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Thistle Staff Stories

Date: 10-20-10
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 21

"I need to go look up the various Fae species in the library if they have anything on them. I'm not certain," eyes following hers as she saw to the bump. The salve felt a lot better than the ice. It was probably way pass ice doing any good. "That's just it, they play mischief and havoc on the ones they decide they like." Like that made sense but then there was this point, "like a lad that likes a girl in school and dips her pigtails in ink, sticks a harmless snake in her lunch pail and puts a tack on her seat, all to get her attention." Eyes were holding to hers as it was killing him now so he had to ask, "are you Brian's lass now?"

"Well," that made her laugh some, "they must like you quite a lot then." Giving him a wry smile as she continued to swab the goose-egg, making sure it was covered with salve. But once the smile faded she looked troubled. That came out of the clear blue sky, even if she might have expected he would ask it eventually. She winced some again but would pass it off as concentration as she saw to his wound. "I'm not anybody's lass.." she murmured the answer belatedly. "Captain MacMillan and I went out on.. an outing.. he wished to show me around the castle grounds." She shrugged slightly, trying not to recall the way he had brushed his hands against her shoulders while they were up in the tower. A gesture which had signified that it had been more than just a tour, at least for Brian. "That's all."

Then it was only setting out under escort. Which was normal and if any talked on her it was because they were jealous. "Someday you will be, some one's lass and a lucky man he will be too. I hope I am not too bold in asking but being I know you went with him on this outing, I needed to be sure before I ask that maybe you will go on an outing with me once I'm on my feet." Which of course would probably only take a day to recover from the blow. "How did you find me? The last I remember was running after the wee man to capture him and have a talk. Something came out of nowhere and clunk me in the head. Next I know I'm on that dumb waiter with you on top of me. Certainly better than the wee man standing there triumphantly." Which presented a humorous visual in spite of the ordeal.

"With you?" She echoed blankly, as if she couldn't quite believe that's what he'd said. In truth... she couldn't. After all this time and all they had been through together.. part of her could only think finally. Even if it was something she'd thought of before it still came as enough of a surprise to flutter her stomach. Hopefully he didn't interpret her pause as hesitation... which would be hard to do because the next second, she was smiling brightly. Like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, it lit up her whole face. "Don't you know.. you're the one I have wanted to ask me out all along?" In other words, yes! Eee. Ahem. She was still smiling as she answered his next words, shrugging with a slight laugh. "I don't know, I just... knew you were up there."

Talk about a blow to his ego, with the way she said 'with you?' Like it was a most intolerable thought. He winced inwardly and outwardly. He had interpreted her pause as hesitation and a way to turn him down nicely, hopefully at least nicely being friends and all. Wait. Blink. Grin shot wide. "I am, you do?" Not making much sense at the moment. WHEW! but not said, certainly the line of his shoulders which had been starting to sag then straightened again said it all. Going back to the problem at hand, The Attic and Wee Man. "I think I need to arm myself with knowledge then set a trap for the man, turn the tables. What do you say to helping me with that?" She could see the glint of challenge rise into bronze blue eyes and a touch of wicked there under the surface. Man on a cause. "I owe you one, being if you hadn't come, who knows how long I would have been up there and you find a pile of bones one day!" A little dramatizing the situation.

"Yes, I do," she would confirm with a nod and another beaming smile. One she couldn't help for the way he was grinning in return. Maggie was admittedly a little giddy from the asking and tried to smother it to return to the conversation. "I'm up for the challenge.." she accepted it with an impish look of her own. Though his talk about 'bones' was none too bright. "I was really worried," she admitted on a quieter note. Especially that moment when she had seen him lying prone on the floor and didn't know if he was alright or even alive. "I do think we need to be careful, he's probably angry we both escaped. Next time he'll likely throw everything he's got at us." But when she met his eyes she didn't seem necessarily afraid. They'd been through worse together in that alternate ice dimension.. they would get through this.

"Where was I when you found me? On the dumbwaiter?" He was trying to get her to describe what he didn't remember at all. "Unless he wanted us to find the dumbwaiter in his own unique way." The wee man could be a hazard to one's health if they were not careful or at least resilient. All of a sudden his stomach growled really loud, sounding like an ally cat looking for food. Eyebrows shot up as he couldn't believe that sound came from him. "I think I'm very, very hungry of a sudden." Well, he hadn't anything to eat since yesterday afternoon.

"Aye, you were, though I didn't know that was what it was at the time... or else I might have been a bit more careful." Though she hadn't really had a choice. "I was nearly forced to 'dance' with a heavy coat rack on my way to you, and when I got there, a broom or something fell and made me trip.. that's why I was.. atop you when we fell." At least she could explain the why of it, though it stained her cheeks a bit pink as she shot him a quick sheepish smile. When he spoke she stood immediately, rubbing her hands together to get rid of the rest of the salve. "Don't get up, I'll fetch it for you. How about some stew and maybe bread? Something easy for your stomach?" Sometimes head wounds made one nauseous. She was already moving off to get his food, determined to make sure he didn't have to lift a finger this night at least.

"That would be perfect. Hazel's Irish stew would cure a man with the pox." Which was quite the claim! So now he discovered how she came to be on top of him but certainly it had jolted him from his unconscious state. He rested back, the salve was already bringing the bump down, slow but sure and certainly quicker than if it hadn't been administered. It gave him a moment to watch her walk away and a smile surfaced again in a lazy contented way.

She was moving briskly, unaware of eyes on her as she went over to the kitchen window. Waiting there for Hazel to dish out the stew, she answered that yes, Matthew was fine, just needed to rest. Of course they were all worried about him, just as the way they had been worried for her during those darker times before they went to Bogton. It was nice to be part of a family in that way, with everyone caring about everyone else so much. Giving Hazel a smile, she turned back around with two bowls of stew and a plate of bread in her hands, having realized her own hunger now that the ordeal had passed. Maggie set down Matthew's bowl and the bread on the table in front of the couch, and took up a seat this time in the armchair right next to it, dipping her spoon into the hot stew. Stealing a glance up at Matthew she smiled again, unable to help it. "You think there are fae up there too, then?" It would make sense with all that sparkling pixie dust, though she'd heard of such things only in stories.

He carefully sat up and took his time utilizing the bread to sop up the stew with. Glance stolen her way catching a look that would have him smile. "How is your brother doing?" Safe topic and time to step away from the incident in the attic and even why he decided to go up there yesterday. "I'm glad you had a good time being shown around." Which was true, he had nothing against Brian, in fact liked the man. His words were to assure her of that. And.. assuming she had a good time being shown around the castle.

She brightened further at that topic. "He's doing very well. I think he's come to terms with the thought of living here long-term. He just began his new job as a royal guard yesterday." And she was so proud of him for securing that prestigious position for himself. Her smile softened some as he mentioned Brian. "Aye, it was.. nice." And it had been. Even if it had not left her giddy, the way Matthew asking her out had. But she didn't want to be unfair to Brian either. "The Hanging Gardens at the castle are lovely, have you been there? And the solarium.. I actually saw the princess there."

"It is good to hear. I will admit, I worried that if your brother decided to move on, you'd have to go with him." Which he understood but it would have bothered him greatly. In the least it would have been a very hard decision on her to uproot herself again especially since she had become part of their family, a loving family at that. "I can't blame Brian for asking to escort you, it was an honor for one like him to do so. A lot of ladies would have loved such an opportunity, I've seen them desperately try to get him to look their way. A few men of these lands seem to have that." Which had him shut up right there as he was talking too much. There was the whole of his background he never told anyone on for no one here needed to know, they knew him and had accepted him for who he was. "Aye, I've been there some time ago and some of the other places too that are sights to see in the lands."

Maggie nodded for she had been worried about that too. It would have been an extremely difficult decision, having to choose her brother or Heathfield, and she was glad she wouldn't have to make it. When he went on she shifted a bit in her chair. "I don't know if it was an honor for him, but I suppose it was an honor for me... he is the head of the royal guard after all." And she was just a barmaid, her sentence implied. Not that she cared much about that but others did. She wouldn't have been surprised if some of those other ladies might have been shocked to see someone like her with Brian. She smiled softly his way when he spoke of other men having 'that way' about them. Certainly it was true but in her opinion, the girls of this land must be blind to not be all over Matthew. She did wonder about that, having never seen him with a woman nor heard such talked about. But then she didn't know the story of his curse yet either. "I have been wanting to visit the Celtic Gardens. Have you been there? There's supposed to be fae there too.. but of a gentler sort."

He was just a handyman but for some reason both knew neither was 'just' anything but certainly a lot more. They had been after him some time ago that it was fun in a way to outwit them in avoiding. There was not only the curse but his hiding from his heritage in a way. To him, he could see her with a King for that matter. Most didn't think that way here but there were some, the jealous ones! She didn't know about the time he got stuck in the flu of the hearth.. and three ladies pulled his pants off tying to get him out. Or was it four? They found he didn't wear underwear. Problem was, a lass that did like him, ended up cursed. "I will take you to the Celtic Gardens then," that would be the first place at least. "Aye, there is fae there but not like the one upstairs," giving a gesture of his thumb upwards.

Part of her would always think of herself as just a poor farm girl from Wales. The thing was, she didn't think of it as a bad thing. Her own heritage might bring her the sadness of nostalgia at times, but it was hers to keep and remember. She had been just about to suggest that they go to the Gardens together, so his statement had that bright smile back on her lips. "I heard they are a bit mischievous themselves.. that they might tug on your hair or even whisper in your ear. They are supposed to be warm and blooming all year round, as well, so that will be nice with the weather getting cooler." It was a very nice feeling to be planning outings with Matthew. It was both exciting and comfortable in a way. "How's your head, does it still ache?"

He had finished his stew. "Aye, I think I need to get some sleep." For the ordeal had him worn out and now with a full stomach it was lulling him there. "Would you wake me in two hours?" Knowing with such a lump he should be awaken so he didn't slip into a coma. He was probably fine but the precaution was a good thing. "I would like to talk more soon." About a lot of things they only touched on as he was quickly getting sleepy.

"I'd like that too," she replied with a warm smile. Then she nodded to his request. "I will." She'd make sure she didn't lose track of time with some other chores either. "Here.." She stood to take his bowl away from him, setting it on the table, then offering him a hand. "Do you need help to your room?" He'd never seen her baby her brother when he was ill or hurt... but now he'd get that treatment firsthand. Maggie was most certainly a mother hen when it came to the people she cared for.

"Aye, make sure I don't collapse," he wasn't certain and so allowed her to help him up then swung an arm around her shoulders. She was a sturdy woman without being built like the bartender Hilda in Ballicastle. "Did you know that Alex's twin Allan runs the Bali Hi tavern in Ballicastle?" Odd idle conversation as he didn't rush but made sure all his steps were steady taking him to his room.

She was sturdy and quite strong for her slender size, considering her profession and her days spent carrying heavy platters and mopping floors. Her arm came to wrap around his back securely, glad he allowed her to help him. Some  were too prideful to dare let a woman assist them lest they appear weak. She kept her pace slow and steady as they moved for the staff hall. "Alex has a twin? He's never mentioned him to me.." She sent Matthew a mischievous smile. "Can we go there some time and see how much or little like Alex he is?" She was certainly curious. Reaching Matthew's door she swung it open, but hesitated, not knowing if he wanted her taking him all the way inside or not. Though... honestly... propriety was hardly an issue after the nights they had spent sleeping together cozily...!

"Aye, we can, they are identical in looks. I think Mary Quinn is sweet on him and he on her." Which had him grinning. He enjoyed seeing Alex with Hazel and that time Allan came and Mary and the four had tea in the kitchen. She hesitated and he was taking a step forward so ended bringing her with him. "My bed wont bite you." Considering they had slept in the same bed a couple of times but he'd never mention that to anyone lest it get out and that would be harder to trample down for her reputation.

"I didn't think Mary Quinn could be sweet on anyone," she said with a little grin, having heard plenty of stories about the formidable dame. His forward motion had her coming along with him and his comment... made her chuckle lightly. She couldn't help but remember those nights and shot him a quick look; at least the passage of time had made that slip a bit less awkward. Once over to the bed, she leaned over to ease him down onto it. She'd even kneel down real quick to help unlace his boots so he wouldn't have to bother with them, tugging them off one by one. Something she did thoughtlessly and didn't mind doing.

"Aye, the Lady has a heart, don't let her fool you. I've heard her inviting Alex and Hazel for dinner and saying Alex could bring his brother." Mary was a sly one in a good way. He was soon to the edge of his bed and sitting only to be surprised by her unlacing his boots. "You'll have me spoilt like an Earl." whoops.. some things came out when he was that kind of sleepy.

From her crouched position on the floor, she looked up at him with a small laugh and a smile. "You deserve to be treated like one. Especially after getting knocked in the head by a very small man." It was rather funny now and she did love to tease! Though she took the wee man more seriously than that and would be on her guard when next they went up to the attic. His boots were set aside and she tugged at his blankets to get his legs beneath them. "I'll come wake you in a couple of hours." Tugging the blanket up, her hand came close to his face and without pausing to think about it, her fingers gently brushed a few tendrils of hair from his eyes.

"For some reason I get this image of him rigging a dumbbell to a pulley and riding it down as he hits me in the head." His words were starting to fade as he easily rolled over and under the coverlet. Eyes closing and he was gone into a normal sleep but one really needed to finish the healing process.

That was a pretty funny image she had to admit. "Sleep well," she added more softly when it was clear he was already drifting to dreamland. So she slipped from his room, quietly closing the door to not disturb him. Lunch time would come soon and the rush of customers with it.

Date: 10-25-10
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 22

Celtic Gardens


It was almost a week later that Matthew was fully recovered. He, along with Alex were up in the Attic to pull the dumbwaiter up all the way and locked into position. Amazing that the wee man didn't show his face with Alex there but had no problem with Matthew or even Maggie when in the Attic. The door to the storage room on the main floor was also locked and the key given to anyone wishing to take any furniture there but so that no one could bring the stuff up into the attic. The attic door was locked until which time Matthew wished to resume cleaning the Attic. There was the notion he would get to the library first chance and learn what he could of such small trouble Fae first. He also wanted to be fully recovered before taking on this advisory. In the meantime, after the lunch crew were done and Maggie finished up her duties, he was ready to take her to the Celtic gardens on their first date. Hazel packed him a small basket with finger foods in case they got hungry but not to replace a real meal which would be later this evening. His beard was getting fuller so was trimmed, longer hair was tied back and a brim hat worn to keep both sun and leaves from hitting his face, the shade from the brim also offered seeing better. It was a bright sunny autumn day, one perfect for this outing. A poet's shirt of tan was worn under a dark brown vest that matched the pants. Boots were of a lighter hue leather that laced up to below his knees leaving a cuff that folded over. He stood at the bar talking with Alex while he waited for Maggie to come from the back where she'd gone to her room to ready herself. Of course the conversation went back to that of the Attic and its occupant.

Maggie had been around alot while Matthew recovered, checking up on him often and making sure he got the meals and rest he needed. She didn't mind it at all, in fact it felt good to give something back, after all Matthew had done for her when she was so sick during their journey. As tended to happen she got busy working and lost track of time, so she had to be shooed off by the kitchen maids who urged her to get ready for her date. She was in a bit of a hurry and so didn't have much time to deliberate over what to wear, but a glance out the window told her it was a beautiful autumn day and she chose colors to suit. A dark emerald green dress, with a neckline that went just slightly off the shoulders, its color complementing the creaminess of her skin and darkness of her hair. The dress was trimmed with dark yellow-gold vine shapes that curled around her waist and went up both shoulders. Stepping out of her sturdy work slippers and into more supple brown leather ankle boots, Maggie grabbed up a dark yellow shawl to match the trim and glanced in the mirror. She pulled her hair down from its bun and fingercombed it then off she went. Stepping into the commons, she was smiling but it had almost a shy note as it found Matthew. "I'm ready if you are.."

Maggie was somewhat envied by the kitchen, scullery and chambermaids but those that were friends and of descent personalities, were happy for her too. Matthew had been noticed and secretly crushed upon that would never be known by a few of them. She would never have to give anything back like some kind of balancing the scale, there was no scale in Matthew's mind but he really liked her waiting on him special. There was something in that he'd not deny hit a certain spot and he didn't discourager her unless it interfered with her duties which it almost had a couple of times. Eyes lit up when she finally emerged, sucking in a quick breath for the visual she made. "You look really pretty in that color." It had a way of complimenting the red streaks in her hair, and didn't his eye travel over the curve of her shoulder to linger a moment longer before catching himself. "I'm ready, catch you later Alex and I'll have those things you mentioned done before tomorrow." Offering the bend of his arm as he stepped away from the bar towards her. He might seem just a little anxious to get him off to himself! Outside there was a breeze that held a slight chill to it that was noticeable when in shaded areas, under the sun it wasn't felt at all.

Her smile deepened, pressing quick dimples into her cheeks at the compliment. "Thank you." Better watch out or her cheeks would match the red streaks in her hair, too! Stepping forward to meet him, her eyes traveled along his frame, muscular but not too much so. Just right. "You look very nice too.." Yes, well, time to go before Alex could start chortling. A quick almost sheepish smile to the bartender, "Bye Alex," and then she stepped forward to take Matthew's arm. Something she'd done before when they were charading as husband and wife, but it felt different this time. Fingers slid over to rest comfortably on his arm as they stepped outside, and she took in a deep breath, keeping her shawl loosely in her free hand rather than bothering to wear it. "What a perfect day." Sunny enough to make the crisp air feel wonderful on their cheeks. "Are we going to the Celtic Gardens then?" Something they'd talked about doing not long ago.

