall. I'm glad to finally meet you. Segan speaks very highly of you." She looked to Segan and smiled. "Sounds like a nice way to close the evening. I'll not bother you with escorting me. I suppose I can wait until morning and ride myself back."

"Will you stay the night?" She linked her arm through Gabriel's once they were outside. "Gran will fix one of her special breakfasts with company here." And none missing since Eion and Conor had been here since supper. Likely playing cards with their Grandmother and losing.

"I will at least ride back with you in the morning, provided I'm not needed for some wall that fell apart. Or making jam.." which he mussed under his breath. "Tomorrow might be a good day to see to that falcon training and I'll finally get to see the place all set up." Which he was looking forward to as well the company.

A dip of his head with a look to Melantha on the offer and pleased it seemed she would be staying. He had a room here to stay in as well when he had the time. Tonight would be one of those nights. After everyone else was in bed, the two would go out and sit on the swing, talking on many things as they continued to get to know each other. That was what courting was all about before taking a more serious step. Which if Conor lost to Mary, unless he wanted to, he would be in a foul mood. Man didn't like to lose at anything.

"I will. I'm sure the birds can live that long without me." A small smile, she looked to Segan and snickered softly. "Tomorrow would be a good day for such. The company would be nice as well."

"Perhaps well have one of those Autumn summers, the days to warm up with plenty of sunshine. If so, we will need to take time out and go down and see the lake. The name it was given was for this very time of the year when the trees lining the far side all turn gold and reflect to near blinding." He held the door for them as he stepped out side and once they were all through would see to closing it over and securing it shut.

"That would be nice." Smile given to Segan. There he went, making promises again. Little smirk to that, she continued to follow. "Thank you for having me here. It was nice to finally see it after all I've heard about the stables."

"If we have one of those autumn summer days, I'll join you with Melantha to see that sight. We can go visit Raphael in the Tree house too if he is around."

"That should be quite a sight from the treehouse, the trees all golden, and the sky blue." And as always, the house was filled with laughter when the whole family was there. "You're welcome, Vanessa. Company is always welcome here."

Morjin could be found curled up by the lake, beginning to doze off.

"It is quite the sight." Why he wanted to share it. "Though it may be easier to fly each of you up unless Raphael is there to let down the rope ladder." They had a distance to walk but not overly to the manor home which sat back in all its grandeur. Golden lights that flowed out onto the lawns welcomed them to what would be cozy warm inside. Late enough at this point with a chill that frosted their breaths some. Not quite as it would be dropping to once winter made a more solid claim. Arm around Melantha would have him sharing his warmth for even that distance until inside.

"That's good to know." A nod to Melantha, she continued walking along, quiet in thought and taking in the sights.

She would enjoy the walk, short as it was, and their time together after. Times like these were enjoyed since both could be busy with their duties. She smiled at Vanessa then looked toward the manor ... home, and was glad to be sharing it with family and friends.

He kept close and with the cooler breeze almost hesitated to put his arm around her shoulders, started, stopped, then continued if she didn't resist. Segan was warm as well the cloak worn over the riding gear.  He would be guiding that around her shoulders if allowed.

Allowed it was. The additional warmth was quite welcome, being that she wasn't a fan of the cooler weather. Even in only the autumn chill features took on a rosier color. She smiled over to him with a step closer. "Does this mean I get to meet Herself?" She'd heard the grandmother spoken of, but never a chance to meet her. It would quite interesting.

He would imagine that Segan would end up being teased for that move by his sister and possibly any one else that got to see him by the time they were inside. Had him tip a ghosted smirk though he was pretty sure Segan could weather the teasing, they all learned to.

Well, of course she'd tease him. They were siblings after all!

"It is possible in the morning but she would be in bed by this hour," unless she worried on any of them for a particular reason. Smile lifted tipped to the side in causing a dimple as he dipped a look her way. Once to the side door leading into the kitchen, instead of going through the front door at this hour, his arm and cloak would slip away leaving her to step in first as he got the door.

That's what sisters were for! She stepped through the door way and just aside so no one would run into her and looked over the new surroundings.

The pie had been sliced, the cider was ready for warming. Herself had expected the company of course, and so they could enjoy both and talk for a while before finally gaining their beds.

Gabriel would see to the fire in the pot belly stove with a kettle of water on it that kept it hot to use for tea if anyone wandered down in the night. He would help Melantha out seeing to the mugs and plates.

The kitchen was homey with a larger wood fire stove that held a warming tray where the pie was. Cherry wood trimmed the windows and the kitchen had been painted a warm yellow. Gran had made curtains that framed those windows. A table with six chairs sat in the very center of the room. They used the formal dining room when everyone was here. She smiled at Gabriel as he helped her, giving Segan a look that told him to seat Vanessa. She almost had that Quinn look down.

He looked the part of manners so it came easier as he saw her to a chair, held it as she was seated, tucking it in. Only a smirk his sister's way but not a word. Once she was seated and Gabriel saw to Mel, he would take his seat. So when Grans asked her how he behaved she could say he wasn't his usual heathen self!

And she would too, and proudly. Maybe Gran would keep her list of chores for Eion then.

Didn't take long to have the cider and plates of thin slices out. He saw to Melantha's chair before taking up the one next to hers. Though he wasn't necessarily going to wait to start eating when the others did, he dug right in. It was not that formal.

Barely in the seat and he was digging in. Too good to wait a second longer.

