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Take Heed - Frasier Curse

Date: 02-03-02
Poster: Frasier Curse
Post # 1

A score ten one
The witch shall come
The son first born
Shall be forewarned
The women all
To death shall fall
A trinket's charm
The curse disarm
Take heed.
Take heed.
Take heed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"You are no young man, Simon.  Frissel Keep needs an heir." The wind teased through her black tresses, dividing and lifting, creating an unkempt mane of shining glory about her alabaster face.  The blue of her eyes caught the moonlight, flashing with the passion of the anticipated union to come.  A stroke of her slender hand traced along the line of his face and she followed the path of that caress with her gaze.  "You are now a score ten and one."

"Aye, Octavia, I know how old I am and what is required of me." The Duke of  Falkirk captured her hand with his own, thick fingers curling around the delicately boned teasing touch.  "That is why I have asked you here this night."

Thinly arched brows lifted as if surprised, turning the man's hand while he held her and pressing her lips to the pulse of his wrist. The intensity of her gaze remained on him.  "Is that...the only reason?"  Lips parted in a smile and she, ever so slowly, raked her teeth against that sensitive flesh.

The Duke drew in a slow and calming breath, one dip of his head to answer her before he spoke.  "It is.  For as of this night, I have spoken with Gaylord Kennedy, Marquis of Augustin, and am now to take his daughter, Ellyn Regina, as my wife."


The course of her affections ceased over the purple veins which laced just there beneath the thin skin of his wrist. "What?"  That question was more so a hiss of disbelief than one requiring an answer.  She gave his arm a shove away as if it was some foul serpent's touch. "Ellyn Regina Kennedy?  She is but a sapling of a girl.  No bigger than my finger."  To indicate the comparison, Octavia poked that broad chest of the man before her with her
smallest finger.  "She could no more keep a man the likes of you satisfied as could a butterfly-net capture an avalanche!"

"It is the way I wish it."  The tone of his voice had deepened, a warning to be heeded by the wise.  

"The way you wish it?"  The wind had picked up, tugging at the woman's skirts and wrapping the fabric about her legs, tangling her hair and sweeping it over her features before whipping the strands behind her once again. "The way you wish it?"

The Duke turned to look behind him toward the dark shadow of Keep silhouetted against the moonlight, then back to her. "You will cease with your tangent, Octavia. You knew long ago that you were not to be my wife."

A predator's growl began deep in the woman's throat. "I cared not to be your wife, fool man."  She struck out raking long, pointed nails along his cheek.

Simon cringed back, his hand lifting to the score mark of four along his jaw, lowering his hand to find it marred with his own blood, black in the pale moonlight.  "Christ, Octavia."  His glare was once again on the woman.

"Think you I care to be the pawn of some noble game?"  Her fingers lifted to her lips and she sucked the flesh and blood from beneath the nails.  "I would have bore you sons, many son to take your title of Duke.  My blood would have had the power to control as well as my talents to dominate." Her voice was lowered to such a whispered extent, it carried on the wind, blended into the wind...became the wind.  "Know this now,
Simon Frasier! No Frasier woman will ever live to bear fruit to you or any Fraiser again!"

A soft gasp from the archway shadows could have been lost in the rising gust of approaching storm, but the sound had Octavia smirking with vengeance.  

"How dare you!"  The Duke's meaty paw reached out to grab her slender form, but the woman spun away, arms raising high above her head toward the darkened clouds which had gathered and drifted over the yellow glow of moon.  

"Hear me now and feel my curse flow through your veins, Simon Frasier.  This young wife of yours shall answer death's call upon her birthing bed!"

"Octavia, you shall not!"  He lunged forward, but the woman slapped her hands together above her head.  The jolt of electricity which shot from that act slammed him back against the garden wall, his head thudded into the unyielding granite and his large form crumpled to the ground.

The woman ... was gone.

Ellyn Kennedy rushed from her hiding place behind the cover of vines to her future husband.  "Simon!"  She dropped to her knees there beside him with a billowing of skirts.  A frightened glimpse around her shoulder to where he had only moments before confronted the witch confirmed the woman did not remain.  Her hand lifted to fidget with the jeweled bracelet that the Duke had given her only this night when he offered for her.  

"This cannot be...this cannot be. She will not take that which is not hers to have."  

Ellyn jerked her hand back from the touch of the gold with another gasp of surprise.  Searing heat had burnt her fingertips. Blistering hot to her touch, yet cool as night against her wrist.  Eyes wide, she then gently tested the woven strands of gold once again with a light tap, only to find them as any bracelet would be.  Her hand lowered to Simon's shoulder and she leaned in to whisper to him.  Her gaze, though, remained centered and locked on the spot where the other woman had been.

"Know this, my husband-to-be.   I shall always see to it that our blood continues to flow through Fraiser veins.  Always."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A century could have passed as if it were a day.  The view through the purple bean-vine laden black iron gate revealed the aged wisteria heavy with corpulent blossoms where it draped over several archways.  The stout and matured rose bushes supported plump blooms and climbed with gusto over the high garden walls.  The tall spindles of lavender swayed and the weeping cherry fronds danced lightly in the early evening breeze.  The stone garden path was dusted with the swirling jewel-toned petals caught upon the current which whispered through the various flora, catching up the fragrances and blending them to tease the senses.

It was this breeze which had the Lady Ellyn coming to her feet from the bench where she had come to enjoy the approach of evening.  The book which had been upon her lap dropped to the ground, forgotten.   She stood in silence, one hand flat to the side of her leg, the other pressed to her chest, only the occasional flutter of lashes for movement.  For several moments she remained thus, her breathing hushed yet strained, attentive to the change which swept through the garden.

"So it is time once again."  Her own whisper trembled free as her fingers tightened against the velvety material of her gown.  "May God be with us still."

A whirl of skirts started her on her way.  The book left behind where it had tumbled.  The lovely scene of a Lady in her spring garden dissipated into the despondency of winter's gray as she floated right up to the west wall of the garden that buttressed the keep and through the hard granite stones as if they were no more substantial than the tell-tale caress of that light gentle wind.

Only the trace of that softly spoken plea left in her wake.

The Frasier Curse
Take Heed

Date: 02-03-02
Poster: Hannah Frasier
Post # 2

     The journey from Scotland to Heathfield had not been easy on the elderly Duke of Falkirk. In the months since his return home he had grown progressively weaker. Nearly crippled by the hip that had troubled him for so many years, he could no longer move about the way he would like. His back ached almost constantly and more recently, he'd had trouble breathing, as though
a tremendous weight sat upon his chest, crushing the breath from him.
     Alisdair could see death's shadow hovering near.
     As the docks of Heathfield came into view, he caught sight of Neale's ship and his heart swelled with pride. The Flame's Fury.
     Had he ever let his children know how proud he felt of them? Four boys, all good, strong, honorable men and their sister, married to a man as honorable as his sons. Each of them understood the importance of family. All five were close. They would, he knew, do anything for each other.
     And he would do anything for them.
     This journey had been made for one very important reason. To save the life of his only remaining daughter. In his cabin below decks, locked safely within a plain pinewood box, a bracelet of gold. The key to keeping the family curse at bay.
      "Da!" The high-pitched shout of the toddler distracted him from his thoughts. A smile crinkled his aged and weathered face, arms opening wide to receive the little bundle of energy.
      "Ellyn, my tiny ray of sunshine. Look!" His finger, bent awkwardly from the effects of arthritis, pointed in the direction of Neale's ship. "We are almost there. Soon you will have your whole family around you."
      "Look, Da! Look all the ships!" Ellyn's sea green eyes, Frasier eyes, had that wide-eyed, fascinated look of children.
      Alisdair smiled, breathing in the powdery, milky scent of his granddaughter. Such a little beauty, so very much like her mother. So very much like Leora.
     Aged eyes closed. He had let her down, he knew that now. Her death giving birth to Ellyn, Maureen's death birthing Hannah, both could have been prevented. He had learned so much in recent months! He had so much information to pass on to his children. Hannah would not suffer the same fate as her sister and mother, he would see to that now.
     Ellyn was soon passed off to her nanny, Etta, and taken below to prepare for her adventure off ship in a short while.
      On board this ship were crates and boxes filled with paperwork, ledgers, journals and odds and ends. Information for Neale and his brothers. Without Alisdair to sort through it all and explain it they would be forever lost in the muddle of documents (including the plans drawn up for the construction of Falkirk Keep on the lands gifted the Frasiers by King Chadrick.) He intended to spend whatever time he had left going over all of this with them
but Neale in particular. The title of Duke would be his.
      With preparations made the ship docked and soon he sat ensconced in his wheel chair (a contraption he despised) with little Ellyn bouncing upon his lap. 
      In short order they had reached the Thistle Tavern.  He had hoped he might see one or more of his family hereabouts but it was no matter, he would see them all soon enough.
      Handing off Ellyn to the Nanny, he pushed himself up from the wheelchair with trembling arms and turned to his small entourage of men. "Send word to my boys and to Hannah that I've arrived." Curt and crisp were his words.
     His gnarled hand grasped hold of the banister. Refusing any aid from his guards, the stubborn old man began to make his way up the stairs. He would at least be able to see himself to his own room!
     He had reached the landing when a coughing spasm wracked his frail body. He clung tightly to the banister as a wave of dizziness swept over him. Light-headed, his legs buckled beneath him. He might have tumbled down the stairs were it not for the men directly behind him.
     He felt himself lifted, carried into a room and placed upon a bed. He heard the shouts, the questions directed at him. He opened his mouth to speak but he could not. A sharp, white pain pierced his skull.
     For the Duke, everything went dark.

Date: 02-05-02
Poster: Neale Frasier
Post # 3

The setting of sun stained the horizon with a peculiar reddish glow, blending into the salty water where sky met sea, making it difficult for the eye to decipher the distinction between the two.  The brine lapped lazily against the anchored ships - that slow, steady familiar motion.

Within his cabin upon The Fury, Neale stood beside his desk, leaning slightly to his fingertips while reading over the latest dispatch.  So deep in his thoughts he must have missed the knock upon his door for movement near the portal had him tilting his head in that direction.  He had expected to see one of his men.  They were the only ones aboard.  A brow lifted in suspicion with the one he did find there.  He straightened slowly from his lean.

A woman waited near the closed door - her complexion pale and somewhat ethereal, made to appear even more so with hair the shade of midnight, long locks which hung loose and curled over her shoulders to drape to her waist.  Her form was slight, yet her curves were full.  Her waist could easily be spanned by the fingers of a man's hands.  A mysterious figure of silence and regard, watching him where he stood.


She said not a word at first, just seemed to look him over before she moved forward to his desk.  An exceedingly long, painted nail nudged the dispatch aside to see the paper beneath it.  Neale's hand flattened against the first to keep it in place.

"May I help you with something?"

His action and that question seemed to amuse the stranger and she lifted her gaze from those papers to him.  Amazingly blue eyes, set off in a striking contrast to the dilated, black pupils, had Neale tensing.

"Neale Moncreiffe Frasier."  His name slipped from her tongue thick with an accent that sent a chill across Neale's flesh.  "I've been looking for you.  It's time you come to know me better."

Garrett seemed to be up to his old pranks and if Neale hadn't had so much to see accomplished before he could head from the cabin back to his room at the Thistle, he may have found this quite entertaining.  "Madame, as intriguing as that prospect seems, our  'getting to know one another better' will need wait for another night."  He swept his hand toward the door, a gesture to start her on her way.  He, himself, started in that direction to see her out.  He stopped though, looking back, when she did not follow.

"I am called Octavia."  The woman offered in that sultry deep voice.  "You know nothing of me at all?"  The doubt in the tone of her words was laced with amusement, as if she knew he would have heard of her well.

Neale could practically feel the caress of her examination as it swept over him once again.  He took a step toward her ... but the pounding on that closed door jolted him from the momentary catalepsy that had overtaken him.

"Capt'n!  Capt'n!" 

A frown pulled along Neale's brow as he stared a moment more at the woman, then he turned and jerked the door open.

"What is it?"  There was an edge to his voice, an unintentional bark of demand.

"Your father, Capt'n." 

Neale nodded.  He was aware that his father was coming into port within the week or the next.  Seemed the sea and the weather favored an expeditious arrival.

"The Duke of Falkirk.  How very splendid."  That husky, mesmerizing voice sounded behind Neale.  The temptation was great to roll a shoulder against the feeling of wariness.  Neale's hand flattened to his man's chest and he stepped them both further out and to the side to speak.

"Good.  He has arrived then."

"Aye, Capt'n.  But you see, there's a man above sport'n your father's colors that wishes to speak to you about your sire."

That was all Neale needed to hear.  Long strides started him toward the steps that would lead above.  "See the woman out, Howard."  The command echoed down the corridor as Neale took the steps two-at-a-time.

Howard stood where he was but leaned forward to poke his head into the cabin.  Squinting, his gaze swept the room.  Both hands lifted - one to jerk the cap from his head, the other to scratch stubby fingers to his balding scalp.  With Neale gone above, he spoke mostly to himself. 

"Aye, Capt'n. Gladly.  But...what woman?"  For without his Captain's presence, that cabin was empty.


Date: 02-05-02
Poster: Hannah Frasier
Post # 4

(Live roleplay with NealeMFrasier, HannahFrasier, DanielWFrasier, PatrickLFrasier and the Guard and Healer, respectively)

The "meeting" underway in his cabin upon the Fury was interrupted by the urgent message delivered.   Neale knew that his father was in route to Heathfield. Depending on the weather, was to arrive this or the next week.  So when the messenger knocked upon his door, Neale knew at once what news he brought.  He just didn't know the extent of it.  He had turned to excuse himself from the woman who had come to "speak" with him, only to find she had managed to slip away.  Something that still had him thinking back with confusion.  From that cabin, there was only one way out, and he and the messenger were standing just a few feet away, though Neale's back did face the door.  The trek from the ship to the Thistle seemed to be endless, head bent against the bitter wind, but at last the warm glow of lantern lights could be seen illuminating even the walkway outside the windows.  His steps were already rushed, long strides eating the distance with haste.  He only stepped up to the stoop, then shoved the door open.  Searching out the common room first as he closed the door behind him.

Hannah has only just arrived at the Thistle herself. The carriage ride had seemed endless. Giving the coachman an impatient shove she hurries in the door of the tavern, as much as she can hurry at any rate

Daniel had been out in his daily explorations, something he had picked up on since his return. With all that had gone on he was doing what he knew best...gathering all kinds of  information. He had barely gotten back to his room when he found the message....he had had  this foreboding even this morning while in that Rhydian tavern...something was amiss. All washed up and changed he was soon down the steps descending them fast as he finished  buttoning up his shirt. Around the corner and down the corridor before emerging into the tavern  itself...wondering if he was late.

One of the guards had been seated by the hearth, coming immediately to his feet as one Fraiser descended the stairs, the other entered through the front entrance. "Where is he?" Neale didn't even bother to remove his cloak, and  only after the question was asked did he pull his attention from that guard to his brother.  "Daniel."  Just his name by way of greeting before he was looking back to the guard for that requested information.

Nearly stumbling over her own feet, she sees both Neale and Daniel at the same moment. Cloak? She hadn't even remembered to bring one.

The Guard spoke up. "Upstairs, in his room. He is...not...I'll take you to him." Nodding at the Frasier trio he starts up the stairs, expecting them to follow.

Neale spun to find Hannah entering, extending his still leather gloved hand to her. "Come, Sprite." He wasn't sure how much she had been told, better to have her close either way.

Frasier greens rested on his brother with a nod....wordlessly as he searched between the guards, cuff links adjusted as hair curled damply over the edge of his collar. His face drawn in  concern as he waited... his motions done distractedly.

Hannah's smaller hand in his, Neale did follow, and closely to the heels of that guard, Hannah lead just a step or two behind him.  He knew Danny would be close as was a given.

Clutching at Neale's hands, the guard's words did not seem to bode well  but she's climbing those stairs as quickly as she can, keeping herself carefully calm.

He was right on their heels as his hand took Hannah's other elbow to make sure she was escorted safely especially in her condition. He didn't know at all yet how bad things were.

Neale's hasty departure from the ship's cabin had allowed no time for him to make himself presentable.  His jaw tensed beneath the day's layer of beard, the chill of the sea air divided the thick strands of his hair.  The heavy material of cloak hid the casual attire of a man not expecting to be out...but enjoying the privacy of his own rooms.  Things just did not always go as planned.A nod was offered to the two men, his father noticed at once in the dim lighting of the room.  "Where's the child?"  He motioned for Hannah and Danny to enter while he inquired after Ellyn.

The guard leads them to the door where the other guard is stationed before he opens the door to allow them entrance. The room is dark, save for the dim light of a single lantern. Already it has that smell of the sick,  the dying. In the bed, looking much too small and much too pale, his cheeks sunken, lies Alisdair. He appears to be sleeping.

He was moving into the room last as he stepped off to the side away from them slightly as that dark green gaze took on a brooding quality. A muscle twitched along his jawline as he stood rather rigidly.

A woman rises from a chair in the corner, the healer that's been seeing to their father for the last several months. "She is with her nanny, she's well, sleeping I believe." Her voice appropriately quiet. "Your father is sleeping. It's a stroke, it happened just as he arrived here." Sad, elderly eyes rest on Alisdair.

As soon as the feminine voice was heard, Neale jerked his attention from the guards to the woman, entering fully then into the room.  He crossed to his father, standing beside the bed but facing the woman still, his fingertips came to rest on the elder Frasier's shoulder.  "A stroke?" Greens dipped to the sleeping man, then back to the woman, his other hand lifting out for Hannah again to come closer if she needed.  Neale would be here for her. "Do we know the damage done?"

He stared over his father as if he could will him to rise...then tore his gaze to watch his sister now instead as he inched closer.. within reach.

Hannah releases Neale's hand to perch upon the edge of the bed, swallowing hard the lump in her throat. His hand feels so cold...  Her green eyes lift to meet Daniel's and then Neale's, resting anywhere but on her  father's pale face.

He had moved in closer with them as he once more just stared down upon his father...his emotions in check but that twitch along his jawline had only intensified.

"It's difficult to say right now, in a day or two we should know the full extent of it. I think it is likely that he has lost the power of speech, he was unable to communicate earlier, during the brief period he was awake."

There was a rush of blood that left him in a daze as he'd pulled himself from darker corner and warmer body once he'd been found. Now, his face was masked with an eerie determination to see for himself - if it were all true. He was given the silent stoic treatment and pointed in the right direction, which was exactly where he highed himself off too, looking for the faces familiar of his brothers and sister, "Sprite.."   Barely uttered Frasier green's turned to the youngest sibling, closest to Patrick's heart.  His gaze was filled with questions and concern yet he could find no voice for them.

