Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 1
Starts at the Thistle
The rains had come and gone, leaving behind a fresh, cool breeze that
Alex allowed to filter into the tavern from beneath the slightly lifted
windows. It was by one of those windows that Bryan sat, drinking, by
himself. He had trained on the field today with his brothers, had taken
as well as given, and now just wanted to relax. Should his kin show up.
Fine. If they didn't. Fine. If he continued to enjoy the quiet and
solitude of the tavern with just the tender. Fine. At the moment, with
his second shot of the pure going down the hatch, everything was just
The day was not only long but hot. Practice only lasted to mid morning
and then sent home for fear of sunstroke or heat exhaustion. So, she
went back later afternoon after the rains came to cool things down. She
felt good, felt very alive and was tying her hair up from her face as
she approached the tavern. Dark, long and wet for the recent washing so
she didn't come in smelling like sweat. Hands were raised that then
emphasized the sway of very feminine hips as she moved. Light yellow
cotton skirt and a white pheasant blouse that actually lifted to show
the tan of her stomach until her hands were back down. She was barefoot
too. Even with everything cooling off, it was still warm and muggy. She
caught someone sitting at the window, looked like a McAndrews for the
blond halo of the light coming from behind. She waved, swift dimple
smile to follow before she bounced up the steps and within. "Hello
Bryan," once in she recognized him. "You were impressive on
the field today." So she had noticed when not noticing one other
that usually drew her attention.
He caught the wave, although she was moving on by, so he just leaned a
little to follow her through the glass for as long as he could before
she entered. He mimicked her greeting with a "Hello, Ellyn. You
were impressive on the field today." He placed his empty glass on
the table, his torso pitching forward to collect the bottle and pour
more of that amber liquid into his glass. "But I'm sure you mistook
Rory for me...out there." The fact she could recognize him from his
brothers actually caused him to twitch out a grin. Truthfully, though,
he had noticed her on the field while the Order went through their
training. Those moments he got to breathe, he got to watch...and it
wasn't always the other men he would be going up against. He was
McAndrews. So stone him.
She came from around his side as he settled back in his seat, wet hair
falling forward to brush his cheek as she leaned. She smell like field
flowers after a good rain. "I know which one you are for that
larger freckle there along your cheekbone." Her words brushed
warmed against that very cheek slightly dampened which only emphasized
it. It was but a split second as she took up the seat next to him,
"would you mind pouring me some?"
His hand lifted while she dared that close proximity, his fingers
pinching the tip of one thick lock that dangled over his shoulder so
that the water from it actually dripped to his chest. "Aren't you
the clever one." A chuckle followed and he turned his head to look
up to her, but she moved away to a seat which was probably a wise
decision on her part just then. "And I wouldn't mind at all if that
means you'll stay for a while." A brow arched momentarily before he
rocked to the back legs of his chair to look Alex's way. "Will you
bring me a glass, Alex?" Then lowered down, tilting a look Ellyn's
way. "Unless you'd like to share the bottle with me, sans the
glasses." His arm stretched out and his fingers curled around that
bottle, slipping it closer to the lass beside him.
Perhaps she should remember her Uncle's words but she didn't, presently
anyway because she saw Bryan and his brothers as anything more than
buddies. Probably because her mind had been occupied elsewhere in that
area. Certainly they were handsome and attractive but on that very
thought too, she didn't think any of the three noticed her more than
just a buddy either. "I'll drink after you," she had no
problem sharing their spit. Although she didn't put it that way! Fingers
bushed over his to gain control of the bottle and draw it closer,
lifted, and a drink taken. Now, she was not really schooled in drinking
potcheen but was learning. She knew better than to take too much or end
up spewing it all over him The small mouthful was carefully, little by
little, swallowed. Heat was already searing over her throat and down,
working its way to every limb. Once gone she spoke up, "I need an
adventure." There were many reasons behind that statement!
Buddies be damned. Females were never buddies. He watched as she claimed
the bottle and tilted it up. Great thing about drinking whiskey in that
way, she wouldn't be able to tell just how much she was consuming.