The kitchen had a very warm feeling to it, which was easier to situate herself in than anything formal, though she could if she had to. Taking the offered seat, she smiled to Segan and watched as they all seated themselves. Her fork picked up, she started on her pie too. Who could wait with that in front of them?



Date: 11-16-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 59

A Perfect Day for Sailing

Segan sent a carriage to pick Vanessa up if she could take the day off. While the carriage and footman/driver were gone, he saw to last minute details of putting his ship in top shape. It had turned out to be a beautiful day, the sun beating down and the temperature rising into the sixties. That was a heat wave this time of year but not unheard of. It was a last call of autumn before winter clutched its wintry hands over the area. The sails blared white that in a number of months would not be so white anymore. Not a spot on the deck as the wood glowed to a rich shine. The ship looked new. Far better than it ever had since Segan acquired it. This was the first real chance he had to fix it up. Now that he had a few coins extra. He was attired in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Black pants and boots. A wide belt about his hips held a rapier as well an eating knife along with a few other gadgets. The Anaconda was in a slip with the plank down and a number of sailors from other ships were over to take a look, giving compliments. It might cause a trend in the port.

Vanessa had just finished tending to the birds when the carriage pulled up, and she hadn't been expecting. When the driver told her who had sent the carriage and what the destination was, she couldn't have been more ecstatic. However, she wouldn't very well arrive in the attire that she wore when tending to the feeding and cleaning portion of her work, so Segan might have had a bit more wait than he was anticipating. It wouldn't last too long though. Time to clean up and change into something more appropriate, then the carriage was en route to the port. The day already proving to be warm, a perfect setting for sailing it seemed someone was on their side. The carriage arrived and the footman offered Vanessa a hand out of the carriage then pointed her in the right direction. Since she'd never seen Segan's ship though, she would peruse her way along, looking for the one with a name she recognized.

As soon as Segan spotted the carriage, he put his men on alert to be on their best behavior. They knew enough to mind his every word as law. Those that hadn't were no longer with them and he had been a fair captain to all. Even better than fair when it came to being paid and the better they helped out, the better the incentive when coins were passed. Of course they were all curious that their Captain got himself a lady friend and tried not to be too obvious as they continued with their tasks. He was down the plank, leaving Feet, whose surname was Fleet but liked to dance, in charge. At least with his hair tied back, the breeze couldn't sweep it into his face. Smile was growing as eyes locked upon her as he approached. "I'm pleased you could make it on such a short notice but the day will prove a good one to sail. Probably wont get a better one before winter sets in." Arm bending to offer in escorting her properly. Woo be the sailor on his ship that tried to poke fun later of their Captain being a Gentleman as well.

Segan wasn't hard to find among the others gathered around to praise the clean conditions of his ship and those wandering about for whatever purposes. His smile warmed the morning all the more and was returned with a brilliant smile of her own as she approached to meet him. "A hundred horses couldn't keep me from a chance to see your ship." Her own attire a hooded dress of dark red. The over layer crushed velvet with a panel and lined sleeves of the same color, but the satin was embroidered with pale sandy/gold colored leafing. "Thank you for inviting me." His arm taken, still with a smile up to him.

He heard one whistle in appreciation which had him whipping a look over his shoulder towards his ship to catch the one. Too many about their business that whomever it was had been sly enough. Though it wasn't done in a raunchy way like a sailor was prone. Slow smile turned back as her hand came to rest on his arm. He had been working right alongside his men so didn't have on the Captain duds which now would have been more appropriate. "As you can hear, you are looking beautiful, ravishing." Though he said the compliment low between them. He wasn't going to give any extra to his men for later teasing. Once up the plank and on deck, Fleet approached with his Captain's jacket, which he allowed his help in putting it on though he would forego the hat which had been tucked under Fleet's arm. At least his first in command was on the ball, figuring with the attire of the lady, his Captain should look the part. "This is my first in command, Feet." Which the man bowed and added, "Reginald Fleet by birth, at your service." He was older. Weathered. Some teeth missing but one could tell he had been a handsome one in his youth. All the sailors, short, tall, round and thin (although few were really round for all the hard work) were weather worn and bronzed by the sun.

Vanessa heard the whistle and opted to ignore it, thinking if she acknowledged it, it would only ebb more. Though Segan's compliment was enough to make her blush just a touch. "Thank you." Spoken just as quietly as she followed his lead onto the ship. Greeted by Fleet to assist Segan with his jacket, her smile brightened a bit more. Handsome sailor. But she'd leave the comments out, not wishing to give his crew means of teasing him. Her attention went to his first with a nod. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Fleet. And thank you." A genuine smile given to his kind greeting, she glanced about the deck for a moment before returning her attention to Segan. "You've got a beautiful ship. I can see why it is your love."

It was a dark navy blue trimmed in white, silver buttons and accents. The usual cut with a higher collar. A little stiff for his liking but he was use to the times he needed to wear it or in this case, wanted to so he looked proper next to her. "She is a prize," one day he might tell her how he got her or just show her the journal. Something that was not kept on board unless he was going to sail for a few weeks. Guiding her over to the railing at the bow, starboard side that she could see the land being parted. The shifting of the ship would be felt and he ready to catch her up if she should lose her balance. The men in action climbing ropes, like monkeys set loose, as the ship came alive and sea borne. Some seagulls flying close overhead were calling out before taking a dive for a fish close to the surface that had been startled up.