They are there, all save Rob, all focused on the words exchanged between Neale and the old healer. Hannah turns at the sound of Patrick's steps and her eyes meet his, the horror and grief at what's happened is clear in them but no tears. She won't let herself cry, not here in front of their father.

Just that one word pulled his attention from the healer toward the man entering.  He watched as his brother entered, remaining silent for the time.  He dipped his head in greeting to him.  "That is not a certainty though."   This was directed to the older woman, though his attention centered on the returning Frasier brother.

His own gaze lifted as the near same hued eyes met his brother's and the slight nod given.

"Nothing is a certainty at this juncture." And that includes death, though that word is left unspoken.

He knew she wouldn't vent those tears, no matter how great the urge. Comfort was given in the form of a quick embrace while he looked first to Neale. "How soon until we know?"  His throat felt as if he'd drank gravel yet it was the question uppermost in his mind.

Not spoken, but understood all the more with that possibility unmentioned.  "Would you like to take a break, Mistress?  We four can sit with him for awhile.  Some tea perhaps..."  His offer fell silent so she could answer Patrick, but that which Neale had spoken was more than a was more a request that they have some time alone with their father...and themselves.

He withdrew into his own thoughts as the dark of green trailed over his father's sullen features....death's shadows lingered there and he knew the outcome save divine intervention via a miracle. Eyes strained and stung as everything else was just a low hum...heard and stored...he would later remember.

"A day or two. I do not think.." Pausing.  "...I'm not sure that he will ever recover. After dropping this bombshell she bows her head at Neale's suggestion and wordlessly departs the room, knowing the children need time with their father.

..I'm not sure that he will ever recover.   The words soured in his ears and gave him tunnel vision. The world fell away from under him, shocking his system cold and making the blood in his veins run to ice.

Neale swallowed, following the woman from the room with his gaze.  Slowly it returned to each of his kin, starting with Daniel so close still to the door, then working over Patrick, Hannah...and at last dropping to the pale visage of his father.  So full of life the last he had seen him, boasting of the fine peregrine he had purchased.  A shake of his head cleared that thought away, they were hear now, the five of them...that...was the past.

The anger built as he knew they couldn't even talk to him... so much so.. he swung around fisting his hand into the wall. He didn't feel the pain as he stalked over to the nearby window  and stared out instead of looking upon his father's face and witnessing death taking him from them. The his hand kept his senses alert, least letting him know he was still here.

Her breath hitches with those words and again she looks from one brotherly face to another, as though they might be able to change those words...  "He won't, he can't, he's too strong." The angry whispers break the silence. This can't be happening, it can't be the same man, so full of pride and energy not long ago...then her head turns at the sound of Daniel's fist striking the wall and a cry leaves her throat.

Neale frowned when Daniel's pain slipped into anger, that anger into action, and he drew in a deep breath, releasing it very slowly in order to rein in his own rampaging concerns.  "He is still with us for now." 

He leaned back, as if willing time to screech to a halt and yet he knew it would do him little good. Life simply didn't listen to mere mortals like him. Daniel look his frustration out on the wall and yet Patrick could only answer his own wavering strength by hanging his head once he'd heard those strangled words uttered by both sister and brother.  "But we know not for how long.. already he slips away."

Yes...he was very angry because there was nothing they could do but stand there and watch. He was seething and at least what he did released some of it...harming none but himself if it did. His breathing took on that patter of slow intakes and releases until he got control of his anger again.

"Aye and he will stay with us." She does not sound as certain of that as she would like to. Her chin quivers as she brings Alisdair's cold hand to rest upon her stomach, as though the life felt within her might instill new life within her father.

It was good he was staring out the window for had he seen the Sprite's actions it might of broken him down.

If only he could encourage them all, Neale felt so useless to bolster the hope of his siblings.  He, himself, felt drained.  His fingers curled into his palm, fisting at his side with the inability to strike out like Daniel.

He so wanted to believe Hannah, and yet death had clearly cast itself onto his fathers features, draining it of color and life.  Patrick was unable to look at the pale visage of their father and turned away.

His brows twitched into a deeper frown, and he pulled his gaze from Hannah's actions to stare at the door where the healer had departed.  "There is no turning back, only looking ahead."  Still he made no eye contact with either of his brothers or his sister.  "From this point, we shall take it one hour at a time, day at a time...until he is either back with us, or rejoining our mother and Leora." His voice caught, cracked...but he cleared the emotion away as, only then, did he look to the others in the room with him.

"Oh, da." Whispering softly this time, her breath hitches again, fighting to keep tears at bay and Neale's words only make it that much harder.

He swallowed hard as a hand ran over his face....he heard Neale's words but he didn't look back over there yet he couldn't.

"Whatever must be done."  He felt his throat close over the words, strangling them from his lips as he found the courage to turn and look Neale directly in the eye, shattered green's clear save for the film of tears there. "For however long it must be done."

Perhaps the old man has heard his eldest and youngest sons for at that very moment his eyes open. They are wild and unfocused. His hand draws from Hannah's belly to slap helplessly upon the bed.

For the time their gazes locked, Neale attempted to bridge the gap between them.  It was only their father's sudden actions which snatched his silent communication away.  " for the healer!"  Neale reached out, capturing that floundering hand between the both of his and holding tight. "Father..."  His voice is stern...belying his fear with the man's response to waking.

He was around and rushing towards the door, reached and near torn off its hinges as he called for the healer in a good yell. Then just as fast he was around and to his father's side with the rest of them...the color heightened in his cheeks.

"Da!  Her voice cracks with her surprised cry, grabbing for that hand again, squeezing it to let him know that she's there. "Da, we're here."

He felt planted into place, as if he'd taken root right there in that half bent position.

Neale slid his hold away, allowing Hannah's contact to sooth their father.  A step back had his spine to the wall.

It seems an eternity before the man's eyes come to rest on any one thing. They shift from one face to another. Fearful and lacking in any recognition.

"He doesn't seem to know us." How hard was it to say those words, while looking over his father's pale features.  Hands made themselves into fists as he straightened, shaking his head.

His breath rattles in his lungs, shallow and difficult. It is obvious the man is suddenly not getting enough air. Defiant to the last, his sea green eyes become clearer, though, and come to rest on his children one at a time, from youngest to oldest, and on Neale they remain. His brow knits, his  expression twisted as one side of his face seems to droop but also very earnest.

In his thirty-one years, Neale had faced many challenges, tests that created the man that stood in this room.  But as his gaze met that of his father's, the man who used the wall for support nearly lost this battle.  Nearly...but that chin lifted and he pushed up from his lean.  "Ever at your side, Father."  And so it had been since he was a youth; Alisdair showing him how to wrap the plaid, how to ride, how to swing his blade.  Ever, the youth had been at his Father's side...and so it was even this night.

Weakly he tugs at the hand held so tightly by Hannah. When she's released it, it flops uselessly at his side for a moment and then with another of those rasping breaths, the elderly Frasier uses what strength and control he has to lift his arm and fling it in Neale's direction. He looks like a ragdoll, helpless but determined. His mouth opens and closes several times, attempting to speak.

It was a struggle between his father's mind and his father's failing body.  Emotions were held only in check by will power as he swallowed that lump in his throat.

 fisted hand tucked behind his back and he bent toward his father, closer ... searching his eyes for the words that his voice may not be able to utter.

Enters the room as calmly and quietly as she left. A wise and talented woman, she can see what is happening, the attempt at communication. It is obvious to her upon listening to his breathing that nothing can be done for him. Remaining near the head of the bed but out of  the way, she gives the four siblings a slight shake of her head, communicating silently that the man does not have much time left.

He was on edge as he stood off to Neale's right...he was always the one in his brother's help him as needed. Hands fisted and released repeatedly as he waited.


Date: 02-05-02
Poster: Hannah Frasier
Post # 5

Neale would not accept that, the brief notice of the woman and her silent verdict dismissed as he willed his father to speak.  To pull through.  With Neale's desire alone the man should pull through, add to that three more Frasier wills...and even St Peter would have to submit to their demands.  Such was how it should be...did it work that way.

He stood next to Sprite, unable to remove his gaze from the movement of his father's lips as they tried in vain to give air to words yet to be uttered by even a whisper.

With his next exhale comes a hoarse and unclear sound. Another breath, another exhale and then this. "" It's all he can get out at that moment, his lungs seem filled with more and more fluid as the minutes pass.

Ears strained to hear...over the drum in them along with his siblings as he had drawn instinctively closer...down to his knees at the side of his father's of them would hear.

Greens narrowed, twitched as he attempted to finish his father's demand with his own thoughts.

Wide eyes look up at Patrick, her hand reaching up to clutch at his arm, needing that physical support before she can continue to watch her father try so desperately to communicate.

Fingers were laid over hers, the warmth of a calloused palm transferred as much comfort as he could given the short squeeze.

His eyes flash with a familiar fury, angry with his own inability to communicate. That hand, resting helpless across his stomach a moment before comes to life and grasps hold of Neale's arm. His grip is fierce, tight, painful. His eyes are wild again but this time it is a wild desperation. Those eyes lock upon Daniel, Patrick, then Hannah, begging them to understand. Then again on Neale. His grip does not loosen. His breath rattles and a fierce whisper leaves his throat.  "Remember!"

His hand did slide to Hannah's shoulder as they all listened so very closely.

Neale grit his teeth to the strength of his father's hold, following the path of his father's regard until it returned to him...and then...that one word.  The word which seemed to vibrate through his body, tightening his skin and prickling every hair on his body to attention.  His eyes closed tight, his own breathing halting, his lungs aching with the need to release the pressure building in them.  When he opened his eyes again, they locked with his fathers', and he nodded slowly.  What was this that coursed through his blood.  "Help me, me to remember." His words came strained...he could barely force them from his throat.

He wanted to much to shout, to vent his frustration.  What was their fathering ordering them to remember - what could have been so important?!

His hand drops again, his frustration mounting, making his breathing that much more difficult. The healer steps forward but the look he shoots her tells her that if she interferes now, it will mean her life. His hand grasps Neale's arm again, with far less strength but just as much determination. "Rem...ember. Story...remember!"

He was too his feet letting Neale have more room to hear....but his hand remained on his sister's shoulder with a slight tightening of that grip.

Story? He tore his gaze from their father to search out each face...and only when he rested that gaze on Hannah did his own eyes widen.  His attention snapped to his father's features and one single nod was offered to him.  A story told to a young Neale, by his father.   A tale of deceit, a tale of undying love.  A tale involving a witch and a curse.  A tale Neale, as a lad, found rather amusing for the serious tone his father had adopted in the telling...he no longer found it amusing.  "The curse?"  But he was nodding, not needing  his father's acknowledgement.  His hand lifted to cover
his father's and he tightened his grip against the cool, thin skin.

"Story?.."  Barely gone were the words from his mouth when Frasier greens were ripped form his fathers face and zeroed in on Neale.  "Curse..."

Yes! Yes! His grip tightens and relaxes but his eyes are no less earnest. He fights for breath now but it is a weak fight. His body lacks the strength to move much at all.

Brows drew and knotted together in a curl as he tried to recall that story told.

Story? Curse? Puzzled she looks from one brother to the next.

None would have been told but Neale  before this night...he was the eldest, he was the one to know.  And that story was thought to be, just that, a story of intrigue to amuse a lad given to many thoughts of adventure. But the memory of every word remained, he could almost hear his father speaking the words.  He had so many many...but his father's complexion continued to pale.  No! He would not slip from them this way! Neale would not allow it!  As if holding on tighter would keep their father from the Grim Reaper's tug, his fingers clutched tight.

"I don't...cant recall that one..."  They had all been told stories but none fitted any witch and a curse.

To Neale, it seemed, this was the only story he ever remembered hearing.  Alone in his bed, his father seated beside him on the mattress... fingering... fingering some piece of jewelry as he spoke. Yes, he did remember...but what was he to do with this memory?  "It is there, Father...but what?"  And why did Neale feel the frantic need to pull Hannah close, protect her at this moment?

His other hand came to rest on Neale's on Hannah's and now his...the was a defeated look to gain his features as he watched on in that numbing silence now.

His breath grows even more shallow, his eyes begin to drift closed. He has not the strength to fight anymore, he has used the last of it for those two simple words.

Lochlan had been told by the guards what was going on as he nodded and was soon in the room, the door opened and shut so quietly, it had not disturbed the group at all.

Frustrated with his mortal limitations, watching his father weaken and fade, Neale lowered the older man's hand to rest by his side on the bed. His eyes closed against the numbers - twenty, ten and one.  "Rest, Father.  Rest now."  His hand lifted to pat against Daniel's, then he took a step back, drawing in a breath to steady the pounding ache of his heart.  "There are many questions...would you allow me some time?"  The question asked, the pleading greens paused on each of them in turn.

Patrick stood stock still, unable to comprehend just how quickly his father was fading from his eyes. What had Neale said?  Rest?  No!!  His mind cried out even as they turned frantic onto the Sprite's husband.

"Aye." Whispered as she watches their father.

He nodded numbly...knowing Neale would have a lot of sorting out as they all would.

"Fam..ily."  Croaked from that hoarse throat as with another  shallow, rattling breath, the old man's eyes close...and his breathing ceases completely.

When he was noted he gave them a nod as he came closer in case Hannah needed him. He could tell that Alisdair was near death's door and it did have him choked up too. He had come to like and respect the man he called father.

Brows pulled tight with that last word, hands fisting so tight at his side that the blunt nails dug into the fleshy palms.  He bowed low to his father in a final show of respect and love, one fisted hand to his chest. There was no swallowing now, the knot which formed prevented such.  He just sucked in a breath, stood and turned from them all, walking to look out the window, his back presented.  Hannah had Lan...Patrick - Daniel...he would seek his solitude as it could be gained for now in his focusing on nothing...nothing but the snow which drifted through the dark sky.

His eyes watered as his vision swam before him as he followed suit of his brother respect due their father.

"Da, no!" No amount of self-control can keep her tears at bay anymore.

Sprite's out burst felled the last of his will, snapping beneath him as he walked forward in a haze.  Before the foot of their father's deathbed he bowed low with fisted hand over his chest. "Peace to you Da..."

The white flakes to help him....remember.

She appears grief-stricken herself and whispers the necessary:: He is gone. ::And quickly departs to leave the children alone.

He already broke his hand...hitting the wall would not do it any better as he was sucking in long breaths before tears slid...but to no avail.. for they did.

Leaning forward her head rests on Alisdair's chest as the tears fall.

He had moved up behind Hannah as those strong hands came to rest on her shoulders, she would know them.

Know them, she does. Turning quickly she buries face against Lan, shedding her tears there.

The captain of The Fury, ever braced and steadfast, no longer appeared so as he rested his forehead to the wooden frame of the window, his eyes closing in a silent prayer for a safe journey to be reunited with the two women he loved...and who waited for him on the other side.

He drew her up into the loving strength of his arms, letting her bury her tears into his chest. Vibrant blues did search over the brothers to see how they were taking this... then finally rested on Alisdair as he gave him a warriors respect with a touch of his fingers to his brow and it was obvious he hand passed on to the next life.

His tears had been held fast and now fell silent.  He couldn't look on his father's features, now without even a thread of life in them.  Rather, he turned and faced the door, shoulders drawn taunt.

Drawing in a breath for strength, he lifted his head and started toward the door. "I'll speak with Ellyn."

"Ellyn?" He'd been far reaching from the loop and only now started to clear the fog from his mind.

His steps slowed, nearly pausing as he looked to Patrick with a slow nod. "Aye, Patrick...Leora's Ellyn."

He wanted to stagger, but managed to nod and remain in place with Neale's words.

With a deep breath, she manages to stop her tears. "She can stay with us, can't she?"  The question to Lan. She's in no condition to run after a toddler but wants the responsibility just the same.

"Of course she can." He didn't mind either that his chest was now soaked in her tears.

She nods, looking to Neale for approval of that idea. After Ellyn was Neale's ward!

"She can visit with you..." Even the oblivious Neale knew that Hannah could not, should not, be darting after a toddler.  "She has a nanny..."  That fact had yet to sink in...he was, at the moment, just being Neale.

"Aye..." She might argue that another day but for now she only nods, using Lan to help pull herself to her feet.

"I think we should see about the proper arrangements here...have Father buried in the lands he chose to build the manor...make an area. And see to building that manor house still."

"Allow me a moment to speak with the lass though." And to deal with the striking resemblance of their sister at that age that would greet him.

She nods mutely, looking as numb as she feels.

"He would want to be buried near."  They were going to bury their father. The situation seemed surreal and his words felt hollow and numb to his own ears.

He managed a smile for Daniel...knowing that the details would help ease the pain.  "Aye, Daniel...I agree that's what he'd like...all in time..."

Hannah had all but fainted in his arms as he finally spoke up to the others. "I am so very sorry, but I need to see Hannah back and the rest she needs." It wasn't a question as he took her limp form up into his arms and headed out with her. He'd talk to the brothers tomorrow.

He only nodded to Lan, trusting him to see to Hannah.

If he looked at Sprite, it would start all over again. He was only just now able to function with the thought of burying their father, let alone that he had a niece.

He watched Lan take Hannah out as he looked to his brother for confirmation...this needed to be done next.


Date: 02-08-02
Poster: Daniel Frasier
Post # 6

Danny was one of the emotional kind or at least was outwardly once. He was one that as a child cried the whole day over a litter of kittens they found wrapped up in a bag and drowned in the lake. The other children laughing at him calling him names and 'cry baby' as he took the time to bury each one with tears streaming down his young face. He was one as a youth who wore his heart on his sleeve and fell in and out of love with the pretty lasses about. His heart trampled so many times he wasn't even sure there was anything left now that he was a man. He was still that passionate emotional child shielded now in the fortress of the man he became. Unreachable to any save his family...very few knew him at all. Second born left him struggling...always in his brother Neale's shadow....always one shy for the others to come to in real need. He, however, had not grown to resent his status in their family....given his nature...only to love them the best he could and was allowed. He realized in maturing that every position was important, be it the one in charge or the one that helped even in small ways....all were needed. There was a pride in becoming his brother's right hand and he did it well....he knew his brother Neale was one of the best of men.

He was lucky he hadn't actually broken his hand but he did bruise it up well when he slammed it into the wall in the release of his anger. It had been the only outward sign of the fury against life's injustices he had shown. Those turbulent emotions restrained within that fortress once more. That night their father died would be forever printed on his mind....he had one of those acute kinds...a blessing and a curse at the same time. His diversion, and a way of acceptance, was to see to the burial...something he could do as Neale had his hands full with tons of family paperwork and matters left for him to sift through. He had an elaborate casket made of red oak trimmed in gold...their family crest etched into the rich wood of the top. Alisdair was dressed in the family tartan and colors at his finest, a cross of silver held within stiffen fingers. Laid out in the Ballicastle chapel now for family and friends to pay their last respects. Flowers had been scarce but he found a place where he was able to get some lending that new life's scent over that of death. Death was a he had been taught. Multitude of candles had been lit and incense burned in their holders....the sight lending tranquility and of peaceful rest.

