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Thistle Tavern

Date: 01-01-09
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 1


Quiet night had Maurice out and about only to end up at the Thistle. A fine place to be whether others managed their way here or not, comfortable atmosphere, good food and company with Alex and Hazel. The place being decorated rendered it that touch special. Fire burned in the hearth welcoming all to its warmth which found Ice now there relaxing in one of the wing back chairs. Legs stretched out with booted feet crossed one over the other on an ottoman. Poet's shirt of a watery blue, dark blue vest and black pants. Casually attired but looking more the Laird than a mountain man.

Chandra had gone riding, even though it was growing late. It was leisurely as she didn't want her horse to stumble in the dark. Before she returned to the manor, she decided to stop at the Thistle for a drink and perhaps a bit of company if any were around. Once the lads saw to her horse, she came in through the garden door, finding it peaceful, even in winter. Beneath a velvet cloak of dark blue, lined with fur, she wore a riding outfit of a lighter blue suede, with a split skirt and short bolero type jacket. Her shirt was cut to show a touch of cleavage. Dark hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck. Spotting Ice, she smiled warmly. "Good evening, Maurice. It's good to see you." He looked very comfortable and as handsome as usual.

Ice blue eyes flashed her way as well the natural roguish grin to tuck within the thick russet beard as he gained his feet. Stretching discreetly as shoulders squared only have a touch more towering feel to his height. "Chandra, it is good to see you again. I hope that Yuletide has been good to you. Your son still within the lands as well?" Knowing that would be something that would make it better for her no matter the situation with him. A motion of hand to the chair nearest his, "come join me once you get your drink. The night chills to the bone calling for something warm to fend oneself from its clutches."

"It was very nice. We had a full house with company." Which she had enjoyed, having young people around. She retrieved a glass of potcheen punch and made her way to the hearth, settling into a chair. "That it does though I enjoyed riding a bit, in spite of the chill. Davin is staying for at least the winter, though I'm hoping he decides to remain here." She had a bit of an impish grin as she continued. "It will likely depend if I can stop fussing at him and remember that he's a man now, not a lad."

"A mother fussing over her grown son comes naturally but aye.." chuckle coming in the pause, "it might have him stepping back or even away for the implication he is not seen as grown. Does your son have any skills in particular that he has honed? If he does and we have some openings, might do him well to take on a job. Get out from underfoot and prove himself as well." He sat once she was seated, relaxing back although booted feet remained on the floor instead of the ottoman this time.

She relaxed as she sat, smiling slightly. The quiet of the tavern was welcome as was the company. "He's very good with leather work. He's constantly creating something if he's not helping around the manor. He made gifts for everyone." She absently tapped her finger against the glass. "And his uncle saw that he had training in arms."

"There is a leather shop that has a Keeper in charge for the one that had taken it over has moved to Kildare. A good move for the lass and seems to be more of what she was trained for, a knight under the King there. The man that had it, took it back over temporarily for leather goods are needed but he's much too old to be working. His eyesight is not what it use to be. All kinds of leather goods are sold there, either made by the one running it or imported. The cobbler sells most his boots and shoes through there as well. Leather armor is also a need. Do you think he would consider taking it on temporarily, profits he keeps but would be doing the elderly man, acting as Keeper in the meantime, a big favor."

She listened with interest, her face lighting up. It might be perfect for Davin and certainly would make him feel less like he was imposing. She smiled and nodded. "I'll certainly mention it to him and I'm sure he'll consider it. As I said, he's never been one to sit around and he's really very good at leather work."

"Present it as a temporary thing to help and old man out. I think it would be more appealing than if he felt it would lock him in obligation to stay. Which we don't want to do for surely he'll run. I'll talk to him about it if you'd like, show him the place see if the idea appeals with the understanding it's for as long as he stays here and fine when he needs to go."

"That might be the best way to do it. Then he's less likely to think I'm trying to force his hand." She had finished her drink and stood with great reluctance. "I should head back. It's getting late and I've another busy day tomorrow."

"Exactly and at his age it will have any bridges being built quickly destroyed. I have a son." Which he understood as even Rory went through the identity crisis of being his own person than the son of a well known man in the lands. "I can understand how trying it can be for you but believe in him, he'll come around in time once he feels it is his time to be able to. It's hard giving them that room after deciding things for them for so long and then letting go to allow them to make their own decisions." He was up as she rose. "I can see you back then?" They could talk a little more on her son and this offer he had presented.

"I would love the company, Maurice." She smiled warmly. "Did you ride in? I've my horse, but I can walk her back." The horse wouldn't mind and they could take their time. "Davin and I butted heads so many time. It's been a little easier to let him go than I thought it would be." An admittance that made her feel some sadness.

"I have for being out this night so that will work out well. Perhaps you can tell me the points he is most stubborn on." That might help him in this effort to avoid them so it went more smoothly, productively and appealing to the young man. He was over to set his empty glass and what was left of the bottle of potcheen to the counter. A few words with Alex before over to don the cloak he'd worn in and left hanging near the door. They could talk on how he dealt with that age of his son as it might also help. He'd see to her cloak and then escort her out to their awaiting horses.

Once they were mounted and riding, she looked thoughtfully at Ice. She wasn't sure where to start so she just jumped in, more or less. "Davin has always been independent, as I said. His father died when he was eight, and his uncle took over his training. He doesn't like to be told what he should do, as in how to behave, how to act around others though Carrick has been working with him. I've noticed a great improvement in his attitude." She laughed as she looked at Ice. "I'm not sure if that is specific enough or not."

He had helped her up even if she hadn't really needed his help. Just made it easier before he was mounted and they were off towards Clearview Manor. The horses set at a leisurely walk much as their talk. He stayed close to her right side, giving the horses the few inches between in not touching. Easy enough to accomplish at this pace. "Being independent is a good quality most of the time. It means he'll survive on his own if needed. Harder for one as such to allow others to help them where they can and is needed." Stubborn usually went hand in hand with independent. "So, respect of another has him not quite as stubborn. He likes to be the one making the decisions he feels affect his life, not told he has to." Giving a nod as basically that was what he needed to know. "Had he ever given you a hard time about seeing other men? Find that as a threat in one taking his father's place even if his father has died?" These questions were more curious ones although he realized after asking they were heading towards the more personal, "if you feel any questions I ask are too personal. please let me know. I'll not be offended and would not expect you to answer them." Even in the darkness of night with enough light from the moon, ice blue eyes could seem to flash her way in spite of dusky shadows as they rode along.

She smiled again, a dimple showing as she looked at him. "I will, if I consider them such. As far as my seeing other men, since I didn't when we were living with my brother-in-law and his daughters. I don't know how he'll react to be honest, but I do know he has held the hope that Carrick and I might marry. Though I respect him greatly, I can't see myself married to him. He ... doesn't really believe in the old ways. And more importantly, I don't love him in that way. Nor does he love me other than as a sister."

A thoughtful nod was given with her answer. "My children were young when my second wife died. My first marriage didn't really count as she ran off a few weeks later, less than a month. I would say mine were hoping to gain a mother, not really having known theirs. I met ones over the years, went out, even got serious but none of them worked out. I think both still hold hope I could find the right woman, especially Rory and Kia for their happiness together. More they would hope I had the same." He shook his head once with a low chuckle. "It is not all that easy, love is the most important thing but even that alone might not make a good marriage. Compatibility is near as important and where both are partners working together than apart." In short he well understood Gavin hoping the man he looked upon as a father to become real. Nice and neat package. "I think that as your son gets older and starts to understand relationships and love more, he will also come to understand why you didn't marry Carrick. Although rough in the meantime at times." By this time the lights from Clearview could be seen, a welcoming sight at that as they came up the road to where a stable boy waited. He dismounted so that he could step around and offer her a hand down.

She nodded, the smile fading slightly. "He's a good man and I can understand why Davin hoped for it but yes, it is my hope that in time, he'll understand. I've been reluctant to attempt seeing others for fear of his disappointment as well as my own." She accepted his help, looking up at him a moment before stepping back. "Will you come in and have a nightcap, or something hot if you prefer?" She motioned toward the manor house. "I think everyone is off to their own entertainment tonight or else asleep."

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear can be a very disabling emotion. Perhaps if you let that fear go and let Fate take care of it, you might well find someone for being open to it." Smile tucked within the russet beard when she invited him in. It was bitter cold out and the slow ride here had the offer of something warm appealing. "I would like a cup of coffee or tea before heading back. I'm in no rush to return to a quiet house and even more, enjoying the company I am keeping presently to extend it." Offering the bend of his arm that he could escort her to the door and within.

"Coffee it is. We have Turkish coffee that nearly rivals that of the Thistle. And we can talk more while I brew it." She slid her arm through his, resting her other hand on his arm as well. "I wanted to have a new beginning here and so I shall." The dimple returned at the last of his words. "I'm glad to hear it. I enjoy your company very much, Maurice." Once inside, she removed her cloak and would take his to hang as well. Then she led him to the kitchen. "We have a few servants but with Melantha and Brigid here, we take turns cooking." Her brothers were visiting for the holiday, and the house was quite lively most of the time.

"A bit o' Turkish coffee would do nicely." Following her out to the kitchen pausing to stand in the doorway. He had a way of filling it up and possibly drawing another's attention to the white berry weed someone hung above it. Here he stalled easing in against the doorframe as he watched her. Content for the moment at this advantage and not in her way, especially for his size. Although, he had noticed she was taller than most women he knew. Appealing he realized as well. "Starting a new life, new beginning. I feel like I've had a multiple of new beginnings, new lives rolled into one. Ever changing. Holding both joy and sorrow. In spite of new beginnings that have come and gone, I haven't lost hope yet. I hope that you do not either. I see it now as all these new beginnings bring us to a better understanding of life, of ourselves and of others we share this life with."

"I refuse to become bitter over it. I was at first when David died but that passed and I found life was good. We weren't poor or lonely though I longed for a different home. And now I'm here." She smiled as she measured out the water and coffee and placed it on the stove that was still hot from earlier and only needed a bit more fuel added. Turning to look at him, her smile became impish before she walked over to him. "There are times when it seems the threads that Fate weaves are tangled and other times things seem quite clear. I think someone was up to something." She pointed upward because he was so tall. "Would you mind leaning down a bit so I keep the tradition of the season?" Had she been tall enough, she wouldn't have asked.

"You are a survivor as well, by the hands of Fate or others to continue. Now you are here." Repeating those four words that said so much. There was a flash in ice blue eyes as she came closer while shifting up from his lean, only making him taller. The impish gleam well noted and there too appreciated. The spark of life was well within this woman he was gradually getting to know. Although he taken a little by surprise at first as a glance was taken up around to the side to spy that bit of weed that held so much tradition to it. Dipping back as the naturally roguish grin spread the moment, "by all means." Except he took her into his arms as he leaned down and in, now aware of the mistletoe, certainly he would have caught her first had he seen it. The beard might tickle against soft skin as lips met hers to plunder just enough. A good kiss in all due respect of the season and tradition. Perhaps quite thankful to Fate and whoever place it there as he certainly seized the moment to enjoy fully. She might feel like she was wrapped up in the arms of a bear, teddy bear as his daughter would say. Gentle giant had also been attached.

Yes she was a survivor and she was delighted that he had been caught by surprise, even if briefly. She still stood on tiptoe to make it a little easier for him. Her lips were soft and warm, pliable against his. Her arms slid around his neck as their lips met and though the beard did tickle a little, the kiss was worth every tickle to have his arms wrapped around her. It was comforting and there was a feeling of peace that came from the man. He might feel the same from her.

There were some that liked beards and it had advantages at times that he well made use of for the pleasure of another. Although it had been some time since he was with a woman and certainly this woman in his arms at the moment was of a respectful kind not like the many doxies that disguised themselves behind a title. He found the kiss enticing, wishing for more of such a wonderful surprise, wholly unexpected but here it was. She felt good in his arms, her height perfect, a mature woman that held no delusions about life or illusions of love and happy ever after, piling those expectations on the man to fulfill. Lips plundered a moment more before eased away and the rare serious side to Ice exposed in those unique blue eyes held upon hers. "I find I like kissing you Chandra Byrne." Although the thought of her son walking in on them at this very moment trickled across his thoughts. It would be just like the trickster Fate could be to happen, although he'd meet those tricks of Fate head on. Honesty was the key, key for a lot of things than cover ups or lies. "I'm very glad that you are here now." Realizing those words meant more now.

Dark blue eyes met his as the kiss ended and he eased away. His honesty was welcome, as were his words. If she thought about Davin finding them, she showed nothing. He would have to accept that as he wished to live his life his own way, so did she. "And I feel the same, both about kissing you, Maurice McDonough and about being here." She could have remained like that but the coffee was perking, filling the kitchen with its scent. There was time to learn more about him and the same was true for him. "I'm even more pleased that you were at the Thistle tonight."

No son, Fate was being kind this night. Although challenges were welcome, it kept the blood pumping and the mind sharp. As she moved away the glanced once more up towards the mistletoe, perhaps a silent thanks in his own way before he was over to pull out a chair for her and the adjacent one for himself. He would wait until she was seated before taking up his seat as well. "I imagine it was a hard decision to make, leaving what you had become use to. Staying for the sake of your son if I might be so bold to presume. Once old enough and a mind of his own, you knew you had to make choices for yourself once again. In a way, your duty as doting mother done, although being a mother is never done. Just knowing when it was time to allow your son to stand on his own two feet than coddled." Which in his mind was admirable that she knew when to let go after doing her best for many years. To face the unknown challenges of leaving a life that had become habit, comfortable, secure.

She placed cream on the table. There was sugar there already and spoons. She had tarts and cookies but for Ice, she cut a slice of apple pie, even though she set the other treats on the table after. Two cups of the fragrant brew were poured and then the pot placed on the warming area of the stove. She sat then and smiled again. "I waited a little longer than I had to, just to be certain but once Davin reached his eighteenth birthday, it seemed foolish to wait any longer." She gave a slight shake of her head. "We were arguing more than talking and I think it did us both good to be apart though I missed him terribly."

"It is always better to be certain of a clear conscience than doing something too soon otherwise. Though there is the flip side of doing something far too late. I think your choice of age was a good time than say sixteen or finding yourself with a son that never leaves home in the sense of mommy's apron strings. My son and his wife live in my home, their home, but they have their own quarters and I daresay I go days at times not seeing them even in passing. Though it is hard to keep grandpa away too long at least to gather up my grandson and order my son to take Kia to Sibios the night while I spend time with him. His stables are on my lands for him not to stay. Well, enough about me in that area, tell me what you plan to do now that you have a new beginning?" Wondering if she had set plans, hopes, or was just going to take it as it came. Wondering as well if she had hobbies and interests before marriage and motherhood.

"I can imagine. If I had a grandchild, I wouldn't like being apart either." She chuckled. "Does he have eyes like yours?" She took a careful sip of the coffee then looked serious. "I was trained as a Druid priestess, Maurice. So I can do healing, be a midwife, even take care of animals in the old ways. Mel and I were talking about some different things though so she likes me being able to lend a hand at the stables. I have a special love of horses. It seems to run in the family." She couldn't help laughing. "New beginning all around, isn't it?"

"You have come home indeed, Druid priestess, for you are amongst Druids here." One hand curled around his mug as he showed her something very few knew about him. He was one of the background Druids, along with Andrew and Draven, his brother Joseph, as well a few others. With his right hand he picked up the spoon to balance over it. It slowly curled down either side like it was melting. Once near a ring it stopped but that was when the better part of the demonstration happened. It fell right through his finger to the table below, not slipping off to fall. "I think you will do well here and explore any areas you wish to again." Ice blue eyes held upon hers, he knew she would not speak of what he showed her to any others. Except, perhaps, Melantha. The niece held the same calling. "Has Melantha had any training?" Going more along with his thoughts on it.

"Some, though my brother wasn't able to do much training. He only had a little himself. I did when I visited but she could use more, especially when dealing with her horses." She sighed softly. "I'm not sure if Davin wishes to be trained or not, for he does have the talent for it. At least not trained by his mother." She chuckled, not really minding. "He's meant to be a warrior. And now, I fully understand why this feels like home." She reached across the table and picked up the spoon. She'd keep it as a souvenir.

"I was going to ask on your son. It would account for his ways at his age as well. Guidance would be prudent especially if he has more than a little. There are many that have some and only some that have many. I'll know more when I talk to him and if it goes well, maybe ease into that area and see what I can do for him. There are many in these lands for it seemed to attract them. Something deep rooted like the great oaks in the forests." He took the moment to inhale his piece of pie but not so fast he didn't enjoy the sensation of every taste bud. Setting the fork aside, "that was delicious, I can hope you had baked it?" The coffee he took black which he presently was enjoying.

"I can't tell you how much I appreciate your help. He has a lot of potential but he has to want to develop it. " Her smile was bright as she watched him with the pie. "I certainly did. And you're welcome to another piece if you wish. There's nothing like seeing a man enjoy his food."

"I would like that other piece but if I may come again then for it? Otherwise I can't account for the wild dreams I might have tonight having had too much sweets and the fodder for pleasant thoughts." He would not overstay his welcome this evening as he rose from his seat. "I've not only enjoyed the talk but the company, Lady Chandra, and will warn you that I'll be seeking more."

"It may not be that very piece, but I'll be sure to make sure there is some here for whenever you return. Especially if that insures that you will return." Her cheeks had taken on a nice rosy tint. "And I'll welcome any visits you wish to make. I've enjoyed this evening very, very much."

"Then we shall go from there," a devilish twinkle lit ice blue eyes the moment while the natural roguish grin flashed as well while they headed back to the door and his cloak to gain there. Adjusting the collar as he leaned on down, the warmth of a whisper near her ear, "the rose that kisses upon your cheeks, becomes you Chandra," easing back up as he got the door. There was a time when he was compelled to prose and had enjoyed it, perhaps he would test it out on her as well and see how it went. Another time when she knew him better and not think him off his rocker. "Sleep well," the stable hand already around holding the leads of his horse as he mounted up like one born to the saddle. He was in it enough.

He had her blushing even more and she laughed softly, pleased with how the night had gone. The whisper and tickle of breath gave her a delicious shiver down her spine. "You as well, Maurice." She might try his nickname another time too. Remaining in the doorway, she watched as he prepared to leave, feeling much younger than she had in years. It was a good feeling and welcomed! "Good night." He was definitely one to watch as he rode away.  As she closed the door, the smile was still on her face and would be until she finally fell asleep.


Date: 01-01-09
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 2

After the Races

"Thank you all for coming tonight and Congratulations to the winners of the Registered races and the Hometown." Patrick announced after the Hometown race was finished.

"Grand race." Gus clapped Patrick on the shoulder, deciding to join him in returning to Falkirk.  He could reopen the shop on Friday.

By the time they crossed the line, Buttercup was in a full out prance.  Her tail spiked up at the base with the rest flowing out behind her. Gaelle was laughing.  "Well then!"  She slowed the mare to a walk.

Broch was grinning. If anyone had watched him he was not so determined to win as the others, having his reasons. "Looks like yea will bae 'aving a new bow tae learn wit'. Mayhap I can offer me services?" Which he gave an upnod to Mike. "Yea bae want'in tae bring Brigid too." As well Laura.

He came in last as Rap was taking his good ole time. Stopped to chew at some grass at the edge of the track before urged on again. "Looks like we'll be having a fine winter picnic, Melantha." He was not complaining for the bet they made.

"I really wanted you to win," she briefly frowned at Broch.  Then tipped up a sudden smile, though it appeared nervous.  "Are you sure you know what you're getting yourself into?"  She teased him.

She turned her horse to meet Gabriel and smiled. Win or lose, she would have enjoyed whatever came about. "Aye, we will. And snowshoeing as well."   He'd probably have to help her up a hundred times at least.

"Aye, bae why I bae com'in in full armor.." teasing her right back as he continued to ride Hercules in a walk to cool him down before they headed back.

"Now, what was it you owed me?"  He grinned as he joined Brigid, patting Mint. "She's a right fine lass, isn't she?"  He was still stunned that Card Shark had decided to run this time.

That was exactly it, there was no losing in this race for all the other betting. All winners one way or another as Gabriel maneuvered Rap nearer to Cloud Dancer. "Care to take a ride with me, long scenic way back to the manor?" Giving a slight waggle of his brows there too.

She broke out into a sudden laugh.  "I'd suggest everyone else do the same!"  She touched fingers along the back of her horse's neck, her body leaning forward.

She was wearing a big smile. Wait till her brothers heard about this. "She is, Niall and Cian will be pleased to hear how well she did. I owe you a pie Master Cunningham, what kind would you like?" She would make his favorite.

"I would love to and I think it would be a grand way to cool down the horses."  But not their riders?  She tipped her head slightly as she studied him.  "The longest way back."

"Well, I'm partial to apple or blackberry."  Knowing they dried them or canned them to make sure there was a good supply.  "But I think I'd still like to take you to dinner."  He wondered briefly if he'd have trouble with her brothers, though they were good men.

She remembered something.  "Tomorrow is my birthday."  She couldn't believe she nearly forgot!  Not that it was a big deal to her.  She furrowed her brows, then snickered.

"Apple then as I know I can get some of those easier, maybe blackberry too then if I can get preserves. I would love to go to dinner with you." Accepting readily! Her smile only brightened.

"Yea Birt'day," repeating it more under his breath with a tipped grin. "S'all we 'ead fir t'e T'istle and a nig'tcap?" Glancing from Gaelle who he asked to include his brother and Brigid as well.

"Have you tried Sibio's yet?"  He glanced over at Broch, knowing there'd be some teasing tonight, not that he'd mind.  "And are you heading for the manor, or would you care to go to the Thistle?" Motioning toward Broch.

He and Melantha had ridden ahead and started on that scenic route. A good time to spend alone and he was taking advantage of it.

Privacy was at a premium of late so yes, this was a good way to have some time alone.  She waved at the others as they rode away.

"A nightcap sounds fine with me," she tipped her gaze towards Mike and Brigid, grinning.

"No, but I'd love to. I've heard much about the place. Very good food." She liked the idea as with the cold, it was a good excuse for the rose upon her cheeks.

"Then we can decide on a day once we've warmed up a bit." He was ready to head out when everyone else was.

Oh, he was listening well but made it appear he wasn't, more for Brigid's sake! "Maybe we can join yea, mae and Gaelle fir 'er birt'day, unless ye wish tae bae alone?" That said more to his brother, with a grin!

She widened her eyes when she heard Broch and swung him a stare.  "You will never leave the two alone if we were both to go!"  She teased.  Then again, she was probably right!

Ah, but he knew then that Michael would have the same ammunition to tease him about her. Then again her getting teased was appealing too!

"If Brigid is agreeable, of course." He winked at her then laughed.  "More like we're both giving Laura and Logan ammunition."

"I think it would be a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday." She had no problems with that.

She smiled, sheepishly.  "Well, I certainly don't want to intrude upon a dinner that could be quite private."  She respected privacy!

"Well t'en, seems all are 'n agreement. T'ere bae time after eating as eat'in yea bae 'n public." Giving Gaelle a wink before heading to the Thistle.

"That is true," hearing Broch, made perfect sense if one got caught up on this needing privacy part. She was thrilled to be going and liking very much it would be with Michael. She liked both Broch and Gaelle as well so it would be very nice for them all.

She bit her lip.  She could have said something horrible right then!  She eyed Broch, eyed, eyed.  Which meant what she wanted to say had to have something to do with him!

 It was a good way to get to know one another.  He caught the look Gaelle gave Broch and bit back a laugh.  It could be a very interesting dinner.

Ah oh, he was getting the EYE as he nudged Hercules onward. See the smile tucked within the trim beard? He was trying to hide it.

Eye-eye-eye-eye. She could stare a hole into his back, seriously!

He dismounted once the Thistle was reached, giving the lad an extra coin to have him rub down Hercules and an extra serving of oats. What eye? He didn't see any eye!

That was a good idea and he'd have the lad do the same for both Card Shark and Mint. He helped Brigid down then placed his hand against her back as they made for the Thistle.

She did the same with Buttercup. She managed to not say a word, somehow. She was grinning, though.

She was a lightweight to help down but with a strong constitution. "Thank you," a quick smile up his way before a peek was given Gaelle's way. Lastly upon Broch.

He was over to lend Gaelle a hand down, so if she wanted to give him the EVIL Eye, it was a good time. "It was a guid nig't at t'e races." He had enjoyed himself.

"Aye, it was. It's good the cold doesn't bother the horses." They liked to run no matter what the weather it seemed and the track was in good shape.

She wasn't eyeing him for the reason he was thinking! She stared up at him though when he helped her down. Then, as if it had been a delayed reaction to her thoughts (or either she had more thoughts that suddenly popped up), she suddenly blushed. She turned away quick so he didn't see it and started for the door. "I had a great time." Talking about the races and all.

He caught sight of that blush as fingers lifted to touch in a featherlight way before away as she was off. He too headed up the steps and ahead to get the door, holding it for all before he would step inside and see to its closing.

"Maybe running keeps them warm." It sure did her in the winter when she had done so. She was up and headed in so Broch could see to the door in closing it off before too much of the cold air got in.

"That could be." Once inside, he offered to help her with her cloak before removing his own and hanging them both up. "They don't have potcheen to do that for them." The thought of Brigid running barefoot through the sand, her hair free was an image he found appealing. Snow would be harder to run in and she'd need to stay bundled up to be warm.

His touch only seemed to enhance the blushing! Inside, she removed her cloak, left it to hang on the wall. Now the nearly maroon sweater was in full view, as well as the necklace. Warm pants and boots, she opted for comfort and warmth tonight. She set off for the bar, figuring that's where everyone would want to go.

"I got you something." He said low as they headed for the bar. He wasn't sure what she'd like but found something that he thought appropriate since they were just getting to know one another.

"I can imagine a horse drinking potcheen." Drunk. Had a laugh slip free although it would not be so good for the horse she was thinking. The next took her by surprise, "you did?" And the rose deepened upon her cheeks.

He hung that heavy fur cloak right over hers. She might not notice until it was time to go and she looking thinking it was gone. He wore a fine heavy deep green tunic trimmed in gold cording. Black pants and black fur lined boots that would have been seen. The finely crafted sword and sheathe she'd given him hung at his left hip. He was close behind as she headed for the bar and for once his brother was lucky he had not overheard!

"Aye, I did. I saw a mule once that liked to steal his owner's ale. Then he'd sit and refuse to move one inch. I'm thinkin' he was dizzy." He had left the gift at the Thistle so it was safe and now Alex retrieved it. Inside was a sun catcher of a fairy placing a dewdrop on a rose. What?! It was Yule! Pretty paper too, silver and red and green foil with a gold bow.

She didn't sit, yet. Instead, stood in front of the counter, between two stools. She waited for Alex to finish with Michael before requesting anything. Tonight, a potcheen punch. She glanced behind her, rather, a glance that turned into a small stare at Broch. She must like the color green on him! She didn't see the present yet and even when she does see it, she won't tease! And if Michael wanted ammo to use on Broch, all he had to do was look at the claddagh pendant hanging from her necklace. If he didn't know about it already, at least. Surely she didn't buy that for herself!

She took the present and unwrapped it carefully, slanted glances up to Michael became quite shy. Touching and darting back to what she was doing until it was finally unwrapped. "Oh, this is so pretty, I shall put it in my window where I stay at Clearview." Holding it up so the lights from the tavern could play with the colored glass. "Thank you." Impulsive perhaps but there was a lot of mistletoe hanging above them as well, as she was over to go to tiptoe, arms sliding up and around his neck. The sun catcher firmly held as her free hand gripped the back of his neck to bring his head down enough so she could kiss him right on the lips. No cheek.

He had taken up a lean near Gaelle, turned to his side enough to watch his brother with Brigid. Big old grin surfaced as he blindly curled his one hand around the glass of potcheen set out. From there to Gaelle then back again as the grin only got bigger still.

She glanced aside to see the sun catcher once it was out of the box. Her eyes lit up when she smiled and she turned away just as Brigid started to lay the kiss on Michael. She gave them some privacy at least. For now, she stared up at Broch. She squinted at all of his grinning.


Date: 01-01-09
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 3

He hadn't wanted to scare her away with anything too personal but her reaction made him grin and it would have gotten bigger had she not kissed him. He had forgotten about the mistletoe as his hands slid to her waist and he returned that kiss with much enjoyment! Had Broch not been there, it might have lasted longer. "You're welcome." He said it low as he looked into her eyes once he reluctantly pulled away. It meant a lot that she liked it.

She was blushing at her impulsiveness but the moment warranted in her mind. It was the first she kissed anyone she realized and had made the first move! She was a wanton woman now. Eyes were bright and she dared not say anything at the moment. Punch was in order but that smile was staying.

He pointed up to the ceiling where all the mistletoe was. Green eyes shifting down to meet hers. An unspoken language as if that was why his brother and Brigid were kissing.

She arched a brow and lifted her eyes when he pointed; a quick glance, then she returned her stare to his eyes. She didn't look like she was buying that!

Wanton woman! She was an innocent and Michael was going to be oh, so careful. He tapped her nose, his smile boyish. She was beautiful with that light in her eyes and Michael was dangerously close to being lost in them. A drink was definitely in order. He glanced at Broch, his smile almost sheepish. Almost.

"Oh, I guess that means it's my turn?" Quiiiiiiiiet question. She didn't let him answer though. She thought maybe Broch was hinting! She turned to face him and lifted up on her toes. Kiss!

"Aye? Yea bae want'in a kiss before t'e weed bae taken down?" Teasing her while eyes met, a gleam set to shine before in the next moment he had her up into his arms with the burn of his lips over hers. It was not something light nor brief but more a branding as a large hand cupped the back of her neck, fingers delving into the softness of her hair.

She expected just a peck, maybe. Something very light, and quick. She should've known better! She was quick to realize there was more heat there than the first time they'd kissed under the mistletoe, she didn't seem so inclined to let go so fast. She didn't really know she'd sucked in a quiet breath, either. His hands were in her hair and hers somehow gripped at the top of his tunic, near the shoulders. And that was a tight grip!

It shouldn't be taken down until Epiphany. Or wouldn't be if they were in Ireland! He chuckled as he watched Broch then looked at Brigid. "Does your window get the morning sun or evening?" Now it was his turn to give a touch of privacy.

He figured she was trying to suck in his tongue. Such a move while kissing as that wet heat was added for a moment along with a low growl. One that vibrated against her lips just before parted, lifting his head away as eyes held a fire in their depths. That split second before schooled and easing back to his lean. Although probably closer than before. "Sae, w'at dae yea want fir yea birt'day?"

She had to remember where they were; which wasn't easy. None of their kisses had ever gotten that.. fierce before. She was sure of it, and the sudden added touch, the twist that was sent into it made her heart skip several beats. She still tasted him, even after it was all over. His eyes seemed (to her) nearly feral and hers were quite dreamy! She stared at him, light headed when he questioned her. There was a long, long moment of silence. Then, she blinked. "Huhwhat?" Stammered! And then she said something that even made herself blush. "Ask me in ten minutes when my mind is thinking innocent thoughts." What?!

Mike snickered and quickly took a drink of potcheen to cover it.

"Morning," she was still blushing as she caught Broch kissing Gaelle and quickly looked away. Her lips still felt Michael's upon them as blue violet eyes lifted to his.

"Yea bae steal'in mae line t'ere Gaelle. T'ere mig't bae a penalty fir it." Teasing her more but there was the pleased look about him too.

"When you look at me like that, Brigid, it makes me want to kiss you again." He kept his voice down because Broch and Gaelle were just too good to miss.

"Well! When you kiss me like that and then ask what I want for my birthday? Do you realize how many answers I could've spit out right then?" Really! She was still breathless.

Tsk. She should have asked what the penalty was!

She was realizing that. She couldn't think straight! Blame Broch. "Wait--what penalty?" She squinted. This was Broch, so you know his answer was going to be a good one.

"Aye?" Raising a brow as if he had no idea, or more not to presume. "W'at kind o' spit?" Twisting it about just enough to tease. Smile was slow and a touch wicked. "I'd 'ave tae tie yea tae a c'air until yea gave it back. Tickle yea wit' a feat'er." Torture.

She widened her eyes. At his first. And turned very, very red. His last though, she cleared her throat. "I'll be in all kinds of clothes, so that won't tickle so much." She thought she had him there! She was still blushing about that spit thing though. In fact! It was a good time to sit down.

"Aye, yea will, will yea?" He was over to lean down in as she sat. Lips passing hers by the warmth of a breath before his beard tickled along the soft skin of her neck. Just a trace before he shifted upright again.

She was trying to not snicker and so tempted with the conversation going on between Broch and Gaelle. Except Michael's words only had her blush deepened again, just when it was letting up. Her words low as well, "I might let you.." like she might not too. Hard to tell but there was an impish gleam to her eyes.

He was being so very wicked tonight! Moreso than usual. She shivered and certainly not in a bad way. And grew very warm. She peered up at him, her eyes just a little glazed. "Uhm..." She wisely chose not to answer! She attempted to distract herself somehow. She slid a glance to Michael and Brigid. And smiled!

"You might?" He put down his drink and held out his hand, palm up. He was not going to think what her brothers might do, if she told them. But her words were just too good to not put to the test. Gaelle got a quick wink in her direction before his focus was on Brigid again.

She tilted her chin up a fraction, lashes lowering a touch as she placed her hand in his. Hard to tell what she was thinking but maybe he might notice the gleam in her eyes. Just a twinkle.

Realizing they might need a little private time, she looked away. Broch had her suddenly feeling as if she should go confess to a priest and she wasn't even Catholic!

There was a smug smile noting his brother with Brigid. A glance was all that was needed and hard to resist for what his brother said. There then upon Gaelle. She was having naughty thoughts? "Yea still 'aven't answered w'at yea would like fir yea birt'day." Prodding her just a little with the reminder.

He grinned and spun her once as if they were about to dance, then he pulled her closer, leaning so he could capture her lips again. This time the kiss was deeper, more heated as he tasted their sweetness, noting how warm and soft they were against his. Fingers slid into the silky strands of hair at the nape of her neck as the kiss grew more intense.

Probably. Maybe. Yes. Go back to her answer to the exact question he just asked. She swung her gaze up to his. "I think I already got it," she murmured up to him with another blush rushing against her skin. She cleared her throat then took a sip of her drink. The glass was set down again to free her hands. She meant that kiss he'd given her. Surely he knew that, but she expected him to make another tease of some sort! And, to be a little serious, she gave him an answer, "As long as I get to s--" Or started, she trailed. Blushed!

He was listening quite attentively. "As long as yea get tae s....?" Leaning in as if that might help him to hear the word she swallowed back. "Spit it out lass.." There was that spit again.

"As long as I see you, I don't want anything else." Quietly. He asked for it! She reached for her glass again to take a large drink. "..What kind of spit?" It sounded worse with her asking. She was trying to tease, just as he had her. Then she was red faced, all over again.

She moved in a feline grace, something familial, as she spun only to come up into his arms. Like a willow branch curved to fit in his arms as their lips met again. A far more headier sensation this time around as it warmed her right down to her toes, curled them up it did. Eyes closed as she was lost to the new sensations he was enticing.

"Aye, yea bae see'in mae again. Per'aps again and again. Maybe more again." A glint rising in burnished green eyes before the next question only herald more. "Aye, spit yea say? T'ere bae t'e spit in mae eye kind. T'ere bae t'e spit tae t'e side kind and the spit'in at yea feet like a gauntlet set down. T'ere bae t'e 'ocker kind of spit'in and t'en t'e spit'in 'n t'e wind. T'ere bae t'e see'in 'ow far one can spit. T'ere bae t'e spit'in on yea 'and tae s'ake 'n seal'in a deal. T'en t'ere bae t'e spit'in up o' sickness or tobacco and t'ere bae t'e spit exc'anged w'en tongues collide. Now, w'ic' o' t'ese spit'in kinds yea bae referr'in tae?" IF he hadn't lost her!

He was reluctant again to pull away but the kiss was causing his heart to race and things could only get more involved. He had to keep reminding himself where he was! "Can I see you back to the manor?" It wasn't far but they  could talk some and he'd be back to see if Broch was heading home or staying the night at the Thistle.

First, "You know a lot about spitting. But I won't be spitting if we kiss. So it's not that one." She couldn't keep going. She suddenly laughed, quiet. Then canted her head. "And I won't mind seeing you that much."

"Aye, t'at I dae. Some at least once, ot'ers varying times." Giving a wink as it was getting late. A glance towards his bother as he had stopped sucking face with Brigid. "S'all we bae see'in t'ese ladies 'ome?"

He left her breathless this time and feeling like melted butter in his arms. He better not just slip those arms away until she had her balance again. A dazed look in her eyes as it took a moment to pull back from that dreamlike state. "Yes. Please." Maybe the cold would bring her senses back.

He wouldn't let her go just yet. Not until she had returned to earth. "Aye, we should." Looking up at his brother. Maybe they needed to talk? He guided Brigid over to her cloak, and though he had heard Gaelle, he was being a gentleman and not laughing. She was probably tired!

She'd lost track of the time. And yes, she was tired! Or either she was still drunk from the kissing earlier! "It feels like we just got here." She wrinkled her nose.

"Guid, t'en it is all settled." A light pat of her hand as if he knew exactly what he was talking about. He might just. He was quick then to finish off his drink before shifting up from his lean, leaving the empty glass behind as he offered her a bend of his arm to escort her to her cloak. Once there he would help her get it on. His afterwards. Well, wait, hers couldn't be seen!

He might know what he's talking about, but she didn't! She fixed him with blank stare and started to ask, but decided, for whatever reason, not to! When he led her to their cloaks, she blinked when hers wasn't in sight. "...My cloak isn't here." She stared blankly. "I know I put it here. I'm sure it didn't get up and walk off!" Mild panic. Then, calmly, "Broch, I guess I'll have to ride with you, in front of you, so you can keep me warm." You know, that.. didn't sound like a bad plan. She suddenly hoped her cloak didn't turn up!

She took a peek Gaelle's way wondering how she was fairing. Withheld laughter too for all the bantering between her and Broch. Slipping into her cloak as it was held and she'd wait by Michael.

He slipped an arm around Brigid's shoulders, grinning at his brother and Gaelle. Wondering what had happened to her cloak since he hadn't been paying attention.

"Yea can slip in under mae cloak wit' mae," which he took his fur cloak and then there it was! "Yea bae t'inking yea's will bae 'aving little ones now?" He was in a good mood and the teasing downright silly but certainly fun. Plus, many times it got her to blush for words that triggered other thoughts. Seems he knew how to trigger them and enjoyed it as well.

"I wouldn't mind." Murmured. She sent him a rather dreamy looking smile. Then, there was her cloak. She blushed when she heard his question. "Yes, and you get to help name them all." She answered low! Then released a tiny laugh.

"Aye, Linty, Furby, Deep, Slanted, Tweed, Cotton, Wool.." helping her on with her cloak before he saw to his. He knew his brother and Brigid were waiting on them so quickened up at that point. He was wearing a smile for it had been a good time shared with family and friends. And yes, Logan and Laura would have had a field day had they been around tonight.

"....Deep." Out of all the names, why did that one stick out the most? Out she went.


Date: 01-05-09
Poster: Autumn MacShire
Post # 4

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Autumn was back again finally after being back. She had gotten an invitation from a friend to stay in Balick castle and couldn't pass up the opportunity. She still had to address a matter and perhaps after such a long time was anxious over it and with the opportunity to put it off just a little longer was as well enticing. She was finally home as well her father long back from his honeymoon. Attired in a rose satin gown with black French lace, she was dressed for the holiday. One she missed here except New Years as she had returned the day prior. Reddish brown hair held a well brushed luster to it as it wove back in twists leaving the length to fall to near her waist. A stool claimed at the bar being none were about this evening thus far. She chatted with Alex and earlier with Hazel. So many changes in her lengthy absence.

It was rare that Yusef ventured out socially. He did go out among their own people or when he had business but rarely beyond that. Tonight, he had grown restless and had asked his brother to join him on a venture to the Thistle. As he rode up on the black stallion he had brought with him from Egypt, he paused and stared at the Thistle a long moment before dismounting. The cold didn't seep through the leathers he wore or the heavy wool cloak. He would have ignored it if it had.

The white Arabian Anhur rode was highly spirited, prancing when other horses slowed down or paused. A handful but he was working with him and he was keen enough to learn. Just full of energy, as he put it, one that needed direction, needed an outlet. If Yusuf had not asked him, he would have followed his brother. The two had been through a lot together and the bond even thicker than blood. There was also that. "Some things have changed, some things have not." The accent thick as he dismounted and tied the reins off to the hitching post. He was picking up that emotion of anxiety near as his own. Then again he didn't tell his brother he heard a certain lady had returned. "Potcheen will ease your mind and limbs." Flashing a smile so white in contrast to the bronze of his skin.

He chuckled as he looked at Anhur, dark eyes flashing even in the darkness. "So the circle of life remains as it should." There had been many more to join them and it was on those newcomers Yusuf had been concentrating. The changes here could be very frightening. "Potcheen sounds like an excellent idea, and good not to drink alone."

There was a carriage that rolled to a stop not too far away. Banafrit emerged, not alone, and Abe shadowed her even as they walked towards the entrance. Fond of bright colors, she was swallowed up in loose silks of vibrant blues swirling against gold. Her head scarf was a perfect match and though she had a cloak, she was quick to shed it--even before they reached the doorway. So intent on making her entrance, she didn't note the other two outside, though she did cast a glance around her. And even then, managed to somehow miss them. Door bound, Banafrit's step quickened. She was quite chilly.

He watched Banafrit pass under bright translucent blue eyes that then turned on his brother. "Some see little though they look." Amusement glinted for a moment before heading up the steps to catch up, stepping ahead to open the door. "Banafrit, meet my brother Yusuf," whom she would have heard of especially for his position in the family but probably had not met him directly.

"She looks nearly frozen." He chuckled then followed, his steps light as he moved up the steps, ever a predator even now with his position as head of the family. He waited for her to speak before he did, though he gave Abe a nod, a hint of laughter in his eyes.

See little, indeed. Her eyes widened in surprise when Anhur seemed to come out of nowhere! It was impossible to see her mouth, hidden as it was behind the scarf. She whirled her body to face Yusuf and she smiled! Again, not seen  on her mouth but the expression glittered in her eyes. She passed them both a respectful bow; one with her hands pressing palms together. "It is great honor to meet you, Yusuf." Soft spoken thing. She straightened up easily. "Good eve, Sahibs." Greeting both at once; something about two birds and one stone, yes? Abe nodded to the two.

The punch she was working on was set back to the bartop as she first looked up to the mirror with the door opening. She didn't know the woman but she recognized Anhur as the beat of her heart skipped up a few beats. She was quickly down and around, near holding her breath as she heard yet another voice and dared to look beyond to see who was just pass the light still in shadows. Hands smoothed down the material of her skirt as she was ready to at least greet Anhur and the woman.

He caught sight of Autumn as the smile kept but there was a glint of concern in unique blue eyes that dragged from the image of the woman inside to Yusuf. Momentary thing but seemed to go in slow motion. Leaving Banafrit, Abe and Yusuf to enter before stepping within, closing the door behind them all.

"It is good to finally meet you, Banafrit. I have heard good things about you. Please, let's step inside before we freeze the entire Thistle." He motioned with his hand, insisting she continue first. Once through, he paused as he caught sight of Autumn, his expression changing from surprise to unreadable. And then, a smile lit his face, giving warmth to a visage that some considered cold. "Autumn. You have returned." He crossed the room without removing his cloak though he stopped in front of her, uncertain of her reaction. "You have been greatly missed." He'd find out if Anhur knew of her return later. If he thought about it.

She was quick to get inside, into the warmth and quite thankful for it. While the others strayed ahead, she held back to hang her cloak.

She wasn't sure of how he would react but his body language spoke volumes as she had only eyes for him at the moment as he approached. She would get to greeting the others in a moment. Her smile lit her face brightly as hands reached out for his. Not the usual greeting for them but this was not usual. At first her voice betrayed her as lips parted but no sound before found. "You have been missed as well. You are well? I am home for good. Exciting times abroad in learning but that can be set aside for another time." She would not get into such a lengthy dialogue. "You are looking well, handsome as ever." In that he had not changed she quickly realized.

He helped Banafrit with her cloak before removing his. Side glance given as Yusuf went straight to Autumn. The proverbial breath held, released. He was wearing the clothes of the land beneath the heavy wool cloak. The long time striped cap removed leaving his hair to stand out at odd angles for the static electricity, in that it had not changed either. Tunic didn't hide the broad chest and shoulders, worn over a poet's shirt of tan, brown pants and boots that were lined in fur. He was warm although more for show. Since some discoveries in his element he had become more resilient. In that things had changed some.

Anhur and Banafrit would have to forgive him. He would remember his manners shortly. "And you are looking even more beautiful than I remember. I am well." He wanted to say much better now but didn't. "And all is well with you? I am glad to hear you are home for good." He used her captured hands to bring her a step closer, lowering his voice. "By the gods, I have missed you greatly." He studied her face, trying to tell if she felt the same.

Her dark eyes ticked in Anhur's direction, a quiet watch when he aided her with her cloak. Her silence was momentary and her eyes glimmered with her smile. "Thank you." Husky and soft toned. She didn't send too many glances towards Yusuf and Autumn. She did not want to seem nosey or rude. She did place a check on Abe however and the man had set up a stance near the hearth; his usual point of watch. Brushing dark fingers along her arm, against  vibrant silk, she stepped towards the bar, picking out a spot to stand, for now. She'd been sitting for too long in the carriage and felt a need to stretch her legs.

If he wanted to make her blush, he succeeded as the dusty rose tinted her cheeks, made blue eyes even brighter as well the smile to accompany it. She knew he meant his words. One thing about the al Azhar men, they said what was on their mind honestly and openly. No pretenses. She had to tip her head back just a touch as he brought her closer with the clasp of hands. He might notice hers trembled a fraction. "I wasn't sure," her sentences broken with emotion. "Such a long time if.." but that if was now a reality with his lowered words. "I have missed you greatly as well and pleased.." catching a much needed breath she seemed robbed of at the moment before continuing, "I am here now with you."

Banafrit would be clueless for not having been around a few years past. He stepped closer with words that would be just heard close by her ear. "They were once engaged but she had to go away for a long time," enough said as it would enlighten her on what was taking place. "It is good," there too said enough in how each were receiving the other. He knew how Yusuf had worried.

That was all he needed to hear. He wrapped her in his arms, bringing her close to him and leaned down to kiss her. It had been so long but he didn't hesitate and all his feelings were wrapped up in that single kiss. She would note that he still smelled of the desert, of spices and sand, of the mysteries that surrounded Egypt. Nothing about him had changed except he was a little older, and a little wiser.

She went willingly into his arms, anxious in a way as hands rode up the front of his cloak to entangle at the back of his head. It was not like Yusuf to be so demonstrative in public but this was a unique situation as she responded in kind. Drinking in his scent before the burn of his lips claimed hers on even deeper levels as if those years apart had only been yesterday. A welcome surprise as he could tell the intensity there as well. Hopefully she was a bit wiser as well, certainly more skilled in culinary dishes and a few years older.

She tilted her head to the side as she listened to Anhur's quiet words. She suddenly viewed the situation in a new light and if she had frowned, she replaced the expression with a smile when Anhur assured her things were going  well. "Good," she said low, on a released breath that sounded like a sigh of relief. She afforded the couple one glance but was quick to look away when she noted the kissing. She reached up to figit with the scarf that draped over her mouth. "I hope you are fairing well?" Formed in a question which was aimed to Anhur. Her dark eyes were casting glances here and there, briefly, briefly she tracked Alex.

Perhaps a bit of amusement lit water blue eyes as he noted her reaction to the two kissing. The quickness she had looked away as his sight lifted to his brother and Autumn without hesitation nor the need to look away. In fact he watched them openly a minute or so before back with the question asked. "I have been well. The temple has my time for a while but now I have time away from the temple." He was preparing to do one of the spiritual journeys but tweaked with what he learned of Shaman and Druid spiritual paths in seeking answers, visions of the future. They were always dangerous and much preparation to keep them safe as humanly possible. "I work on the maps again soon." He might integrate it as well into the visions.

A great sense of relief surrounded him as he laid claim to her lips and she returned it and yes, it was unusual for him to show emotion in public but this was a special occasion. He didn't release her when the kiss ended but held her as he spoke. "My feelings for you haven't changed, Autumn. They're grown stronger. I can only hope that you can say the same." They could start over if she wished or take up from where she had left. He found he was as nervous as the day he had spoken to her father.

Once the kiss ended she buried her face against his chest, drinking in deeper of his scent. So long missed. She realized that time had not changed their feelings for each other as her hands slid down so her arms could encircle his waist, hugging him tight. "I find mine have not changed and the fear yours would, now banished from my thoughts." Her words low as well, "we have much to catch up on in the days to come," head lifting as blue eyes rose to look upon him once again. "Will you have some time off?" She knew he had important duties and would not infringe upon them.

"Always so busy," she sighed out in a near song. It was an attempt to break free from her more serious side which didn't happen too often. "It is good you have free time away from the temple. How do you plan to spend it?" A general question of curiosity, spoken in a quiet hush as if she were trying to keep herself from disturbing the two down the way. She requested cider from Alex after snagging his attention, then looked up to Anhur. "Are you wanting a drink?"

"Always busy. Are you not busy Banafrit?" He could find things to keep her busy easily with a command, set her to tasks. "I hope to work on the maps with Desh and others if they have interest. I am considering going down the dragon run on a toboggan. I am going to go ice skating again." Last time he had was so long ago and the white stag seen. He wondered. He motioned to Alex which had him setting out the glass of potcheen, leaving the bottle for any refills.

"I think it can be managed." He wouldn't ask Anhur to take over his duties but there were others who could lend a hand here and there, and leave the most urgent to when he returned. His duties lessened in the winter months. "I agree that there is much to talk about."

"Yes, I often stay busy. But," she paused to glance up to him, "Is there something you would like help with? Something you wish for me to do?" Miss Helpful, she tried to be. "Those are good ways to spend your time, Saheb." Her shimmering gaze fell down to the glass that Alex left before her on the bar. Finding it easier to drink without the scarf hiding her mouth, she unfastened it and brushed it aside for now. Then lifted her cider for a very tiny sip.

"I could have you pick out the gifts for the Qiana for me." The feminine touch might do well although they had always seemed pleased with anything he gave them, perhaps the way he gave the gifts. Banafrit and the others were under their command but he nor Yusuf took advantage of that. He was not real good at teasing and his offer of suggestion was not entirely teasing. "When we start on the maps again you might be interested in the puzzle they present," then again it might be completely boring to her. He reached for his glass, having him closer to her in the process, near touching before it was drawn up and he back, still close and just a stool or two down from Yusuf and Autumn.

"When you can, where we can. I do not wish to interfere but I do wish to see you, Yusuf," which said it all as her eyes searched his much darker ones. Ones she had always found to have endless depths.

"If that is your wish." For his first, and in her usual quiet tone. He might note how she grew incredibly still when he eased in close to collect his drink. She even slanted a glance downward at an angle, as if to see and guess the distance between them, even if there was hardly any there at all. Fluttering her lashes, she lifted her chin, her eyes to study the interior of the place, as if it had suddenly drawn her interest. "I will be glad to see the maps. How soon will they be started?" The question came with a tilt of a glance his way.

"You know you are welcome to come to the Manor anytime you wish. With Deshira and the others there, all will be kept proper." He smiled as he turned her, keeping one arm around her shoulders almost as if he was afraid she'd disappear again. "You remember my brother, Anhur? And this is Banafrit al Dawla. One of those who accompanied us." No, he wasn't letting her go again so easily. "And this is Autumn MacShire." He hesitated only briefly. "My fiancee."

"It would be of help." Studying her in that abstract way of his hard to tell what his thoughts were other than there were ones. He noticed everything without seeming to and much spoke to him. With a step closer he asked, "do I stand too close to you, Banafrit?" Chin dipped as blue eyes contrasted with his dark looks. "They are already started, I wait for Desh to have time to continue them. Here." There was a long story behind the maps that has been an ongoing thing for a few years. Time didn't necessarily seem to faze him at all. Like feeling they should have gotten further with the maps, the puzzle the Elven Princess Star had given him. Well, Star was how it translated from Elven.

"I can do that if it makes it easier. I wish to see you and so much to talk on." Where a few weeks she had hesitated on this meeting now she couldn't seem to schedule enough time and soon with him. "How is Desh, has she gotten with Isaac?" She remembered the arranged marriage that had them both rebuke. Pausing then to turn a smile upon Banafrit and Anhur. Remiss in her manners too long and luckily Yusuf had remedied that. "A pleasure to meet you Banafrit, Isaac is your brother?" A bigger smile flashed Anhur's way, "how could anyone forget Anhur after meeting him?" Giving him a wink.  A smile flashed up Yusuf's way with the last before bright blue eyes were upon Anhur and Banafrit again.


Date: 01-05-09
Poster: Autumn MacShire
Post # 5

Her natural instinct was to sidestep, to place a little space between them. Her body even showed a very faint sway to the side, but Banafrit somehow stilled herself and kept a firm footing on the floor. This was Anhur and not a strange man on the street. She swallowed thickly and very faintly murmured, "No," and.. that was it. She was distracted by the introductions and her attention was quick to flicker to the two. "Autumn," she repeated the name, "it is pleasure to meet you." She tipped her head politely and even smiled.

Her words and body language he found in contradiction with each other as he stepped back. One or two further than previously giving her plenty of room and her personal space back. The hint of blue lotus also retracted, a very heady intoxicating scent. Hands folded together as he gave the respectful forward bow of his head before straightened, hands falling at his sides naturally. "It is good to see you again Lady Autumn. It has been a long time. You are looking as the day you left and pleased you are back," the glance from her to his brother with the last before back. "Isaac is her brother," answering Autumn's question in confirming her suspicion.

"Oh, I am sorry, yes, he is." She parroted Anhur, appearing quite apologetic.

"Banafrit is distracted when her personal space is invasion," not quite right but close enough and such the smile that curled over his lips. A logical observation as she came around once he was out of it.

"And he and Desh are together." Every chance they could be. "She is doing well, her training under Anhur nearly completed. Isaac is also well." He looked at his brother and chuckled but said nothing. He was sure Banafrit was flustered enough!

Heat swelled in her cheeks, she could feel it burning hot! She side glanced towards Anhur and she looked slightly worried, even if she was a little embarrassed! "Yes..." At least she agreed with him, which she quickly regretted. A puzzle, Banafrit. She gently cleared her throat and turned to watch Autumn and Yusuf. It was apparent that she was struggling for something to say.

"Invasion," she couldn't help the smile as she leaned slightly against Yusuf's side. Comfortable there. She enjoyed the choice of words even if literally incorrect. "Then all came about naturally than forced. Isaac
seemed full of promise as a young man, older now as well." She was studying Banafrit with a slight tilt of her head, wondering what she was like and if maybe they might become friends.

"See, I am right. Some women do not mind my invasion." Not realizing how that could be taken but then he was mostly amongst those that understood what he meant. "Banafrit likes her space not crowded." He was learning about personal space but it would probably take a conscious effort on his part to break from habit.

"It makes me uhm.." She wanted to explain herself, why, but the word seemed to escape her. She smiled warmly for Autumn and Yusuf. "It makes me nerves." Nervous, they'll get it! She hoped. Curious as a cat, she sometimes asked things she probably shouldn't! Like.. well.. then, "Do you like being close to me, Anhur?" Huh.

She was biting her bottom lip, trying not to laugh for the way it sounded and knowing he was serious. As well Banafrit as blue eyes turned from one to the other as they spoke on this invasion.

He watched them a moment then leaned to looked at Autumn. "Would you like your ring back?" That was asked low while the invasion was discussed.

"I like being close to women," straightforward and honest about it as he stepped closer, this time behind her as he lifted a hand to trail a finger down along her neck. He was probably one of the very few that would not have Abe even twitch an eyebrow. According to their customs it was his right if he so chose. "They smell good and skin is soft," the trace of his finger made its way down along her shoulder before lifting away. She would feel the warmth of his breath in its wake tantalizing the skin beneath even without touching. He didn't go that far but certainly was taking fully of her scent before he straightened as he stepped away again. He made his point.

It was his right, and she knew it just as well as Abe, who didn't even seem to be paying attention since she was in the hands of the Priest. Banafrit drew in a shivering breath when she felt the heat of his touch against her neck and she, too, was quite warm. Her mind became clouded, with his closeness and with a few thoughts that wondered by. She wondered how he would have reacted if she stepped away. If it would upset him. An unintentional game of cat and mouse, or would it be unintentional? If the mouse squeaked away, would the cat give chase? Then there was the fleeting thought of upsetting him. Not what she wanted. Never budging, not even swaying this round, she tilted her dark eyes towards her shoulder but didn't look behind her, directly. Up close, she smelled of narcissus, lily. Pleasing, sweet. He answered her question and she certainly didn't seem to have a reply. Speechless, absolutely! She glanced towards the other two, just to see if they were watching.

It was hard not to be watching! Banafrit received a warm smile, perhaps a knowing one. She had known the family a long time even if not around for some time. Anhur was as appealing to women as ever. She glanced up to Yusuf who had been just as much when he wanted to be in the past as well. Although he wasn't the Qiana Master.

He had been trained since he hit puberty to please women. When he trained the Qiana, he did it with all his focus and had become good, at least his Qiana well responded to him. He would be hard to predict according to traditional measures or thought. There once was the situation of a facade, a woman posing as a Qiana in hiding until she was called to his chambers. She should have stopped him but never once tried in how the night went. It was a long time afterwards he learned of her true identity. She must not have regretted that night with him. