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Shell Islands

Date: 05-29-12
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 1

Adventure 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 ... fine.

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 they wanted.

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 jump!

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 hesitance."

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' 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 here tonight.

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 his terms.

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.


Date: 05-30-12
Poster: Bryan McAndrews
Post # 2

Later that Night at the Thistle

Rory had been down to the docks and whatnot, finding card games here and there, a few skirmishes. All was good this night as he finally headed back up to the Thistle. Tomorrow he had off and he was enjoying his night. Probably sleep most of tomorrow as there were not enough hours in the night. He thought he heard someone shout but shrugged it off. There were others lingering here, there and everywhere now that spring had come to stay, hell, summer like weather was bring them out in droves. Too hot to stay indoors for most of them. He swung up onto the porch with a whistled tune and headed right on in.

There was still some whiskey in that bottle. Bryan couldn't very well let it go to waste! At the table, by the window, Bryan looked up as the door opened. Well, that wasn't who he had expected but then...who else could it be? "Rory!" He called over to his brother, motioning him over with the bottle in his hand.

It was Lover Boy, Heart Throb, in the flesh. He even had a couple doxies along the piers making him offers.. for free! One even clung to him, hung on him literally to the point Adrian Frasier had to come and peel her off his person. She clung to Adrian then but he seemed to know how to handle it as he guided her away. Rory would never admit he'd not even been intimate with a lass yet, not even under torture, it was just too prestigious to let his peers assume. "Got enough potcheen left in that bottle?" One he was eyeing as he confiscated at least a glass from Alex, another bottle if needed. His steps were not all that straight either.. he was weaving his way here and there.

Yep. That was Rory!

Charles had been out and about, even though everyone seemed to think he spent his days in the library. Today, after a morning of training, he had gone riding, then spent the rest of the day at the lake. Alone, and with a fishing pole. He had thrown back what he caught except for one large one he had cooked up for his supper. He was surprised to find both brothers at the Thistle after he saw to his horse and entered.

And...Charles! "Enough to get us to the one you grabbed." His free hand lifted for Charles and with that he also waved the final triplet over. Bryan had never been all about feeling the family looooove, but add some of the pure, and bring on the kin.

They had a connection! Mirror images and all even if different personalities.. Bryan had the split one. Mahaha. He grabbed up that extra bottle and headed on over, taking it instead of the glass which left behind. "So how goes your day?" Addressed to both as he set the bottle and turned the chair so he could straddle it as he went down, leaning in with an expectant look betwixt them.

"It went well. I rode for a couple of hours, went fishing. And here I am." And that was that. They knew about the training, since they had been there too. "Hope the two of you had a good day as well." Sometimes one just needed to get away.

Bryan had lifted the bottle and had taken a swig as Rory's question was asked. He reached it over to the brother at his right. "As days go..." Yes, training they knew about. "the day went well enough. The night, even better and now, with you both arrived, better still. Gotta love when everything just flows in the better still direction."

"I got in a few card games, won a few hands, got to throw in some punches and pay off a doxie." Paid her off with the winnings because he didn't need them and to get her off his person. Still had not worked, she wanted to please him for every coin. But, right now it sounded good in keeping his reputation. "Seems quiet here, so you enjoyed a quiet one?" That didn't seem like the Bryan he knew.

Nothing wrong with quiet. If anything was forthcoming, Charles would listen. But at the moment, he caught up the bottle and took a swig. Now the day was ending perfectly.

Up crooked one side of his grin and Bryan shrugged. "I enjoyed one...didn't say it was quiet." He blinked slowly, his focus drifting so he shook his head to bring it back. "And so..." A light tap of fingers on the table and Bryan stood, but he kept his hand there to the flat wood surface, to make sure he didn't sway. "Now..." He blew out a breath and nodded once. Any more motion of head and he might be in trouble. "I need to see a man about a boat to see a lass about an island that sees to pirates which leads to adventure." And the way those words all slurred together, his brothers would be lucky if they understood. He pointed a finger upward, bobbed it as if making a decision, and the decision was, it was time to try to walk. he search of a man-with a boat-to beat a lass-to an island-in search of pirates-that may lead to adventure. Yes. Going. Now. One step in front, a step to the side and then he was plotting a straight course to the door. Man.Boat.Lass.Island.Pirate.Adventure. His way. This way. On his way.

He caught one word as he rose when his brother did. Adventure. A hand shot out to steady him. "You're liable to fall off the pier in this state. Let me go with you. I'm always up for an adventure." He gave one look to Charles as he headed out, but certain to take that bottle of potcheen with him. He wasn't sure what Bryan was up to, hard to make out his slurring but it was just that he'd tag along. He was not to that point. Not yet.

Why not? Charles would get the horse back to the castle stable come morning, before training. For now, he'll follow along to see just what this was all about!


Date: 06-01-12
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 3

Pandora Island

Ellyn slept well in spite of the circumstances. All thoughts fleeing as she fell asleep exhausted. It wasn't until the next morning, bright and early, that she thought on the prior evening events. The more she thought on them, the more she wanted to strangle one Bryan McAndrews. She growled under her breath, when leaving the knights hall. It had a few lifted brows and a turn of heads as she headed out. Everything was squared with the Order for her to take a few days, up to a week before her return. She only said she was taking time to herself as to not worry anyone but left a page in her desk telling exactly where she was going. She was sure if she came up missing that her room would be searched but otherwise nothing would be touched. She packed a bag, her sword hung at her side, before she headed down to the mercantile. Here she got all other necessities with the help of one waiting on her and packed in a survival kit. That was slung over her other shoulder as she headed for one of the larger fishing boats that she was told headed out to fish out near the Shell islands. There was good fishing there. Old Skully was the captain's name and for a small price she was soon on her way. Had she been ten minutes later, he would have been gone already. She didn't see Bryan, she didn't look for him, for he as much said he'd not be there if she didn't leave the night prior.

It was Pandora that had the civilized village of which at least one third of the island was explored. What stopped the natives from exploring any further was the dense jungle beyond. There were only a few that braved the paths that wound through them made by animals. Most were superstitious of something very ancient and very evil that lived up in the mountains, one bearing a long inactive small volcano. Sometimes, some white puffs could be seen rising from that area, that is why they felt that spirit was still alive. They usually fished in the cove between Oyster, Paua and Pandora. Being kind, or maybe it was the Ellyn's good looks, they rowed her in all the way into Pandora's small port so that she was set safely on shore. It was a one pier port. That was how small it was, although it was sturdy built. The natives were friendly, waving to her and it seemed most of them spoke English, although one needed to listen carefully to understand them. The man directed her by pointing to the biggest hut amongst two dozen or so. That was the size of this particular village although there were smaller ones scattered about. There were many busy along the boardwalk as all paused to watch the woman head for the main hut. They didn't get many visitors so any drew their curiosity for a few before they were back to their livelihood.

Bryan wasn't at the port in Heathfield because he was already ... elsewhere. God his head hurt. He remembered this: He had too much to drink. Understatement. He continued to drink with Ellyn Royce and then his brothers. All was a little hazy from the Thistle to the dock. He remembered arguing with his brothers alongside a decent sized ship, something about doing something alone, Yes. Fuzzy parts again. Stumbling around on a ship. Yes, he remembered being on a ship and that must be why he had woke up sprawled all vitruvian man on the sand floor of an old man's hut. Wait, that old man had hauled Bryan's drunk ass from pier to the safety of this shack. Yes. He recalled being pit to shoulder with that man, all McAndrews hulk depending on hunched over elder. He was still laying there, because the pain in his head wouldn't let him move overmuch just yet, and he forced his eyelids to lift, squinting to the hatched roof of the man's abode. The stranger spoke something over to him. Must have been English. Bryan couldn't really tell, then the fellow shuffled out the door. The McAndrews pushed up to an elbow and, with the caution demanded by the alcohol-after-affects, he slowly scanned his indoor surroundings. One room, with a cot, a table with a chair, a single window with no glass and that one door. Yes. If he didn't roll on out of here, there'd be no food or drink. Where was 'here' anyway? Southeast. Through the fog of whiskey he remembered now making that demand to the men who were off to do some night fishing. So hopefully, he was on one of the Shell Islands. He drew his knees up and pitched to the side, pressing his stiff body from the uncomfortable 'mattress' of earth where he had slept the night. Slapping a hand on the seat of that chair, he pushed himself up to stand. Vertical. Progress. And like the man, he shuffled from the hut out into the sunlight. Pausing just outside, he stretched, squinting past his headache over the people mulling around what looked to be a new arrival and then they parted to allow her to proceed toward a larger hut.

Milly was the woman's name that ran the Inn for Laird McDonough. She went on and on about him and asking news of the mainlands. The King and Queen and all her children. She even asked on the Twins that took over Kildare. Milly planned to visit the mainland and even some of the sister lands. Such were her dreams as she made Ellyn feel at home, all the while talking as she led her up to her room. Then she got this idea as she disappeared as Ellyn put away her things in the empty wicker drawers. There was a nice breeze coming in off the ocean as she leaned to look out one of the wide open windows. No glass, just a flap one pulled down at night or when one wanted privacy. Milly was back and insisting she put on the garb she brought. What there was of it. Well, in Rome, as Ellyn's cheeks took on a healthy shade of rose. The top wasn't made of coconuts but it was small and Ellyn was not small but it fit nonetheless with a lot of cleavage showing. Definitely skimpy but who was here to see her? There was a ceremony of the ancients coming up where they honored the deities of this island. Mawyee was the main one which she would gradually find out about. A jealous god and he liked being surrounded by maidens who danced for him. The bottom was a grass skirt that showed off the length of leg when walking or moving she found. It hung low on her hips too. But here too, Milly seemed to know her size. She was ushered out to the back courtyard, if one could call it that, and brought in with ten other girls around her age. They laughed and giggled but when it came time to practice, they became very serious and were soon teaching Ellyn how to dance as well sing one of their songs of worship.

Bryan lifted his hand to his brow, blocking the sun the best he could while he watched the swarming people dispatch from the newcomer. "Ellyn" he muttered to himself, a smile spreading and he dropped his hand to call out to her. Before he could though, she had already reached the interior of that hut and that left Bryan standing out on in the sand, mouth opened to hail her, and no sound expelled. He crossed over to that hut but was stopped at the entrance by a gathering of island dwellers. There have been times when being a McAndrews made it difficult. McAndrews was a name with one heck of a legacy to live up to. Just the same, there were times that being a McAndrews had its advantages. Point ... now. "McAndrews. Bryan McAndrews." And then the small group would have allowed him most anything including letting him go within since he added. "Saw someone I know go in ..." He double-thumbed toward the door, sidestepping in that direction in order to get inside. Not that he found her once he was in there. The Ceremony of Ancients might be a big deal for the islanders but for Bryan, whose belief system balked when it came to something other than what he could experience with one of his senses, it was all a good reason to have a party. Milly would not let him go out to the back where he heard the singing and laughing, but she did allow him to take a lean by the window and watch. Once again...McAndrews. Yes. He had to drop the family name to be granted the go-ahead for even that small view of what Ellyn was up to.

The moves were becoming very sensual she found. It was hard to try and hide her embarrassment but the saving grace was that it was all females, dancing so far. The one leading the dance was Milly's oldest daughter name Seville. She knew English as she explained that the Deity Mawyee would come during a ceremony, but not every ceremony, to pick the prettiest maiden to mate in the hope of producing a demigod that would grow up amongst them and be his prodigy. She could only recall of one time many decades ago one was so chosen. Ellyn noticed these girls had their hopes just as it seemed many had before them down the years, decades even. At one point they were down on their knees as their upper bodies moved in a circular motion, hands doing intricate motions that had various meanings. She imitated them as best she could as Seville got up and solo danced in the circle they had formed. Flowers in their hair, flowers woven in necklaces about their necks along with seashells. Partially through she was over to have Ellyn join her and used her hands to guide Ellyn's hips in a sensual way. She had NO idea she or they were being watched but it was not only Bryan. She realized music had been added as Seville stepped back and left Ellyn to explore this new dance. She had been taught to expect the unexpected but she never expected what happened next. Leaping, near naked, males joined them bringing the music to a faster beat. She was surrounded in the next moment as their movements suggested what the Deity would be doing! HOLY .. holy.. crossing swords, Ellyn's jaw probably dropped but Seville was to the rescue in joining her within that circle the males had made around Ellyn. Seville drew in the others one by one as well. The males were also around their age, well built, handsome, tanned skin, dark hair but some had hazel or even blue eyes. That surprised her but she was probably red as a beet for certainly they were flirts, well, what she figured was flirting but they were certainly enjoying their part in this dance.