"That she is." Smile softened, she followed him to the bow where he guided and looked over to see that land, then over a bit further to see the water just as the ship started to move. A little stumble from the initial movement, using Segan's arm for balance. "So do we have a specific destination?" Curious, her attention turned from him as she asked, to watch the crewmen go about their duties and doing what they did with a sort of awe. She'd never been on a ship before, so to see what sort of work went into managing one was really a sight to see.

"A trip along the coast down to Ballicastle and back will take a good portion of the afternoon. If you enjoy the trip I may take you on a longer one around the Shell Islands. They are semi tropical for the way the trade winds blow. Although they are mostly uncharted. Wild." He may not port in the only one location where they could. Otherwise they would have to anchor out at sea and take a dinghy in. He had drawn her closer when she stumbled to make sure she didn't fall. "I think you may need to stay close to me this trip," like that was such a terrible thing. Something in his eyes all but said the thought as they were securely at the rail where she could hold on as needed. The sunlight sparkled over small cresting waves on what would be considered a calm sea this day. The dipping and lifting minimal. In a smooth ease the Anaconda took to the sea. A big enough ship not to feel the rolling one would in a dinghy even on a calm sea. More sails took to the wind as they were downed and tied in having them pick up speed. The breeze light, with a touch of warmth to it this bonnie afternoon.

"That would be wonderful." She'd love to have a chance to see more of the surrounding lands...and water. His suggestion brought her attention back to him with a smile. "I think you may be right, but I don't wish to give your men reason to tease you." Aware enough how that can be, having seen it amongst the ladies who served Sariyelle and one found a suitor or just someone took interest in one of them. "It's such a beautiful day. I might think you've bribed someone for such perfection." Teasing him quietly with a light nudge of her shoulder to his side.

"Aye, but they will no matter just for the fact I have a Lady Friend with me this day. On me ship." Which said a lot right there to a sailor. "I am prepared with a quip back when they will start." Not while she was here they would not dare but they would eventually after she was gone. With the nudge, his arm came around her shoulders a moment. That would feed his crew for those about to see it. There were ones below seeing to the inner workings of the ship. Most times they had cargo but this was a leisurely run. "I do believe Poseidon decided he wished to see your fair face upon his domain."

"Well, I hope they spare you too much hassle." She chuckled softly and looked out over the water. "You're full of compliments. Perhaps it is just to hear what your crew would have to say so he might have a little laugh. Do I get to learn things about your ship? I know what the sails are, but beyond that, I'm afraid I don't know anything about such a brilliant vessel."

"If anything is said, I will just remind them that they only wish they were in my shoes this day." Which would be true of the single ones in the least. The married ones would not tease in a way single sailors would. "Poseidon would the first to tease me and it would be true for him." He was full of compliments which was not like him or more that he didn't know he could be. He never spent time with a Lady before like this and the compliments were coming easily for they were in his mind as truths. "I shall try to curb me tongue so that the blush upon your cheeks is not only from the sun." Now that they were out to sea, he stepped away from the rail with the offer of his arm again. "That was my next plan, to show you most of the ship. We will not go all the way down into its belly for it is not as clean as the deck." Although his men had been set to the task of cleaning up all the cargo area, especially the ones that had housed livestock.

There was no denying this compliments made her blush, but only in the best of ways. She knew well enough that things he spoke were his truth. A step back away from the railing to take his arm. "I trust that you will show me what you feel I should see. How long have you been sailing?" Inquired as she stepped to his side and waited his lead.

"Probably eight years or so." He had not really sat down and kept track consciously. "I was young when I acquired the Anaconda, full of adventure and set my foot to the world in discovery. It matures a man fast, especially one who sets to the sea where life and death are a breath away all too often than one in a plush life with servants all around to attend them. Talking as he escorted her to the Captain's quarters, his quarters. It was spacious with large windows showing where they have been. Heathfield a distance away that she had a good view of the majestic castle sitting upon the cliffs from the aft's view. There was a large bed secured to the floor like the desk over to one side and a table large enough to have all the officers there when it came time to eat. A time where any problems were discussed or any concerns to voice. It was clean, fairly barren, reflecting a man's uncluttered life not being of the pack rat variety. It could probably use a feminine touch but then there too he would be ribbed more.

"Did you take to it naturally? Something that just felt right when you first ventured?" Curious how it came to him. Showing into the Captain's Quarters, she looked into the room, not sure if it was appropriate to go any further than the entrance. He had a wonderful view through the windows. The simplicity of the room spoke a great deal about Segan, though things she'd either already gathered for herself, or was suspected and waiting to discover in full. "It looks comfortable." Spoken with a smile back to him.

"It came naturally enough. I had wanted to see the world after seeing so much death that I could have easily have died at sixteen. I would not say I am married to the sea as some are, men like Feet. I do make them a good captain and for now that is all that matters." He waited at the door in a way to keep it all proper if she wanted to take a look about the room. She would find small treasures, things picked up from various places. The gift she gave him prominently displayed on his desk with other artifacts. Some very old maps rolled up. A ledger of their cargo runs and the like. Sea shells and odd looking stones. Old coins. A small chest of drawers secured to the floor and wall, held clothing for his trips that he didn't really need to pack much. Extra boots, slickers and so on. "For being on a ship, it is comfortable." Which had a growing smile to show.

"I would say as long as you are happy with what you are doing, that matters as well." She stepped into the room, more to look through the glass to see that which they had passed. "It must be something to wake to the sounds of the water and the birds that take flight over it." The smaller trinkets were noted when she turned back to the room and made her way towards the door after a moment's observation. "Seems comfortable. You've put a great deal of work into it. It should be comfortable."

"Better than being rudely awaken by a storm at sea whose pitch sent you flying out of the bed and rolled up against the far wall. The sight out the windows being the rise of a swell that you can't see the tip of and hope it is not the last you see on this earth." They had been through some really bad storms that if one believed in a God they were asking his favors. He continued to stay by the door until she was through. Giving a look up through the back windows. "You should see the castle early morn as the sun comes up or evening when it goes down. It looks like a place from another world washed in golds and reds."

At the mention of storms, she looked back to the windows, passing through the door, looking thoughtfully. Sounded like watching your death just outside the window and momentarily rattled her with concern. Nothing to be said, but the expression was there nonetheless. Hearing him speak of the castle, she smiled softly. "Sounds like the picture of perfection." And gave her an idea for a gift at some point. "So, where to next, good Capitan?" Spoken with an intentional accent.

"Well, I've decided not to take you up into the Crow's nest for it would give my men too good of a show." Teasing with a wink as his arm was once more offered to lead her from the captain's quarters out then down below. First would be the Officer's quarters which were spacious for a cabin on a ship, not quite as spacious as the captain's, about one half in comparison. They didn't go in their rooms but the doors were left open or partially so. Some were neater than others she would note in those glimpses. Once back out onto the main deck they would access the forecastle on the bow's side below that would be the crew's quarters which was one large open room with many bunks. Each had their personal space as one could tell for the differences in what was important to any given individual. Here too, it was more witnessed from the door than going inside.


He would not allow any leverage for remarks of a lady being in their domain. Next would be the gundeck and how all the cannons were kept in good order and clean, below that area would be the ballast and stores as well the same up another level. There were main halls and he would keep her to them, only crossing the ballast rooms to get to the supplies and stores to take up the hallway there again that would lead them back up to the main deck. He didn't want her to miss too much of the scenery and he only indicated the area where the rudder was. Once on deck they were greeted by sunlight again, making it seem like a whole different world below. Like coming out of a cave.

She kept to his side while he showed her about the lower decks and other areas, not venturing away or interfering where she didn't belong. She genuinely found it fascinating. Well...some areas more than others. She probably didn't take too much interest in the quarters of the men. But the ballast and such she observed and looked into before they were once more greeted by the sun. Not quite as bright a smile as being greeted by Segan, but a smile nonetheless. "One who'd never been on a ship would never imagine it could hold so much, or that so much went into one."

"It becomes a world onto itself when far out to sea for weeks on end, sometimes months. It gets that you forget what land looks like and how it feels beneath your feet. Feet use to the motion of the ocean. It is far larger than it appears even from looking upon it." It was the size of a small village but even there, there was the feeling of entrapment when out at sea for too long. "Now," smile tipping as he led her to the starboard rail. See how the cliffs have melted down to stretches of sand with indications of small coves hidden behind some of the outcropping rocks as it gives way?" One also got to see the rolling hills of green behind, of houses here and there and the castle way in the distance that was Ballicastle.

She nodded agreement that the ship was larger than it looked. It certainly was. Larger than she'd anticipated. Towards the railing, she looked out to where he spoke of and nodded. "I do see it. Reminds me of somewhere one might see some mythological creature break from the brush to greet the water in early morning." There, beneath the vision of the castle. Just like a fairytale.

"The mountains beyond are so great you can see them from here." Of course in a distance but it was a clear day, the peaks made out especially had snow on them. Just a reminder that winter had found such higher elevations already. He pointed out Ballicastle and then where the grounds were clear showing browns more than green. "That would be the race track," looking like an 8 with buildings in the middle that would barely be made out through the spyglass he offered her. One of the gadgets attached to his belt. "You can see better with this." Next he was indicating the area approaching around the curve of the shoreline. "Ballicastle's port." Which had a fleet of warships along with the regular coming in and out. The port along the shore, not inland like Heathfield's. There were plus and minuses to both situations. Ballicastle's was easier assessable while it also took the brunt more of storms coming in off the ocean.

"It all looks so far another world." She took the offered spyglass to have a better look at the track. "It's such a different view from here than it is riding or walking across the lands." Her attention then followed his to the port. "There are a lot of ships. What sorts of ships are they?" More referring to the fleet rather than the ships that were in and out.

He kept her close as the wind seemed to pick up some down this way. It was then that Fleet approached the couple almost timidly. "Captain, Sir. Jiggs spotted a storm coming in off the ocean out straight from where we are. Said it looks pretty bad." Like such a day could not hold up forever this time of year. "Thank you Feet, set a course around, we were only going down this far anyway." He may have gone a bit futhre down but he didn't wish to be hit by a bad storm. One might notice those about the port became busier on the ships getting them ready. Jiggs was not the only one to spot the approaching storm. "Aye, Captain." Giving a dip of his head before he was around on a heel and seeing to the orders carried out. Then back to Vanessa as he pointed out certain ones. "Those are warships. I believe Liam McAndrews has three fleets acquired at this point." Could be more but he was probably close enough. "His fleet is only outnumbered by a few more under King Peter of Innis Daingneach, which is a seafaring island fortress. Heathfield was never much of a naval defense and the sister castles take care of that part while Heathfield supplies them with needed grains and other merchandise they would not have enough of otherwise." She might feel the lurch of the ship when it was initially set to the new coordinates.

