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Date: 02-06-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 1

The Gauntlet

It was one of those nights when one got an itch, least he had in wanting to do something. Tired of being restricted for the cold and snow so headed for the Spar Hall and the field behind it. His brother with him as this was talked on a few nights ago while in the Thistle. Trevet had left a note with Alex saying he and his brother could be found here if anyone was looking for them, or if anyone else wanted something to do. "I can't help but wonder how I will do on this contraption." Stalling in his steps as he got his first good look at it. A low whistle under his breath. There were guards about and lads that helped them out. Lit torches cast a glow over mounds of snow beyond where it was all cleared around the Gauntlet. There were a few working it, making sure it was kept in top running condition especially for the knights but anyone was allowed to try it out. Provided they were suited up properly. With the cold weather that was not a problem. He was bundled up good.

He eyed the ... thing then looked at Treve, a brow lifting, though not likely seen beneath his hood. "Why would you want to?" He looked at it again, shaking his head. "Seems to be it's something to avoid, even in summer, let alone now." He just knew Treve was going to try to talk him into taking a run on it too.

She'd stopped by the Thistle first and Alex had shown her the note. Curious to how the two MacKays would run this gauntlet, she couldn't resist in taking a visit to the field. She was dressed warmly, and in fact, they better take a good look because it wasn't often that Nora wore trousers. They were a tan color, thick and warm, with a layering of cotton above beneath a wool tunic of dark chocolate. She appeared tom boyish, with her hair bound back and the thick cloak dancing around her as she came into view.

"Because.. because of a lot of reasons but just because suffices." Although he knew it would take more than just because to get Kynan to try it out. "Because it can't be any worse than the MacEire or the Fir Bholg. It could help to become more agile and balance for when we meet up with them again." Though they might be safe here in these lands, he felt it was inevitable they would have to face their enemy at some point in the future. Possibly near future but on their terms instead of the other way around. If one could run the gauntlet, he felt they would have an advantage. "So.." but anything else fell away as he caught sight of Nora. A dimple smile appeared instead as he looked beyond his brother whom he was facing. "Evening Nora, come to try out the gauntlet with us?"

He looked over his shoulder then turned to face the lass. "Evening, Nora. Nippy, isn't it?"

She stepped up beside the men, smiling to them both but Trevet's question had a grimace presenting itself along her face. She looked up to the gauntlet, her brows furrowing. She had to think quickly, perhaps, and she did exactly that. "Trevet, won't you feel terrible if I hurt my wee little self?" Spoken as if she were a weakling. Not far from the truth. She grinned a moment later and nodded to Kynan. "It is, indeed. Very cold. Good evening to you both," she added her greeting a little late.

The elf was restless, and had decided to walk around, and found herself ending up at the spar hall, a little curious at why her feet led her here. She smiled though as she saw who was inside, then she heard voices outside. Seemed Fate did have a reason.

"I would feel horrible if you hurt your wee little self but Kynan and I are here along with all the guards to catch you if you fall." Although she would note there was mounds of hay all around the platform to fall in. "Perhaps a bet is in order to make it more desirable. A puppy to whomever gets the furthest." They were down the back in the field where the Gauntlet was set up. An impressive if not downright intimidating structure.

"All right," she caved, apparently. Nodding, she glanced from Trevet to Kynan then back again. "A puppy. Where would I get a puppy if I lose?" Pause. "Well, I'll probably lose, so.." She snickered.

"I have a puppy." He folded his arms over his chest. "So, that leaves me out." He wasn't giving the little female up either since he had been the one to find her. "McAndrews Kennels."

"Well, you can bet something else, like a homemade pie if you bake. Same goes for you Kynan."

She bit down on her lower lip, thinking this over. "A pie. I suppose, yes." Her nod was a curt thing, quick. She grinned to Kynan.

She stood there, wondering what a puppy had to do with anything. She walked around to take a look at the gauntlet, very curious about it.

"You're actually going to go on that thing, Nora?" He was surprised, and maybe a little dismayed.

"It appears so, Kynan." She nodded slowly, then stepped away from the men with a lingering smile cast over her shoulder. She had spotted Pyper and wanted to say hello and.. take a closer look at the gauntlet. This was a thing she did not wish to take on blindly.

He caught Pyper checking it out. "You'll give it a try, wont you Pyper? Brave warrior lass," or so she had implied, that which came out during conversations. He nudged Kynan, "see, it doesn't scare a lass." That should be the clencher for him to brave it up and join them.

Oh, she was scared. Even more now. Her brows furrowed as she stared over the thing. Her cloak whipped around her when a gust of wind caught up into it. She shivered, pulled it tightly about her. "Good evening, Pyper," she said, sounding distracted which was quite the case. She cleared her throat. "I do believe I have lost my mind. It has to be, since I agreed to this." She said quietly to Pyper!  "Trevet!!" She barked when she realized something. Her voice sounded a little demanding, when only it was out of sudden realization--maybe fear. "There are axes swinging everywhere!" Did he miss that?!

"Evening Nora, Trevor, Kynan..." she smiled at them, then still looking at the thing. "I might try it.... not sure yet."

"Axes, sliding floors, spinning things." He chuckled then shrugged slightly. "I didn't say I was scared. Just didn't agree to try it." Though he would if Nora did.

"Yes?" That brought him around with a whipping glance given Nora. "Yes there are but notice they have protection guards on them for regular use." Which implied there were times they didn't have those guards on them.

"Kynan, you somehow made it sound as if this thing is all sunshine and roses, a walk in a park." She laughed lowly. She noted the guards on the blades now that Trevet pointed them out. She nodded slowly, and exhaled. "Right, well, no use in backing out now. I can do this. I'm brave..." She squeaked the last two words.

"I'll tell you what," like they were chickens, the lot of them, "I'll go on it first." Which he proceeded to the steps and up. A few words to the lads that started up each section that they would get things going. There was the grinding of gears as they started up, first section starting to move, then the next, each within a few minutes of each other like a giant beast awakening and taking a stretch. He studied the planks a moment before timing as one came back up and he jumped onto it. Arms out slightly at his side for balance for it was going to pitch forward as well, then down.

She turned to smile at Trevet. "Aye, I would like to see that. Have you go so I can see how it works, though I'm sure you will do much better than I will." She really didn't think she would do well, but would give it a try.

"Good luck, Sir." Nora stepped back to loop around Kynan, only to stop at his side to watch Trevet take this thing on.

Lazare's stroll back from his bath brought him along the rim of the field, there to see the gauntlets and the people gathered near. He smiled, rubbed a gloved knuckle to his jaw with a shake of head and kept walking. Good luck to them...they'd need it.

He looked like a drunk man walking, up, down, backwards as well as he managed to get forward enough and onto the next section. A small divider. There were traps here and hopefully he would not trigger one. Question was to go slow or make a dash for it. He decided on a zigzag dash and hoped for the best.

She was impressed so far by Trevet. He seemed quite skilled. She glanced over her shoulder and squinted when she saw someone walking.. by?

Do not try the zigzag dash as the next moment there were acorns and pebbles rolling as planks shot up just missing his feet as he attempted to grab onto one so he could swing around to the safety zone. Too bad, he wasn't able to hang on as he slid with the acorns and pebbles down into the mound of hay. Disappearing into it a moment before breaking free. "I think I'm better at jousting. Unless you let me have that as a trial run to show it is not that bad?" Grinning infectiously as he made his way back to the group.

She turned her attention back, watching Trevet and the fact that he didn't get so far made her quite a bit nervous. She glanced aside to Kynan, hoping to catch some type of reaction from him. "It looks awfully difficult," she said to Trevet when he approached.

"The best things in life you have to work for, not have them handed to you." In the least he had gotten up there and given it a try. He wanted to try it again!

He was watching Treve, making a face when he finally disappeared.  He was going to be as nuts as his brother and try the thing.  "Go ahead then and try it again."

He looked like it! "Try it again. We may learn from you." She smiled wide.

By...way over by the edge of the field. And yes,

She watched as Trevet go and was impressed even if he didn't get very far. "It was a good first attempt. Try again."

"Don't any of you want to go before I try it again?" They were all so reluctant!

She thought he wanted to try it again first! "I'll go." She shrugged her shoulders, glancing up to the gauntlet.

She nodded her head. "I will go, but after you."

He would, but at least give the others a try first before he went again. "Ok then, now it is official runs and all bets on. Wait, what did you bet Kynan?"

"I didn't." He scratched at his head. "I don't have any idea what to bet!" He didn't cook, wouldn't give up his pup ...

"Hmm." She couldn't think of any ideas for Kynan, wager ideas at least.

The elf wouldn't be any help either.

"New cloak, new dagger ... um ... " He started to laugh. "I don't have much but one of those?"

"Bet one of those Stetson hats you made. It would be good advertising too."

"That sounds okay with me. Either idea." She watched them quietly then again, stared at the gauntlet.

"Oh! All right. Wasn't sure I could do that." He grinned and shrugged.  Profits you know!

"Either way, I think I'm up, yes?" She arched a brow, grinning as she tipped her attention back to the group.

"Then Ladies first, Nora, then Pyper, Kynan and myself last." Being he gave it the trial run.

Nodding, Nora stepped forward, closing in on the structure. She climbed up the platform and at first, simply studied the rocking and moving floors. "Just tell me when!" She called to the group.

Trevet applauded Nora onward and would move along the structure with each section she managed. There to help her if needed. "When!"

She laughed hearing Trevet and seeing him moving closer. She turned her eyes ahead to the platforms. She thought it was all about timing, and her plan was to sprint across at the right moment while avoiding that swinging... thing. She watched it closely, then, with a breath, took off.  She almost lost her balance, in fact, there was a little wobble in her forward motion, just before she made it to the next section. She pulled in a sharp breath, staring wide eyed. She made it?!

He let out a whistle when Nora made the first part, but not so loud it would distract her. Yeah, he'd have to try it now.

The next section was the one that had thrown Trevet off. This left her a bit nervous. She eyed the floor, marking the holes that she could see in memory. When she sprinted, it looked like an odd dance, and she cringed the whole way.

She smiled and clapped softly, not wanting to distract her too much.

One of the boards started to launch, and she tried to leap onto the next section while at the same time, missing the falling acorns.  She probably wouldn't be distracted by the support. Nora was far too focused. She landed on another board and hopped up to the landing for the next section. Naturally, she was quite amazed. She took a moment to catch her breath.

"Well done, Nora." He called out his praise.

She turned a smile towards Kynan, hearing him. She was still trying to calm her breathing, the only reason she didn't call back to him.

Nora was doing great... she was impressed, and continued watching, her hands clasped together.

The next section didn't look.. easy at all. She furrowed her brows, made a small noise. This looked impossible to simply run across. She didn't do that, either. She timed the movement of the bumpers, and at one point, had to roll beneath one on the platform. There was a lot of ducking out of the way, too. Hopefully, she'll get to the other side!

He was impressed as he moved to the fourth section as she did. Almost had to catch her before but she hung in there.

Fourth section; she half thought about backing down when she saw these huge.. balls swinging all over the place. She drew in a breath, and whined. "I hope I don't get knocked clean into Rhydin." She was a small thing, after all. She didn't move yet, just tried to get some sort of timing. Which, she realized.. there was no timing to this.

She was very impressed, and smiled as the lass did very well.

And without warning, she tried to sprint across, while keeping low, running through a maze of swinging.. balls. Nora was knocked backwards, disoriented, she tried to keep going--sprinting to the right then left, like a zigzag before she got hit again.  Nope. She was hit in her side and let out a surprised sound of a yelp. She was sent flying off the platform's edge.

She winced as Nora went down, hoping it didn't hurt too much.

He was there to catch her into his arms, of course that sent him back as they both then fell into the hay. At least her fall was buffeted even more. Except, she was on top. She might notice his surprised look that the impact had knocked him down. Then...a few seconds... he was smiling. How could he not?

She.. landed on top of him? It took her a moment to realize what happened. She was rather disoriented and quite surprised. Her heart was fluttering. She cleared her throat, blinked her eyes and stared down at Treve before she stood, a little wobbly.

Dark eyes stared back up but that smile was still there. Moving then as she was up and he scurried to his feet as well, hay falling from his form as he moved, a hand then to swipe away bits and pieces. "You're all right. You did fabulously."


Date: 02-06-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 2

"I'm .. yes, I am all right." Just shaky. She moved away from the gauntlet in slow, careful steps. A smile angled towards Trevet. "Thank you." Sheepishly.

"You did well, Nora." He called out again from where he leaned. Couldn't see much from where he was standing.

"Very good job Nora.... very good indeed." She smiled and clapped.

She finally popped into full view, smiling. "Thank you, thank you. Watch those balls.." She snickered. A warning, no doubt!

She would find a steadying hand upon her elbow as he escorted her back to the others. "Now you know how we feel when we got unseated." Probably worse but he didn't need to really compare that closely. "It's your turn Pyper." He would go along the different sections as well and help her if she fell. There was a good amount of hay around the structure.

Trevet did have a point. "I never thought of that. It is.. a stunning experience to say the very least." She smiled over to him, a warm one, most likely for the escort.

"Good luck, Pyper." He said as he offered Nora a drink from the water skin he carried. "It's water. Nothing added." That would come later.

"Good luck, Pyper!" Called out to her. She grinned for Kynan when he offered the water skin. "Thank you, very much." And she took a drink. She did feel quite thirsty.

She smiled, and nodded, mounting up to the front of the beast. She looked at it a moment, not sure if she would do as well as Nora had. Taking a deep breath she started out.  She moved on her feet, trying not to keep on any footing for too long, moving to the other side. She took a bit of a breath when she had some solid footing, taking a moment to look at what was ahead.

He watched Pyper with some interest, then he glanced at his brother and Nora.

She then started across the next section, the floor boards moving around, and she tried to keep her footing, her hands out to balance herself.  Trying to watch out for those acorns, she moved as quickly as she could, slipping a bit here and there, but made it through.

Pyper was doing well also as he followed along, there to help if needed, "come on Pyper," cheering her on.

Her attention was on Pyper. She'd almost forgotten about Kynan's water skin still in her hands. Sheepishly, she passed it back to him.

She paused to take another breath, a bit surprised she made it through, and took a look back. She then turned ahead, not even really sure what it was she was facing. She started across and so surprised by the speed of them that she got hit in the stomach by a low one and got off balance.

He nearly forgot she had it. With a smile, he accepted it then watched Pyper again.

Nora winced as she watched, her brows furrowing.

And the elf couldn't find her footing again after that, and went flying into the hay on the ground.

He was there to catch her up in easing her down into the hay. Better at it this time, foot back to brace against the impact than having him flat out on his back with another atop him. Mind you, he didn't mind but it would give his brother too much fodder for teasing him later.

She clapped and smiled, dimples pressing into her cheeks. "Good job, Pyper!"

He watched for a moment to make sure Pyper was all right, then held out the water skin again. "You might want to offer this to her." He would have offered it to Treve, but his brother couldn't be still!

She was chuckling as she went flying. Good thing that Trevet caught her, and she smiled at him, a bit winded. "Thank you Trevet for your catch and assistance," as he put her down. "That was actually fun!" She grinned.

She took the water skin from him, nodding. "She might be a little thirsty." She laughed for Pyper's reaction and stepped her way, offering the water skin out. "Thirsty?"

"It is fun," grinning, "you're welcome." He was working off all that excess energy he seemed to have tonight. He would escort Pyper back to the other two. "Brother mine, you're on your own unless you can convince one of the ladies to catch you." Slow grin that ended with elongated dimples showing each side.

Hearing Treve, she batted her lashes towards Kynan. "Want me to catch you, Kynan?" She couldn't help it.

He was over to the beginning of the thing, shaking his head when he heard Treve, though Nora had him laughing. "I'd likely squish you so, though it's a nice offer, no thanks." Climbing up, he stood at the beginning a moment,  watching the planks. No rhyme or reason to it really, so he just started forward. That wasn't too bad. He moved right on to the next part, making a face. Hopefully, he'd be surefooted again.

She nodded, still smiling, and fell quiet as she watched him.

She nodded and took the water skin with some thanks, and watched as Kynan flew through the first part. And he hadn't wanted to go? And the second!

Rubbing his hands together, he watched the bumper spindles. No, he hadn't but here he was, and attempting the third part as well.  His cloak got caught and he tried to move out of the way of the bumper arms, grabbing for one to keep his balance.

She bit on her lower lip, gently. Her arms wrapped around herself, then she unfurled one to tug the cloak around her.

She winced and held her hands together, waiting to see how he did on this section.

"He made it!" Pleasantly surprised as it looked like he wasn't going to. Treve wanted his brother to do well!

The swing was fun and he laughed then cleared his throat. Best not to get cocky. He darted forward, twisting and turning to try to avoid those blasted steel balls. Thunk bump... his arms flailed as he tried to avoid being knocked over.

She did wince that time. Her brows furrowed and she took a single step forward. See, that part of the gauntlet was nasty!

And into the hay he went, staying there a moment after landing on his stomach and having the wind knocked out of his lungs.

She was over instantly to help him up. "You did very good Kynan. Are you alright?"

"Oh aye." He was laughing as he stood. "Like doin' a belly flop in the water and getting stung." Ouch. "Thank you for the help."

"You and Nora are tied, both of you made it through three sections." Applauding as he started in his brother's direction but then Pyper was there to help him up. Now it was his turn as he headed up the steps.

"Good job, Kynan." Smiling at him. Her attention turned to Treve, and she watched him closely. "Good luck!"

Giving Nora a wink for the good luck before focus turned on the shifting platform then to hop on a likely spot.

Well, he made that look like a breeze. She grinned wide.

No fair that Trevet had done it once as he flew through the first part this time. "Wow," was all she could say. "You are welcome Kynan." She smiled at him as he got up.

"Good luck, Treve!" He let out a whistle, "and well done."

He could hope his luck held as he was quick to the next section, free spot between before starting out on the ejection traps to try and avoid.  So the trick was not to try and blast your way across but carefully instead as now he faced the bumpers. Dodging and darting. He got whacked, as he grabbed onto it to try and stay on the platform.

She'd held her breath there, but released it through another smile. She didn't pull her eyes away, and she fussed blindly with the cloak in an effort to keep it around her.

They would see him dragged but not off the platform as he was down as another rounded above his head. On his hands and knees crawling before safe to get up and leap over the last one to a safe spot. Steel balls, what jokes could be made but right now he needed to concentrate on avoiding them. No dashing even if that was the first idea.

"Good job Trevet!" She clapped and cheered.

"Whooooo!" He likely just woke the entire castle with that yell.

Her jaw slightly dropped when he got through that section with no problem. She let out a laugh and applauded. "We.. have lost.." She announced to the others.

By this time he was panting and hoping he wasn't too dizzy for the next part. Steadying breath. Avoid the holes, mumbled under his breath as he tried to dance his way though this part. One knocked him right under the chin as he started walking dazed, backwards, hands out trying to grab onto one triggered already and hold on. Next he knew, there was no floor beneath his step as he kind of just fell off the side into the hay.

"Ah ... blast!" He was darting for the beast since it looked like Treve was a bit dizzy.

She took a step forward, nearly rushing to Trevet's side, but Kynan was quick. "Are you all right?" She called to Treve.

He had to learn to be fast. He had four older brothers and two older sisters!

Good point!

"You did very well Trevet," she smiled at them all. All had done well.

"Treve?" He was looking under the beastie. Where did his brother go?

"Where am I?" But his head was clearing and so was his throat. "That was interesting. I think I visited the Milky Way." He was coming up from a pile of hay. Feeling like a scarecrow, he almost started singing.

She went over to check on him when they didn't immediately.. return to where she and Pyper had been waiting. Her brows furrowed. "Trevet?"

"I think you did too." He chuckled and slung an arm around Treve's shoulders. "But you got farther than any of us."  Did Treve almost sing 'Follow the yellow brick road'?

"It seems I did. I will want to try it again but not tonight." He was addicted to beat the beast. More like 'if I only had a brain'.

"Did you find him?" She called out to Kynan... chuckling a bit.

"Good job," she offered finally, smiling when she saw that he was okay. "Very impressive.."

"Aye, he was hiding in the hay." He clapped a hand to Treve's back. "And you get a Stetson."

"I wont hold you to the bets this time," though he would have paid up had he lost. He did get a trial run they had not. More to get them motivated. "Next time, though.."

"Nah, I want you to have the hat." He was going to insist on it.

"And I think you're deserving of a pie," she murmured, smiling. She turned from them slowly. "I am going to the castle. I'm sore and sleepy."

"Aye, you won fair and square."

"Then we can all sit down and enjoy it because we all did good. We'll walk you both up as we go that way as well." The lads that helped out were covering up the beast until next time. "I think we should see how you do in a haggis hurling contest, Nora.."

"Thank you.." Her words trailed off, brows slowly arching. "Oh?" For Treve's last.

"Aye," giving a wink between both Nora and Pyper. They would need a few more interested for it was done in couples.

"At a what contest?" She caught the wink though, and gave one back, not sure what she was winking for though.

"Haggis hurling, it's done in couples, one throws across the stream and the other catches. One who has the most at the end, wins."

Treve could explain what haggis was too! He collected the water skin again, just hiding his grin.

She wrinkled her nose and made a face though a smile was quick to form.

"That.... sounds like fun.." she was smiling, but a little skeptical too...

Like bigger clumps of spinach. Nah, he would let them find out. He had his energy back as he dance backwards in front of them before turning around, scooping up snow to sling back their way.

She let out a squeak, trying to dodge the snow. Then, she quicken her steps, even went into a trot--right past Trevet!

He laughed as he got splattered, tossing some at Treve's back. They'd be soaked before they reached home.

Laughter rolled, as he darted then only to pass out Nora again, snow scooped and slung, not really as snowballs as he took to a run.

"All right, that's it!" Threatened. She scooped up snow then took off running after him. She wasn't going to sling it, she was going to shove it down the back of his shirt.

The elf ran fast, over the top of the snow more or less, dogging snowballs as she went.

That's IF Nora could catch him!


Date: 03-16-09
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 3

Preparing for Spring

It was a warmer day, one that held promise of spring. Though all were prepared for winter to sneak in one last good snowfall. Snow was still around but most cleared away in areas used most often and still piled in those not. It was a good day to make any repairs on the water gauntlet though not to run it. There was also the regular gauntlet to go over and make safer. New guards to put on the swinging axes. Lancely was attired accordingly for the somewhat warmer day. Only in the forties but like having a heat wave after weeks of  below freezing. A woolen tunic worn over a poet's shirt, and another shirt under that so he didn't get cold foregoing his cloak presently. Boots laced up to below his knees that show splotches of mud and dirtied snow for moving back and forth through such soften grounds in spots. Presently he was on the walkway that led between sections, making sure the wood had not rotted.

Even when the air was frigid, Aiden rarely skipped his run, except when he decided to ride. Today, with the warmer weather, he had used the opportunity to ride, knowing the warhorse was restless. He had spotted someone in the field and after taking his horse to the stable to be tended to, made his way to where Lancely was working. Brown leather pants, worn and comfortable, were tucked into riding boots. He wore a woolen tunic under a leather vest. His hair was pulled back from his face. "Lancely." He greeted his friend as he leaned his arms on the edge of the Beast. "How is the monster holding up?"

"This monster seems to be holding up good but before it's used again we'll make sure every bolt is secured," swinging down with a partial leap to the ground as he came around to where Aiden leaned. "How are things going for you?" Though they saw each other every day on the king's field, they were always occupied with training the squires and facing off with the other knights and kingsmen. No time for socializing other than a passing greeting. Plus, now that Aiden was seeing Mo, he took off to spend time with her and he was spending most of his free time here, keeping things in shape and adjusting the timing as usual.

"Better than I've ever expected." He chuckled as he turned slightly, more facing Lancely. "Though at times, it seems far more hectic than I care for. I can handle that though. Better too busy, then sitting around, staring at four walls." He motioned toward the sky. "And the promise of spring helps. What about you?"

He turned in a lean, arms crossing over his chest as he listened, as well watched a few practicing with their jousting. A lot of it to teach the new squires how they were to help. "Keeping busy as well," focus drawing away from the group of about eight, four jousting, four squires attending. "I trust you are still seeing Mo.." slow grin as it turned out not a question or the warrior lass would be looking for his head. "Calhoun, Gabriel, Ian.." a slight frown showing a moment, "I haven't seen much of Cole. Ian is still seeing Isolde I believe."

"Aye, I am." He answered anyway, then nodded. "I believe so. I haven't seen much of Cole either and it worries me." He was being honest but they both knew Cole was still dealing with whatever demons he had. He nodded toward the practice field. "Joust fever seems to have taken over a few since the MacKay lads are participating."

He listened thoughtfully with a nod as well then focus shifted back to the ones practicing. One of the squires tripping over his own feet as he fell in a clatter of shields and lances. A grin tipped off to the side, the lad wouldn't be living that down all too soon. At least here, they didn't make fun of him, laughed, helped him up, joked on it but not hurtful like in other lands he'd been to. "We should run our own even if just a few of us for practice. Keep a score to keep it honest. Like the Gauntlets."

"That's a good idea. I think the lads would enjoy that." He chuckled as he watched the lad trying to untangle himself from one persistent shield. His gaze shifted from the group to Lancely.

He was chuckling watching them. "They've only been here a couple of weeks. High hopes," shifting attention back to Aiden. "I'm sure you remember the first week or so you started out your training, either as a squire or brought basically right in if there were not enough knights to take on squires."

"Squire." He nodded, the grin growing wider. "My first week, I think I dropped everything and spooked one of the horses just as one of the knights was mounting. Never thought I'd live that down. Luckily he laughed it off." He chuckled again. "The next year, we were the ones helping the new ones out."

"Why it is always good to remember what goes around, comes back around. I'm going to make the regular gauntlet much safer as we really don't need any accidents. More in that the guards on the blades will be thicker." Turning from the ones practicing to the other construction that housed the regular gauntlet. "You know, if winter decides to do one grand last dumping of snow, we could have the toboggan race. The Dragon's Head would only need some repairs."