No wonder Bryan was not allowed to go back there! When the males joined in, Bryan chuckled to himself, crossing his arms at his chest and leaning his head to the wood surrounding the window. Ellyn was definitely getting her adventure today. He allowed his eyes to dip and take in the sight of Ellyn's bared legs then slowly up so that appreciative gaze lingered on her stomach, then up to the exposure of cleavage. The music had faded to mostly just the thrum of drums. A pulsating, rhythmic sound that matched the pump and motion of the bodies responding to it. Milly came up alongside him, tilting her head to watch as well. "You, Bryanmcandrews, you could join to bring Mawyee. It is the female he comes for, but the scent of flowers, the sweat, the ... male's attraction..." With her head tilted, she drew in a deep breath, then looked to him. "That attraction, that is what brings him. He is a lusty god. He desires the most prettiest of females but responds because of the most desiring of males. You lust, Bryanmcandrews? You should join." Bryan had looked at the woman when she started to speak, but as she continued, he had returned his gaze to the dancers. He shook his head to begin his denial.

"You really wouldn't want me out there because she wouldn't want me out there. Hell, she wouldn't want me in here watching her out there." Bryan smiled mostly to himself as he watched Ellyn. Milly continued to talk. "Ahno, mainland boy, probably not, probably so. But you lust, even I can smell it on your skin. You will bring Mawyee. You and she. You two have not come to this island, this day, by chance. You and she, will bring Mawyee to us at last." Bryan had continued to watch Ellyn until that last part. That last part had him pushing up from his lean. "What you smell is a night of drinking and sleeping on a sandy-ground floor, Lady. Nothing more." He started around her, but Milly was no timid lady, neither was she weak. Her hand smacked to the broad chest of McAndrews and gave him a shove, causing him to stumble back a few paces. "You, Bryanmcandrews, and she, the lass of Raw-ice, you two will be at the ceremony tonight. She will dance for you. You will desire her. And Mawyee ... will come." Bryan's gaze narrowed. He was a prince of Balli! Who did this woman think she was? He glanced down to the hand holding him in place then back up to her face. "Do you have whiskey?" Milly's brows lifted and her hand eased away from the firm hold. She gave a curt nod as she smiled. "We...have better."

It was that blue eyed, dark hair and skin male that kept such an eye contact on her that it was making her uncomfortable ... as if she were fully naked as he slid up against her then danced away. Ellyn had wanted to strangle Bryan and if she had met him before all this dancing, she probably would have attempted it! At least beaten her fists against his chest, slapped that dimple smile from his face permanently! Right now, that was the furthest thing from her mind, in fact, diffused at this point. Certainly if she met up with Bryan, he'd probably ignite that fuse again. Lucky for her, as she was starting to get lightheaded for all the heady, sensual, dancing, that Milly came out clapping her hands. That signaled the end of the dance as most of the males and females quickly departed. The tall, blue eyed one stood there a bit longer with eyes intense upon Ellyn. He didn't smile but neither was it a threatening look but something far different. She had never had one look at her like that and it felt like it pierced right through her like one harpooning a fish in. Milly said something in their native language that had that eye contact break, a respectful dip of his head to her and he took off, not looking back. Milly had her by the arm as well her daughter to come up along her opposite side as they headed into the hut. There was refreshments being put out, along with juicy fruits.

Milly had sequestered the McAndrews elsewhere where he could bathe and relax. Get rid of that headache that had plagued him all morning. Along with that, she had made sure the young man had succulent fruits from melons to berries and white fish that flaked with tenderness so that he had to pinch it up with his fingers to eat it. He didn't think anything about the frothy red drink that tasted of fruits as well. Sweet but with a hint of some sort of spirit, not bad at all. While he bathed...he drank it. While he shaved and dressed...he drank it. While he lounged on the back patio connected to his room, he drank it. By then, he had forgotten he wanted to leave. That he should probably tell Ellyn he was here. Ah...Ellyn. Her dance and those dancing around her came to mind. And he drank some more. Milly knew what she was doing. Mawyee must come this night. Ellyn and Bryan were her means to make that so.


Date: 06-01-12
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 4

There was a pitcher full of the red juice that she was served as well. It just tasted so good she drank a few glasses. It was hot and she blamed it on the heat for getting sleepy. Milly assured her she was all right and made sure she got upstairs to take a nap. While both were asleep there were new costumes set out for both as well another drink that had been made with a melon green color that tasted even better than the frothy red one. They would find such nice and cold upon awakening. Evening was late in these lands, it didn't start to get dark until around 10pm. Seville and she would awake refreshed and a note to eat of the respite left for them which consisted of lobster stuffed with oysters and crab meat. Not that they would know there were oysters in it. There was something far more potent in the drink than even oysters. Ellyn awoke refreshed, washed up and put on the outfit. Far more colorful, far more sensual, if that were possible. Seville came in to help do up her hair which had vines with flowers woven through. She spoke on the ceremony that had been awaited for all year and how pleased she was she was joining them. She never mentioned the blond haired male sequestered away on the other side of the Inn Hut. Ellyn was really starting to enjoy all this. Although not the adventure she had planned, it was fun and relaxing. Little did she know! Seville had her away down to the gardens out back where it was being held. There were tables set up here and there offering the fruit, fish, and a lot of both the red and green drink. She wasn't hungry after feasting on the lobster which was understandable. The food was there for later if one wished.

Bryan was feeling no pain. In fact, after consuming each glass of green or red that was delivered to him, he really wasn't feeling much at all. He ate, and lounged and made the most of Milly's hospitality, especially since he didn't want to leave Ellyn alone here. Right. That was the only reason. He used the fish bone provided to clean between his teeth, then the minted salt water and frayed walnut twig to clean them. While bathing earlier, his clothes had been taken away to be 'washed', but they had never been returned. He had spent most of the afternoon bare-assed, but then wrapped the long, island sarong around his waist as the evening approached. Even after the meal, no one brought his clothing and when Milly arrived, she drew him out dressed in that 'skirt' with the promise of more of her beverages. Barefeet carried him to where a crowd of islanders had gathered in the back yard, awaiting the ceremony. Immediately, Bryan started searching for Ellyn, not at all remembering that his chest was exposed and that long legs escaped from the fold of the fabric wrapped around his waist when he walked. Milly had given him a mask and he had placed that on, only because she told him in order for him to get more of that red or green, he'd have to wear it. Some sacrifices he was willing to make. And there she was...Ellyn...and she was with the lass she had been dancing with before. With the mask on, he wasn't recognized by any that had learned of his family connection. Instead, they directed him to the other men in masks...and none of them were at the beverage table. Wait..a...minute.

Music filled the air, mostly drums and reed instruments. Some of a sound she'd never heard before but she was too into the ceremony to investigate musical instruments. The males were mingling and she noted they all had masks on that joined in the dancing. More unorganized as they waited for it to get darker. Everyone was drinking it seemed. The red and green drinks seemed very popular. Everything had a surreal feel to it by now with the warm breeze flowing in off the ocean, the call of exotic birds in the distance. Even the butterflies that floated about were larger and far more colorful than any she had seen before. Ellyn thought this ceremony was like they did Hallow's Eve, a tradition to have some fun, nothing more, nothing less. Nothing that took the night of the dead seriously. An ancient god coming to pick a mate, would be something just alluded to? Right. She had no clue. Not that Milly was trying to bring any of them harm but she believed their Deity would one year actually show even if it had never happened in her lifetime. To Milly, any of their tribe, it would be an honor to be chosen by a God. Certainly. Her hopes were high. One of the expectations was for the women to bring a new juice to the males, it was a combination that made it even more potent, served in a melon halve. So Ellyn took one with light laughter easily on the tip of her tongue to offer the brew to one of the masked males standing there without any. She was to dance around him first before offering it up.

Milly of the Inn was a High Priestess of Mawyee. Who would know better what would draw the lust of the Deity and bring him amongst them? The woman, with the arrival of such a powerful blood line and such a lovely female, knew what she was brewing and it was more potent than any of the drinks she could ever concoct. Mawyee would surely come this night, and she was prepared. The residents of the island knew the Priestess' power and respected it, eager as well for the arrival of the Mighty Mawyee in their lifetimes. Had Bryan had his wits about him, he may have suspected it as well. But...he was floating in an appreciative haze of aphrodisiacs, liquid and solid, and now had the seductively adorned and smelling like heaven on earth, Ellyn, dancing around him and offering him up a drink from her melon. Milly knew what she was doing all right and if Bryan could have he would have mouthed a thank you to the woman. As it was though, Ellyn might see, so he just smiled down to the Royce lass, dimples et. al., and cupped his hands over the bottom of hers to assist her in lifting the melon to his lips. He tilted it just enough to drink some of the liquid from within then he brought it down. His hands still covering hers, he angled it to her mouth next to do the same. His gaze followed the entire process from melon flesh to fullness of her lips.

It took practice to drink from a melon half as some of the liquid slipped away to run down the crevice below and disappear there. Ellyn didn't notice even if it left a slight shine to that area. Had she her wits about her, she might have pieced together why dimples looked familiar but such association was far, far away, across the ocean in fact where she believed the rapscallion Bryan to be. She got enough of the liquid to have its effect, affecting them both as time wore on. How time flew when having fun or so floating on another level of consciousness to be more exact. The call of exotic birds quieted, the butterflies on wing, ceased, new sounds added to the twilight that was fast becoming night. It took longer here on the islands but once it fell, it fell fast. Torches were lit and the drums picked up, they were ushered to the middle of a stone laden circle. She ended up partnered with the male she offered the drink to and started dancing like the other females. The sway of hips would work into a shimmy, long arms snaked up and around sensually as she moved around the masked male, just as the others were. Close enough at times that skin touched, the heat briefly shared. Everything seemed to blend in together, from the heady music to the light trailing from the torches, sparks flew and floated around or so she thought they were sparks. They were harmless wherever they landed.

Bryan's noticed dipped to follow the sheen of liquid, his tongue momentarily flirting with his bottom lip as his mind raced off someplace dangerously decadent. Before his actions could match his desires, the group of females and males were hustled away, multicolored lights soaring past him in streaks as they moved, attaching themselves in colored streamers to Ellyn's fingertips as she danced around him. She was close, very close, her skin brushed his, and left behind in its wake a tingling of those same colors. His fingers reached out, tips glowing in shades of blues and greens and he trailed the colors along the flat surface of her belly as she turned in front of him. Across her navel and then around her waist while she continued to turn. He was in the zone, intoxicated by island herbs and having Ellyn so close. He had never experienced her like this - so unhindered, so free. He was enjoying Ellyn like this, her inhibitions stalled. Far, far, far off in the back of his mind, he realized he had been drugged. He also realized that he wouldn't change a damn thing. So he gave up the thought and allowed the hallucination of colors to ribbon around them, Ellyn's scent to swirl about him...his own reaction to it all to pulse through him.

The whole area was becoming trails of colors, of drums that kept the tempo, kept them moving. Touches were light compared to motion of body and limbs. Where one masked man was, another was in his place and yet another by the time she turned around. They were exchanging partners, the masks blending into one. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew this was not normal. The drinks had affected her but she didn't feel drunk nor sick. No, she felt great! She felt like flowing lava that mixed and blended in with all the other lava moving around. She hadn't even notice the change in atmosphere as Milly sucked in a breath when mists rose in spiraling whirls from within the ancient arched stones. Ones that emerged into a shape. The shape of a man with an even more ancient mask. Golden asps curled around his biceps, his skin not as dark as most of them. Muscular build with a wrap around his torso of white linen lined in gold. Feet were bared. Milly made sure the musicians kept playing that the girls and males kept dancing. The man stood there motionless, arms crossed over his chest as he watched.

When Ellyn moved away from him to participate fully in the dance, he started to stalk her around the periphery, but was tugged back into the fray by this female, or that. Ellyn's colors were the only ones he tracked though, the only ones that continued to trail behind her and wrap around his wrists, or his waist, or his ankles. With the other girl dancing all up next to him, the slick feel of her dance-inspired perspiration sliding their flesh against flesh, he looked beyond to Ellyn, and then beyond Ellyn to the snaking smoke and the male garbed in the unmistakable getup of ceremony. Slowly Bryan's hand lifted and he eased off his mask to get a better look at the fellow. The girl dancing with Bryan gasped at his breaking of tradition by removing his mask, but then turned to follow his narrowed gaze. She whispered the name at first. Mawyee. And then, she cried out, in shock and awe. "Mawyee!" Falling to the ground by Bryan's feet in supplication, her knees beneath her chest, her arms outstretched on the earth in the direction of the white and gold one.

The hush fell over all like one of the waves coming in off the ocean. Swiftly it fell as Ellyn was left standing there a moment longer than the rest. Certainly confused before Seville was at her side capturing her hand and bringing her down like the others. Ellyn went along even though this was not a part she'd practice for. The male seemed like a statue as he stood there then said something in their native tongue and pointed at her. Next she knew she was up on her feet again as Milly was there along with her daughter bringing her towards the male. Looked like she was to dance with him? Milly slipped some sheer gauze headpiece on her that was wound around her hair in the back. The man held out his hand to her as she placed hers within his. Milly and Seville no longer at her side but bowed as they moved backwards. His hand came around hers in a firm capture and instead of leading her back to the dancing area, he was leading her towards that jungle! That was when something in the back of her mind rebelled, perhaps for her training, perhaps because this was going to an area she had never set foot before as her mind started to balk.