She looked at Feet when he approached then looked off at the direction they were going to see the storm clouds in the distance. No interruption as the man was given his command and set to them. War ships, attention went back to the port, then to Segan. "What exactly is a fleet? How many ships?" She assumed it was more than one, and more than one type of ship, but wasn't sure. "I suppose that makes sense since Heathfield's port isn't built like this one at Ballicastle."

"About eleven ships in a fleet of various kinds, some heavier with more cannons and some smaller that are faster. It is also called a Flotilla or Amanda. You have an interest in war ships?" Curious blue eyes dipping from the scene to meet hers and linger there. "There are some warships in Heathfield, just not a formable force of them like Ballicastle and Innis have. Kildare has a dry dock to build more ships and one day they may have a good naval under their command. Right now they are still rebuilding and that will take time to bring order and laws to a kingdom that had none for near twenty years. They are doing a very good job all considering their challenges." The sun still shone but that distance storm was still growing. They should outrun it nonetheless.

"Just curious." She smiled, meeting his gaze. "I've spent my life inland and never had the chance to see ships of any sort. Well, I've seen them in books, but it's not quite the same." Taking in all the information he gave about the various ports and rebuilding of Kildare's port. "As long as progress is being made. Better two steps forward than any steps back." Note of the storm clouds rolling in. "Have you finished all of your runs for the season?" Curious as she looked back to him with a small tilt of her head.

"You seem to take to the sea," she wasn't hanging over the rail spilling her guts out into the waters below. The storm no longer was growing, although it was, it was more they were moving away from where it would hit. "Books are good when nothing better like the real thing." Which had his smile growing again. Hand lifted as a finger caught one of her curls to twine around it then released. "Some things are better known firsthand than watching others or viewing." Not to make it sound like some peeping Tom in what he was trying to get across. "If Bovee needs a run and the weather willing, I will take it but I'm not going on any that will take weeks out at sea during the winter. I may take the run to Shell Islands with you if we get a good couple of days or wait until the spring." He still had to teach her how to use the dagger he gave her. At this point he had his back against the rail slightly to one side so he could face her better as they spoke.

"There's something comforting about the motion of the ship on the waves. Almost lulling..." Though might be a different story with more severe waves to move the vessel. She could see his finger wrapped up in the golden curl and smiled, turning to better face him. She agreed with seeing or experiencing things firsthand. This was nothing like what a book would describe no matter the talent of the words. She stepped up to the railing at his side, partially facing him, partially the railing to hold onto. "Do your trips that are weeks long during the warmer weather happen often?" The shell islands sounded like a fun trip. Something she'd look forward to whenever they could manage it.

"Especially in bed at night.." though he cleared his throat after the words were out to escape any thoughts that would bring naturally to follow. He had her as close to him as would still be proper and not giving his men too much fodder to use later. "Years ago. In fact I was gone for three years at sea, only making stops at ports for supplies. Once we got out of the Amazon, two years were lost there." A story for another time as most likely she would be fed them piecemeal over the time together they spent more of. "After I came back to Drogheda with my father falling ill and Eion missing, I set to land with my brother Conor at my father's request to find him. Unfortunately when we found Eion and brought him back, our father had passed. My sister Melantha, at his request, came back to Heathfield as well Gemma and Concessa. Our aunt Chandra and her son Davin. Grandmama came back with us, leaving our uncle and his children. He could not complain for Mary had stayed with his family for many years. It was our turn you might say. Besides, she grew up here."

No comment returned to him speaking of the night, just a small smile before he explained a bit more about his travels and his family. She couldn't imagine three years on a ship of any size. She would probably go crazy after a couple of weeks. If she made it that long. She smiled thoughtfully and nodded. "Must be nice to have so many family members that close. Especially those closest to you. Speaking of family, is everything alright with Eion?"

"Ever since his time in England, Eion has not been the same. He was severely misled by a woman who used men like pawns in her game of advancement. Between us," though he would not get into any details but the overall was not something unheard of and might explain a lot. "I hope one day he can find trust in a woman that is not related." He trusted his sisters. "I've tried to nudge him but it seems to make it worse. I'm figuring I will just have to leave him be on this matter to work through by himself. You saw how he was with Roseann last night, she was not the first. He was barely cordial to Mariah and a couple others. I feel when he is ready he will come around."

Women could be spiteful creatures. Vanessa had seen it often enough, and it was a shame really. "I'm sure he'll come around, give him time and let him come around on his own. Such things are said to find us when we least expect it, and when we most need it." Her smile returned and flashed up to him. "He's a good man. Someone will come around that will be patient enough to bring him out of it."

"I like that saying. I love my family each in their own ways and had only wished he could find what I am finding. Although, I would say he is needing it already," which brought about a chuckle as they approached the mouth of Barrett's Bay. "He is a good man and he deserves to have a good woman care for him. He needs to chance trusting again but only he can find that out for himself. I've tried, I've encouraged and only reaped his disdain for doing so. So I didn't run after him last night. It was a very hard thing not to do but I need to learn. Aside having a very good incentive not to." Which blue eyes were locked with hers as that part was said. If it had been anything else of a dire nature, then he would have seen to his brother as she would have expected him to do. There was another thought that tried to trickle but he refused to allow it space. "So," getting on the lighthearted side away from the dire, as this trip was meant to be. "I can assume you enjoyed your first trip out at sea," looking back he could see the storm in the distance that was hitting Ballicastle. Heathfield might see it later tonight if it ran up the shore dispersing in that way. They were turning into port as soon the view was blocked by the cliffs and the waters even smoother within this area as they headed for the slip they had been in.

"It's natural to want to see those closest to us happy." She smiled softly, locking her eyes onto his own and deciding not to speak anymore as he changed the subject. "You can and you would be assuming correctly. It was a wonderful first trip. With wonderful company and a fantastic tour guide. I look forward to possible future trips." The clouds over the cliffs might have been a nice view, but she had the best one standing there with her. "Thank you for inviting me."

"Especially if you find happiness you never thought you would, tentative as it is in the beginning of any relationship. No matter if we only remain very good friends." Although the kisses they shared spoke differently, he would not rule it out. More, he kept his thoughts from those areas as best he could and just let fate show the way of it. "I hope to bring you to see the Shell Islands or Innis." Mentioned again and at some point but at least for the time of year they got this first one in and her feet wet so to speak. "Thank you for coming, it was a better trip for me along the coast," something he usually took for granted than really viewing anymore. He kept her there at the rail until they were docked and all ropes tied off. Sails had been taken up one by one to reduce speed along with the rudder's use. It was smooth for a big ship but there would be jarring one not use to it would feel and so staying there helped in that way. Between him and the rail. The carriage awaited that had brought her here as he left Fleet in charge once all stilled and he escorted her down the plank to the dock and up from there. "Would you like company for a few more hours while the sun still shines and a cup of tea to share?" Pretty much asking to not only see her home but spend some more time together that he had free. They had come back sooner for the storm.

Her feelings wouldn't be hurt if they remained friends, but she felt that it was more than that. "I'd like that. Pet...King Peter told me about Innis. It sounds very pretty from what he said." A nod given to his thanks, though he didn't have to. It was certainly a memorable morning and early afternoon. Her grip on the railing tightened when the ship jarred to settle out of reflex, and a slight lean taken against him until he offered the escort. "I would love some company. I have some fresh blended tea that Zira brought early this morning if you'd like."

It sounded perfect to conclude a special outing this pleasant, almost stolen, day. He would see her into the carriage and the footman/driver would see to driving the carriage to her cottage. From there he would be relieved of his paid duties.



Date: 11-17-09
Poster: Eion Quinn
Post # 60

Seen from Afar

Orlaith was as a caged lioness as she walked the room expending pent up energy. Hair golden red like the flames almost seemed alive in the silken softness flowing down over her shoulders and back. Lapis blue eyes bright that seemed to reflect the flames in their depths. She wore black velvet that only intensified her vibrant appearance, be it the color of her hair or the color of her eyes.

Eion's eye was less vibrant tonight, the bruise having faded for the ointment put on once he arrived back at the barracks the night before. The day had gone better than previously, though he had worked hard on the field. Cleaned up, he was wearing a shirt of midnight blue, beneath a vest that matched black pants. Once again, he was wearing knee high boots of black leather, though if anyone looked closely, they'd see an embossed design. His hair, a touch longer than it had been when he first arrived, was pulled back with a rawhide strand. A sword hung at his side, along with what was obviously an ancient dagger. He headed for the bar after a glance at the pacing woman, recognizing her as one who also practiced on the field.

She had tracked the man, arms crossed as she stood in front of a window looking out over the porch and beyond. She could see beyond. A slight smirk touched upon full lips as she turned once the man entered, enough that she could get a better look of him. A brazen gaze from head to toe that would certainly have one feeling she was sizing them up. She was. No hiding it. Arms had unfolded as the sassy look came with just as sassy a tone. Hand out finger tipping up and down. "I've seen you on the practice field, eating dirt under a Kingsman sword." Devil in her eyes in a definite challenge.

"Aye, I've done that more than a few times." He answered as he turned, glass in hand. "And am likely to do so again." He took a drink as he watched her, eyes not moving away from hers. "I've seen you there as well, with the Order of Athena for one. You're one of the Prince's, right?"

Eyes held and locked as she moved closer, there was a boldness in Orlaith, probably had a lot to do with what she had to face in life. Bold was a better weapon in most instances. He might see the flames in her eyes as she drew closer, blue white at the moment mixing in with the natural color of her eyes. "You will until you decide you've eaten enough. That is when it will change, that is what they are waiting for to see in you to change. I am one of the Prince's Force of Five. The Order of Athena is separate in a sense but not in that we would fight with them just as fiercely if needed." The slow smirk tipped off to the side with a luring look as red gold lashes lowered, "you have potential." Another dipping glance taking in his form before she passed right by him to the bar to collect another drink of pure potcheen.

"I know they are. My sister is Gemma Quinn who hopes to join the Order." He just smiled slightly at her comment about eating dirt. Today he had fought back harder than he had before. He'd not admit it but it felt good. Even if he hadn't returned the favor. "I like to think so." Answered laconically as he leaned back against the bar. He watched her a moment before lifting his glass again, eyes moving to the window.

"Gemma Quinn, I've heard her name mentioned. I will make sure to meet her personally when she comes. I'm still to be tested by a man," There was the cute kind of smirk again, one full of amusement, challenge and curiosity all rolled into one. "A man built not all that different from you." See the way her eyes trailed over his face yet feeling like they never left his eyes? "You have pride in you of a good kind. You just need to trust in yourself more."

He looked at her again, his expression somewhat amused but still without a smile. "I've been getting a lot of advice lately on what's wrong with me." And comments on what was right. He wasn't drinking like he had been the night before. Just sipping the potcheen. "Do we exchange names now or shall we keep being mysterious?" He had heard stories of how the King punished Vincent for being less than social and ill-mannered and wasn't sure he wished to have the same done to him.