"Aye, the snow is still heavy around the lake, ice will take some time to melt." It was always that way though if the warm spell lasted much longer, that could change. He looked up at the sky, thoughtful. "And the weather here can always surprise." Unlike his homeland where it was temperate all year around.

"It certainly can but it wont last long if it does. Let's head up to the Thistle for a drink." The idea of a few glasses of potcheen was appealing at this point as the cold was finally starting to seep in after the sun went down. He grabbed up his cloak he had brought to don later on if it got colder and it had. Always best to be prepared.

"Sounds like a good idea." It had been a while since he had enjoyed a few hours at the Thistle. Even longer since he had shared a drink or three with Lancely. He waved at those still on the field as they headed off.

Once inside the Thistle the cloak was removed and hung off to a peg before heading for the bar. Alex already setting out their drinks for he was that kind of efficient. "I hear Mo has improved in her jousting. Have you tried jousting her yet?" He was curious as always as he took up his drink to kick back the first then refill the glass as Alex left the bottle there for them.

He shook his head as he took up the other glass. "No. To be honest, I've been tempted but after stating in the joust we attended that I wouldn't, I'm not sure I should." He grinned over his glass. "I'm sure someone would remember that and make a comment." He was thoughtful as he took a drink. Mo could hold her own well enough. He could likely be the one on his back.

"Do you really care? Besides, we're not associated with the ones that were running the joust that night and seemed to have some chip on their shoulder. Never gear what you should do by what others say you should unless you really respect that other person and then, only if it is reasonable!" Lifting his glass like a toast before kicking the second back. Burn felt real good but another was needed for it to start to warm to the bone.

He chuckled and kicked back his own drink then refilled the glass. "No, I don't really care but being so close to her, there's always that niggling fear. What if I hurt her?" He picked up the glass again. "I'm not worried about beating me. That I could handle, but the other ... " He let that trail off as he down half of the second glass.

"We take that chance but in practicing, you can use those new laces with the padded balls on the end. I'm sure she'll be padded up good beneath the armor but it would be good practice before going up against others if she got the notion."

He eyed Lancely a moment, then laughed. "If I didn't know better, I'd think Mo's been talking to you.. I'll consider it. Since I've been working with the squires, it seems I have less of a reason to not do so. She deserves the chances. IF she wants me to be her partner. There's always a chance she doesn't"

He tried to hide the grin with a swipe of his hand over his mouth. Except it was in his eyes, "aye, she may have. Perhaps she doesn't want to be too coddled for mutual feelings. She feels you're the best, least one of the best and would love such an opportunity. She was coaxing me if you wouldn't but if I knocked her flying out of the saddle, I'd have you after me."

"Oh, aye and as evenly matched as we are, that fight could go on and on for days." He grinned at Lancely, then nodded. "I know she doesn't but it's not easy for me to not to. Still, I'm coming around slowly." He chuckled. "Maybe I'll challenge her some time this week." Now that should be quite a show for the squires.

"Oh, it would. If I pummel you then I'd have Mo coming after me.." he was really grinning by now, "and you with her so I'd be outnumbered. Best I stay away from jousting the lass under any conditions." He refreshed both of their drinks, "if you do, I'd like to come watch of course."

"I expect everyone will." He sighed for dramatic affect. "Though if she bests me, I'll have to slink off in disgrace and sulk in private." He laughed. "And have Jewel come scold me for sulking."

"Then she will find your hiding place to sooth your ego and wounds." He hummed under his breath before clearing his throat. "That's actually an appealing idea."

"Hmm. Aye it is." He looked over his glass, "and if it happens, I'll have you to thank for it."  A very appealing idea indeed!

It was getting late and he congratulated himself, silently of course, that he kept the time on the positive things. Kicking back the last of his drink before setting it to the bar, "I know I should get back as dawn will come all too soon and best we be at our best with these fledgling squires to be." Which got a grin as he was over to collect his cloak.

He groaned as he pushed off the bar once his own drink was finished and the glass placed on the bar. "Aye, and that reminds me to add extra padding myself. I had enough bruised shins last year to last a lifetime." But if he had a choice to teach or not to teach, he'd still do it.

"Complain .. complain.." chuckling as he got the door, leaving Aiden to head out then he behind as he closed it off. Nice night for the walk back up to the castle. "We can head through the knight's hall," in case any of the others were around to spin a yarn with for a few minutes but bed was calling so it would be more passing through.


Date: 04-22-09
Poster: Calhoun Quinlan
Post # 4

Trouble Brewing

Cal was back from Innis and left a note at the knight's hall that he could be found at the spar fields down behind the hall. He was going over the gauntlets that Lancely had constructed last spring. It had been a while and he noticed that the regular gauntlet had been made safer, yet would test a man or woman's skill all the same. A light tunic of a deep green was worn over black pants, boots of near the same hue laced up to below his knees. He was off duty as he figured the others would join him once off duty as well. A table set up with food and potcheen to enjoy. He was enjoying a glass of the potent brew as he sat on the edge of the gauntlet platform.

Jewel would appear first, purring loudly as she settled beside Cal on the gauntlet. She brushed against him briefly then stared at an area just off to the side. The shadows seemed to stir then settle and the cat yawned. Again they stirred and this time Aiden stepped through. He gave the Cat a look then grinned at Cal. "Evening. I thought I'd get in a bit of practice." At that the Cat meowed and Aiden glared again. "I didn't ask you." He retorted before joining Cal and pouring himself a glass of the Pure.

Cole emerged from the hall in his usual silent fashion, having read Cal's notice of return and emerging from his isolation to greet his brother knight. Moving through the shadows, aided in no small part by the black clothing he wore he merely appeared at the edge of their vision with a taciturn nod for both Cal and Aiden, as well as a grave nod to Jewel.

Gabriel had been at the tree house as Raphael had moved in once more now that the weather had improved and he'd not freeze. There will be much to do in a few months and a meeting yet to be arranged to talk on a serious situation that would need their attention. Time wasn't right yet, so they had time. He flew in, landing smoothly down a distance from the others as wings disappeared in that instance feet touched upon ground. Seeing the gathering had a slow grin rising. "Looks like a party.." a hand coming to rest upon Cole's shoulder as he came up behind just off to the side of his comrade. He was one he worried on.

Lancely had been in conversation with a few of the new squires up at the hall, briefing them and showing them around before receiving the note. He bid his good night, leaving them to explore on their own. They were old enough and how he'd want it if a squire. Just enough schooling then exploring without one looking over your shoulder. Smile was growing as he strolled down to the field, a glass of potcheen picked up on the way. "A good night to gather without the usual rain storms," grass was starting to grow tall and everything turning green, buds fattening on the trees would soon be turning into leaves.

"Aye, it is a good night to gather. There has been talk on us all going on a trip soon, to Innis. For those of you who have not experienced the tropical island." A heads up on something he overheard and knowing it could be repeated. "The question will be if we an take any guests with us for the duration."

"A party is never a bad thing." He chuckled then looked at Cal. "Have you heard for how long?" He wasn't sure Mo could leave because of her duties though she did have Maeve to take over. He absently stroked Jewel as the cat joined him. Apparently all was forgiven.

He perched on a step of the gauntlet after acknowledging Gabriel's presence with a brief touch of his hand to the knight's, then sliding free. Listening, he nodded quietly, waiting for more details.

He nodded at Cole, giving him an easy smile as well. It was good to see him joining them this night.

A hand found Jewel's fur as fingers leisurely stroked until she was up and on her way. He was not ignoring the feline they had all come to like. "I see you continue to work on your creations, Lancely. Do you have anything new in store for us?" Greeting Gabriel and Cole as they joined them with an uplift of his chin.

"It has been awhile," not saying seeing him out socially for he was on the practice field but usually gone than hanging around. It wasn't hard to pick up on the fact he had a lot on his mind still. Still working things out. "You'll have to come see the tree house when you have time." Stating the offer that was really an open one to him but this way making sure he knew he was welcome.

"I figured I'd give you all a break and just tweak what I have done so far. Now, if you are wanting something new.." slight wicked grin emerged as he took up a seat along  the platform edge. "Far as Innis, I'm all for it. I'd like to get away for a while and finally see that which I heard so much about."

"It is very possible Elaina and her ladies will be joining us for the duration, a couple of weeks. She has her wedding to plan for her father insists it take place there, which is understandable." Which of course would mean Cara would be going. He hadn't seen her in the time away and yet to see her upon his return but it had been this very day. "Lancely, if you want to come up with a new challenge, I'm all for trying it out." Knowing he might well eat his words.

"Then I shall have to come up with something that would definitely be a challenge for you Cal. For you all. Although I was thinking we should get our own jousting competition going even if between us. I would like to see some of Karl's kingsmen join in."

"It'll be a change." He looked thoughtful again as he listened to Lancely and Cal. "Both the time away and the joust."

At the mention of weddings, he nearly groaned aloud, aware that they'd likely be drafted into service again. And it always gave Elaina... ideas. At least Cal was happily settled, though Cole privately suspected there'd be another wedding not too long after Elaina's. He continued his silence, listening attentively, but with nothing to add verbally.

"How soon will this trip be made?" Hoping that they would be back by the time Raphael needed them, he said they had time and the impression was months. If they could take guests, he hoped Melantha would be free to accompany them. Tropical island would be an incentive and Chandra could see to the race horses.

He wanted to start getting out again, socializing, instead of always working on the contraptions he came up with for lack of anything else to do. Discouraged that things didn't pan out well, different life styles, that made things almost impossible it seemed. "Cole, you and I can find entertainment while the others see to their guests." Not meaning them finding women in particular.

"Peter is here as well and I think once he sees to any matters that concern him here are done, then he will be wanting to head back. A week, two at the most I am figuring."

"I'll need to see if Mo can get permission to take time off and join us." He rubbed at his chin thoughtfully. "That is, if she wants to." There was always that!

Give him time to let his sister and ladies know and making sure he is not needed for the unrest in Kildare. There had been enough talks and a few fleet of ships at the ready. "I'm sure she will, and I'm sure she will be allowed provided she wants to. I think that stands for just about anyone." Though he eyed Lancely curiously but asked nothing.

He shifted in his seating, noticing the glance his way but chose not to enlighten upon the matter by saying anything at all. He had never even advanced to courting a particular lady to really need to say anything. Though, he hoped to always remain friends. That much they seemed to be allowed to have for life circumstances.

"If one of us needs to stay behind or go north," Cole finally spoke up, "then I will. " More than that, he didn't need to say.

"Let Peter know, though I am sure if there is a need, a few of us will be here to go north." It would be up to Peter but Cole's words had him discreetly studying him, picking up on something  too elusive to decipher. He seemed in debate but then decided it was something he could share with his comrades. "The Island is safe but there is unrest on the continent over the stretch of sea to the south. We trade with a few dukedoms that has been profitable for both. The wild wandering tribes of Marauders have been hitting some of these lands though not overtaking any of them so far." They may have to go and fight in helping out these dukedoms survive. Ones of peaceful people on the whole and moreso that they were small if any mass of an army descended on them.

Only a brow lifted as he listened to Cal, kicking back the shot of potcheen left in his glass before refilling it. So there was a method behind the means in going to Innis.

This would be the first chance he would get to use his newfound abilities. Probably be a shock to the enemy and perfect for Peter to let him hone his new fighting skills. "I can understand Peter wanting to help them out." Feeling these people had become friends over the course of trading with them.

"So the vacation has a two fold purpose." He nodded then grinned. "I think we can deal with it but are they attacking in large forces or smaller war parties?"

"Has Peter sent anyone to investigate?" Asked quietly, he looked somewhat interested.

"I'll see you on the kings field come dawn." Finishing off his drink before setting it back to the table set up. He wanted to see Melantha before she headed in for the night, knowing she would still be up with the horses as one had been sick, or so suspected.

"Peter has only learned of the disruption. Lord Balmont approached him a few days ago in concern, asking for his aid. He doesn't like just going in on others' lands. There seem to be a growing number of attacks than normal. I do not have the details but it may well be us that are to go in and find out. We are the best trained."

He wanted to hear the answer to Cole's question but first he clapped a hand to Gabe's shoulder. "And hopefully the skies will be clear and not soaking us again." Speaking after Cal answered.

Which he lingered to hear the reply, it certainly looked like they would be getting to fight real battles again. Clasping a hand to Aiden's shoulder then Cole's, no words. They could talk tomorrow. He was sure he would find out more details when Peter called them to meet. At least they had a heads up, trouble waters ahead. So he didn't miss Mel, he started up into a run, lifting into the air and headed in the direction of Barrett's Stables.

A brow arched at Gabriel's abrupt departure, but he shrugged it off, more interested in the prospect of putting his blade to good use.

"See you tomorrow Gabriel," words to follow as his friend took flight. He could envy him for that ability! He had a lot to think on, the least being a new challenge to construct. It would see there were more dire matters to be attended to first. "I think I'm going to get some sleep," it was getting late and he wanted to be completely alert at any upcoming meeting with Peter. Certainly it smelled like one with all Cal had to say.

"Aye, time to head back. I'd like to speak with Maureen if I can tonight." Or catch her before practice tomorrow morning.

He could find out if Cara was still awake or try to find a time when he could have their paths cross soon. Time away, he wondered if she had forgotten about him, for he hadn't of her. "Sounds like a good plan," which he motioned to the two squires who would see to removing the table back to the hall. "May as well head up to the castle together then." He would enjoy their company. Not that he said much, he had missed his friends as well, came through in the fact he left them a note to come join him when they were freed up.

"Good night, Aiden, Lancely." He hadn't moved from his seat on the steps when the group began to break up to pursue their beds or their ladies.

"Aye, I'll head up with you." Any of them heading in the same direction. Starting off in that direction in a leisurely stride they could easily catch up with.

"Good night, Cole." He laid his hand briefly on his friend's shoulder before catching up with Lancely. Jewel jumped down from the gauntlet, brushed against Cole, and headed off into the shadows.

Cal gave a clasp to Cole's shoulder as it seemed he was going to stay. One with troubled thoughts usually became a loner in trying to hash them out. It was his way of saying he was around if needed but would not grill nor impose. He was right on Lancely's heels to catch up as well with Aiden.


Date: 07-16-09
Poster: Calhoun Quinlan
Post # 5

The Oh-Gawd-Let

The water gauntlet was up and running and the perfect kind of night to get soaked. For certainly none had made it through of those about giving it a try. There was a lot of laugher and a lot of potcheen being circulated, which had some in stitches rolling around in the grass soaking wet. Only to halt, taking another look as one got booted or covered in cream, to have them start laughing all over again. Luckily a few of the squires headed up to the Thistle to get whatever food Hazel could spare in an impromptu feast to keep anyone from getting too drunk. Though that was liable to happen for some. Cal could hold his drink but then he rarely abused it either. He was helping Lancely until his comrade needed a break and headed out for a while. Cal, on the other hand, had lingered in the hope some of the other Innis knights came along he could challenge.

And one such Innis knight wandered along in that direction. He wasn't one to drink to excess or laugh and frolic. No. He had heard of this great water fiend and had set out to become better acquainted with it. He had been told that Lancely changed the settings often, so conquering the machine would remain a challenge for all the warriors. Cole had never minded a challenge. He approached slowly, already eyeing the make-up of the creation. "Evening, Calhoun." He offered, not taking his study from the gauntlet as he walked along beside it.

The spar field was Gemma's destination this night, in the hopes she might meet some of the other women and men who practiced here. She had come a few nights previously, only to find the field empty, though of course, she didn't mind.  Dressed comfortable in nicely fitting pants of doeskin, with a poet's shirt, as well as an embroidered doeskin vest, low boots, and her sword at her side, she was talking quietly to her sister. It was a good night to be out and she noticed several others, including a few around the water gauntlet. "It looks like we may get to see some attempt that contraption." She grinned at her sister. "Should be fun."

Concessa was listening intently, she too had heard of the water gauntlet and was most anxious to see it in action, possibly give it a try. She wore clothing that would accommodate, riding pants of dark brown and a light tan blouse that had lace edging and flounced sleeves to give it a more feminine look. Hair of pitch was in a French braid down her back. "It can't be any worse than jousting and being knocked from the saddle." So she was well prepared mentally to give it a try if they were allowed. She noticed the men there with a smile, friendly enough personality.

"Evening Cole," eyeing the man a few moments, hard to tell what Calhoun was thinking. He wore that kind of mask naturally. "I'm pleased to see you here," giving a gesture of hand towards the beast as another finished up, early. Got as far as the spouts. "Have you tried it out yet?" Giving a slight upnod to the water beastie then shifting as Fae blue eyes touched upon two he had not met. Yet. "Evening Ladies," the dark haired one seemed friendly so possibly the one with her was as well.

A single motion of head to the negative was Calhoun's answer before he looked in the direction that the greeting was offered. Another motion of head, this time as a nod, was offered as his good evening. He shifted his attention back to the man that stumbled from the machine. "How long are you running it tonight, Quinlan. At some point I'd like to give it a try."

"Evening." She smiled at the men, then looked at the beast. It certainly did look challenging but ... fun as well. She tipped her head slightly to study it and the men around it. Apparently the man running it wasn't the creator. While she watched, she took a strip of rawhide and quickly tied up her hair.

"Good evening, I'm Concessa Quinn and this is my sister Gemma. My brother Eion has join the ranks of aspiring knight and my sister here wants to be a Lady Knight." No flies on her yet there was an innocence about her as well. Well, she was innocent! She was right over, tugging her sister along. "Are either of you going up? Would you show us how it is done?"

"It's open for as long as anyone wants to try it out and the lads may change off before their arms fall off." A day in the life of a squire but most volunteered if they had the time and were willing to help out. His smile growing wider in a lopsided way as fae eyes tuned back on the two ladies. "Eion Quinn, yes, I have met him briefly. I am Calhoun Quinlan, one of the Innis Knights stationed here and this is my comrade and another Innis knight, Cole Lachian." So he left off the titles of Sir as it was relaxed here without the kings around.

No doubt many the squire volunteered just to see which knights would fall to the monster. Cole was nodding the entire time, listening to Calhoun, hearing the women in the back of his mind while they chattered. Still, his gaze was on the machine and he took a step back to survey it a bit more. "Aiden and Gabriel, they have tried it do you know?" The introductions were performed, so there was no need for him to see to it. All the better, since he had never been known to be the most genteel of the knights from Daurenia.

"They have last year at least as well myself. Do you wish me to go first then?" It didn't mean he would do any better than any of them for Lancely, the wicked knight of Innis, changed the timing constantly.

One side of Cole's lips turned up in a half grin. "That's up to you, Quinlan. I doubt it will do me any better or foul to see it in action. But please..." He waved a hand for Calhoun to attempt it. "Be my guest." Cole also started backing away, meaning to watch Calhoun's attempt closely.

She was laughing as she was tugged along, blue eyes bright when she looked at the men. "Nice to meet you both." They were going to go then? Excellent! She nudged Concessa then stepped back so she could see the whole attempt better.

Oh, she was being a minx tonight on her sister. "Innis Knights, I am honored to meet you both. I had joined in the jousts with Trevet and Kynan MacKay and heard well earned praises." She was all smiles and weren't the two handsome! Oh, the look she turned on Gemma, time for her to get initiated. She'd been a hermit too long and a great opportunity. "I do believe your comrade, Gabriel is courting our sister. Gemma here has been aaaacccchinnnng to challenge someone to such an event as this. She will take you both on."

"Does she now?" Oh, the smile was growing that turned on Gemma. "Indeed, Gabriel has falling quite hard for your sister. So, you are wishing a challenge? Perhaps a bet?"

The challenge coming from the chattier of the two had Cole turning his gaze in her direction. "A joust?" He slid his study over her, starting at her head and then moving down her body before lifting back to her face. "The pole would weigh more than you. What...all of 7 stone?" He shook his head, looking back to Calhoun as he seemed to be taking the women on!

She just stared at Concessa, stunned. Stunned! Her mouth opened then closed with a nearly audible snap. "Funny, I thought you said that you were the one who was more agile than any knight." She smiled then looked at the two, yes, she'd admit it, handsome knights. "Aye, a challenge and a bet." Just don't ask her to cook.

"I will let the ladies set the bet," graciously, more like clueless, handing it their way.

These were the female siblings of Gabriel's albatross. He would have preferred not to be tying any such burden about his neck! Still, on Calhoun went. Cole cleared his throat, shooting a there-and-gone dilation of pupils at his comrade.

She was a slip of a girl but she had managed to unseat a king, one who unseated her too. She was pointing upon Gemma behind her back when she spoke on agility of a knight. "If she loses she will give a new bridle and reins to each of you and if she wins, you will take a round in spar with her." She was on death row now!

"Concessa!" She was laughing as she motioned toward Cole. "Only one problem with that. Cole hasn't accepted." And she used his first name.

The lass had spunk, slip of a girl was correct. He was trying not to laugh as he turned a look from the lass to Gemma. "Is this to your liking?"

The fact that Gemma had brought up that very true fact had him cutting a look in her direction. "I doubt I will be available to see to my end of the bet should I fail, if this be the wager."

"Then you should go against Sir Calhoun and I will go against Sir Cole, without a bet and see if I am agile enough nonetheless." And there went the pert little chin up in challenge.

"But if this is the way of the evening...then a dagger, for each of you, crafted by Shawnesey, if you manage to proceed further than either Calhoun or myself." Yes, he was serious. If either of them, beat either of the knights, then Cole would seek out the smith. And both ladies would receive a dagger, if even just one of them managed to go further.

"The bet is acceptable." She cut a look toward Cole, a brow lifting. "A knife instead of a spar. I think that's acceptable as well."

"And whoever comes in first and second, will get a homemade cherry crumble pie each." Which she could bake some items such as that one.

"Would you like to go first or have me show you the way?" Whether he made it far or not at least it would break the ice, in a way of speaking and certainly it was getting hot. He took the moment to divest himself of the poet's shirt and boots. Hopefully they were not offended as many went this challenge without too much clothing on.

Slowly his gaze found Gemma, and again, slowly he dipped his head to her. He didn't need the added incentive, he wasn't much of a 'sweet' sort of guy. He actually wasn't sweet at all! Still, the bridle and reins would not be declined.


She was like the cat that just ate the canary or full of cream licking its whiskers. Smug smile as it was time for Gemma to spread her wings, figuratively, unlike Gabriel. She didn't mind him taking off his shirt as it was a pleasant sight. Even if he was much older, he was built nice. That she would tease Gemma on later, and more if Cole took his shirt off too.

It wasn't as if they hadn't seen men without their shirts before. She gave Concessa such a look before she turned back to Cal. "Please, feel free to show us." Well, she wasn't about to take off her shirt! Grandmother would have her hide!

He waited on Gemma to see if she wanted to go first or ... which the thought was barely there as he gave a slight nod and headed for the Oh Gawd-let.

Cole, with the women present, would not be removing his shirt, but he did start rolling up his sleeves.

He was up the steps to the platform, one that was already soaked and why he was going barefoot, better grip than flat soles the boots provided. He took a breath as he watched the floor start moving then leaped onto it.  He managed to avoid the trap door and the multitude of balloons, some breaking behind him as he crossed to the next section.

This was exciting as she was clapping, whistling him on like she learned at the jousts.

Cole's gaze moved from man to hanging balloons, to trap door, to moving on...taking it all in.

He was up the steps to face the walk of small flags. Glancing up to that funnel he knew would spew whip cream if he hit the wrong ones, so best to try and miss them all as he started across.

She watched intently, lips pursed slightly as she watched. He was doing well so far.

He managed across only tripping one of the flags that didn't do anything. Luckily. Now was the bumpers as he watched them a moment before leaping down between the spindles, ready to dart and duck.  He went through that section in a breeze, something not usually done as he was sucking in a catch-up breath some for the effort. Now to see if there was a pattern to the geysers before darting in to avoid them.

An unconscious nod of approval continued where Cole stood.

He certainly was agile. She glanced at Concessa then looked back. Why did she feel certain she'd be seeking out Conor tomorrow?

Amazingly he managed the geysers as he reached the gel slide. He swore someone added more barrels as he started in, vaulting over ones while trying to keep them from rolling. It would be a feat.

She was mesmerized watching. "I think we should get our brothers to do this!" Oh Yes!

One then another popped and started spewing ale, the tarp tipping to coat him in pina colada as the floor tipped as well. He was down on his hands and knees trying to grip something, anything..

"I wonder if Eion has yet." She muttered then nearly held her breath as the man kept going... and going ... and going...

He managed to grip one of the barrels that had gotten itself wedged and hefted himself up and over, rolling to the side as he pulled himself up to the platform of the last section. Here he stood definitely needing to be washed off, slick with goo but it was cool at least. He wasn't sure how fast he could be in the condition he was in but he counted to three and made a mad dash. "Wha..hoooooooo!"   He had almost made it to the end when he tripped something and the waves started crashing down, he dove down to grab the walk itself.

Cole...laughed! Crossing his arms over his chest and chuckling in that way that was his form of amusement.

He had a good grip as the water washed over him and all that goo from his body, near took his pants off! as one hand grabbed onto the band before his was mooning the ladies. The wave shifted back and there he was, still there on the plank as he finally stood, both fists lifting up into the air in his moment of triumph. Hell if he thought he'd only get half way through. "Eat that Lancely!"

Well, that had her applauding and laughing and it seemed the others watching were doing the same. Lancely likely would be fixing the beastie just for Cal. "Well done!"



Date: 07-16-09
Poster: Calhoun Quinlan
Post # 6

That comment brought about another slight shake of shoulders, bowing his head to keep his humor at bay. Lancely may eat...that. But it looked as if Calhoun would be eating a baked delight.

She was applauding him grandly, jumping up and down in the excitement. "Gemma! You can do that! Your turn then Cole." She would make the decisions if they procrastinated.