Ahhellnah. Bryan hadn't paid homage, he still remained standing, the only one besides the skin-covered statue. It was McAndrews vs. Mawyee as their eyes met for a moment across the bowing bodies. Then the male pointed at Ellyn, Milly and Seville scrambling to their feet to adorn her and present her like some veil-wrapped package. Bryan was in motion, hopping over bent figures, rushing forward. Before he could make that front line, he was caught in the midsection by the fist of a young man who had stood with just one glance from the man now in possession of Ellyn. The McAndrews grunted, doubling over with surprise, then with an uppercut of forearm, slammed that obstacle aside. Bryan called her name and because his intent was now everyone's knowledge, they all started to jump to their feet to thwart the intervention. They all believed this to be Mawyee and Bryan could only pray that it truly was not!

The male hadn't expected Ellyn to balk, certainly none of the island girls would have. They would have gone unquestioning. But he didn't want one of the island girls after having laid eyes on the mainlander. "I don't want to go in there," meaning the jungle as the man turned, he had the natives in his favor too. It was then she noticed the blue eyes through the eye holes of the mask. She recognized them as being of the male from earlier this morning. The men and women were forming a line and she had the sickening feeling they might actually try forcing her to go. With them coming towards them like an impenetrable wall, she had only one recourse as the male started to drag her forward regardless of her protest. He was far stronger than her and she wasn't wearing her sword. Hell, she was wearing much at all. That's when she lunged forward and ripped off his mask. One could hear the sucked in gasps behind her but then the whole attitude changed. She exposed the male from before that had only arrived a few weeks prior. He still tried to drag her with him as the villagers started forward to help Ellyn. She snapped back her hand so fast it slipped from his, thanks for the sheen on it! He ran off into the jungle before they could catch him.

Bryan shouldered and shoved his way through the crowd, shooting through just as Ellyn managed to snatch herself free. He raced over to her, taking her by a shoulder and looking her over then up. "You okay? Are you hurt?" The others started to swarm around them with concern as well. Milly's apologetic words muffled in the background of Bryan's frantic search of Ellyn's eyes. He started around her, his hand still on her shoulder so that his arm encircled her chest as his gaze searched the jungle where the man had run off. One word was all he needed, and if she was okay, he was off to take up chase.

Ellyn was near to tears as she never had felt so vulnerable. A stranger in a strange land with strange traditions. She heard Milly reassuring her but then the shock came, "Bryan?" How the hell did he materialize here? He was something familiar, someone familiar as she threw her arms around his neck and buried her face against his chest. A bare chest she began to realize as her arms slid away, eyes were wide that lifted up to him. "Yes, I am all right." To reassure him along with Milly and her daughter as well all the others that crowded around. A couple of the guards took off  after the man but they would not go far at night into the jungle and were already coming back. Bryan looked like he was about to run as her hand came to rest against his forearm, "don't go in there.." meaning the jungle at night.


Date: 06-03-12
Poster: Bryan McAndrews
Post # 5

When she clung to his neck, he wrapped his arm fully around her, watching as the men ran after the impersonator into the jungle. As soon as they starting filtering back, he lowered his gaze to her, then dropped it further to her hand on his arm. With her plea, he jerked his head around and found Milly. Five words. Only five. And for the first time in his life, he heard his father come from within him, that voice of authority and demand. "Tell me who that was."

She blinked as Bryan sounded as one of authority than a teenager. Something powerful within him that spoke of his lineage. Surprised her all considering she knew his birthright but had not really thought on all that went with it. A part of her was actually impressed. She was tearing that gauzy material from her hair as she too now wanted to know the name of the man that accosted her. Milly answered that the one came to their village a few weeks ago. He had been very helpful, very respectful and kind. He seemed to know a lot about the ancient god they would be celebrating, no one thought anything of it, anything out of the ordinary. He called himself Thaddeus, she could not recall any surname but many did not use surnames.

Helpful. Respectful. Kind. All good qualities until tonight. Tonight Thaddeus proved there was more to his motives than just a good natured man out there to offer aid. Whatever stimulants had been added to their food, their drink still raced through his body, and with Ellyn this close, he was as tempted as the blackguard who tore off into the night. The only difference between the two was that Thaddeus had planned this evening to steal away one of the beauties who would be more than willing to give herself to Mawyee. Bryan...was just a lucky bastard to have stumbled onto the ceremony. His gaze swept the treeline then lowered back to Ellyn. As he spoke, he didn't look to the Innkeeper, but kept his attention right where it was. "Milly, you could hurry these females away for their safety but I really don't think he'll be coming back tonight. You could initiate a search come daylight if you feel it necessary. I, myself, would hate to waste such a nice buzz..." Still looking to Ellyn, his smile started. "and such a nice view. Mawyee didn't come, that's a shame, but there's no reason why we can't continue to enjoy the evening."

Milly was nervous as she clapped her hands and got the musicians to start playing again in a whole new tempo. A more relaxed one in comparison. Nodding to Bryan, she was around ushering the girls to dance with the lads and continue having the fun they all had started to have until the incident. Guards were stationed and knew who to look for. No, he'd not be coming back. She knew all this would get back to his Lordship and that it would bring him out here to have a talk with them all. She could only hope he'd be understanding and kind, not make her leave the only home she knew. She was back urging Ellyn to dance with Bryan since it seemed they knew each other. Ellyn too had that buzz although still shaken, at least Bryan was someone she knew. A stabilizing, maybe sobering factor. She turned to face Bryan, had to look up as he had that advantage over her. "Shall we then?" She wanted the bad feel to go away and back to the other, without a Mawyee impersonator.

Bryan offered his palm to her in order to lead her out to dance. The colors had never faded, never ceased, the entire time they discussed Thaddeus. Those ribbons of shades stroked over his skin, seeped in through his flesh to become part of his blood stream. With that union, coursed the need for a union of any kind. "Ellyn, you have no idea just how much I do want ... " His fingers curled over her delicate hand in his. "To..I do want to. Come on." And he led her to the area where the others danced and out from under that canopy.

He was confusing and near lost the moment. There seemed to be another undercurrent here. Was that possible? This was Bryan McAndrews. Friend. One she had recently wanted to strangle or beat on his chest. Now she was placing her hand in his to ease the very visibly frustrated Milly, that they would dance. That things would get back to before the incident. She liked Milly and her daughter even if their traditions were different. "I would too, do wish to dance with you." Pleased he wished to dance with her too. The dance was a slower one on purpose to calm the heightened nerves of not just them but all those here tonight that had gotten into the wild frenzies and thinking a god had come amongst them.

A laugh escaped and he lifted his arm, twirling her underneath until she swung back around against his chest. The feel of the slower music was even more intoxicating than the previous erratic rhythms and it bumped up against the colors flowing from the dancers near and added a new dimension of light. Sparkling. Twinkling. As if the sound had a life source of its own. Whatever was in that punch...had quite a punch...and tomorrow Bryan would realize just how much he liked getting his ass kicked by it. He dipped his chin, drawing in a breath to take in the fragrance of the island on the Royce lass, then spoke from that nearness of lips to ear. "How are you feeling from the drink, Ellyn? Are you seeing colors, like me? Or something else?" Were the females affected in the same way as the males? With this slower dance, her close, her body brushing up against his, what he was feeling was damn good and spiraling higher. Kind of made a man want to be Mawyee, that lust driven god.

Surprisingly her head didn't spin when she was spun under his arm. He was tall enough to be able to do it too without a hitch. Laugher followed, light and sweet as she ended up against his chest, her free hand coming to rest there against the warmth of his skin. What an odd sensation to flow through her as the result. "I see colors but more I feel like I'm floating on air, the breeze and scents becoming part of me in lifting me up.." it was the best she could describe the sensation. These words came lightly against his cheek being his lips were close to her ear. That too had a strange sensation to follow but she was sure it was all part of this night and whatever was in their drink. She had never been drunk before so figured all this was that. Had she been one of the island girls she probably would have gone with the would-be-god and washed away on scents and sea waves. Right now she was enjoying this dance, although there too, the realization she was half naked as skin touched skin was woven in that drugged haze.

The half-naked part was part of the perks of island dancing. Drugged and relaxed just added to that flesh against flesh enticement. He kept his head dipped to hers so they could speak softly. "So, that survival kit, not much good at the moment,eh? Better just to go with the flow of it...all floating on air and such." His lips touched the shell of her ear, a light kiss, a graze of teeth to her earlobe. "I like you all feminine and ... floaty.."

He had to bring up the survival kit, she'd forgotten all about that confrontation at the Thistle. Feminine and floaty. Oh, she was working up from that floaty to strangle him again. Feeling he was once more goading her. She hissed under her breath because at that moment her whole body was tingling, becoming a traitor, to her thoughts. Her lips and teeth by his shoulder that she ended up biting him, not hard enough to draw blood but it was the direct result of thoughts and sensations clashing together.

Completely unexpected! He jerked back, slapping a palm to his abused shoulder. That nip had him staring down at her, a frown of confusion across his brow. The sharp sensation had bordered on tantalizing but teetered on threatening. He brought up his hand to look, but no blood, so he rolled his shoulder against the sting that lingered there. No one else seemed to have noticed. They continued dancing, laughing and talking amongst themselves. "So, Royce, does this mean you will or will not be dancing for me again in my room?" His notice dipped to her lips. That soft temptation was as delightfully deceitful as a rose bush riddled with thorns. Damn you wanted to enjoy the softness, the invitation, but had to weigh the possibility of pain in the process.

She looked as wild as that bite had been after tearing the gauze material from it. It tangled down with only the petals left of the flowers. Eyes held an otherworldly edge to them too. A mingling of the two worlds they were occupying right now. This was a trap of some kind, tilting her head a fraction as part of her held a satisfaction her bite was felt. Then the cast of his eyes fell to her lips making her all to conscious of them and of his. Surely he didn't want to kiss her? She wanted to say, why would I be dancing in your room, but felt this was part of that game he played on her. Certainly it would show how naive she was too. "What is wrong with here?" That seemed safe as she lifted his arm to take a twirl beneath. She wasn't quite sure what to do but this seemed safe. Milly was over to let them know there was another punch being served along with a small meal, something that they should have so they woke in a more pleasant mood, as she put it. The punch was one to offset the other and bring them back to earth. The food to keep them from any lingering after affects.

Bryan didn't want to offset the other. He still was enjoying the...other. So much for his answer of being alone since Ellyn eased from his hold to go and partake as Milly instructed. Bryan stood where he was, arms crossed against his chest and watched the young woman walk away from him. His gaze angled upward, and he couldn't help but smile to himself. Ah, Uncle Jake, she was dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight. Drawing in a deep breath, mostly from frustration and disappointment, he gave his head a shake, bringing up his hands and scrubbing his fingers through his hair in an attempt to clear his head just a little. Just...a little. He really, really...really...didn't want to lose his waves of color just yet. Not, yet.

If she knew that Bryan McAndrews was only trying to lure her to his bedroom to have his way with her, even she wasn't that naive to know what that would be, she would be strangling him again! Sir Lazare would never try and take such advantage of her. Least in her mind! She had moved with Milly thinking that Bryan would as well, he didn't want any hangover? A glance over her shoulder only proved that he must as he stayed behind like some kind of belligerent child, arms crossed over his chest and was that a pout? Looked like it from where she was before back around as Milly said something, distracting her back and making her laugh as they reached the table all set out with various fruits, foods and a cooling drink. All the other girls and lads were filtering there as well.

Ellyn Royce was too uptight, too restricted to right and wrong. She needed to loosen up, to release the reins and let the ride take her where it would. Survival kits. Plans. Bryan had rather enjoyed those few moments when the possibility she was surrendering control loomed. He brushed at his arm, attempting to swat away the link of color that still streamed from her to him, him to her. One of the native girls brought over a cup for him, and he thanked her with a nod. He needed to find his clothes and get out of this skirt. But first, he'd guzzle down this drink so he could prevent any lingering affects of the night besides those of his thoughts. If the fates were kind, those would be erased as well.

She had some to eat but wasn't hungry, not after all that went on. She was upset and wasn't sure what it was from this time around. There were new sensations and she wasn't quite sure what was causing them. New too, had excitement mingled with fear of the unknown. She needed to get changed, needed to sleep. Needed to get a guide to start her jungle adventure tomorrow. She drank down two helpings of the fruity beverage and was already starting to feel better. Bryan remained away, which had her frown but she at least offered him a cordial, "good night Bryan," before turning to head into the hut and her room. What a long day it had been.

And he in return offered, "Good night, Ellyn." He watched from over the rim of that uplifted mug as she walked to the hut. Yes, it was good enough night, but damn, it could have been so much better.


Date: 06-08-12
Poster: Davin Byrne
Post # 6

Island Adventure

It was early morning and sunlight filled the air. The breeze was light and warm off the ocean as Davin stood upon the watchtower of the Lighthouse. He had his spyglass and was looking for a certain skiff to show up along the shore. He'd see it in time to get down below with his gear. Naimh had promised him a ride and this was a good day to try out the skiff he got her in deeper waters. Certainly he had a plan.