He was afraid she'd might take a chill as he lowered the bend of his arm to maneuver it to around her shoulders, the touch of his fingers against the smoothness of her skin where the dress didn't quite cover. He noticed how it made him feel like an electrical pulse to snake out through his being. A pleasant one. "Soon the days will get very cold. I hope you are prepared as far as outfits or you will need to see to such. The snow can pile as high to the door stoops. If we have a blizzard, even higher, depending on the ferocity of the storm. Cold, can get as bitter as the hairs freezing in your nose when you breathe it in. That's when you know that it has gone to the minus degrees. The snow no longer soft under your step but a stiff crunch. You will need a good coat and winterized boots. Best is to dress in layers." For a couple of reasons. A number of people were greeted as they walked along, and for his arm being around her, a few longer looks with smiles. They made a nice couple but then Maggie would look good alongside any lucky man. The leaves scattered as they walked, the breeze playing with them and at times small dust devils rose up in a funnel to chase across the street or along the walk they were upon. The commons was quite alive with vendors yelling their wares in competition with all others to draw the many about to their tables or vardos.

Her glance darted up when he put his arm around her shoulders, and when the pads of his fingers brushed her bare skin, it felt almost like when you rub your feet on the carpet then touch a doorknob.. a quick spark. But it felt wonderful too, enough to give her a few girlish jitters and her own arm rose to go lightly around his hips. It made her smile even as he spoke of the harshness of winter. A nod was offered as she accepted the advice, "I'm used to bad winters.. I remember as a girl in Wales, it was so cold, it seeped even through the thickest of boots... there was no such thing as enough clothes to keep out the chilly damp air. There was nothing nicer than a warm fire on days like that." Even the tiniest flame in the hearth was heavenly! The smell of the peat fires here still reminded her of those days. She glanced around as they strolled, nodding to those she knew as they passed, a smile light on her lips as she glanced around the town she'd grown to love so much. "Everyone is running around outside as much as they can before winter.." she observed.

"Good, then I shall not be rescuing an icicle form the cold. Rub her whole body down to bring life back, pressing he close to share my heat.." he didn't look her way but she'd catch the curve of his lips she could see from that side view. It certainly presented a scenario that he could get lost in quickly if he allowed himself. They turned down the side street that led them from the commons, the buildings even melting away into fields and forests. Less than an hour later the trees seemed to get greener and fewer with the turning leaves until it became even warmer, the flowers back alongside the road as the Celtic Garden was into view.

Oh... as he spoke those words, her cheeks certainly DID match the streaks in her hair! Though she knew he was doing it to be wicked, and a glance stolen up to his face had her snickering. "Perhaps I shall find myself lost in the snow after all..." if only to have him do as he suggested. They strolled at an easy pace and her stride was relaxed as they left the town behind for more natural settings. Large blue eyes were on the gardens ahead, somewhere she'd always wanted to go but never had the chance nor opportunity. Certainly it would be something nice to share with Matthew. In truth there was nobody else she'd rather share it with. Their friendship was very important to her and now that it seemed to be growing into something deeper... it was even moreso. "Do you think we will see the fabled fae of the gardens?"

"Perhaps I will practice my rescuing skills on you. See how fast I can warm up a frozen lady." Which had him turn with a full smile her way and a waggle of his brows. He was being wicked but such a good wicked. There were things floating about, shimmering glimpses that winked in and out. A buzzing of life on a midsummer's day. They could feel the difference like walking through an unseen wall that brought them into this other world all its own. Flowers seemed to bloom profusely as paths wound around stone gardens. "It is said the forest nymphs from the woods that surround, (like a horseshoe) tend these gardens all year round." They certainly looked tended for there were no twigs or branches laying about, no dead leaves or plants nor such debris. Even the trails were kept cleared in this place held in the palm of the forest. "Andrew's Crystal Cave is within this particular mountain too." Which he felt connected to this wonderment.


"You may practice on me, and I will time you." How wicked was that? And could be far more suggestive than she actually meant it... though there was a glint in her eye as she sent him a glance. Then they were stepping into the gardens and she sucked in a deep lungful of the rich, earthy scent. It was like perfume to her and she could almost feel the life soaking the air. It made her blood move a bit faster through her veins and she cast Matthew a brilliant smile. "This is incredible."

That dare was too much to ignore. "Yes, incredible," but he was looking at her as her suggestion tempted and tempted him more. Here in a place, a world onto itself, he didn't feel the pressure of eyes upon him (although there were many!). Stepping up to the plate, he was quick at her side as she cast him that glance and such a brilliant smile. The place alone made their blood move faster but his was on this thought herald his next move. First his hands were on her shoulders turning her into him as with the bend of his head, lips sought and quickly captured hers. His right hand moving smoothly from shoulder to the back of her head as fingers dove into the thickness of her hair to rest cushioned against her scalp. Eyes closed as his lips explored and all else around them whirled away having it just him and her and the driving feel of passion being passed in that lip lock.

There was such a riot of flowers and plants here, she almost didn't know where to look first, and that smile remained brightly as she gestured to a bed of bright purple flowers. "Look, do you see th-" Her words cut off quite suddenly when it all happened very fast. His hands turning her towards him, and then she couldn't see or think or move, because his lips were on hers. It swept her away, something she had secretly imagined for some time but had never taken that chance. She had just never been sure he felt the same but now.... those questions were answered and she didn't hesitate. Her lips parted, plush and yielding against his as her arms tossed around his neck, clinging there as the thrill swept her head to toe. Her eyes closed and the kiss was so sweet it almost hurt, a lovely pain she never wanted to end. She would surrender his lips for nothing as the moment lasted, even lifting up onto her toes some to draw that much closer.

His lips gave and took, devouring, savoring, slow motion then heated frenzy. Breath quickened but it didn't slow the procedure in drinking deeply of her lips as he wrapped her up into his arms pulling her tight against him. Soft curves to mold with harder muscles. As her lips parted, his tongue swept, dipping between to find hers before the play commenced. One that had his blood rising, the thunder in his ears. One hand still cradled at the nape of her neck before there was a kind of push and laughter as chimes on the wind to take place. He'd been lost in that kiss until that startling moment that had him blink as thoughts tried to regroup from the point of ecstasy. It was no easy feat and caused a momentary bewildered look as a shimmer of colors danced around them leaving such dust on their hair and shoulder, leaving him speechless at the moment.

The feeling of their lips was luxurious, delicious enough to be savored slowly, but then there was that moment when it shifted. Heated. She could feel it in the way he pulled her closer, and a gasp tore itself from her lips as she felt her own body respond, heat flooding her frame as she pressed herself to him. The sensation was undeniably dangerous but heady too, and she might have gotten swept away by it - were it not for that impromptu interruption. It felt like something shoving them to make them both stumble, then there was a spray of misty laughter. Their lips were torn unfairly apart and she, too had to take a few moments to catch her breath and look around. But she spared only a moment to note the sparkling dust with some wonder, before looking back hungrily into his face. Caution thrown to the wind and she finally let herself acknowledge it. "I love you Matthew. I've loved you for a long time, but I never had the courage to say it, and you don't have to say it back, I don't care, I just wanted to tell you. I wanted you to know before.." she thought of Brian and of the kitchen girls with their crushes on Matthew, "before we missed our chance." Her eyes were very blue as they held his, and there was a sort of wild abandon there, but it was tinged with fear that she had blurted something she would regret later... if the sentiment was not mutual.

"I think they are afraid we'd couple on one of their gardens and flatten it out." But he didn't get the feeling they were against love, or such affection shared even they could feel it in the air. He was about to say more but then her confession came of her feelings. Not unwanted but certainly a surprise to have it verbalized. His eyes upon her steadfast that she would notice how they softened with some strong emotion beneath. He was about to confirm but with her saying he didn't need to, like parroting, he could not and so presented it in a different way. "I didn't have to say you were my wife. I didn't have to sleep in your bed having you safely in my arms, spoon in against me even if that was all there was. I didn't have to dare the devil with you but I could not stay away when you were in danger no matter how much danger it put me in." There was no second thought, "I did them all because of how I feel and wanted to." She may have known this, he wasn't sure but now she would know by it being said, no wondering left. "I want that chance with you, we will not miss it." Not that he could guarantee where it would go nor her for that matter. It wasn't about guarantees but more, not missing the chance in finding out. He continued to hold her in his arms the while they each spoke. His hand sliding from the back of her neck to cup near her jaw. Thumb in a smooth caress there near the edge of her lips.

That hesitation before he answered was such a torture of uncertainty, she almost missed the way his gaze softened and held hers. She almost just begged him not to say anything, covering up the potential awkwardness with one last kiss. Her lips pressed together and her dark lashes swept her gaze down, but it lifted again when he spoke. Realization dawned like a slow but brilliant sunrise as he went on, and it was almost bewildering, the wonder that filled her when he expressed what all of those things had meant to him. They had meant so much to her too but neither had ever admitted it, not til now. Her features softened and warmed as she marveled over the fact that he could care for her in that way too. That brush of her skin with his thumb was so tender, and the moment so sweet it filled her eyes with a glass coating of tears. He would see her lips curve in a true smile, just before she leaned up to claim his lips in a much softer but somehow deeper kiss.

Eyes had been searching the whole time while watching a slew of emotions cross her visage, some he recognized, some too fleeting to know their meaning on a conscious level. Perhaps later while lying in bed it would come to him, what a certain look had meant. Strange how that happened but he'd come to let such knowledge be known later in that way of reflecting. Lips parted but only ended up receiving the next kiss. The thought of them staying 'equal' somehow crossed his mind in a slightly humorous way. Something to reflect on later for certainly the laugh that might of followed was upended by the sheer intensity of the kiss that followed. His were being branded on her as hers were upon his. Deeper felt with the clouds of wondering, cautious and even wary all swept away to allow the light of truth shine complete.

Nothing else in the world mattered except for this, the closeness of their bodies and now their hearts, the touch of lips on lips. they could have been transported back to the middle of the Tavern or even to that icy alternative dimension and she might not have noticed. She clung to that feeling, not wanting it to end, letting the kiss linger as she explored every nuance of his lips. Maggie was a generally happy girl, content with her lot whether it was as bar maid or lady's maid. But joy? Sheer unadulterated joy? That was not something she had ever experienced except in brief spurts, but it held onto her now, and perhaps that was the reason for her tears. Her hands moved to lay alongside each of his cheeks, and when their lips briefly parted she glanced up at him, letting out a laugh that was simply an overflow of her feelings before leaning into the kiss again.

They may not have been transported back to the tavern nor that icy hell, they were transported as the Nymphs guarded their gardens well. Seeing the two melted together with what they could see as heat flames rising all around them, they wove their spell and carried the two to a safe place. That place was down along the path leading from the gardens to the spas. The roar of water spilling to their right into a ravine. The waterfall's beginning hardly seen up the side of the steep mountain. The pool below down a steep embankment could be traversed. Odd exotic plants grew there. The waters so clear one could see the larger fish swimming around, colorful birds sang or chirped while flying about. He had been so lost in the kiss nothing else to register until her lips parted, his eyes to open and adjust, and her laugh. One challenged by the rush of water now so near. He couldn't help but smile and laugh too until the blinked with a look around them. "Must I say your kiss moved me?" Us being more accurate. But he was met with another kiss, he so easily delved into.

Happily oblivious to anything around them... she melted into the kiss and would have done so forever, had not that new sound caught her ears. Roaring waters, and something felt different about the world around them... her eyes opened slowly and almost reluctantly, to regard their new surroundings. "Did we walk here and I just didn't notice?" She had to laugh again, a bit breathlessly as she stayed close to Matthew but took a few moments to look around. Her eyes widened as they roamed up, up, up that massive waterfall, then back down to where it led, slowing for a moment in a clear green pool. In this warm environment the idea of an adventure was quite tempting. The tears gone, she was all smiles as she glanced back to Matthew daringly. "Want to go for a swim?"

"I don't remember walking but then there was only you and our kiss and how it made me feel. I think we were moved, much like we were nudged back in the gardens. I don't think we have irritated them, but they found humor in it instead. He had moved them near the edge but not too close. Near enough that it gave them a good view of above and below. "We could, as there is a path," precarious one that led down the side of the ravine to a small sandy shore below. Obviously it was used by some to go swimming down there. Waters would remain warm here as they were directly fed from the enchanted mountain. One with the crystal cave, where he heard the water came from the core of the earth and then out from there in waterfalls. "There is also natural spas down that path a distance further," from the one they were standing on. "It is said they are healing waters. Many come here with wounds or sick to revive in the waters."


She had felt the same, that it was just them and the kiss and nothing else in the world, so that made her smile. Hearing that they were literally 'moved' had her brows quirking, a glance swinging around but now the nymphs were nowhere to be seen. She just shrugged slightly.. it was part of the wonder of this place. Following his gaze down that path, she got that mischievous look in her eye, and pulled away only enough to take hold of his hand. "Come then," and she gave a tug, her other hand gathering up her skirts to pull the hems free of the ground as they started down that precarious path.

Which had him laugh, "bossy Lady," this was not the first time she grabbed his hand and pulled. Like before he gave that resistance to draw her back into his arms for only a moment before she was starting down the path, his hand in hers just behind to keep her from any spills. That's when he noticed something. "There's our picnic basket," the one that had been set on the ground in the garden. Obviously they had been moved as there was proof! Neither of them had been down to the pool below. The ivy got greener as well the bushes that sported vivid pink, white and red flowers. There were bluebells along the embankment as well daisies and other numerous flowers. Once to the sandy shore below one could see how clear the water was, clean, cleaner than any water he's seen before. There were stones that sparkled beneath the flow of water as well pearly ones. So many butterflies were down here too and some, he swore had tiny human bodies. They kept just on that fringe at the moment.

She just grinned when he accused her of bossiness, something he'd accused her of before but she knew he meant it only as a tease. Laughing lightly when they spotted the basket already delivered for them below, she made the descent very carefully, using her natural good balance to keep her safe as they traversed the steep path. Sometimes obliged to let go of his hand to climb between some rocks, she always managed to catch his fingers up again, almost without thought. Now that the discovery of feelings had been made, she wanted to bask in it still.. no matter where they were or what they decided to do. Finally arriving on the beach, she immediately bent to tug off her boots and let her bare feet nestle in the warm sand. "Ahh.." that felt wonderful after the damp autumn chill they'd left behind.

It seemed there were strong vines or roots to take hold of on some of the steeper areas along the path down. Hands released but taken up once able again. It was fun in itself this climb down but relief once feet hit the sand. "I would say.. well worth the steep decline and hopefully easier going back up it once we are ready." Or perhaps they would discover another way out. The whole time now with her, was different, like the feel of the sun through their whole being, not just seeing sunlight. It had seeing the world through rose colored glasses, everything was better still than it ever had been. He followed suit, taking off his boots then his shirt was up and over his head so he could soak in the summer like sunlight. Certainly warm enough as he went to the edge, stepping in to test the waters. "Like a drawn bath." Thrown over his shoulder before going deeper and sending a splash her way. A good one too. Of course that had him on the run in the shallower water until it was deep enough for him to dive in the pool fed by the waterfall.


Yes... it was different and it cast the whole world in a new light. Maggie herself almost felt as if she had drunk too much wine, so giddy was she still, and each time she glanced at him... she could feel how his lips had felt on hers and wanted more. Which made a smile play her lips, as she glanced back up the path they'd come down. "It will be a climb but the way down was fun." She wouldn't mind the challenge! Watching him pull of his shirt, a bit of heat flushed her cheeks but it was quenched when he splashed her. Letting out a yelp as she dodged it some, but the water soaked her front and she found it enticingly warm. Of course, when he took off she took chase, holding up her skirts to run barefoot through the shallows before falling into the deeper water. It had taken her by surprise, that plunge and she came up with a splutter and laugh. Pushing the hair out of her eyes, she glanced around for him. "You can't hide forever..." she grinned slowly.


Date: 11-04-10
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 23

Waterfall's Secret


He surfaced sleek as an otter in the water. Hair was plastered back from his face as he gave his head a shake sending out a spray of droplets. Features burst into a grinning smile as he caught sight of Maggie. Except now he saw beyond her a little person watching them from the other shoreline under the cover of ivy. There and gone in a twinkle of an eye. He turned a full circle while treading water then to face her again. "Come, take a look." If she looked real careful she'd see some of them. Once one adjusted to being able to discern them from a leaf or a flower, they would realize there were many of them all around. They wore leaves and flower petals in a way to blend in with all the colors of foliage and flowers.

There he was. She grinned some as he shook his head like a dog in a bathtub, and swam over to join him. Her strokes were neat and strong, not afraid of the deeper waters, and she even dove to swim beneath the surface before popping up beside him. The red of her hair was darkened by the water but still gleamed like copper amongst the darker locks, when she floated in the sunlight. Pushing the hair from her eyes, she followed Matthew's gaze and looked hard for a moment. He'd recognize that second when she caught sight of one of them when she caught her breath on a gasp and went very still. "Just there," she pointed as she whispered. It was a tiny one bedecked in green moss, peering out from behind the trunk of a tree.

He moved near her, eyes a bronzed bluish color in sunlight. "Yes," coming under his breath as if the very sound of his voice might chase them away. There were males and females of varying sizes although all small. Just some were smaller than others and harder to see. They must have realized the two gained the sight in seeing them and next they knew, they were all flying out from their cover and showering them with petals of flowers. Petals everywhere to rain down on them, landing on their heads, shoulders and the water all around them. The scent sweet unlike any they had ever smelled before. Laughter chimed, rising up into a chorus of many voices together. A lifting sound of well being and then they were gone again. He noticed that the petals all had this silvery dust that didn't easily wash off in the water but the water had a glistening sheen along the top layer where so many petals floated. "I think we were just blessed by the Fae?" He wasn't certain but unlike the thing in the Attic, the ones here were very pleasant.