And there went her sister again. Eyes rolled heavenward, laughing. "I don't know if I can or not." Why not be honest here!

On the contrary, Miss Quinn. Ladies first." He motioned with his head toward the machine, then started forward to congratulate Calhoun. He caught up his comrade's arm, giving it that grip and shake. "Excellent skill, my friend. This will circulate quickly through the ranks. Well done indeed."

"Take your shirt off, that will keep Cole at least from beating you.." she was teasing of course, boldly. Grandmama may need a talk with the youngest Quinn daughters.  Hands were up waving, "I'm only teasing!" dancing back from where Gemma could swat her.

Only if she heard about it. She laughed again then removed her boots and vest, tossing that item of clothing at her sister. "I guess I'll go next."

Meeting that grip with one returned to Cole's arm. "Thank you." Not that he was one to brag but some things, like this, were favorable to circulate amongst his peers and comrades. He was back over, still with a look of disbelief on what was usually a stoic expression. Luckily he didn't hear the teasing of the youngest Quinn ladies as he grabbed up his shirt to don.

Cole moved away as Calhoun did, resting a doubting gaze on Gemma as she prepared to take on Caster's machine.

She was up the steps, pausing as she studied the first part. Then taking a few deep breaths, Gemma started across the moving floor. She didn't care if she got wet, but was hoping to make it halfway at the least. And it seemed she wasn't going to! She made a desperate jump to avoid the trapdoor as it opened directly in front of her..

Brows arched with surprise. That was the only evidence that Cole might get interested in how this may turn out.

And made it! Letting out a breath, she moved onto the next part. Nose wrinkling, she was up the steps. Not only did the whipped cream feel odd between her toes, it was cold!  She started across the slippery bridge, trying to keep her balance.

"Well I'll be damned." He muttered under his breath, canting his head with a squint of eye as the woman continued on.

She was applauding her sister onward.. with the same exuberance she showed for Calhoun.

And just managed again. The next part had her laughing as she eyed the feathers below. She'd be covered! Watching the spindles, she darted forward, twisting and turning in an attempt to avoid the spindles and balloons. And when she did, she let out a whoop! She had at least gone halfway, now to attempt this part. Counting to herself, she started forward, barely suppressing a squeal when she got hit with the first stream of water.

Cole took a step back, as if knocked away that one pace by surprise alone. "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" He asked Calhoun, just a momentary look in that man's direction before fixing his attention back on the woman and machine.

Ugh! The seaweed wasn't pleasant at all. She did yelp this time and kept trying to move forward.  And failed! Her shout was cut off as she slid downward, and into that nasty stuff. She didn't want any in her mouth.

"Aye," to Cole before he was over to lend a hand, once she climbed out of all the wet seaweed she was deposited in. "You did very well, Gemma." Hand extended for her to take.

Laughing, she made her way to the side and took hold of his hand. "Ah, but not well enough. Still, there's always next time." Was there somewhere to wash the stuff off? She flicked a bit of it in Concessa's direction. "You next!"

Gemma should wear the seaweed with pride! She had made it that far!

She darted around behind Cole before sticking her head off to the side. "He's next..." mostly she didn't want her sister to share her seaweed with her.

"There is a barrel of water you can wash off with and some towels." She would not be the first to wear the seaweed nor the last. "I do think it is a new kind of badge."

Cole merely dipped his head to look around his arm where Concessa was using him as her shield. He had said ladies first, but if the young woman wished to wait, he would take his turn at it. He moved away from them without a word, climbing the steps to take his place at the beginning. A scuff of boot tested the slippery surface but still he didn't remove them for that reason. What struck him of a sudden was if he went down, his boots would be filled. Still
eyeing the way before him, he leaned against one of the supports to tug off his boots.

She might save a piece of it. "Thank you." And she was over to clean up a bit. Seaweed, water, whipped cream, and wet clothes. She better get cleaned up and dried off, or there'd be so many questions!

He stuffed his socks into them and tossed them aside. No sooner did they leave his hands then he leapt forward, ducking beneath the balloons as he could, and weaving to keep his balance on that spinning floor. He stopped at points to allow the floor to carry him forward, then continued the footwork to jump to the other side. A frown marked his brow as he looked upon the cream slicked path he would have to cross. Not exactly his idea of fun but still, a challenge all the same. A dart of gaze upward to the flags, then across to the opposite side.

She applauded as Cole made it across the first part, then held her breath. That bridge had been slippery when she went across and now there was more added to it. She was over to join her sister, ignoring the way her clothing clung to her frame. Towel drying her hair, she watched Cole, then draped the towel over her shoulders.

And sure enough, he skimmed a flag and the spray of whipped cream poured down, causing him to growl out a muffled curse as he struggled to keep his balance. But down he went, his feet slipping out completely from beneath him and his backside hitting with a solid thud. He spun to try to grab something, anything to haul himself back up, but all he got was more whipped cream beneath his nails, between his fingers, and he slid...all the way down, until he shot out a hand at the last minute, catching a board to his right, and pulled, and hefted, and gritted his teeth until he managed to pull himself back up to the other side. He sat there a minute, slicked and sticky with cream, cursing his fate before standing once again.  He wiped the back of his hand over his brow, only smearing more cream there, and looked over the next section. A determined nod sent him on his way.

She was gripping onto Gemma as Cole nearly didn't make that section but did by the skin of his teeth.

He gave Cole a loud whistle as he barely managed that hold. He knew exactly what that was like!

His slippery footing made his progress more precarious then when he began, but he spun and darted and stopped and dashed to avoid those bumpers. Arriving safely to the other side. Ah, grand, the seaweed. Perhaps it had all dumped on Gemma! He started in, attempting to guess where the next spray of water would erupt.

"It's as exciting to watch as it is to participate." He'd come over to the two to offer them some of the punch they had down here for any of the ladies.

He was almost dancing on tiptoe as he made it through that area as well. No seaweed, that was a good thing. His breathing came quickly, his pulse raced...but more to control that which he had in him. Excitement always seemed to bring out the beast in him, as it did for many men. His, however, he had been well trained to command. Over the barrels he started ... He shot one look up to the tarp, but kept his pace over the barrels, careful not to have them respond to his progress. He practically tumbled onto the next stand.

Apparently it had all been dumped on her! She smiled at Cal as he offered the punch. "Thank you." Eyes were still on Cole though. Another agile male it seemed. "It is very exciting to watch. And fun."

What...was this? Why the colored dots? He had noticed the funnel, heard the water...and what the hell, rushed in. NOW he knew what the dots did! The flow of water altered, the funnel stealing his footing down the ramp. He attempted to jump for the rope, his hands wet and slimy from sweat and whipped cream, and first one then the other started to slip from his hold. A hand over hand fight began as he swung his legs to hopefully make it safely to the other side before his grip failed him.

She squealed out a scream in the terse moment as she was hoping he could hold on!

Gemma was rubbing her ear after that scream!  They probably heard it at the manor!

The rope burned his palms as he lost his battle and fell. The water washing him away into the pond. He sputtered and coughed, surging from the shallow depths to wade his way to solid ground again. He was almost thankful for the impromptu bath...though he would have preferred to beat the monster on his first attempt.

It was getting late as the little sprite was to the water gauntlet in a skip and a hop. She had no expectations of making it through and each stage would be a plus in her book, just like the jousting. With a twirl and a swing she leaped onto the moving floor trying to avoid breaking any balloons.

He was still shaking his arms free of water, and sticky stuff, when Concessa took off for her turn.

She made it past the first with a wipe of her brow before she was dancing up the steps to take a look at the walk, had funny flags here and there so she would do her best to avoid them.

Seemed her best worked well for her in that section.

No cream for her tonight as the little intricate steps had worked, leaving some to spin as she passed so quickly and onto the next part. Bumpers! Watching a moment for the timing before leaping in, darting and dancing.

"Come on, Cessa!" She owed the two knights but in truth didn't mind. It had been an enjoyable night. "How are your hands, Cole?" She hated rope burns personally.

..and she got whacked! as she tried to grip onto one of the spindles. She managed the feat as she was near airborne, feet lifting from the platform as it spun her to the next part, leaving her in a heap there but upon solid grounding. She eyed the geysers with a bit of trepidation before she launched herself onto the flooring, making a run for it if that would help. She wanted to avoid the seaweed but at least she had made it as far as her sister.

Amazed at what he was seeing again, he almost didn't hear Gemma. A quick look in her direction, then down to his palms, before he set his sights on Concessa's progress again. "Well enough." He commented, not looking to her as he spoke. Though, were he willing to admit, it was difficult not to glance to the woman warrior.

Down came the seaweed as she squealed, twisted and turn, sliding precariously on the floor and trying to move forward no matter.  She slid with a shriek of laughter into the pile.

Another Quinn covered in seaweed.

And with that next part, she was nearly holding her breath. Once she realized Concessa had bypassed the spindles, she applauded then nodded, even if Cole wasn't looking her way. Laughing, she shook her head. She thought about studying the beast when no one was around, but then again, Lancely would likely change it all since Cal had defeated it.

As he had been for Gemma, he was over to extend a hand to Concessa in helping her out once she broke away from most of it.

She took his hand while flinging off the last of the larger pieces, laughing in a way she almost tripped over her own two slippery feet. "I will have a pie made for you each within the next couple days."

He flicked a piece from her hair as he let her hand go once she was on good footing. "Congratulations to you as well Concessa, you did a good job of this gauntlet." Then eyeing Cole. "I'm impressed how far you got never having tried it at all before."

Cole was actually surprised himself, but it wouldn't show on his features. "Were it in battle, though, impressed wouldn't bring me back." A ghost of a smile appeared then gone, as the specter itself. He turned to look to the young men that had worked the machine for them. "Thank you." He offered to them with a slight bow in their direction then he looked to the ladies. "A good evening to you both, Ladies Quinn." To them as well he bowed, and as he
straightened, he started peeling his wet sleeves back down his arms again.

"Aye, but we can welcome the times it is not a real battle." Which he clapped a hand briefly to his shoulder while facing the ladies. The young squires could at least clean up and close up for the night. He knew Lancely would find out before he even got to tell him, he beat one of his monsters. "I think it is time to get back, we can," or he could, "escort you back on our way."

She put her vest back on, then smiled at Cole, inclining her head slightly. "Good evening to you both. I look forward to seeing you again." A quick study again of both men and then she looked at Concessa. "Come on, we might as well  face the music." Turning back to the two men she nodded. "Thank you, it's appreciated very much."  She'd just carry her boots since she often went barefoot anyway.

Calhoun had said 'we'...who was Cole to now deny them?

And she was off with the two and her sister in perfect escort. Big smile the whole way back. Wait until she told Grandmama... of course her version.



Date: 08-03-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 7

The O'Gawd-let Challenge

Segan headed for the spar fields after he saw to a few things down at the port. Didn't even get into a fight this night! It was a hot humid one and cooling off would be the perfect solution. His sister Gemma had mentioned about this water gauntlet and so he had sent out a messenger lad to contact his siblings that could be found to meet him here this night. He brought a number of bottles of potcheen and he was already a few sheets to the wind. Feeling no pain, comfortably numb and singing a sailor's song.

Eion was making his way to the field from the barracks when he caught a familiar voice, and it sounded as if his brother had been drinking. He chuckled as he continued to the field, looking around to see exactly where Segan was and if any of the others had appeared. He glanced at the water beastie and grinned. His first try on it and it wasn't in front of the knights.

Gemma had been at the manor when she received the message. She headed out as soon as she could, promising Gran all the details. And she could hear Segan as she approached the field. She was laughing as she joined them.

"So were are our sisters that had so bragged to beat us on this .." waving a hand in flight towards the beast, "thing?"

"I see one." He motioned toward Gemma as he went toward the beast. The squires had been willing to join them to run the thing after he promised he'd speak to Gran about making them a treat.

Concessa was not far behind her sister but she took the time to get a basket with some food in it so they could have enough to eat should they become hungry. She was laughing as well, hearing the singing as she skipped up the beat of her feet to join them. "Grams sent food so our brothers don't get too drunk." Setting it to the bench with a grin.

Kuwan was not far from the voices as she was out collecting herbs and roots that were best found at night. Those were quickly wrapped up into her pouch before silent steps led her closer to see who it was. A smile lit up her features seeing it was her friends, almost an extended family and so she was quick to make herself seen as she headed in their direction. She was going to miss them during her trip back to the colonies, so was pleased she would get time to spend in their company not planned upon. All such time was precious to her.
  "Good evening. It is very warm and the stars bright in a clear sky."

Conor ran a good part of the way in an attempt to join the group gathering to try this contraption he had heard so much about. Okay, so he only ran the last little bit, but he had hurried for the most part. He was straightaway to the basket on the bench and poked inside to see what was packed for them. "Evening." He offered to the others, rummaging still, that is, until he heard Kuwan's voice. He straightened from his search and smiled. "Kuwan, how nice." "Who goes first?" He started toward his siblings and the native goddess.

"It is you that goes first? Is it not? To show me you are like the Shadow Spirit of the Night." Teasing him as she came closer as he did also, dark eyes in a challenge to him. "It is the one that speaks up first.."

Concessa was snickering. "I do think that before he begins, we should set some bets here.. right Gemma?" Looking to her sister, "you have worked on the bets they are going to lose to us?"

The one that speaks up first? Well, that would be him most of the time then. "I don't mind." He grinned to her, starting to roll up his sleeves. "This is a betting thing? I thought it was a training thing." But the Quinns had always been competitive, tonight would be no different.

Eion had been about to speak but Kuwan and Conor did. He chuckled then bowed. "Conor ... you have the honors." He grinned as he went over to the basket. Food first then drink. Blue eyes shifted from the food to Concessa and Gemma. "Hmmm.... bets." No cooking if it involved Gemma.

"I will bet the men a canoe ride if I lose. To take them out in it while they feast on wild spiced meal." So any of the three as it would be the women against the men so Concessa and Gemma would add to that bet.

"I will have finely made daggers to give each of you ladies that can beat me." That should suit them.

"I will make lemon meringue pies for each male that beats me." Being she was on a pie making kick under the guidance of Grams.

Conor was starting to tug off his boots as the women made their bets known. He hopped to the side to keep his balance, first to the right, then to the left, and after each, tossed that boot behind him. "Gemma?" He was waiting to see what she would bet before he added his in. He shook his arms, gave each leg a shake and started toward the thing, eyeing it.

"I'll pay for dinner at Sibios for each of you, with a guest." She had to think about it for a moment but that should suit!

"What will you bet Eion," moving to the basket as she looked inside to see what was made. "Great Mother has done the cooking?" Smelled like it as she took in a deep breath. Seeing the bottle open, she decided to have a drink. Not knowing it was potcheen. A small mouthful was all that was needed. Eyes watered as she sucked in a breath after swallowing.

"Aye then." Still looking the thing over, he was preparing himself for a loss. Although he was trained, a warrior he was not by choice. This machine was daunting to say the least. "Suede chaps then, the color of your choice, to whichever of you ladies manage to make it farther than me." He shook his head. That, actually, might not be difficult to accomplish. He grabbed hold of the rail and started up.

He nodded at the lads to start the beastie moving then looked at Kuwan and chuckled. There was a barrel with a ladle and he scooped some up to offer her. "I'll let you each pick out a piece of jewelry from the shop here." He hoped that would suit Kuwan, and his sisters.

She took the ladle to guzzle down the water quite greedily before done. Every last drop as she finally found her voice. "It is strong but it is good." All offers were good though she had a question. "What is chaps?"

All would suit her just fine. In fact she was envisioning having all three items to add to her collection.

The beast began to groan into motion...and that made Conor groan. Wiggle of fingers and he looked at what would be expected of him with this first challenge. He'd have to let his brothers explain chaps, he didn't hear Kuwan.  Carefully, trying to manage the rotating floor, he hopped-skipped his way through the first area. Well now, what was so hard about that? He looked back through where he had just come and nodded before squinting a skeptical eye at the next he'd have to manage. Grand. Flags? What in the name of all that was holy? No better way to find out then to ...

She applauded Conor onward as she was over closer to watch how he did this. She really had not looked upon the water gauntlet until now as eyes grew a bit bigger. "It is great challenge."

He was laughing as he watched Conor. He was doing very well! "It is but it'll feel good on a night like tonight." He looked at Kuwan. "Chaps are coverings for the legs to provide protection when you're riding a horse."

Making sure not to touch a single flag or else find out what they were about. If they were there, surely they were to be avoided! He jumped to the other side, drawing in a deep breath. Now, here is where pride comes before the fall! He just darted right into the next section...spinning, turning, bouncing...

"Keep going, Conor!" She held her breath without realizing she was doing so when he came to the next part.

She was following along, getting sprayed as things busted but she didn't mind. "Oh.. oh...ooooooooo..."

And he was doused, causing him to suck in a quick breath of surprise, and the slippery-wet flooring gave way beneath him. Out of instinct, he was grappling for whatever he could hold onto to keep from plummeting down.  He held on tight even though his hands were soaked, he grunted with his attempts to make it across. But he did it! Okay, he wasn't so cocky now. He took a moment to catch his breath. To size up the next section.

"Well done, Conor!" And to salute him, he took a drink of potcheen, then looked around for Segan. Had he passed out?

It looked like there was no way to get through this one without getting even more wet. Which made footing precarious at best. He just shook his head...set his jaw...and raced in, dancing about on the mesh in an attempt to keep from stepping on the water sprays. At least, that's what he thought he was supposed to do! He had no idea what was expected in each of these chambers...ignorance could be bliss!

This was exciting, more excited watching than she had ever been. Clapping and squeals mingled as she continued along following his moves through this gauntlet.

"Aye, well done, we need to show the ladies we can make it through." Least one of them! He continued his drinking for it was that kind of night and up came another song with the worse of the words skipped over.

She glanced at Kuwan and chuckled, then turned back to watch Conor, though she aimed a poke at Segan's side.

Which had him burp.

And that her laughing.

Which she tugged on a lock of his hair as she added to the laughter.

Hip-hop-hip-hop, one foot and then the next, all the way through, a tip-toed dance for the most part but a success! Conor Quinn was exhausted and he still had a couple more to do. He glanced out, saw his siblings, saw Kuwan right there. He offered a wave, all was well. Not really! And he forged forward, on to daring new adventures!

The ow.. came out in another belch with the tug of his hair. "Com'on Conor!" Raising his bottle to his brother.

Segan's shout had Conor looking back out over to his brother, his hand missing the barrel he was attempting to scale, and he fell face first between two of them. Feet up in the air, he was struggling now as the ale spewed and sticky white liquid poured from above. Could make a man want to stay where he was and just open his mouth! But the floor was tipping, or was it just in his head? But he was starting to slide down, so he was kicking and thrashing as he fought the barrels and tried to make it to the other side before he rolled on out.

Kuwan didn't know what to do. Couldn't help him and was fighting laughing as all the ale started spewing. "Take a drink and hold on!"

"Kuwan, you're suppose to be hoping he gets covered in seaweed and ends up in the pile!" Laughing as she watched the Indian maiden. One that could be a sister to her for her looks.

"Come on, Conor! You were doing so well."

Barely! But he managed to drag himself through. Wet with water, ale and pina colada mixture, but through all the same. He just lay where he was for a moment. On solid wood, taking a few breaths before pushing himself up and casting a wary, weary look into the last compartment.

She started clapping as he managed to hold on and not get tossed.

"No applauding the enemy." She teased Kuwan but then she let out a whistle for Conor too, while he caught his breath.

What in nine-holy hells was that noise? No, not the whistle, the sound of rushing water? He could have whimpered if the ladies weren't here but he gave his body a shake, set himself for whatever was waiting for him, and ...  charged!  He must have dashed across one of the wrong colors, not that he was even looking. He thought to just sail through and sheer speed would see him to the other side. It wasn't to happen! The funnel opened up and his footing went out from under him. He struggled for the rope dangling near, but his palms were slick with all the previous challenges.

"C'mon Kuwan, your turn next being you spoke up second." Which had him laughing with the thought picked up on earlier. "Conor, you did weeeellllll..." never thought he'd make it that far for the water. Conor would be needing a few drinks once he got out of the lake.



Date: 08-03-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 8

Several times his hands gripped one on top, the other on top, the first on top, but then...they both slipped free and down he went into the pond below.   He pulled himself out of the water, flicking his hand Segan's way when he passed. "Well enough to earn a drink?" He was squeezing out his shirt tail as he approached the bottles.

"Indeed," hand out with the bottle as he stood. Least he could still stand. He figured he always came in last in any competition so why not go having fun, soused.

He took the bottle and lifted it to drink, glancing to Kuwan who seemed to be going next.

"You look soaked," dipping her head away with the smile and muffled laughter as she was over to the stairs. Pausing there to take off her moccasins as toes curled into the grass. She could hope she did well on this for her sisters of heart. They were to beat the males but Conor made that hard already.

"I'm afraid I left a wet mess for you to deal with, Kuwan. Good luck to you."

"Well done, little brother. Now to see if the rest of us do so well." He grinned at Kuwan and motioned her on. "Good luck, Kuwan." At least they wouldn't be cold even if soaked.

No, the water felt real good. Good enough to even do it again, and lose on purpose!

She was up the steps onto the platform as she watched the floor move around before hopping down and trying to keep her balance while making it to the other side.

"Show them how it's done, Kuwan." She removed her boots so she could be ready when it was her turn.


She managed it to the other side, not even knowing what could have happened. It was up more steps as she eyed the bridge, no worse than going across a log. Though she noticed the flags which were odd so tried to avoid them as best possible. One caught her toe and next she was being coated in white stuff. A squeal escaped her lungs as she tried to make it to the other side. Instead, her feet were gone out from beneath her and she was next finding herself in a trough before she knew it. Landing down under as she came up in a rush of a breath, soaked to the core.

He applauded her nonetheless, she had been brave enough to give it a try.

"Eion, your turn!" Grinning his way as it seemed to be one then the other side.

Conor was rather surprised, not knowing what the flags would cause. He started for the whipped cream covered lass, offering her a hand to come out. The hand, that is, that wasn't holding the bottle of potcheen.

"Good try, lass." He chuckled as he removed his boots and shirt, then looked at Concessa. "I'm going, I'm going." He knew word would get around if his attempt was unsuccessful but he was going to do his best. He headed up onto the platform and rubbed his hands together, doing his best to avoid the trap door those balloons could trigger.

"So, a canoe ride, right?" He chuckled, easing her away from the contraption as Eion took to the mast. "Come on, old man! See to it." He lifted his bottle to Eion in a toast of good luck.

And Conor had him laughing as he just made it across. "I'll old man you when I'm done!"

She took his hand coming out as soaked as he was. Blinking away the water caught on her eyelashes. "I did not do so well."

"You tried it, Kuwan. That's the main thing!"


"This is no toy, Kuwan. You did as well and perhaps even better than most might." He kept his eyes on his brother as he spoke, seeing how well he would do. He would have shouted out a retort to that old man comment, but he knew that Eion needed to focus on this next section.

She too turned to watch Eion and added to the teasing. "You show young boy how good old man can be!"

The bridge across the next part was already slippery but he crouched slightly before he started across again, hoping to avoid triggering more of the stuff! He grinned as he made it across, slippery and covered as he was. He grinned at Kuwan and the others, then continued onto the next part. Now he'd see how much he had improved with his training. He was watching those bumpers to try to avoid them.  But he was bumped and tried to grab onto the spindle to avoid being feathered!  And down he went, laughing as he was covered with feathers. Ugh! After climbing out, he was going to head for the end and the pond so he could clean up! And he was over to the pond part and jumping in. He'd be out of the way if Concessa made it that far.

"Your turn Concessa!" Being they were alternating.

She would probably owe all three brothers but she didn't mind. She never bet what she wasn't willing to do.

She gave them a smile as she was already heading for the steps and up onto the platform. She had done this once before but it was always a new challenge as she set upon the moving floor trying to get to the other side without incident. Up the steps that were already slippery as one look and she was moving across doing her best to avoid the flags. She knew what they did! She had slid in a control way at the end before swinging down into the fray of spindles, ducking and dancing trying to keep from being whacked.

Conor stood with arms crossed, bottle dangling from one hand as he watched his sister.

She got whacked as hands shot out to try and grab the offending bumper and hang on. Her hold was not quite good enough as she was thrown off into a pile of downy feathers. Up near as fast but many stuck to her as she made her way back. She tossed a few feathers her brother's way. "Next time!" See, already challenging again.

He cringed as Concessa fell, holding his breath until he knew she was alright. Then he started over to her to help her out. He laughed and swatted away the feathers with his free hand. "You can deliver the pie...this my shop." A twitch of brow followed as he chuckled and looked to Segan.

He chuckled as he climbed out of the pool. "Jump in here, Cessa. You'll rinse off nicely." And he was over to join the others. "Segan, you're up."

She grabbed Conor into a hug, leaving him with some of her bounty before skipping away to douse herself in the pond as suggested by Eion.

"It would seem to be my turn." Already heading for the steps in not too straight a line. He had the bottle of potcheen with him too. It took a few moments to get up the steps when he realized he had the bottle in hand. "Conor, catch." Tossing it his way and hopefully he heard him and was quick before he was down onto the rotating platform, staggering his way across.

He didn't seem to mind at all, just watching his younger sister with a smile on his features. 
  Yikes! He saw the bottle sailing at him just in time. In fact, he was turning to watch Segan and saw it rather than heard the call, catching it and having it splash a slosh of whiskey on his already ale/non-alcoholic pina colada shirt.

He staggered good, not breaking a single balloon as he needed to catch his breath as he clung onto the railing of the steps to the bridge, world was still turning. A few moments later he was up, half crouched and moving like an ape across. He set something off as he became an albino ape still trying to make it across using hands and feet.

He was laughing as he watched then let out a whistle. "Keep going, Segan!"