Nia usually came at the same time when she was planning on spending time with Davin. Today was no exception and he'd see the skiff skimming over the water as easily as any seabird. She had named it The Tern for that very reason. She couldn't tell yet if he stood at cliff or the lighthouse but she waved anyway, even from this distance. Though it had only been a few days since she had seen him last, it seemed longer. She turned the skiff toward the shore, guiding it with a steady hand.

He yelled to Jimmy to take over, he was going to stay for the few days or however long it took that Davin might be gone. He didn't know for sure but Jimmy was the other lad that helped out and got paid for it too. Although he noticed Jimmy noticing Niamh and set him straight on that score too. Niamh was his girl. Luckily he took the not so subtle hint to back off. With the knapsack slung over a broad shoulder he was on his way in a quick pace. By the time she was heading in for the shore, he was heading to that very spot too. Waving now where she could see him, "ahoy!"

"Ahoy, Davin!" She yelled back and jumped out of the skiff as it came into shallow water. A few tugs had it in place until they were ready to leave, the small anchor holding it there. She was wearing britches rolled up to her knees, and a simple blue shirt, her hair pulled back in a braid. Bare feet splashed through the water then lightly over the sand until she reached him and pounced! If she didn't knock him over with that, she might when she kissed him, a good and proper greeting.

"Think she can handle the wide open ocean. Not too far but certainly far for a skiff.." He was running a hand down along the side of the skiff that brought him right up to her. Next he had her in his arms, her feet lifted from the sand as he kissed her like there was no tomorrow while all wrapped up in his arms.

She'd answer after the kiss was finished, and when it was, it took a second or two because she was breathless. "Aye, she can handle the ocean. Da went over her from stem to stern and said she'll do me well." She still had her arms around his neck as she added, "Where are we heading?" Not that it mattered. She would be with him.

He let her slip down against him. Certainly enjoyed the closeness as she could tell by his growing grin. He continued to hold her loosely in his arms as he looked up and past the Point. "That evening we caught sight of the Pirates along the shore.. well..." dipping a glance back down to her in his arms. "I figured out the points of the signal. The ship was stationed out between here and the Shell Islands. I thought maybe we could take a run there, see what there is to see. Most of it is unexplored. There is a small village on Pandora, that's about it." Which meant a good place for Pirates to hide, or hide some of their Bounty. It was known the islands belonged to the Laird McDonough who had a couple ships, although not strongly patrolling the islands at this point for there was no reason to.

"The Shell Islands?" She looked toward the Point, her expression thoughtful. She had taken the smaller skiff out that way but had turned back when the water proved to be too rough. There had been a storm brewing but she hadn't gone back since. The Tern was bigger and she had no doubt they could make it. "We can do it." Her grin returned as she finally lowered her arms. "You armed, Davin?" Nia always carried a fishing knife or two and she had a small spear for fishing but that was it.

"Aye, got me two sabers," as he hauled the knapsack into the skiff. "You have survival provisions?" Which she should always have in the Skiff. "Have you given her a name?" Making sure all was organized before he was attaching the sabers to his hips. He had not bothered until now. Best to get it done. He also had a hat, tricorn style that he placed over his head so he didn't burn overly while out. Certainly he was sporting a tan already. He'd help her back in. "Got us some food too." Lots of extras in that oversized knapsack.

"Always, and Ma packed a basket full." Things that would last too. "She's the Tern. Flies over the water like those seabirds, so it suited." She rarely burned, even as fair as she was, something her father teased her about, having veins filled with saltwater. "We won't starve at least." There were nets in the skiff as well as fishing poles and hooks. Once she was aboard, she lowered the sails again. All it would take was a few pushes and they'd be heading for the islands.

"Good name for her, Tern," nodding with approval as he ran a few steps in pushing the skiff before he hauled himself over the side into the skiff. "May was well do some fishing along the way too, never know what we might catch." Not one to remain idle else he'd be pacing the skiff from one end to the other and driver her nuts! He used one of the poles to help launch them out to sea first, digging it into the sand with a good push in unison with her.

"You can fish, I'll guide her." She'd let him have a hand at the rudder as well once they were out a bit. The direction was known to her so once the wind caught the Tern's sails, she turned her south. "We might make good time with the winds." Nice and brisk but not so much that the skiff would capsize. "Did you let anyone know where we're heading?" Just in case they ran into any problems.

He could do both, although if they really caught any fish then they would be reeling it in, with her help depending on the size. "I'm hoping to get some tuna," so much you could make with tuna. It would take near the whole day to get there with good winds. Why it was tropical compared to where they were. "Aye, Jimmy lad," who was around his own age. "The good looking chap that likes to look at my girl.. " grinning her way as he baited the hook then tossed it out into the water, leaving the line long enough to troll. He secured it in place so he could work the rudder.

Tuna. Good thing she had some large nets. She looked at him a moment, a hint of laughter in her eyes. "Jimmy? Jimmy. Never noticed anyone good looking around the lighthouse except you." She laughed softly, then shrugged. "He can look all he wants, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm not interested in him, does it?" She pulled out a floppy wide-brimmed straw hat and placed it on her head. "Good day for sailing." Not a threatening cloud in the sky so far but they knew how that could change.

"Well, I'm right pleased with that and aye, it doesn't," flashing her a smile but he knew what there was between them so he was not jealous. He would tease to a degree. He caught a few fish, mostly haddock and a few tuna like he hoped. They were well out to sea a this point that Heathfield was a haze on the horizon, mostly because the cliffs were so high. No birds in the sky at this point. Another tug on the line had him over to reel in another tuna which he would put in the holding tank.

"I thought you'd be." She laughed as she answered, then turned her attention forward, talking quietly as the Tern skimmed through the waves. She watched him fishing too, commenting from time to time. "That's the biggest one." Plenty of food indeed!

Storms at sea could appear out of nowhere especially when one got near the tropical climates. Most likely it had something to do with the higher temperatures and so much water around. Sucked it right up and turned the sky above dark. Davin could sense the change in temperature and that something else that came just before a nasty storm. Ionization and that scent that went with it. "Storm coming," which he drew in the fishing pole and started to secure everything down. He'd been on a ship before as she might notice he knew what he was doing.

"Aye, the wind is picking up." Most of her gear was in place already. She moved with an easy confidence as she lashed the rudder in place to give him a hand. Once that was done, she turned the skiff so they weren't going directly into the wind, lowered the sails and pulled up the storm sails. Smaller and of heavier cloth, they'd give the skiff more control though they still would need to find shore quickly. There's oilskin coats in that box there, Davin. Better get two out for us." They were likely to get soaked but the coats had hoods. She tossed her hat back under the bench.

They were going to need all the control they could achieve. The waves grew higher, lifting them up precariously, turning them around in a spin before they were sliding down into the watery well. The next wave sent them sliding up to the crest again. It was dragging them southwest taking them from the direction of Pandora, Davin was shouting over the wind and rain, "if we can manage her East, I think we can land her on Oyster island," hopefully but he didn't add that. They would end up on the south east tip of Oyster, across from Paua at this rate.

Nia had been in storms before, on board the fishing ships even, but she had lost her last boat in the larger storm. She squinted through the stinging rain and nodded. "Going to need your help steering her there. These waves are getting too rough. If we can cut into the wind and across, we should make it." She had a small compass built into the steering of the rudder. "Just need to keep the needle as steady as we can." Her hood blew back but she barely noticed as she put two hands on the tiller.

As she took the helm, he had to use both hands on the rudder and all his strength to keep her straight. It was hard to see where any land was for the rain and that was not good either. Just as he wondered if they be able to keep the Tern afloat, the wind died down, the rain ceased and the sun made its way through, casting a large rainbow across the area, right to the islands. The waves were still extremely choppy and another storm threatened in its wake. They were granted a boom, and he was taking it. "Look, over there, there is some shore and not many rocks." Still, they would need to look out for the underwater reefs especially as they got closer to the island and its inviting shoreline.

Nia was ready to bail out the Tern if she had to, but at least they had a break. She stood in the bow of the skiff then nodded. "Aye, and the tide is high enough we might not have any trouble reaching it. Can you keep her steady until we reach there and I'll watch the water to make sure of clear passage." She wasn't sure which of the islands it was, but in any case, it was a welcome sight. Hopefully they could beach the skiff, and find shelter.

"Aye," and he was doing a good job of it too. His arms were going to ache tonight along with the strain on his legs which he used their strength to keep in place. Luckily the tide would be high enough over any reefs that might prove a big problem otherwise in reaching their destination. It might prove tough getting out when they were ready or go down the coast to a better area.

"There, Davin. There's a spot where we can tie off the Tern and she should be safe. It's somewhat sheltered." A natural jetty jutted out from the beach, the stones high enough to protect the skiff from the wind once the sails were down. If they were lucky, there'd be shelter close by, hidden from those they wouldn't want finding them. "We can lower the sails when we get closer and row her in." It wasn't easy to do, but it would be safer then trying to sail right up like Nia did on the beach below the lighthouse.

He nodded as he directed the skiff there, the push of the waves helped eat up that distance. He secured the rudder in place and took up an oar, moving up to the side where it would do the most good and putting it in the guide before starting to row. Once close enough he was out over the side helping to guide it in once in shallow waters, that would include helping to tie down the masts and secure it on shore. He grabbed his knapsack to sling over his shoulder just as the rains started again. "Hopefully under the brush up there," giving a lift of his chin as that was the closest the vegetation started and he was starting in that direction once she was ready.

"It looks thick enough." She helped to row the skiff and then she lowered the sail. She covered the boat with a canvas once the Tern was secured. She grabbed the basket that she had placed out of the way and then she joined Davin. "We'll let the fish where it is. Hopefully the weather will ease and we can at least smoke it so it doesn't get bad." She pulled up the hood again, and giggled. "I already look like a drowned rat." Not that she cared. Nia favored the outdoors and didn't care if it messed up her hair.

"Aye, they'll last in the holding tank." It wasn't like they were dead and left to sit, rot away. "Aye," laughing at her comment about looking like a drowned rat, "but you're my drowned rat." Giving her a wink as they soon reached the underbrush. Mostly tall leaves they could get some shelter from the heavier rain. He held her close, using his body to help shield her and seeing what he could of where they were and if there was any signs of life. He could not see any at the moment.

She wrinkled her nose at him and wiggled it, giggling. And she certainly didn't mind the rain though if it didn't stop soon, they'd have to find better shelter. Hopefully where they could build a fire. She snuggled up against Davin, and watched the rain fall. A colorful parrot joined them, cocking its head as if trying to decide if they were safe.

"Looks like we are not the only ones trying to find shelter." Although the bird seemed somewhat tame to even come this near to them. That could be good or bad news. He got a glimpse of gray through the movement of leaves and started them off in that direction. "I think there is a cave up ahead, we can see if it is safe," meaning empty. It was where the terrain went steeply up to some high point they could not see for the rain.

"He's a pretty bird." She tipped her head as well and the bird flew off after a few seconds more. "Guess he doesn't like our company after all." She squinted through the rain, then nodded. Empty would be quite welcome and the rain would cover up any noise they might make. It seemed to be getting heavier.

They could hear it hitting the leaves as they passed it was getting that heavy. With the cave finally in sight, his fast walk came to a slight run with his arm around her so they didn't separated. Once at the mouth he first listened, not hearing anything except the rain, he lit one of the small torches and proceeded in. It was not only empty but dry. There were signs it had been used before but not in a while. An area where a fire had been and there was still some wood and kindle along the one side of the wall. "Looks like we're in luck!" Which he proceeded to set aside the knapsack and set to work getting a fire going.

She kept up easily enough though she had to take more steps. When he paused, she did as well, listening while she watched Davin's face. Once they were inside, she went through her knapsack. There was a flask of the pure in it if they needed to warm up, and with the basket they were set for as long as the storm lasted.

He stripped down to just his pants as the rain even had the bugs seeking shelter. He laid out his clothes on the floor near the fire so they could dry. "Shall we feast and drink?" He too had a variety of food that would last a duration. He settled down in cross leg style and patted the ground next to him. They could go through what they had and eat conservatively.

She shed the coat and sat beside him after removing her boots and socks. Her clothes had stayed fairly dry under the coat. She sat beside him and offered him the flask first. "Fighting a storm does make one hungry." She said in a serious tone, though she grinned at him after. "Cozy isn't it and the smoke seems to have a way out." Since they weren't choking on it.

"Aye, hungry.." but the implication was there having more meaning with the waggle of his brows as he took the flask and downed a good drink. One that would keep him from saying another word for a few seconds as the heat ran the gauntlet. He offered her a crab cake he had made earlier and were wrapped up in cheesecloth. Food that needed to be eaten this day.

Nia would never refuse food, especially something that she favored. She had blushed when Davin wiggled his brows and then she giggled and nudged him with her shoulder. It was very good and she didn't say a word while she was eating. Her feet were warming up nicely.