"Have you now? And.." those blue eyes actually holding a twinkle. "Has anyone been right or ever close?" She gave a click under her tongue with a slight sashay of hip against his in a nudge, "here I thought you knew all about me including my name." Like he had an interest to know, "you deflate my ego," not really and the look in her eyes said so quite boldly. "Mysteries have their place," and she already knew his name for him saying about his sister Gemma, though she had seen him she had not associated him with the name Eion Quinn until that bit of information.

"Orlaith Hughs." He gave a slight smile finally. "There's little that's private on the field and I don't know if they have or not. I tend to put everything aside once I go to sleep." Not true but why admit otherwise. It might seem that such bothered him. "Though I will admit to being grumpy as my family has pointed out many times."

"Orlaith it is and you," he'd feel the tip of her forefinger pressing in against his chest. It didn't matter he was bigger than she. Like size didn't matter or count presently. Unless proven different, "should smile more often. It does your handsome face justice." She didn't add so women could fall all over him for that was a minor technicality and one she didn't do over any man. Unless proven different. She got serious a moment, something she rarely showed for a lot of good reasons. "There is something wrong, something that needs to be fixed, even you know this much whether how close or not the others are?" The idea it would get rid of his grumpy state of being more than likely. "You know that grumpy young men only turn into grumpy old men?" There was the humor back to hide the glimpse of serious.

Why was there this constant need to poke, touch or analyze on the part of women? It drove him batty with the members of his family and even more so when it came to other woman. He just looked down at her finger then up again. "I smile when there's a reason. As far as something needing fixed, that's not likely to happen. Nor does it matter if it does or not as long as I fulfill my duties and obligations. I'm quite happy with myself as I am. Even if it means I'll grow into a grumpy old man."

She caught his look, understood the thoughts like one read body language as other heard one speaking. Her hands were up and wiggling, "ooooo.. careful, I'll turn you into a wee little froggie and keep you in a box as my pet." Her smile dazzling at this point. "Then let's say I share a drink with a grumpy old man in the making." Giving him a wink as she turned back to the bar to have her glass refilled along with his if he needed it to be.

"A froggie?" He couldn't help the smile that appeared then shook his head. "I don't think my Gran would like that. And aye, a shared drink is welcome." He leaned back again, watching her and holding out his glass.

"Well, I could make you a wee collar and a chain from a necklace that she could walk you every day, or hop you." Which was technically more accurate. Sounded dirty though which held the smirk to reappear. At least she got him to smile which she had a feeling he didn't do often. The bottle was moved over his glass to be tipped until it was full then set back onto the bartop. Once done she was back to touch her glass to his. "Slainte, may good fortune find you in the days to come." Which she promptly kicked back the shot like it was water. Couldn't be help for chemical makeup.

"Slainte. May it find you as well." He saluted her with the glass after the touch then downed it as well. He studied her a moment, then nodded. "Fire touched." Like Vincent. "So, when will you be tested?" Or maybe making her wait was part of the test.

"I will take that and run with it." Giving him a wink as she settled into a lean against the bar, back supported. She refilled their glasses before with a slight twist set the bottle back. "It should be soon and Sir Vincent is someone I can look up to, to learn from. Although there are a few others I sense around too, not just fire but the other elements. I don't sense them in you per say but I sense more nonetheless."  Possibly hidden talents? Ones he was not even aware of? She watched him under the length of golden red lashes to read any traits that would give an answer.

"My Gran has claimed we've Sidhe in our blood." He gave a shrug in dismissal, "but I've not seen anything that would say otherwise. If anything, I avoided magic when we first came here. And when that proved impossible, I gave up."  Of course, it took a talk with King Karl for him to do so. He continued after a moment. "I'd say the women of our family have shown more. My sister, Melantha has a way with horses, as does our aunt. The eldest finds the way of the sword suits her and the youngest, well, she's the dreamer and will find her way soon enough."

"There's something definitely there and if you shrug it away, it will come and bite you in the arse one day. And I'm thinking that one day will be soon for you are fully focused there." Reflecting on his words earlier about aversion to women in that way. "What of any brothers?" For all his talk against women more than said but felt, he seemed to admire his sisters, who were women.  Maybe they were safe when he really wanted to in others? He was proving to be an enigma.

"I'm the eldest of three. Segan is a Captain of a ship and Conor a saddle maker." There was definite pride in his voice when he spoke of them. "And besides my siblings, Grandmother and aunt, there's a cousin, Davin Byrne who is keeper of the lighthouse. And back in Ireland, I've an uncle, aunt and their three girls." And that was that. "And there's my family. I know you're here alone but have you family elsewhere?" He knew many did not of course, and if she didn't care to speak of them, he'd not press.

"That is a blessing not everyone has." Which she would not expound upon as she filled her glass again. She could wonder if she had any family for her situation. There were no clues, at least that she had found so far. If there were any records, they would be impossible to get hold of without going back there, going back into hell. Her mind drifted until pulled back. "No, no family that I know of. I have to make due with making friends and perhaps some of them will grow close enough to be as family for me."

There was a hint of pain in normally expressionless eyes as he turned to refill the glass. "Friends can be a blessing ... and a curse. As can family though I've been lucky there." He drank, topped of his glass then turned back.  "I'm sure you'll find friendships here that will bring you what you wish."