But would peace be theirs for the Frasier family? It was becoming questionable as an inkling of some strange ethereal occurrences were already transpiring. Last night at the Thistle had him wondering on his own sanity as something unseen was playing with his senses. A glass all but knocked out of his hand then feeling he had been touched by unseen hands in a way that left him very worried. Later he found that Neale had been experiencing some of the least a woman who seemed to appear out of nowhere and gone in a like manner. The name of Octavia at least was gleamed in the process with some link to their family. Something was amiss and he now took up the task with Neale and Hannah to sort through tons of paperwork stored in crates of their father's to find more clues. It also became apparent most of it might well be locked in Neale's head for a child's story once told to only him. The feelings of foreboding had only intensified for Danny...which had been shadowing him for a few days.

They had been given land in Ballicastle, awaiting the building of their manor and so it was here he picked out what would become a grassy knoll dotted with flowers in the spring. It overlooked a peaceful valley with a stream, mountains as a of nature's scenes at its finest. The family graveyard, as now it would be established, could be seen from the northern windows of the manor once it was built and laid within a short walking distance....not too far...and not too close. The ground had been broken and within two days time...their father would be laid to rest here...where they could all pay him to him when needed...still bring their concerns in a comfort feeling part of him was still here with them. He left word with all of them of that which he had accomplished and a request to Hannah that she pick out the one to bless the upcoming give the last rights in ritual.


Date: 02-11-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 7

Stuck on a Succubus

She had gone back to report to Octavia on all that had transpired including the fact now that the Frasiers had found the deed to the old homestead that could lead them back to her. How Octavia took his information Hazel would never know for the woman remained completely expressionless even if thoughtful. For once Octavia seemed pleased with her 'work' for she gave her a new assignment - to possess the Frasier man named Daniel. Hazel suspected she wanted to keep Neale for herself although she was allowed to torture the others in whatever devious ways she could. Simply, they were to be driven insane or at least kept confused enough her own plans would work. If Hazel was successful she might finally pay her debt off to Octavia if she could indeed make Daniel hers.

He was slouched out in one of those overstuffed chairs....the lack of sleep was catching up and taking its toll with the quiet atmosphere. The flames licking against the burning logs had that lulling crackle to them that found his eyelids getting heavier and heavier....sleep beckoning as limbs grew heavier too with the droop of his lids.

She floated in through the kitchen window pass the lone cook so immersed in her work, she would not have noticed her even if she could be seen. There was a peaceful serenity here that had Hazel frowning as she came through the wall and rested that fathomless dark gaze on the near sleeping Daniel.... perfect!

He was slowly drifting to that plateau between consciousness and the sleep he was finding some peace even if his senses were still in tuned to his surroundings to a degree. So much weighed heavily on him in being able to help his himself with them.

She drifted across the room to hover there in front of this Frasier male... the devil he was handsome and in now looking him over thoroughly she realized how much he resembled his ancestor that she had fallen in love with. That same dark hair that curled just so and the strength of his jawline sent an ethereal shiver through her being. She was going to enjoy this even more... a poetic justice of sorts. She realized she wanted this one now. His state of consciousness was perfect for seduction and she was going to go about this quite differently than she had so far to just drive the males into a state of questioning their sanity. She came around to lean down along the arm of the chair as one hand rested upon his chest... words of seduction whispered to his ear came without sound but by enticement within his own mind.. calling to him.. beckoning him to the pleasure she would bring.

He stirred as whispered words ran through his body like had been a long time since he had been with a woman and he thought it was Juliet...he responded. Luckily there wasn't anyone around to see just how he responded for it would have become obvious as he murmured something incoherent that was similar to words of endearment.

She felt the response to someone familiar and it brought a narrowing of her eyes... no matter, for she would in the end have her desire and her name on his lips once she got him to that state where he belonged to her. The surroundings were dangerous enough in a public area as words of his room were brought into his sleepy mind... to take her there and now.

"Yes...sleep" Was about all that was huskily spoken as he slowly lifted from his seat and stood...wavering a moment before he found his balance. His eyes were glazed over even if he seemed to be awake...but something hinted that he wasn't really. Steps faltered before steadied and he headed for the hall and his room. The door was unlocked as he fumbled with the knob and all but fell into the room once it gave way.

She followed right with him almost attached to his side and once in his room by his allowance she laid claim to it now. She could not have ventured into his personal space until invited. The door slamming shut as she gave it an ethereal gust of a push and the latch locked for how hard it closed. She was about to make Danny... hers.

He all but collapsed into his bed....almost falling asleep at this point as those words of seduction called to him again and he was responding. Even the slam of the door wasn't heard for that which was filtering and filling his mind.

Hands moved in a caress over him as lips so close to his ear spoke those endearments.. laced in enticement and seduction. Calling to him with her name being exchanged for this long forgotten love of his she seemed to have drawn upon a memory of.

A stir had some part of his mind....his he struggled for consciousness now. Something was wrong.... wasn't it? Or was it...he was no longer sure. Words of the previous evening filtered through his thoughts...Ros or Jene saying...once their purpose was fulfilled they would go. He was realizing who it was now...and it wasn't Juliet. He had to admit...he wanted what she spoke of and it had his body on fire at this point.....near the point of no turning back.

The quality of her voice changed.. sweet murmured endearing words now like she once whispered in his great great great whatever relation's ear so the words came naturally and with that certain quality of truth that would not be denied.

The words of hers rang true and so he followed in their allurement....he was single and alone and had he a love to cling to he might have been saved from the seduction. Such was not the case and so he let her do what she whispered in promises in his ear and was taken to a physical piece of heaven in the process.

She did everything and more of those promises but in the process little did the handsome Daniel know.. she took a hold like no mortal could. It was still fragile at best but in time it would become stronger until he was completely hers... body and soul. For now her influence would only be when she was around him and how strong he was still against it. Once all was done she left him lying there, finally asleep in an exhausted sated state and she back to Octavia to let her know her progress.



Date: 02-12-02
Poster: Hannah Frasier
Post # 8

Take Heed

     "Ta' hee', ta' hee' . . . " Ellyn sang this softly over and over to herself as she sat on the floor of her uncle's cabin, playing with her dolls while he poured over piles of papers. From time to time, she looked up, cocking her head to the side as though listening to someone speak. Then she would return to play, always singing that same thing.
     Neale was a virtual stranger to the toddler but so like her Granddad that she had taken to him immediately. She seemed excited to be aboard his ship, pointing and exclaiming in broken little girl's speech over the things she saw, her small arms wound tight around her uncle's neck.
She seemed to be fine. Happy to romp about the deck and watch the waves slap at the ship's sides, to sit and play quietly with her toys as she did now.
     "Son firs' born...ta' hee'..."
     Now she looked up, sea green eyes fastened on her uncle, her head tilted to the side. Her lips moved, reciting words whispered in her ear by an unseen presence.
     "Sco' ten an' one, da witch sha' come . . ."
     A short pause.
     "Son firs' born sha' be fo' warn'"

     He seemed not to notice.
"The wome' all to death sha' fa' . . ."
     Another pause as she appeared to listen.
     "A trinke's cham da curse disarm . . . ta' hee', ta' hee' . . ."
     Ellyn shook her head at the unseen presence and went back to her dolls.
     But as she played, she sang those same words again and again until the verse fell unconsciously from her throat and her voice took on a strange, adult quality, louder, stronger.

"A score ten one
The witch shall come
The son first born
Shall be forewarned
The women all
To death shall fall
A trinket's charm
The curse disarm
Take heed.
Take heed.
Take heed."

     And as if nothing had happened, she returned to her play and her soft singing except to say very simply. "Unca' Neale, I thirstee."


Date: 02-14-02
Poster: Neale Frasier
Post # 9

There is nothing as splendid as a young child's inspired enthusiasm.  The morning had passed with Ellyn's squeals of delight each time Neale introduced her to something new aboard Flames Fury.  The thrill of discovery - for both of them.  He owed the Lady McAndrews a rather large ‘thank you' for her advice where his niece was concerned.  Lately, thanking Ros McAndrews had become a constant.

The afternoon found Neale seated at his desk, smiling as Ellyn's softly murmured melody drifted in the back of his mind while he worked.  Even the broken bits and pieces of two-year-old articulation formed into comprehendible phrases...but with the monotonous calm of that hushed voice and the concentration attempted for the work before him, Neale just heard ... didn't listen.

It was when Ellyn asked for water and Neale lifted his attention from the papers to acknowledge her that it all seemed to sink in - those words and the fact that a woman had spoken where his young niece now sat. 

"What did you say, Ellyn?" It took Neale a moment to clear the assault of her previously whispered words coming full force in a whoosh of memory before he stood from his chair and crossed over to her, squatting there by her side closer to her eye level.  "Were you singing before?"

The toddler just held out the floppy doll of cloth, twisting her side to side in a dance of swinging arms and legs.  "Ellyn sing."

"Aye, Ellyn.  What were those words again?  Can you sing it again for me?"  Even as he asked her to repeat the words, the entire verse seeped into his memory ... along with the image of his father, vivid as the day the man had sat along side him and first recounted the tale of a vindictive witch, a cursed Duke and a bold young woman who would fight to save her future family. 

"A score ten and one...the witch shall come."  He spoke the first line in nearly a whisper, Ellyn's head bobbing in agreement with her uncle.  Neale scooped her up and shot to his feet, swinging her around once in that cabin and pressed a kiss to her check.  Those the exact numbers which had plagued him these past days.   "You shall sing for me always, Ellyn...such a lovely voice."   The young lass held tight in his arms, he jerked the door open and bellowed down the corridor.  "Garrett!"  He knew the man would follow so Neale didn't even bother to wait.  He smiled down to his young niece as he carried her above.

"Shall we go find your Uncle Danny, Lass and share your song with him?"


Date: 02-14-02
Poster: Neale Frasier
Post # 10


      Family they were.
      They buried their father on a bright, clear morning.
      The sun shone down upon them, creating a glare against the pure white snow.
      Behind the priest, bagpipes played Scotland the Brave. Soft, slow and melancholy.
      Around the casket stood the five grown children surviving the Duke Alisdair Frasier, all dressed in their finest, their heads bowed in prayer.
      Behind them, friends mourned and displayed their love and support for the grieving family.
      Neale Moncreiffe Frasier, the eldest at thirty-one and the new Duke of Falkirk wore his philamohr, the great kilt. Head of his family now, he stood tall and proud under the weight of his new burden.
      There were no sobs, no sounds from the five as their father was lowered into the ground. Not a word spoken, no looks exchanged.
      They had no need, each knew what the others felt.
      Snow crunched under foot as Neale stepped forward to sprinkle soil atop the coffin. The act was repeated by Daniel, Patrick, Robert and then Hannah, with her husband Lochlan Kearney at her side.
     Not one of them shed a tear until the last guest had departed the small and somber reception held in the late Duke's honor.
      It wasn't until they had been left alone, Neale, Daniel, Patrick, Robert, Hannah and Lochlan, that any of them broke down and allowed their grief to show.
      When they could be together. To support, to console.
      For family they would always be.


Date: 02-14-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 11

The Encounter

Daniel was pacing in front of the hearth...concern marking his a glass of cognac...untouched....was gripped in his hand.

Neale had checked in with Ellyn and her nanny, then made for the Thistle.  He needed a walk around, some time to think - space outside of the cabin and those crates of information.  The pressure of his shoulder helped to open the door and he stepped within, already shrugging free of the heavy cloak to hang there by the door. Of course, he hadn't missed Daniel, and as he hung the weight of woolen garment to the peg, he spoke.  "Afternoon, Daniel..."

His pacing ceased with the sound of the door as Frasier greens were trained least it was someone human. He came around from the hearth to see just who it was and his expression immediately changed seeing it was his brother. "Neale...good. Any new news?" What was foremost on his mind did come out quickly.

Then he turned, starting toward him. "A score ten and one, the witch shall come.  The son first born will be forewarned.  The women all to death shall fall.  A trinket's charm the curse disarm."  Recited exactly as it had been told to him.  "Care to hear a story?" He came to one of the tables and jerked a chair around, straddling it as he lowered to the hard wooden seat.

That had those dark brows drawing upwards as Neale's response was more in a prose. "Certainly....the first set of numbers...are the same we talked about before..." More a statement than a question.

"The exact ones...Octavia...thirty-one, brother age of reckoning."

Hazelnut moved floating through the wall from the kitchen.. seemed her choice for entering as she hovered there by the bar listening. Her first priority was to gain information.

Arms crossed over the back of the chair and Neale dipped his chin to rest on them.  "Seems a father's tale is more than just a story to see a young lad to sleep."

"So it deals with you as that is your age. Do you remember the rest of the song....story?"

"Ellyn reminded me." A smile tugged with genuine pleasure for one of the first times since their father passed and the strange happenings had begun. "Aye...I'm remembering it."

"So it would seem, a warning in case it was needed given through song that could be written off as such if questioned..." He was mussing this over while he waited.

Eyes narrowed as she watched the two... this was important information so she waited. Unseen and keeping her presence veiled. Octavia might not be happy with this breakthrough on their part.. or maybe she would. Still, the information would have her favor upon her again.

Neale just found it odd that little Ellyn would know it...that he shook away to the back of his mind for now.  "Yes, it seems.  Still and the same, since the first two warnings have come into play, we must consider the remainder...and the story of the curse."

It gradually dawned on him that....part...Ellyn reminding him. "A two year old reminded" He found that rather odd as the child speech was that disjointed stage. "What is the rest of the story then?"

"Ellyn was playing with her doll..." But he left it at that, not sharing the fact that at one point, the toddler's speech was that of a woman and perfectly understandable.  "This is how I remember it..." And Neale sat up, fingers tapping lightly to his arm as he laid the story out as Alisdair Frasier had him more than twenty years prior.

He took down that good shot of cognac before setting the glass to slid to the mantel as he listened....taking up a slight lean as brows came to curl near the bridge of his nose in full concentration.

"So Octavia has returned, Daniel...and sought out the next Frasier's eldest...and with my rejection of her yet again in this century, the curse, I fear, has once again been unleashed."

She was itching to try out her control over Danny but she stayed away from them for now, gathering all this information up.. but it didn't stop her from sizing him up knowing well his form beneath his clothing. Depthless eyes turned on Neale then letting her imagination wander to how he would look... declothed. Such did bring a wicked little smile.

"What exactly is the curse? Of course we need to dispel it....if at all possible..." A hand rose to rub over his chin in thought...was it just they would be plagued by these apparitions?

Neale had no clue as to the cause of the apparitions...that had not been related in the story to him or in the verse of the curse.  "It seems a curse on all those in the Frasier line that ..." His eyes went wide and he jumped up from the chair, swinging his leg around and toppling the wooden seat with the action. "Hannah!"  His mother, his sister...and now...Hannah! "The women all to death shall fall...Daniel!" His hand went out as if to calm Daniel when it was himself that needed that order to take a moment and think.  "We can't worry Hannah with this..." Neale's gut was cramped tight with fear for his sister's safety.  His little intricate part of this witch's game of death.

That sent him to pale as he felt like he was hearing Neale from some far off place....unreal.... "You think...that is why our mother and sister died in childbirth? No....we cannot tell Hannah that part...not yet. We need to find a way to stop it. Do you think a trip to the original manor home would aid in this? Why didn't Leora survive her first child when mother had a few before Hannah?"

"Was it not the witch's claim? But why had Mother survived the first of us...and not Hannah?" He started to pace, passing back and forth behind that overturned chair. His head dipped and he rubbed his fingers to his temples. He stopped in midstep, looking to Daniel. "I wouldn't do any more harm."  That question from Daniel had him starting to pace again.  "Exactly...there must be something we're missing, Daniel.  Some way to foil the witch and her curse."  He bent as he returned to that chair and lifted it aright.  " what we need to find out for Hannah." That some unseen force toyed with Daniel mostly, and Neale at intervals, was a minimal concern once Hannah was added into the equation.

Real fear settled in....he didn't care about his own brush with that ethereal woman...but would not be allowed. "Take each line of that song you remember....see if there are any more clues hidden in it."

A finger wagged toward Daniel as he listened to Ellyn's soft voice in his mind reciting the rhyme.

Eyes narrowed again.. they were getting too close to finding out too much. These males were smart.. not something they expected, most males weren't. If Octavia wanted them to find out, she would be displeased but if she didn't then she would be pleased for Hazel's next actions in distraction. She floated on over to Daniel as she now clung to his side. One hand up over his shoulder while the other rested on his chest. Words of seduction whispered as she started to fill his mind with her own thoughts. Whispered thoughts within Dan's mind. *Tell him he is crazy listening to a child's song.*

Frasier greens darkened and became slightly glazed over...if one was close enough to notice. "Your crazy Neale!! This is balderdash... stupidity... listening to a child's song." His voice sounding just off....and a bit strange in its tone.

Neale frowned with Daniel's outburst. "Yes, Daniel, but had it not matched that story that Father told me...had those numbers just as she spoke them not already been in my head..."  While he spoke, that frown remained. "...this is not just a child's song, Daniel...this is the information we've been searching for." Surely he knew this!

Fingers seemed to elongate as they splayed over Dan's chest.. caressing as those soothing words were still whispered in his ear.. and promises of pleasure for later to fill his mind. *Tell him, it doesn't match that.. he has gone insane and the whole idea of all of this is just insanity.. witches.. curses.. he is just grieved with his father's death and reverting back to his childhood.*

"Witches....curses...children's songs and stories to amuse them. It is a grieving mind that speaks to believe in them...reverting back to when you were a child Neale....when father was alive and such moments memorable."

*Tell him he is seeing things.* At that point she did manifest so Neale could see her hanging on Danny... wicked little smile and all.

Neale never had a childhood, from since he could remember, he had been trained to take the responsibility that his father's death had placed upon his shoulders.  When of an age to be his own man, he had taken off to sea...never was he afforded the chance to be a child.  Greens narrowed on Daniel, with frustrated anger at first, then in consideration.  He nodded slowly to him.  "Be that as it may, Daniel, we shall still take that trip to the keep." He said no more, his teeth ground against each other and he glared at the apparition it all made sense.

"Your just seeing is all in your mind." His head was starting to hurt being filled so much and his words pulled and strained as if he was hearing someone else....other than his own voice.

"Yes...I am seeing things, Daniel."  His voice lowered and he took a step toward his brother, but more so toward that vision which clung to his brother.  "You can tell your mistress that her time draws near...tell her...she will no longer possess the Frasiers.  In this life...she will fail." As he spoke, he leaned closer to the misty vision until that last word was growled out close enough to have his own body melding with hers.