He shook himself off like a wet dog but he was seeing white spots before his eyes as he near fell onto one of the water spindles, running with it as he held on. It threw him across the way and onto his back at the next platform. He rolled over and squatted up as he watched the spouts shoot up. What he did was charge after each one that sprouted to make his way across. It didn't quite work as next he was covered in seaweed, splattering him down onto the platform as he tried to roll in the direction he needed to go.

So far it looked like the brothers were winning, except for Eion. She made a face as Segan went into the seaweed.

Instead he rolled right down into the big pile as he was up looking like the monster from the black lagoon. He was over to give Gemma a hug.. "god luck!" Meaning good.

Seaweed for the sea lover. Couldn't have happened to a better guy!

"Segan!" She swatted at him, laughing as she finally got away and started up the steps. "Don't let him drink anymore!"

And with that, Conor handed out Segan's bottle to him. "Yes'm" Was his reply, knowing she'd not be able to do anything about it now that she was set upon her conquest of the beast.

Brat! She eyed the first part then started across the first part, trying to avoid that trap door!  And she made it through with very little trouble much to her own surprise!

"If Gemma makes it through all the way, does she save us?"

She didn't allow herself a grin though. Didn't want to get too cocky. She took a few deep breaths and started across that bridge, slipping and sliding on that mess!

"I think if Gemma could make it all the way through, she can save you and Concessa." Which sweetened the pot and put the pressure on Gemma. "What do you say, Conor, Eion?"

And she slipped and slid right across, laughing as she came to a stop just before the next part. Luckily she didn't hear that!

"Aye, I think so. If she makes it through."

Conor slanted a look to Kuwan, not taking his full attention from Gemma's progress. He slanted a look on his sister as she made it through the next part. "Aye, then, fine with me...but all the way through."

"Yes, she would have to beat Conor."

"Up to you, Gemma!" He called to her as she started into the next part.

Water spindles next. She took a few deep breaths before she started darting across and trying to avoid those spindles. What was up to her?!

Which made it more exciting as she could hardly stand still. They still had a chance! "Make it through, Gemma."

Conor chuckled as Gemma faltered, bringing up his bottle to drink.

"Come on Gem, we got a chance through you!"

She didn't outwardly curse but she was inwardly as she tried to grab one!  And she made it, again, much to her surprise!

"Well done, Gemma!" Of course, he had to cheer her on! Even if he had to pay for jewelry for the three of them.

Watching his sister's progress, Conor muttered under his breath. "Sure would have liked those spiced meats and lemon pie." Drinking some more, and observing his sister make it through yet another section.


Now for the slimy, nasty part. She glanced back at her family (including Kuwan in that), and then across trying to avoid the seaweed mess.

"Me too," but he was always willing to give that little extra edge where the ladies were concerned.

Date: 08-03-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 9

Eeek! She was slipping and sliding now and trying to regain her footing!

She was jumping in place as Gemma made it through!

And Conor was smiling and not saying a word.

She was laughing watching Kuwan and sneaking some of the potcheen while her brothers' attention was on Gemma.

He had all faith in Gemma to make it completely through, so he was already planning on paying up, and losing that which he had won.

Why couldn't she have done that the first time she had tried this? She laughed and then it was time for the gel slide and the barrels. She tried to avoid the barrels but she was just a little tired at this point.

She stopped jumping and held her breath.

She let out a yelp as it seemed she was going to have to try to made it across on hands and knees! Nope! She slid down into the cushions, laughing as she did. Darn. She would have liked to try the last part!

He visibly flinched when she slid down onto the cushions. Then started for her to help her up and off of them. Well done, Gemma." He offered to her, providing a heave-ho to have her on her feet again.

And Conor received a grin as he helped her. "Now I smell like I've been drinking as much as Segan."

"Well done, Gemma." He was going to have to try the Beastie again.

"You've earned at least a swallow." He handed his bottle to her. "Better bathe before Gran gets a whiff of you."

"Conor is champion of the night, he gets a pie, a canoe ride with food and dinner at Sibios with a guest. Eion you get the pie and the canoe ride with food. Segan the same. Gemma, you get a dagger from Segan and a piece of jewelry from Eion."

Listen to the youngest go at it like a professional bookie!

Concessa was grinning, had it all worked out in her head. "Of course we will need a rematch."

"You did very well, Gemma. I would do well to watch more in how they do this."

"Aye, I'll try to get into the manor without her catching me." Laughing as she joined the others. "I think we all need to. Has anyone ever made it across?"  She accepted the bottle from Conor and took a drink, bracing herself for the burn.

Conor laughed as he heard Concessa, moving to the lads who had made the machine run. He handed over a pouch of coins as a thanks for an evening well spent with his family (Kuwan included). A verbal thanks was also offered and he returned to the group.

She also took the bottle for a second swallow!

Oh, lovely potcheen. It made her voice harsh briefly.  She was laughing at Concessa. "Yes, we need a rematch."

"I believe it was Lazare who made it across." At least that's what he heard.

"Yes. I will give rabbit pies and tarts to those that win."

"One of the Four Horsemen did I think I heard tell..." He nodded as Eion confirmed his thoughts.

"And Sir Calhoun." He grinned at Conor. "I'd like to have seen that match. I think he beat Sir Vincent."

"One of the Innis knights made it through as well. It is said that Sir Lancely changes the timing every day or at least every two days if not more."

"He does. And these lads work hard at keeping it going." He'd ask Gran to make pies for the squires. They'd enjoy that. Maybe some of her chicken too.

Conor didn't know any of these men, but he had heard the tales, and if they were true, a good many able knights had been taken down by this machine.

"Lazare beat Vincent?" Oh yes, he would have liked to have seen that one too. He heard enough about the four horsemen under the king and the ongoing challenges between them.

"Aye, he did. I'm hoping they have a rematch and I'm able to watch." It would make up for all the dirt he had to eat.

He felt out of the loop. His siblings all seemed to know these men personally. He looked from one to the next, grinning as they spoke. He didn't really need to know them, he could just listen to his family chat about them.  "Well, this was fun..." He started to roll his sleeves down but decided against it since they were stiff with ... stuff. "But I have a heavy date with leather come the morning."  He didn't even get to sample any of that basket! Yet... He strolled on over and brought out a treat for the road.

Conor should come to the field some morning and just watch then he'd see them. And Eion was waiting for the day when the Four came up against Herself!

The King would be minus Four good men.

He didn't know them personally like Eion might know them some, he was just going on what he heard as he hung around some of the sparring to get back into shape.

"What will you be making? I will have these bets done before I have to leave." Stating that in case they heard that they would be leaving in a few weeks or months.

She chuckled then made a face. "I think a swim in the lake might be in order." Then she wouldn't have to try to sneak passed Gran. That had her making a face. "How long will you be gone, Kuwan?"

Making? Leaving? Conor had tucked one treat against his side and was withdrawing another to see him home when Kuwan commented.

"I do not know how long or when we are to go. I will not be long for I know I'm not to stay." Provided nothing untoward happened to her to prevent her from coming back. The lands were wild and few rules or law enforcement, especially where the Tribes were concerned. Words came softer and heart felt. "I will miss all of you the time I am gone and will have you in my heart."

Well, he thought she was asking Conor what he was working on but the leaving had him looking at her as well. "You'll see Gran before you go, aye?" So she could give her a good Irish blessing.

"Perhaps it will not be too long and you can see to your bet on me last. That way, if you have to wait until you get back, that will be fine."

Well, she had meant what would Conor be making with his leather that he mentioned.

It went right over his head!

"We'll miss you too, Kuwan." She was over to hug her then looked at Concessa. Maybe they should plan a party for her and her friends before they went.

"You will definitely be missed and we'll look forward to your return to us all the more."

"I will see her. I have gift for her." Which would keep the chill off her in the winter when inside and the cold winds blew outside.

She was taking it all in and a subtle nod give Gemma before she too was over to give and receive a hug.

Hugs were good, giving and taking as she hugged each of the sisters.

It wasn't just the women, Conor stepped in and hugged the Indian lass too. Hug he did, but he was careful with the goodies he held that were made by his grandmother in the process. Priorities okay?

"Aye, you will be missed, and we'll be expecting you back safe and sound." He watched Conor and hid his grin by taking a drink of potcheen. He didn't get those treats when he was at the ranch so it was understandable!

She turned from Gemma and Concessa to hug Conor tight. Not saying a word as she didn't trust her voice. Eion was next in the same. "I will miss," came heartfelt. That's when she stole one of Conor's goodies and started running off with it, waving it too.

She was laughing as Kuwan took off with Conor's treat. "See, she is becoming much like us." Or at least her.

He laughed as she took off with one of the snacks he had intended to take home. "Enjoy, Kuwan!" He called after her, laughing, then looked at Concessa with a wink. "Goodnight. I need a bath and my bed." He started peeling the cloth back from his treat and took a bite when it was exposed. If heaven could be found on was added to the ingredients of his grandmother's cooking. He lifted that yumminess high as a means of farewell, and started on his path to collect his horse, and continue on to the ranch.

As always, he was surprised by the hug but returned it then laughed as Kuwan took off. "Good night, Conor. Segan, are you up to seeing our sisters back?"

She would not let him go without his treat as she made her way back his way to offer it to him again. "Sleep well, Conor. May the spirits of the night be kind in guiding you."

"Good night, Conor." She was over to hug Eion then. "Good night, Eion. I'll see you on the field tomorrow." She planned to come practice and hopefully talk to Maureen.

He curled his hand over hers, tucking that treat in her grip. "I meant it, Kuwan. Enjoy. Gran would want you to and so do I." He smiled down to her and slipped his touch from hers. "I hope to see you again before you depart. Goodnight."

"It is time to get back, we will see you to where you are going Kuwan." They could at least do that for her this late.

Conor would be at the party for them! "Aye, we'll do that, Kuwan."

He glanced around his shoulder as Segan offered to accompany her. The offer that almost slipped from Conor's lips but his older brother had beat him to it. He glanced once more to Kuwan, nodded faintly, then with a few backwards steps as he looked to his siblings and Kuwan, he started back on his way.

He would see her most likely as she owed him a canoe ride, as well his brothers. She was going to be doing a bit of baking soon! "I hope to see you too." If he heard as he took off.

Eion decided to join his siblings in the walk to clear his end a bit. He could get up early and have breakfast with Gran before going to the field. He'd be hearing about losing all too soon on the field.

And she might talk both of them and Concessa into that swim so they wouldn't smell like a brewery when they went to the manor!

"Time to go," there were a few smaller lakes on the way that they could take a swim on their way back. It was a little distance to Whispering Pines to have Kuwan walk it alone and no finer company. "We can eat more from the basket on the way."

She would graciously accept the offer though she had been tempted to slip away into the woods before they could have offered. She didn't like putting them out, then again she enjoyed their company, at least those who wanted to share it.

That basket alone was part of the enjoyment! She was rooting in it and handing out treats before they started. "So, when should we do this again ... " Asking as they started off along the path.



Date: 08-24-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 10


Segan had decided to practice as he headed for the field behind the spar hall. There were ones mulling about and a few on the water gauntlet. One reason he waited, leaving it to those presently making use of getting wet while practicing. Muggy hot night, he tossed his shirt off, leaving cut off pants and bare feet as he went through slow motion precise movements he'd been taught long ago. Except, if Eion saw them, he'd know he had been trained further than their training together. Where, when or how would be a curious question. One arm stretched up, elbow bent and sword down at an angle in front of him while one leg arched up keeping perfect balance as his other hand slid out, palm flat and he looking off his fingertips upon an imaginary enemy. He got a few glances, some even wandering a little closer watching his curious ways and the way he held what might seem an awkward pose for a good number of minutes without teetering.

Eion had been practicing archery earlier and was inside the hall, talking to some of the younger trainees. He was still carrying his shirt when he stepped outside and spoke softly to the guards there. A moment later, he was wandering toward the field not quite sure what was drawing him there. He drew close when he saw his brother, nodding at the others gathered. Segan seemed to be doing some type of meditation. He placed his shirt on a bench and moved closer but didn't speak. He was actually quite interested in what his brother was up to.

It was probably amazing to some of them how high and fast he could leap and his sword in a sure spike that would impale his opponent. Sword going up and around as his body naturally followed to notice the small crowd he had collected. The surprise on his face was probably comical as he straightened, cleared his throat, bowed then headed for his brother. I was wondering if you might show up. I was considering trying out the water gauntlet once the few are done using it now." Which seemed that they would be after a few tries.

He chuckled when he noticed Segan's surprise, barely resisting clapping. "I'm here when I'm not at the manor or the Thistle. Especially on nights when it's too hot to sleep inside. A few of us have taken to sleeping here, on the edge of the field." Though the thick stones of the barracks stayed cool enough. He looked toward the water gauntlet and nodded. "They're probably cooled off enough." He started for the contraption. "Where did you learn that?" Motioning back over his shoulder toward where Segan had been standing.

Which had him chuckle with a side glance given Eion as they started towards the gauntlet. He'd worked up a sweat and ready to give it a good try. "Mongolia. Long story on how we ended up there after escaping from the Amazons. Tried to get up to the colonies but got swept out to sea in a storm. One of the men that we rescued while escaping these warrior women, said he knew the seas were we ended up and if we brought him to his lands, he would see to making us wealthy. Turns out he was an overlord's son who was very pleased to have his only son back." Waving it off at this point or he would be talking another hour or more on it and best saved for another time. "Shall we toss a coin to see who tries the beast first?"

"I will have to waylay you some evening, with a few bottles of potcheen, and some fishing rods to the lake so I can hear the rest." He looked at the water beastie and nodded. "Aye, a coin toss will be fine, unless you wish to go first?" He sat on a nearby bench to remove his boots.

"Or.... fishing rods, plenty of potcheen and I'll bring my journal for you to read. You can tell me how it is and ask questions. I am leaving spaces to make any corrections or anything I left out." It was something new for him and he had no idea how it would read. Once more was written then he could get a good idea from there. "I can go first, being you offered and ready to cool down." He was up the few steps as he timed the moving platform before hopping down on it. He was hoping a few balloons broke as he made his way across but not to where it opened up the trap door. He certainly got his wish as balloons broke one after the other, soaking him as he tried to avoid that trap door that was opening up. He lost his footing for the slick floor and slid down into the tank.


Soaked to the bone and loving it as he was up and out, heading for the steps again. "Now I'm ready to be serious."  Acting as if he had done it on purpose. "And you can slide down your first try to cool off first too, or save your extra try along the way." Wouldn't be any fun if it ended there and it would be the last he went into competition, even friendly kind, with his brothers again. He was getting a complex.  He was once more stepping out onto the moving floor and this time avoiding the poles and balloons. Like a monkey he was fast up the steps with a pause to eye the bridge ahead. Glance to the cream machine before he was moving along quickly avoiding the flags. Not quick enough when the cream started spewing out over him and the bridge as he tried to keep his footing to reach the end...and he was down into the trough. At least it cleansed him of the cream as he climbed out. "Your turn."

He was laughing as he watched his brother, standing to shout encouragement. "We can try again after this." The boards were slippery from previous use and he was certain he'd go no further than Segan. He was up to the first part, watching the moving platform before he started across. Laughing as he started to slide, he tried grabbing for one of the poles. And he just made it by the skin of his teeth. Some of the balloons had broken and the water felt good but he wasn't too sure about the cream! He started across trying to avoid the flags. Oh no! He was really laughing now as he started slipping in the cream.  And down he went, into the trough! As he came over to the side, he leaned there a moment. "I think ... I'm glad our sisters aren't here."

As one brother slid then the other to follow, Michael decided to give it a try. Having been standing there in the shadows watching quietly. Who knows when the McAndrews man got there as it seemed he only appeared. The two wouldn't know who the one was as he was up the steps and onto the moving platform. The idea was to avoid bursting any of the balloons or at least getting out of their way.

He was out of the trough to watch the newcomer, striding over to join his brother.

Water poured down in a refreshing way as the trap door opened up but he managed to slide around it and onto the next platform before heading up the steps to the bridge. A glance over it before on the move. He was down to where the spindles were turning sporting water filled bumpers. He laughed before entering the fray and trying his best to avoid them. Leaping over one while grabbing onto the end propelled him across to the next section. Geysers. This would take a lot of fancy footwork and moving just as quick as he headed across. Seaweed was falling everywhere like rain as feet slipped while he still tried to make it across practically on hands and knees. Almost there but next into a pile of the stuff as if dumped.

He was watching the man closely, yelling out some encouragement until he finally succumbed to the seaweed. Chuckling, he still applauded. "Well done!"

If the two went to look, the man was nowhere in sight. What had been a lump in the seaweed flattened down.

He looked at Segan then at the section where the man had been then back to his brother.

He was yelling right along with his brother and moving to see if he needed a hand. Brows lifted as he turned on a heel to catch his retreating back but none was to be seen. "Where'd he go?" Like Eion would know. "Who was that man?" Again as if Eion would know the answers to all his questions.

"I have ... no idea, to either question." He scratched his head as he approached where the man should have been. "Not even a trail of seaweed."

"Maybe we just imagined him?" Or else Eion might freak if it was a ghost of some sort. The image was golden but not like the sun shining or anything.

He rubbed his hand over the lower portion of his face then shook his head. "No, he was real. He wasn't the Crown Prince but maybe one ... um ... similar?"

"Aye, I'm sure if we ask around someone might know." If they wanted to peruse it to find out. Though they would discover no one else but them saw the man. Not that others doubted it but they were around the water gauntlet when the man came, the others had not been nor had noticed a blond haired man of the description they gave.

If they couldn't find out right away, he'd be keeping an eye and ear out certainty. He looked at Segan and grinned. "Now what?" It was growing late and more than likely, both should be seeking sleep soon.

"Show me the knights hall and we can sit and drink until we dry off.." slow grin as he had a bottle of potcheen with him where he left his shirt, boots and sword.

"Good idea." There was also potcheen there and likely some food. He was over to grab his boots, shirt and sword as well then joined his brother.



Date: 03-22-10
Poster: Orlaith Hughes
Post # 11

Elemental Testing

It was that type of night that called to one like Orlaith. The sky pitch with the sprinkle of stars in varying brightness. A few planets amongst them shining steadily with the rise of the moon to outline nature below. The wash of pale light fell over the spar field in back of the hall. A few lit torches about the area didn't take from the brightness of stars above. Orlaith was restless and pacing the field in a determined stride, her mind a whirlwind in motion. Perhaps it was the combination of cabin fever and the taste of spring in the air that brought her here. The earth coming alive again and with each breath she was feeling its birth.

Darragh often wandered the lands when he wasn't on duty. He liked the feel of the mountain air, cold and crisp well into spring. As he returned to the castle, the air was a touch warmer, giving a hint of spring on this, the first day of the season. Something caused him to turn toward the spar field, his quick stride slowing as he saw someone pacing, someone familiar. He knew she would sense him before he approached but he moved to stand beneath a torch so he could be seen.

Nostrils flared as she picked up his scent and one of those secretive smiles came quickly before covered up that which she'd been drinking in to a heady experience. Her back to him before swinging around and her determined stride headed right for the man standing by a torch. One that flared as a toned down heat wave went forth before her, like a good summer breeze type of warm. Hair was lose and flowing like flames as lapis blue eyes were locked on him without diversion. Bearing down on him she stopped short of not even a foot as a hand curled up around his neck. Flames in the depths of her eyes as that mischievous smile grew a split second before she fiercely seared his lips with hers in a kiss then stepped back as her hand slipped away. "Isn't spring wonderful?"

He watched her approach, a brow lifting as he noted the determination that surrounded her, not to mention the warmth that came before her. His gaze stayed on those beautiful eyes even as she moved closer and kissed him, a delightful surprise that had him grinning when she stepped away. "It is indeed. And is it just spring that has you in such a mood, Lady Orlaith?"

"Spring has the effect on me as do other things." The slight lowering of dark red lashes gave a sultry look and secretive tint to her smile. "A lady can't divulge all her secrets.." the lift of her chin held a determined stubbornness to it. "Does it not stir you in marvelous ways?" He was earth, that which was awakening all around them, certainly he would be feeling it too.

"And what other things, or are those part of your secrets?" Though his expression was serious, his eyes held a hint of laughter that made them shine. "It stirs me in ways I can't explain. I can feel the trees awakening, life pushing through the earth in the form of plants, the song of the earth changing from one of winter to one of spring." He leaned forward, his eyes on hers. "Do you hear the music, Orlaith?"

"Perhaps in time you may learn more of those secrets." As with anything it depended on a number of variables and circumstances. Something that was certainly not impossible but then she didn't believe in anything being impossible even if not always obtainable. "I hear the music, it comes as the pulse of the universe and the awakening of the Earth." She had drawn close again as a hand ran up along his chest as she closed her eyes, fingers splayed with the quiver of her lips as delicate nostrils flared drinking in that pulse and returning it with heat where her hand rested. The kind of warmth that shone down on the earth to power it to life.

"Perhaps I will." He watched her, brining his own hand up to rest over hers, eyes still on her face. "And what does the beat of my heart tell you, Lady of Fire? Can you feel the life that comes from the earth?"

"As the pulse of the earth beats in a volcanic molten river, so does your heat beat to all limbs. Pounding. Powerful. No matter the season upon the outer core or that which is seen only superficially," her words trailing off with the lift of her eyes to his that had been trained on his hand over hers previously. "The man is not all that unlike the skills he has been given, hmmm?" The thought set off a twinkle in such unique blue eyes.

He laughed and inclined his head slightly, acknowledging the truth of her words. "You speak what you feel, what you sense. And from you comes the fire that brings life, warmth that cause the world to awaken. So much life in  those eyes that hold hidden fire. Skills to be revealed." He released her hand, the smile growing. "Perhaps this very night?"

"I was wondering when you'd get around to it," sassy wink and a brighter smile. She obviously enjoyed mincing words with him, flirting as well. A flattering kind of flirting that was genuine with no strings attached. "I reserved the field just for us, the one above this one." As she was instructed was set aside for the above normal kind of practice. Her hand slipped away from beneath his as she turned starting in that direction and certainly a walk that was a symphony in motion for the fitted pants needed in such practicing. Boots that didn't hide the curve of her calves. He may pick up on that Orlaith used all her skills and knew what she had.

She was easy to flirt with, to talk to, and he enjoyed it as much as she. "Wise as well as beautiful," he complimented sincerely as she turned and started away. Eyes dipped down and lifted again as he watched her walk. Such a walk was a delight to see, either in coming or going. Warrior she was, but a woman as well, and one that could be fully appreciated.

She dipped a glance over her shoulder for hearing the compliment, accented with a wink before continuing onward. She wasn't sure how he was going to test her but she was certain it was going to be interesting with this very handsome and sexy man. Certainly that didn't get pass her in observing. It was a ten minute trip from the one field up to the one separated to allow for that which was above the norm to transpire. She had heard about when Earth met Fire before of two others and her thoughts skipped over that tale. Stopping in the middle of the field as light was not required with the moon up above giving off her light, enough to certainly see by for eyesight was acute as well in most elementals.

As they continued to walk, he stepped up beside her rather than stay behind. He enjoyed nights like this and in good company, it was even better. Small animals scurried out of their way, some thin from long hibernation, others hunting their evening meal. He paused beside her, taking a step away and tipping his head up to look at the sky. "Each element has their own strengths, and weaknesses. It is how you use them that matters. We serve the Light in this land, under the Crown Prince who is Spirit. Even to death if necessary. Are you here of your own free will, to be tested and to decide if that is the path you will choose?" He turned to look at her, and smiled. "I ask you  not of dark places within yourself for those are yours to battle unless they would interfere with the path you would take."

"I understand and accept what being part of the Force of Five means. To the death, to protect all those in these lands and her sister lands. To help on a daily basis and to work with the other three elementals as a greater force when needed. The Druid Prince at the center like the sun's rays to give even more strength. As there are the compass points, north, south, east and west there are the four elementals, earth, air, water and fire. I am here of my own free will to finally belong to something I can believe in with my heart and soul. To finally make use of the talents I have, not alone but in a worthy group." There was a long pause when he mentioned dark places. Had her wonder there for a second if he could see into her heart and past to any degree. "If there are any dark places I will strive not to allow them to trouble anyone else." The last almost choked up for the emotion it welled up. "I was a fugitive without a home, without direction, without purpose, until drawn here. Here I found what I wish to be, to become."

"Then you have passed the first part of the test, Orlaith." He smiled, then grinned and held out his arms. "And now on to the second." Without warning the ground beneath her feet began to shake, hard enough that it would be difficult to stand in one place. The ground in front of her began to lift, rocks emerging from the ground quickly in an effort to surround, fast in an attempt to disorient. The shaking was accompanied by a low roar as if the very stones were speaking a challenge. Darragh moved to the edge of the field, watching to see how Orlaith would handle this attack. The ground began to split open as yet another rock lifted from the earth, right where she was standing.

She kept focus on his face, on his eyes, taking in what was surrounding her and beneath her on another level. She had been taught well to be used for sinister purposes and that was why she broke from where she had been held captive. Her arms lifted from her sides as fire ran down them like lasers to split the rocks as they got too near, the heat having her rise from the ground a few inches and upheld her as the ground below became unbalanced and with fissures to open. Her hair became like flames to frame her delicate features that were set in determination as eyes could ignite in how they flared. She moved amongst the obstacles as they shattered and shot in all directions with the small explosions, her direction concise as she moved towards him. He might see the hint of a smile upon her lips.

There was a slight nod of approval and as she approached, he took a step forward and then another. The earth beneath his feet rose with each step, lifting him until he stood at the top of a high mound and he motioned for her to come and join him. Below the earth still moved, almost as if dancing with anticipation. A crack formed in the earth again. "Below us an army approaches and we must bring it to a halt. There is only the two of us, this time." Another time they could be three, or more, depending who would be with them.

She moved up onto the mound, feet upon earth this time around. Nodding for the invisible army that spread out before them. Added to the trembling earth were comets of fire to shoot out from her hands, searing the ground as flames rose up on each impact. She had once been called the Dragon Queen and at the moment that was exactly how she looked. Shields would protect against the bolts of fire if one knew how to duck quick enough. She wasn't invincible but she could create a wall of fire to keep enemies out, or in, if she surrounded them.