"You need an adventure, do you?" He had kept his gaze on that
connection of lips to bottle until she had lowered it and spoke. Only
then did he bring his gaze back up to meet hers. He tilted toward her,
his hand closing around the neck of the bottle just above where her
fingers curled around it. "What did you have in mind?" When
she released it, he brought it to his mouth and tipped it. He had no
problem sharing her spit, hell, he would share her spit anytime the
opportunity presented itself. Let her Uncle grind on that tidbit for a
while if the Duke ever considered her chances of sharing her present
company with any frequency.
The liquid warmed and relaxed her as she leaned towards him, arm coming
to rest against the table. "I'm not sure other than something
exciting. Something that gets your heart pumping, that makes you feel
alive and exhilarated. Like when you best your opponent that is of equal
or better ranking and it had been hard won. Perhaps a place I have not
been to before.." Ellyn may not realize it but she had all the
ingredients of really getting into some trouble. Of what kind, remained
to be seen. "There have been pirates about," her words going
low as she leaned closer again. He could probably see the flecks of gold
in green eyes that locked upon his blue. "Maybe they hide on the
Shell Islands not far from here." Which belonged to Maurice
McDonough and only about a quarter of their territory explored. Or
possible as little as an eight of it, the rest as jungle and what better
place for pirates to hide? Little did she realize the truth she hit
upon. The only one thinking of it thus far.
Not like Alex heard her suggestion, since she had spoken low, but Bryan
grazed a look in the man's direction then back to Ellyn. His voice was
just as low, in volume as well as tone. "Damn, Girl, you don't want
adventure, you want life and death." The four wooden legs scraped
against flooring as he scooted his chair, forearms finding his knees
when he drew closer to her. "I'm thinking an all nighter then.
Can't just go to Shell Islands and touch foot to the sand. You're
talking pirates, Ellyn." His forefinger extended and stroked up
then down the side of her thigh. "You may miss training
tomorrow." For him, it was all good. He was a Prince of Balli, not
likely he'd get booted from that position for skipping a day on the
field. She, though...the Order probably wouldn't look kindly on her not
managing to take up where she left off today. His gaze had lowered to
follow that action, then lifted slowly to catch her eyes again.
"I'm your man, Royce...if you're up for it."
"It's too late tonight," but her words halted as she sucked in
a breath as that unexpected touch snaked through her body, thinking it
was only the heat from the drink. Had to be. Regardless it took her by
surprise. "I have taken only one evening so far since I've started
with them. We get so much time and if not used, it accumulates up to a
point." She wasn't quite sure how many days before it no longer
accumulated, she wasn't thinking too straight at the moment. "I can
take a few days to a week. We can scout the place. There are native
inhabitants there that work for Laird Maurice. I will get his ok to
visit." She didn't need to say why and for all they knew, it might
not pan out to anything more than those tropical islands. "I'm up
for it." Maybe a bit relieved she had someone with her in case
something went array. They were taught to use the buddy system for their
safety. Safety in numbers, least two, but there was a guide there too if
She was getting permission for an adventure? The female did need to get
out more, to misbehave more, to jump out of that polite and proper
box...more! He sat back, arms crossing over his chest, his legs
stretching out behind her chair. "You're getting his okay? That's
mighty civil of you, Ellyn." He shook his head, drawing up his legs
and reaching toward her, his hand gripped the edge of her chair and he
pulled her closer to him, a screech of sound as wood abused wood. The
girl, in her chair was sideways between his knees. His words were
hushed, hot, as close as his mouth was to her ear when he leaned in.
"You don't ask permission for an adventure, Ellyn. You don't plan
out exactly what's going to happen. That's what makes it an adventure.
You don't even think! You go. You do." He turned her chair again so
that her legs were between his, her knees up against the seat of his
chair, his inner thighs to her outer thighs. "And you enjoy every
heart pounding, life threatening moment of it. Do you want an adventure,
Lady of Falkirk? Or do you want a field trip abroad?"
She was polite and proper, she was brought up that way even if there was
a spirit that burned pure fire within. Right now it was flaring as she
glanced to the bottle when moved so close then closer still, his knees
either side of hers. That stuff was potent! "I didn't..." but
she snapped her mouth closed and grabbed up that bottle for another
drink. This time, she swallowed it whole, although not a big mouthful.
She didn't sputter it out either. She wanted to rub her ear for his
breath was doing strange things there. "I go, no asking,"
Neale Frasier would have Bryan's head if he knew! "I want an
adventure and I'm pleased you will join me in it.." which was true.
She trusted him. Maybe she shouldn't on one level but she was naive to
that level. "I will look over the map," she would obtain that
much, "and see where we can land." Which they had to go by sea
so maybe charter one of the fishing boats that head out that way.
"We should bring supplies." Camping would be the way to go and
of course their swords. Her heart was already pounding but she blamed it
on the potcheen. "How soon can you be available?"
"There's no time like the present. For you...I'm available as of
right now." Darn right he had enjoyed how she reacted, that she
grabbed the bottle and swallowed down a good dose of the spine
fertilizer. Even a person completely lacking a spine, would grow one and
fast, if they downed enough of that pure. "But I'm not patient,
Ellyn." One corner of his lip was quirked in a cocky grin. "I
don't like to wait for anything. I'm not the sort of guy who believes
the best things are worth waiting for. I'm smack dab in the middle of
ten sons, the youngest of triplets. Ellyn, if I hesitate for what I
want, I don't get. I don't like...not getting what I want."
"Then we shall leave tomorrow." After she got spoke with
Noirin of time coming to her. She did not want to jeopardize her
position with the Order, that came even before having an adventure.
"We can stop at Lorcan's mercantile," which would have
everything they still needed. "You need some patience. I'm told the
best things in life are not gained with a snap of your fingers. Then
again, maybe as a prince you snap your fingers and get what you
want?" She was actually curious on that one as brows lifted just
so. Well then he kind of answered her question. "At least you're a
go getter. But we do need supplies, not good to make it an ill planned
and sloppy adventure for the matter of a few hours." She leaned
forward, putting her hands either side of his cheeks and gently squeezed
that it had his lips go fish style.
His lips were fishified and his gaze lowered to her lips. He turned his
head just enough that her hand eased and he touched his mouth to her
fingers, then drew his head back so that her hands slipped completely
away. "Tell you what, Ellyn. When you get...organized...see if I'm
around. If so, I'll join you. If not, I may be off on some other
adventure from the boredom of waiting for yours." It was his turn
to reach for the bottle and he drank down not one but two long pulls
before standing and placing the bottle back on the table. She had been
between his knees, so he had to push the chair away behind him with the
backs of his knees so that he wasn't directly in her face. He reached
around and moved the chair further so that he could step to the side of
her. He leaned, another whisper, although as he did he shot a look to
Alex who appeared to be content in just cleaning whatever always needed
cleaning behind the bar. "Here's hoping you manage that
organization sooner than later."
She wasn't sure how to take his words. He was acting like a spoilt child
wanting things his way when it was smart to get the things needed first.
"Oh, and do you have a way across the ocean tonight and all the
equipment we would need, all the supplies including food rations that
are not perishable?" She was to her feet as he moved up so it made
it easier as her chair was pushed back. She was frowning at this point
for she felt he was taunting her. Damn if she would jump when he said to
They stood shoulder to upper arm, one facing one way, the other facing
the other, his head turned so that he was looking down to her pulling
the sharp lines of his features even tighter. What would she know of a
spoiled child? That they had the full attention of their guardians? That
they, almost always, got what they wanted simply by asking? That they
could do and say anything and it could be piffled away with a ... oh,
that's so-and-so, she's got spirit? Indeed. She probably did know all
about being spoiled, on a personal level. Not that Bryan cared. Spoiled
or not, she was getting into trouble-worthy. She might feel he was
taunting her, but she was damn well tempting him. "And how
difficult do you think it would be to get those tonight? With a snap of
my fingers?" He chuckled, easing his hand over to lift a strand of
hair that had dried in a curl then let it drop with a bounce. "You
really do think too much, Ellyn, and act with far too much
Hands had come to rest against her hips, it wasn't often she was found
in a skirt. Perhaps she had made her way through the king's field on the
way here in the hope she might come across a certain kingsman, but her
luck had not been with her. Bryan was being confusing to her, she had
not seen this side of him at all. She wasn't sure what game he was
playing but she was sure she didn't know how to play it. So she went
with a decision, "I am leaving here tomorrow morning at dawn. I
will be at the docks getting one of the fishermen to take me out there.
If you want to join me then you will find me there, otherwise I go
alone." Oh, she was being real defiant! The flare in green eyes
went with the slight uplift of her chin. In the least, someone would
know where she was if she came up missing.