A hand slid down as she would prove a point. Lifting Dan's hand to slide up his chest, working his fingers to undo his shirt. It slowly opened down to where it was tucked into his britches as it seemed to move aside on its own as her fingers expanded over the bareness of his now exposed chest.

Daniel's movements had Neale stepping back, looking from the pale woman to his brother.

*He is mine now, so much for your threat, Neale* Echoed in his mind along with more. *And she will have you soon too, you are doomed.. as is that little wretch of a sister of yours.* Lips touched to Dan's cheek before that depthless gaze was back on Neale. *I think I will keep him for all eternity.*

He was powerless to intervene, unable to protect his brother from the threat...or from the touch of this spirit.  "You...shall...Not!" With that, he dove at his brother, catching him around the chest and knocking the both of them over tables and chairs, rolling away from the lovely yet wicked servant of the witch.

There was a low growl as his head nearly exploded in rebellion....trying to tear away from the hold this one seemed to be getting on him. "Be gone devil's spawn." Next he knew it was something in suction then released as he went flying back over tables and chairs with Neale... the wind knocked out of him as he laid there stunned.

Neale was scrambling to his feet, jerking at Daniel's collar to have him back to his feet.

Next he knew that breath was being drawn in as he was hefted up by his brother....a his shirt was near off of him. "What happened?"

His hand shot out and a finger was jabbed toward where the woman had been.  "You shall not have any of us...ever again."

Such a pretty wicked little pout as her hold on Dan was taken from her... but that was only for now. Her grip was becoming stronger as she did prove the point she could influence his mind. A very long tongue hung out... unrealistically long before it slid back in with that sensual grin. *I will be back boys...* Her gaze resting on Neale with the slide of her tongue over sensual lips before she disappeared. She needed to get back to Octavia again.

Neale still clutched to Daniel's shirt, it hiked up about his ears, as he spoke low. His own voice was rough, hoarse, from the exertion and the raging anger and fear of not being able to protect those he loved. "Keep your wits, Daniel..." For seemed they both would as the woman faded from view...her words less than encouraging that their sanity would remain intact. He released his hold on Daniel with a shove.  That action without thinking, more so due to the inability to fight that which he had no control over. He turned to start correcting the damage done by his attempt to rescue his brother.

He was actually stuttering as he tried to right his shirt and get it closed back up. "I fee...feel ... fought a battle" The words slowly taking a grip in strength as the stuttering ceased. He had never stuttered in his life before.

"Daniel...I believe you have..." His eyes closed a moment, a deep breath taken to calm his nerves, then he flipped the table back to its legs.

"I would rather fight with a sword in my hand and against human than.....this!" There was a gesture with his hand to where that one was. "I don't know if this will help....but her name is Hazel....maybe knowing that will help?"

He nodded as the last of the chairs were righted.  "At least, to call her by name the next she dares show her face.  Hannah shall come with us to this keep, Daniel." He would not leave her here to deal with the likes of Hazel and Octavia on her own.  He knew that this Hazel was just a pawn in the game established by the witch...the power he had felt excluding from Octavia was far greater.  Though the threat was no less from this one able to take control of a man's mind.

He barely noticed the shove as he too helped to right that which became askew in the process of this making it look like it never happened. "If we take Hannah....Lan may insist on coming too....I know I would if I was in his position. Might help us too knowing she would be watched over if we need to do battle again." When all was righted...he had finally gotten hold of his own emotions. His head didn't hurt as much that Hazel was gone...just going into a dull ache that some cognac would cure. "I could use a few drinks and I think it is time to get through the rest of those crates for any more clues before we go. We will need to talk to Hannah and Lan but leave out about that part of the curse for now. I have a feeling time is of the essence to save our sister from the fate of this curse."

"I would expect nothing less from Lan."  That nod of agreement.  "Perhaps we should go speak with them now." He gave a last look around, just to assure himself that the woman was nowhere to be seen even now, then started toward the door to fetch his cloak.

"I think....right now is not soon enough!" He grabbed up his cloak and was heading out the door to make his way down to Ballicastle and Lan's smithy first.


Date: 02-19-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 12

"Though I'm not sure I would ..  or will.. have the energy to read after a full days work..  I'd forgotten how taxing it was to groom half a dozen of the beasts." Leaning back in the chair, she shifted  slightly and brought her legs up under her.

'There are stable lads....are you not mostly to make sure they have work?"

"I'm not sure.. Jon said to make us of the boys..  but I dont know if I'm to oversee them..  The stable master just assigned the horses to my care. I suppose I'm to use the boys iffn i run into a troublesome job.. or need a strong arm."

Feet lifted as ankles crossed....heels sinking into the cushion of the ottoman as he all but sunk in again. Looking very comfortable about now as he reached over and refreshed his glass with some more of the cognac.

His whistling can be heard before he even reaches the door.  Stepping inside, smiling eyes and a warm smile greet those within. Removing his cloak with a flourish he hangs it up near the door and makes his way into the warmth of the room. "Danny boy!" Bellowing his greeting he sweeps behind the bar in search of drink. "Who's this lovely lass you're speaking with?"

That had his attention jerked around as the bottle was set away again. Ankles uncrossed as he was up to his feet in a flash. "Robert!"

Feeling the breeze from the opened door, she half turned to look see who had joined them. Not recognizing the man, she turned back to the fire.

"Robert....this is Jena MacKenzie, she runs the stables at Ballicastle."

Reaching for her glass of brandy,  she  nearly knocked it over as Daniel jumped to his feet.. Turning once more towards the man, she offered a gentle smile. "Good evening, Sir"

In she floated almost on Robert's tail bone before an arm curled up around his leg as she floated with him until he stopped.

"Really now?" Sea green eyes look Jena over with a crooked grin. "I've a  stallion could use some looking after." A waggle of his brows at Danny as he finds what he seeks and works the cork free from his bottle of  whiskey. "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Jena.  Erk..." The sound is a little high-pitched coming from his throat. He nearly falls over backwards to move out of the way of......something.

Lifting a brow at his mentioning of his Stallion.. she ruefully shook her head. "Likewise,  Sir"

She shifted as seductive words flowed through his mind again.. calling to him in a wanton beckoning. The slant of depthless dark eyes did rest on Danny boy... she would get to him soon, she just needed to possess Rob now and that was so very close.

A dark brow inched as he watches his brother...unaware of him having the attention of Hazel yet. "Still trying to learn how to sing Rob?"

Rubbing the back of his neck he takes a good, long drink from that whiskey bottle. "Thought I saw a rat." His crooked grin is forced this time. He's obviously distracted. Anyone looking closely would see the
  sudden sheen of sweat on his upper lip. He takes another step back and another, rubbing his hand in circles against his chest. Torn between giving in and going up to his room and remaining where he is.

Suppressing an impish grin at the girlish squeal, she buried her amusement in her brandy.

She gave that pout pout look as she all but drank in Danny's form... slip sliding in a float she was soon circling him before a hand slid just so. Dan would know the touch..  moreso than Robert. But Rob would know this night and she will lay claim to him.

Both brows shot up as he faltered back...the ottoman hooked the edge of his boot and he was sitting before he knew it again. He shot a look to Rob then...see if he knew about...Hazel.

"Is it hot in here?" Wiping perspiration from his brow with the back of his hand. There's some relief at the sudden absence of feminine presence and hot whispers from his ear. He takes full advantage and crosses to where the other two sit, claiming a seat near Jena.

Flitting her glance between the men, her dark eyes questioning the strange actions of each.. perhaps they were.. possessed. Lifting her glass to Rob in a salute and welcome, she smiled. "You are a Frasier too??" Seemed almost as many of them as there were McA's.

An ethereal little wicked smile as she stared at one area watching the reaction then was off floating around Robert again. Up from behind as her head all but rested on his shoulder... whispering into his ear *tell her... her lips are like cherries*.

He appears to be ignorant of any knowledge of Hazel. "Aye, I --" Halting in the middle of his answer to say. "Your lips are like cherries."  His voice is lowered and slightly husky.

*choke cherries*... more words added after her first bidding. Then even more *Your teeth are like stars*

Blinking at his words, a rush of color rose to stain her cheeks. "Ahh..   ahh..  thank you.... I think.."

"And your teeth are like stars." Frasier greens are fixed on Jena but there's a distant and feverish quality to them. His smile, were it not so nervous, might be charming.

Casting a confused glance to Daniel,  she looked back to Rob. "Excuse me?"

"Nothing." Mumbled apologetically, looking away and tilting his bottle back for another drink. It would seem he needed it tonight.

*They come out at night* She was grinning an ever bigger wicked grin...

"They come out at night." As though struck by sudden inspiration. "I think I need rest." Standing so quickly he nearly falls over backward.

Instinctively reaching out to him, her hand lands on his arm. "Are you alright?"

He just blinked at his brother...if those were his charming abilities..well... he started laughing.

"I'm tired, haven't slept much. I apologize, lass." Bowing his head with a contrite smile.

Yes sleep...whispered in his ear, to your room now Robert dear...

Withdrawing her hand, she nodded and smiled. "Perhaps some rest will do you good then..."

Sleep, yes. Sounded better and better all the time. "I think so." Turning away he walks quickly toward the staircase and ascends them to hurry to his room.

"Rob, have you spoken to Neale yet?" He was becoming wary as the hair was starting to stand on the back of his neck with this elusive eerie feeling.

Surprised at the man's sudden departure, she once more lifted that glass of brandy for another sip.

Danny's question is answered only by the sound of his fading, hurried footsteps.

She was tempted to manifest to show Danny that she was going with his brother... he would know what would happen to him. Pout.. she held back that temptation so he didn't try and stop her like Neale had... Neale was going to be in for a surprise. How she loved to challenge that one until he begged her.

Turning her attention back to Daniel, she gave him a puzzled look. "Is he alright?? seemed kind of.. odd."

"I'm not sure" Words muttered as he was all but staring at his brother and the area around him...looking.

Seeing his obvious distraction, she asked him the same quesiton. "Are You alright??  You look like you've seen a ghost."

She all but laced onto his arm... as her words encouraged him to move faster for the pleasures he was about to experience.

"No, I don't see..." words unintelligible at this point as Rob disappeared down the Hall. He could only hope to hell Rob was only really tired.

A shiver crept involuntarily upon the slight frame.  Lucifer gave a snort and frosted air elapsed before the reins were tugged sharply and snow flew into the air at the abrupted stop.  Lilted murmurs coaxed and caressed his ear before she hopped from the saddle....tossing the reins over a post and the stairs were taken with haste for the cool air nipped at her heels and was chafing the already pinkened apples of her cheeks.

Taking up her glass once more,  she thought the goings on here were definitely odd  to say the least.

A hand soon was up running over his if trying to wake himself up more. "Must just be a full moon out or such Jena..." Did he manage to appease her?

The latch was lifted and the door eased her cloak was shrugged away and raven tresses were shaken eboned brow soon rising in question before a dimple stirred belatedly and she was at the bar in a trice.

Sitting the glass aside, she leaned forward, a concerned look in her eyes. "Come now Daniel.. I'm not that...   well something odd is definitely going on."

With skirt in hand she started down the stairs, followed then passed by an anxious and growing wolfhound pup. She dodged falling completely down the stairs. A soft humph as she doubled over the banister. A brief sigh as she  brushed her skirts down.

A smile grew swiftly and lips curled at either end as five in one rose to wiggle at Fiona. "Good Eve Fiona"

"Yes...why I await on Neale. To find out why..." So he didn't tell it all, it was not his place and Neale the head hauncho of the Frasier clan now.

"Well 'lo lass. welcome back.. 'ave ye been serv'd yet." She glared to Merlin as she watched  the conversation of Jena and Daniel. A slight rise and fall of her shoulders as she made her way to the bar.

"Nae I haven't..." And she was soon smiling. "I jus' arrived and wasn't quite certain what my pallet was in favor of Well in tha' case....brandy it is."

"Anything I can do to help you?" Of course she had to offer,... and it was even genuine.

She laughed softly, a sound that could cheer anyone except perhaps herself. "Well when ye figure i' ou' le' me ken.. aye? Warmed or no?" She wrapped the apron about her waist,  snuggly fitting over her plaid, proudly worn.

"Aye...warmed, if'n you please."

"I really don't know..." and that was honest. "I'm not sure if we can help ourselves yet. I do appreciate the offer and if there is something...then I'm sure we will. Evening to you Fiona..." Was called out enough to traveled the distance to her without really shouting. Frasier greens shifting to the lass he didn't know with a slight affable nod to her. "Evening lass..."

She smiled as she warmed the liquor and grabbed two snifters pouring them each an appropriate amount. "Well guid eve tae ye Daniel.." She smiled though he saw a look of concern was in her gaze. Neale was in an odd state the last she saw him. Why when Neale hardly touches a meal , that gave her cause to worry.

Turning at his greeting of Fiona,s he offered the girl a smile and a wave. "'Lo Fiona."

"'Lo  Jena are ye well.."


Date: 02-19-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 13

Silver hues slide with a discerning gaze to the fellow before dimples stirred contagiously and the woman glanced to the other woman...returning her smile before slated greys slanted back to the man. "Good Eve" Was the deepened tremor and she turned back to Fiona.

She turned to Daniel. "Is yer sister well?"

"Well enough..  Thanks" She replied before she nodded to the woman at the bar. "'Evening"

"Evenin' tae ye as well..." And she smiled again.

"T"There ye be lass. fergive me.. I donnae remember yer name. Ol' age leads ye tae a feeble min'.." She joked with blues smiling as she talked to the newest lass in the group.

A chuckle soon escaped and she grinned. "Tess..."

"Well welcome Tess once again"

"She is well....Lan takes good care of her..." Well he better or meet quite a few Frasier fists." She seems like she would be due soon." The look on his face all but said he  couldn't believe she was as big as she was and didn't just explode. A shift of that Frasier green gaze rested on Jacinta. "I am Daniel and this is Jena if you have not met her." It seemed she did know Fiona.

She leaned in and smiled as she whispered. "Keifer treat'd ye well aye?" She winked as she listened to Daniel. "Aye I am sure Lan does lovin' her like he does.. Tell her I wish her well when ye see her please.."

A throaty laugh did escape then. "Aye...tha' he did....tha' he did..the rogue."

"Aye guid.." She took a sip of that brandy as blues sparkled. "Wha' a horrid hostess I be no' introducin' ye."

Anyone with a keen ear.. might hear the thumps.. bumps, things in the night kind of things along with scrapings along the floorboards.. all coming from Robert's room.

The warm snifter was cradled briefly before she took a small sip and smiled. "It is quite alrigh' ken Keifer...he does well enough on his own."

He realized how lucky his brother in law Fiona mentioned he was in love as much as his sister. A smile actually started to spread...then withdrawn as the concern flooded over his sister.

Lifting her eyes to the ceiling, a throaty chuckle escaped at sounds from above. Speaking out loud yet to herself ... "~s~ seems he had a date.. waiting..  explained his rush."

Merlin's ears perked as a low growling ensued. Merlin sensed something he did not like. Something wrong. A loud barking as he ran up the stairs to sit at Roberts door. "Oh honestly.."

The sounds slowly dawned over his worried mind as he realized what was happening to his brother. He was up and running fast through the room down the hall and up the stairs...pounding on his brother's door. Rob had no date...he would have known. " up!!"

She shouted up the stairs. "Merlin!! Get down here now.." Her voice a sharp command.. followed by a sharp whistle. Merlin looked to Daniel with panic in the pups eyes. Pacing and  scratching and barking all at Roberts door all unrelenting. She shook her head as she looked up the stairs, with concern in her gaze.

Either brow rose then and a smile formed as she watched the dog scamper up the stairs.

Casting a glance from the running form of Daniel to Fiona, she stood and walked to the foot of the stairs, concern flooding her features.

She was purring in Rob's ear as the noises stopped now.. and the draw of Danny's voice now beckoning her. Her mind had been on him and so treated Robert as such in her... pleasing. She sent the feeling of pure fear to slide out that door and engulf the dog as she whispered in Rob's ear *maybe we should have Dan join us...*

She didn't want to intrude on a family matter, but the flash of panic in Daniel's eyes as he darted away had her shifting from foot to foot. Glancing over her shoulder to Fiona she asked. "Do you know what that was.. is  about ?"

There's a huge thump as he falls from the bed and the sound of shuffling and muffled sounds from just outside the door. "Coming!" He manages to shout....err, join them? That sent his mind whirling.

He yelped and ran down the stairs cowering behind his mistress.

Almost bowled over by the yelping pup, that made up her mind and she called out."Daniel!!"

Brows furrowed then at the dog's retreat concerned her...and a chill edged up her spine.

She looked behind her seeing the look of fear, not accustomed to it in her wolfhound. She walked up the stairs. Her shouts cutting through. "Is everythin' alrigh?"

"OPEN!!! Now...Robert" He was pounding on the door and finally gave it one heaving shove.. full body weight even the lock would not hold up against.

Hearing the crashing of the door, she followed Fiona up the stairs, barely a step behind her.

The door flung open to find his brother on the floor and him over to help get him up...even if not clothed.. naked as a jay bird.

And she was soon following after them..pausing at the threshold of the stairs...

Looking like his hand was caught in the cookie jar or rather, in the middle of trying to fasten his pants and tuck in his shirt, he falls back on the bed when Danny comes rushing in. "Oof!"

Whisper soft the creak of oaken door, and the minute frame of the pale undertaker slipped within.  The shouts and rattled nerves washed over her acute sense in a wave.  And she slipped within the tavern with a bit of a hike given  to a finely arched brow of raven.  Alas she offered but a gentle uplift of thin shoulders overlaid by crimson lace, she was in far too good a mood as was.  Full up, and well settled... even a hint of palest rose touched upon the tiny morticians frightfully pale visage.  Thusly she slipped towards the bar itself, and the promise of that fiery brew.

He barely shoved his brother onto the bed. "Get dressed..." Ordered before he shut the door from prying eyes.

"Perhaps....we should adjourn downstairs...ladies?"

She turned her gaze quick  as she saw a glimpse of Robert. "Aye tha' we shoul'"

She was pouting watching Daniel.. but on the same token amused. She would get Dan even better later ... she had all these plans.

Standing at the edge of the door,  she hastily stepped back to avoid the slamming door. Givng a look of amusement at Fiona's expression. "Aye.."

Not certain...quite what was going on..she did know it was a family affair and she soon crept back down the stairs.

"You didn't have to break down the door!" Grumbling as he pushes up from the bed to finish dressing.

She primly straightened her skirts as she tried to keep down the giggles that were about to come. Merlin instantly at her side as she moved behind the bar a few moments later.

Clumping down the stairs, she hesitates at the bottom to cast another questioning glance over her shoulder before returnign to her chair and brandy.