He nodded approval then lifted his hands, bringing forth a flow of lava from beneath the ground. She could use it as she would to strengthen. "We drive them back, protect the lands as we can though some will be destroyed. Some flee, untouched. Would you chase them with fire to destroy, to make sure none remain? Or would you let them go, return to their lands, their families, in the hope that they would negotiate peace?"

As the lava was drawn up from the earth she directed it up into moving columns that could swat down over areas of troops below in this mock war that had them fighting side by side. The columns would not destroy the earth beneath as it would if it could flow over all in a burning cover. "That is a hard question," before she directed the lava columns back down into the open crevice so the field would not be left too burnt. As it were, those that came this way would know that elementals had been at play,  "if it was a first time offense then let them go home to their families and reconsider their actions. If they persist then it becomes a do or perish yourself. One takes the chance they are set on destruction and lose more lives that could have been prevented. I believe in giving a second chance." She was tiring out as all flames disappeared in a puff of smoke. The tint left in the air for using such force. Blue eyes turned up his way to lock with his eyes in seeing what he had to say.

The earth settled in its shaking, easing down again so that all was flat though of course, there were areas that were scorched. He left the hill for now. Holding out his hand, he waited for her to place hers there. "You have passed the test, Lady Orlaith Hughes. At least my part of your testing. There may be questions for you from Prince Andrew, or from Aaric  but that remains to be seen. It grows late, and we are both in need of rest. Will you be on the field at dawn?" He would not take his rest yet, but would find Aaric and tell him of the test.

"It pleases me," she had been all nerves even if she was secure in her abilities at this point in her life. That was not so much the case a couple years ago. "I am in the best of company." Sliding a glance his way as her hand was placed in his. Her smile as radiant as sunshine to flash in a way it was a bit flirtatious as seemed to be her nature. Why not when one had such a handsome man at her side so she seized the moment. "I will be on the field at dawn and do as is wished of me there." Which she was very capable of following orders or making quick decisions on her own when called for too.

He bowed and placed a kiss to her knuckles, not only acknowledging her as an equal but as a lovely and lively woman. Straightening, he tucked her hand on the crock of his arm, and led her down the newly created hill. They could talk more as they walked back to the castle, the company greatly enjoyed.


Date: 05-30-10
Poster: Vincent Hamilton
Post # 12

Wet Workout on the O'Gawdlet

Vincent still had to come up with a name for his falcon. The two were getting to know each other better as he had him out here in the field behind the spar hall. A place where many a knight and warrior gathered in their leisure, set up practice or other such challenges to improve their skills. He had sent the falcon to hunt of which he came back with a field mouse which Vincent let him keep to devour while set upon a branch. He was waiting on Simon who was also here in the lands at Leo's request.

Simon had been out in the field earlier with his falcon, allowing him to hunt while he enjoyed the sun. He had taken him back to the castle and returned to the field to meet up with Vincent. "Letting your friend stretch his wings, I see." Said as he came upon his friend. "I had mine out earlier."

"I have had him hunt and so far he has brought back a snake and a field rat, neither of which I would make a meal of. He will begin to think hunting is for him unless I can show him I would want a rabbit." Which had him chuckling as he greeted his long time friend with a clasp to his shoulders then released. "I think I shall call him Pepper being I do not know if it is a male or female. I wonder if Thane will be sent for as well and can join us on that," slight dip of his chin with eyes looking up from under his brows towards the gauntlet. There were a few squires doing the usual maintenance on it.

"I've called mine Gwalch." Which had him smiling slightly. "Welsh for hawk. " He looked toward the gauntlet and shook his head. "I was wondering how long it would take before you'd want to tackle that thing." He watched the squires a moment. "All I can say is it's good no one has had any broken bones while tackling it."

The episode of the Witch had sent them all into hiding in different locations, with Thane sent to the small village of Outhenby in Kildare. He had been hired there as the Bailiff, and his role had also become that of arbiter of conflicts and defender of the villagers. Such little towns had need of protection in the chaos following the Witch, and Thane had come to enjoy a generally quiet country life. Though the far-flung hamlet of Outhenby could be considered a trifling piece of the King's affairs, for Thane, helping the handful of villagers there was just as important as fighting grand battles. In this way he would have contentedly served his King for years to come, but Duty had drawn him back. Now a Knight and officially a King's Man he performed whatever tasks were given them, the King's law his life. Never had his duties brought him to Heathfield, though and he walked slowly onto the field. Thane still had the habit of dressing simply, almost like a country farmer when his responsibilities did not decree more formal wear. And as he was not to meet Leoric until tomorrow, today found him in a coarse wool tunic of brown and green. For a moment he just watched, a smile slowly touching his lips as he easily recognized the two men already there and their new.... pets?

Perhaps it was a certain scent or that feeling crawling up the back of his neck that had Vincent turn abruptly on a heel in mid conversation with Simon. "Well, look what the cat dragged in.." Long stride had him crossing the distance to accost Thane with a bear hug knightly style before released. Arms length, "you look hale, scraggly yet," releasing him with a laugh. "We have yet to put some more meat on your bones. You need to eat more of your own cooking." Not that Vincent had any fat on him but he was bigger boned, more broad chested than his brothers in arms. Vincent had the arm brace for the falcon on his arm, the bird in the nearby tree. Simon's was not here but it could leave Thane wondering.

He stopped to turn as Vincent ended the conversation, a grin appearing when he spotted Thane. He followed, studying Thane and nodded. "Don't listen to him. You don't need to eat more of your cooking, but the food here. " Not that any of them were bad cooks. "Welcome to Heathfield, Thane."

"Brothers." Thane stepped forward to meet them, then was taken up into Vincent's bear hug. He blinked, then laughed, giving his back a light thump before greeting Simon in the same way. Thane did have that lean look, and never seemed to lose it no matter how much he ate. It was the look of a man who worked hard and ate spare. It was a common point of teasing amongst them and Thane accepted it with a mild smile. "Thank you. It seems you've both been here longer than I." Dark eyes followed the bird that perched in a tree astutely. "You are training birds?" The question was directed at both of them, though Simon had no sign of owning a bird himself. Thane had that uncanny knack of  guessing things that were yet unseen.

"I arrived first, then Simon and now you. Leoric must have staggered it. All is well in Kildare?" He indicated the falcon in the nearby tree, "that one is mine and I've been working with him since acquire. You are to see the Bird Lady for one too." It had been mentioned that Thane was to receive the same gift. "I think when we go to explore the rumors of the Northwest Foerst these birds will come in handy."

"Ah." Thane nodded. He'd been wondering why Leoric had summoned him to Heathfield, and now the reason made more sense. "They must be fine birds indeed, to bring us all the way here." It wasn't as if there weren't Falconers in Kildare.

"I just remember there's something I need to take care of back at the castle." He clapped a hand to each of his brothers in arms shoulders. "And I'll join you shortly." With that, he turned on a heel and headed for the castle. He couldn't remember if he had secured Gwalch or not!

He watched as Simon took his temporary leave, least by his words it would be temporary before focus turned on the Gauntlet. "I'm itching to try that contraption." More mussed then back to Thane. "I think he wants us to try the Beast, fondly called I'm told by the other knights and warriors."

Thane was lost in his own thoughts, looking around the Spar field with intelligent but somewhat distant eyes. Which moved back to Vincent when he was addressed directly. Amusement quirked his lips as he gave his friend his attention. "And what exactly is the Beast?"

There was a slight smirk as focus shifted to Thane then back with a slight upnod to the contraption before them. "That there is the Beast." Squires were idle waiting on if anyone wanted to test their skills. "I'll wager you twenty coins I can get further than you on it." Which would get Thane involved too.

Speculative eyes went to that contraption, considering it a moment before nodding. "I'll take that wager."

"Or, the water gauntlet being it is so hot tonight and I've a bottle of potcheen to help us along." It would prove more amusing and leave the other to a more serious competition with other knights.

Simon returned after finding Gwalch was exactly where he should be, and in time to join in. "What are you doing?" Just to verify, since really all he heard was about the bottle of potcheen.

It wasn't past Roseann to tie the folds of her sundress off to the side as she came upon the spar field. There was a large tree she could climb not far from where the two gauntlets were. Warriors without shirts would have her blushing red but she could inconspicuously climb that big tree and go unseen, still being able to watch the various ones about in a grand seat. The woods nearby had her upon silent steps melting with the shadows as it was approach, from the opposite side where she would not been seen. She was like a tree nymph to climb the massive oak. Settling into the crook of one of the upper larger branches.

"The water gauntlet..." Taking out the bottle from the pack at his side then opening it to take a good drink, passing it off to Thane.

"Trying our hand at the water gauntlet," he informed Simon, shrugging out of his tunic then unclasping his sword belt to lay the weapon down carefully in the grass. He'd take a swig from the flask before passing it on to Simon. His shirt followed the rest into a pile on the grass, leaving him bare-chested, the muscles chiseled there slightly bronzed from practicing so often in the sun. Dark eyes lifted to drift to a huge tree at the other end of the field, its leaves rustling slightly in the breeze.

He was peeling off his clothes down to his pants which he rolled up, boots gone too as well the empowered sword to lay in the grass next to his comrades'. Green eyed glance followed Thane's. Only thing really seen was that big old tree. "You plan on climbing that sometime?" Or some kind of new challenge later. He was ready by the time he straightened taking a look that way. "I'll go first being I brought it up unless one of you wishes to?"

His eyes shifted from his friends to the gauntlet and he sighed. "Of course," though there was laughter in his eyes. He accepted the bottle and took a long drink, then placed the bottle aside on one of the nearby benches. Time to follow suit and strip down to his britches. "No, you can go first." Graciously. He looked over at the tree then back with a shrug.

Thane didn't answer Vincent for a moment, still gazing thoughtfully at the tree before turning his focus back to his comrades. "It's nothing. Aye, you may go first," as he pulled off his boots and then socks.

All the Clearys had Fae in them. Victor probably the most and Rose would not admit to that part of her nature. Yet. She sucked in a silent breath as one seemed to be looking right at her, she could feel the heat in her cheeks while thanking the stars above it was passed off.. or they were not really looking her way or sense her? There was also the noticing of them stripping, she felt like a peeping tom even if still glued to her spot. Swallowing hard as certainly they would not strip all the way down and the relief to follow that she was right. She took out an apple from her pouch and bit into like  a spectator getting ready for the show.

Giving a roll of his shoulders he was up the steps to the first platform. An overhead had balloons filled with water, poles with nails on the rotating floor would certainly hit if he didn't take the correct route. He had no idea there was a trap door but he might find out. One glance given his comrades before he jumped down and started moving towards the next landing. He managed it quickly and efficiently but certainly not something to let go to his head. It seemed too simple or he was just very lucky there was no misstep. Another flight of steps brought him to the bridge with all the flags. He wondered on them and it seemed they were something to avoid if at all possible. That included the shoot he noted. Those little buggers were hard to avoid and he found cream being sprayed from various angles. The bridge beneath his feet becoming slick as he let out a barking laugh and tried to avoid the shoot.


He stood so he could watch Vincent, laughing as he shouted out encouragement. "You can do it, Vincent!"

He barely managed it, one foot actually going towards the shoot as he flung his body in a slide to the other side in the nick of time.

Thane let out a bark of laughter. Not much could lure that from his lips but the image of Vince being blasted with cream was enough.

Rose had to smother a laugh behind the palm of her hand as she watched the quite handsome man become covered in cream and sliding just so. Luckily she was a good distance away. She wished her sister could be here to witness all this.

The stuff clung to the hair on his chest, arms and head. Splotches on his black trousers stood out as he gazed upon the water spindles he had to get past. Well, if he didn't, at least he would get washed off! Taking a deep breath he leaped into the fare, feeling like the old saying about leaping out of the pan into the fire as he was bouncing, darting, ducking and all the while avoiding the arms. One almost got him as he did a somersault that vaulted him over and onto the next platform. He needed to catch his breath.

"How much are we betting on this?" He glanced at Thane then whistled when Vincent made it across with a bit of flair even!

"See if you can do that!" Once he caught his breath knowing well he probably could not repeat that ever again.. he was getting older.

"Twenty coins," he told Simon, a smile twitching on his lips as he watched Vincent huff and puff midway through the gauntlet.

He was watching the geysers, two, one, four, three, four, two, there was no pattern. Here went nothing as he charged across hoping he was faster than any spout. No.. no he wasn't as a foot came down on one, blocking it as wet soggy stuff started raining down upon his body, sticking to the whip cream while he struggled to keep a foothold. A foothold could not be kept and he slid without aplomb right into the pile of seaweed off to the side.

She had both hands over her lips as she watched wide eyed, laughter muted which was a feat in itself. The apple dangled from the one hand half eaten.

"Ugh!" He laughed as he headed over to the section where Vincent had disappeared into the seaweed. "You look like a monster from the sea." Teasing.

He was up brushing the stuff off his arms, chest and hair. "I think I know how it must feel to be a Loch Ness monster." Chuckling as it had been fun. "Thane, you're next, watch out for that bridge, it's even more slippery now."

Thane was chuckling as he watched the kelp-covered Knight slog his way free. Nodding to Vincent's words, he stepped forward to the front of the gauntlet. Looking at the first task, the hanging water balloons and the sharp-edged poles ready to pop them at any moment. Then a deliberate step taken onto the moving floor as he started his way across.

He stepped back again, so he could watch Thane and clapped his friend on the shoulder when he passed. So far it didn't look good!  "C'mon, Thane!"

Making it across without incident, he fleetingly wondered what was beneath that trap door before continuing onto the next part with all those tiny flags. It was smeared already with cream from Vince's turn, and he held himself carefully balanced, arms slightly lifted as he proceeded across the bridge.

He barely made the balloons, "you need to at least get creamed.." laughing as he eyed the lake but then settled for the bucket of water to clean himself off with.

He snickered then shook his head. "I'll be lucky if I make it through the first." He just didn't have that kind of luck!

No cream gun for him! Though his bare feet slipped a bit beneath him as he got off the bridge safely and onto the next. That water spindle looked challenging and he eyed it a moment, dark gaze stern and intent before drawing a breath and plunging in. Moving quickly now and with all the agility he could muster to avoid the bumper balloons... He ducked, he jumped and spun around but not quick enough - an arm hit him broadside, causing its balloon to pop and douse him with water. Right in the eyes and obscuring his vision as he grabbed for the arm, hoping to hold on without getting launched off! Not quite, he was thrown bodily off the gauntlet, but it would be a nice soft landing into a pile of feathers. He rose to stand after a moment looking like a large ruffled bird.  Looking down at himself in some bewilderment before glancing up and across the field towards that tree once more. A sheepish smile creeping across his lips as he made his way back towards the others. "At least I avoided the seaweed.." looking down at himself in some bewilderment before Thane began brushing the feathers off himself, which of course caused them to drift around in the air and probably clinging to both Vince and Simon where they stood nearby. "Very well, Simon, let's see if your luck is better than mine."

She had moved out along the branch to see better. Just in time to see the second night being launched. Forgetting herself she let out a squeal of laughter and near fell out of the tree. Luckily she quickly recovered and was back to the trunk, hoping the squeal would be taken as being from any one of a number of squires milling about on the field.

Yellow feathers too, "Big Bird!" Like he was any better with the mixture of whip cream and seaweed earlier.  "No, just a big yellow bird." Plucking one from his shoulder with a chuckle. He was swatting the stuff away from him, "you're lethal with those feathers." Then to Simon, "or my luck."

He just shook his head, though the laughter caught his attention. He looked around then laughed as he brushed a feather away. "Aye, we'll see." He headed up the steps, studying the first part. Some of the balloons were gone but there were still plenty there. He headed across, trying to avoid any trap door that might open up beneath his feet! And made it across quickly enough. He brushed his hand through his now wet hair to keep it out of his face, then looked at the bridge. He'd be lucky if he didn't slip on the whipped cream everywhere. He slipped and slid but made it across, pausing as he wiped at his face, and laughed. Studying the bumpers, he let out a whuff of air and started across again, ducking, and darting.

She finished her apple and whipped the core as far as she could from where she stood on that branch. At least wherever it fell, it would be far from the tree. Apple cores from heaven.

He gave a low whistle under his breath as Thane seemed to be breezing through each step.

Thane was watching with no small amusement as Simon danced his way through the first few steps. Since neither he nor Vince had gotten more than halfway through, he wondered what else lay in store.

It was sheer luck and nothing else! He waited a moment, then started across again, dancing more or less to try to avoid having seaweed dumped on him, and getting dumped into it as well!

He nudged Thane, "we should have a bucket of water handy for the winner..."

Ugh! Down came the seaweed and he started to slip and slide.  And down he went, into the gooey mess!

"He has always followed in my footsteps.." laughing with the jest as he was over to offer Simon a hand even if he had not for him.

And apparently they were not to find out today. Thane chuckled when Simon met the same fate that Vince had, following to greet their comrade. "How's that stuff feel?"

"Ghastly." He laughed as he brushed some of off while still standing in it, then he climbed out. "Not quite the way I'd like to be cooled off."

They seemed to be done and as it was late, Rose was down from that branch to lower ones until firmly on her feet at the trunk. Taking a few moments to untie the skirts or otherwise she would be showing a bit more leg than was proper.

"Wet," which he took a glob off Simon to whip at Thane, "here, see for yourself." After all, Thane had shared his feathers...

A hand darted up to block that blob of algae, chuckling as he swiped it off though a glance moved once again across the field. Somehow he wasn't surprised to see that a girl was standing at the base of the tree he'd been watching earlier. And as she seemed not to want the attention of lots of company, not to mention was fixing her skirts he quickly moved his eyes back to his comrades so they might not notice her. "You're right, it is ghastly."

Except, once more, Vincent had followed Thane's glance and caught sight of the dark haired lass too. She was a distance away and was that a bit of skin showing? Brows lifted slightly as focus shifted back. "Seems you got yourself an admirer there." Leaving yourself open to either Thane or Simon.

She got it all smoothed out when that prickling feeling tracked up the back of her neck. Blue eyes lifted just in time to notice two looking her way. She'd been spotted but certainly they would not know she had been up in the tree watching. What did one do getting caught, sort of anyway? She lifted a hand and waved like all was just fine. It was! Noticing some of the other squires were looking her way too, she dashed off, better to not draw any more attention.

He looked over his shoulder at the woman there then chuckled. "Perhaps she's a nymph, guarding her tree?" Lovely enough to be. And she was dashing off, as if a bit embarrassed after waving.

"Most likely a tree or night nymph taking off for her midnight dance." Which had him chuckling with the thought as he was over to get the rest of his clothes back on.

Thane didn't answer either Vincent or Simon, still watching the girl but his dark brows lifted when she ran off. He for one didn't think she was a nymph, she seemed flesh and blood enough though certainly a peculiar sort of girl...  to choose a tree as her theatre seating for the event. But then he had some odd quirks of his own so he wasn't one to judge. She had disappeared so he went back to reclaim his boots and clothes and of course, the empowered sword.

He helped himself to a bucket or two of water to clean off before he was over to gather up his own clothes. "She won't come back by your staring, Thane." He pulled on his shirt and once more fastened the sword belt around his hips, but the rest of the clothing would be carried. He was still too soaked.

"Think you got a good enough look to recognize her if we happen across her elsewhere?" Idle thought as he strapped on his sword again.  "She seems a bit man shy."

Simon was given a wry glance as he pulled his shirt over his head then tucked the rest of his belongings beneath one arm, electing to clean up a bit first. "Or maybe she just wanted to enjoy the show without the jostling of others all around her," he offered thoughtfully half to himself. That was something this solitary man could understand.

"Dark hair, delicate figure, very fleet of foot." He grinned, "Nope, didn't see enough to know her on sight."

"I would say that, if she had climbed that tree to watch." Amused smile held any other thoughts to himself. "Say you we stop at the knights' hall and have a few with the boys?" Which would mean sharing a few tales too. Might even bring up the description of the lass and see if any of them knew of the elusive one.

"Aye, a drink sounds good. After I clean up. You might want to as well." He plucked a bit of seaweed from Vincent's hair.

Thane was hesitating to himself but gave a nod of assent even if it was a lukewarm assent. He'd fall into step with the other two as they headed for the Hall.

At least if they drank their fill and over fill, they could crawl to their rooms at the Castle barracks. The squires were busy cleaning up as would they close everything up and get some sleep themselves. "Aye, a bath will be in order, or I might just drop a few clumps of that stuff into an unsuspecting knight's tankard of ale." Gathering up his falcon as he headed out with his comrades.



Date: 10-13-10
Poster: Sir Trevor Cairns
Post # 13

Heathfield Spar Hall
Testing Richard's Skills


Matthew had headed to the spar hall early that morning after having his breakfast and any urgent chores to be seen to that could not wait. Luckily they were few and he able to arrive when most did their sparring. He had heard that Trevor, who often stopped at the Thistle and they'd become friends, visited the spar hall often after his morning practice on the king's field. So on that note, he arrived and found Trevor to be present assisting a few squires that needed extra practice and gaining names of those wishing to become a squire as he watched them spar chosen opponents. Trevor agreed to talk to Richard and even test him out so a runner was sent back to the Thistle to alert Maggie and Richard before they set out on any excursion to see the lands. Hopefully catching them before they left.

Maggie was just ushering Richard out the door after lingering over a big breakfast, when the runner caught up to them, delivering his message breathlessly. "Oh, good! Come on, you'll love the spar hall." She was almost eager as a little girl as she tugged her brother out the door, pulling a bonnet onto her head on the way out to shield her eyes from the sun. It was still bright though the weather was cool enough to have her wearing a long-sleeved dress, dark purple in color, snug in the arms and the torso while the skirts swept out from her hips. She tucked her arm through Richard's as she led the way through town, pointing out various shops they passed, and waving to a few people she knew along the way. It wasn't a far walk and soon enough they came to the spar hall which rang with the sounds of steel meeting steel, wood bashing against wood and squires and knights shouting. She found Matthew soon enough and came up beside him with her brother in tow, smiling. "Morning Matthew." Her bonnet was left untied and her hair spilled from beneath it, rich charcoal black where it wasn't streaked with fire.

Trevor was on the bench with a clipboard and making notes. They all took turns but it was easiest for him to stop here on his way home. Most of the others stayed in the castle so it would be a separate trip out which they did as it was only fair that Trevor not have to do it all the time even if most of the time. He was intently focused on the two up in center ring while others continued their practicing on the outer areas of the hall.

Matthew was watching the two up now when Maggie came up alongside him, along with Richard. His smile sprang to life. "I'm pleased the runner was able to catch up with you before you took off for the morning or even all day." Although he doubted she'd be gone too long being they had jobs to see to. A few hours here and there was theirs to do with what they wanted. She would probably be needed back by the time the lunch crew came in or have Rosie cover that and be back by dinner time. "How are you Richard?" Not ignoring him at all. "I will introduce you to Sir Trevor Cairns over there," indicating the man taking notes on the two sparring. "He is one of the kingsmen. Maggie, you probably already met him?"

Richard was laughing as he had practically dragged from the tavern though by the time they reached the spar hall, the laughter had stopped. It was replaced with anticipation. He was dressed in warmer clothes as well, cleaned and nearly darned in places. Maggie had done it for him, of course, and the repairs could barely be seen. His dark hair was neatly combed for once. "I'm well, Matthew. And thank you for this." He studied Sir Trevor then the lads sparring while Maggie answered Matthew's question.

Usually, she had her mornings free for her own pursuits, and began work at lunchtime serving and then cleaning before the dinner crowd arrived. So this worked out perfectly today. Matthew's smile returned brightly, she nodded. "Aye, I've met him a few times." She sensed Richard's anticipation and was excited on his behalf. As long as she could remember Richard had dreamed of being a knight. As a child he'd loved all those stories of men in armor, fighting beasts and villains. Circumstances had prevented him from ever rising hiring than a squire but maybe here, he could finally fulfill that dream.

"You're welcome, anything for a friend," which he considered Maggie and her brother became an automatic one. They had already shared a life and near death experience together too. That made a stronger bond to start. Once the two were done with their spar, and Trevor to make his final notes that he could tell of, Matthew led them over with the introductions. "Sir Trevor, I'd like you to meet Maggie's brother Richard whom I spoke to you on." Of course Maggie was there too that need not an introduction.

Scribbling off the last of his notes as he noted the three on their way over. The clipboard was set aside as he rose to his feet and down from the bench to greet them. A hand extended to Richard, "well met Richard. Maggie, always a pleasure to see you." Which he gave a smile with a quick wink her way. He also noticed something more in her aura but that would be another subject for another time, as in not at this moment. This moment was for her brother. "I am told you have some training but have been on the move a long time not to settle anywhere nor consistent in your training for that very fact." He would wait for the handshake before he continued.

"It's a pleasure, Sir Trevor." He shook his hand firmly but not overly so then released. "Aye, that's true. The last was a bit before Maggie came here." He wouldn't lie though he wasn't sure if that would go against him or not.

"Nice to see you too Sir Trevor." Her smile was easy and warm, and for once she did not have those dark shadows beneath her eyes, nor that faint hint of a wince about her features. These last few nights had given her better sleep than she had gotten for several months, and it showed. Falling quiet to let Richard be introduced and answer Trevor, she couldn't help but speak up on his behalf. "It's true his training was inconsistent, but that was no fault of his own. My brother is skilled, well, you'll see that for yourself." She was going to shut up now before she went on like a fussing mother hen!

Matthew hooked his arm with Maggie, "we'll be right over there," pointing a short distance from where they were standing now. Such a grin as it would give Richard and Trevor time to speak alone. Then to Maggie, "how much training do you have in self defense?" There were a couple of lads, around sixteen with a couple others around twelve they were helping them get in practice. One lad was very good, agile and quick even though he was shorter than the sixteen years old who were a few years older.