He was warming up nicely from the inside out at this point. The air was heavy with moisture and very warm as well. Kind that it made it hard to breathe until you got use to it; the younger the quicker. By the time they were done, the rain had stopped. One could not be certain for how long but probably long enough, "shall we go get some of the fish to smoke? Stay here the night," as it was getting late and best they settled in for this night. They could get any cushions to sleep on too.

Better yet, they could get the blankets tucked into one of the chests. Nia's father made sure the skiff had all the necessities and they could sleep on them rather then under them. "Sounds like a good idea." She tugged at her shirt and made a face. "It's very sticky, isn't it?" She had a chemise under the shirt, and might very well strip down to that when they slept!

"Aye, you can get rid of it if you want," and the grin spread from ear to ear being he would be the only one that would see her like that! He was all for it of course, he was all for having her sleep in his arms and much, much more. All that kissing led to and he would be kissing her good. Presently they needed to get the provisions before it got too late. So with that in mind, he took her hand and started them back to the skiff. Luckily he had gotten enough fish but not too much that it would be a very long task this night. No, he had other plans.

"Oh, hush you." She laughed again as she reach to poke him in the side. It was a bit slick for all the rain made mud but soon it wouldn't take long at all until they were back at the skiff. The canvas could be pulled aside easily and they could get what they needed with little trouble. The sky seemed to warn that it could very well rain off and on all night. And this time, Nia didn't have a carrier pigeon aboard to send home.

The pigeon probably would have drowned for the heavy rain. He set into gutting the fish and putting them under a dome near the fire, close enough the heat would get in as he stirred in hickory chips he had just for that purpose. It would have the whole cave smelling good after a while. He got to that point, and with something else on his mind he was up. Just as he stood there was a rush of something flying past him and her to the other side of the cave. He took up a torch real quick and headed that way. Low and behold, it was that colorful parrot they had seen earlier. It was on a perch someone had made for it. Here it commenced to ruffle through its feathers, cleaning itself, all at home.

Nia had busied herself while Davin prepared the food, smoothing out a good size area of rocks and debris though there wasn't much to clean where she had chosen. She had settled beside the fire again when the bird flew passed. Out came a squeak of surprise, then she followed Davin. "Looks like he's been here awhile on his own. Lots of crap." She looked up at Davin then back to the bird.

"Aye, keeps coming back here. Do you have any fruit in the basket?" The bird stopped its preening to eye them up and down before squawking out, "treasure me pirates." Davin's brows lifted. "I think we found an abandoned pirate's parrot. Maybe we can befriend it." Never knew what it might say over the course of time.

"Aye, I do. Dried apples, and some plums and grapes." She went back to the basket and rummaged around then returned. "Do you want to try, since it's unlikely his former owner was a female." Some birds were picky about that.

"Aye," which the bird repeated while flapping its wings then settled again. Davin took the bit and pieces and carefully offered them to the parrot. At first he wondered if it would bite him but it didn't, instead it carefully took the bit of fruit and using its claw like a hand, proceeded to eat it. Once he was done with the first piece he offered another and the parrot repeated the process.

That made her laugh softly as she leaned forward slightly to watch. "I wonder what else he knows." She said softly, more a thought then anything. Of course, it likely knew too many words, probably a few it shouldn't. She leaned against the wall of the cave, smiling at Davin. "So far, so good."

"We can find out tomorrow if it sticks around." Once tamed they had a tendency to want to be with a human. He left the few other pieces there on the ground where it could get them when it wanted to. He had something far better planned than spending it with the parrot. He was over to grab her up and carrying her back over to where the blankets were, "now time for us as night sets in," and he would start it all with enticing kissing, kissing that would trail to those special spots.

She hadn't expected him to lift her up and again, squeaked though it was followed by a soft laugh as she put her arms around his neck. Time for us. That sounded ... perfect. Even if the storm began again, they were safe and warm in the cave. And for the moment, they didn't have a care in the world.


Date: 07-03-12
Poster: Davin Byrne
Post # 7

The Jungle

He kept them to the shore for as long as possible but then there was no other way around going up into the jungle. At least the outskirts of it. "Maybe we can get some fruits and take a respite while the tide does what it does..." chuckling keeping to the lighter side of things or so he hoped. At least he had a machete and cleared most of the bramble away but certainly there were spiders to skitter and snakes to slither but at least they were doing their best to get away from them than attack. Davin finally paused at a banana tree and was soon climbing to get some of the ripe ones from a lower branch. "Catch."

Euw! Euw! Euw! Nia was not usually afraid of animals on land or in the sea but spiders just creeped her out. She squeaked a few times, wrinkling her nose and shivering but at least she didn't run away! She thought it a bit funny that they ran from her. "I wouldn't mind taking a break. It really is thicker then I thought it was." She watched him climb up the tree, then held out her hands to catch the fruit when he dropped it. "You have company watching you." There was a rather small monkey sitting above Davin, watching him with interest.

One of those little spider monkeys so he made sure he had extra bananas. He swung down after the fruit was tossed and landed on both feet. The monkey moved down too to watch them. It seemed they had entered a village of them as the whole jungle came alive behind the one with swinging, chattering, groups. "At least it is not gorillas.." which they would certainly avoid. If they were not welcome they would find out soon enough for they would toss their poop at them. He would keep to the edge of their domain and found a spot, clearing a lot around the large log they could at least sit upon. He dumped his gear to rest there before getting up on the very large trunk and making himself as comfortable as possible.

"Gorillas?!" She blinked and looked around, then laughed. "I hope there aren't any." She wouldn't mind seeing them from a distance though. She watched the monkeys for a moment, then followed Davin, helping to clear the spot then placed her gear beside his. Then she clambered up and sat right beside him. It was nice, just the two of them, relaxing, snacking and enjoying one another's company. "I wonder if there are any settlements out here besides that up
there." She couldn't see the smoke too well from where she was sitting.

He gave a shrug of his shoulder before rooting through one of the bags that contained the smoked fish. He offered her a portion. "Where there are any monkeys there can be gorillas." Which he too hoped they didn't run into any. They were more reclusive and usually stayed to the higher grounds. "Where there is smoke there is someone or ones. It could be the pirates signaling to a ship way out at sea." He too was looking where they had seen smoke before and it seemed to be gone now. He noticed the monkey getting closer so tossed him one of the bananas before eating the bit of smoke fish then one of the bananas too.

She had heard they were far more gentle then people realized, protecting their own if they felt threatened. She smiled her thanks for the fish, then settled into eating. "I think you've made a friend." She leaned slightly to watch while she ate, first the fish, then a banana. And she tossed a piece to the monkey when it finished the one Davin threw.

It would seem that they had as he came closer.. holding up the banana. Just then the parrot swooped down with a screech and snatched it from the monkey. The monkey gave chase. Davin let out a bellow of a laugh that had the whole jungle come alive in sounds that only rose like ripples on a pond.

Nia jumped then giggled as she watched the two. Her eyes grew bright at the sounds and she stood up on the log, as if she could see that ripple of sound. It was glorious though it might alert something they wouldn't want alerted. She grinned down at Davin before she sat again. "I like it here." That could change of course!

At first he thought a storm was approaching fast as he tucked away the food and jumped down from the log. "Holy!" as he turned facing her and saw the beasts, buffalo! coming from out of the edge of jungle behind her. He reached up, dragging her down as he pressed her in against the log in a prone position. Next they would see hairy hides as some jumped, hooves just missing them as they stampeded by.

She didn't have time to yell or scream when she heard the pounding. Davin had grabbed her so quickly that it caught in her throat. She might have ones they were down but it wouldn't be heard over the sounds of those hooves, and the bellowing of animals. She pressed her face against his chest, eyes closed tight. Best not to see how close they were to being stomped on. There were all sorts of animals here!

That's when he found her lips and kissed her like there was no tomorrow. The pounding in his ears would not be just from the hooves of a good size herd on the move. Something had them spooked and best it was ripple than a predator after them. Well, there was one as a lion leaped over the log near the end of the herd but too concentrated on taking down one of the weaker ones than the two humans huddled out of the way. Once the fiasco was over and the thunder to cease except the other kind, lips parted as he listened for a few moments longer.

That was an excellent way to calm Nia, whether that had been Davin's purpose or not. She didn't even notice the lion. Her ears ringing weren't just from the herd, or the silence that followed. She sighed and leaned against him, listening as well. Mostly to the pondering of her heart. When she did open her eyes and look up, she covered her mouth with her hand, eyes wide. There was a rather dazed spider hanging right over them!

Except as he looked lovingly into her eyes, he noticed movement, and more movement. Seems they disturbed a colony of spiders and they were starting to crawl all over her. He could not tell if they were harmless or not but instinct had him to his feet and dragging her up as some fell off. He was dusting them off her and himself.

She couldn't help it now! Spiders everywhere and once he had her on her feet, she screamed! And brushed, and danced around, trying to avoid them. And yes, she squished some too! This was going to cause some nightmares! Just one long ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Talk about scaring the whole island! The monkey colony was yelling in reaction.

He was trying to get the last off of her but her actions had him laughing, laughing so hard he could hardly lift his hand except to the tightening muscles of his stomach. To top it off, the parrot was back with the monkey still chasing. He landed on Davin's shoulder and didn't the monkey follow but the two buddied up luckily as the monkey offered the bird more of his banana.

"It's not funny!" The last of them fell off, running away from the crazy, shaking thing. She finally calmed down when she realized they were gone. Then sniffed and turned to look for their things. Had they survived the trampling too? And she was muttering to herself, about spiders, and people laughing and stupid animals, and stupid storms. All the while trying to ignore Davin and his two friends. Humph.

And that had him take her up into his arms and sear away those mumbling with his lips. He was all serious now especially when it could have been a tragedy. He forgot all about the parrot and monkey on his shoulder that had the monkey crawl up on her head, his tail wrapping around her neck as his hands went over her eyes. Didn't stop Davin from kissing her!

She would have pouted but Davin took care of that too. She snugged right up against him, thought the monkey tried to interfere. Maybe he was jealous. Once their lips parted, she giggled softly. "I can't see." All over being mad now, but then she shivered again and clung tightly. "I'm really scared of spiders." As if he hadn't realized that.

"Aye," was all he would say to that as he held her close. He had to laugh at the monkey and such had the creature to let go and take off, joining his brothers. The parrot took off after him having someone to play with. "I think we should get down to the shore again, see if the water is receding." They would probably find a lot of shells and would pick some up. He started her off making sure they left all the spiders behind. He was also trying to see if she got bit at all.

"I won't argue with that." She hadn't been bit, just scared but then again, so were the spiders. And there was their stuff, still in good shape. She might even take a dip in the ocean just to make sure none of those critters were left anywhere. Shells would be fun to collect too. But she was ever mindful that they weren't alone.


Date: 07-07-12
Poster: Davin Byrne
Post # 8

Collecting Shells

Davin hacked a path down to the shore, the going slow as there was a quick downpour too. One of those walls of rains that came in sheets then gone leaving you soaked but in a blessing sort of way. Their clothing would dry fast once it was over too, before they even reached the white sand that stretched for miles along this side. Some points where the rocks nearly took over but not quite. There were all kinds of shells scattered over the area, from where the seaweed was tangled with grass down to where the ocean still struggled to draw them back into its depths.

If it wasn't for the terrain, she would have had her shoes off by now. Once in the sand, she would. It didn't matter if they had to run or not. Nia was used to going about with no shoes on. If it wasn't for the spiders and the fact they didn't know who was on the island with them, she'd probably be completely enjoying herself. As it was, she kept her hand on the hilt of her knife and listened. The rain felt good for as long as it lasted, and then they grew sticky again.

He sent her off collecting shells as they might not have this kind of an opportunity again. They had extra sacks to put them in as he motioned to the area down a short distance then started to collect the ones where he stood.

There were all kinds, large, small, medium, some in good shape, others not so good. She laughed when she startled a crab and watched it scuttle off to a tide pool. She kept glancing back at Davin, making sure he didn't get out of her sight. That wouldn't do at all. It would only take a few minutes to fill one sack. Easy to see how the islands got their name.

Nia might notice him scurrying around. Dashing here and there and going back to the same spot. Zip. Dash. Run. Stoop. And so on before he seemed to be satisfied with his collection of shells. He stood back a moment the spied where she was down a ways and waved her up to join him and see his collection.

Walking through sand took a bit but she headed back. The breeze from the ocean helped cool them off some, but it was still hot. The gulls and other seabirds pretty much ignored the two. They didn't have wings and they weren't carrying food to share.

Once she reached him, he slid his arm around her waist and faced his creation in the show of shells. MARRY ME. Was the design and no mistaking what it said.

She grinned up at him then he turned her around and she stared a moment, then a moment more. Finally she turned and threw her arms around his neck, laughing and crying together. "Aye, I'll marry you." What a wonderful surprise! And after she declared that she would, she laid a good kiss on him!

"You like my shell collection," grinning like a devil as he lifted her up into his arms to swing around. He was sure his mother approved as would his whole family, as would her family that had already taken him in as one of their own. That good kiss had her back to her feet in that lip lock that would leave them sucking in air by the time it was done. Long, deep and satisfying.