Now that they couldn't see, he was all but swinging his arms in an upward motion around the room...if they had seen him they would of thought him insane. "Alright Hazel....out with you.. get now." Even if he couldn't see her...he knew from his brothers actions and his body's state....she was here.

A brow rose and she glanced to Fiona with a smile. "Now now..."

Peeking around the high back of the chair, she winked at Fiona. "Got ya an eye full..  'eh?"

She looked to Tess as a chuckle escaped. "Tis nae funny ye tae.."

"Mmm....yer the one tha' saw...nae I...nae I"

She went quiet but she didn't move as she all but drank in Danny now with her gaze.. formulating plans again.

"Who? What? Have you flipped your lid, Danny?" Pausing in his attempt to dress himself to stare at his brother.

She choked back the others. "Aye bu' ye are encouragin' me tae laugh.." She turned her gaze to her dog still shuddering. "Buck up mutt.. ye will be well.." She ruffled his ears and soon his tail began to wag. "There ye be.. Tha' be curious.. tis a brave pup ye ken" Eh stood behind her and started to growl again. "Strange pup indeed.."

"'s jus' odd...::And she shivered again.

The pixies nose twitched some, and she inclined that lurid countenance.  The pale gaze of blue, laced with white - alas what was it her "Concience" told her... ah to not get involved, unless she was asked.  Thusly she sighed plucking a bottle of poteen from those assembled.  That ectoplasmic mouldy taint laced upon the air, only seemed to furrow her brow.  The icy gaze flickered wanely to the growling canid, her head inclined once more.

Little did Dan know that he was a little too late... as her claws were now into Robert too... when she wished to exercise her control. She had been working on Rob and had some but this episode clenched it.

Settling down into her chair, she waited to see if Daniel would return.. and if he would bring Rob with him.

"Your going to tell me you didn't hear or feel Hazel?" He had turned that concerned brooding gaze on his brother now that it seemed the other was gone.

"Goodness Merlin...." And she finished off the brandy before setting it on the counter then before she sank into her own thoughts again... Valentines Day indeed playing with her head again...before she shook from those thoughts.

"The woman has a name? Err...'course not!"

"Yes.." A brow rose slowly. "She didn't tell you while...." He indicated with a flick of his hand to his bed which looked like a hurricane hit it, much like his had been.

She shook a bit as she felt something wrong as well in this tavern. Her lips settling on the rim of the snifter as she took a sip of brandy. She could hear a snippet here and there of the conversation upstairs. A raise of her brow  as she leaned against the bar.

Stars...and the lackluster of it all...soon caught her offguard again...starry-eyed?  You bet.

"Oh, must have missed it..." Frowning at Daniel. "You knew about this?"

A wiggle of cork, and a loosed a  jetted fly to some unknown corner of the room.  Observing the canine with a somber interest, animals rarely liked her.  But it seemed it wasn't her presence that upset the creature, thusly she offered a bit of a cold snowy hand to it.  As though in camaraderie...  that glassen rim pressed to the dark velvets kiss.  That firey taint slipping down the stately white neck.

He shook his head. "We need to talk to Neale and fast, you may wish to stay on the Fury tonight too."

Running a hand through unruly dark hair he nods once. "Where's Neale, then?"

"Soon as your dressed...I'll meet you downstairs" A glance to the door in passing, he should take any valuables with him. "I'll mention to a guard to have it fixed..." Charge it to Neale of course. He called over his shoulder. "Probably at the Fury still....he was suppose to be here."

Sitting the empty glass on the side table, she slipped from the chair and knelt at the hearth, stirring the slow burning wood into a rage of flames.

With a paranoid look around, he finishes dressing and smooths his hair back into place then sets to stuffing his belongings into his bags.

He was descending the steps quickly then...knowing if his brother didn't soon follow he would be back up there dragging him down.

She was done for now.. back to Octavia for a quick report and if she felt like it.. back after Dan later.



Date: 02-22-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 14

Rob Frasier, Neale M Frasier, Daniel W Frasier, HazeInutSS and Others

Absently, he lifts his glass and drinks down the strong whiskey, hardly tasting it, noticing nothing of the way it burns down his throat.

A hand sweeping waist length fire from her face, She truly could kill that stallion. If it was within her being to do so. The door pulled open and she steps inside. Brushing the straw from her clothes absently.

His gaze lifts at the sound of the door. A nod is given to the lass that's entered. Normally he would take time to...look her over ...but at the moment his thoughts are elsewhere.

He was brooding, last evening and tonight so far his luck had run on a dry streak. His brothers nor his sister had been available and it only served to set him more on edge. The flat of his hand found that solid oak of the side door leading into the tavern...swung open had him stepping through as he
paused to take a quick sweep of those within as he closed it.

Steps taking her towards the bar, glancing to Alex. She had to think a moment of what would calm her nerves. "(q) Brandy please....." She leaned against the edge of the bar, a belated nod to the one by the hearth. A bruising of pride and ego had her very quiet this night. She nodded as Alex set the snifter before her. Glass taken and she moved to a table, sliding to sit in the chair.

Neale leaned against the roughened wall of the alley which ran alongside the tavern, finishing off the last puffs of his pipe.  The glow of red lit his features briefly as he inhaled.  He turned his head to the side and blew away the smoke which had filled his lungs, then lifted his boot to tap the spent tobacco free of the bowl.  Having seen Daniel enter, he pushed up from his lean and started for the door, tucking that pipe away to the inside pocket of his coat for now.  He caught the door just as it closed before him, giving it another shove to enter himself.

"Good eve, lass." He was nothing if not polite but his attention is caught again by the opening of the door. "Danny boy!" Something of his usual, jovial self in that call.

Hazel lifted with the greeting and the opening of the door. "Evening Sir, Evening Daniel." turning back to focus upon the swirl of amber liquid in her glass.

A dark brow lifts. Danny seemed to know all the lasses hereabouts -- or they seemed to know him. And there was Neale right behind him. "Neale!"

There was a tap of the mud from his boots against the splash there as he undid his cloak and shrugged it off. Frasier greens held that stormy quality to them a feeling of foreboding to linger there. The cloak slid over the back of the chair to rest there as he continued inward." Rob...good! Ambrosine....have you met my brother Rob?"

"The prodigal son returns." He turned to close the door behind him then started toward Robert.  "Good to have you home, Rob." His hand reached out for his brother and gave his shoulder a squeeze where he was sitting.  "Daniel." A smile and nod to that one then a nod to the lady within. "Lady Ambrosine." He remembered her from the other night.

He swung around hearing the door open behind him...and a look of relief registered. "Neale...good!"

Hazel gaze lifted again and she arched a brow at Daniel. "Nae......been to busy to meet much of anyone." A slight smile given as she tips her head in greeting to Neale. "Neale...."

"No, she hasn't." A crooked smile given to Neale, coming to his feet to give the lady a proper bow. "A pleasure, m'lady."

And she so floated in right behind Neale but kept off to the side from now.. always to gather information first then.. then fun would begin.

She had to chuckle at the bow and she stood. Giving Rob a curtsy in return for the bow. Flicking a bit of straw from the gown. "A pleasure indeed Rob."

Yes...well see, Neale knew her too and Neale was far more the ladies man than he was. He needed a he was soon at the bar doing just that.

He straightens, giving her a wink and reaching for his empty glass.

Daniel would probably be the only one that knew her well enough to tell she was not exactly comfortable in the skirts that she was in. But they had been a necessary evil today. A full smile given to Rob at the wink. "If we keep this up Daniel, I'll know yer whole family before I know anyone else."

After that greeting all around, he flipped the opening of his coat back and shrugged a shoulder free to slip it away.  The weight of it was tossed toward an empty chair. Free of the burdensome coat, Neale too headed toward the bar.  "Is there any coffee brewed back there, Daniel?"

Not that it would be a bad thing, they all seemed like a nice lot of folks. Better then most she had the pleasure of calling acquaintances. Sliding back into her chair and she finally lifts that snifter to take a small sip from it.

She might not want to know them....when they started acting possessed. "There are a few of have still to meet Patrick and Hannah. I think there is Neale...least smells of it.....and a good aroma not like that other tavern."

Quietly. "You said you had a big family....." a soft chuckle as she pulled her skirts closer around her legs. "There was some brewing when I went out to the stables Neale...."

He rounds the bar to fill his glass again and returns to the comfort of the hearth. "I like the view in the other tavern, though." Taking a sip of whiskey and placing his glass upon the mantle.

Good enough for him, he came on around behind the bar and tugged down a mug in passing.  Off he went then to make good use of that coffee pot. His back to the lot of them, he poured himself a cup.  "What tavern would that be, Rob?"

She was off circling around Robert first, then back to her favorite.. Danny as she so wanted to start touching him but debated as she watched Neale... Chief Frasier in study.

"The other one. You can't expect me to remember the name!" Chuckling.

His elbow lifted as the brew was added, then he set the coffee pot back to the heat should anyone else care for some later.  Cup in hand now, he turned to look back at his brothers and the Lady Ambrosine, leaning back to rest there against the far counter. "A name would be nice...should I care to check out the validity of your words." A smile, but that hidden as he lifted his cup.

Her gaze shifted back to her glass, inwardly were her thoughts tonight. The meeting had gone less then well.

"Not that one in Rhydin?" A lift of that dark green gaze resting on Rob as he poured himself a hefty glass of cognac then set the bottle aside. Glass in hand he was around to take up a lean with his back against its edge.

Quietly. "It's the Medieval Tavern Daniel, and its a cesspool for those in the meat market game....." A finger lifting to stir the amber liquid in her snifter.

He watched both brothers closely through the heat rising from the mug as he took another taste of that coffee.

"Aye, that one." Perching on the arm of his chair. "Meat market game?" A hand lifts, rubbing at his chin. He'd never heard it put quite that way before.

She looked at none, the harsh exterior she usually put forth seemed somewhat lacking tonight. "Aye, those that wish naught but a roll in the hay....a tussle in the sheets.....that sort of thing."

"I've been there myself..." a brow lifting as he lowered his mug, was she insinuating he wished only that as well? " have you, Daniel." a nod toward that brother and he shifted to lift his mug again.

She wrinkled her nose deciding to start on Rob first.. leaving the best for last. She curled up on his lap as an arm slid to drape around his shoulder... lips near caressing his ear.. he would feel the warmth of what felt like a breath. She made that scent of horses even stronger coming from the other woman.. enhancing it *Robby dear see here see hear... my words to speak.. do tell the lass she smells like a horse that has been ridden hard.*.. what a wicked little smile graced those ethereal lips.

Glancing up to Neale and she gives a wan smile. "Present company most certainly excluded Neale."

"Yes, but was where we met all can't be bad there."

Well, that certainly described him every now and again. With that ethereal touch and ghostly whisper he stiffens where he sits, the muscles in his jaw clenched tight in protest. If he hadn't left his whiskey on the mantle, he'd have swallowed it all down about now. "Nae." Is the hoarse whisper from his throat.

Her gaze shifting to Daniel. "Well nae all but I said I certainly exclude ye Frasier men from that category. Ye all are above such, in my opinion."

There was a gentle purring in his ear as a hand slid just so...coaxing more with promises. And there was that little threat.... with the way her hand gripped about now, vice clamp about to set in.

She knew them not at least two within this tavern that possessed that Frasier name.  Greens flickered toward Rob...had he said something?

Gaze shifting back to amber liquid. Going back to her thoughts once more. It was an off night for her.

Gritting his teeth so tightly his jaw aches, that sliding hand, that threatens as much as promises has him breaking into a sweat. "You smell like a horse that has been ridden hard." The words are low to keep him from squeaking as he speaks, probably barely heard but he did as she wished!

He was comfortable in his lean as he sampled the cognac.... before downing the remains. He was becoming on edge as the air held that metallic smell.. off kind of hint and he found it meant that one might be around. He was soon filling his glass again.

Her hand slid back as that 20" tongue curled around his ear in reward before sliding away again. Pretty head turning to eye Daniel up then Neale... it was time to play some games... big time. She knew she had more control over Dan but needed to make sure she still did on Rob for this next event.

A gritting of jaw, a slight grind of teeth and she looked just a notch paler then usual. Insult was heard and since she knew she smelled of the horses she figured it was her that he spoke too. Quietly. "Well pardon me if I have offended your sensitive nose." The words spit out harshly. Her head never lifting, tendrils of flame hiding most of her features as she holds onto that snifter rather tightly.

She clapped in wicked glee hearing the other as she was up and floating over to Dan to drape on his side.. arm sliding over his shoulder in claim.

What was this? Brows lifted as he looked from Ambrosine to Robert who she seemed to be addressing.  He had heard the man mutter something but hadn't been close enough to hear the words.  Obviously...he had missed something important.

He winces at the lass's words even as he nearly moans at his...reward, fists clenching at his sides.

"Robert? Do you have a problem?" He turned to place his coffee cup on the counter behind him, then looked back to Rob.

mmmm... Dan smelled good tonight as she was sniffing around him.. tongue flicked as she debated what words to have him say. Poor lass... a glance given Ambrosine.. one of those "wrong place at the wrong time". Lips were getting nearer to Dan's ear now. Rob had done good.. deserved to be rewarded as words whispered in Dan's ear now *stick up for your brother Rob my dear one*

"No." His voice is a little more high-pitched than he would like it to be. "No problem." Fingers brushing through his dark mane of hair.

A frown pulled tight for a moment over his brow, but he nodded to him, then looked to the Lady. Perhaps it was none of his business.

Glass trembled in his hand as his eyes glazed over.....that sultry voice laying claim to his mind as words were spoken he didn't even hear himself. "Our dear Robert is right..." Considering he had not even heard what Rob had said only a distant mumble. He was leaning there as in a at some point left to the bar's surface.

He's gathering up the courage to apologize for his insult when Danny openly agrees with him, pushing the apology right from his mind.

"Right? About what?  The tavern?" Since Neale hadn't understood that growled out comment earlier either, he was clueless.

Now was time for the show... as she floated to that distance half way between Rob and Dan... manifesting herself to Neale. There was that wicked little smile to be followed by a wink as arms raised slightly.. that paper thin dressing that sufficed to cover her body revealing more *Evening Neale* words purred.... now.. as she pursed her lips like in a kiss to him.

Her head snapped up and she looked as if she had been slapped. Her gaze narrowing as her hackles rise. "Thank you for reiterating the insult Daniel......Perhaps you should just close yer damnable nose!" Her voice rising a bit in pitch. Two insults added to the rest of the day, this was more then she needed. Brandy drained from glass in gulps.

Well it all became clear to him now!  And not just that apparition which showed herself to him.  His jaw clenched and greens narrowed.  "Evening, Hazel.  Have you no better toy than my brothers?  Or is Octavia the only one allowed to tempt me, hmm?" It was good he had placed that cup aside, his fist clenched at his thigh.  "Lady Ambrosine, please take no offense to anything my brothers may the moment." He did not take his gaze from that vision before him.

Such elegant moves as hands curled and those tendrils that sunk into Dan and Rob mentally were tightened as in their minds only she urged their actions.

On shaking legs he stands and reaches for his drink, snapping his head back to drain his glass completely in one swallow.

A hand sliding up and nearly slapping at the tear that ran down her cheek. Her gaze snapping to Neale before she pushed the empty glass away, lest she throw it at one of the three.

Neale must surely look the maniac, speaking to that empty space before him...did he even care?  Hell no.  For what he saw there was real enough to him...and the way his brothers were acting proof enough that what he saw...was real indeed.

His mind clouded more as one unsteady hand lifted to unbutton his at a time...torn off as fingers fumbled. Once opened it hung loose his eating dagger was withdrawn...lifted with a trembling hand as the blade came in contact with his skin.

He pushed up from lean...about to speak once again, but Daniel's actions caught his gaze. It was through the gritting of teeth that he started forward. No quick actions...but with purpose. "Hazel...such a game you play, eh?"

The glass drops from his hand and shatters before the hearth. Feeling like a puppet and looking much like one with stiff, jerky movements he begins to unbutton his shirt, breaking into a sweat with his attempts to fight off her control. Almost in sync with Daniel his eating knife is withdrawn, the pointed blade pressed to the skin of his chest.


Date: 02-22-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 15

For all that was holy, he needed to get that blade away...just as quickly he looked to Rob.  His steps pausing for a moment, then he spun to face her.  "Cease...devil spawn.  Now."

A deep and ragged breath taken in as she stands. A flutter of skirts as the glass was snatched up. She needed more to drink, her gaze shifting to the bar and those nearby, quick steps taken before they falter, her jaw dropping as she watches Daniel and Rob.

Her smile still held that oh so wicked quality as depthless dark eyes rested on Neale.. she remembered his interference before.. *It is simple... you in exchange for them, under my possession.* lips pursed again invitingly but she kept that hold on the boys.

He came in singing, some little tune that held nothing of a tune to it. The recluse of the family he'd made his peace with God for taking his father into his arms and now was ready to once more face the world as it was...however it was. He had been in a fairly good mood until he'd ventured a look at the interior of the Tavern.  Something was sorely amiss here. "What's this?!"

"Speak what it is you have to say..." He would promise no deals.  Greens shifted back to first one brother, then the other...and he waited. However it was, had both Rob and Daniel with blades to their chests...forced upon them by Hazel. Ever so quickly his gaze shot to the entering Patrick, fear perhaps now he too would be in danger, then back to the wisp of a vision.

Centered right over his heart, that blade is, his arm and hand shaking from his efforts to pull himself free of Hazel's control.

She didn't think Daniel was one to try take his own life....She couldn't have been that wrong about him. Quietly. "Daniel.......Daniel!"

Was Hazel... trying to prove more power than Octavia? Would Octavia find out this part of the game Hazel decided to try on her own to show how smart she had become. What would Octavia do when she found out?

"Daniel, for the love of christ's beard man.. Robbie?"  He honestly couldn't believe the scene before him.  His brothers holding swords unto themselves?!

His hand shot out, palm toward Patrick. "Aren't you a smart bit of nothingness.  I do wonder though, what Octavia would say did I submit...or if you ended the game before it had even truly begun."  A jerk of his head back toward his brothers.

If Ambrosine was that close... she would know he never heard her...eyes glazed over as the edge of that sharp blade did break the skin enough to show red with the further prodding of Hazel.

His gait paused and he stood frozen in his tracks.  Neale was yammering away like some old crone, crazed from his mind.  Had Jeneale put something off in the poteen?!

Somewhere in the back of his mind he hears Patrick and Neale and even the lass calling out to his brother but his focus is on fighting for control even as the point of the blade punctures the skin causing a trickle of blood to swell and dribble down his chest.

She was close enough to see she wasn't heard, her hand flying to her mouth as she watches that bid of red.

Lips pursed into that O... a lick of her lips that Neale could see.. as she manifested to Patrick at the same time... time to introduce him to that luscious form.