Probably best that Matthew took Maggie away before she really embarrassed her big brother. She only wanted the best for him so it was difficult to bite her tongue and not sing his praises. One last glance over her shoulder before she let Matthew lead her away. Blinking at his question, laughter bubbled into her reply. "Who, me? ...I used to have a fair hand at the slingshot as a child..." In other words, zero. When and where would she have gotten such training?

Richard was trying to not laugh as Maggie started in mother-hen mode. He watched her and Matthew leave then turned back to Sir Trevor. "I had to learn to protect Maggie and myself during our travels. Some was self-taught but I learned from others whenever I could. I had been training as a squire but because we had to leave for different reasons, I never completed it." He paused for a moment before thinking. "I can shoot a bow, and use a knife as well. Though to be honest, I'm not sure I'm up to the level of one who has the full training."

Trevor chuckled under his breath as Maggie started singing the praises of her brother. He wished that opportunity had been for him with his sister. Long story but Richard was lucky in that. "It is understandable, in fact the King of Innis Daingneach was a warrior going from one battle to another after being disowned by his family. Experience is sometimes the best trainer. You're still alive." Which was more than could be said for others. "Now," getting down to the nitty gritty. "You're too old to be taken in as a squire, which gives the one the chance to see if such is what he wants to do in life. It would not be fair to others that put in their dues to have you move right into knighthood. I will propose an alternative, that is to set you up under Sir Brian MacMillan who is the head royal guard. Unless you prefer being in a troop that moves about the lands in keeping her safe? The royal guards not only protect the castle but the royal family and royals visiting from other lands. Sometimes they are set as a personal bodyguard when needed too. Rare here for how the lands have enjoyed peace for over a decade after the dark times of these lands." So he would wait to see how he felt about his suggestion.

"Well then, while your brother is busy with Trevor, why don't we try our hand at dagger throwing." Which he gave a nod to the target over along the wall and out of the way of those practicing with the sword. There were six daggers in the wood next to it, ready for anyone to practice, which usually came in pairs.

He glanced over at Maggie and Matthew then looked at Trevor. "I understand." Though he was a touch disappointed. Still the offer made was an excellent one. "I would be glad of the opportunity to serve. The Royal Guard would suit though I'll go where needed." Patrolling wouldn't be a problem since he knew Maggie was settled.

Maggie was busy watching Trevor and Richard, trying to read their lips to learn what they might be talking about, but Matthew's words caught her attention. "Dagger throwing. Me?" She hung back even as Matthew started to move in that direction, doubtful. But hey, she was always up for a challenge. Chin lifted with a daring smile to grow as she lifted her skirts from the ground and stepped over to join him. "Alright, how is it done?" She didn't want to just start throwing sharp objects around where she could hurt someone!

He noticed the disappointment. "I am going to spar you today here, as you can see we have an assortment of weapons and fine swords, better than the average for our blacksmith and his father before him. You're time serving them may not be long, a month or two which will give you time to decide if this is what you want to continue. You will have the opportunity to stay in the Royal Guard and move up in rank or switch over to the Knights division." Which was not only fair all around but logical way of doing it. Richard was not even a citizens yet, "if you do decide to stay, you will become a citizen as well serving these lands and her sister castles. There is also the opportunity at that time to move to one of the sister castles if you wish to serve under one that needs good men." Which he was thinking more on Kildare but if his sister was here most likely here is where Richard would stay." He indicated the racks of swords as he headed over that Richard may pick out one or whatever other weapon he wished to spar with.

Matthew was really trying hard not to laugh as he caught her trying to read lips. "I'm sure Richard will tell you everything later," best to get her focused elsewhere as he was over to pull out three of the daggers for her and three for him before walking back to a line that was drawn on the stone floor. "Stand right here and throw one dagger at time at the target," which was about twenty feet away, as they were at that line with ones behind them for greater distances. "Hold it like this," as he set all but one on the handy table there. Showing her the center of balance, how to get the feel for the weight of the weapon and a swing that didn't have it let go, so she had an idea of how to throw it too. That would come more with practice. Once done he stood back so she could give it a try. There was a chalkboard on the wall they could keep score on if they wanted.

He hadn't meant for that disappointment to show but alas, it was too late. He nodded again, a slight smile showing. He might well like the guard and remain there. He headed over to the stand, lifting a few of the swords before choosing one. Then he joined Trevor again.

She looked a little sheepish when Matthew caught her spying on her brother and the knight. Yes, it was best to keep her occupied. Dagger throwing was not something she'd ever really considered as a hobby but sounded like it could be fun. As long as she didn't accidentally slice someone open. Blue eyes flicked to Matthew as he stood so close to show her how to grip the small weapons. She always did like to see his eyes at this close perspective for how they  changed color... oh yes, dagger throwing. Taking a breath, she looked back to the target, shrugged slightly and lifted her arm. Here went nothing...

She nicked the rim but at least she had hit the target, one of the lads watching hopped back as the dagger shot off and clatter to the ground. He offered to get the daggers for them once all were thrown. "Not bad, throw your other two."

Well at least it hit the target... sort of? Just nicking the edge. "Oh, sorry!" As she startled one of the poor lads standing nearby. Glancing to Matthew she smirked a bit and tried again. "..............." Astonished! "That was a fluke." It had to be! And she nicked the rim again with the last one. "Total fluke," she laughed, then thanked the lad when he trotted over to return those daggers. "Very well, let's see how you do then," she challenged Matthew with a mischievous smile.

He gave a whistle under his breath. "Much better..." as it sank into the inner red ring. The last one joined the first in hitting the rim and bouncing back out onto the floor. "Don't laugh if I do worse than you." It had been a long time since he did any dagger throwing and it would probably show. Something he should practice at as well. He took up the first, studied the target then let it fly as it was set loose in that direction.

Trevor was out of Richard's league and so he would just deflect his hits and thrusts. "This is more to show me what moves you have learned and the power behind your strikes. I'll not be thrashing back at you." So that might alleviate some worry if he was wondering. He took one of the practice swords and headed out to a side ring leaving the youngsters to continue their practice and not make a show of themselves. Except this was Trevor and so a few gathered to watch.


Date: 10-13-10
Poster: Sir Trevor Cairns
Post # 14

"I promise." She stepped back to watch, a light smile playing her features. "At least yours stuck..." hers had just bounced off.

He got the outer white ring with the first, just barely too as he took up the next dagger, studied the target before throwing it that-a-way. The second nicked the rim and went clattering to the ground as he took up the last to whip it down the distance.

At least it wasn't other knights watching but lads who had dealt with similar situations. He appreciated Trevor's words and thanked him quietly then followed the King's man to the side ring. Once in the ring he took a few practice swings to become use to the feel of the sword then nodded at Trevor. He was as ready as he was going to get.

She had promised not to laugh and so she didn't. But she couldn't help the way her eyes danced. "Not bad..." But then she caught movement from the corner of her eye. Richard and Trevor had taken up swords! She couldn't help turning to watch.

Trevor's sword went up as he took a defensive stance. "First hit my sword as hard as you can so I can measure your strength." Which would prove well once one learned how to control it with precise moves.

Richard took a proper stance as he stood in front of Trevor. Swinging his sword to hit the one Trevor held, he put his strength behind it.

He might notice that Trevor's sword didn't even move but sparks flew from the sword and certainly he could gauge the strike. "You've a good arm, strength, but I feel you will become stronger still. "Now try some of the moves you had learned."

He stood then with her if she wanted to watch, he would as well and set the dagger throwing aside for another time.

Yes... if she tried to throw daggers now, she would probably be so distracted she'd hit some poor squire! She took Matthew's hand to drag him over to where they could lean against the rail to watch, though not too close. She tried to blend in with the others watching and not cry out when their swords met. Maggie knew Trevor wouldn't hurt him but... still.

The sparks had a brow lifting but he nodded. Knowing Trevor could block any hits, he moved through each movement he had learned, then stepped back again. He was aware of Maggie and Matthew watching as well as the youngsters but didn't let it distract him as he waited for Trevor's approval or disapproval.

Maggie had this thing about dragging! When she grabbed his hand she would find the kind of resistance that pulled her back as he swung her around in a dance step instead that had him move in that direction. Surprise!

Which was part of the test, to do his best in front of others even if his best was rusty. Trevor easily blocked all strikes, moving like one in a dance, precise steps, precise movements. Sometimes his sword slid down Richard's deflecting it off to the side while he moved to his other side. There were openings Richard left but this was only to test his maneuvers not what he lacked at the present but what he had. One particular move had Trevor grinning, "very good," which was a compliment coming from not just a knight but one of the four horsemen.

Surprise indeed! Her breath caught when she felt herself pulled back, and whisked around in a brief dance. Her other hand instinctually landing on his shoulder for support as she tossed her head back to laugh. "You rascal," she accused him but her smile was wide as she finally drew him over to the rail to watch. Not even noticing the way her fingertips stayed lightly on his arm, especially when Trevor's sword slid along Richard's and thus close to his unprotected hand. Fingers grabbed Matthew's sleeve before relaxing into a smile again. She heard that compliment Trevor paid and agreed; even she could see that Richard retained that natural talent after all this time.

He knew what he was capable of, and even more, what he couldn't do. That compliment had him giving Trevor a brief grin as he stepped back. It had been a while since he had sparred so he was enjoying this. The fact that the man was his better didn't bother him at all. In fact, it felt good to go against someone who was more than his equal.

A hand came to rest at the small of her back as they were amongst the growing crowd gathered to watch the king's horseman and Richard, unknown to the squires who were learning defensive moves by watching Trevor and seeing some moves by the stranger that gave them ideas. Matt could hear them discussing each amongst themselves.

Trevor was testing Richard's stamina to see how much he retained or lost. When he started his training that too would increase along with strength and skill. "Now show me multiple, persistent strikes intended to wear your opponent down before getting in the determining strike." Of course he would not wear Trevor down, quite the opposite, but it was more to see how long he could last while rusty for one was not always at their best going into battle. Sometimes your worse had to be good enough to survive, not your best.

She overheard some of the younger lads admiring Richard's maneuvers too and couldn't help herself. "That's my brother Richard," she told them proudly. Maggie did notice where Matthew's other hand had landed but it felt nice upon her back so... she didn't say a word. Large blue eyes were keenly upon Richard as the tempo of the spar picked up. He had been trapped in that ice for so long, he must be a bit weak, but you'd never know it from looking at him.

He hadn't reached the point where his muscles were burning yet but he was well aware of the lack of use. He actually visualized Trevor as an enemy and began a series of attacks. Some were from his own imagination, some he had been taught. Sweat formed on his brow but still he pressed on. Maggie would recognized that streak of stubbornness her brother had though he would call it determination!

They had that trait in common!

Indeed they did!

When Richard got that drive he'd see just how fast and accurate Trevor was in deflecting them all. Feet and hands moving, his strength and perseverance never to wavier. Richard may well realize there was something more to this knight deemed one of Karl's horsemen. Once Richard tired enough, went that extra few minutes, they would end the testing.

He was smiling, more at Maggie's antics being the loving sister and quite proud, all came out in her words and actions. He was impressed with both men for different reasons as he watched in silence. His hand to linger at the small of Maggie's back until should she moved away.

Which is why she was very careful not to move! Maggie was indeed proud of her big brother. As much as they had teased and fought one another their whole lives... after losing him for half a year, she would never take him for granted again. "He's doing wonderfully, isn't he?" She spoke to Matthew from the side of her mouth. "I think he will stay. I think he'll like it here." She was determined to make this so... but she saw the way her brother lit up as he exercised long-neglected sparring skills. Maybe she wouldn't even have to convince him.

He kept going until Trevor signaled to stop then stepped back. He could feel himself shaking but it still felt good. "There's more to you than meets the eye, Sir Trevor." He chuckled and saluted the man with the sword. "Thank you for testing me." And allowing him to test himself. He waited again, this time for the man's decision.

He could tell Richard was wearing out even if his stubbornness would keep him going until he fell to the ground. Seeing the sweat on Richard's forehead when he had not broken out into one he ended the spar. "You have shown me enough, you'll make a good royal guard or knight once you decide and get back to your prime through practice. You'll also be shown a lot of new moves as we have quite the variety of trainers. I will give your name to Sir MacMillan and he will contact you in the next day or so. Soon." All depended on how busy the head Royal guard was. He would also give him the notes he would write on this testing and his opinion. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you around. Welcome to the lands, Richard." Offering him his hand once more for a strong handshake.

Words were low as he stood close to Maggie, "you know Trevor is one of the king's horsemen? Not just a knight but an elemental with other powers?" Yet the king didn't have such powers himself which he didn't add. Least not that he knew of and he probably would know for how long he'd been in the lands and how many he knew over that course of time.

She smiled when the two men shook hands, nearly bouncing in her eagerness to ask Richard what the knight had said! Though when Matthew's words brushed her ear, she tilted her head to listen, then looked to Trevor with new eyes. "Is he?" She knew he was a horseman but not that he had any sort of other... powers. Once upon a time she would have been uncomfortable with any mention of such abilities, and might still be, amongst those she didn't know... but Matthew had been through it all with her so she could be honest. It reminded Maggie of certain things left undecided, about her own abilities.. but she pushed the thoughts aside for now. This was Richard's day.

"Thank you, Sir Trevor. I appreciate the chance." He shook the King's man's hand once more before smiling. "Between Hazel's cooking, my sister's concern, and practicing, I hope to be back in form in no time." He was going to start running every morning, even if he had to start with short distances.

"Aye, you will be. You've the skill. Time will take care of the rest. Good food, good training and you'll be rising in the ranks quickly." With the handshake done he stepped away, "good to see you again Maggie and as always, Matthew. Thank you for bringing this matter to me so I could see to it. I must be on my way as my son awaits his father, impatiently at times I might add." Which gave a slight smile in amusement before he was heading out. He would write up the note and see it to MacMillan this very night.

"Thank you Trevor, bring young Treve to the tavern for some whipped up hot chocolate now that the weather is getting cooler." His hand finally moving away as he bade Trevor good day then waited on Richard for anything he might have to say.

"Good morning, Sir Trevor!" She called back in reply, then hurried forward to meet Richard, slipping a hand through his arm. "You did wonderfully! So? What did he say? Are you to be taken into the knighthood program?" Biased she might be... but she felt confident he'd done well enough to prove himself to the Horseman. "I was so proud of you. You should have heard all those other lads admiring your moves."

"Good morning, Sir Trevor." He returned the sword to the stand before turning to Maggie and laughing. "No, I'm not to be a knight just yet. But I'll be one of the Royal Guard until I've proven myself and decide if that's still what I want." He smiled as he continued. "He believes I'll be ready in time, but I haven't really gone through the process. It's only fair I do it this way since I'm far too old to be a squire." He had proven himself though, and so the disappointment from earlier was gone.

"Well, shall we head up to the Thistle and have some lunch and a toast to your good fortune?" It also meant checking in for one never knew when the handyman was needed.

"Oh." She searched his face, knowing that must have been a bit of a blow... not exactly what he had hoped for. But Richard seemed pleased enough by the offer so that made her smile return, brightly. "Well, that is quite an honor too! That's fantastic, Richard." Even raised up to kiss his cheek real quick. Nodding to Matthew's suggestion for it was about time she got back as well. Turning to walk back towards the tavern she leaned closer to her brother to speak. "I want to do something for you to celebrate. I want to buy you a new sword." And she went on firmly before he could protest. "You've always provided everything for me, it's my turn to give something back to you. And I shall do it so don't even consider arguing, and don't you dare go see Rhett Shawnesey before I get the chance." Hadn't he missed his dear little sister?

He wouldn't dare protest! He lifted his right hand and crossed his heart solemnly, though dark eyes twinkled. "I swear I won't go anywhere near the blacksmith's or anywhere else." He looked over at Matthew and nodded. "I could go for a good meal right now." And while Matthew and Maggie resumed their duties, he was going to at least use his old sword, find an empty meadow and do some practicing.

He couldn't help but chuckle hearing Maggie as they headed out of the spar hall and up towards the tavern. "Best one to get a sword from, made personally, is Rhett Shawnesey. His father fashioned the hundred swords of Heathfield that Andrew then empowered with something more." A big something but he felt they would realize that, at least Maggie. "He's as good a craftsman as his father, and namesake, before him." So that was his two cents.

"Good." She was appeased by his solemn tone and nodded in satisfaction, though she did notice that glint in his eye, and it just made her grin. Then she swatted Matthew's arm. "You weren't listening to me, I just said Rhett, didn't I?" But she was only teasing! And content to stroll between the two handsome gents as they headed back to the tavern.



Date: 11-23-10
Poster: Shaun Shawnesey
Post # 15

Acceptance of a Squire

Shaun had been antsy after a good meal at home then off to the spar field to practice. He was being assigned to Sir Cole Lachian but he had not met up with the knight as of yet. Although, he was told these were busy time and to be patient. When the knight was ready to take him on as his squire, Shaun would know. So in the meantime it was expected that he practice with other novices waiting to hopefully get into the ranks. Tonight he decided to practice jousting as this was something he had little skill in. He was suited up, given the basics and with a ring half way down the list he was to get his lance through, the ideal being the opponent. There were boards hanging from the post as well, that if he hit those it rang a bell, signifying a shield, shoulder strike or the like. The stallion he sat upon pranced in anticipation making it a little harder for the teen as he took longer to manage the lance while trying to calm the beast. Once done, the visor was flipped down and the grounds attendant brought the flag down. Shaun nudged with his heels, sending the stallion flying down the list while he held on and tried to get the lance in position and aimed. The bell rang as he managed a good solid shield tap. He was sweating as he came back around and flipped the visor up until his heart stopped pounding.

After a good nights rest, Anthea was finally going to enjoy the lands, and perhaps walk a bit. With cream colored ribbons holding her hair back, and weaving thru the dark strands, she easily slipped delicate feet into black slippers and smiled as she looked back at the room she was now calling home. Cream colored under gown gave her warmth and set off her olive colored skin, as well as the violet apron gown that buttoned over her breasts, and flared open to show the tiny designs upon the cream gown underneath -- design almost giving the aura of ocean waves. The scent of rose oils were left behind in her room, but followed her as well as she took hold of her white cloak, covered her head and moved into the brisk air outside. A nice walk would be good for her. Fingers, lacking any gloves this day, held her day gown demurely just above her ankles. She gazed about with silver colored eyes, enjoying the view of such beauty that is almost took her breath away. She did not know where she was going, but could find her way back when needed. For now, she would enjoy the walk and perhaps meet more as she had the previous evening, nice faces with friendly smiles.

Any young man attempting the ring would catch a veteran's eye. Cole was no different than most in this way. The thud of hooves, the lean of body, the angle of lance, Cole paused in his steps to study the form of the attack. With arms crossed over his chest, he waited until the strike was made, then with a nod of approval he took those few steps back to adopt a lean against the nearest obliging pole. From that position he watched as the young man caught his breath to perhaps try again.

The moon was starting its ascend in the sky leaving shadows below to dance o'er the lands. A form in flight silhouetted blocking the light but hard to tell other than it was one huge bird flying at night. One gliding across until the height of pines obscured it from sight. Minutes later a known form was making his way up from the far end of the field. Not far from where the bird had been spotted. Cole would know. No wings in sight.

Except one would recognize that shadow without even looking up. In fact, the movement across the field as it approached could have caused the man to smile if he was one who did so more readily than Cole. He'd wait until Gabriel approached before he acknowledged the warrior. For the moment, he allowed the younger man on the field to hold his attention, even if effort was needed not to glance Gabriel's way.

Shaun had not realized that Cole had come this evening as the visor was flipped down while he listened to the trainer. Nodding as he hoisted up the lance in a way to grip the end then waited on the flag. Once the trainer felt he was ready, the flag was down as Shaun urged the horse forward, giving him his head in a gallop as he concentrated more on aiming the lance for that ring. There was a solid board just above it one might break their lance upon in a solid hit. He leaned in with full concentration.

Eyes took note of the moon vanishing from clouds or animal, the night sky holding beauty to Anthea as the sunlight did as it dance along the flowers and plants. Would any get angry if she wandered about? She did not know. She would continue with her gentle strides, and perhaps enjoy the night scenes, and winter evening.

He got a solid hit but not breaking the lance, certainly a lot better than the first run down the list. His heart didn't pound so much this time but the tin suit was hot even on such a cool night. Not quite freezing as he turned the horse back around and to the beginning of the list. A match ran three runs, the trainer was encouraging him saying he gained five points that time, first run was only two. The lance was checked before he made ready. Once the flag was down he was thundering down the list as hooves made their mark on the cold earth beneath them, Shaun concentrated on that ring
 ....and he missed completely! Perhaps he needed more practice but the trainer felt that was enough for one night, he had done well. The lance was taken away by one of the regulars that helped out as needed. Shaun was also helped down from the stallion considering the tin suit was hard to maneuver around in. Once down, began the process of removing all the parts with the help of another.

Gabriel had paused to watch the one jousting. He was not familiar to him as it seemed to end and the one a novice. He approached Cole giving a hand to his shoulder, "what do you think?" Giving an upnod towards the list.


The evening breeze carried the noise to Anthea's senses, her feet to move, perhaps with sped, toward the sound. One should never fear the unknown, and she would take that advice even now as she moved thru the moist grass patches. As she moved along the grass, she did not notice the rabbit, but when it jumped in front of Anthea, she let out such a scream the night birds took flight, and Anthea to turn and shake her head. "You .. " The rabbit wiggled his nose and hopped away. She watched the rabbit run off and had to wonder if this was such a good ideal. She was walking at night, knew naught but whom she met at Thistle. "God's bones.." She muttered as she continued to walk onward, holding her gown up demurely and gazing about with a slight blush.. "A rabbit.." Shaking her head again she had to chuckle.

The young man was inexperienced and needed only to build up his strength to last those three rounds. This sport was not for the weak and required a goodly amount of training just to hold the lance out for one run, much less three. Cole didn't look over to Gabriel yet. Just answered him. "Don't know how often he has attempted the field, but he looks to be pretty green." Then he slid his gaze to Gabriel. "The tip kept dipping, but he managed to bring it back up in time all but the last. He still tires easily. How goes it for you this night, Vaughn?" Before Gabriel could answer, he glanced back to where Shaun was, sending out a shrill whistle to catch the lad's attention and then waved him over to them. The scream, however, caused him to shove up from his lean and look in the direction of the sound.

He had to agree from what he saw of the last run. "The nights get colder and time brings things to come that need addressing," he was not only speaking on Kildare and the forest there but of the treehouse and vortex yet to come time when they would need to go back in time. A time that would become history and the winged ones mistaken for archangels when they helped saved the People from the evil mounting on them. Where a god with his lightning bolt would materialize and that of a shadowcaster become as the storms of the sea. "It goes well for me, I wait on Aiden as he is to come tonight." And he too took note in the direction of the scream. A hand instinctively going to the hilt of his sword and a step in that direction already commencing.

Pupils which had narrowed into vertical slits scanned the wooded periphery, the red of human form noted, and that being female and unharmed, he relaxed, the dark of his eyes spreading out into circles again. "Good, I look forward to seeing him. Without much to address...we would have no reason for being." He looked away from the woods to the boy for when he neared.

Shaun was out of the tin suit by the time there was a whistle, having him jerk his head in that direction as the trainer alerted him as to who the man was, men for that matter as Gabriel appeared too. Then there was the scream as the trainer was off in that direction to see whom got hurt, thinking it one of the young lads for the pitch of the sound. After knowing who the knight was, Shaun went running in that direction and got down to a knee with a bend of his head. "I am Shaun Shawnesey, Sir Cole, I have been assigned to you as your new squire with your approval." The knight could refuse him. He didn't look up during the whole spiel of words.


She found comfort on a downed tree, sitting with east and wrapping the cloak tighter around her slender form as she gazed about at other wild life.  Deer moving at night, along the grass.  Rabbits jumping here and there.  The song of the night creatures she also enjoyed, and made her miss Athens all the more.

When the boy lowered before him, Cole frowned but it was his words that followed that eased the expression.  "Well."  He glanced to Gabriel, a twitch at the corner of his lips, then back down to the kneeling male. "Stand, Shawnesey.  I've limited patience and not much leniency, but if you feel up to the task, then my approval you have.  We've quite a few matters to attend to before your training can commence fully, but trained you will be, and well."

The trainer approached the woman explaining it would be better in this area to come sit on the benches than out where an arrow might fly missing a target. This was a training field which meant many were new and not skilled. He offered to see her back over to where she would be safe and his job a hell of a lot easier that way. They didn't mind her presence, anyone was allowed to the spar field but there were safety precautions to be taken. He offered the woman a friendly smile to help ease her nerves if she was nervous. Shaun's hair was plastered with sweat from having just done the runs on the list. With Cole's words, he was quick to rise, a lad with a lot of pent up energy he might recognized that needed to be put to good use. "I feel up to the task on my own volition and not because my brother had become a hero." Which he was sure the knight was well aware of for his brother had served under Aiden during the battle in Kildare. "I will be at your side as need and requested." Hopefully assuring of his willingness and willing to follow his commands as a squire was expected. He finally smiled for the acceptance.

But it wasn't a lad that had screamed.  Silver eyes, circled by the needle shape of her long lashes, looked to the trainer with a smile to curl along her full lips.  "I am sorry, Sir..  only a rabbit."  She accepted the guide from the trainer, explaining she meant no harm, and would truly not like a arrow in her belly.  Almost joking when she whispered to him.."An arrow in my head would ruin the look of my hair, oui?"  With a smile she was happy to be lead elsewhere, but silently had to wonder if watching men practice would be the right thing to do?  But Anthea was always curious of all, and would sit on the bench and watch now unless asked to leave.

"Perhaps I should get myself such an aspiring squire to train under me." Giving the lad a wink and certainly had caught Cole's look. Something in the air had him looking out over the field again. There were many shadows being cast this night by the moon above but there was another certain kind the moon held no hold on.