"I think I am willing to chance the curses then. To have none is a hell in and of itself. To be basically alone, not one to turn to when your confused or hurting." Catching herself she stalled and acted like that was all there needed to be said on it as she filled her glass again. Taking part of a drink, halving it before setting it back to the bar. "I would like that both males and females but I don't think you would be willing to be one, such can be dangerous you know." Which had that smirk as blue eyes slanted his way under golden flame lashes.

He was watching her now then he looked away. "Dangerous for whom? I don't take friendships lightly and don't give them easily anymore, no matter if they be male or female. Perhaps the wrong way to be but I don't seem inclined to change." He gave a slight shrug. "I suppose time will tell though I tend to rub everyone the wrong way sooner or later."

"I think friendships are built upon. Not an overnight ideal and mean more than just hanging out together." She wasn't expecting anything from him or anyone in that way. A slight shrug of a shoulder followed. "Maybe there is a reason you do, maybe you want to?" Could be a lot of reasons as she watched him carefully, "I could get a piece of you on the training field." Which had more of a wicked smile but hard to tell if she would really peruse it or just the idea of it was enough.

"Want to rub everyone the wrong way?" He didn't hide his smirk this time. "I think I do at times. Or maybe I know I shouldn't be around people at certain times and still do so, just to irritate. I honestly don't know." It was something to consider. He finished his drink and set the glass aside. He was finished drinking for the night.

"It's not something unnatural but, it is something one should curb if they have a conscience. When irritated it is easy to want to share it with others in a way of getting rid of it or the hope they beat the life out of you so you can feel better."

"The problem is I'm not always in a foul mood when I first come out. Yesterday, however was certainly a day to cause such a mood." He chuckled at the thought. "Did you see my accident yesterday. Or one of several that happened on the field." Including the one that had him in a mud puddle when Diablo bulked at training.

"I think everyone saw it that was there. One of those moments where jaws hang open and people stare. Well, many do. Some are amused, some feel your pain and others shake their heads recalling a time or more they had such a day." She moved closer her hand rising but fingertips didn't quite touch his skin, though he would feel a healing warmth around his eye. "You are mending well," and that little bit should take care of the rest. Hand discreetly lowering like she had done nothing at all. "So that started your bad night, what finished it?"

"The boy." He nodded. "Had to keep him from running away, then the mud puddle incident." He gave a shake of his head. "Just being around people finished it off." Not going into detail because some of it was from a drunken fog.

"You were able to turn the lad about and not have him run off like it was his fault." She, along with the others got to witness the ongoing scene. "So, everything became irritating afterwards that would not be normally?" Smirking smile was back, "you should have either gotten laid or headed for bed."

"I made sure my youngest sister made it safely home and then I walked until my head cleared and I became tired." He made a slight face. "I walk a lot unfortunately." Though he did get to see a lot of the country that way.

"Maybe you should try the other. From comments made it's as good as running five miles top speed." Holding back the chuckle but it set a gleam to blue eyes as she lifted her glass his way then kicked it back. She poured them both another.

"Done that too." He answered, then remembering who he was talking to, he made a very low, Vincent-like growl in his throat before he picked up his glass again. So maybe he'd have a few more shots. A salute her way before he downed it all.

Which had a slow smirk as he admitted at least to being a man. For all she knew he was a pansy in that area. The growl was a little surprise as a brow lifted but there was mirth in those vivid eyes still and just a flare of red for a moment. She down one with the salute and filled their glasses again. He would be kick assed long before she was. Unfair? Certainly but life was unfair too. "I think I could get use to that growl of yours." Only comment made as she kicked back another.

And that was answered with a grunt. He knew his limitations though and once that one was downed, placed his glass upside down. "If I drink any more, I won't be fit for the field tomorrow." And they didn't show mercy.

"Of course that will be when I would be sure to take you on. Have another," teasing like she was going to pour him one more so he would be over his limit. She would not show mercy either. She would spar him to win like all the others. It was the way it should be and the way it was.

He gave her a look then shook his head, the slight smile returning. "You will prove yourself to be a worthy foe, Orlaith and one the Prince will be proud to call one of the Five." He gave her a devilish look. "But shouldn't you be looking to fight one of the Kingsmen instead of a dirt eater?"

"I will be looking forward to that once I am tested. So, I have to content myself until then until this day I still await. Although I would not mind sharpening my claws on you." Like she had claws but it was that way of hers to almost threaten. Yet not.

"And have the lads laughing at me again." He gave a dramatic sigh. "It seems to be my fate in life."

"They will not laugh for one heated, very heated, look from me will have them hiding." Smirk only grew more with that look in her eyes.

"You'll terrify the poor lads." He had been talking about the squires of course but just gave her a half smile. "I think it is time for me to return to the barracks. Will you be going back as well, or staying a while longer?"  He'd keep her company since he was certain she'd take exception to the word escort.

"Yes I would," and her grin grew. "Would help them to learn some good lessons." Especially if she met a lad she could not terrify. He would be the one she would recommend. "I will escort you back to make sure you made it there without incident. Although I cannot say how you will do in my company and making it there unscathed."

He snorted again as he straightened. "Good night, Alex. If I am found injured and at the hospital tomorrow, you'll serve as my witness." He saluted the man with a touch of fingers to his temple then motioned to the door. He had gone without a cloak this evening, even though he knew it was likely to be cold.

"Yes, especially if you find him quivering from limb to limb with a huge smile on his face." Just adding that like one added the weather report. Smirk came easily with a wave to Alex and she hooked her arm with Eion's without so much as his permission but as one would in escort. She needed no cloak and didn't bother to even play the ruse. Heading out she would continue the banter with him.

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