They could forget for a little while that they wee some distance from home... not that it was a bad thing! And just enjoy one another's company. When they finally parted, she leaned her head against his chest. "And I'll never forget where you asked me." How could she? It was unique as was the way he asked her.

"Think you'll want to keep that collection of shells?" Finally taking in a good deep breath as he held her close. It was then he noticed some smoke from the island across the way, one behind this one. "Let's go see what we can see on the other side." They would make their way around along the shore but not on the shoreline where they could be spotted easier. If there were others around. "We'll keep to the edge of the jungle." Which he felt at this point would be safer. First he would help her gather up the shells that he had used. Oh, that grin wasn't going to leave for a while either.

"Of course I want to keep them." She tried to act indignant but she was much too happy. She turned her head to see where he was looking then nodded. "All right. You just watch out for spiders." She'd let him chase the blasted critters away. And those shells were never going to leave her possession.

It would take them a couple hours to reached the point with even taking shortcuts along the way. They were along the tree line when it was quite obvious what laid before them. An unmarked ship snuggled away between the islands in a spot that most would not see it at all, especially not from the sea. "I think we found something.." words were under his breath as he noticed ones boarding a dinghy along the shore loaded up with crates. "I don't think Mr McDonough knows about this but this is probably where the ship that was signaled went.." He was mussing and keeping her close next to a large banana tree trunk.

She was glad when they finally stopped but not for the reason. "I don't think he would like it much. Do you think they're smugglers, or pirates? Or both?" They could be that, couldn't they? They must have a place to store those crates, like the caves along the shore back home."

He kept her close while watching the ones push off into the water and head for that ship. A good size one that had plenty of guns as he noted the slats they were kept behind. "At least smugglers if not pirate ones." Which he took a long pause, "shall we go back to the skiff and head home and let Laird McDonough know or shall we venture to investigate more?" Which could be a big mistake if they got caught.

She nodded then looked up at him and smiled slightly. "Which you think best. We probably should try to get back, not have folks worrying about us too much." As if that would happen. Besides, she had news to share and so did he! "Laird McDonough will know what to do."

"Aye, I'm tempted to go investigate further but I'm not willing to get my future wife in trouble." That was the main consideration as he eased them away from the tree on the other side so they were not seen. He was sure they had lookouts posted but hopefully not this far. Best they be on their way and as quickly as possible. "I think we should check the caves along our shores for I'm sure there are ones we have not found yet around the Point."

"Aye, you we'll protect her from spiders too, right?" She was laughing at herself now but not before! She glanced back over her shoulder then nodded. "More then likely. We'll just need to be extra careful. Can't even identify who the ships belong to at this point so we'll have to assume they're all working together." Which could mean a large group of them.

"Aye, spiders, monkeys, buffalo, lions and parrots," grinning with a nod. "There could be more but I'll not chance trying to get around that one to the other islands and waterways between." He would leave that to Maurice to take care of. Where it should be for these were his islands. There was always an off chance it was one of his ships! He just wasn't going to dare the devil with her along. It would take them the rest of the day to get back to the cave, pack up their things and head out. Except they would find a mess of what was left for one monkey and parrot at work.

She was tired when they reached the cave, tired enough to be angry with the monkey and parrot. "They've destroyed our food." She sniffed as she looked at the mess, hands on hips. "Shame on you two. Just look at this." Ugh. How were they going to get this sorted out? And whether they understood her or not, she was scolding. She was grumpy because she was tired.

That's when the monkey took a pair of her shorts and put it over his head and ran off into the jungle. They would find it in her skiff later. Seems they were adopted. The parrot was making all kinds of noises squawking while flapping its wings. It too took off after the monkey and would be found later in the skiff as well. They had been adopted. Like it or not. Davin gave her a quick kiss then started to clean up. Just stuffing stuff back into the sacks which could be sorted out later. "We will need to catch the tide." There was no time to dillydally or be angry.

The kiss made it all worth the trouble, and so did the silly monkey. She happily went to work, cleaning up what she could in spite of losing those shorts. They still had some of the fish and they could collect fruit on the way but Nia didn't think they'd be hungry. "We should be able to catch a current if we can't get enough wind." She'd be glad to be off this island.

Once out to sea they would find their new companions hidden away under some tarp.

What a end to two exciting days. Two new friends, who would learn to behave or else, and information to give to Laird McDonough. Of course, the best was the news they had to share. Once they crossed the water, and were back at the lighthouse, they could clean up, rest and then go talk to family. And they'd have one more night to share together.


Date: 07-07-12
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 9

Echo Cave

She was going to wash that man right out of her hair and send him on his way.. as she washed up in the make shift shower and felt clean all over. It was going to be a long day as she was up before the crack of dawn. Dawn came early here too. She had slept soundly, probably due to the beverage she was given so she would and no hangover! That was the best part. It had rained during the night and everything was fresh smelling as she ventured outside. A man, Reggie, had been gotten for her through Milly, to be her guide. Show her the sights and wherever she wished to go for a coin. She had coins to pay him for his services as guide. Breakfast was something quick as food was packed to have later on instead. The ideal was to be back by the evening but enough food would last as an evening meal if the ideal was not seen. A trail led past where the ceremonies were held but not the one that man had taken on the run. Sunlight trickled through the heavy foliage and fauna as Reggie led using a machete where needed.

Thing was: Because Milly knew, Brian knew. The woman made it a point to drop all sorts of hints that would otherwise be an innocent comment but had the Bali prince growling under his breath and glaring over at the woman. Why should he care if that headstrong female wandered out into the 'adventure' she had been craving for so long? Why should he be concerned that one man with machete may or may not be enough to deliver and bring her back? Why did Milly keep mentioning how dangerous it could be out there in the 'Thickness'? Three times she commented on the different possibilities that could present to the travelers, and each of those three times were a totally different list of things. Grumbling under his breath about exaggeration and unnecessary guilt, he scribbled out a note to Neale Fraiser, Duke of Falkirk, folded it and handed it over to Milly. "Next ship out, see that this is delivered, aye?" Even as the woman was collecting the note, Bryan was jerking on a vest and taking up another machete that was conveniently placed on the table close to him as well as the daggers and a coil of rope. He tossed the rope around his shoulder, tucked the daggers away and started toward the door, only to stop when he caught Milly opening his note. "Excuse me?" Milly didn't look the least bit ashamed she had overstepped any boundaries of privacy. She looked up from the words over to the prince. "You ask for help from this man? To let him know where she is, in case you can not bring her back? You not man enough to help the lass?" Bryan's gaze narrowed, dropping to the opened letter in the woman's hand then back up to her. With the tip of the long weapon in his hand, he pointed toward the parchment. "That is her uncle, and see that it is delivered. Immediately." With that he growled out a few more choice words about nosey females, stubborn females, and females in general, continuing on his way. Milly grinned as the prince stormed out, dropping her eyes to the paper in her hand which she scrunched up into a crumpled ball. "I'll deliver it, Boy." She spoke toward the door, but the one it was intended for would not hear. "I'll deliver it right where it needs to go." With that, she tossed it to the flaming wood under the large pot boiling to clean the linens.

If only Ellyn had heard that comment to Bryan from Milly, she'd be laughing about it for days. Instead, she was making progress through the jungle with Reggie. There were enough sounds to have her spin around a time or two to try and see what made it. Many were birds of all sizes, species and colors, some were of smaller jungle animals and some were of larger ones. She nearly collided when Reggie stopped short and she'd been looking off through the vegetation for some movement that caught her eye. Luckily she avoided the mishap with a last second step aside and noted his hand up as he was concentrated on something ahead, more in listening than sight. His words were hushed which had her hush as well as he said for her to wait there and before she could even protest, he was gone. After twenty minutes and more sounds that had her feeling surrounded, she started in the direction he had taken. That direction, however, he had not used the machete on for that was for her benefit. Panic was starting to set in and when there was a crashing sound behind her, she bolted in the direction she thought would take her to the village. On the run and something following, next she had the world drop out from beneath her feet. In the dust and haze about twelve feet below she laid for a good five minutes with the wind knocked out of her sails. She came to with a start and noted something still moving about above the hole she fell through. Nothing was broken as she took note of the area round her and discovered the rock continued out in tunnels from the spot she landed. So she picked one and started in that direction. Reggie would be found not far down from the path she had taken but missed him laying there unconscious, surrounded by fauna to camouflage his body. He'd been hit over the head with a blunt instrument, not attack by any animal.

The McAndrews boys were princes. They had been trained to hunt and track. They continued to be taught to fight, with weapons of different kinds to no weapons at all. Still, only a fool would wander out into the "Thickness", as Milly called it, alone without a wee bit of trepidation. Pause. Backtrack. Only a fool would wander out into the "Thickness" alone. Period. Guess Bryan was as much a fool as his trainers and tutors had always accused him of being with his cocky nature and self-confidence in excess. He only needed to ask a few villagers to find out where Ellyn and Reggie had entered into the trees, and then he followed the path of chopped, hacked growth. Since this had nothing to do with sightseeing and all to do with 'being man enough', damitall, he didn't pause to admire the colored plumes or unique fronds. At first it wasn't difficult to follow, this path left behind them, but then, the machete cleared way ceased abruptly. Bryan tuned in a full circle, scanning the periphery and then he dropped to a knee, tracing a finger along the smaller of the footprints left pressed in the soft earth. The direction it pointed led right into the thickest part of the area. Wouldn't you just know it. Way to go, Ellyn. Still on one knee, Bryan lifted the bandana dangling around his neck and wiped the sweat from his face, losing sight of and then finding that destination once again when the cloth dropped away from his eyes.

Snakes large enough to consume an oxen. Boars who fed on human flesh. Tiny, colorful frogs leaking venom from their shining hides. Orange apes that could rip a man to shreds. On and on and on. Milly and her list...kept going through his head. And then...a growl like groan and rustling. Which caused the prince to spring to his feet and brace for whatever had made that noise. More rustling and then another sound of pain followed by silence. Human. Without another moment's hesitation, Bryan shouldered, blade-whacked his way through, allowing the instincts of where he thought he heard the moan to lead him. Directly. To. "Fuck me." He muttered under his breath and lowered to lay his blade aside. He studied the man sprawled there, taking in the blood that oozed from behind his head. "You Reggie?" He asked, even as he made his own assumptions that he was. Bryan's gaze snapped up and he searched as best he could among the tightly pressed jungle. "Listen, Man. I'm going to have to leave you to find Ellyn. No doubt whoever did this has taken pursuit of the female. My God." Torn between the injured man and the possibility that Ellyn had gotten herself in deeper than she might be able to dig herself out, Bryan sucked in a deep breath. There was no helping Reggie. Not at the moment. Panthers. Boars. Apes. Snakes be damned. Reggie would just have to fend them off as best he could for all his bleeding, head-busted state of ill disposition. Bryan patted the man on his shoulder and came to his feet. One last look down to the injured fellow and the prince was once more on his way, slow as it was, seeking out signs on Ellyn's course and rooting out clues to her whereabouts.

Reggie was rallying but he was not stable yet. His English broken but at least he could speak it. Why Milly had chosen him aside the fact he knew the jungle better than anyone else. That didn't say much for very few ventured very far from the village. It was too dangerous, it was more superstition. He had stated "Ellyn back on trail" but when told she was not he stated he would catch up, help, soon, as Bryan took off. The one at the hole where Ellyn had fallen through, moved off as Bryan started in that direction. One that knew the jungle better than Reggie and if Bryan found the hole, he would be ambushed from behind much as Reggie had been. Ellyn had the luck of the innocent. That was probably the only explanation that could account for her presently. Darkness. Dust. Spiders. Small snakes. She was in one of the upper network chambers of Echo Cave. Caves was more accurate and the natives of the island held it in great regard. Fear being one of the bigger qualities of that regard. Demons and Gods, one of those factions resided in Echo Cave. It was easy enough to guess how it got its name. Ellyn was moving along using the walls as a guide when something moved under her hand. The squeal let out in surprised proved the name as it echoed over and over through the chambers, going down one then up another, only to return to her as if there was someone else in the cave with her. The sound even came up through the hole she had fallen into, one worn away from the recent rains after many rains before it. Her luck. Large areas she had to watch her footing while other areas had her barely squeezing through. She finally came to an impasse when the rock gave way to space. A lot more space than what she had fallen through without a choice. Down below, a good distance was water and she sat there wondering if she could get up nerve to jump. She could not see how wide the pool was down below or if completely enclosed. Well, it could not be completely enclosed if there was water there.. Right?