Maggie didn't say anything else for fear of frightening them away, just watched them, eyes moving from one to the other though each was just a flickering glimpse. She blinked when they suddenly all burst from their covers, her head  tilting up to watch as they flew over and then they were being showered by glitter and petals. It made Maggie laugh out of sheer wonder, a hand lifting out of the water to try to catch a few of those petals. They tangled in her hair and she brushed one from where it stuck to her cheek. A glance to Matthew found him similarly decorated and he had a fine sheen of silver dust over him, just as she did. It sparkled in her eyelashes as she plucked a petal from his hair, smiling. "So it would seem. We must have done something right.." Maybe the Fae just sensed that bond they had so recently forged together? Certainly Maggie felt she must be visibly glowing with it.

"I can hope it will help me in dealing with whatever lives in the Attic."  Or so it seemed the little man lived there in his labyrinth. He leaned in to steal a kiss as she looked like a larger rendering of a Fae at the moment, he probably looked much the same too. The water seemed to slowly move around them, bringing the petals in that motion. There was no sign of the community of Fae as they had gone back to their village, secluded away on the other side of the pool, in a distance and well camouflaged.

"Help us," she reminded him with a little smile. She wasn't about to go back on her promise to help him solve the attic mystery once and for all. She held his eyes, noticing their unusual tint not for the first time, that is until he leaned in. Then her eyes slipped shut and she allowed him to claim her lips, giving them over to his explorations, and probing his in return. This kiss was slower but no less heated for it, as her legs kicked beneath her to tread water, and her arms loosely wrapped around his neck. Could there be anything on earth better than this? She doubted it.

"Yes, us," against her lips as the kiss only halted briefly until they resumed their perusal. One hand sliding around her waist while he tread water still for it was over their heads. He lost sense of time and surroundings until something coiled around his leg and dragged him, with her as he held on, to the other side of the pool a few hundred yards away, nearer where the water spilled into it from the top of the mountain. Whatever it was recoiled back up under the brush of the shore. "Holy.." was all he got out as he stumbled to where they could stand, holding onto her and bringing her up with him in a unsteady way at first until they both got their bearings as the vine had gone.

Hours could have passed as they melted into that kiss, and might have passed had not that rude interruption come to whisk them away. Lips tore themselves from his with a gasp, holding onto Matthew for dear life as they zoomed through the water at high speed. What was going on? There wasn't even time to cry out or say a word when they were all but thrown against the far shore. Her blue eyes were wide as she watched the snakelike vine slither out of sight into the brush. Using Matthew's hand, she sloshed her way out of the water, her skirts soaked and heavy. Then she was looking at him, "Are you alright?" She gave a laugh, a nervous sort as it seemed no harm was done... and took a  look around where they'd landed.

"Yes," concern edged the hue of his eyes as he moved out of the water with her. "I'm not sure what that was all about but I don't think it has anything to do with the Wee People nor meant to harm us." They were not pulled under or any attempt at such. "I think whatever it was wants to show us something?" Certainly uncertain as he scanned the area where they stood when he noticed a path that led up and away, almost overgrown but from the spot they were in, it could been seen. "Are you up to find out?" They had the choice.

"No..." she agreed, "it could have done much worse to us if it wished." Though her eyes were wary as she glanced around to some of the other vines.. thankfully none of them seemed 'alive' as the first had. She followed his gaze to that parting in the brush that was barely a path. "I can never resist the temptation of an adventure.." she told him with a little grin. She was up for it if he was!

"I don't get the feel there is anything evil residing in the Celtic Gardens. I think at worse, they would hide from you if they didn't like you and if they do like you, bring you things or have a little mischief fun." Like the ones had with dumping flower petals all around them and the silvery dust that went with them. He spoke as he headed up the path which seemed to wind deeper into the forest beyond. The fall of the water got a lot louder as they came from tall bushes to an opening behind the waterfall. There was a ledge wide enough for one to walk over and end up behind the rushing waters. "What do you say?" In the least they would end up on the other side, probably close to where they had originally stood before going down into the ravine.

"Aye... it does not feel as if anything dark could ever get in here." At least she liked to think so. Picking up the ends of her sodden skirts in one hand, the other was used for balance as she followed Matthew up the path. It was quite overgrown and she had to pick her way carefully, ducking beneath low branches and stepping over piles of gnarled roots. Eventually it opened up just slightly, enough for them to see that ledge laying so beckoning (yet hazardous) before them. Tilting her head to consider it, she then gave Matthew a mischievous smile, and made a broad gesture with her hand. "You first..."

Which had him chuckle as she indicated that he go first. "No ladies first?" Teasing, of course he would go first when it posed any threat. "Mind your step then and hold my hand. Put your back to the stone wall," his hand reaching for hers as he spoke but first he helped tie up the sodden skirt so the end tucked through the waist band, "don't need you tripping over this either." He managed to wring some of the water out too. Once prepared he started in, hand holding hers as he inched his way sideways along the wall. There was about two feet of stone jutting out but the thing that made it dangers was the fact it was wet. One could slip if they tried moving too quickly. Left hand held hers while the right moved along the wall in guide, touching here and there. That was until eventually his hand went back into air where there was no wall at all. It had him pause as he looked over his right shoulder. Brows went up. "Well, look here, we have a cave." The stone beneath their feet was dryer once off the ledge area closer to the waterfall.

She just smiled nonchalantly at his question, then nodded, and she'd help to collect her skirts to tuck into the narrow belt at her waist. Her feet were bare of shoes and socks so this exposed her legs to the knees... but as far as emotions went she had exposed herself to Matthew before and so was not too self-conscious. Taking hold of his hand, she edged out after him, her other hand crawling along the wall behind her. Looking down, she concentrated on the movement of her feet rather than the threatening plunge that loomed far below. The stone was slick underfoot but she managed it without slipping, her grip on Matthew's hand rather tight as she held her breath. She paused the moment he did, glancing over to see around him, but she could not crane her neck too much to see without a wave of vertigo. "Go on in, then," she urged him with a slight laugh, and she would follow, finally breathing once they were in that more protected cave area. The sound of rushing water echoed loudly within, pounding against the stone so hard it shook the ground.

He pulled her right into his arms, to offer her strength and quell any shivers she might have from the ordeal. Frightening and exhilarating at the same time. More than likely they would survive any fall but the idea taking such a plunge could weaken the knees (at least that feeling). "You are safe," fingers lifting to comb through the wet mass of hair. "Even in here the red in your hair seems to shine." Gradually their eyes would adjust to the surroundings. They were in a smaller outer cave that led to other caves from there. Two openings in the farther end from where they stood. In this outer chamber there was straw gathered in a few places with moss layered in, sort of bedding. A few old woven baskets made from reeds that grew along the pool's edge below in areas. There were also some clay pots, hand size that may have been used to eat food from. The embrace was eased as he started noticing these things around them in this cave. "I don't think too many have found this cave at all." More mused for he expected it to be barren.

Most definitely exhilarating! And a bit scary, but that was just part of the thrill. She was more than happy to almost fall into his embrace, arms wrapping around him in return to catch her balance. Head tilting back to look at him, her heart was fluttering for a different reason now when he stroked her hair and murmured those endearing words. She could only beam a sunlit smile up at him, leaning some into the embrace before it was eased away. In the dimness her blue eyes seemed to catch the minimal light to almost glow, as she looked around, and they widened in surprise at the bedding and the pots. "Do you think someone.. lives here?" Now her voice was hushed, wondering if they were invading someone's home, though who might live in a place like this she had no idea.

"I think someone lived here long ago." He was over to investigate the bedding which was somewhat decayed. Turning around on a bare heel as he looked upon her as he spoke. He rose up to move to the entry of one of the adjoining caves. It was even darker in this next one until one got in there and eyes adjusted more. "Shall we?" Looking back to see if she was interested to investigate further.

He was right, she saw as she looked around a bit more... those beds looked moldy and the pots were covered with a fine layer of dirt and dust. She knelt down to lift one of the clay pots, blowing the dust from it to study it curiously, trying to learn just a bit more about the person or people who might have lived here. She set it down when he spoke, straightening with a willing smile. "We shall," she affirmed, and moved over to join him. It was quite a bit darker in the next chamber and she blinked a few times to let her eyes adjust, touching his sleeve briefly to assure he was still there ahead of her. "Spooooky," she whispered teasingly, though it was a bit eerie the way her  voice echoed.

He had found something else near the mats of straw and moss. "Here, I found this and I think you should have it as a souvenir." It was a small totem, with three figure heads one upon the other. The owl at the top, a wolf beneath that and a bear beneath the wolf that seemed the foundation. It had been carefully carved and polished with some kind of oil that had well penetrated the wood to preserve it.

Taking the token from his hand, she turned it over to peer at it with interest. Her finger ran over the carving of the wolf, "Whoever carved this was quite talented..." She mused, wondering still about who they might have been. Perhaps a mystery they wouldn't be able to solve. Giving him a smile, she tucked the totem safely into her belt as they ventured into the next room. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she could see that it grew more and more narrow, winding its way back and forth in a way that made it difficult to tell just how far it went.

He debated as there could be snakes found in these caves and some could be poisonous. Slipping the eating knife he carried from his belt he banged the hilt against the stone wall, "Anyone back there?" Calling out too for if there was anything it would hear. He went dead silent and listened. With the rush of the water outside the cave area they were in, it was hard to tell but he thought he heard rustling coming from the cave beyond. "I think maybe we should wait to explore any further when we have lanterns to bring with us." He didn't like the idea of going blind into the dark. Especially if they were intruding on an inhabitant.



Date: 11-04-10
Poster: Matthew Myers 
Post # 24

She slipped her hand loosely around his arm to hold as she walked slightly behind Matthew, blinking in the darkness while he knocked his knife against the wall. She, too stopped to listen when he did, but all she could hear was the thumping of tons of water against the outside of the cave. Even just a bit further it had gone from dim to almost pitch black, and she nodded willingly when he spoke. "Aye, we can't see anything anyway," which made exploring a bit pointless. Turning around put her in the lead and her hand slid down his arm to take his fingers lightly as they made their way back out. It was beginning to occur to her that she had no idea what time it was, nor how many hours had passed. Much as she would like to forget time altogether and spend the rest of the day with him... duty did call for both of them and they would be missed if home too late.

He tried to see into the darkness, peering hard before giving up the ghost. A smile lit his face. "There is this basket left on the bank down by the pool..." Which he hoped there was a path that led down to it from the other side of the waterfall, instead of going back the way they came which would mean swimming across the pool again. The vine had dragged them a faster, good distance. It seemed Maggie had the same in mind as fingers interlaced again and leaving her to lead this time even along the ledge if she wanted.

She had almost forgotten about their picnic lunch left behind in that basket. "Hopefully no critters have gotten to it, nor faes.." this was half teasing since she wasn't at all sure that the nymphs would eat human food. They came back out to the ledge and with a deep breath, she would lead the way, inching across very carefully but a bit more confidently the second time around. Her fingers probed along the wall behind her until they set foot on the opposite side once more. There she paused, looking around for another route down and perhaps a more direct one. After a moment she did spy a very narrow trail that looked as if it would go around to the beach. "Shall we try it?"

They would probably eat Hazel's cooking. She had a veggie treat that was baked up in a light golden crust. There were her chicken strips too but the Fae would not be bothered with meat. Not the kind found here. There were gnomes, brownies, ogres, hobgoblins, goblins and so forth that would. He moved along carefully against the stone wall, each step sideways carefully taken so as not to slip. Finally stepping away as they were gradually getting soaked for the spray from the waterfall. "Probably leads down to the shore just as," he pointed out where it continued up the incline, "going that way would probably bring us to where we first stood before going down into the ravine." Giving her a wink as he stepped around and would lead the way. If she slipped, she'd have him to stop her fall. The path was faint with a lot of lush foliage covering it on parts and slick in some where the spray showered down causing rainbows with the sunlight. They were walking through a rainbow.

She smirked some as he snuck around her, but she allowed him to be the man and lead the way! She was content to follow and to take their time, even grateful for the spray of water that kept her cool in this humid environment. Her feet were bare but they gripped the ground well enough, toes digging into the rich soil where she could. At one point she stopped him with a hand against his shoulder, but not because she was slipping. "Matthew, look." Her voice slightly hushed as she drew his attention to the thousands of tiny rainbows that danced around them, that splash of color in every droplet of water that floated in the air. Really it was nothing less than magical and her smile reflected the beauty as they looked around before continuing towards the beach.

She couldn't see the smirk on his face since he was ahead of her but he soon stopped as he felt her hand on his shoulder. Pausing with a quick turn around in case there was something afoot. His expression easing as he took in the rainbows but something more, the way they were around her. "You look like you are part of this magical world." He knew she had special powers but this seemed to be something even more than that. Of course he couldn't see how he looked with the rainbows as halos around him. There was something touched upon deep within him as he drew close, leaving the rainbows to dance as he drank of her lips.

She didn't see the way he was looking at her at first, so engrossed in the way that those miniature rainbows wafted around, each in its own tiny bubble. There was something about it that suited Maggie, some ethereal connection that made her features glow. His words drew her gaze with some surprise, but her smile was quick upon her lips as she took in his own appearance. If a man could be called beautiful... he looked it at this moment. "So do you," she said softly and then they were reaching for each other. Her lips met his plushly and held there, hungry and gentle all at once. A hand lifting to lay alongside his face her heart felt like it might just spring free of her ribcage for sheer happiness. The perfection of this moment was indescribable.

His melted into pounding in his ears. He'd never felt this way kissing a woman before. Well, there were quite a few years they didn't want to be near him thanks to the curse. Maybe the curse was a blessing for he was held off from others until the right one. He gobbled her up into his arms much like his lips gobbled hers up, the kiss fierce and at the same time ravenous to drink more and more becoming intoxicated. In a far off way, he heard laughter, chiming tones that danced around them both much like the mist rainbow droplets.

No other kiss of her past compared to this for its deep sensations. It was as intoxicating as wine and just as dangerous, luring her to take more and more. She pressed herself as close as possible, her head tilting to find a deeper purchase on his lips. The breathlessness was beginning to make her giddy, her head as light as air as the rest of the world fell away. She could feel the heat coming from his body and it was only reflected with her own, the blood rushing too fast in her veins. Her arms wrapped around his back to pull herself against him, which was a thrill all its own. Suddenly the intensity became so much, so overwhelming that it was almost terrifying. The feeling that she might die without him. It made her feel almost sick, with the fever and chills that ran through her and she broke from the kiss, trying to fill her lungs with air. Her forehead pressed against his as she held onto him still, legs feeling too weak to support her on their own.

There was more than heat rising on his body. It was that very part that told him he needed to pull back or he would be reaching the point of no return. They had just discovered their feelings so now was not the time. When she pressed herself against him, it left him throbbing which certainly she could feel, made it worse for him as his lips dragged from hers near at the same time. He couldn't speak at first,  breaths dragged in air as he tried to calm his mind and body. Except he felt her shivering. "Are you all right?" Worry creased his brow as his forehead lifted from hers to watch her expressions.

She didn't trust herself to speak for a moment, knowing her voice would shake. Instead she just nodded, keeping her gaze down until she could lift it to meet his. Through the trembling a smile bloomed. "I'm wonderful." It was the magnitude of their passion as it suddenly swelled which had frightened her and the reactions of her own body, which had felt on the very thin edge of uncontrollable. But at the same time it was more thrilling than anything she'd ever known. And Matthew.... was nothing like that Lordling who had wanted something more from Maggie when she was not ready. Matthew she trusted with her life and knew he would never impose anything she did not desire herself. That was the problem... how much she desired it. Her hand caressed along his cheek, face lifting to catch another comparatively chaste kiss.

He knew the draw, he was suffering from the same. It showed in the heated look he couldn't help upon her. It was as primal as it got with an ancient calling that lured heavily between them. Still, it needed to be when they were both ready. He'd probably be ready easier if they had continued for there would have been no other thought except one. "I'm wonderful too," crazy crooked smile sweeping as he drew her up from her feet and slightly over his head. "My sweetling, my darling," the way spoken put as much claim one could on another without the wedding band. He had her back down and one swing around for it was too precarious a path to actually dance. "We best be on our way for the sun is already heading down to the horizon." And both had been gone far more hours than expected. "We can collect the basket and eat of it on our way back." They would find that some of the veggies were gone, well, not quite gone but many little bites from it as if it had been shared. There were little Fae wafers left in its place.

There was that look he gave her when their lips parted, a smoldering one she knew was on her own face. Her tension and trembling was eased by that smile that filled his face, one which brought an equally goofy one to suffuse every inch of her features. Everything felt alright with the world when he smiled like that. Suddenly lifted overhead, she held onto his shoulders and let out a musical burst of laughter, swinging around in his arms. It was those words of endearment so tenderly spoken that almost made her weepy again, blinking away those tears which were borne of pure joy. It felt as if her whole life had changed this day and certainly for the better. Everything clicked with purpose and new meaning. Finally brought back down to earth, she held onto him still, beaming her grin though her nod was reluctant. "I suppose we should be." And she was famished too. It would be just another aspect of the magic when they  found their food nibbled on by the fae and even replaced with new gifts.

"Unless you want the feel of Hazel's broom on your derriere." Teasing of course but they had an obligation. This day was one that would live forever in his mind. "They say this place is magical. I do think they are right." Matthew would probably preserve some of the tiny wafers to lure the thing in the attic with or use to see what affect they had on the little monster. All the while he was taking her down the path with one arm wrapped around her waist to keep her close.