"Good, Boy, because no man, royal or humble, can stand on the feats of another."  A sweep of glance moved from Shawn to the trainer and woman, a nod to the man for bringing the female out, then back to Shaun. "You did well enough out there, Shawnesey."

Which the trainer would reassure her that any stray arrow were best in the ground than in another. He would tell her of those about so she had an idea but formal introductions would come by the knights or anyone else about if they so desired, he was running off once leaving her at the benches, calling out to a couple of his lads to do this or that and to be careful with the gauntlet as it was being revised. Shaun was pleased he understood, as much as he admired his brother Rhett and such deeds. In his own mind and heart, he planned to live up to his name. Shawnesey was well respected in the lands and he was another of Rhett Senior and Maggie's sons.

A final thank you was given before the man left.  Moving eyes of silver about, and nay to linger on the men for that would be rude, and she was never rude..  or least tried not to be.  Fingers smoothed the wrinkle from her cloak, and easily removed the hood of the cloak so it would not mask her vision from anything:  Animal or Human.

"Thank you Sir, it is not as easy as it looks and my first run. I hope to do better with each one." At least the majority for no one did perfect each time.

"There is rarely anything that is as easy as it looks the first time you attempt it."

"First run? You did well indeed Squire Shawnesey, or would you prefer Shaun?" Being he had a couple of brothers. "Have you had training with the sword, bow and arrow or any other weapons?"

Cole cut a quick look to Gabriel.  The lad's father was a blacksmith as was his brother, swords and weapons were readily available to him and no doubt trained.

"I agree and I never suspected those tin suits to be so hot even on a cold autumn night." It was still officially autumn? Then to Gabriel's questions. "I prefer Shaun used with the title," being he asked he'd be truthful. "My father has trained me with the sword and my brother is fashioning me one to have here," so he didn't come in with some old sword that was not up to par like his brother could make. "I have also trained with knives, throwing ones and with the bow and arrow. The latter I've a fair hand and aim. Jousting, I had never tried before. It is exhilarating." In spite of not being easy at all.

She had seen jousting before, but never had she been on the winning team.  She often had joked with her late friend, you come to lose don't you?  With a smile she tilted her head to gaze to the night sky and the shooting star flying by.

He mumbled something about Aiden taking too long that he must be with Mo as he glanced up to the night sky filling with the moon's light. "I would like to get his show on the road." They were to practice their skills then learn to work them together. There were beasties contrived and set up throughout the field that they were to use. A battle enactment.

"Seems we will get along just fine then."  Cole commented in a monotone. It wouldn't be tonight.  "It was good to meet you, Shawnesey."  He wasn't the one who asked what the lad would be called, he would call him by his family name until he proved his given name worthy.  A final look was granted the female then a nod to Gabriel.  "Until next, Brother." He offered and started to walk away.

She did not notice the gaze, but if she had she would have nodded politely, with no words, for she would listen to what the trainer said.  Speak only if they wished.  She was happy to enjoy the night, and perhaps watch training if she were allowed to.

Which he accepted that Cole would call him what he wanted. "It is an honor and to be your squire." Quickly adding. "Good night Sir Gabriel, Sir Cole," being he needed to address the knight properly.

"Good night Squire Shaun," as with Cole taking his leave for he didn't have the time, then he would get back to what he had been doing too. "I will go with you, there is much to talk on and we get little time," so he was going to take advantage of it. Giving a respectful dip of his head to he ones taking care of the field and the woman, he was on his way as conversation would start up.

She turned and noticed two of the gentlemen taking their leave.  Not knowing who they are, she wished them a silent good eve, and wondering where else a walk might take her this eve.  But soon, she knew, the warm bed would call her back.



Date: 04-16-11
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 16

Knights on the O'Gawd'let

Lancely was working late as usual. One of the squires had the foresight to bring him a meal from the castle in a basket. Otherwise Lancely would forget to eat until he returned very late. He had the O'Gawd-let all set up and ready for the spring and summer months. The temperatures were already reaching in the mid seventies to eighties so not too cold to give it a try. Word spread that it was ready this evening and a few of the knights would be trying it out. The squires especially enjoyed this particular water gauntlet and the abuse any one of the knights may take, even Sir Lancely, its creator. He finally took a break to a bench to eat his meal while he waited.

"What a life." Cole slipped up behind Lancely as the man finally found time to eat beyond his work. He leaned in to speak the words, then straightened, arms crossing at his chest as he looked the contraption over.

"None better." Aiden agreed as he joined his friends, sitting near Lancely on the bench. He too, studied the beast then nodded. "Seems to have weathered the winter well."

He almost choked on his bit of meat chewed off.. as he coughed back a laugh. "Aye, a good life." No ties other than serving his king and country and all those allied with them. He could come and go as he pleased, answered to no one else as in having a wife or such. Then again, he saw how content Aiden and Gabriel were so if that road ever came up in a choice to take, he would give it a try. "Are you ready for the Gauntlet," motioning with his hand that held the turkey drumstick. "The squires are all elated over the prospect." This as well being addressed to Aiden as he approached too.

"I've been thinking about nothing else..." Cole's voice was monotone, but when he looked to Lancely, then Aiden he shot a quick grin and rubbed his hands together. He had actually been looking forward to Lancely revving the ole beastie up.

Aiden was looking forward to it as well, to his surprise. Maybe because the appearance of the beasts from beneath their coverings were a harbinger of Spring. "When you're done with your meal, we can try her out, right?" They would probably find their audience growing larger.

"The hell with that...since...since you're done with your meal, Caster." Cole was eyeing the thing, sizing it up the best he could from this particular angle.

He finished up his meal as he motioned to the squires to get it ready. "Pick between you who will be first," rising as he took the cloth to wipe off his mouth and hands before taking up the vessel with ale in it to wash it all down.

"That's easy, Collins." Cole fought a grin as he looked to his brother-in-arms. If Aiden went first, it would give Cole the chance to re-acquaint himself with the Beast and notice any changes that Lancely may have made.

Bah. The man was too clever for his own good. But Aiden just shrugged, dark eyes touched with laughter. "Aye, I'll go first. Might as well get it done and over with." As if he figured he'd not make if far.

He was over between them with a coin.. head one side.. tail the other.. "Call it, heads or tails." whoever spoke up first.

Cole shot a look to was his turn to shrug. "We've got it, Aiden isn't afraid to dare the unknown. But we can use that coin to buy the winner a drink."

He chuckled as he gave Lancely a look then pointed to Cole for his suggestion. "Good idea." He pulled off his boots then stood, and tossed his tunic onto the bench. The shirt could stay on though it wouldn't offer much protection if the temperatures dropped like it sometimes happened in early spring.

There were plenty of heavy blankets and towels to dry off in and hot coffee or tea available. He tucked the coin away for that drink later for the winner.

Well then, the shirt joined the tunic and boots. He was up onto the first platform, standing there a moment while the thing got going. The first part was always a bit of a shock with the cold water. He watched the rotation a minute then started across. Hoping at least he'd make it across the first part. And there was a dull pop of a water balloon with the trap door opening. And Aiden did his best to avoid it! Too close. He was laughing as he reached the next platform. There wasn't much cream on the bridge yet, so with a bit of luck... he started across at a run, hop, jump. Maybe this year he could make it farther than last! And he didn't avoid getting creamed! Bare feet or not, that bridge was getting slippery and once again, he was trying to move across. Usually he got this far, so while he was still on a roll, he started across trying to avoid the spinning bumpers. Round and round they went and if they bumped... well, Aiden would end up feathered.

The squires were hooting and a hollering.. encouraging him on. One could tell they liked and respected the knight that was up.

He let out a whoop when he made it to the next section and flashed a grin at his two friends. He didn't want to get cocky and screw up but it was hard not to enjoy the yelling from the squires. Of course, they'd laugh if he fell. This was the part he disliked! It would be fine if it wasn't for the seaweed. Slimy stuff. Not even the geysers bothered him. He took a few deep breaths, and started across again. He had no doubt he'd get squirted but it would get more of the cream off. And this was the furthest he had gotten in some time. Usually the seaweed got to him. Now, if he could avoid getting dumped, he'd smell like a tavern, but it would get rinsed off eventually. Another glance back at his friends and then he started across the barrels. Keeping rhythm of any sort would be nearly impossible. And almost immediately, he got slopped with the gel.

He went down on his hands and knees, trying to make it across to the next platform and avoid the cushions. And he just made it again. He plopped forward onto the platform and laid there a moment. The Tidal Wave was next and he'd need to catch his breath. Up on his feet, and he crouched slightly, counting to himself before he started across. Now if he could just avoid getting flushed away. He was moving as fast as he could! The funnel disappeared and as he felt his feet go out from under him, he tried to reach the hanging rope. And the lads were really cheering now. And he missed and down into the pond he went! Laughing, he stood, drenched but not slimed! And those blankets and some coffee would be welcomed once he was out of there and over to shake water on his friends. Like a big ol' dog.

Lancely shot up from his seat to cheer Aiden on and watch him complete ... but then the tidal wave got him dousing him into the pool below. "I can only hope to do as well!" Even if he made the contraption didn't mean he could make it thorough. Sometimes he did.. sometimes he didn't for the timing was always different, even for him. It made things fair. "So Cole, will you take on the beast?"

"It's been calling my name, can't ignore it." Cole shot Lancely a look, rubbed his hands together and then peeled the shirt from his back, tossing that side. He crossed over to Aiden and offered the man a thump on the shoulder then started up the platform. "Alright, you great beast of a bastard, its either you or me..." His gaze swept instantly over the interior and he stepped out onto the  floorboards. A hopping, tilting dance to keep from bursting any of those balloons and opening up the trap door. He made it through, looking back over his shoulder to what he had managed to complete before looking to the next chamber.

"That's it... threaten the beast and see what comes of it," Lancely yelled out with his hands cupped over his mouth like a megaphone. The Squires and youths watching gave up a cheer. Who knew which side they were cheering on.

He laughed as he was thumped then grabbed a towel and tried to dry off some. The towel was finally draped over his head. He let out a hoot as Cole made the first part.

By the docile look of the next section, Cole smiled to himself. Good that Aiden had gone first so he knew a portion of what to expect. A cant of head and he practically dove into the next threat. Whip cream showered down on him, and he threw a hand up over his head as he ran trying to avoid the little flags. His footing slipped and he let out a low curse as he attempted to keep his balance. A spring board catching his heel and sent him sprawling. It was that sprawl that saved him, sending him sailing from down the last part to safety. He shot to his feet, actually laughing as he looked back over the mess of cream all over the walkway.

Anthea had been tired from spending so much time at home and the press shop, she loved both places with all her heart, but she really wanted to walk and enjoy the lands. It was good to enjoy nature, and she was doing just that until the cheers were heard, and her curious nature turned strides in that direction.

He chuckled as he caught that laugh. Yes! Cole still could laugh! But even better was the fact he had made it to the next part. He grinned when he heard the squires calling out too.

Leers. Jeers. Cheers. All mingled with shouts and laughter intermingling. Some of the squires running alongside as Cole near stumbled through the section but then made it look like he had it planned that way all along. Lancely was laughing before cupping his hands aside his mouth and yelling, "come on, the lads can't get as far as the first part." Encouraging him on and of course they would take this opportunity to taunt even at the cost of these particular knights whopping them about the field come morning.

He gave first one shoulder a thump of fist and then switched hands to do the same to the other. With a smile still lingering from the last mishap, he just plowed on in for the next. Immediately taking a thud from the large bumper right in his path. And just to make it more interesting, it appeared he bumped into, bounced off of those blasted things from the moment he stepped in to the moment he was vaulted out. He started to enter several times, trying to predict the spouts of water, but there was no set pattern at all! Dammit! Lachian twitched off a grin and raced in. His foot stifled one of the spouts and the cylinders started rolling. Cole looked up just in time to see the seaweed pouring down. "Motha'..." That was it! He hopped, skipped his way as fast as he could, blocking a couple more spouts and having more seaweed fall in a splatting clump behind his quick departure from the section.

As she approached she seen the crowd, heard the shouts, and felt her own curiosity lift at the event occurring here this eve. Gentle strides continued, weaving around bodies cheering, and avoiding other bodies dancing about as they watched. And what were they watching? Silver hues looked up and was confused, she had never seen such an event.

Ugh, that seaweed. Just the sight of it sent a shiver through Aiden. It was slimy and cold even when the weather was hot! He near held his breath watching. Would Cole make it?!

Sure Lancely could laugh, and laugh hard knowing his comrades would have the same opportunity on him when he challenged the same Beast he created. Even he would not be exempt. "Not much further," liar!

Cole blew out a breath of preparation and continued. He leapt the first barrel and then ... The ale started spewing and the gel started spilling and the floor became a slippery, tilting slant of defeat! He was going down! He was on hands and knees, scrambling and ducking beneath barrels, taking the hits as he groped his way through. Yes, this one nearly did him in and he was slower in coming to his feet once safe. "Only a sick mind could think of these blasted things!" He shouted toward Lancely, breathing hard, fighting to prepare for the final venture. He grit his teeth and ... ran in.

Tendrils of black danced along her temples, but the braid held firm. Silver hues watched the event, but also did they swim along the crowd, one never knew who they might met up with.

He'd be met with a grinning face, ear to ear, quite proud of the compliment. One of the squires alerted Anthea to take a seat on the benches about the grounds, especially in and around the water gauntlet.

And Anthea gave a soft thank you to the squire, before feminine strides carried her toward one of the benches. She had been here once before, but it had not held a crowd like this eve.

No soon had he entered than the water flow shifted and he slipped, taking a plummet down the ramp. His hands were coated with ale and gel and they slipped once on the rope he grabbed as he slid by it. Hand over hand he struggled to keep his hold as the plank slowly lifted so that he regained his footing. He was careful of the colored dots as he made his way the rest of the way through, because he knew he would probably not manage to get that lucky again! He walked on out ... as if this was just another day ... and just stood on the platform end! He gave first one hand and then the other a flick to clear it of the goop, starting down to rejoin the men.

Anthea did not know what this was, but it seem that she needed to cheer? She decided against it, was content to watch quietly.

And the lads went wild! Even covered with gop, glop and seaweed, Cole managed to look dignified.

It was Lancely's turn as the squires had those oversize towels to offer Cole. Shirt was being stripped from his chest and his boots worked off before heading up to the start of the gauntlet. "I have tough acts to follow as he faced the more than slippery and soggy water gauntlet. Watching the water balloons before jumping down on the moving circular floor.

Cole moved on out to watch Lancely, scrubbing at his hair with the towel.

Then she took note the one man was gone, now another was attempting the same deed the man did before. Slender fingers smoothed any wrinkles that clung to the pink of her woolen gown. Perhaps this would be good for the next edition of the paper.

He could dance, least through the first section without a drop of water to fall. He was quick up the steps to face the cream gun. At least it would taste good if he got blasted. He was making it look like child's play. That actually worried him! He missed every significant flag that would set off the spray taking him to the water spindle and large water filled balloons. He started in with a dart, duck and jump and doing his best to avoid those arms. He was out of sync, too fast, too easy and now got his ass kicked but the very monster he created. One that sent launched into a pile of feathers. Feathers, feathers, everywhere and even one puffed from his lips with the exhale.  The squires had a belly laugh over that as he waved his fist at them in mock threat. "Wait till I send you up on it!" Grinning as one was over with a towel and helped him wipe off the feathers.

They even puffed out of the machine, floating down to any standing too near. Cole shouted out with a job so well done. Lancely had managed those first sections with such ease!

Should she clap? And when should she? She would just watch, and report on the events for the next paper. She did smile though, for this contraption was something new to the Greek.

And he was silent for a moment as Lancely's own beastie took him down. He chuckled and still applauded. "You'll defeat it next time, Lancely!"

"Aye..." laughing with a twinkle in smoky green eyes. Ones that caught the sight of a lady sitting on the benches. Should he be embarrassed? No. Not Lancely, win or lose, you had the taste of one or the other at different points of your life. "Evening Miss, care to give the O'Gawd 'let a try?" Did the woman respond well to challenges?

Cole tossed his towel to a nearby lad and crossed over to take up his shirt. As it slipped it back on, he looked at the woman. A fish out of water came to mind. His gaze was slow, thorough, but he pulled it away to watch Lancely.

Interesting, she thought. Did they do other things just as dangerous? Well, if she remembered right, this was a practice field. Such thoughts had Anthea almost smack her own head. "Me?' Anthea pointed to herself as she looked to the right, then slowly to the left and then to the gentleman..

"No, the Miss in the castle, on the third floor, in that back room..." Cole grumbled, tying up the string at his neckline.

"Aye, lass, iffin you be up to a challenge?" Brows lifted slightly as the towel was returned to the squire and his shirt taken in its place to don. "You can wear a slicker.." as they had such so at least she'd not be getting too soaked unless she ended up in the trough or lake.

No point in being embarrassed. They had all tried it more than once, and Aiden was pleased with how far he had gotten this time. He clapped a hand to Cole's shoulder. Then bit his lip to keep from laughing. Literally!

She ignored the one man.. his manners were less then.. well less. "I have never done anything like this, nor do I believe I could get thru it like you have.. but who built it? It is amazing.." Thus the reporter came out.

Which had him whip a glance to Cole and laughed, "aye, could be that one too..." Then back to the lass with her question. "Both gauntlets are my design and the timing on them is constantly changed so they both remain a challenge even to their creator."

"Goodness, very well done, Sir. " She cleared her throat.. "Congratulations on the creation.. and perhaps you would like to try it again?" Could she do what they had? She did not know, but one day would find out.

"Once a night is enough for I'll be challenging me comrades again now that they have gotten their feet wet." He didn't bother to tie up the top of his shirt nor tuck in the tails of it. "I don't believe we have met before. I am Sir Lancely Caster, my comrades Sir Aiden Collins and Sir Cole Lachian, serving under King Peter O'Neill of Innis Daingneach, if you have met him?"

"Perhaps another time I can try.." Soft smile to Aiden for the offer and then those silver hues turned to Lancely with the same friendly smile. "I am Anthea Drakos, Sir.. sorry to have intruded but heard the cheers while I was walking."
Well, she had seen King Peter in the Thistle, but never knew he was King. "No, I do not think I have. " Should she curtsey, no, but she did stand.. "A pleasure to meet you all"

"Lady Anthea." He inclined his head after removing the towel from his head. At least the dunk in the pond had cleaned all the gunk from him.

Cole offered the female a nod of head in greeting. Yes, Cole was sticky, he kept pressing his fingers together and pulling them apart where his hands hung by his sides.


Date: 04-16-11
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 17

Arms folded along her stomach, looking to the contraption in curiosity. One day.

He was only wet with some feathers still stuck to him. At least he didn't get creamed nor goo'ed. "A pleasure, Lady Anthea. You are the one that has taken over the newspaper." More just a statement of fact.

One day may never come. One day ... was only today. Only this moment. Putting off to 'one day' was the coward's way. Perhaps she didn't truly wish to try it after all! That was understandable. She was a female after all and from the looks of it, a rather fragile specimen of that gender.

Were Cole's hands making a pop sound or a more ripping type sound?

Stick/release type of sound. Nice, eh?

"Yes, Sir.. myself and Hiram.. and I love it very much" She did not understand how to do it, and did not wish to look the fool if she did it wrong. "I hope you have enjoyed reading it?"

Sounded like small farts .. but even so.. they were outside so they could fly.

Was that a question? As if Lancely might not enjoy reading it? Cole dipped his head, canting a look to Aiden in the process. He cleared his throat then started toward the water barrel to wash up a little.

"Hiram. Now there is a man that has a few stories under his belt here. Some time ago and he got sucked in by a prisoner who is now a leading citizen." Chuckling in remembering. "It will be good seeing him again."

Lancely had sticky, releasing type of farts to compare to it?

No. He just knew what they sounded like. Especially around the squires. It was a 'thing' to do.

"He is a great help, Sir.. and one I am proud to call friend" Adding with a smile.."Like another brother to me.." Hiram? She smiled, glad to hear her friend had an adventure.

Cole dipped his arms, elbow deep, into the water, then brought up a cupped handful to splash on his face. He slid a look Anthea's way. "I can guess, then, that the newest edition is done...since you're here...and not elsewhere with your 'friend' working on getting it done." No, he hadn't seen the paper. It was rare he was in Heathfield, he kept to the island for the most part. He didn't much care for the 'he did this, she did that' which made up the pages. He had caught just the glimpse of a previous page, but that's what the squire had his nose pressed to.

If she could shoot arrows with her glare, she would have done so happily. Perhaps pierce his bum so he couldn't sit! "Yes, Sir.. delivered this morning.. " Smile came so sweetly, and glance given to him only briefly.."My friend could not help much, but all have lives and are busy. My ward, Jeremy, my sister, and my guards helped as well." She turned to Lancely with a smile.. "Sir, I am confused on how you would do it.."

"Well, you're welcome to give the O'Gawd-let a try and then report firsthand what it is like. Nothing like firsthand experience..." dimple showed this time with the smile before he was over with a few of the squires to reset the timing of the various parts.

And to think at one time, Aiden was much like Cole. And talked even less. He was just listening, lips twitching with an occasional glance at his friend.

Once his face was cleaned of the sticky evidence of his attempt, Cole accepted a towel to dry off. He spoke low, more of a rumbling mutter than anything else, but it was directed to Aiden who was closest. "Guess Heathfield will be up to date once again, thanks to ... " He gave a twitch of head in Anthea's direction. "...her." The corner of one lip pulled but he didn't smile.

He coughed to cover up a laugh and crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned against some barrels that provided seating. "Well, at least it doesn't have the gossip in it." Thank the gods!

"Will you walk me thru it?" Spoken to anyone that was listening, and Anthea to view the creation that she thought a monster. But, Anthea needed to live a little, not always working. "After all, a woman can do what a man can do." With a jab she moved toward the monster, silently praying she would not make a fool of herself.

Just when you thought it was safe, well it wasn't, Charlie was bebooping along, noting all the squire and Knights, ayup, looked like they had fun ...

Not make a fool of herself? She already had! With that comment of hers. A quirk of a grin started as he shook his head. "There is no had better run." He called out to the oh-mighty-can-do-anything-a-male-can-do-female.

Do they flip people off during this era? With a shake of her fingers, and asking Poseidon to control the waters, silently, she looked up and thought perhaps this wasn't such a good idea. But now, she had to do it, she could not walk away from it.

Grinning as she approached, and no she would not try the Beast, it was her leisure time. though from her leathers she had been in the bushes or trees some where ..

Cole glanced over to the arriving Charlie and offered her a nod of greeting. Not if they wished to keep that finger, they didn't.

"Evening look umm interesting!" not sure there were words for his state after the trial of the beast...

Charlie! One she knew. Waving her hand to Charlie, she turned to make the sign of the cross. "Poseidon, aide me with the waters.." Grinning she looked down and thought a dress not best for this, but she would do it anyway.

Lancely was still fixing up the timing on the various parts as the squires also loaded them up again.

Charlie waved to Anthea, chuckling softly. She could see that Lancely was busy looking back to Cole, "how did you do ?" Not that she knew a thing about it ...

"When it is ready, Sir.." Spoken softly as the man was making sure all was ready.

"Managed to escape ... but not without a good slicking." His arms and face had been cleaned, but his shirt stuck to his chest and his hair was still matted with the goo from the gel and spewing ale.

"Aye, it's best to dodge and dart while you do." He saluted Charlie and glanced at Cole. "You smell like a brewery too."

"Could be worse." He growled with his own sense of humor toward Aiden.

She sent a wink to Aiden, nodding at Cole, "well then you did well ..I hear it is not easy to get past the first hazard," she did listen to the talk ..but not always ..

"Aye, you could smell like a dockside doxy." He chuckled softly then grinned at Charlie. "He made it the whole way through. That's why he still looks like that. While I got a dunking in the pond at the end."

The squires were all set as he was around, smile emerging much as he did from out of sight into it. "It is ready when you are."

Yes, he did least in this attempt.

With a breath given, she saluted Lancely and gazed to the creation. "Here goes nothing.." And then a mumble in Greek before she moved onward.

Cole crossed his arms, waiting to see if the female attempted to try this thing without tying up her skirts.

"All the way ..well that is great, how often does that happen?" she mused, she had seen worse conditions, and probably smelled worse things, she just over looked the obvious ...

"Not very." He usually made it to the seaweed.

Charlie nodded to Aiden, watching as Anthea went into the Beast, cocking her head to the side ...

It was the seaweed that provided the 'doxy' scent.

She didn't tie them, she held her gown up to her knees as she rushed with slippered feet to make barely a sound. Silver hues took note of the balloons, and ducked when one almost smacked her in the face.

"Well I'll be..." Cole muttered low, a muscle twitched in his cheek.

Leaning a bit to Cole, "..a monkeys uncle?" she queried softly, teasingly of course ...

He slanted a look to the leaning Charlie. "damned." he finished. Not even realizing he hadn't until she mentioned the monkey's uncle. He offered her a dip of head. "I'm an only child..." He would have laughed, but...he was still a bit surprised the blustering female had made it through not only one...but two now!

Hair was flying about as the braid came loose, but she did not care, she had to complete this quest. Rushing now upon the steps, she gazed to the flags while not once breaking her stride. She gazed only forward as she attempted to move past the flags.

Charlie grinned, " yeah I bet " she mused, watching Anthea who was doing pretty good, "you go girl your step!" she yelled as if she needed reminding ..

Breathing was coming hard, but not so much from being weary, but from the sheer excitement of this contraption. She was a woman, but one that would complete this, God willing. Then she seen the large sacs and almost groaned. "Spit.." But the Greek pressed forward as Leonadis did against his enemies. She got walloped by one of the swinging sacs. And the way she ducked, the sac whapped her on the back of the head, and hair of black, along with her back to become soaked. Noticing the spindle's arm and attempted to reach for it so she could continue. And down she went, into the pile of feathers and did not move, she could only laugh!