Ellyn had the luck of the innocent. Bryan had the luck of the pompous. It wasn't until that squeal ran its course and shot through the hole that Bryan was completely sure of his destination. He could hear Reggie struggling along behind him now, as long as it had taken Bryan to drop and search, stand and hunt. Machete swinging, he cleared a way to the precipice, and looked down into that dark hole. Would he even fit? "I know fast way in." Reggie called weakly from behind him, still some ways down the path Bryan had cleared. Bryan looked around his shoulder, scanned the area around them, and then shook his head. "And what if that shortcut takes us infront of her? And we don't know it? Or behind her, and we think we're ahead. Better to just follow the same way she went." The hair at the back of his neck was standing at attention. They were being watched. But for all of Bryan's searching the area, he could see nothing. Human, animal, reptile, being. Nothing. And that did NOT sit well with him. "I'm going in here. If you want, take the fast way." Bryan looped the rope around an obliging stump and lowered himself through the tight fit of cave mouth. "Toss it down, Reggie!" and then the end of the rope dropped down on his head. The prince gathered it up and hooked it over his shoulder again and was off. The place might be known for its god-dwelling, and the sounds echoing through it no doubt gave it that reputation. The breeze moaned through the corridors like some groaning beast or hissed off and out like a fabled monster. "Ellyn!" Bryan shouted, hearing his voice carry, over and over and over and come back at him with enough force to almost make him take a step back. He could hear her steps, at least he hoped they were hers, he could hear...steps... as if they were next to him, but he knew they were not, so he used that sound to guide him. Slipping, grappling, anchoring, fighting his steps along the way in his search. He didn't shout again, since the first one had sent off the sound of a rock avalanche. He remained silent in the dark, until the sound he followed stopped. She had stopped. At least, whatever he was following...had stopped. But he could only go forward, so he did, and continued to wander forward until he ran ... smack front to back...into the body before him. The contact was such a surprise that he dropped the machete with a resounding clang that echoed in every direction, he gasped with surprise, and then realized that the impact of the contact sent the first one pitching forward. He reached out to grab...that person...and due to the size knew it was Ellyn. But she was already fully in motion, and his reaching for her sent him full forward as well. They were both going down... into the water below. She didn't need to make any decisions for proceeding or retreating. Bryan had just, without meaning to, made that decision for her.

Unfortunate for the ambusher, best laid plans were set aside and new ones made as Reggie showed up. He disappeared into the jungle with another destination in mind. Reggie offered up some information before Bryan disappeared, "Echo Cave open on shore of ocean." And he was off to take the shorter route of Pandora's east coast. One that laid across from Conch's shores at the Bend. Which became known as Echo Bend for the Cave. The shoreline was pretty much known but the bulk of jungle and especially any mountains they contained, were not. Ellyn sat there, not very long, in making her decision when all the sounds from above had debris starting to fall on her as if the cave would collapse. It would not but she didn't know that. She had started to stand when hit from behind and next she knew her decision was made for her. Airborne. The screech, for it was more piercing than a scream, would leave anyone deaf by the time it finished echoing through the cambers of the caves. What saved their ears some was the plunge into water below. Salt water and once they grappled and pushed their way back up to break the water's barrier to air again, they would notice the mouth of the cave that led directly out into the ocean. Tide was up hence no shore at that particular point. Luckily it never quite filled up the mouth that one couldn't swim through. She was lashing out at first from the thing that pushed her over the edge, in more ways than one, until she realized who it was. "BRYAN!" Which now the cave was echoing his name. She didn't know whether to hug or continue beating him! He gave her the start of her life.

Bryan still had her around the waist, using his other hand to help keep them afloat. He sputtered and spit as her thrashing splashed water into his face where the plunge already had his vision blurred from being submerged. "Stop that flopping about like a clipped bird. You're heavy as a sack of rocks." He barked, trying to twist away from her lashing and still keep hold of her. That comment should help her make up her mind. But then, he was still holding on to her, as safe as if she were on shore, sprawled on the beach, under the sun, basking.


Date: 07-08-12
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 10

The Announcement

By the time Nia and Davin had reached the shore below the lighthouse, it was nearly dark. They had beached the Tern, then spent the night at the Lighthouse. The next morning, they sailed along the coast to the village where Nia lived to share the news with her family. A celebration followed of course, and then the two returned to the Lighthouse and headed to the Quinn estate to find Davin's mother. Nia wore a gown of light blue cotton, something her mother had talked her into. Her long hair was left loose, though she wore a band that matched the dress to keep her hair out of her face. After all, Nia should look like a young lady, not the wild child of the sea as her father called her. She was nervous and excited, and at times, just giggled for no reason at all.

Davin had especially enjoyed the celebration afterwards. This was a big step for him but one he was sure of, still .. that didn't take away being nervous taking this step. He attired himself in a white shirt which really accented his tan, black pants and the lightweight boots made for traveling the area which he did a lot. His hands felt sweaty on the reins of the surrey they rode. A pair of dapple greys, something of their own he had picked up. The greys he'd gotten from his cousin. All that mileage on their nerves only to find that his mother was visiting Laird McDonough, "now of all luck," grinning as he saw Niah back into the carriage. He didn't tell his relatives the good news for his mother should know first. Even if they were probably guessing right. So a half hour later they arrived at the sprawling ranch. Once at the front of the estate he was down, around and helping Niah out. They had been spotted, recognized as the door was already being open by the butler for them to enter. They were informed that the master of the house and Lady Byrne were out back in the gardens taking refreshments there and that they had been announced, refreshments waiting for them as well. Davin gave Niah a waggle of his brows before heading through the mansion then out back.

Well, that was only a minor change in plans, wasn't it? She tried not to fidget though she did calm down as they rode toward the ranch. The scenery helped of course, but when they reached the ranch, her nervousness returned. She didn't want to let go of his hand as they entered the manor but thought it might be better if she slid her arm through his. She had met his mother, but not Laird McDonough and she had heard he was very tall. Davin made her smile and she lifted her chin, determined to make a good impression.

Chandra had been surprised when they were informed her son and Nia were visiting. Surprised and pleased. She had known Davin was seeing Nia of course, and had met her. She was watching the door and when the two came outside, she stood and was over to hug Davin, and then Nia. "What a wonderful surprise. Maurice, you've met my son. And this young lady is Niamh Lysaght, daughter of Donal Lysaght of Ruiaidin."

Maurice was up, all six feet eight as he towered behind Chandra. Roguish grin fell easily in place, one he had been known for all his life. "It is good to see you again Davin," as he extended his hand but ice blue eyes danced over the fetching lass with him. "You must be Niamh," saying her name as it would sound properly in a Celtic accent. Once his hand was shook by Davin and released, he would take up Niah's hand, all properly with the barely touch of his lips to the back of it before released. Stepping back as a hand came to rest against Chandra's back, a known claim in an ancient silent way of things, actions speaking louder than words.

His mother got the good hug she was use to when not seen in a while especially before he was shaking Maurice's hand. Once the pleasantries were done he got right to the point, instead of torturing Nia by letting it drag its way out. "I have asked Nia to marry me and she has said yes," he eyed the tray not far from them that held a bottle of potcheen in particular. There and back as a grin emerged.

Davin didn't waste time and while she blinked in surprise, she smiled widely then looked hopefully at Chandra. She wasn't sure how she'd react to such news, but they were both so happy, that surely she would be too.

She was more then happy, she was delighted and overjoyed. "Oh, how wonderful! I'm... overwhelmed!" She hugged Nia tightly, then Davin again, her eyes filled with tears of joy. "Did you tell your grandmother yet? Have you decided anything about when?" She laughed as she stepped back. "Don't let me frighten you off, Nia." She looked at Davin and smiled again. She had been so concerned when he first came here and now he was engaged!

A rumble of a chuckle came from Maurice as he added, "congratulations and perhaps we will have a double wedding," adding in a wink there. He didn't look at Chandra but she'd note the wicked grin tucked within the thick beard. Probably on a double take. "Shall we have a toast to wondrous futures," his hand slipping away from Chandra's back as he headed over to collect the bottle of potcheen and small glasses, pouring four, hoping that both Chandra and Niamh could handle at least a small taste for this particular toast. He was back to offer the glasses over.

"No, but she will be next," although Ice's words had him pausing as he looked between him and his mother. Did they have some news too? He took the glass and lifted it, "I will second that emotion." Kicking it back with a good burn to follow. Ever present in his mind would be to speak on what they found on his island but this was not yet the moment.

"Thank you, Laird McDonough." She was a bit flustered not only because the man was as tall as they said, but handsome and dashing, and he kissed her hand. A double wedding? Her eyes grew brighter then before and she looked up at Davin with a grin. She accepted the glass, then held it up. "Wondrous futures." She liked the sound of that. She had potcheen before but it still made her eyes water as it went down.

Chandra did do a double take, her eyes wide, noting that grin. She gave him a nudge to the side. There would be questions later! The glass was held up and tipped back without an addition from her. What could she add?

There was a twinkle in ice blue eyes as certainly there would be talk later, talk and more. More and then some talk again, then more. He glass was emptied in a kick back and only poured a touch more in Davin's glass as well his own. "You are driving.." as he figured they would be on their way to tell Mary Quinn the good news before it reached her ears from someone else.

The second bit was kicked back as he noticed they were having a private moment that was pleasantly interrupted but now it was time for them to get to his grandmother, matriarch of the family to give her the news. "Aye, I'll be driving as far as the Quinn manor. Perhaps we'll be staying the night there for I know dinner will be served and then my cousins will want to help Nia make plans," which was his way of warning her about the Quinn female cousins. He hoped she was ready for all the excitement. There was one matter he needed to discuss before taking their leave. "We tried the skiff out and ended up on Oyster island. A bit of an adventure but what is noteworthy is a ship we spotted between the shores of Oyster and Paua. No flag from its mast, and there were men putting crates in a dinghy that they then headed for the ship with." He glanced to Nia to see if he had missed anything that she could add.

There wasn't much for her to add since they had been so far away, other then, "They seemed to have been there before. We saw smoke on the island too." She looked up at Davin, then at Ice. She felt like a little girl looking at him!

Chandra chuckled at Davin's warning. He was right about the cousins, though she was sure they'd be inviting Nia's mothers and any sisters to the manor. She had been about to kiss each of them good bye but Davin had her pausing and looking up at Ice as well.

There was a serious side to Ice and that showed in the hard edge ice blue eyes took on. "This was recent then.." more as a statement as he nodded. "It will be investigated immediately. Most do not travel between those islands in such big ships for it is very dangerous and only with high tide. Unless they go in and sit between them. Can you show me exactly where on the map?" This directed Davin but Nia was welcome if Davin could not. He indicated they follow him inside to his study where he had a large map of the islands hanging on his wall. "Most of them are unexplored but I have a feeling there are not only numerous caves but veins of metal such as silver, some precious stones.. gold even." This had to be something recent, as in over the past few months than something that had been going on since he acquired the islands. Still, details on them might be known by some who had them previously or made use of them unbeknownst to their last owner.

"Aye, I can," hand slipping down along the back of Nia's arm as he led her in behind Ice and Chandra to his study. He was over to point out the exact location where they saw the ship, so Ice would know exactly where to start. "And here is the spot along the shore where the dinghy was being loaded up."

She followed quietly, a little overwhelmed now that she was actually noticing the manor. The entire village could live in here. She looked up at the map and smiled, then nodded. Davin had picked it out with no trouble at all. "We didn't go further." She didn't add what Davin had said but looked up at him briefly then at the McDonough Laird.

Chandra had been in here many times but she understood that Nia might be overwhelmed. That would pass in time. She listened quietly, then frowned slightly. Davin was smart though, and she wasn't about to lecture him.

He noticed the looks his way as he added, "we came back right away to let you know." So only one night passed before them getting here. "We should be on our way, I'd appreciate knowing what comes of this." Abate his curiosity. Without further adieu, a hug for his mother and a handshake with his possible future step father, he escorted Nia back to the surrey, within and then on their way to the Quinn manor. He had a feeling, that although their visit was more than welcome, the two would appreciate their privacy back.

"Aye, that I'll do. I may be asking your cousins if they want an adventure." He had some ships but he knew the Quinn ships were better equipped to go up against possible pirates. What he was informed of this night, he would have to see to come daylight.


Date: 07-08-12
Poster: Bryan McAndrews
Post # 11

Jungle Demigod

She had started to hug him but his words cut that short and she clipped a punch against his shoulder instead. "Are you saying I'm fat?" She might be a little top heavy but certainly nowhere being fat. Bryan just had a way with words... not! She pushed away from him and started for the opening that would lead them out from the cave. Sandy shore to the side reached that she got up onto and collapsed there into a sitting position. After some steadying breaths while taking in the area, if not for the situation at hand, she noticed was breathtaking beautiful. This was noted in the back of her mind as she started wringing out the length of her hair.

More water splashed into his face with that swat of a punch and he turned his head to the side, bringing his gaze back to her when she eased from his hold and swam away. "I didn't say that!" He called after her retreating form swimming through the water. With his hand now free, he brought it up to swipe away any lingering salt-water from his face then kicked off after her. He followed her lead, bringing wet body on to sandy beach, but he didn't sit. His brine filled boots were tugged off and the liquid in them poured out as if from a tea pot. The soft, white sand plastered itself to his feet and ankles as each was placed, bared and wet, back in the warm depths. His gaze spanned the horizon, out over the water. For all this beauty..there was still. "I found Reggie." He said, canting his head toward her and casting his gaze down to the female seated next to where he stood. "Man had a nasty slam to the back of his head." His chin lifted again and he looked back out to where water and sky met. "He got up, helped me find you to some degree...but I know he is hurting. Wonder who did that, don't you? Kind of eerie to think... especially since that demi-god of yours took off for the jungle, and no sooner than you go foraging, your guide is downed leaving you alone."