Alas, every day had to end but now they had many, many more to look forward to together. It was no stretch of the imagination to agree with Matthew, that this place was magical. "This was the most perfect day." Her own arm went around his hips, leaning close as they took their time strolling back to collect the basket. Her head tilted to rest on his shoulder. Contentment washed over her like a warm bath as the sunset began streaking the sky with vibrant color.

"Do you think, Alex and Hazel will be overly surprised?" A thought that popped into his head as he collected the basket. Now he knew where another path was that led to the area above and to the waterfall from this side. He noticed how the sunlight played upon her hair and the look that drew his eyes to hers more than not. "Did anyone ever tell you how beautiful you are?" They were already on the path they just took going back as it would be easier, even if a little longer, than going up the near vertical side of the ravine path they came down from.

His first question made her look thoughtful, but she giggled a moment later. "Those two have a knack of somehow knowing things before anybody else does. They may not be surprised at all." The matriarch and patriarch of the Thistle had known Maggie and Matthew since day one after all, and watched the relationship take root and bloom, all the ups and downs of it. His next question... had a flush crawling up into her cheeks that had nothing to do with the warmth of the sun. "Many people," she admitted, a smile playing softly on her lips as her eyes lifted to catch his. "But I don't think I really believed any of them 'til now."

"Well, you are, and they are right and I can hope not too many of them were your male admirers." She might swear his eyes turned a shade of green and gone in a blink. "We need to get to the library too very soon." He could only leave the attic unattended for so long. Who knew what that prankster was up to there since that fateful night. They were leaving the hold the Celtic gardens had on the earth as it got decidedly cooler and they were still wet. Luckily he had Tommy bring a surrey to await them just outside the Gardens. Tommy having already walked back a while ago. He knew the temperature difference could seem drastic and he didn't want her to catch a chill. There were two cloaks left in the surrey too they would find. "C'mon, race you to the surrey.." giving a wink as the hold around her waist slid away only to have his hand capture hers as he started to run.

"Oh no, it was all very... platonic." Not true! But she would tease him with that falsehood he would likely see through. She was in a position to receive plenty of flattery from males, after all, though it usually meant nothing to Maggie. Certainly after today such compliments would be laughed or brushed off without any promise of flirtation on her part. "And thank you," she added more softly when he affirmed her beauty, her smile glowing. Nodding at the words about the library, she might have spoken further had they not then stepped outside the veil of the Gardens. The change in temperature was striking and a bit of fast movement was welcome to ward off the chill. A yelp of surprise escaped her when he grabbed her hand and gave a tug, but it was followed by laughter as she grabbed up her skirts and ran too. The girl could run quickly! She'd chased her siblings around the farm all through her childhood after all, and kept up with Matthew easily. She didn't surpass him though because that would mean breaking their hand-hold.

"Promise me you will change as soon as we get back," having reached the surrey, he was grabbing up the first cloak to wrap her up in. Wool would keep her very warm even if wet. He followed suit with the second cloak as it was soon swirled around his shoulders. Once done he helped her up into the surrey and even put one of the woolen blankets over her lap. "Now, this should keep you warm until we are safely in the tavern." Climbing up the other side he soon set the lone horse into a quick pace but not all out run. Last thing they needed to do was to chance tipping over if they hit a rock in the road going too fast. He still had to fulfill his promise to Alex and hoped to see to all the things before nightfall, before dinner so he had time to spend with her.

"I'm fine," she assured him, laughing softly at his concern (and touched by it too). Whisked into the surrey, she let Matthew swaddle her up in those blankets and cloaks, even though she wasn't very cold especially after that run. "I feel like a baby," she laughed, but wouldn't argue with a bit of snuggling as she settled close next to him. Her arm tucked through his as the evening air whipped against her face, which with all the blankets, felt rather nice. It raked through her loose hair, helping to dry it from its dousing. And off to the Thistle they went!



Date: 11-05-10
Poster: Ruarc MacKay
Post # 25

A Sword, A Wedding, A Courting

Maggie had been walking on air for the last few days and almost everyone could guess the reason, when they saw the new way that Matthew and Maggie interacted. There would be nothing overly graphic in public, of course, but a look here, a touch there... some of the tavern maids burned with jealousy and others sighed over the blooming love story. The barmaid was extra cheerful, not that she was ever really in a bad mood but she was downright ebullient. Coming through the door now, she was a bit late getting to work but she hurried in with a breezy smile. "Good evening," she said to the room in general, then spotted Richard, and over she whirled to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Evening Richard, evening Alex," and she stood on her toes to lean across the bar and give her boss a quick kiss on the cheek too! She was just in that sort of mood, her eyes a deeper blue than normal and sparkling.

He was, quite frankly, exhausted but in a good way. He found training to be excellent and it challenged him in ways he hadn't been for a long time, not even taking into account his entrapment. He had gone to the Thistle for a good meal, and hopefully to see Maggie. Full and half dozing, he watched as his sister waltzed into the room, a brow lifting. Smiling, he stood so he could accept and return the hug and kiss. "You're in a good mood. Even more than usual."

"It's a lovely evening," she said by way of explanation, pulling back from the hug with a dazzling smile. "You look happy, too. Tired but happy." Which she was very pleased to see. "Your training is going well? Oh!" She interrupted herself as she remembered something and a more sly smile curved her lips. "I have something for you. Stay right there." And off she went down the hallway that led to her chambers, her humming wafting behind her. She was gone for only a few moments before she peeked her head out from that hallway, keeping the rest of her body hidden in shadow. "Close your eyes."

Lovely evening? He chuckled as he sat again, then nodded. "It is." Anything else he would have said was paused as she headed off. "Is it safe to close them?" Teasing a moment, before he closed his eyes and waited.

"Would I ever do anything to hurt you?" She teased back, but grinned some, recalling certain childhood incidents when she may or may not have pinched him or tugged his hair. The gestures were always mutual of course. Once she was sure his eyes were closed, she moved over to where he sat, and lay something long, narrow and slightly heavy across his lap. Gently guiding his hands to close around it so it would not fall, she perched on the stool beside him. "Alright... you can look now." It was the sword she had promised, protected by a fine leather scabbard that could be attached to a belt. If he drew the blade he would see that it was no ordinary sword, but custom made. The shape of the wyvern was imprinted on the steel, that fiercesome Welsh creature that figured so often in the stories of their youth and which always had secretly reminded her of Richard. Fearless and unfailingly loyal. She was watching his face, hoping it was the right sort of blade and one he liked.

Ruarc had been missing for a while. He'd been back to the Hollow Hills for as long as he could without being spotted by their enemies. What a feather in their cap if they could take down yet another chieftain of the MacKay clan. Eimear was not forgotten and until they found her or her body, they would not give up on her. Once back he first went to the mountains on a visionary quest as he might see better from afar. The visions were still cloudy and he knew he'd have to bring in Mikhail as well Trevet to finally put him under (a dangerous ceremony) to find out what was stored in recesses of his mind and some say.. soul, for his stay within the Hollow Hills. Living with the great Druids of old. The information they would have implanted would not be accessed by the messenger. With a slightly heavy heart, he came down from the mountains and the only uplifting was he had plans to execute and go from there. There was another matter too, not less in his heart but some matters came before his heart could be tended to. The one that possessed it, he would find if she understood what was required of him or had her feelings faded in such an amount of time to pass? There was a fur cloak thrown over one shoulder as the rest of his attire consisted of a woolen shirt beneath a leather tunic and pants of wool, all in dark colors except the lighter browns of the fur. Boots laced up to just below his knees that were lined and strapped well. He came from an even colder climate than here in the Commons on his mountain sabatical. Topaz hue eyes swiftly took in the confines. There had been a few changes in the tavern since he was last here. He could hope some things had not changed. He had a presence about him that took up the breadth of the doorway that had even more to do than his physical size. A nod was given the two present, not knowing either but certainly he was cordial. "Guid eve tae yea." The moment in the door brief as he headed for the bar and to greet Alex. At least in Alex still being here gave grounding that not all had changed since his leave.

He just grinned, then waited, brow furrowing slightly. How could he miss the shape but when he opened it, his smile grew. Taking it from the scabbard, he held it up to catch the light. "Maggie, I've never seen finer." He carefully wrapped her up in his arms and placed a kiss to the top of her head. "Love you, little sister." He smiled over the top of her head at the man and nodded. "Evening." And then he released her. He'd test the blade where there was more room later.

Glancing up to the door, Maggie offered the stranger an easy smile. Wait... he actually looked familiar... but her attention soon went back to Richard as he examined his gift. "Really, you like it?" Her face lit with a smile that dimpled her cheeks, and she returned the hug, holding onto it for a moment to give him a good squeeze. "Love you, too," she said against his shoulder, smiling so brightly up at him. How much she had missed him! And... there were some things she needed to speak to him about... so it was a good thing he liked the sword so much. She released the hug to touch the engraving of the dragon-type creature. "Rhett did a wonderful job.. do you remember all the stories?" It was bittersweet memories she had of their mam, and distant ones, so vague she sometimes felt they belonged to someone else.

"Of course I do." He chuckled as she asked then the smile faded just a touch. "I think so. Most of them at the least." That made the sword all the more important to him.

The bond between the Lion and the Rom had not faded, even with the time that had passed. It drew her to the Thistle even now when the wind blew chill from the mountains, swirling the remains of leaves about the commons. Adara was well protected from the cold with a fur-lined cloak, the hood covering her dark hair. She shivered at the lonely sound though and hurried on inside, pausing after she shut the door to just watch the man there a moment. Lowering her hood finally, she smiled, one for all there, though her eyes were still on Ruarc. "Evenin' all."

He tried to give the two privacy as much as one could in a tavern open to the public. Potcheen would be his fare as his heart ached for another to appear. That bond would draw her as surely the moth flew to the flame entranced by it. He pushed up from his lean against the bar and around just as she came to the door. He took in her sight like one starved but cherishing the moment before they indulged. He feasted upon her with is eyes before his arms moved wide from his sides and he waited.

She did not miss the way his smile faded, and her own took on a somewhat sad tint. "We shall just have to tell them to each other, to remember them better." She rubbed the top of his hand gently, then settled back on her stool. Pausing when the door opened again, she offered the woman a smile. "Good evening and welcome. Can I get either of you any..." and then she noticed the way the two were staring at each other, "...thing." She finished more softly, smiling to herself then turning back to her brother to give the two their moment. "So tell me all about your training, I want to hear everything."

She was both laughing and crying as she near flew across the room to his arms. All her fears, all her worries vanished in that moment. He was back and that was all that matter now. Questions would come later.

He nodded at her answer then looked up. "Think they have what they need." He whispered then slipped the sword back into its scabbard. His old one would go up on the wall of his room. "Well, I'm up before dawn, have a good breakfast and am out on the field, no matter the weather, still before the sun rises." He kept his voice low though it likely wouldn't matter. "Train in sword fighting with the knights, then off to train in other weapons and drill." He gave her a lopsided smile. "I misstep more than I like to admit."

"Aye, I've not come from the dead," as if he could read her fears she suffered in his absence. "I've come 'ome for yea, tae be mae wife. I need yea by me side." Words were roughen and heartfelt as she was swallowed up in his arms. "Iffin yea wish a traditional wedding by these lands, I will abide but if yea want a tribal wedding then I shall say me vows 'ere in witness of those within in my declaration." A much more ancient way, as ancient as the man that held her and the whole of family adhered to the ways. His brogue thick even if his speech had become somewhat modified.

"Aye," she agreed with Richard just as quietly, taking a moment to watch the two embrace with a warm smile. Ahhh it couldn't help but remind her of her own special someone, and she wondered where he was at this moment. Ooh it sounded like he was proposing here and now! Maggie watched on with bright interest, smiling just at their evident happiness before drawing her attention back to Richard. "Everyone missteps sometimes, I'm sure. Just part of the  training. I hear you're doing splendidly." So she tended to bring her brother up to the knights who came through the tavern, in order to get a bit of information on how he was doing. Sue her! "It's good you're getting experience with knights as well as in the royal guards. Have you met any of the royal family yet?"

She was speechless for only a moment before she laughed and hugged him tightly. "My people jump the broom to declare our vows, Ruarc. A tribal wedding will suit me better than any elaborate ceremony. I love you, and I will be proud and happy to be your wife." Tears of joy streamed down her face as she answered.

"Aye, it is. Haven't tripped anyone at the least." Which a few of the young lads had done. He laughed and nudged her. "Spying on me?" And he had noticed that smile. He might ask about it in a moment but he fell silent as the woman accepted the proposal.

"Then so it shall be," he turned a look over his shoulder to Alex who had slipped away and gotten Hazel as the two stood there in witness. There was the man and woman too. "I am Ruarc Aonghus MacKay, chieftain of the MacKay clan. I declare 'ere and now tae take Adara Giles, as me woman and wife, tae me hearth and me bed. She bae the only one chosen, tae bear me children and walk by mae side from this day tae the end of ours. She will bae strong for mae as I will bae strong for her in all life brings, barring out all others to come between us and our union." In short, there would be no cheating accepted or it negated this commitment. "Iffin she declares tae accept then by the power as Chieftain it is sae."

"Well, that's good," she laughed some and nudged Richard right back. "Not exactly but I do like to check up on you... I can't help it, you're not around very often with all the training." A small pout there, but then attention turned back to the happy couple. She fell quiet to listen to Ruarc's vows... they were very beautiful in their simplicity. And she couldn't help the shimmer of tears that came to her eyes even as her lips formed a bright smile. Maggie had always been the romantic, moved to joy or tears by bardic tales of love and it was even more true for her these days. Her gaze moved then to Adara, certain already that she would accept.

"I am Adara Giles. I declare here and now to take Ruarc Aonghus MacKay as my man and my husband, to his hearth and bed. He is the only one chosen, and I will bear his children and walk by his side from this day until the end of our days. I will be strong for you as you are for me in all that life brings, barring out any others to come between us and our union." She couldn't imagine any other as her husband.

He still held the sword and scabbard in one hand but slipped his free arm over Maggie's shoulders. This wedding was another surprise added to the night.

Matthew finished all the chores he promised Alex. It took him until late for being so late in getting back. Not that he would change that at all for the time spent. He leaned against the frame of the archway that led back to the rooms and offices. A strip of cloth tied around his forehead that had soaked up any sweat from the labor he endured to complete some of the chores. It would seem something important was going on as he recognized both Ruarc and Adara. He'd been here that long even if he had not seen either in a very long time.



Date: 11-05-10
Poster: Ruarc MacKay 
Post # 26

She gave Richard a quick glance then turned that beaming smile to the newly married couple, bursting into applause. She felt honored and blessed to have been witness to such a union, even if they were strangers to her. It formed a sort of bond between them, and now Maggie would be sure to ask after them whenever she saw either person about town. Her position sitting at the bar with Richard, and distraction over the pair made her oblivious to Matthew's presence somewhere behind her as she clapped. "Congratulations!"

He wrapped her up into his arms once again as his lips claimed hers even more complete than ever before. They were one now. She would be at his side wherever he went and would not worry like she had before each time he had to go.

Maggie had him laughing, though softly! Though when the two kiss, he buried his face against her hair. "Mushy stuff." Muttered.

She would thank Maggie after the kiss. At the moment, she was barely aware that there were still others watching. And Hazel was wiping away tears with her apron. Finally another of her kin had married!

Matthew added his applause, "it seems congratulations are in order," although he was not quite sure of what kind.  
He took that long, very long, moment to thoroughly kiss his wife, more than the woman of his heart now making it complete. News might reach the rest of the clan before they made it back to Gleann Taise. Once he had branded his lips to hers and in turn was branded, he ceased for here and now. More would come later. Complete. Hazel would get her hug and Alex a hearty handshake before he turned to the other two. Well, he recognized Matthew. "It is guid tae see yea again Matthew." Then to the woman and man together, "we 'ave not met." Hoping for an introduction.

"They married." He informed Matthew before Ruarc was turning to greet Alex and Hazel and then Matthew. "No we haven't. I'm Richard Callahan and this is my sister, Maggie. Congratulations to you both."

That made her laugh too, though it was kept quiet as the couple embraced... even if she doubted they noticed anybody else's presence at this point. A light punch given to Richard's shoulder, "Shh. It's sweet." A familiar voice came out of nowhere and her head immediately lifted from Richard's shoulder, swiveling around to find Matthew standing back there. It was a wonder she didn't leap from her stool to go embrace him, especially with the mood she was in after this impromptu wedding ceremony but somehow she managed to stay put. Just giving Matthew a luminous smile that lit her eyes. "They've just said their wedding vows here before us all," she explained, then had to tear her eyes from Matthew and return them to Ruarc. Giving him a bright smile as she stood from her stool, adding her two cents after Richard introduced them both. "Congratulations.. I can see you two belong together and I'm honored to have witnessed your union." Her smile was warm and friendly as her sentiments were genuinely meant.

Oh yes, there was a hint of laughter in the air then silence though it might go unnoticed. She joined him in hugging her new aunt and Alex, and then Matthew got one too. "It's nice to meet the two of you and thank you, Maggie." Eyes lifted to Ruarc again as she leaned against him. A bit distracted but who could blame her?!

He offered his hand with the introduction too, and kept from rubbing his arm. And don't think he didn't notice that look toward Matthew, missy.

It was sort of difficult to hide a look like that! Much as she tried...