Once again, she was confusing him with Rory. This was Bryan. This side
and every side of this...was Bryan. He didn't play safe. He
wasn't...safe. If he came up missing, no one would know where he was
because he'd be...missing! "Be sure to tell Ice that you plan to go
alone when you tell him you're going looking for your pirates." He
saw that flash of vivid green, that tilt of chin that spoke of
determination and defiance. How long would it last though? Until she
bounced over the first ripple in her well-weaved tarp of plans?
"How about, I'm going over tonight, and I'll see if you can find me
there come morning." He started around her, swinging back his palm
to catch her solid on that shapely backside in the process and continued
toward the door.
He was confusing the hell out of her, near to tears. She had been well
protected in that area to come up against a McAndrews taunting her.
Still felt like taunting. He would not meet her half way in this. It
seemed he wanted it all his way and it was HER idea to start. That slap
to her bottom was the straw that had her charging him, probably
something very unexpected as she hurled her full weight against him.
There were all tactics to warfare! She would hit in a way she'd bounce
back and gain her feet and balance.
Her full... weight? He grunted with the contact, stumbling several steps
forward to keep his balance then turned slowly to look back to her.
"You want to take this outside, Athena?" Considering Alex
wouldn't care for any kind of rough housing that might get a bit more
involved than just a bump and bounce.
She had hoped to leave him sprawled out on the porch boards but no such
luck. Her emotions felt out of control, something she had not come up
against like this before. "No." Almost a shout as she pushed
by him in determined steps, "I'm going home." Which was
probably the best thing for her to do than tangle with a male while she
wore a skirt. Besides, she was doing all she could to keep that well of
tears from spilling over, which would have her feeling defeated and
totally embarrassed for them. Something she'd never live down. She was
not one to cry. She learned that long ago. She wasn't going to start
He was shoved aside and he shifted to accommodate that action. This
close...come on now, she was on the verge. Bryan didn't even look at
Alex. Didn't bid him a farewell or anything. He allowed her to get out
of the door before he was hot on her trail. He closed the barrier behind
them so Alex wouldn't see a thing, hear a thing and before she could
make that first step down, he caught her by the upper arm and was
spinning her to face him. Her dark hair swirled around her, flowing over
one shoulder. "Hold on, before you go home." Like she had a
choice right now with the way he held her tight. Not in a way to hurt
her, but damn if she was going anywhere unless she stripped herself of
shirt and skin.
Which almost happened as she was so turned. The peasant top just rested
over her shoulders and the one slid down exposing flawless tanned skin.
Hair came undone, almost in sympathy to her boiling emotions at the
moment. Eyes flared bright, mouth pressed tight until she spoke in near
a snap, "what now?" Like he wasn't done taunting her tonight,
making her feel inadequate to have an official adventure if it wasn't on
He wasn't done with her. He wouldn't be done with her for some time. It
was on his terms. Even now, his terms as she had to remain rooted to her
spot. His gaze drifted down, taking in her exposed shoulder then lifted
again to her features. "Just wanted to say goodnight." Smile,
all dimple deep and teeth white and to that he added a wink.
She blinked. New tactics that deflated all the boiling in a simple
gesture. That disarming smile, she wanted to smack it right off his
face. She should too but she didn't. "I stand by my words,"
she was going tomorrow morning with or without him. The fishermen were
not out this late to charter a boat ride. "Good night Bryan."
Eyeing him suspiciously as hand lifted to draw the shoulder up of the
blouse as she turned. Maybe she should have winked right back at him but
she was too riled up still as she started towards the castle.
His hold eased and she slipped right out from his touch. At first he
didn't say anything. After all, her going was just as interesting a view
as her standing before him. She should be suspicious. And wary. And
cautious. But all the same, on the morrow she'd be on an island with the
McAndrews and they'd be hip deep in some serious ... adventure. His lips
pursed in thought just before he smiled again. "Night, Ellyn."
He called after her retreating form. "Looking forward to you
finding me in the morning!"
"Don't hold your breath." She called back over her shoulder as
she disappeared into the shadows. Once she knew she was far enough away
she lifted her skirts, bare feet and all..and ran the rest of the way.
That made her feel better.
And he chuckled with her retort...and that made him feel better.
Although, he didn't think he could feel any better than fine tonight.
But...he did. He sure as hell did.