Frasier greens went wide with shock, a ripple of emotion like the ebb and flows of the tides as the air before his went fuzzy.  What the hell?!

He saw Ambrosine's action and turned his head to look to the two.  Just as quickly he shot his gaze back to the floating apparition. "Surely you are wiser than Octavia, that's now known.  What she could not manage, you seem to know how to accomplish.  Have them lower their blades...and do not have them raise them again."

That gaze rested on Neale again.. let Patrick drink in those curves *I will have power over Octavia for she wants you, then I can bargain for my own freedom.* So there was really more to this little bit of succubus if Neale was smart enough to realize.

His memory folded against itself and for a moment he could have sworn to christ and the devil that it was Raeisha before him.  But the figure was a different one, compelling the response of his body even if his mind rebelled. "Jesus Christ.. "

Good gods what in the nine hells was going on. She was confused, hurt by insults and yet at the same time wanted to rip that blade out of Daniel's hand and wring his neck. Friends were hard to come by.

If she attempted to even move toward Daniel, none may be able to ring his neck.  This Neale he stood where he was, facing off the swirling vision of feminine
temptation.  "What say you, Hazel?  By your own words, say you will not allow any of the Frasiers to come to harm."

She dipped her head towards the transfixed Daniel.. and the lass there *Best warn her away or Dan will get hurt.* Oooooo...Pat said a bad word in her presence.. not that it had the effect it would on other entities.. she was not really evil.. evil.

Was Neale talking?  All he heard was this faint buzzing noise. His jaw had slowly worked itself slack and he felt his mouth go dry.

He did not turn to Ambrosine, but his words were directed to her. "Move not at all toward my brothers, Ambrosine." Not that he thought she would, surely she could see there was more here than her eyes could see...than her ears allowed her to comprehend.

She hadn't moved from her transfixed spot. She didn't look at Neale but kept watch on Rob and Daniel. "Aye Neale, I'll nae move an inch....." Her voice cracking just a touch.

The closer Ambrosine got...the longer that trail of red got, about an inch and a half now. More like a cat's scratch of a claw...not any deep wound but the threat was there.

The spirit's change of colors caught his eye and it had him taking a step to the side to block Patrick.  As if that would stop her! "What say you...aye or nay?" There was more to Neale as well...his own plans were forming as the spirit took her time to decide.

Had he ever spoken? He couldn't remember if he had uttered any words. All he could think about was the curvy figure in front of him, he was sure he could smell her perfume.  And just as he felt that catch and pull of something ethereal, Neale was there to cut him off!

Perspiration beads and trails down the sides of his face, he was fast losing all his strength.

She wouldn't move, she didn't dare, she had given her word to Neale and she could feel something was there, more then she could see or hear, or Neale wouldn't be talking to thin air. Her eyes closing at the trail of blood on Daniel's chest. This was heartwrenching to watch and not be able to help.

*give me you in their stead.. and they shall be set from any harm*.. though she wasn't going to give up enticing them when possible. *I can bargain with you, I can't with them* but she was beginning to want to keep Dan for herself... he looked too much like the one she had fallen in love with so long ago. She tried to peek around Neale for that other one.. something new on the menu.

He drew in a deep breath through his nose and held it. "Then you cannot promise me their safety, Hazel? And here I thought you possessed that which Octavia did not."

Who the hell was this woman?!?  He'd gone into hiding right after his fathers death and only now had returned. This person was new, and seemed out of place within Heathfield.

*I can promise you their safety from me having them do any harm to themselves. IF you promise me... you in their stead.*

In their stead?  What did that mean?  More and more confusion clouded his mind, sharing room with the oddly haze that had clouded it before.

He was pushing...that promise from she had promised Octavia. He turned to look to Rob and Daniel, his jaw working as he nodded, turning back to the spirit. "Done then...I shall help you to severe your obligation to Octavia, Hazel.  Have them lower their weapons."

A push upon the door, allows her entry into the Thistle. After a hard days work, she sought out the tavern in hopes of a cup of tea or mayhaps even a brandy.

There was a fast letting go of that hold on Dan and Rob.. bad as she was... she kept her word. The entity did after all have some good points, more than they realized yet. Like a rubber band.. backlash on Rob and Dan. She didn't make any promises to Octavia.. Octavia held her in payment.

An obligation which Neale had vowed to help her settle...and only that did he offer.

Once that hold was let go...the dagger fell from his hand as he was hit by what felt a wall sending him backwards into the stools as they were knocked down like dominos as he grabbed for a hold of the bar....barely managing such before he was leaning into it gasping for air.

Neale jerked forward and that sweep of foot sent the weapon skidding across the floor and away.

Crumpling, his knife clatters to the floor just before he does, feeling as though struck over the head by a hammer.

That was all she wanted from Neale...but she would talk to him sometime with her ideas. And she was around Neale... eyeing up this Patrick as she floated around him.. tongue flickered across her lips in that sensual way.

She nearly moved when that blade was dropped by Daniel, remembering her word to Neale though she held fast to her place. Eyeing Rob she sent a questioning glance to Neale, perhaps she would be allowed to move. "Neale?"

He held his place, watching his brother crumble like a child's blocks kicked at in a fit of tantrum.

She slipped in, shaking the snow off her cloak with a wee shudder.

A turn of head to mark the location of Daniel's blade but when he looked back, Hazel was gone, he spun around to find her. "No harm..." He reminded her, as if he needed to.  He had not relaxed at all in that stance. His hand lifted and pointed a finger to Ambrosine...his way of requesting she please see to his brothers while he kept that green gaze locked on the floating menace.

A nod given and she went to Daniel first, he was the closest a towel grabbed from the bar as she reached out to wrap hands around his arm and help him up. Quietly. "Daniel?"

He was running a hand down over his face as sweat had poured in the aftermath. Straightening up slowly as even his shirt was plastered to his chest as if doused in water. It wasn't the smelly kind of sweat though, like one that had worked out. He realized the help then....that dazed look still edged to the darkened green. "Ambrosine?"

She looked about, the confusion plain on her face as she stood still, the cloak dropping aside...moving in closer with a whisper to the woman. "Is there anathin I kin do?" Eying Daniel worriedly.

He took an instinctive step back.  She was foreign to him, a prickling of skin at the back of his neck warning him.

Brushing the hood of her cloak away from her head, she hesitated in her walk towards the bar, seeing the Frasier brothers gathered together.

He feels as though he's moving through mud. The simple act of pushing himself into a sitting position seems an incredible effort but he manages. Dark hair matted to his head he wipes at the blood on his chest, succeeding only in smearing it.

"Good evening, Jena...Lady McAndrews...seems we have a visitor tonight." and that visitor kept his attention even now.

She pushed the towel against his chest and was working to clean the blood to see how deep it was. Quietly. "Aye m''s me...." Hazel looking to greens with a tinge of worry. The woman answered. Quietly. "Can ye see to Rob?"

Eyes tripped over to Neale, knowing what he meant and her flesh crawled, nodding to the other before assuming the stranger was Rob, since she knew the others.



Date: 02-22-02
Poster: Hazelnut Succubus
Post # 16

Edging closer towards the bar and the men, she takes a seat at the end, giving a nod and smile to Ros and the others. "Evening"

A jerk of her head towards the hearth and where Rob was.

"Christ.." He swore soundly now, letting confusion mingle with desire.  Where it had come from he wasn't sure. What manner of creature was able to stir such emotion without having physical form or substance? Even as he asked himself he felt his vision cloud over with some sort of rosey haze.

Coming to him, she offered a hesitant smile, a hand laid to his arm gently, not knowing what he had just been through. "Im Ros...M'Lord..." His eyes, that dazed look had her shaking him gently.

Looking from one brother to another... she made the rounds, dark greens narrowed in concern and confusion.

"R...Robert..?" Hoping his name would rouse him, she patted his cheek with other hand lightly.

*No 'harm Neale*.. words to repeat in her mind as she moved around to the back of Pat and a hand slid just so.. this was play time, no menace.

Despite his exhaustion he manages a smile that softens his features, his vision beginning to clear. "Pleasure in the meet, lass." His throat is dry, his voice hoarse.

Harm could come in many forms, undesired attention could also be considered as harm.

Seeing that it was only a scratch on his chest she let out a held breath and nodded. Flipping that towel over and she used it to mop up some of that sweat on Daniel's chest and brow. "Daniel?"

She gave *Robert* a more warmed smile. "Let me get you something to drink..."  Looking between the brothers, she shook her head and asked him, trying to clear thoughts. "What is your Drink, Robert?"

"Cease, Hazel...and be on your way to let Octavia know of your accomplishments this night. Patrick's reaction was enough to have Neale tensing.  Enough was enough.  A deal had been struck.

He could not believe he'd just been molested by a bit of smoke and mist.

Her mind open to him as that sultry look did haze her own eyes over...*You feel good*

"Whiskey." Using the arm of the chair to get to his feet, he turns his back on the others in the room while shaking fingers and aching hands worked to rebutton his shirt.

But what a lovely bit!


"Hell."  His voice felt like gravel in the back of his throat now, and he had to shake himself as the desire warmed his blood. What was wrong with him? Had he no discipline?

She tried to help him stand, motioning to that chair that aided him. "Why not have a sit..I'll be back in a moment."Oi vey...the dead got more action than the living. Irony, she supposed...and that thought had her biting back a smirk in trek to the bar, dreging up the whiskey.

The dead had nothing to lose.

He was shaking off the effects as his eyes cleared and the cold of the cloth drawing him. A hand moved to clutch it now. "What happened..."  Confused as a hurried look swept between his brothers, still unaware his shirt was barely on him.... leaving most of his chest exposed. The cut was not even noticed.

This was *not* a smiling issue, and to keep from explaining such, she tucked it away.  Taking the bottle and after the cork went sailing somewhere toward the hearth, she went about the task of pouring a mug of it.

"Patrick." The use of his name spoken with force. "Get yourself something to drink, man."

"I dinna know, first ye and Robert insulted me, then ye both tried to kill yerselves, then Neale was tellin me not to move and talkin to thin air like a crazy man...."  That about summed it up and she gently disengaged her hand from the cloth as his hand slipped over it.

Yes.. no harm.. this was PLEASURE and PLEASING in Hazel's mind.

He felt like he'd been trampled by a pair of horses, collapsing into said chair, trying to clear his head before attempting to speak.

And move

Eyes hardened as he now looked for the one whose name he spoke. "Hazel..."

It was so hard to drag his gaze away. Why was that? There was a whisper of something dark and sultry in his mind yet he couldn't place the multifaceted voice.  Neale's voice, harsh against his name cut through the fog like a command and he nodded blankly. "Drink...aye..drink.."

Taking the bottle along, she wound her way around back to Robert with the mug of aforementioned drink. Kneeling before him, she set the bottle aside and held the glass right at his hand,Forest hues searching his face a moment.

A lift of shoulder at his words. She didn't know this Hazel person and the insults still stung. Which was why she was gathering another cold cloth and moving towards Robert.

She manifested now for Rob and Dan to see her.. too bad the others could never.. tsk tsk.. Frasier lads insane.

"Can ye hold it, Sir?"

Bones and muscles were lethargic, but he moved under his own power towards the bar.  Drink.  Had to have a drink.

"I don't remember saying anything after greeting you all then pouring a drink." That gaze did steady itself on Hazel...he had to admit she was a sight even if the devil's spawn.

Wincing with the sound of that name, his eyes register first Ros and the whiskey she pours then a slow pan of the room brings his three  brothers into view, the lass he'd just met, Jena...he groans. So much forlooking suave. "I can, I think." Steadying his hand as he reaches to take the mug from her.

"I am sorry if any insults came from my mouth, they were not my words if you can believe me."

A smile to the woman, and she held the cold cloth out to Robert. "Rob, here use this."  Not looking at him as she glances to Daniel. " Neale said."

She noded softly, but slender digts slowly left the mug in his hand, a moment she looked to Daniel over her shoulder.. then to Robert again to see if he was indeed steady enough.

Sitting quietly at the end of the bar, she just watched in confusion..  hearing Ambrosine tell of what had happened, had her even more confused..  as she remember how strange Daniel and Rob had acted a few nights before.

A soft smile tipped to The woman that came over. She'd been just as lost the time she witnessed the *event*.

The mug is brought swiftly to his lips and drained as though he were drinking merely water. With a cough he hands the mug back. "Thank you, Rosa."

There was something about Hazel that set a man's eyes to fire...that smoldering passionate kind with that kind of draw she had.

"No sense in trying to figure it out lass..just deal with the aftermath" Taking the mug, she nodded softly, setting it on the table beside him along with the bottle. "Aye, Sir..think naught of it."

"Aye, so it seems.....either I am going crazy or this is just too complicated for me to comprehend."  A hand shoved up through fire tendrils as she waves the cloth at Robert.

With that she rose, taking in Daniel again  before veering course to him, asking lightly, "Cognac?

Another cough, his hand raking through his damp hair, his gaze finally connecting with first Patrick and then Daniel, across the room.

There Neale stood in the center of the room, his own head ached with the task set before him.  How to stop Octavia for good, not just thwart her efforts.  How to save Hannah.

He poured himself a glass, unsure of what it was.  Could have been dirty dish water and he wouldn't have known it as he kicked it back.

It was time for her to go...she might not even go back to Octavia this night.. no news or information. She was by Neale now as that sultry voice whispered to caress his ear in what felt like heated breath *Soon, we talk on our promises and plans made* For good measure her hand slid just so... sealing her words in the best way she knew how.

A slight shake of her head before she was kneeling beside Rob, putting the cloth against the back of his neck. "Rob?"

Neale's shoulders just squared and once again that jaw clenched tight, offering the spirit but a nod to her words.

"Yes... please Ros" He wasn't even sure where his glass got off to.

He jumps at the unexpected touch but quickly he calms. "Aye?"

She gave him a nod and slinked behind the bar, maneuvering around Patrick and asking Neale as she gained three glasses. "What'll ye have, Neale?"

She pressed that cold cloth to his neck with her hand. "Let me take a look at yer chest....make sure it's naught but a scratch like Daniel's please." Tipping her head up to look at him.

One after the other was given up to his stomach. No doubt he'd feel it in the morning, but it cleared the fog from his brain.

Ever so slowly he turned to look to Ros. "I've a cup there on the back"

Setting the trio upon the bar, she claimed Daniels regular and filled one. Setting it aside, she filled hers with the cold tea that lay idle and manouvering about at those words, she spied the coffee, seating it by the fire to warm as she put away the bottles. Taking up the other two, she swung back around and gained the coffee.

"Aye, all right." Consenting to her ministrations. His eyes find Ros at the bar and light on the chestnut haired Jena a moment.

Hand slid back....but slowly before slender fingers wiggled to the other boys... a lingering look on Dan said a little something more if Neale caught it before she seemed to just disappear.

Date: 02-23-02
Poster: Rob Frasier
Post # 17

Rob Frasier, Lochlan Kearney, Daniel W Frasier, RosaliaMcA, AmbrosineMcDnnl

Rob sat before the fire again, his glass of whiskey untouched, two days growth of beard upon his face. There were dark circles under his eyes for he'd not slept well since the last encounter with Hazel.

Lochlan came in the side door as a hand ran over his beard then away as that bright blue gaze rested on Robert. "Robert, good to see you. Hannah is resting as I have been having her keep off her feet as much as possible now." He rarely went to the smithy and was becoming a thorn in her side in concern... but he felt she understood especially after all the brothers told him even if she didn't know 'all'.

"Good. I'm glad she's not fighting you on that." He knew well how she hated being forced into anything. "Grab yourself a bottle and sit with me. There are some things you need to know of."

He came in the front door quick enough..the walk brisk and invigorating from the other tavern and soon had the door closing behind him as he took stock of whom was here. He did have some news to give them as his overcoat was shrugged off and hung to one of the pegs before making his way in further. "Robert...Lan.. good to see you both."

"Daniel. I was just preparing to fill Lan in on some of what we've learned."

He grabbed a bottle of poteen and one of cognac and brought them over.. he knew Dan drank such so it would save a trip. "I'm all ears." Spoken as he claimed a chair and settled down sliding those bottles to the table.. who needed glasses?

"Just so you know, I talked to the midwife...Sarina and told her enough in case there are complications that it might well be due to this curse on our family." He had made his way over and claimed another one of those chairs and soon reaching for that bottle of cognac once seated.

He nodded, his features dark. "What I fear is that it won't matter how good the mid-wife is, if we don't dispose of this curse before Hannah goes into labor."

"I think you are right...I had hoped to at least convince her to come with us back to the mansion just in case Hannah went into labor...but we do need to dispel that curse."

He nodded approvingly, he had had little sleep himself lately. One good reason not to be working in the smithy for as it was he came close to getting burned a few times.. when he decided to call it quits for now, until at least Hannah safely delivered. He did feel so responsible that it almost overshadowed the happiness too.

"Aye, we're reaching a point of desperation here. Lan, does Hannah suspect her life is hanging in the balance here? ::He looked from Danny to Lan. He feared for her no less than any of them.

The cork was soon released from the bottle of poteen as he drew it to his lips to take in a good shot before it was set again to the table and savored the burn of the swallow

He lifted his glass, looking at it without drinking from it.

Ros made her way in, casually attired in her usual of doeskin breeches and tunic the shade of fallen leaves. Her hair was bound in a braid, but some unruly mahogany locks whispered free. Her eyes pouring over a book, she paid no heed for she went straight to the bar. Ted taking post by the door as per usual.

"Not that I know of, just the usual trepidation of being pregnant and knowing her mother and sister died in childbirth." Dark brows drew to a furrow in concern as he took another drink of the poteen and held the bottle in his hand this time, propping it against this thigh.

His look showed that of respect that Lan could keep such from their Sprite...he well knew her and was surprised she didn't prod him for more...but maybe the not knowing kept the questions at bay too?

"Good, she doesn't need to know anymore, not yet. I know it's not easy to keep all this from her." Glancing at Danny then.

"How are you two holding up? And, when do we leave, Hannah is aware we are go take this trip."

A rather odd marker, cut by wee hands and shaped, well..who knew, her creative Marissa had made it for her, was placed in the pages and the book closed as she came to the bar. Glance lifted to those occupying the tavern.

The question initiated a cough....he was lucky he was still sane. "I am still hanging in there" They didn't need to know about the lack of sleep and food...but he did make sure he got much as he could when he remembered to force himself.

Setting the book of lore aside, she slinked behind the bar, going about heating water and readying a cup for tea.

The movement of another did shift his attention there with an offered cordial nod in greeting with his words. "Evening Rosalia."

"I'm holding up. The sooner we can arrange the trip and be off, the better. Neale's going through the last of the crates, hoping for any clue." He looks Ros's way and gives her a nod.

A faint smile tipped her lips, returning the nod in turn. "Eve Daniel... Rob.."  And a nod for Loch too though his name escaped her.

"Evening Ros.." His own attention distracted for a moment as he still listened and brought his attention right back. "Next day or so do you feel?"

"Aye, can the two of you be ready?"

Ghads, a day late and a farthing short as his name sunk into her wayward thoughts. Alas, she tipped him a smile and then took a pouch of tea leaves.

"We're ready already, just waiting for your cue. Bags are packed, at least such has given Hannah something to focus on instead of just worrying."

"Will she hold up for the trip, do you think?" Now he tips his glass back and downs the whiskey contained therein.

She kept her mind on the mundane task of tea, watching the leaves flit about and settle when the water was added. Both hands curling about the mug, a hip leaning to the bar.

"I will do all I can to ensure such. We may wish a carriage for her to travel in. I don't think she can ride horseback, nor should even chance it."

"Agreed." He sighed, putting his glass aside. "Have you been told of the spirit that's been set to haunt us?"

He shifted leaning forward enough to retract that bottle of cognac and soon saw to a hefty dose before it was slid back to the table's surface....needless to say he looked like a man becoming lost in his thoughts and the curl of his brows near the bridge of his nose denoted they were not the best of such.

A sip or two of the tea was taken, and the book claimed again. Quiet steps leading her to her favorite overstuffed chair and easing into it. A foot tucked beneath her and the pages reopened. A frown touched her brow ever so slightly, belying the relaxing pose of contentment.

A dark brow lifted as he glanced to Dan then back to Rob. "Vaguely.." For Dan and Neale only stated probably just enough. "How bad is it?"

"Very bad, she nearly had us slicing our chests open the other night."

He caught the look but it was Neale who had spoken mostly to Lan in the update. "After the other night things may have gotten a little better..." Both unsure as to what pact Neale had actually made with Hazel and if the one could even be trusted. "Very bad....yes...unless the other night does make a difference." Was he repeating himself? He had wondered on that. " you think if that was her real intent it would have been done?" That question had plagued him ever since.

"I don't know how much we can trust a deal made with an entity like that." Rubbing his chin with his hand as he looks to answer Danny's question. "I wish I could say no, Dan, but I can't. I don't know the answer."

He wanted to ask how this could possibly be that she had them near cutting their chests but decided to ask more particulars when they had their private meeting. It didn't seem your social kind of topic for the tavern.

The door to her room opened and she stepped quietly out into the hall. She had been a hermit since the other night but she had to make things right and that would be done with an apology. Moving towards the stairs and there she takes a deep breath.

"We should go find Neale and talk more there." Rising from the chair, Frasier greens intense and thoughtful.

The steps navigated and she was moving down that hall to step out into the bar area, staying herself from turning around and going back to her room.  Hazels falling to the two Frasier men and their companion, chewing on  her lip slightly as she focuses on Daniel, he was the one that she needed to speak with. Her voice rising just a bit so that she is heard. "Daniel, may I speak with you for a moment, it's important."

He also rose up taking the bottle of poteen with him. "I will check on Hannah and have her come to if you want?"

"No, let's leave her out of it, she knows enough. She doesn't need to know we're fighting to save her life." Raking a hand through his thick, dark hair. Brooding eyes fall upon Ambrosine and he gives Daniel a look that says "whatever it is, keep it short". Not that he needs to make that clear but he's as edgy as everyone else.

He was last to get up as fingers folded around the bottle of cognac in claim as it was taken up....might be a night he would need the rest. His name spoken did bring his attention there as he turned. "Amb...."

She gives a cordial not to Rob and the other man before letting her eyes rest on Daniel. "It's about the other night.....It's very important and it won't take long. I promise."

Wordlessly he nears the door with Lochlan, leaning in to speak to Lan in a lowered voice only the two of them can hear.

Oouuu, good book, fairly captivating, she would measure, but she did lift those curious greens about the room...just in case she missed something. She lifted a hand in wave to Rob and Loch, seems they were heading out, glance tripping over to Danny.

There was a dip of his head in understanding and agreement as that bright blue gaze was turned on Ambrosine. "Evening lass." He knew they would not be able to talk freely with Hannah there and he had a lot more questions to be answered now.

She nodded to Ros slightly as she took up a lean against the bar. A nod given to the man. "Evening."

"Amb...this is my brother in law, Lochlan....Lan."

"Nice to meet you Lochlan."  She wasn't into shortening names today, she just wanted to say what she had to say to Daniel and hope he understood.

She glanced to Amb, giving a ever so faint nod, hmm, the book was frowned at once again.

"I will catch up with you two....few minutes."

And he straightens, pausing to wait out the introductions and then giving Dan a nod he steps outside to wait.

"Nice meeting you Amb.." A nod to Dan as he listened to Rob as they headed out.


Date: 02-23-02
Poster: Rob Frasier
Post # 18

HazeInutSS and Neale M Frasier

A trinket's charm...a trinket's charm...he ground his teeth and shoved the useless rolls and piles of parchment on his desk to the side.  A bloody trinket's charm...what did it mean?

Here she appeared to take up one of those crates.. perched on the edge while what seemed to be silk slide between her legs leaving them exposed up to her thighs, the wispy flimsy ethereal covering did seem to shift an awful lot leaving little to the imagination. That depthless dark gaze following him as she waited to be noticed.

The documents tumbled and fluttered to the wood of cabin floor, a scattered disarray of once neatly stacked information. Neale shoved back from the desk, the chair screeching in protest to the violent motion, and Neale was to his feet, meaning to dig once more into the...crate...the crate...and there she was...on that crate.  "Hazel."  Her name came hushed from his lips, as if the saying of her name might make her actually be there when he hoped his eyes were deceiving him.

What a brilliant smile she bestowed on him.. actually made her look beautiful. "Neale, I've come to talk.. as we agreed." It was like nothing was wrong.. or that she threatened his brother's lives the other night to get him to help her. She was actually happy right now that she might have freedom soon from the dark tendrils that held her prisoner.

Greens dipped and played over the spirit.  "Make yourself comfortable then." His gaze narrowing as it seemed she was...most comfortable already.

"I hold you to your promise or upon your death your soul will be beholden to me.." There was a slight warning in her voice not to betray her.. she had been betrayed so much in her short lifetime. "What don't you know yet?"

He reached behind him without the need to look, gripping the back of the chair and pulling it around to sit himself, directly before her. "What don't I know?  I don't know how to save my sister's to thwart Octavia." He leaned forward, his hands flat to his thighs as he stared at her.  "As you have not figured out either how to break her powerful grip."  He sat back, arms crossing and long legs extending out as he watched her.  "My father...the curse...all mention a trinket's charm...."

"I know how to save her life but I don't know how to stop Octavia yet.. this we might have to do working together."

With her affirmation that there was a way to help Hannah, Neale sat up again, pulling in his legs.  "If you can save my sister...I will not cease until you have the price you request for it."  His hands gripped into fists where they now rested on his knees.

Was that actually a show of compassion with the tremor of her lips and the slight pout. "If Octavia is not stopped, your family will be forever doomed and I forever her slave and chained here in an ethereal limbo."

"Then your freedom for Hannah's life...a fair bargain for sure, Hazel.  So it will be."

"There is a bracelet... one of your ancestors either put their own spell upon or was done for them, but if Hannah wears it.. Octavia cannot touch her while she does. It is here in this room...." Her hand resting upon the crate now had long slender fingers tapping against its wooden planks. "here..."

Immediately to his feet, this time the chair crashed behind him.  "Move yourself then." Or be dumped to the floor!  Neale was already to his knees there by the crate, a very interesting position considering Hazel's stance there.  The latch was flipped up and the lid was already opening.  With him all the time...right here...

She just floated above it now.. prattling on. It was the first anyone had actually talked to her as a person in what seemed eons. "Your brother Danny reminds me of your great ancestor Sean... he looks and acts much like him but he doesn't seem to be the cad Sean was. I was in love so long ago with Sean.. I lost my wits and my life in grief when he spurred me after using me so many times."

The crate still contained my layers of documents, each and every one of them shoveled out onto the floor somewhere behind him as he dug.  He heard her...but in his mind was also the end of that curse.  The women all to death shall fall...a trinket's charm, the curse disarm.

"Octavia said she would put a spell on him to make him want me but something went wrong and he broke free from it. Its in a grey case.. near the bottom right."

It was a storm of papers airborne as great handfuls were scooped out and tossed.  And ... there it was.  Neale flinched back, sucking in his breath with the sight of it just as Hazel directed his search.

That was just thrown in there with her prattling.. if he wasn't listening he might miss something important. "I remember that night, his eyes so green and so loving then change to spurn. Octavia is near the old mansion and how to defeat her for good lies there and in your niece.. she has the gift."

Neale had faced many an adversary on land and on sea...but this small case, as he reached for it, caused his hand to shake.  "And why you are beholding to do her bidding."

If tears could flow they were and he could hear the young girl of about eighteen sobbing those centuries ago.

Surely that case did not vibrate in his hand as he brought it out, sitting back on his heels and he held his breath, slowly working the tiny hinges to pull back the lid.  "A bracelet..."

"Yes.. all for love.. and a young girls stupidity to want something with such a passion it went beyond infatuation."

He looked up to her.  "From the tale my father told me as a seemed this all started...with just the same. Octavia seems to be working off of experience, Hazel." That lid snapped shut, the sound forcing the air from his lungs.  "I am now, Hazel, indebted to you...until you are freed, I shall not rest."

She nodded. "All should beware of a need that is so great it defies all logic and reason, to drive one to lengths that betrays them in the end and the abyss of darkness it leads them in to. Octavia wanted the power the Duke's of your family held."

"Obsession only leads to destruction..." He was holding tight to that gray, velveteen case.  "Now...have you a plan for your own freedom? Or will defeating Octavia at her own game...then see to your victory as well?"

"A special bracelet that holds the charm of one very loving great great great grandmother and her means to foil Octavia in the love she held for you all, even unborn those in the centuries to come."

His free hand pressed to the floor, and he stood, eye to eye for where she hovered there above the still opened crate.  The paper crunched beneath his boots...not even heard. "Then we shall see that this "pure" love...does not go to naught." He tapped that box to his temple, smiling to her. "Thank you, Hazel."

"It may well be love that will save you all.. love of each other?"

"Family..." His father's departing word...a meaning that ran deep in Neale's veins. Had always...and would continue to, even into the next life.

It was a thought that just came to mind as that fathomless dark gaze was trained on him.. she seemed to be shifting slightly as she hovered there. "A key to unlock doors where secrets are hidden..."

What was? Family?  The bracelet? What?  What was a key.  "Would you be kind enough to clarify, Hazel?" There was an urgency growing in Neale, such that his heart pounded beneath the protective covering of ribs.  Beating out a tempo...and tempo to hurry...hurry...hurry.  He needed to find Daniel, Rob, Patrick...needed to get this bracelet to Hannah-Lan.  Needed to prepare wee Ellyn for a trip which he still did not like her participating in.

"I think the bracelet is the key.. it holds that love. But to get it to work, you will have to all work together." No one ever listened to her, not then not now as she prattled on with her own thoughts. "Does Dan have a love?"

"I...I don't" Unless the man was hiding something. "Hannah...Hannah is the only one."

"He reminds me so much of Sean.. so it is true heredity can almost make duplicates far into the future.."

"Daniel is not this Sean, Hazel...the only duplication is in appearance alone."

She had talked about the dooming of infatuation.. but had that very infatuation followed her down the decades?

"You do realize this...Hazel." He was frowning.  All Daniel needed on top of all this, was for a supernatural being to become obsessed with him. This was not a question...this was more of a command for her to make the distinction.

She had that dreamy look all over her features.. like the young girl of eighteen so long ago she nearly became real looking as she was now standing there. "Hmmm?"

"I said...Daniel is not that Sean."

Just think of how great a guard she would make for the man, please him by night in his wildest dreams and chase off all the females by day in her own special ways. His words brought her back as she looked blankly at him. "No... I suppose not."

"Suppose?  There is no supposing. NOT Sean." Period, end of discussion.

"Can you protect him from the growing number of women who want him.. really want him and he oblivious. There are at least four right now."

"He is a grown man...and he has a head on his shoulders to protect that heart.  He needs no watch dog," of this world or the next, "to keep on his heels."

"Well, until I am freed to leave this world I shall protect all of you the best I can.. protect my investment. I'll have no female turning any of your heads for the task before you will require the head on your shoulders the one you are using." OF all the ones to talk of such.. when her specialty was the other.

"So you gave your word at the tavern.  Now...if you will excuse me, I must seek out my brothers, see this bracelet delivered to it's rightful owner.  And you...Hazel...shall allow us to live our lives as they are meant to progress.  We all must make mistakes." A quick nod of head toward her.  "You of all people, should understand that."

She said she would not harm them, didn't mean not to sate them so they needed none others. "I am destined to always be alone... so let me have what I can while I can. My time grows short with your help."

"Your time shall be eternal...can you not behave for this brief time until eternal bliss is yours?"  He chuckled. "Leave off my brothers, scare them shitless."

"I please them.. shitless." That smile was actually showing itself. "But that is right.. you don't know. Maybe you should ask them."

Or was that shirtless...he smiled and took a step back.  "Think you could clean up a bit before you leave?" He cared not to know.  "I need not ask them Hazel..."  If she had to possess them in order for them to succumb...then that should be proof enough for her.  Her entrancing beauty was quite tempting...but she was, after all, still a spirit. He kicked aside some papers and then turned to make his way to the door, a glance back to her not expecting her to actually clean up at all.

"I shall leave them be unless they wish my.. talents. But.. if anyone comes near them that I don't like I will not be able to help my reactions." Of course this meant anyone trying to cling and rope them in. She might be a seductress but she could not tie them down and subject them.

That did have him chuckling under his breath. " not a color which flatters you."  Now, to find his kin...and deliver his findings tonight, thanks to...Hazel. Who would have ever thought?

She watched him leave knowing she had to hide out from Octavia herself now so she didn't pick up on anything too soon... could make all the difference in the world. With a twisting spinning swirl she sent all those papers into flight in such a way they floated back down to land in the crate. It wasn't the neatest job done but they were all confined there.. and she then gone.


Date: 03-03-02
Poster: Hannah Frasier
Post # 19

(Ellyn Frasier, NealeMFrasier, DanielWFrasier, Lochlan Kearney, Hannah Frasier, Rob Frasier, HazelnutSS and Sarina Maree)

Ellyn has spent the day with her nanny as her uncle hurried about, getting things ready to set sail. Now she sits in an out of the way place on the deck with her dolls -- her nanny not far way, of course. Singing the Frasier curse rhyme.

The last of the crates were loaded aboard, the nets swinging above the heads of the men who reached up to catch and direct them down to the wood of deck.  Neale stood not far from Ellyn, that rhyming song softly sung seemed to blend with the chilled breeze which bathed them, the words familiar now in their meaning.  He watched the final preparations being made, stance braced and greens searching.  He drew in that breath and turned to look to Ellyn, a blend with the chilled breeze which bathed them, the words familiar now in their meaning.  He watched the final preparations being made, stance braced and greens searching.  He drew in that breath and turned to look to Ellyn, a smile upon his features before they lifted to settle on the lass' nanny.  A dangerous journey at this time of year...and they had precious cargo.

A loaded basket of baked goods in hand....did cost him a gold and few coppers but he didn't mind. He had all his things packed and ready on the Fury....had checked them over up'teen times. A few bottles of cognac and poteen...enough to last them a week....were also added. He was on his way...hoping he wasn't late. At least the goodies should make up for it.

Big, green eyes lift to look upon her uncle then and she gets to her feet. In  several, toddling steps she's reached him and lifts her hands to tug insistently at his shirt then holding her arms up in the children's universal signal to "pick  me up".

So easily she gained his attention, even when there was still much to be done.  His smile never faltered as he lowered to squat near her, holding out that one long arm to capture the wee lass and then stand again, bracing her to his side as he looked back to the men. "Do you see those crates coming aboard now, Ellyn?  Those are your Aunt Hannah's things."  Amusement there in his gaze as he looked back down to her.  "You'd think we were planning to be traveling a good month or more." He didn't except the lass to understand him, but the humor in his voice and his smile for her, would be well enough.

Guess who was floating around Neale's cabin... waiting. If she could pace she would be. She was dragging up every bit of information she could remember and going over everything she knew that might save her eternal soul.

He of course was seeing his wife safely aboard, after the carriage ride down to the docks had her jar'ed around some, but she took it well for a change. Their things unloaded and brought aboard as he helped her down from the carriage and made sure she was safely escorted up the boarding plank of the Fury.

That's all it takes for her to giggle at him. Chubby little arms wind about his neck, lowering her head to his shoulder. Must be getting late for her....but then she whispers in his ear. "Find the spot where the curse is buried and destroy what's buried there." The whisper is not a child's but that of a grown  woman.

Those softly uttered words from his small charge had Neale tensing, but that was the only outward sign that something was amiss.  He simply answered...  "Aye, Ellyn." And turned his head to press a kiss to her forehead, taking in the scent of the sea which mixed with the faint fragrance of young lass.  His search encompassed the deck then to find Daniel, Rob, Patrick...the need to share the information.

He caught sight of Lan's and Hannah's carriage and them unloading....then he was soon in their wake. Making his own way up onto the Fury...that basket still in hand as he held it up. "Treats for our sweet Ellyn?" Enough treats to feed an army.

A bundle of energy she was now, the bracelet still circling her small wrist. She had color to her cheeks and a bounce to her step. She simply felt *good* and after pressing a kiss to Lan's cheek she steps aboard, excited to be off and at sea again no matter what dangers there might be in the weather.

He was there, just coming up from below decks, crooked smile appearing at the sight of his gathering family.

His family's arrival started him forward, Ellyn in arms. "Look,'s time to begin." Though his words to the wee one were jovial, the gaze which met Daniel, then the appearing Rob, stated in that silent way, otherwise.

Treats would always take a wee one's mind off the fact they could read grown-ups way too well. He was soon over to where she was...going into a crouch position to open up the basket....the coverlet drawn back to show all the goodies inside.

With a little girl's high pitched squeal of delight (right in Neale's ear, of course) her chubby hand reaches out to pluck the messiest, chocolatiest thing she can grab.

That the sticky sweetness now smeared all over his shoulder as Ellyn struggled to find a comfortable position to consume her treat, mattered little.  Her nanny would be the one to deal with the child crawling the walls in that sugar induced rush for the next hours to come.  With Ellyn's consumption beginning, he leaned toward Hannah to
peck a kiss to her cheek.  "You look lovely.  Your room is ready below."  ::he offered her a wink, if he knew Hannah..and he DID know Hannah when it came to The Fury, the woman would spend little time below.

And now it seems it's her turn to make her appearance, lugging her bags up the plank to come aboard. She still wasnt too crazy about being out on the sea again but she would manage.

Neale bent to allow Ellyn to scramble from his hold and only then dipped his head to the chocolate goo in the smeared print of a small hand upon his shoulder.

Naturally, the sight of the chocolate smeared all over Neale is a cause for light laughter, grinning at that brotherly kiss. "Aye, we can take our things down and be up again for setting off."

Once aboard he did direct the lads to find the cabin downstairs he and Hannah would be sharing as he soon gave a nod to Neale, Dan, Rob, Sarina and little Ellyn. That vibrant Kearney blue gaze resting on the little one a bit longer than the rest... soon... she would have a cousin.

She's eager to be off and trying to grab another goodie from that basket, giggling at Danny until her nanny picks her up and sweeps her away to her cabin in order to clean her up.

There was "just something" about watching the shore line fade...Hannah and Neale had often watched that together in the past.

He doesn't miss the look on Neale's face but will wait patiently for him to fill them in, watching his niece and sister with a smile.

Once Ellyn had one for each hand....he offered the same pickings to Hannah.  "Here you go still have your appetite?" He leaned in with those lowered words. "Maybe you can smear some on his other shoulder....just like years ago."

That question from Daniel had him chuckling, seemed the man had taken over Neale's need to see their sister fed.  Since that was taken care of, he lifted a hand to set the course in motion.  The scrape of the gangplank being pulled from the dock...the ringing of the bell.

"Aye." Picking out an eclair, mischievous greens eyeing Neale. "Matching chocolate smears."

He rotated the clean shoulder toward her. "One from each of my favorite lasses...I've not a problem with that at all." Even though his gaze remained on what was underway now about them.

He actually looked like he finally got some sleep as he too snatched up a muffin from the basket and had it gone in two bites... top... then bottom.

She tired of waiting as she heard the nanny deliver the child to the cabin., seemed to be next to Neale's. Soon around and up those steps... did lead her to where they were... fully manifested to the brothers now. There was no need of hiding. Same outfit.. eternally so.. floated about those luscious curves like the sails in the wind.

With a smile for all she allows one of the men to help her with her things to her sleeping quarters.

Hazel had become a familiar sight for Neale lately.  He actually smiled seeing her appear near the group.  His gaze shifted though toward Sarina and he called out to her.  "Please don't hesitate if you need anything."

A brow lifted and he as first instinctively stepped that Frasier green gaze shifted between Neale and Rob...seeing Hazel there.

The sight of Hazel is an extremely uncomfortable one and for many different reasons.

She nods her thanks and appreciation to Neale just before disappearing below.

That dark gaze did go so very slowly over Robert... then Danny in turn in a very appreciative way. But.. she was behaving herself.

He shivers with that once over and steps to the rail, looking out upon the horizon. Things seemed clear enough, at least for now, but it would be a cold journey.

With that in mind, he gave a nod to his brothers (Lan included with that) and sister, and moved away to see to what was needed to move them away from the shoreline of Heathfield and on their way.

And such a pathetic little pout that was... the effect worse than puppy dog eyes. A quick glance to Neale noting him distracted as she flicked her tongue over the lush red of her lips before she turned that gaze on Rob and Dan again.

Luckily, she doesn't ever see Hazel for if she did, she would find a way to run her through, ghost or not, for little more than those looks the specter gives her brothers. Overprotective thing that she is. But as it stands she finishes her treat and slips an arm around Lan's waist. She can hardly wait to be off now and bubbles with excitement, glancing back at Neale to see if they're ready.

He found a crate to sit on...and started devouring some of those goodies. He finally found his appetite....not that that made any real sense. " have some too...compliments of the baker lass in that tavern in Rhydin. Annabelle..."

He would take Dan up as he pilfered a few of those brownies.

The shouts of commands had begun, starting at one end of the ship and passed along to the other.  The Fury moaned in delight to be once more feeling the sea caressing along her sides.  Neale grabbed hold of the rails and pulled himself up to stand by the helm. His man saw to the intricate maneuvers to see them from the tight confines of the dock out toward the deeper waters.  He took up his usual stance, looking toward the shore line, holding the rail... and offering that silent prayer with his gaze on the land of 'home' for the fates to allow them a safe journey and return.

She's already made her way to the helm, taking Lan's hand to drag him with her, not about to miss the exhilaration of setting off and watching the shore fade from sight.

He shares a glance with Daniel, resting comfortably against the rail.

His own arm went snugly around her, keeping her close as the ship did pitch back and forth enough to make him worry on her footing.

Probably best to be safe there, she might be feeling good but balance can be an issue this far along in pregnancy.

A nod given Rob as he soon joined him, tucking that basket between two crates before he did....those goodies were going nowhere. A lean on the rail had his own gaze trained on the horizon....watching the castle slowly get smaller and more and more water.

The sea was in his blood too. Not as strongly as Neale, perhaps, but still there. He felt as at home aboard the Fury as he did anywhere.

Making the climb to the deck, steady sea legs carry her to where Rob and Dan are, quietly joining them to look upon the docks and cliffs of Heathfield as they fade from view.

She drifted by Rob and Dan.. there together as she gave them each that passing sultry gaze before moving on to circle around Neale...could the boys tell she was just loaded with energy tonight?

So it was...the past fading and their futures ahead.  Neale sucked in a breath, nodded the once, then shoved away from where he stood coming up alongside his helmsman.  "Frank ole mate...hold firm and straightaway."  His head
actually turned as he spoke to follow Hazel's course around him as far as he could.  "Give me a couple hours and I'll be here to relieve you."  The older man nodded but didn't look to Neale. "Aye, Capt'n...I'm well enough and good.
  See to your family."

Frasier greens trailed could they not...he'd have to be blind. A slight cough before that stare rested on the endless crests of waves being left in the Fury's wake.

With a grin, he thinks about the last time he traveled at sea, with 'ol Iron Anne as his bedmate. Good journey, that one. The grin fades with that look from Hazel, he hoped she would keep that energy to herself.

Neale gave the man's shoulder a pat, then with one last glance toward Hazel, he left Hannah and Lan to enjoy the oncoming night upon the sea, and started down to check on Ellyn.

She paused hearing Neale speak to his helmsman as she added to his thoughts... *I will keep you company then Neale*.

And because he did not suffer the same fate as his brothers with Hazel in his company, he did not mind that suggestion at all.


Date: 03-05-02
Poster: Hannah Frasier
Post # 20

The sea had proven a most generous mistress upon this journey, delivering them to their destination in safety and in good spirits. The sight of land was a welcomed one though even for the men with saltwater flowing in their veins, for with the land beneath their feet came the possible conclusion to that which had haunted the Frasiers for centuries. Neale, Daniel and Rob had spent a good portion of the time scanning over the maps, the deeds, listening to Hazel's suggestions.  They were as prepared as they could be.

Lochlan pretty much slept with Hannah wrapped up in his arms, more for her protection from being rolled around. This way he'd end up with all the bruises as she was pitched into him at times.

She's not entirely in the know regarding the curse but she's happy enough to be here, knowing it must surely bring an end to what plagues them. And because of Lan, she had not a bump or bruise on her from the journey.

He carried his own bag and one of Sarina's, couldn't have the lass dragging behind trying to carry what she'd brought. He was edgy and anxious to be off and find this ancient Frasier castle.

Ellyn had made up for Hannah's absence from the ropes laced as ladders to the riggings.  Neale's ears would ring for days to come from her nanny screeching for the lass to "get yourself down this instant" or "acting like a wild wee beastie"...all along Neale could only smile.  Comparisons of niece and Aunt made in those moments of notice.

Aye, she was a mischievous and energetic little girl, much like her aunt.

She's ready for whatever this whole thing brings but she's also nervous and worried, keeping a careful eye on her charge.

Now though, Ellyn was carried from the ship by Neale, the nanny to remain aboard for this part of the venture.  Several men carried supplies upon their shoulders to be loaded to carts.  As if she was simply another appendage, Neale directed the loading and packing, his free hand used to jerk a crate closer to the cart's wooden side, or stuff the softness of a sleeping bundle into a space.  They needed all the room they could get for as many supplies as they could manage.

She bounced in his arms, sensing the excitement and apprehension from all of them.

With Lan's help she's set into one of the carts, no walking allowed for her, it would be a bumpy cart ride instead.

The group would consist of Frasiers, Kearneys and Sarina...oh, and Hazel of course...none could forget Hazel.  Everyone else would remain upon the ship...waiting their return. Ellyn was plopped up there beside Hannah, then Neale saw a blanket spread over their laps. He leaned closer to his charge as he smiled. "See that your Auntie minds herself now, Ellyn."  A wink was offered to the small girl, a grin up to his sister, then he turned to make his way to the men.  That smile faded completely when not needed.

"That's right, Ellyn will keep me out of trouble." An arm around the toddler to keep her close.

He helped to load the carts, glancing at Daniel or Neale from time to time until they were loaded up and ready to go.

He all but had her on his lap... to make sure she had the right kind of cushion. The last thing he needed was for her to go into labor.

Which is exactly her concern, Hannah was not far from it, she could feel it but to say anything would be to worry them all unnecessarily. Still, a worried gaze rests upon the woman periodically.

Horses waited for the men, digging front hooves into the earth in anticipation.  Neale was sidetracked long enough to see Sarina settled into that second cart, then he reached for the reins of one of the horses strapped to the back of it. "Remember...::this one word to start him as he spoke to his brothers::  Once we find this place, first we see to the comforta of the ladies..then we search out that which Ellyn suggested."

He was down helping Rob.. making sure all was secure before he was to mount up one of the horses provided.

"Aye." He nods, mounting his own horse. The ladies always came first.

Ah.. what a life, or unlife.. undead? well.. it didn't have all those concerns as this time consumption was near driving her up a wall. She whiled her time by checking out every muscular curve of the boys.. she did have this fascination.

Then his boot slid into the stirrup and he hoisted upward, his leg swinging over to settle to the saddle. He pulled back and the horse pranced in that direction to clear the cart, then a tap of heels started him forward to take the lead along with his brothers. Rob had the maps, Daniel the deeds and scribbled out directions...the only unknown was what they would find at the end of their search.

He gave a nod to Neale as a foot found the stirrup and his leg was in a swing over....settling back as reins were twined between those strong fingers...heels slightly nudged the steed spurring him forward and out of the way of the carts.

Tipping her head up she gives Lan a smile, cradled in the comfort of his lap, holding carefully to Ellyn and laughing when the toddler gives a giggle.

He was handling all that weight pretty well... Hannah's extra and Ellyn's little bony behind, coupled with last night.. Lan would be black and blue.. definitely put in his dues. He made a decision to see to the safety of all the women while the brothers were off after clues. This way he'd keep a good eye on his feisty wife too.. knowing they would get him if needed.

Settled as comfortably as possible on one of the carts she forces herself to put aside her worry to focus on the land around her, she'd never been to Scotland before.

With the brother's foresight they have very little trouble finding the lands that Frissel Keep sits on. One of the cart's is stuck for a brief and frustrating time in a rather large rut but once freed, the journey is smoother. It's difficult to find the correct path that will lead them to the Keep itself for they've all been long buried by wild growth. It takes some sword work to cut away low hanging branches and brambles along the path. No one gets through without a scratch or two except Ellyn, who's well protected by her aunt and uncle. The sight of the Keep itself, from a distance, is not a heartening one. Already they can see where walls have crumbled, areas that have collapsed completely and the overall state of disrepair. A closer view is not much better nor is the general feeling of the place. There is little good here, it seems. The area is long neglected and unfriendly. The great doors to the front of the Keep are no less foreboding. In fact, they are almost threatening, the dark, gnarled wood daring them to enter, giving them all pause as they stand before them.

No, it didn't look good, but this was as good as it got.  Neale shot a look to his brothers, then tossed the reins to the bared limb of a tree nearby.  He had taken the last of the journey on foot, helping to cut the path clear so the carts could pass. Neale stepped up to those doors, his hand coming to rest palm flat to the aged wood, then the pressure was applied in an attempt to have those ancient hinges working once again.

He was one of the ones all but cutting a new path to the keep...anxious now to see what was part of their heritage. A lot of the way he was on foot using his sword like a machetti.....his horse following. At one point he used the steed to drag a rather large branch as thick as a man from their way.

He cut away low hanging branches from his steed, working up a good sweat by the time they reach those doors. With a look to both brothers and Lan he steps up to help Neale get those doors open.

Ducking low to keep clear of those branches, her first reaction to the sight of Frissel is to shiver. "I don't like it." Is whispered to Lan.

They probably hadn't noticed... but Hazel was no longer with them she had gone up ahead to the keep.. and awaited them there as she checked the place out for... the bodyless.

His job was to see to the women, helping where he could to get those carts through even if he stayed pretty much right with them.

The feeling of the place is not one she likes at all and her senses scream the need to flee the place. Holding her ground, she tries to steel herself for whatever may come.

He was walking around the courtyard with that keen gaze trailing over all unfamiliar objects.....some looked like statues that had been part of a courtyard garden. He leaned down and righted a stone birdbath that had dolphins as its base. He could imagine it had a one time been a very ornate and luxurious lawn.

With Rob's assistance, the rusted over metal screeches in protest, but moves against itself to allow them just enough space for the large men to squeeze through. Would be no trouble for the women and Ellyn.  Neale's imagination was not as kind as Daniel's...for as he stepped into the darkened confines of the main hall his face and chest were coccooned in the blanket of a cobweb, thick with dust from age::  There were a few choice words, even for Neale, and he jerked that matting from his body, turning to Rob. "Watch your way, Rob..." Then once more his gaze narrowed to search out the shadowed ruin.

He was back around seeing his brothers trying to get the door open....and it did as he approached. He was through shoving at the door as he went.....gaining an inch or so.....and got the cobwebs in his face that missed Neale. "What the...ever loving....."

"Aye." You can bet that he's glad Neale went first but as he steps through, he walks into another wall of webs that make him jump and brush them away as quickly as he can.

He was helping Hannah down and making sure she was alright before starting to unload their things and set them up on the porch. Then see to unhitching the horses and letting them graze right there in what use to be the courtyard that now held plenty of grass.. least that which attempted to grow.

It is pitch black inside but once their eyes adjust they can make out the outline of a large, stone hearth across the large room and a hint of light through boarded up windows.

She seemed at home here, drifting through walls and furniture alike... glowing just a bit more and seemed stronger in her ethereal essence.

It was directly to those windows that Neale crossed, pulling a board away which blocked the natural light from entering.  One after the other over that window were jerked free and then those boards tossed to the gaping mouth of the hearth.

She held tight to Ellyn's hand, the other hand resting possessively on her rounded stomach. She did not relish the idea of going inside.

Dust motes floated as thick as a snow storm on the rays of light which now seeped into the room.

Dust, cobwebs, grime...the floor is thick with it. Ancient velvet curtains hang like torn rags from those windows, brushing Neale's face as he works. Old chairs and sofas covered with white sheets thick with dust sit around the hearth.

At least the thick stone walls blocked the night's chilled fingers. "Rob, check that hearth and see if it's workable... Daniel, see about lugging in some of those things to set up for the night." The rest would be taken care of come first light.  "I'll see if I can't find us some wood for that hearth if it'll support a fire..."

Climbing from the cart, she focuses on helping Lan unload things to keep from thinking of the feelings this place gives her.

With a nod he goes to work giving the hearth a thorough inspection.

The furniture alone in this room seemed more suitable for firewood than human occupation.  Those, though, were left as they were and Neale squeezed back out of that opening in the doorway to see about that wood for a fire to give them warmth...and much needed light...for the night to come.

A few coughs and he was fine before he set about slipping those white sheets that covered it made a difference after all this time!...but at least it got ride of that ghostly look to things.

"How bad is it?"  Is the question she asks Neale the second he emerges from inside.

He reached up and gave the back of is neck a scratch.  He still had the remnants of cobwebs clinging in his hair, his shirt front was dusted from the boards he tore from the windows, but he smiled to his sister.  "It'll serve our purposes, Sprite.  ::in more ways than one."  Greens drifted to Lan and Sarina then back to Hannah and the wee one she protected.

Night was descending quickly. She did not want to be here outside when it fell. Taking what she can carry, she starts toward those doors, still fighting the urge to run.

He soon had them shook out and piled on the floor in front of the hearth.....they could be used as bedding.

He saw that all baggage was moved into the room and the door closed against the night as all was settled outside too. Lan was used to such work...even more laborious with his smithy.

"We should be able to get a fire going, at least for one night."  Giving Dan a glance and going to help him.

She doesn't seem frightened, she seems excited. It will be fun getting this one to sleep tonight.

Neale could only nod in agreement...he had no doubts there was such here that would keep Neale glancing around his shoulder. That thought was not a comforting one, but he stepped to the side and went off on his search for wood.

Taking Ellyn's hand again she leads the little one inside, smiling as brightly as she can for her sake.

She stepped in just after Hannah, not at all happy to be breathing the stale air. A dark residue hung in the air, making her feel coated in the age old filth of the Keep.

....with a little help from everyone they manage to get a good blaze going and their bedrolls unpacked and laid out. No one is especially hungry but everyone eats what they can to keep strength up. The dark outside seems oppressive but inside it's comfortable enough.

To sleep on the floor will not be especially good for her back but she takes it in stride, helping to settle Ellyn down for sleep.

He lay atop his makeshift bed, watching the fire and worrying over the search that lay ahead.

There was still that basket of goodies....he did bring that with him for sugar did give energy.

She was scouting out the whole keep to find where the 'bad' spots were to warn them.

As the small party settled in, Neale studied each of them carefully through the drifting smoke of his pipe, an arm draped over his lifted knee where he sat on the floor with his back to one of those old chairs.  Too many possibilities, and only good one among them.  Finding that which Ellyn had mentioned and destroying it...another puff and cloud of smoke to squint through...and during this search, no doubt, they would be confronting that witch herself.

That's were all those extra sheets came in he dropped the pile near Hannah then took up his own sleeping bag and found himself a spot.

Using her poor, bruised husband as a pillow for comfort, she makes herself as comfortable as possible with him and the sheets piled there by Daniel.

She nibbled at the food provided, quiet and alert, ice blue eyes like an owl's, wide and watchful. She was jumpy, no doubt. She would sit there, looking from corner to corner, from hearth to window to door, for some time before trying for sleep.

"Thanks Dan." He did use the sheets to buffer them against the floor as he soon settled in with Hannah, warping her up in his arms. She could use his chest as a pillow.

Pulling off his boots he lays amid his blankets, closing his eyes and trying for sleep, knowing it would not be an easy night for any of them.

And so the night's vigil began, the fire's glow the only warden against the shadows which threatened, their alerted senses the only protection against that which shared this place with them.

It was more because she was at home...but there was a lot of evil that permeated this place. "Beware brothers... there is great evil here." Words spoken as she disappeared through another wall.



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