If one could embrace from a distance, it was in the look Matthew gave her back. He too didn't move from the spot but there was a quick wink, then lifting upon the couple, "it is about time. Only a few years in the making." The look went blank on his part when Richard looked his way with only a salute to follow.  At least then he got to hug the bride as he shifted up from his lean and came in to do so. "I'm happy for you both," words to run true for they were considered friends. He was over to shake Ruarc's hand once Richard was done.

He gave Richard's hand a tight clasp, something he always seemed to do not knowing his own strength at times. He also got a good clap to the shoulder and if it would normally send him a few steps back or forward, he was held in place by the hand clasp before both were done. "Well met Richard Callahan, a warrior by feel I would say." Ruarc would know in the way a man even stood. "My pleasure in meeting yea Maggie." Smile was sincere and they would probably get to know them both in time. "I bae honored yea both were here to witness our union."

Maybe Maggie's look to Matthew should have said... Run and hide! Her gaze danced between Matthew and Richard, the smile faltering with a moment of apprehension. This was a bit of a predicament, as she hadn't had the chance to say anything to Richard yet... but her smile returned fully when she looked back to Adara, nodding, and then to Ruarc. She couldn't suppress a grin when Ruarc nearly knocked her big brother off his stool. "He's a member of the Royal Guard," she informed Ruarc proudly. "And I'm very glad I was here, those vows were lovely."

Uh huh. He might hide the look, but Maggie was like an open book. They'd talk later. Instead he was recovering a bit, though with a touch of amusement. He didn't consider himself a weakling by any means.

Adara wasn't saying much. Mostly because she was in shock. Hazel slipped into the kitchen and returned with a basket. There were some treats in there for them and the family since they'd likely be waiting for the arrival of the newlyweds.

There was a procedure to things as once the introductions were met and the congratulations taken care of, Matthew spoke up. Probably shock Maggie but he was a man, not a boy to run, he'd face the devil if he had to and had a few times already. "Richard, with your permission and with Maggie's acceptance, I'd like to court your sister."

"Aye, that confirms me suspicion. Royal guard or any unit he wants in time," something there but he'd make the Royal Guard very proud, any unit he enlisted in. He might have said more but Matthew spoke up to the man to gain his attention and his attention went back to his wife and Hazel as she brought out goodies. "Yea kin there will be a feast at the manor," and most likely she would be cooking for it as a family celebration, welcoming in style it's new member.

!!!! Very few times in her life had Maggie been speechless but this was one of them. Actually... literally... speechless. Her lips slightly parted and eyes as huge as saucers as she stared between them both. It took a few long seconds for any emotion to register through the shock but she had to smother the upwelling of glee until Richard said something. Now she was staring at Richard much as she might have when she was a little girl and wanted an extra berry for dessert. Please please please!

Poor Maggie might know that look that Richard had on his face. He looked at her then at Matthew again. "I don't know you well enough to say yes or no. But I think, considering Maggie has been on her own for some time, she's the one to make the choice. And I trust her enough to know she'll make the right one." And Matthew best treat her right. "Now, if it turns out you wish to marry, by then I should be able to at least give a blessing." And he looked at Maggie and winked.

Which meant Hazel would be leaving the kitchen maids to tend to the cooking at the Thistle for the day but Hazel trusted them for that short time. She'd be getting Fiona and her children, and of course, Alex to come. Oh the planning had begun.  Adara looked up at Ruarc and smiled then spoke low. "I think it's time we head back, don't you?" He might well take note of the fire in her eyes.

What... her brother was actually giving her the choice? That was another shocker but certainly his trust meant a lot to her. It meant he respected her, not only as his sister but an adult grown. Even if Richard claimed he could not give his permission... his words were as good as. Relief washed over her, and gratitude as her brother was given a brilliant smile and then her eyes shifted to Matthew. That smile became a downright silly grin. "Of course I accept, Matthew, of course I do," and Richard better look away because she was going to kiss him now! Her arms slid around Matthew's neck to press her lips to his. It could only be so deep with her brother right there but as chaste as it was... it had that sensation of passion and emotion as an undercurrent beneath. One hand slid up Matthew's neck to cradle his jaw ever so gently, she broke it after a few moments to simply beam at him. Yes, it was quite a surprise and yes things were moving very fast between them but it did not frighten her. It felt right.

He understood as he gave a nod. He'd done the proper thing and Richard then had the choice to deal with the request in how he saw fit. Of course he was pleased it was passed onto Maggie as hazel eyes turned there as drew her into his arms and kissed her like he'd kissed her earlier. Full passion exploded in that elated way for taking such a step and it being accepted. Ok, so it could not be a long one as Richard was in the room and so it ended leaving a goofy smile to linger on his features. It may have moved fast but this afternoon had it so. The courting would take longer in what would be deemed proper.

Maggie knew that Richard would grow to respect and love Matthew as much as she did. The guy had helped to save Richard from that frozen purgatory, after all! Maggie couldn't help the giddy giggles that welled up from deep within her as she pulled back just enough to look between them. Richard had probably never seen her so happy.

Ugh. He was too tired to deal with all of this, and had another long day tomorrow. So, he stood and faced the newlyweds. "Again congratulations, Ruarc and Adara. I hope your life together will be a long one." Respect had to be earned on both sides! Though he was thankful for Matthew's help and for taking care of Maggie. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure his sister was done kissing, then smiled at them both. "I need to get back to the barracks. Or I'll be sorry tomorrow. " He had been up later than he should have been as it was. "Try to sleep, Maggie." Though she was likely too giddy to be able to. He offered his hand to Matthew. "Good night, Matthew."

"We will see you soon, Richard." Noticing the sword he carried and figured it was the one Maggie had gotten him. He'd get to see it another time as he would make sure Richard got to know him, like or not, he would make the attempt. He stepped away then to shake his hand, smile on the rise as this was a good sign. It was a firm shake that didn't last too long but long enough.

"Guid night tae yea all," as with a dip, he had Adara up in his arms. She had the basket as he'd not leave any goodies behind. Long strides carried him right through the front door and he'd probably carry her all the way to the manor. Or if she got too heavy, let her walk some before he carried her over the threshold to her new home. She would be the Lady of Gleann Taise.

"Wait." She gently disentangled herself from Matthew to jog over, catching Richard before he could leave. Her arms went around her brother to hold him for a moment, standing on her toes to whisper in his ear. "Thank you." Pulling back, she gave him the full measure of her smile before turning that towards Ruarc and Adara. "Goodnight, and congratulations again!" Called out before they were gone.

And she laughed as she was lifted and carried out, waving to those standing there. Carried or walking, she would be content either way. They were finally married!

He wasn't going to leave without a hug from Maggie. His smile was a touch sad though. "You're all grown up, Maggie. Can't tell you what to do anymore." He looked at Matthew and saluted him before turning. Alex and Hazel were given a wave before he was out the side door. Tomorrow that sword would be worn on his hip.

Once the three were gone, he and Maggie would get to sit for a while in front of the hearth and talk, settle down, the day had been one long very interesting one.



Date: 11-10-10
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 27

Heathfield Library

It had been a bright, sunny day, one of those rare autumn ones that made it hard to be indoors. Abby had the windows open until the sun began to set and temperature dropped. She sat at her desk with the door to the office open so she could see into the library. There were a few people here and there but it would be time to close soon. Even with the oil lamps lit, the shadows would be growing. She was looking over some papers, her brow furrowed with  concentration.

Michael had a way of appearing. Silently. Sometimes down an isle of books, sometimes behind her at her desk. Especially when she was so concentrated like she was tonight. Just the touch of a breath against the shell of her ear. One woman who'd been nearby happened to look up and nearly dropped all the books she'd been carrying, not expecting to see the very large man leaning over Abigail when he wasn't there a moment ago. Fumbling in that quick way to recuperate, she only lost the upper most book of the pile in her arms. It was the heaviest, largest and went flat against the floorboards with a loud THUD. Sounding like bells going of in the Cathedral for the quiet of both the room and night. She gasped. Mortified and crouched down to quickly retrieve it. On a heel she disappeared down one of the isles to compose herself.

Matthew was done with all the duties he had for the evening as he sought Maggie out in the tavern. "Maggie, O'Maggie, where for art thou Maggie? Fairest Maiden.." Alex was already shaking his head with a gruff sound sounding like laughing under his breath. He reached the hall closet which he made a show of opening it up and sticking his head in there first, "are you in there sweet'ums?" Really trying not to laugh as he popped out from the lean closing the door and going to the next storage room to repeat the process. "Or are you in here babycakes?" Making up nicknames as he went, he as out into the tavern proper next to dip a look under one of the tables, "or are you under there sweeping away the hard to reach dust, sweetcheeks?"

Maggie, of course, was right where she usually was... in the common room of the tavern, in plain sight. At this moment she was perched on a bar stool, polishing some glasses with a rag, and her smile was instant when Matthew walked into the room. Then, as he made a show of looking for her... she blinked. Exchanging a look with Alex, she arched a brow, and merely watched Matthew with a growing grin. Yes, she was going to enjoy this for as long as he kept the show going. Finally, her amusement was too much to contain with a grin and she started laughing.  "You'll have to look a bit harder, darling mine," she teased with a nickname of her own.

She was, for the most part, use to Michael appearing but there were times he still surprised her. However, the dropping of the books startled her more and she jumped. Hopefully she didn't bump Michael when she did. She watched the poor woman trying not to laugh before her gaze lifted to the handsome, and yes, large, man. "That poor woman," she kept her voice low, "and lucky me." She did like when he came to visit her, even if it did startle someone.

Large as in very tall more than large as in very wide. The glow of blue eyes sometimes had ones not be able to hold their sight upon Michael. He had straightened just enough so he was ready in case Abby jumped. Captured her right up into his arms, probably one of the flustering things for old maiden Marie to see. He kept his response low, "perhaps it might trigger her imagination and she get out to meet some gents before she is so old she is unable to. Books are good but they are not a substitute for living. Wouldn't you agree," turning her into his arms as a kiss was safe now to steal. Wouldn't want to send Marie into heart failure.

Of course she was in plain sight, having caught sight of her once he came into the service hallway. After pushing in the chair he was over to lean at the bar next to her as he asked Alex, "have you seen my lamb-kin?" Of course Alex didn't feel that deserved a dignified answer as he glanced from Matthew (keeping his stoic demeanor) to Maggie right next to him. Straight face Alex asked Maggie, "have you seen his lamb-kin, Maggie?" Of course Matt gave up the little fun game, or so he thought! "Maggie, there you are. It's time to go to the Library." She might lean to see if he'd been drinking but he'd not been drinking at all. He was having some childish fun. His mood so elated of late it brought the boy out in him as the smile went a bit lopsided.

It was the look on dignified, self-assured Alex's face that had her bursting into helpless laughter. She couldn't even answer either of them for laughing, and it lasted several moments before she could recover with a giggling breath and a wiping away of mirthful tears. "Your lamb-kin is right here and ready to go, if it's alright with the lamb-kin's boss." At which point she cast a questioning grin to Alex. Already she was putting the rag down and standing to untie her apron from about her waist. Matthew did seem even more cheerful than usual and she couldn't help but arch a brow at him even while it made her continue to smile. "You haven't been into that case of brandy in the back, have you?" Just teasing, of course!  Though she did wonder just why he seemed so exuberant.

She did giggle when she heard his response. "Considering the types of books she reads, I don't know if she will get out. I do agree, they're no substitute." And any other comment was lost when he stole that kiss. Much nicer than reading over some papers or dusty tomes.

The kiss lasted long enough before another came around from one of the isles with his books in hand he wanted to take out. A darken blond brow lifted as he had eased her from his arms the moment before the one appeared. "What kinds of books does she read?" Oh.. he had something in mind that a bit of druid ability might enhance those pages to dare her to live in the real world for a change. "We need to decide on a place to travel soon." He had not forgotten and now that all his grapes were harvested and his wines made, he had time on his hands. There was also the matter of a boon to ask of Abigail.

He was laughing at this point and so was Alex, something rare but not impossible. Matthew felt it was more he had an appearance to maintain for he'd heard him laugh easily in Hazel's company. It was good to hear her laugh and the whole charade a success in his mind for that very laughter. He helped her with her apron for he knew there would be no problem in her leaving with him. "We will hopefully find out what dwells in the Attic once and for all. Hopefully the books have pictures," which sounded exactly like what a small child would say. Smile swept more as he turned her about which had her apron off and onto the bar with the sweep of a hand. "Can you imagine how'd I'd be tonight if I had? But time is a-wasting and we must be on our way so the library is not closing by the time we reach it." It was late but better late than never as he was whisking her out and heading for the castle.

Maggie was beaming as well, for she too was happy to hear Alex give up his solemnity and laugh out loud, for once. She smiled broadly to the man before turning her full attention to Matthew. Thanking him, she let him assist with the apron even if she was perfectly capable of doing so herself... winking a bit at Alex before she nodded at Matthew. "Aye, and mayhap the books will have very short words for you too," she couldn't help her smile nor her lighthearted teasing. Waving goodbye to Alex, she was whisked away and caught up Matthew's hand once they were outside the tavern. Enough to draw him to a stop and steal a long, lingering kiss. The library could wait for this... right?

That was a nice little trick and one she appreciated as the lad appeared with his books. He lifted a hand to wave then headed for where one of Abby's helpers was waiting. She looked back at Michael and smiled, a hint of sadness in her eyes when she thought of how lonely the woman must be. "Romance tales, but mostly stories of lands like Egypt, China, places far away." Her eyes lit up at mention of the trip. "Yes we should. Will Lei be coming with us this time?" They would have to pick an interesting place.

"Exotic romantic," giving a nod thoughtfully. "Are there any males here that have an interest in the same books?" Most likely neither would know of it but that could change! There was a wicked glint of mischief in glowing blue eyes as the dimples appeared with his growing smile. Thoughts reeled in a moment with the mention of Lei and a father's concern edged in the creases alongside his eyes. "Yes. I am hoping you two will bond, she needs a woman to talk to and one she feels comfortable to talk with on things a girl her age needs to talk on." One of the few subjects, Michael McAndrews, oracle, faltered on.

Which she'd feel the light pinch to her side but he kept up with the teasing. She knew why he needed pictures for he'd seen enough of the varmint in the Attic. "Only if you read them to me.." but whatever else may have been there, was no longer for he had her into his arms and delving equally into the impromptu kiss. Kiss was long but it was not followed by another so they did make it to the library, "there will be time later," spoken low when the kiss ended. They both lived in the same place and didn't need to get up too early. They could steal some time on the couch in front of the hearth when the place was all closed down. "C'mon," fingers entwining as he took up a slight run, kind you could with another as he dodged others along the street as well any vendors still about and small crowds not willing to turn in yet. Wouldn't be long before the castle was reached and the public area accessed that led to the doors that would take them inside, going up some steps to the first floor. Tall halls with old armory along the walls as well banners giving that majestic feel of a castle that had been around for a number of centuries.

Matthew's mood must have rubbed off on her, for she did try to steal another kiss from him with a mischievous gleam... and even pouted when he denied it. "I'll hold you to that promise," she told him with a smirk which became a genuine smile as he tugged her fingers and started to run. She jogged along with him, squeaking some and calling out an apology when they nearly crashed into a retreating vendor, but it made her laugh too in that giddy helpless sort of way that came easily around Matthew. Then they were at the castle and she followed him in, a little breathless as she looked around. She had been here only a few times now and it was always an impressive sight for this girl born on a farm.

"Not romantic." She knew no male who read those. "Mark McKennitt liked adventure and the stories of faraway places. He's close to her age too." She just knew he'd enjoy mixing things up for them. She reached up to caress Michael's cheek with her fingers, touched by the concern she saw there. "Lei is a delightful young lady and I think we will. I've told her if she ever needs to talk to someone, she's welcome to come to the library, or, send me a note and I'll come visit. I don't think you need to worry about her too much."

"Consider it done. Tomorrow." So tomorrow she would witness Marie colliding with Mark and their books dumped down together as they scurried to get them up for the other with profuse apologies. That would come first before they realized some of the books matched or were ones the other had read already, then the discussion, then the discovery. "She will be here at the castle tomorrow. I've some things to see to and will leave her in your care. Put her to work for she is far better helping than standing around and if possible, bring her up to the Gallery?" He didn't want to sound demanding over suggestions knowing his daughter. They had a wonderful oriental display and paintings she would adore.


He noticed the way she looked about, "you've not seen the castle yet?" He was trying to recall where her 'date' had taken her, not that he asked directly on any of it but he was sure she told him it was about the castle. A hand to the small of her back as he escorted her within the Library. It was immense, tall walls of books, everywhere one look there were books. There were stair cases to some nooks above and there were ladders on wheels and metal bars that ran the high distance of the walls. A little intimidating to one who'd not been to a library before. He was right over to Abigail office where he spotted the lady with Michael. "Hello Abigail, Michael, have you met Maggie?" Not being too sure if they had or not. "We've come to find out about Fae."

"No, I have been here," she told him with a quick flash of a smile. "I just notice something new each time." A different banner or some ancient tapestry on the walls... there was always something to marvel over, and wonder about. She followed along easily with him but when they entered the library... she actually stopped in the doorway as her eyes become as big as dinner plates. Never in her life had she seen so many books all in one place and it was indeed overwhelming... and breathtaking. When Matthew forged ahead she lingered behind, following much more slowly as she craned her neck to look up. That also meant she missed the introductions as she became lost with the wonder of it.