So far the lass was doing well but that didn't last too long. She got as far as he had! The lads were over to offer her an oversize towel to wipe down but would not touch her in helping. One was beet red as it were getting that close to a lady.

And laugh hard with her hands holding her stomach. That was fun! "Thank you.." She accepted the towel and began to blot herself dry, especially her hair. "This was fun.." She spit a feather from her lip, and could not wait to tell all about this. "I loved it" Directed to Lancely.."Very good invention Sir."

Charlie giggled, but said nothing at the moment just watching her eyes dancing with laughter ...

Cole grunted out his response to her progress.

"Say what Cole?" she queried, aware that he mumbled a lot ..

"Not bad for a first attempt, eh Cole?" Dark eyes held a glint as he just kept from laughing.

"Said..." And he grunted again, this time a bit louder for Charlie's benefit. He slapped a hand to her backside and started to walk away, glancing at Aiden. "Whatever you say, Collins. But then, anything a man can do, a female can, eh?"

"Congratulations Anthea .." she mused,..ooooooohh," blinking he swatted her, that made her laugh even more ....

The man was an ass. But she would ignore him as she rushed to Charlie with a kiss to her cheek. "Why don't you try it?"

100% and a damn good knight because of it.

"Oh hell no ..I am a chicken," she reached in her vest pulling out feathers that she had been collecting for a fetish. "See?" she grinned, and an air kiss back to Anthea ... Charlie liked him, reminded her of Jessup, hard core, and trustworthy....

A lot depended on the female. Like the one he was married to. He just grinned at Cole. "Leaving for the night?"

"Charlie, you are one of the bravest women I know." She plucked a feather from her own hair handed it to Charlie.. "for your collection?" Grin.

Charlie grinned and took the feathers" uh huh, but not that brave .." gesturing to the beast, she had heard enough about the thing, to know it didn't play favorites with any one ....

"Truth be told.." She whispered.." I don't believe I will do it again.. or come dressed differently?" But she had done it, and that made the Greek proud of herself.

"Well at least you tried it, that says something ..." she grinned wickedly...

"So true, my friend.. so true.." She moved to take a seat on the bench, bending slightly at the waist so she could scrub her hair dry with the towel.

"Feels like the right thing to do." He offered over to Aiden, switching his attention for just a moment toward the two females then back to his brother-in-arms.

"You will have to write about it, and about the agility of the Knights that train on it," she mused, knowing Anthea was already thinking of that part ...

"That is why I ran it.. perhaps to feel a little what the knights feel?" She smiled.." Well, they are warriors, so they can endure what that monsters kicks out." Another feather and she was clean.." Not like me.. I feel like I have been tarred and feathered?" Twitch of a grin.

"Well close but not quite," she mused, watching the Knights. "Leaving so soon Cole?" one would think he didn't like females ...

He turned, walking backwards as he looked to Charlie. "I've a lazy streak, Charlie. There's only so much I can endure in one day." Was he speaking of the machine or the females? No telling with Cole.

"How about a drink before calling it a night?" He looked at Lancely as well. And when they were finished, he'd return to the rooms he shared with his Lady to see if she had finished her duties.

"It was a pleasure to meet you.. all of you." The smile that graced her lips was not only for them, but for the fun she had this night.

"Well enjoy my friend, it was nice to see you again," though she did rub where he swat her, grinning like the Cheshire cat ..." Be well and be safe Sir Lachian," see she had some manners ....kind of ..

Why did she feel the need to add the 'all of you'? Cole just graced Anthea with a slight dip of head. "Allow me to wash up some." He commented to Aiden's offer and then, hearing Charlie, he tucked his chin, least anyone see that faint smile that spread over his features. He continued on his way from there, to wash up.

"You did well Lady Anthea and I'm pleased that even more, you enjoyed yourself. It's an ever changing challenge. Sometimes you will do very well, enough to even make it through like Sir Cole had this evening and sometimes, not get past the first balloons." Giving a nod to Aiden for he could use a drink about now. Chase away any bit of chill.

"Perhaps I can try again, Sir.. " Offered to Lancely.." And if I don't make it again, I had fun trying."

Charlie said nothing more, if they were heading to the Thistle she would go that way, just to well be a pain in the arse, she was harmless most of the time ...

Of course, Cole." He grinned at Lancely, then looked at the ladies. "You'll find it will cool you off once summer comes." One reason why the beast was so popular then.

"Charlie, always a pleasure," giving her wink as he passed and grabbed up his cloak. A quick jaunt and he was catching up to Cole and Aiden.

She would move with Charlie, snapping a wave to the men and giving the towel back to a passing squire. "Thank you.."

"Indeed Lancely ..erm Sir Lancely my pleasure to be sure," uhh never mind that she was watching the south end of the north bound man, or men ... She liked looking shameless, didn't she? "Shall we invade the tavern too?" And don't think that the docks were a place had never been, she went most places that the sane would not and then some ...

"If you wish?" Could she join Charlie there? Perhaps for a little bit.

"Sure ...I am sure Kenneth is just settling down for his night," she cackled softly, not that he would get much sleep ...

She could only grin at that. "I suppose that is good sleep?" Wink and then running with laughter to follow.


Date: 04-18-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 18

Teens on the O'Gawd-let

An.Entire.Day.Off! Who could possibly complain about that? No lessons. No training. No chores. No demands on his time whatsoever. Tykir had been bored All Flippin' Day! He wandered around the castle. Strolled along the garden that was starting to bloom. Went to the pond, but no one else was there, so he skipped a couple of stones and went about wandering, wandering, bloody-boredom-wandering. Which in the end had him ending up here, at the Thistle. "Hello, Alex!" And the man better hope someone showed up soon or Tykir would be easing his boredom on the kindly, old barkeep.

Tykir should have come down to Barrett Bay. Molly had been busy for part of the day helping to stock the mercantile but then she had gone fishing in the bay and watched the work on a ship and asked a million questions to one of the older workers. Then she had gone to the commons and now here she was, stepping through the door. "Tykir!"The lass had a bit of a sunburn across her nose and cheeks which gave her a rosy glow. Her hair was pulled back into a single braid and already the sun was beginning to lighten it. She was dressed in soft doeskin pants and a peasant top of light green. The night would be cooler of course, so she had on a cloak but it was worn loosely.

That call had him jumping, nearly missing the glass he had been reaching for. And yes, if he had his mind about him, while he was roaming, he would have roamed on down to the docks...but, when a man is in doldrums of boredom, most time he doesn't think clearly. This was one such case. He turned, even as he took up his glass, and he grinned to Molly. "Hey there, Moll. Missed seeing you around." And he had been ... around! And missed seeing her everywhere he went!

"We've been getting things in for the change of season and I was put to work." She grinned as she reached the bar and thanked Alex for the glass of punch he handed her. "Have you been here a lot lately?" She hadn't been but had been promised that once everything was in place, she'd be able to see her friends more. Especially with summer arriving. "Missed being around." She could have pouted but with her brother not being here, it didn't do much good!

Tykir shook his head. "Nah, not really...just tonight." And he chuckled with a wink to Molly, bringing his glass up to drink.

"Then it's good I came tonight." She laughed, then grinned at the wink. "So you've been busy too."

He snorted, forcing down a swallow of potcheen which burned like hell. "Yes...busy!" A nod that morphed into a negative shake of head. "Busy doing nothing!" He laughed then, canting a head as he looked to her. "But it is good you came tonight, I'd have been bored out of my gourd without you!"

"Then we'll have to do something so we're not bored!" She laughed, glancing at Alex with a smile then she leaned close to Tykir. "And not get into too much trouble either." Like that would happen.

He leaned in to meet her whisper, turning his head just slightly to hear her better. And he grinned, straightening a little so he could look over to her. "I've never known something worth doing that wasn't worth getting in trouble for." A dark brow twitched, even without him knowing and he straightened completely. "Have any suggestions? I heard the Beast humming just the other night. Has a mighty nice tune to it."

The Beast? She had to think for a moment then she grinned. "Really? Do you think we could sneak a peek at it."Of course, that peek might be more than that if they had the chance.

In from Falkirk, she had a bag in tow, wheels at least and a handle as she tucked the tote under her arm to be able to open the door. Barely open and there was Tommy taking her things and saying he would bring them up to her room. Almost had her stumble. A coin was refused too as she shook her head when he took off. She headed for the bar and a drink that was in order at this point. "Hello Molly, Tykir," sneaking a peek their way for they seemed to be up to something together.

Oh boy but the dark prince puffed right up. "A peek? I think we should give the old devil a try ourselves...why not?" T.R.O.U.B.L.E. That's how it was spelled. This is how you got into it! Together, but that's because it was just the two of them ... until Ellyn arrived. "Hello there, Ellyn! You are just in time!"

"Ellyn!" She grinned when she saw their friend. "Yes, just in time!" Yay trouble!

"In time for what? I sure hope it is good timing and something worth doing or the like." Drink in hand she turned to face the two with a smile blooming. Attire consisted of a deep brown crushed leather riding outfit with a short jacket, tall boots and a ruffled blouse tucked into prim tailored pants. Dark hair was held back by a ribbon from the sides leaving the rest unbound.

Tykir smiled, a huge-toothy-type. "In time for whatever we plan to do! We were discussing that contraption that Sir Lancely created. Thought we'd rev'er'up and see what she had in her. You up for it?"

Wait! Weren't there two of them? Well, they'd find out. She took a drink of the punch, while she waited for Ellyn's answer.

Yes there were! But he'd heard only one hard at it the other night ... and that one involved water! So all the better for the mess of it all!

The Beast or the water one that everyone says Oh Gawd over?" Laughter rose to green eyes just thinking on all the stories over those contraptions. "Some wonder if he is insane or a genius.."

"You've seen Sir Lancely, Tykir. Is he insane?" She looked at the prince and grinned. And luckily it wasn't too cold tonight!

"He's a genius, and insane, he'd have to be to come up with that thing!" He had watched some of the knights attempt it, and he had always wanted to ... He tossed back the whiskey in his glass. "So, ladies?"

"He sure doesn't look insane, he looks.. well.. very knightly, handsome for certain." Giving Molly a wink as she took the moment to taste her drink. Perfect. Raspberry. Suited her tonight.

"I'm game." Why not? It sounded like fun and she had heard stories about it too. And even the knights enjoyed trying them out. She did pause though. "Will your clothing be all right, Ellyn?"

"I have more, they will be fine as they are water treated." She would find out soon enough if the woman had done a good job of it. If not, the Frasiers were rich, she could afford another. The sport of adventure was worth more than a ruined outfit. "I'm game."

Tykir looked over Ellyn's attire. Why wouldn't it be? Showed how much he knew about females. "You have to look in his eyes...deeply, Ellyn." Tykir laughed.

Which had her laughing with Tykir's comment, "I think I would faint if I got that close to such an outstanding knight."

"Hey!" Tykir acted offended, but he failed with his acting abilities. Especially since he laughed, looked to Alex and nodded. His glass was filled one more time.

She swatted at him, but from a distance on purpose, "I might faint getting too close to a prince too.." certainly she was teasing on both.

He leaned toward Ellyn. "Loooooook into my eeeeeyees." He just chuckled as he straightened and tipped his head back, draining his glass one more time. Yup, he was feeling just about right to take on that Beast!

She gave him an owlish look then crossed her eyes, so lady like! "There are four of them.." stepping away she finished off her drink in one gulp, which was probably not the smartest thing to do. She then got some more in a flask before she started for the door. "Should we make any wagers who does the best?"

She laughed at the two, then decided to do the same with her drink. Down the hatch and then she laughed. "Wagers? On the first try?"

They could discuss them on the way...

"I'll wager that we'll get our courage tossed back at us first try." He was on his way too, throwing up a hand in farewell to Alex.

Good wager!

She continued to drink from the flask on their way down. She was loose and laughing a lot. Elated to be trying such a sport. None had come up with any real substantial wagers either. The squires were noticing the three, or maybe more the two ladies with the prince? Hard to tell other than they were being greeted over and over. She swore a few of them greeted them twice if not trice. She nudged Molly with a glance towards one and lowered words, "I think he's looking at you." Giving her a wink, "who wants to go first?"

Tykir knew none would question the teens for wanting to try this, not with Tykir as their accomplice. He didn't hear the words between the girls but he did hear the question. "Ladies first, unless you'd like me to try it and then you'll know sort of what to expect..." Two glasses of potcheen had him feeling up to anything. Bring on the Beast! Rooooooaaar!

Who was looking at her? She blinked then laughed. "No, I think he's looking at you." She came to a stop as they neared the beastie and stared at it. "Oh my." Tykir got an impish look and a little nudge. "You've seen it work before so maybe you should." And she tipped her head to study the contraption. "Looks like we're going to get soaked. This should be fun!"

Testing. Would he balk? Twinkle in her eyes. "If you can best both myself and Molly, I will kiss you right on the lips Prince Tykir." Bold? Certainly. Would it inspire or put fear in his heart? Of course by that time they had reached The Water Beast. "Now that is impressive." So was the other too but not something she would try as easily as this one.

Tykir was rubbing the flats of his hands along the sides of his legs. Fun? This was going to be kick-ass-crazy! He nodded to Molly then looked to Ellyn. "Is that okay with you?" Whoah, wait...what was that? A kiss on the cheek would never do as a reward for this undertaking. "And if I fail?"

"You get to eat some of the seaweed.." which had her laughing for certainly she was teasing on that one.With a gesture of hand, "be my guest, prince before ladies.."

Well, the punch was making Ellyn brave! "Euuw." She gave a shudder over the seaweed then added. "Best me and I'll do the same as Ellyn." Oh boy. She shouldn't have drank the punch before hand.

He grimaced, not knowing she was joking, he cut his gaze to the machine again then nodded slowly. The odds were against him, but the rewards would be great if he could manage to pull this off. He slid a look to Molly, smiled, and nodded. It was on! A kiss from them both? Well now, what male in their right mind would pass that up with a one in three chance he might have to eat seaweed instead. He drew in a deep breath and bolted up the steps to the first chamber. He didn't have a ribbon as a token, but he had better ... it wasn't a good luck charm, but he made sure to always have it with him as his ever constant. He looked back at the girls and then, sideways, he tilted his entire body to the right and entered that way.

And there he went! She headed to the side so she could watch and see what they were up against!

"Wait!" A hand touching upon his arm in a light way.. but it was too late.

And that's what he got for acting silly! Immediately he lost his balance on the rotating floor, balloons popped over head and the trap door sprung open! HolyWhirlingWater! And the dark prince of Heathfield made it no farther! He grabbed for the pole but missed, and went plummeting into the water beneath with a loud splash of defeat! He came up, sputtering and choking and cursing and laughing. He whipped his head to clear his hair from his vision and looked to the ladies. Grinning. Yes, potcheen definitely made defeat more bearable.

"I think it was too much, offering him two kisses that he couldn't concentrate.." words low but she would not laugh as he got soaked with the water balloons breaking all around him and then into the tank below."I was going to ask, what you'd offer if we win? Or which of us gets the furthest," for it was more that than winning.

Why had Ellyn been trying to stop him? She blinked then stood on tiptoe to watch him splashing about. And there was the answer. "It might have been." She agreed then grinned. "Does he get another start since he didn't make the offer?" The squires were watching with interest and he'd hear it tomorrow!

He crawled from the tank, accepting the offer of towel. "I guess, at this point, you tell me what you want, because I'd have to hope..." He wiped his face, speaking through the thick cloth. "You'd do better than I just did." Oh, he'd hear it regardless, considering the two he was with tonight!

"If I get the furthest, take me riding about these lands. I'm to buy a horse here this visit to keep when I am here." Molly could come up with whatever suited her. "Maybe we'll have a redemption run once he knows his goal in how far he needs to get..." sassy wink Tykir's way this time as she eyed up the contraption. "You first Molly, or me?"


Date: 04-18-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 19

He brought the towel around, wiping the back of his neck, but he nodded to Ellyn's reward for besting him.

She had to come up with something? Oh stars and stones! "I want to explore the Celtic Gardens." She was going to say the dungeons but got a little shy concerning those. "It doesn't matter to me who goes first." She retied her hair though so it wouldn't fall in her face.

The Gardens? Heck, she could do that without him! But that was what she set as the wager, it would be. He wrapped the towel around his neck and waited to see how much seaweed he'd have to eat, because he thought he still had to do that even though additional terms were made now.

Well, he should tell her that's a bad bet then! She had no idea how to bet. And she'd makes sure they had a lunch with them since it was a distance away. "Go ahead, Ellyn. I'll be last."

It wasn't a bad bet! She might not win!


She was ready, one good drink taken before slipping the flask away and starting up the steps. She eyed the moving floor below with a wince, no wonder after a few drinks. She jumped. Now or never and scrambled half crouched with the initial impact and hoped to avoid the trap door. Well, she had no problem with that one! Not even a balloon to break as she made it safely to the next section. She did a little dance. That might bite her, wiggle of her tush and all with a turn around before moving up the steps. Flags. Oooo. best not to step on any of those as she was moving like a ballerina about them best she could.

Tykir chuckled watching her victory after one chamber dance.

Drinking did Ellyn good? Had to wonder though... did her Uncle know she drank like that? She clapped for Ellyn while the squires cheered.

"What!" Tykir shouted with a laugh, hooting Ellyn on now that she had made it through two unscathed!

She covered her eyes with a groan then peeked. Hey, they hadn't bet each other!

Not a flag even touched and her lessons paid off with a pivot at the end before she took a look at the next section. Bumpers. Larger Balloons, down she went darting, ducking and hoping to hell to get across.

Tykir blinked, turning a wide-eyed look Molly's way. Was she seeing what he was seeing? Or was the whiskey playing with his mind!

She got a little nudge from a bumper but it only sent her in the right direction towards the next section. Water sprouts, here, there, everywhere and not a pattern to them. It was run like hell!

"She's really good at that." She was staring, wide-eyed as Ellyn went through another.

Oh come on! "Yea! Ellyn!" Tykir couldn't help but root her on at this point. He was already beat, might as well see how far she could take it! He slapped the back of one of the squires that stood close enough to receive it. "Can you believe it? Look at her go!"

She could run. Yes she could. Like a gazelle she was fast, blur. "I'm saving the seaweed for you, Tykir!" Teasing before taking out the flask and another drink. She got this far and needed one. Away it went back into her pocket all the while studying the next part. Barrels, they were all over the place. She was down and meeting her first one to climb over, jump, roll, whatever it took.

The reaction of the squire to that slap had her laughing, then she grinned at Tykir before she was watching Ellyn again. Those barrels looked like they could hurt!

Tykir grimaced, he didn't want either of them to get hurt and, yes Moll, those didn't look fun.

She had gotten it rolling and it popped, spewing ale on her and certainly, finally, an initiation! She was laughing as she struggled with the floor tipping to hold on and make it nonetheless. She didn't as she landed on the cushions, looking up. Peals of laughter leaving her.

"That was amazing, Ellyn!" She chuckled as she headed over to the bench while a squire offered a towel to Ellyn. A hip bump was given to Tykir as she passed him, just because. After she pulled off her boots and left her cloak on the bench, she headed up the steps. Of course, she'd wait for Ellyn to be out of the cushions.

He shuffled to the side with that bump of hip, shaking his head with how far Ellyn had managed to go through that contraption that gave the mightiest of knights hell. "Daaaang, Ellyn, way to plow on through!" He laughed along with her and then he shot Molly a look. "Maybe you should take a swig from Ellyn's flask before you start!" He twitched off a wink for her and watched as she waited for her turn to begin.

She took the offered towel and the hand up before being wrapped up good. "That was fun." Really! She was surprised she got as far as she did. "All clear.." grinning as she joined Tykir.

"She probably has it all drank." She laughed as she answered, then studied the first part of the beast. Balloons, trap door, moving... right. Time to try to start through and see if she managed the first part!

Tykir threw up his hands...bested by two girls? Yes! He'd never hear the end of it!

She applauded Molly, "you go girl!"

She made it across and looked back over her shoulder! Stunned! And elated and, she couldn't help laughing at Tykir's reaction. Okay, on to the next. She couldn't be that lucky. Not when there was ooey gooey stuff involved!

All he could do was shake his head with what he was witnessing. Although, he was smiling too! You see, he lost, but he still won, and there was really no defeat in that!

Ooooh! She didn't get creamed! And this time she did a little two step then laughed. It was fun though she was really, really surprised! Now for part three! If she got knocked into the feathers, she'd quack! One, two, three and she was darting, turning, twisting and doing everything she could to avoid those bumpers!

Tykir crossed his arms at his chest, still, just shaking his head. Amazing!

And there she stood, on the other side, with only one little bump that caused her to squeal out in surprise. She waved at her two friends, then bowed to the squires. Even if she fell into the seaweed, it had been worth it! Those geysers of water were going to be cold. She just knew it. She waited a moment then took a deep breath and started across. The seaweed would be worse. Yeck!

She crossed her arms much like Tykir had. "This is not bothering you any?" He'd get her profile which showed the curl of her lips. "Tell you what. If you are game to go again, give it the old try. I will give you a one minute kiss if you can get to the fifth section even if you don't make it all the way through." Being that was as far as she got and looked like Molly got that far too.

No seaweed? No seaweed! She let out a yell and nearly slipped on the platform. And that had her laughing. She looked at the barrels and frowned just a little. This part worried her but Ellyn hadn't gotten hurt. She crouched slightly then darted forward, climbing over the first barrel for a start!

"Not at all..." He quirked a grin, looking over to Ellyn. "No need to time it, Ellyn." He continued..."where's the fun of that?" He turned to look back to Moll and where she was. He started forward when he saw her get hit by that barrel, but caught himself just in time, clearing his throat first before yelling out encouragement. "Come on, Moll! You're almost there!"

And down she went on her hands and knees as ale spewed and the gel ooooozed out over. Oh that was nasty! And had her laughing even more. If she failed, it was because she was laughing so hard. And down she went into the drenched, soaked cushions!

"Because I hear one minute will have you gasping for a breath." Giving a firm nod to that but the whole idea amused her too! "Looks like you will have to take me riding and take Molly on her exploration." Poor Tykir, now with two dates. Wasn't it fun losing?

He grinned hearing Ellyn but watched Molly go down in a glob of goo and gook. "Looks like...but I've another wager too now." He looked at Ellyn and nodded once. "I've no doubt that a kiss from you would do that anyway, Ellyn, no matter the time involved."

"I'm a slime monster." She was still laughing as she was helped out and handed a towel. "Slimeage everywhere." Walking home would not be fun!

"You both did great." He laughed, heading toward the steps of the gauntlet again. "And this has nothing to do with Ellyn's ride or Molly's exploration." He leapt two steps at a time and went directly in, without a moment's hesitation. The boards were wet but he ducked and skated his way through. And still, not even a pause for breath, he continued on.

And there went Tykir again! She wrapped herself in the towel and watched. "I'm glad you came when you did, Ellyn." Grinning under the towel as Tykir went charging through. "Go Tykir!"

He tiptoed danced his way through, avoiding the flags along the way. Okay, now he was winded, but he didn't even slow, chamber number three! He was smacked half-way through and lost his balance, starting to skid and slide. "Crap!" and then ...

Crap again!

He was launched into that pile of feathers. Feathers! Of all the things! Head to toe...feathers!

He was a feather fur ball with wings! Oh, the sight, had her laughing. She couldn't help it. Poor Tykir. "You really didn't want my kiss..." teasing him as it came with the light laughter.

They poofed up everywhere, and he was wet and covered in ... feathers! Now wasn't that just the sight! And no blasted kiss for his efforts! "Guess it's just not meant to ..." He spit out some of the downy small ones as he tried to talk past the raining feather storm. Several of the squires ran over to help him up but he waved them away, brushing at his arms and chest while he came to his feet. "be, Ellyn." He glanced over to his friends, still swiping at all those feathers stuck to him.

She had a heart as she marched right up to him, cupping feather cheeks as lips burned a kiss over partially feather lips. He was too cute not to kiss and she bold enough to see it through. It wasn't the minute long one but hopefully she left his tingling as hers were left, probably the feather effect.

She was laughing too, cutting a glance at Ellyn as she watched her march up to kiss him. And she pulled the towel over her face!

Definitely took his breath away, since he had been looking down and plucking feathers and as soon as he looked up, he was caught up in a kiss! He'd have to lose more often around these two! It was long enough to have him blinking when she finished, a smile twitching at the corner of his lips. "Daaang, Ellyn, you better be careful who you plant that kiss on!" He looked past Ellyn to Molly, who had her face covered with the towel.

"I figure you are safe," giving him a wink and hoping he enjoyed it as much as she had. "I don't go around just kissing anyone." She leaned in to give a quick whisper then back, "I think we should head to the Thistle, get some warm soup in us and more to drink." Laughing as she noticed Molly, "it's safe now, you can come out."

"You sure?" She peeked out then smiled. "I'm keeping the towel over my head though. My hair is sticky."

Safe? He was ... safe? What did that mean? He didn't want to be ... safe! He wanted to be ... unsafe! Maybe, eventually, he would be! Maybe he was even now, and Ellyn had no idea just how unsafe he was! Yea. That was it! Tykir started over to Molly, giving the towel a tug but he didn't remove it from her head. "Your hair is fine, Moll. Heck, I'll be leaving a trail of feathers that has nothing to do with molting."

He needed to surprise her then! "I bet if you took a quick toss up into the air, you could lose all the extra feathers and shower us with them at the same time." Offered up to Tykir as an idea that might well work.

"True..." He grinned over to Ellyn. "But it was my defeat, not yours." Together they started back to the Thistle to get that soup...and some more to drink!

She had to giggle and pulled the towel off the rest of the way. She didn't want to take it with her after all. It belonged here. And her hair wasn't too bad. Just ... stiff and stuck to her face.

Follow the worn path.. follow the worn path.. avoiding lions, tigers and bears.

...and three teenagers always ripe for adventure!

And just plain fun!



Post # 20


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