It was a captivating scene before them that soon drew her attention; the wet tangled hair abandoned. "I'm not sure," being she didn't know this island or the everyday dangers that existed. Except his words, the implication of them, had her blinking up his way. "You think it might be the one called Thadeus then?" She set to taking off her short boots and emptying them out of any water left for the displacement of her foot. She would carry them until they were needed again. Which had her wondering exactly where they were in relation to the village. Glancing southbound then northbound, it would probably be safer for them to keep to the shore in making their way back. Which in turn had another question arise. "Where is Reggie now?" Speak of the devil and he'd appear so the saying went as the one stepped from the jungle's edge down a distance and waved them to him before stepping back up what seemed to be an opening there, a trail perhaps. Ellyn gained her feet and started in that direction.

Bryan's gaze returned to the fiddling of feminine fingers to hair, and when she abandoned that activity to tend to her boots, he had started to move behind her to braid it for her. No, he didn't have sisters. But the warriors with longer hair always braided the lengths before training, he knew how it was done. Her gaze shifted though and his followed to see Reggie. Good that the man had made it, but the man's timing...sucked. He lifted his hand in greeting and then leaned to the side to take up his boots. Ellyn started off so he allowed her to lead the way again. The man had disappeared as quickly as he had appeared, just a brief glimpse of their way back.

She had hesitated as he started to braid her hair, that had her blink again. Bryan was a confusing man! One minute implying she was fat, heavy, the next trying to do something nice, and somewhat personal. Nah, she shook the thought aside with even a slight turn of her head with it. Reggie was tied up not far from where the hole was that had opened up to one of the upper chambers of the cave network. The man hiding in the jungle was not Reggie but Thadeus. He was prepared to take Bryan out with the blunt club of his but with Ellyn coming alone and up the path to find Reggie, he grabbed her. A cloth soaked in a home solution was slid over her nose and mouth as he came up from behind, taking up her limp body into his arms and making off into the jungle.

Bryan had dropped a boot in the sand and had to stop and shake it out, only to look up as he meandered into the trees to find Reggie tied to the right. His gaze snapped around, his search catching a glimpse of a male's body disappearing in the trees. He marked the location and ran over to Reggie, two fingers pressed to the man's throat. He was still alive. The man had nine of them, that was for sure. One of the daggers were pulled from the sheath at the back of his waistline and he sliced through the bindings. "Your luck either stinks...or you have it in spades." No sooner had the blade loosened the rope then the McAndrews went in chase back into the Thickness. The weight of the man would be enough to leave behind a trail, add to that the additional body, and bent twigs and pressed ground cover provided the way.

The man was leaving a trail but that couldn't be help with the extra weight he carried. He was grinning, however, feeling his plan had worked and his prize in his arms. His instincts acute and knew he was being followed by the sun haired one and so he would take the more precarious route that had more of the wild he was use to slipping by. Snakes especially, monkeys of various species he knew how to communicate with, enough for them to keep their distance from the jungle demigod. Larger beasts such as the panther, he knew when they became present and how to avoid them. He was hoping the jungle would take care of his predator. Ellyn was completely unaware at the moment.

Contrary to the man's hopes, Bryan was hoping that the jungle would leave him the hell alone! Perhaps it was the heat of the day, but for the most part, the mammals had taken to lazing around, the reptiles to sunning their scales. Not that Bryan didn't notice them, give them as much space as he could without losing his course, but he had learned to respect nature and her children at an early age. There was either respect...or regret. And, right now? Bryan couldn't afford regret. Into the tight confines of jungle his voice carried. "You do realize, aye? That I'm more of a God than you are! You have NO idea who you are fucking with." Between Ellyn and Bryan, this man's hours were numbered should anything happen to either of them. He kept on the verbal tirade which would allow the man to know just how close this 'sun-haired god' was to defeating his foe. In truth, as the summer continued, his hair would lighten considerably, his muscles tanned and defined. He was a McAndrews, he was large of stature and large of attitude. If the island people worshipped a god of the sun, it would be a McAndrews they brought to mind to personify it. "You can release her now, or you can lose the limbs you use to hold her!" He lost their path, paused, found it again and cut off to the left. He had no idea if the man could understand him, but surely the tone of voice should be enough to get his point across.

The man knew English very well. He was also not small like most of the islanders being he was of different origins. He was trained to be a warrior and under different circumstances, he and Bryan would probably be friends. He was tall and broad, easily carrying his precious load.. but.. Bryan appealed to the warrior side of him and he set Ellyn down on a mossy thicket that had foliage that would hide her away as he then went in wait on his advisory. Crouched up on a thick branch of tree limb whose foliage hid him away. Once Bryan passed beneath he would be pounced.

Rule number two. Always look up! Rule number one was always scan your periphery. Rule number two? Almost Always..Always forgotten by practically everyone! Bryan noticed the multiple prints, going in that direction, this direction, he squatted down to try to decipher what the man was doing. And almost...almost forgot to look up. But one of the impressions stopped short of a tree, the tip of Bryan's blade brushing aside the foliage that had dropped when the man ascended and up his gaze shot. Not just in time, almost too late, because the large form blocked what sun filtered in past the canopy as he dropped down on the previously unsuspecting. Where was Ellyn? Was the first instant, fleeting thought practically covered up by - ah shit. The man landed on top of Bryan with the full weight of gravity on his side.

The man intended to win a coupe more than kill his opponent. He would render him immobilized by one method or another. Tying him up or knocking him out. So the struggle began as he landed a punch to Bryan's jaw, at least that is where his fisted hand lashed out. Legs moving to get him into a scissor hold like tangling vines.

Bryan scrambled to get out from under that weight, almost losing his dagger in the process. He threw a few punches, his fist tight around his weapon and using that gripped hilt to pound the large warrior. Hell, the man didn't appear this large from a distance! They rolled in the decades of leaves and moss and twigs and whatnot, grunting with received blows, growling with returned blows. The natives of the Thickness took up the cheering section, chattering, screeching, swinging through the trees. In the distance a roar of disapproval and demand for silence went up, but was not heeded since the fight below the treelimbs continued. Ribs. Jaws. Guts. Kidneys. Nothing was sacred man went there unless in dire straits and for now, the fight was brutal...but fair. Blood and sweat smeared over both, catching up and causing the debris of the jungle floor to cling to their skin as well.

The man fought fair. In some ways he was admirable. It was more his traditions and outlook were far different than the sun haired man. Even the natives in the village had ideas and ideals that were far different and expressed in their rituals, sexuality, where males and females fit into the scheme of things. Base. Primitive. Still it was their traditions. Milly had learned an important lesson in not imposing their traditions unwittingly upon those not of their culture such as Ellyn and Bryan. Although any red blooded male might like some of those traditions. While the two tumbled and tossed to prove dominance, and in Thad's mind, who won the rights to the woman, Ellyn was stirring from the haze of whatever was in that cloth. The blurriness of sight dwindled fast as did the groggy feel vanish into thin air. She was to her feet and realizing that Bryan and the jungle demigod were wrestling on the ground. More than wrestling as she realized that punches were being thrown. She quickly looked around her being she wore no weapon at this point, her dagger gone from the fall into the water in the cavern, she took up a tree branch and was over to whack Thad on the back of the head. She almost got Bryan as the tumble brought his head up but managed to still the swing and swing again as Thad came up on top, all the while she was now dancing to keep her feet from tripping over theirs that swung out here and there.

Bryan cringed when he saw Ellyn primed to strike, and it was his head she aimed for. The inductee managed to still her swing though and with Bryan's final blow with a forearm to Thad's jaw, Ellyn caught him from behind, splintering the branch against the back of the man's head. Stunned for a moment, the dark man stared down at Bryan with wide eyes of surprise, then rolled to look up at Ellyn, then that momentum continued and he fell to his back, spread eagle, and completely ... out. Bryan remained on his back, looking up to Ellyn. "He' worries over him right now, Ellyn. You can put that thing down." She continued to dance, even though she had delivered that final blow with force and success. Impressive for sure although Bryan couldn't help but grin at Ellyn's heightened state of excitement evidenced in her movements. What the hell, he still managed to have the rope looped around his shoulder! How very ... convenient. "You want to tie him up, Athena? Or shall I?" He still hadn't moved except to push himself up to his elbows, legs still long and extended out straight. He watched Ellyn closely, the man was of no concern to them right now.

They had won the battle, the man was out cold. "He might be in danger if we tie him up.. I think he'll be out long enough that we can get back to the village." After her dance was done and realizing she had accomplished what she set to do, she dropped the branch. She was afraid that the man would fall prey to any of the numerous animals of the jungle. She was not out to kill, "unless you can tie him in a way he can get out of it.." just a thought but more she wanted to get on their way. "Where is Reggie?" Obviously the man had been detained but then she saw him limping their way while speaking up. "We take shore, I know shortcut." Ellyn was all for it and they could talk about the tumble fight later in a safe place. Reggie indicted the direction they would take which would be back tracking the way they had come in from the shore.

Bah. The man always knew a shortcut, and look where it had gotten him so far! "What good is tying him, Ellyn, if he can get out." He rolled and bent over the man. Unlike Ellyn, he had no problem with detaining the bloodied fellow. He had left Reggie behind for the beasts of the wild not once, but twice. And regardless of his traditions and beliefs, what he had planned for Ellyn did not sit well with Bryan! "Reggie..." Bryan spit to the side, his head bent to his work. "Bring me over that large limb over there, we'll bring this bloke back to the village." When the man hefted the sturdy limb over, Bryan tied the man's hands to the shaft and then looped the rope so that he could step in. A swipe of hand against his mouth and he brought the rope up under his arms and across his chest, lifting the unconscious burden in order to start through the jungle dragging the man behind. "Let's have at that shortcut of yours, My Man."

Well, she was overruled and in this instance, she didn't protest nor even complain. The men seemed to know what they were doing, the jungle boy would not be left to any predators and those in the village would know how to handle the situation as he had crashed their ritual to start. The going would be slower but safer in a way for Thad knew the jungle far too well and how to ambush as well fight. The beach stretched out before them, the edge between sand and grass easier to tread and so that is where they moved along, going past Echo Cave. The tide had receded enough to show the sandy shore and there was her dagger laying half submerged in wet sand. She dashed over to collect her possession, shooting a smile without words over her shoulder as the three caught up. Thad was coming to but subdued. She waited, the few minutes then fell into step near Bryan. The dark eyes of Thad were trained on her even more than his footing which gave her that uncomfortable feel even if she ignored it.

True, Thad was behind Bryan and when the man came to, Bryan made sure to be wary of the warrior at his back. If the rope slacked at all, he gave it a jerk, sending the man stumbling forward. He couldn't see that he watched Ellyn, but Bryan figured he did. Who wouldn't. Considering she was the one that cracked that wood against his skull. Bryan spoke as if it were just the two of them, Ellyn and himself, even though he was fully aware of both of the other men. "What say you, Royce...when we get back, we get cleaned up and take the first ship back mainlandway? Or have you not had enough adventure for one leave of absence from your calling?"

She finally slipped a glance Thad's way when he stumbled forward and sure enough it seemed the stumble didn't affect his staring at her. There was something in that gaze that would hold her but she fought it, tearing it away to Bryan. "I think that is a good idea." Assuming they would be heading back together rather than how they each got here. That had a tiny smile to hint before she was looking ahead. They had rounded a bend where one could see the shores of Conch across the way making the waters smoother. But what had her stop in her tracks, as well Reggie speaking up, was the ship that was anchored there. Men were about loading crates into a couple of dinghies, one still along the shore while the other was heading out to the unmarked ship. It was the same one recently discovered a couple days ago between Oyster and Paua islands by two others from Heathfield. Not that Ellyn and Bryan would know that presently. Reggie quickly got them into the cover of jungle and a new course plotted that would take them back into the jungle and around that area. It was in their favor that the men were in the process of leaving otherwise they might come across them even in the jungle.

Bryan paused, watching a moment until Reggie darted them off to safety of cover. He glanced back to Thad, and for that instant, the men held gazes, ending that eye contact with them both nodding the once to each other. Reggie led them through the 'Thickness' and at times Thad would speak out to direct a better course until they were back in the village. Milly was out back, hanging the linens she had boiled when the crew of ragtag adventurers approached. She gasped with surprise and concern and then started shouting out orders. Girls came scurrying out, taking care of each, including Thad. Ellyn and Bryan would not see either man again before they took to their ship back. Even when Bryan asked after them, he was only told 'they were being taken care of'.' What could he demand after that? He and Ellyn watched the shoreline fade from view from the deck of the ship, then turned to witness Heathfield's shores welcome them home. Bryan would have never believed he could be so relieved for that sight. But damn if he wasn't...relieved to see the shores of Heathfield. And to be once again...homeward bound.


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