Date: 11-10-10
Poster: Matthew Myers 
Post # 28

She chuckled and nodded as she listened to Michael. One of the things she loved about him, and there were many, was his love and concern for Lei. "I was thinking the very same thing when you said she'd be here. And we have some new books that she could help catalogue." She noticed Matthew and Maggie coming in and smiled. "Good evening, Matthew. Maggie. I think I have a few books that you might find useful. Let me get them." Everyone but the two young women who helped were gone and she nodded at them, to let them know if was all right if they left. Then she made her way to the section where those books were. She returned to them a few moments later. "Any particular reason?" Asking from her own curiosity.

"We have met, although it was some time ago." He and Abigail, for that matter, didn't get to the Thistle that often. "It is good to see you again, Matthew." Eyes glowed a moment for Michael read auras as well other things most would never see, let alone even understand. Leaving the discussion between Abby and them, he was just as interested to hear.

"Well," giving a glance over his shoulder, shortly, he was surprised to find that Maggie was not there. Sight traveling further back than anticipated as he watched her get lost in her own world, "er.." but then a smile followed before he drew in a breath and let it all out. "There is this creature in the Attic that has been causing mischief upon me while trying to clean up the place. I got a look at him so might recognize any pictures if you have ones that also have pictures of how the various Fae look." There it was, all out in a whoosh.

Sorry Matthew! She just needed a moment to turn a full slow circle and look all around.. and then she remembered herself and why they were there. She hurried over to join Matthew, giving him an apologetic smile and then offering the same to the other pair. "Abigail, Michael, lovely to see you again. I hope we're not invading when you're trying to close up?"

"Not at all," she reassured Maggie as she moved from the desk to a table. "I don't like to send the girls home too late, and since I stay here, it's easier for me to remain." She looked at Matthew, a brow lifting. "Harmful? I think this book might be best then. The gentleman who wrote it also made pictures." She opened the first page, touching the image there. "Unfortunately, he didn't put them in alphabetical order. So, here is the Asrai, but you said male. Brownie?" She tapped the picture on the next page.

"Aye, the girls get to go soon but I am here to help out so Abby is not lonely.." wicked smile brought out the dimples again. "No interruption at all," sliding a teasing glance to Abby but then she was off to get them the books they needed. "There are many types and not all adhere to what is generally described of them. I have met gentle Ogres and mild goblins not all unlike their hobgoblin cousins." So he was warning that if he could identify the culprit, he may not be as bad as depicted. "However, most adhere to what is written about them. I've also known the opposite with a hell bent mean fairy one time."

He was taking it all in with a quick smile Maggie's way. "Finding out which one it is, will be resolving half the problem. So far the one lives in the Attic, it is male and he has made a labyrinth out of it. All the stuff stored used piled making a maze we discovered. He had set traps of a kind it would stop one but not really set to kill. And," glancing to Maggie for she could verify and describe this further. "It knocked me out and tied me to the top of a dummy waiter that we were not aware of that went all the floors down to the main tap room hall."  Then he started leafing through the pages.

Maggie stood on her toes a bit to look in the book alongside Matthew. A flutter in her ribcage made her aware of how close he was and the contact of their arms, but she would be good and only give him a little smile. When he began speaking, she nodded to confirm his words, glancing to Abigail and Michael herself. "I went up there after him, and it was as if... whatever it was, was trying to prevent me from finding him. I was nearly knocked out and tripped a few times myself. And..." she hesitated, glancing to Matthew as she remembered something else, "Another time when we were up there, we saw... images in the dust. I saw a stairwell winding down to a closed door, a stone wall with vines all over it and... Matthew saw a face, didn't you?" She glanced to him, trying to recall that episode.

Michael had caused her to smile and her cheeks turned pink with his wicked words and the smile remained, even as she continued. "He sounds as if he has bit of a mean streak then." She pursed her lips slightly then tipped a look toward Michael. "Hmmm. Well, it's not a selkie then or a Trow. What about one of these two? Bogie or Boggart?" She turned the books she had been leafing through toward the two. "They're more malicious, the Boggart the most." She knew the subject well enough having read anything she could get her hands on about the Fae when she was a girl.

"There is more to all of this if you have seen such images. Something to occur in the near future. You have been warned. I will say this much from what you have told us, if he had a real mean streak, you would not be here for he could have killed you or had you killed when you were unconscious. That doesn't seem to be his purpose and remember, he cant help being what he is even if he tries."

"Yes, something like these Boggart or Bogie, not quite as ugly as the one. He is of this breed." The others just didn't fit for the location or the kind of pranks that had been played." Giving a nod to what Maggie had to say about the visions then back with a pointed look upon Abigail mostly. "So," then to Michael and back a glance swept, "how do you get rid of a Boggart or Bogie?"

Maggie leaned past Matthew slightly to study the picture, and wrinkled her nose. She hadn't seen the culprit herself but those images of those creatures sure were ugly. Eyes lifted to meet Michael's when he spoke about visions... she nodded gravely. Certainly such things wouldn't be brushed off by Maggie anymore, not after the experiences she'd had herself.

She looked down at the book then back up. "It doesn't sound easy. If he'd been there long enough, and I'd say he has, you have to be more annoying than he is or you can use its weakness, which is the word ridiculous and when you say the word, you must think of a way to make it look funny. Once it's transformed by the word, it will disappear and pop up elsewhere. Supposedly if it isn't given a name, it won't get too destructive but that could depend on the creature itself." It might not be too hard. "Otherwise, people have moved, trying not to let it know so it doesn't hitch a ride, and that won't happen with the Thistle."

There is the name thing with these beings that is not really understood. However, take into consideration that," giving a glance Maggie's way with a dimple to appear, "in spite of its looks it may be in a predicament," shifting focus to Matthew, "that might take it from the ordinary procedure. If it has been there a long time which I agree with Abby, someone may have named it already. See if you can find any clues in the Attic in all the things it surrounded itself like a cocoon. Also, set out a dish, or leave a pile that has shinny things in it, some fruit, a bit of ribbon, soft material like satin and velvet and see what it takes. That is a way to gain knowledge of its weakness."

He was absorbing all of this like a sponge. "I can take this book out to read it over more? Perhaps Maggie will too," being she decided to help him, she might read something he overlooked. There then back to the two. "Thank you both. If you would like, I can keep you posted if we make any headway." Hell, they might need their help again depending on what they found out.

Maggie was also taking in everything they said, all the advice they had to offer. Her eyes were a bit wide as she considered it all, and the long path still laying before them. It seemed there might be much more to that little imp than they had thought. Certainly they would have to take a closer look at the attic for clues... and she nodded slowly to herself. She would definitely want to pore over the book and perhaps come look over a few others too.

"Yes, of course you can." She closed the book and handed it over to him. "I'd like to keep updated. Both of you be very careful. If he realizes what you're up to, things could get worse." She motioned to the other books. "You can take those as well if you'd like. They may have something different."

"Aye, we'll both be here for you if needed." If they came needing help, Abby was here every day and she had a way of contacting him that he would be right there too. "Abby is right, be careful. You have fallen for a few of his traps so you should be onto any others and avoid them. Knowledge is your weapon in dealing with him. You are now armed knowing what he is." The others that had been there were now gone, including the girls that helped Abby out. They motioned their good byes without disturbing them on their exit from the Library. It was just the four of them now.

"You can bet we'll be on your doorstep if things get out of hand." Collecting the books as they were handed over to him. Giving one or two to Maggie as well. "Maggie loves adventure so now she has another one." So did he but there was the opportunity to tease her with a grin her way. Kind she might want to swat. This was an adventure of another kind. "We should get back so we can go through some of them while we relax before the hearth." Then again, they probably wouldn't! There were other things presently more appealing than this new adventure as it was turning out to be.

Matthew's words brought a snicker. "Oh aye, I can't have a dull moment or I'll get bored..." she smirked wryly. It certainly seemed her life was an ongoing adventure these days but most of it... she was thrilled about. At least that involving Matthew and her smirk became a real smile beamed to him before she nodded to Michael and Abby. "We will be careful, and thank you for all the help. Perhaps I'll see you here again soon, this is an.. incredible place." One last lingering look around, it would take her years to pore through everything here.

She smiled warmly at the two, eyes bright with amusement. "Boredom can be a terrible thing." Being able to have a moment to relax was nice though. "And you're welcome here any time, Maggie. As long as we're open." Laughing as she said the last. "Enjoy your walk back."

"Aye, boredom is the devil's playground and I got to keep Abby busy," slow grin as he slid his arm around her. Just wait until they were alone! Abby, like Maggie was never idle but doing this or that always been needed done.

"Thank you both," smirking with what Michael said to Abby. It was time for them to head out, as he could use the time alone, he was sure Michael would appreciate such with Abby. He felt better about all of this and armed with these books that might give them enough insight, moderated with the knowledge that not everything is in a box or is what it may seem to be. Still, they were finally a step ahead than behind.

She laughed lightly at what they both said about boredom. It was true! Idleness was one of her worst enemies. Gathering up a few of the books to carry she gave them both one last smile. "Have a wonderful evening, both of you." It looked like they were about to enjoy some time together as well! She linked her arm through Matthew's as they headed out of the castle and back towards home.

"Good night to you both." She leaned against Michael, watching the two leave. There was no one else in the library, so yes, they were alone, and she tipped her head up to look at Michael. "Now.... just how are you planning to keep me busy?" They definitely could use a little alone time.



Date: 11-15-10
Poster: Richard Callahan
Post # 29


The night wore on as Matthew saw to all his chores. There was wood to be split and stacked which he had the help of Tommy for that; the lad stacked for him as he split the logs. There was a back door that needed new hinges, the lock on the window in Hazel's kitchen, barrels to be unloaded and stored down in the cellar, a few chairs and tables needed fixing. There was always work for him as well seeing to the fire. He came in from his room having changed out of the other clothing and taken a bath. He hadn't had time to even eat this night. Straight to the corner table where he unloaded the books they had gotten onto the wooden surface. Then he was over to the bar to order a Shepherd's pie along with soup of the day.


Like Matthew, Maggie was always busy with one chore or another, which often made it difficult for them to spend much time together other than in passing. She had seen him moving around during the day but she was on her own schedule as well. The place had been mopped and swept earlier, and the tables not only wiped but polished with the special furniture oil they used occasionally to preserve the wood. Now it was just past the usual dinner hour and only a few remained, lingering over their deserts and drinks at a table near the bar. Maggie leaned a hand on their table, smiling lightly at something one of them said. Then she saw Matthew and her smile deepened, her path modified to bring her past him and close enough to murmur, "I wish they would go so we would have the place more to ourselves.." just that murmur to brush his ear, and then she was off to the bar to fetch two potcheens for the men at the table.

An arm swept around her waist as he was waylaid. The smile reached the hazel gray of his eyes as he looked up to see the few enjoying their dessert and drinks. "I think in a way they are not here. Although... " sweeping her around in a dance step the small group didn't even notice. "We shall have time to ourselves."

Eeeeep! A surprised squeak was quickly followed by a burst of laughter as she gave in to the dance, arms going about his neck as they waltzed for a moment. "Mmm.. that better be a promise." She held his eyes for a moment, a smile spreading brightly across her face and then she gave a wink, reluctantly disentangling herself from Matthew to go serve the fellows their potcheen. Luckily... they seemed almost done, and downed that final shot quickly, slapping a couple coins down on the table as their tip for her. "Thank you gentlemen, have a lovely evening," she called out after them, tucking the coins into her apron pocket.

While she was seeing to the gents with a few ladies, he was over to collect his meal and bring it back to his table. Letting it cool, he was straight over to stoke the fire, spreading the coals so they caught the new logs quickly. He put on enough that would keep the place warm overnight now that the nights were getting progressively colder. By the time she was done, so was he as he headed back to claim a seat at the table. The meal cool enough that he could wolf it down like one starved.

It was a few more moments before Maggie was free... she collected all of their dishes and dropped them at the kitchen window to be cleaned, cups and plates and silverware, then she wiped down their table until every trace of crumb was gone. The chairs were straightened and tucked beneath the table, then Maggie tossed a few escaped strands of coppery hair from her eyes and crossed the room. Throwing herself down into a chair at Matthew's table, she watched him shovel it in with amusement. "You make it look delicious..." Delicate fingers reached out to nip a small piece of shepherd's pie and quickly popped it into her mouth. "Mm, I'm starving."

It was a chilly night but oddly enough, it didn't bother Richard as much as it used to.  He was off duty so had put on his old cloak, though his clothing was newer.  After he was off duty, he had a meal at the barracks, then since it had been a few days since he had seen Maggie. Over the past week, he had realized the wisdom of not becoming one of the knights. They were well-skilled and it seemed most had special talents.  As he made his way up the steps, he glanced in the window and decided to stay outside for a few moments.

"It is.." oops, he almost forgot not to talk with his mouth full and had to shut his trap quickly enough or have food falling out. "mmmmm mmmmmmmmm" was how he finished up his statement. He motioned to the kitchen window that she might get a whole one for herself or at his rate he might be getting another to stuff himself with but the idea of having dessert was more appealing.

She was falling into a bad habit of picking at his food, almost absently because it was right there in front of her... but at his wordless gesture, she smirked. "Fine, I'll get my own..." One last bite nabbed, which she munched on while she stood and went over to the kitchen window. Standing lightly on her toes, she leaned in to chat with Hazel for a few minutes while her own pie was being plated. Along with a big hunk of soda bread, her favorite. Next it was over to the bar to get a couple of ales from Alex, then she was carrying it all with easy grace back to their table. One of the ales was slid across to Matthew before she dug in.


He wanted a drink and wasn't going to get it standing out here. Pushing open the door, he stepped inside and closed it behind him quickly, though quietly.  The cloak was removed  and hung before he spoke. "Evenin' Maggie. Matthew."  Then he crossed the bar to ask Alex for a glass of the pure.

His pie was done and that tankard came just in time to wash it all down. He would now be picking at her pie! About to ask her on her day when Richard came in. "Evening Richard, have you eaten?" Which by his gesture he was inviting him over to join them at their table.

She reached out quickly enough to smack Matthew's hand lightly when he tried to pick at her food! Of course it came with a quick teasing smile as she then proceeded to fill her appetite. Pausing long enough when the door opened, she immediately smiled and swallowed what she was chewing on. "Richard! Aye, come sit with us, have a bite to eat? It's shepherd's pie tonight." It had been a few days since she'd seen her brother and she was eager to catch up. It was a bit strange... in their old life, they had spent nearly every waking moment together, at least those times when they were traveling between jobs. But now that she had him back, she still didn't see him nearly as often as she'd like.

"I've eaten already, thank you." He smiled as he picked up his glass, but I'll join you, aye."  They had lived in the same places then!  Now she was at the Thistle and he stayed at the castle.  "How have you both been?" He leaned to place an affectionate kiss to the top of Maggie's head then grabbed a chair, turning it so he could straddle it, arms resting on the back.  "Besides busy of course."

While Richard gave Maggie one of those kisses, he stole a piece of her pie cause he could and she'd not see him this time! Smack his hand ... HA! "Doing good, how about yourself? How is the training coming along?" That piece eaten in a blink of an eye as he washed down the bit with more ale. "Anyone want dessert?"

Lucky for Matthew... she did miss his thievery this time, giving Richard a warm smile at the kiss, and briefly squeezing his arm. Then she was drawing him down into the chair beside her. "I've hardly seen you this week. I hope they're not running you ragged.." Tilting her head at Richard with a look of concern, and then she was glancing to Matthew and laughing lightly. "You just ate your pie in a minute flat, if you eat dessert now more will come up than go down!"

"Not running me ragged, but I've been training in the mornings, get a brief break, and then I'm on duty until the evening.  Today it was the afternoon. "  He smiled again, and shrugged.  "I'm learning a lot."  Speaking to Matthew now.  "I hadn't realized the gaps in my training were as bad as they are."

"Then things are working out for you." Nodding thoughtfully before he was up to head over to order dessert. It would also give the two time alone as they hand not had much of such.


"Well, it's good you're here then. Better to be learning something than just skating along on what you already knew... aye?" She knew Richard liked to be challenged, so even if the road was difficult it would be good for him. Glancing up when Matthew went for dessert anyway, she smiled faintly, an expression that lingered in her eyes as she then took another bite of her meal. "I hope you're eating well at least.. taking care of yourself?"

"Well, the cooks are no Hazels but they're good and there's always plenty to eat.   And aye, I'm taking care of myself.  I regained my strength pretty fast in spite of being in that ice for as long as I was. And keeping busy keeps me out of trouble."  He gave her a slightly devilish smile. "Don't want me wandering down to the docks and getting into fights or losing all my money in card games, do you?"

"No!" She answered quickly, not liking that devilish smile of his. "Richard Callahan, you stay away from the Docks, they're dangerous." Heathfield did not have much crime compared to many places but most of it was concentrated in the docks' district. Yes.. she knew her big brother could take care of himself, but she still worried. Especially since the last time she'd lost him... he had been walking away into a similarly dingy district.

"Ah, sweetheart, if I'm down at the docks, I'm there on duty and we go in pairs. "  He chuckled then became serious. "I don't plan to lose any coin down there, Maggie, I promise. After all, we did without for so long, it's nice to have it coming in, and earning it."  Time to change the subject.  "And how are things going with you?" He glanced over at Matthew and back.

They couldn't see Matthew's grin as he heard Maggie reprimanding Richard. In fact they couldn't hear the silent snicker as he collected the plate with a few desserts on it. His was warm apple pie with ice cream.

"I don't care about the coin, Richard, I care about you." She gave him a serious gaze, blue eyes slightly widened. She wasn't too happy to hear that he went down there for his work, but at least they went in pairs.. that was reassuring. She, too let the subject pass however after levying him that look. Following his gaze from Matthew and then back, she couldn't help the smile that instantly returned to her face. "They're going well... very well," she told him with a flickering glance down to her food then back. She knew she must look like a besotted fool, with that silly smile of hers but.. she couldn't help it.

He had himself composed as he turned with the serving tray and made his way back over. Setting it down to entice them as he took up the one plate as he took his seat. "Have you met Andre Bovee and Pierre Lafayette?" Then he was scooping pie and ice cream down.

"I know you do, Maggie."  He was learning the city.  "It's temporary.  Once I've completed the training, I'll be at the castle most of the time, guarding the Royal Family and the members of the court.  But being so new to the city, I need to learn everything I can." And quickly as far as he was concerned.  He looked at Matthew and nodded. "And the Dock masters.  Hard to gauge the size of the city until you get to travel it."  He laughed, "and there are a few areas most don't really care to patrol."  Even so, they still had to be patrolled.

"I think I've met Pierre," she said, trying to recall his face. The name sounded familiar... likely he had been in the tavern at least once while she was here. Then Richard was speaking up, and Maggie hid a smile as she leaned back to nibble on the pie and listen. It was good to hear the two of them conversing... she knew it had been a bit of a shock to Richard, her involvement with Matthew, not to mention how much more serious it was with him than it had been with any other before. It was something Richard would have to come to terms with... but she just hoped the two would get along splendidly in time.



Date: 11-15-10
Poster: Richard Callahan 
Post # 30

They were getting use to it themselves. Happened quickly, a surprise and yet not. It had been lingering there between them for a while until surfaced to be recognized. "Aye, best way to learn your way around for the royal family goes where they want. Smart move in having you patrol various places. They might put you on a length of duty of those that ride out outside the wall the few miles perimeter before it is considered Ranger Territory. There are two Harbor Masters along with their help to get to know. They know everyone down there as it is their job to." There was a moment's consideration as he indicated the books setting on the table. "Ever hear of a Bogie or Boggart?"

"The Captain is a lot wiser than the others I've trained for. Doesn't make me feel like an idiot when I don't know something." He nodded about the patrols and was actually looking forward to that.  "House Fae, aren't they?"  He wasn't positive and was curious as to the reason for the question.

Maggie smothered any misgivings she had about Richard riding out to the perimeter, not wanting to sound like the overprotective nagging sister. So she said not a word in comment to that, but did speak up when Matthew went on. She giggled slightly. "Richard, remember when Lissa swore that a bogie had stolen all her candles?" Lissa was a sister in between their ages and the family had poked fun at that story... knowing that likely Lissa had just burned the candles out with her night owl tendencies. "Well... we think there may be one here, and it's not that tame."

"Aye, and now we need to figure out a way to get it out of there, stop it at least but we were warned there may be reasons it is held to the attic already. Although I think if we could trap it, we might make better progress in finding out why it is there." He was referring to it as an IT too at this point rather than something of person.

"Aye, I remember that time, but she was just trying to keep from getting into trouble. Should you be talking about it here? What if it hears your plans?" He looked from one to the other. "You might make it angrier." Though he had no better idea. "And is it really a problem?"
She glanced to Matthew, having not thought of that before. "I don't think it can hear us, so far we have seen it only in the attic. It seems to have set up shop there... and aye, it is a problem. We've been cleaning out the attic of all the old furniture and things, and each time its pranks have grown worse... the last time, it knocked Matthew out cold, and who knows how long he might have been stuck up there had I not gone looking for him." Her eyes slid again to Matthew, remembering that shock they'd both gotten when they fell through the floor and into the commons... how the maids had all whispered when they were found atop each other on that dumbwaiter.

"I hadn't thought of that," which had brows lifting as he considered the implications. "Aye, but we kin it's been down here for it had to move the furniture that got up here from the storage room," which then brought to mind another question. "How can a little guy move such heavy things when they are difficult for ones three times his height to move them?"

"If they're Fae, don't they have abilities? Or maybe friends to help him?" He looked thoughtful. "Maybe he spells them so they move themselves. In any case, he doesn't like you moving the stuff for some reason. You're messing with his territory, perhaps?" He took a long drink of the potcheen as he considered his own questions.

Maggie tilted her head, looking thoughtful. It didn't seem likely that such a small fellow would have the strength to move big furniture pieces.. but there was something they hadn't considered which Richard then brought up. "Aye... maybe there's more than one of them." That was a daunting thought wasn't it? "Or mayhaps he does have some magic, enough to spell the furniture.." Which brought up yet another point. "Why would he want all of those things up  there? He seems to love his little maze he's created, but.... the place is huge, I don't see why he needs all of that."

"Aye, there is that," which had him sliding a look Maggie's way as he too hoped that was not the case. It was hard enough dealing with one, there then focus shifted back upon Richard. "Michael McAndrews suggested we find out why the creature is trapped in the Attic. It may not be of his own doing or wishing. We thought maybe if we could trap him, we could try communicating and finding out what holds him to the Attic, the creatures do like clutter and not being around humans but we need to clear out the attic of all the stuff collected there over a few decades."

"Did you try just asking?" Maybe that route wouldn't work, but he couldn't help wondering if it might. "He might not even be able to tell you though." He shook his head, and looked at Maggie. "I don't want you getting hurt but I know you'll be insisting on helping Matthew find all this out. Maybe offer it a shiny for an answer?" He had no idea what else to suggest.

He knew her well... and she gave Richard a slight smirk to confirm her determination to get to the bottom of this. "That's what Michael and Abigail suggested, actually. Leave out things like ribbons and hairpins, and see what it takes. Perhaps... it will even think the items are gifts, and make it more inclined towards us?" It seemed worth a try. She glanced back to Matthew. "Perhaps tomorrow we can try that."

"Otherwise, maybe find someone with a Fae familiar?" He gave Maggie that familiar smile. He wasn't sure such existed but... "And I think that's all I have to suggest."

"Well, maybe that should be our start. Get some things that such a creature would like and put them out. While we're up there we can look around for any clues. Maybe some of those old pictures that are covered up by dust, and some of those boxes loaded with personal items of the family that use to live here."

Maggie was inclined to believe almost anything was possible, these days... and she gave her brother a faint grin in response to his smile. "Maybe." Then she was nodding to what Matthew was saying. "I think we should tell Alex when we go up there, and when we expect to be back down." She was only half kidding. After last time... who knew what could happen up there. "I wonder if it will be more willing to come out and show itself... after we've been up there for awhile."

He downed the last of the potcheen and stood, leaning over to kiss Maggie's cheek. "I need to go or I'll be a target on the field tomorrow for being so tired. If I can help, and I'm not on duty, let me know. I'll be checking in more often then before now that I'm used to the routine. Just... be careful. Both of you."

She reached up to put an arm around Richard's shoulders, catching him for a quick hug. "I will. I promise." And she gave him a smile. "Night, brother mine."

He was up to offer a hand, "thanks for the suggestions tonight. They were very helpful and as far as dealing with this creature, the more the merrier so that we can get it resolved."

He hugged her then gave his hand to Matthew. "If he is trapped there, he may not wish to leave depending on how long he's been there, so you may need extra help beyond the ordinary." After releasing, he headed to the door, grabbing his cloak and pulling it on. "Nos da." Saying good night in Welsh before adding "And rest well when you finally find your beds." With that, he headed for the door and out.

"Have a good night and do well on the field tomorrow." Which if they got up early enough they could go and watch. But he'd not tell him that in case having his sister there would throw him off.

Her eyes nearly brimmed over with warmth and memories when he spoke in their native tongue, something she'd not heard in a very long time, since before he disappeared. "Nos da," she replied softly, smiling to herself as she watched him go through the door. Then she turned that smile over to Matthew. "I suppose we ought to get some rest, as well..." though she didn't sound too eager to leave him.

"Aye, I think we've pretty much figured this creature is a Boggart or at least one of its cousins. We'll have to get a collection of things to bring up tomorrow for I'd like to get this resolved soon as we can. That attic is not going to get cleaned otherwise." He was mussing as he collected up his plates and empty tankard to bring over to the kitchen window.

"I have some things. Hair ribbons, pins.. I'll even give a copper for the cause." Maybe the bogie, or whatever it was, would like a shiny new coin. "Perhaps we can bring it one of Hazel's sweets as well. Her desserts have been known to soften even the roughest of sorts..." A light smirk as she rose, collecting up the last remaining plate and bringing it over to the window as well. She never could let someone clean up after her willingly!

"We'll find out," as he was over to draw her into his arms, "but I think we should get some sleep or surely we'll be dragging doing our chores tomorrow." Drawing her in ever closer as he spoke, one hand coming up to smooth along her jaw. The way he was looking at her could leave her to wonder what his thoughts were in the way they devoured.

How could she care about chores when he looked at her that way? She all but melted into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his hips in return. Tilting her head back to gaze at him in return, a smile brought light to her face as she took in every nuance of his features and the smile deepened when he touched her cheek. Her eyes flicked between his, searching.. and as the eye lock continued something made her ask softly, "Are you alright?"

"I'm perfectly fine, I'm just enjoying looking at your face," it may not have been the smoothest way of putting it but it was direct and he was tired.That's when he leaned on down in and stole a kiss, just as he dipped coming up with her in his arms as lips continued the lock as he headed into the hall that led to their rooms.

She was relieved that nothing was wrong... and girlishly felt the heat rise to her cheeks when he gave that explanation. Not usually one to blush, it seemed to happen around Matthew far too often. Dark lashes fell for a brief moment and when they lifted, suddenly she was being swooped into his arms. She might have laughed, but the sound was smothered by that kiss, one which seared their lips together as she let her arms wrap loosely around his neck.

That kiss would linger until he set her to her feet in front of her door. Doing a double take as he saw one of the kitchen maids peek around the corner then was gone. "I think there are more than Boggarts to worry on spying," a chuckle laced his words as focus dipped back to her. "Shall we break fast tomorrow together?" Most of the time they missed each other but that could be remedied.

Following his glance she saw Flora vanishing around the corner, and snickered. "Aye.. sometimes I feel like the very walls have eyes here." But it wouldn't prevent her from reaching for both his hands, intertwining her fingers with his. Lightly swinging their joined hands to keep him close for just a moment longer. "Aye, I'd like that." Her smile was easy and relaxed on her face. "You have the right to tap on my door if I'm not up by the time you are. But you may not come in and bed-bounce me awake." Teasing now, a slow grin crawled across her lips, one which might make him wonder whether she meant that or not.

"No? Maybe I can come in and awake you in a way that will have the whole tavern buzzing for days." Giving a wink and leaving her to wonder as the parting of ways tonight was a quick kiss to the nose. Otherwise he may have the whole tavern buzzing tonight.

She chuckled lowly at that, eyes dancing with the shared mischief. When he kissed her, she lifted a finger to lightly tap his nose in return. "Nos da," she bid him goodnight in her native tongue, almost without thought since that was how she had parted with Richard earlier. Maggie would linger in the hallway to watch him until he vanished into his own rooms.



Date: 11-20-10
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 31



Maggie had told Matthew to knock on her door for breakfast, but that proved unnecessary as she was actually up, dressed and at the kitchen table before him. Of course he could be out already doing chores for all she knew, but at least he wouldn't be waiting on her. She savored a tall mug of black tea until he arrived, idly flipping through the book of fae that they'd picked up from the library. There were a lot of creatures in there and some good information but Maggie had a feeling they'd have to learn about this particular fae firsthand. Her legs folded loosely beneath the table, she wore a pale blue dress that laced up the front with wide, darker blue satin ribbon. Hair was left in a loose tumble for now as she flipped another page.

Which he was, winter would be here soon and although they had more than enough wood cut and stacked, extra never hurt in case it was a worse than usual winter or there came a need of others for more wood. So he would split wood every morning until too cold to, it saved going out when it was freezing or standing in a few feet of snow. He also cleared a big space in one of the front storage rooms, one down by the steps, and was stacking them there as well. Easier to procure when bitter cold or during a bad snowstorm. The pile stacked by the hearth could be gone through in a few days depending on the need. Realizing the time, he left Tommy to finish stacking as he headed inside, taking the side door and down the hall he went to knock on Maggie's door, being slightly left open, he could see she wasn't within as he headed for the kitchen. Pausing in the doorway as he took up a lean and an appreciative glance taking her in. "You look pretty in blue.." certainly prejudice.

She'd been slightly leaning with one elbow on the table, but she sat up when a familiar voice came from the door, and words that made her heart flutter. Looking at Matthew a smile leapt immediately to her features. "Good morning.." and she lifted her face, presenting her cheek for a kiss of greeting. She even lightly tapped her cheek to give him the hint, a playful smile curling her lips.

Up from his lean he was brushing off any left over debris from the quilted vest he wore over a flannel plaid shirt, brown pants and boots lacing up to below his knees. He looked a woodsman at the moment for the knitted red cap on his head with one brown stripe around. He was over and leaning down to plant a kiss to her cheek, except he bypassed it at the last second and devoured one on her lips, kissing the playful smile instead. "mmmmm," murmured under his breath before it ended or Hazel would be swatting him, kissing in HER kitchen. Ending it just in time as she happened to turn around to go from the stove to the sink. "Breakfast smells wonderful, Hazel," giving Maggie a wink as he collected a plate, heaped with scrambled eggs, Irish bacon and hash browns. A big mug of coffee before setting all next to Maggie on the table as he claimed the seat at that setting.

Her smile grew as he moved in to steal a kiss from her lips instead, though it was something she returned willingly. Hands lifted to lay along each of his cheeks, holding him there one savory moment longer before some other sense made her release him. And yes, when she glanced up there was Hazel giving them a glance over her shoulder. Maggie smiled sheepishly to the cook, cheeks a bit pink and then rose to fill a plate for herself. Scrambled eggs and toast would be her lighter fare. "Aye Hazel, it does," she spoke up to appease the cook and then caught Matthew's wink, giving a quick grin in return. Her seat was regained and fork lifted, eyes sweeping Matthew to take in his
appearance. "You look like some forester out of a story..." a slow grin settling on her face.

Here he thought he'd gotten away with it and didn't know any different. Yet. He ate like one starved for certainly he had worked up an extra appetite for the work done early this morning. He stopped with her comment as a lopsided grin slid into place. Food swallowed. "You like the look then?" He'd have to remember that if she did. "OH! Before I forget, I was able to collect some things from the storage rooms when stacking logs in there. I'll have to show you once were are done with breakfast."

"Aye, I do," she told him with another little grin. He looked, well, very manly. Like someone strong enough to chop wood all day and not complain about it. She took a nibble of toast then nodded to his words, "Oh? I found some things too actually, a few things of my own I don't mind giving to the cause." They were on the table already, a small drawstring bag that she worked open to spill its contents out. There were a couple shiny hair ribbons, purple and yellow, a couple hairpins with a small jewel atop each, even a tiny hand mirror. "I know these are rather, ah, feminine things but perhaps it will be attracted to their shine."

Which reminded him before he got swatted along the back of his head, he grabbed the knitted hat off to set aside on the table. Nearly forgetting his manners! "We can get a tray and make note of all we put on it before setting the first test," instead of calling it a trap. "See what the wee one goes for. I still have the wafers too." Which he had put in a box folded up in a napkin. He wasn't sure how long they would last but if they were fairy made, that could possibly be a long time, or never spoil at all. Here she was spilling out what she had gathered. "These will be perfect, maybe these creatures, the males, are not like human males liking pretty things like we associate for a woman." He was back to his meal so he could get done for now he was getting hyped up to find out what the creature would take.

She nodded, "maybe we can draw a map of the tray for ourselves, of where we set each item, to see if anything is moved." She focused on her meal for a few moments to get it finished, eating hers at a neat and efficient pace. "Oh.. Brian MacMillion stopped by the tavern yesterday." She knew that he knew about their one and only date... so she figured he ought to know of the outcome. She flicked a glance up to his face. "He wanted to see me again... but I told him I was with you now." Another glance flicked to see his reaction to all this, wanting to be honest so he knew that she wouldn't hide things from him... even things that were slightly uncomfortable. "He took it quite well."

She at a neat and efficient pace, unlike Matthew who gobbled his food down followed by a good amount of coffee. He was about to get up and get a tray, one of the old ones that Hazel rarely used if at all anymore, but froze in place with her unexpected announcement. Took that awkward moment before he was standing and a breath released he didn't realize he'd held. "I guess he didn't get word," seems Richard didn't tell him but then it was not his place and rumors must not have reached Brian's ears. Good for Brian that he didn't dwell amongst those that spread rumors. "I can't begrudge the man for wanting to see you again. I would too." Except he was the one she was with and quite pleased with that. "I am sure he will find the woman meant for him 'cause you're the woman meant for me." Sounding a bit possessive but not the kind that came from jealously. "He's a good man and a friend." Matt had known the man for some time and counted him amongst his friends even if he didn't hang out with the man. "I'm pleased you were honest with him." Which was enough on the subject or so he figured as he was over to get an old tray from Hazel for them to use. Once in hand he was back over to finish off his coffee and wait on her.


Maggie was watching Matthew just a tad anxiously, unsure how he might react, but when he began speaking she breathed out in relief. His words about being meant for him brought a smile back to her face, a warm one as she rose to clean her dishes. "Aye, he is and I think he'll find someone better suited to him than me." They had gotten along fine but there hadn't been that same spark, that instant connection that she had with Matthew. Joining him at the table once more to finish her tea, she cast him another smile. "I'll always be honest with you if you're always honest with me." It was half a tease and half in earnest, though she trusted him completely and knew he was an honest man by nature. One of the many things to love about him.

"You must know that I am, honest to a fault." Which some didn't really appreciate so he learned to keep his mouth shut on some things. He was back over with the tray. "Let me get what I have while you set yours on the tray." Which he left there as he was first over to a drawer in one of the counters to draw out and get a sheet of paper and pencil. "I hope you draw better than me," turning as he was back to set them there. Hazel had gone into the pantry as he leaned down to steal a kiss, more a brush of one especially after the prior talk. It kind of sealed things in his mind. There and gone in the next moment as he headed for his room.

She did know that already. She bobbed a nod to his words, pulling the tray closer and reaching for all the 'shinies' she had brought out to arrange them. Then he was leaning down and she turned her face up to receive the kiss, which might have been brief but was no less tender for that. Her hand lay against his shoulder for the duration and then he was taking off, leaving her to smile a bit giddily to herself. And then she got to work arranging things on the tray, once done, she'd begin doing a sketch of them on the paper. It would be no masterpiece but at least help them keep track of what was where.

He was back with a small pouch and over to pull up a chair next to hers. First he pulled out jacks with a small ball to set together in a small pile. It was followed by some pearlized buttons, a child's bracelet of various colored stones and lastly a broach that was of a Celtic design with stones of green here and there. Of course the stones were not real in these but they looked real and mostly, they sparkled. "Do you think this will be enough?" Surveying what they had so far. One arm sliding across the back of her chair in a possessive way subconsciously. "Wait!" as he nearly forgot, his arm coming back as he took out the small cloth he had the fairy wafers in, only putting one on the tray. Once done and the cloth folded and put back to his breast pocket, his arm resumed its position along the back of her chair.

As he laid the items out, she plucked them up one at a time to add to the tray, trying to arrange everything in an appealing and uncluttered manner. Then she took up the pencil and quickly added his things to the sketch. "I think this is more than enough... plenty for it to choose from." She grinned just a bit as he added a wafer to the tray. With a flourish she added it to the sketch. "I wonder what might happen to it, if it eats that wafer..." Would it have any effect on the creature? It would surely be an interesting experiment. She gave a quick peck to Matthew's cheek and pushed back from the table. "Shall we go plant our bait?"

That was why he only put one. Heaven only knew, it could be something really positive or turn him into an eight foot raging giant, eliciting a total opposite effect than anticipated for the difference in species. "I'm wondering too." Then he was up as he took the tray to hand to her, "you will probably carry it more steadily and I'll be seeing to opening up the door." As it was kept locked otherwise as she knew. "We can search for more clues like suggested too and get rid of some things while at it." Even if the cleaning this day was only a small bite, it was still a bite in eating this elephant.

"Aye sure," she said as she took the tray from him,"give the waitress the tray to carry." But her eyes were dancing with mirth as she didn't mind, only enjoyed teasing him. And just to be playful, she'd even carry the tray on the flat of her palm, up near her head as if it were a tray full of food. Walking with a sashaying stride as they made their way to the stairs for the long uphill climb. "Do you think we could use the dumbwaiter to help move things, now that we know it's there?"

Which had him grinning, that was appropriate wasn't it! "You do that so well!" The laughter held to his eyes as they started the trek up the steps. One, Two, and Three before he unlocked the door. Holding it open to let her pass through first. "Should we find a flat top chest to put it on than setting it on the floor?" He had seen some around in all the clutter. "The dumbwaiter will be used once we get to the larger objects." As they would need to clear the place of most smaller things to move the larger things.

A little shake of her hips at his compliment, and then she was ducking her head and lowering the tray in front of her, to step over the threshold. "Ahh, aye, if we can find one..." she moved forward, stepping carefully over the obstacles in her path as they advanced. And she was sending slightly wary glances around as well, unable to help remembering what had happened last time she came up here.

She wasn't the only one with a wary eye about the place but Matthew forged onward to find one of the chests he'd seen not too far into the clutter. He dragged it over into the clearing which had remained the same since the last incident. That is after he removed most of the clutter along with Tommy's help that had filled what they had cleaned. It wasn't quite as open but certainly an improvement. Three steps forward, four back and two forward again seemed to be their progress. "Maybe we should see what is inside first?" Which he was already fiddling with the latch and finally just broke it with a tool he had. No sense keeping it locked and the lock could always be replaced. Dust rose up when he opened it up the top of the layer or three resting there. Inside things were pretty much in order. A few smaller paintings wrapped up. "Hey, here are some more paintings. I think I'll take these downstairs when we go along with the bigger one over there." One that was so coated in dust it could hardly be made out.

Maggie let Matthew step ahead of her, and followed in his wake as he shifted things around to make an open area. The tray was hitched against her shoulder as she waited for him to open the chest, coughing some and wafting her hand at the cloud of dust that rose up. Once the air cleared she was looking at the paintings with interest. "I'd like to see those once we're back downstairs. Is there anything else in there?"

"Lady's clothing, letters and writings," looked like mostly a mature woman but there were also smaller outfits for a young girl and boy within. "I'm not sure if these can be used for the style but I'm sure someone who has few coins, can alter them to something more stylish." He heard of women doing that. So he got a bag from the pail left there of cleaning stuff and placed the clothing in the bag to bring down with them. Once everything was out of the chest, for the lighting was not the best up here to really go over things thoroughly, he closed the empty chest up so she could place the tray there.

Date: 11-28-10
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 32

The Letter


"What makes you think I can't alter them?" She teased him with a little grin and quirk of the brow. "I did use to work as a seamstress, you know." A wink given and then, once the chest was closed, she eased the tray down onto its lid. Her hands were dusted off, one against the other before settling them on her hips. "I suppose now.. we leave it here and wait a few days?"

"No, I didn't know. Maybe you can alter one for yourself that would suit for the upcoming holidays if there is a ball," or even if he took her out to Sibios or the like. She would have no excuse she had nothing to wear. He brought the bag to set by the door before he was over to one of the larger paintings wrapped up in brown paper to hopefully keep the dust from settling on the paint. Two were then lugged over to the door to lean them up there, although not huge they were still a good size. "I say we check it tomorrow. If not touched then we check it the next day. Or if one or two things are gone, then we wait another day to see if anything more is taken, if not, then the next day we collect the tray," which had him pause as he leaned the second painting, one all wrapped up like the first and assuming they were paintings, against the door. "We'll go from there." That being the best approach for now and hoping any other ideas of what to do came to him after each step. "Would you help me carry down some of these things?" Asking but knowing she would. There was a small box with stacks of photos and what might be letters or writings in it and he'd carry down one of the paintings and the large bag of clothing.

She could have sworn she'd mentioned that before, but ah well. Maggie had worn many hats in past lives, but the present was much nicer to think about. Nodding to his words, it seemed a good plan. "Sounds about right to me.." and she was already automatically moving, to help collect the things they wanted to bring back downstairs. It seemed a never-ending font of random junk, this Attic. Her gaze swung around the place one more time, but there was no sign of their little 'friend'... so she moved to the door, tucking one painting under her arm and lifting another, along with the box.

He was right behind her as he waited at the door as she passed through. A moment listening had no sound at all. It was quiet yet the dust particles floating around dazzled where the shards of light entered from the windows reminding him that not all was as it seemed in this Attic. The quiet only a ploy as to what lurked in the jungle of junk. Although using the term loosely being what was junk to one was a treasure to another. He finally closed and locked the door. No one outside the room would have access to take anything from the tray either. The bag now lifted up to hoist over his shoulder with one hand as the other took a grip on the painting as he followed Maggie downstairs. "I am pretty sure I saw a deep green velvet gown in with them." Either that or it was black, hard to tell in the lighting the attic offered.

"Oh?" Maneuvering the stairs carefully with those items in tow, she managed to cast a quick playful glance over her shoulder at him. "Is that a favorite color of yours?" These things would be good to know for the future! He would catch a glimpse of a dazzling smile before she turned her attention back to the stairs, as they approached the final set descending down into the common room.

She'd catch him smiling with that look on his face that showed he was picturing her in some concoction of it. Maybe even that older version that was so flattering to a woman's figure than later styles. He caught himself with a slight clearing of his throat mingled with a laugh. "There is red too like the flame colors in your hair." Once to the common room he first set the painting propped up against the wall before he disappeared to the room where all the extra clothing was kept. She would hear him call out, "I put it next to the toy bend in here." So she knew where to find it when she was ready. The last of which could be heard louder as he was coming back out in to the tavern proper.

She just grinned lightly, tilting her head in consideration. She thought she might prefer the green but she'd have to take a look to see what was in that bag. Once down into the tap room, she set her painting down carefully next to Matthew's, and the shoe box as well. "Shall we have a look at these?" She asked Matthew once he reappeared.

"Yes," that was the idea as he took up the small box to see what it contained first. There were letters and writings like one that liked to put their thoughts on paper. They would find such things as how the woman felt about her pregnancy in one particular journal. It was done with a sense of humor and a lot of superstitions emerged too throughout her writings. There were thoughts and worry on her husband who was in the King's military. Rumors that put fear in her heart but not ones she would repeat. They spoke of treason and treachery. The more and more the woman wrote, signing her writings with The Enchanted One could have one reading them wonder on her sanity. There was a second pregnancy and this time it was a girl and the woman seemed to regain poise and nothing more mentioned on the rumors. She talked about the pets she got for her children that spoke of ponies and poodles as well an exotic monkey. Monkeys were more common pets back then. The woman seemed to have money as he set the things out for Maggie to look at as he passed through them. There were about five smaller pictures, drawing in oil or watercolor, of her children and their pets. The monkey was odd looking with a little suit on him and a wig.


Maggie settled on a couch next to Matthew to look through the box, her shoes doffed to tuck her legs up comfortably beneath herself. The letters were looked through with interest, as well as the journal, though they had time only to skim through it. Still they got the idea of what the woman's life had been like, and it left alot of questions. "I wonder whatever happened with her husband..." She murmured as they flipped through the journal, then set it aside to look at the portraits. A smile came to her face as she studied the paintings of the children, but then the one with the monkey dressed up made her laugh. "It looks a bit like our friend upstairs..." as she passed it over for him to see.

There was a picture of her husband and she with one child, a boy. One with curly blond hair and devilish blue eyes. The mother was as handsome as their father who stood like a military man, broad chest, not much of a neck, hand on his sword. A pride there in his eyes. Another with him in it and then there were two little ones, the same boy older that stood by the arm of the chair, one hand up on it while the mother held a young daughter in her lap all dressed up as one that had money. "Aye, some." Glancing back over the picture of the monkey. Curiosity got him as he set what he had down for her perusal and went over to the first painting. Tearing the paper that had become brittle away only to discover a larger true oil painting of the last watercolor set on the table for Maggie.

Maggie took her time to look over each picture slowly, fingers lightly running along the edges. They were handled carefully, lest she damage these items that were already fragile with age. Her eyes flicked over each face in the pictures, then she glanced up to watch him reveal one of the paintings. There were the same people, only larger and preserved in oils. Tilting her head to look at it, a smile came to her face. "They're a lovely family, weren't they? I wonder if any of them still live here..." And she wondered how old these items were for that matter.

"If they lived here would they not still live here in the Thistle and it not have been converted at all?" It was odd and the paintings were typical of that era, dark. The family itself the only paint lighter as if one had a spotlight on them. The rest detailed if you could get in close and look over it all inch by inch with a magnifying glass. From a normal viewing distance, the detail got lost in the darker paint. The eye drawn to the lighter area of the family. One more to go of those they brought down. They had gained some knowledge of the family but nothing unusual that would lead to more knowledge of the family. The second one was of the woman a few years older. She sat on a royal bred horse while her son sat a younger stallion that seemed to be anxious for it was pawing the earth. More that look in its eye that showed some of the white. The girl now about six sat a pony that seemed to be shied in against the larger horse of her mother's. The boy of about eight, seemed to be oblivious to the state of the young stallion he sat. Three poodles were off to the side, one sitting and two laying with their heads up. The monkey was there too all dressed up in the little suit and was pointing towards the woods behind them. The man was not in the picture although if one had viewed the first closely, his sword was worn by the woman in the second painting.

"They may have moved out, into their own house somewhere," she shrugged. She was only curious really, it would likely be difficult to find out anything besides what the journal and letters already told them. Shifting some on the couch when he revealed the second portrait, she took a moment to study this one too. "They look as if they were well off, noble born. If so, why would they live in a tavern?" Somebody who could afford fancy horses and rich clothing would likely be able to live in their own house as well...

"Yes, she does, they do. It wasn't a tavern then." He wondered if they would ever know. It was noted that the monkey was twisted odd as Matthew started to crouched down to collect the paper resting on the floor but instead only step on a piece of it when moving closer, "come here, see this.." waving her over in that quick way.

A blink and she was up and over quickly to crouch down by him. "What is it?"

"Look at this monkey.." which he pointed out then the sword that had matched the one the husband had worn in the other painting. "This means he has passed," but as he traced the sword he noticed a gold chain going from the woman's wrist down off the saddle, lost in the grass below but then picked up again that led in the direction the monkey was pointing. At first it just looked dark but then he noticed those eyes. As he noticed the eyes the rest started to take form as he started to discern the darker colors from one another. The boggart was hiding behind the trunk of a tree it was holding onto and looking out fearfully while the monkey tried to draw attention it to most likely the painter. "I think he was her pet."

"Her pet?" She echoed in confusion, before following Matthew's gesture to the shadows of the painting's tree. Her features cleared with surprise and sudden understanding. "And he's been hiding up there ever since they left or passed away..." Blues moved to Matthew before going back to the painting.

"Something happened that left him up in the attic with all their things and they moved out without their belongings for that matter." He didn't like the ideas that presented themselves when a family moved out without their possessions like that. "We may never know.." he reached for the paper that ripped as he tugged at it for some was under his boot. It was then from a pocket formed in the paper a piece of paper slip out that landed at Maggie's feet.

Her dark brows drew together briefly, and she nodded to Matthew's words, then looked back to the portrait. Now that she saw the boggart there, and looked a bit more closely at their faces, she got a bit of a.... chilly feeling about it all. It seemed eerily strange, all of it, and she tried to shake off that feeling. Then movement caught the corner of her eye and she knelt down to lift up that bit of paper, unfolding it to read, if it contained words.

It was a strange painting, one with clues it seemed but the attached letter was something else hidden away with the painting. It was written in haste: To whomever finds this, take heed. I had suspected the man name Rath in the King's army of being evil. My husband Ronald felt the same and I fear his untimely death in an accident two months ago was no accident. From what he told me, he was gaining evidence against the man to take him from his high military standing as a threat to the nation. It is with great sorrow that his former squire came to me half alive with the urgent message for us to leave immediately. The King and his Queen were ambushed and murdered by this man and they now come to do the same of anyone left that could be a threat. I have advised my staff to see to all our things being moved to the attic but I cannot find Aphalleallal to set him free. Something I had been meaning to do since my husband's death. I never felt right about this present of his given me on my last birthday. I have not time to explain. Beware for unsupervised they can become troublesome. I hope one of my staff is able to find him before they leave. The Enchanted One.

Her eyes flew back and forth across the page, taking in the cramped words, re-reading a few that were nearly illegible. It was clear that the note had been hastily scrawled and she sank back on her heels as she read, her features becoming almost sad. "Matthew." She said his name quietly once done reading, and handed the bit of paper over for him to peruse as well. She knew the basics of Heathfield's history and what had happened with Rath... but it was sobering to read about it from someone who had actually been there, and suffered through it first-hand. "Aphalleallal.." She pronounced the unusual word slowly. "That's his name."

He was gobbling up the brown paper to burn in the fire place as he had started to step in that direction but noticed she was reading something. "Where did that come from?" the wad of paper braced under his arm as he took the sheet to read over when offered his way. Brows went up as he wondered if this should be brought to the queen too. "Apha, ah, hall, eall all a," the name was really a tongue twister. He knew his rendering probably didn't sound anywhere near how she said it.

"However you say it... that's his name." She settled onto the floor, her chin resting on a bent knee to think through this. "I wonder 
 why he has not left, if he has been free of his owners for so long. Perhaps.. he stays because he misses them." That was a thought which made her feel sorry for the bogie.

"I think she couldn't find him and so he was trapped to this place where she had lived." At least that was how he read the letter. "It is possible he misses them too, something had him scared though." The woman spoke fondly of the creature with concern. There was also the warning. "Didn't the books say something about the name? Using it would trap them, maybe using it again by a stranger would set them free?"

Trying to remember exactly what the book had said about that, Maggie found she couldn't recall. "Mayhap..." It seemed worth a try. "I feel sorry for him. Nobody ought to be kept somewhere they feel trapped... not even a creature like him." Maybe she had some understanding of that feeling, from past experiences in her life. The castle where she had served as lady's maid had been the worst. There was no shaking the feeling she did not belong there, no matter how she had tried... but that had all changed when she first stepped foot in Heathfield and suddenly knew that she was home.

"I agree. Michael had said something about finding clues, that not all is as it seems." But they should still be careful. "It was possible we may find more clues in letters or the diary that were written. However,  it is getting late as the day has turned into late afternoon already and the dinner crowd would be coming in. I will put the paintings in my room along with the letters and writings. We can go over them later tonight after our work is done." Which he set out to do.

Maggie nodded. "I'd like to read the entire diary through. The letters, too." Who knew what they might learn from some off-handed statement or another. Then at his words, she blinked and looked out the window, seeing from the light outside that he was right. "I completely lost track of time," she said with a brief laugh. Leaning over, she gave him a quick brush of a kiss before rising to her feet briskly. It was time to get to work. "Aye, later."

He was quick to take up that kiss before anyone came in through the door. One to fortify him until later when they would have some time together again. "I will see you later.. I'll put the box in your room on your bed." Place she would easily find it as Tommy happened to come in from the back. His face getting red which made him wonder if he saw that quick kiss!

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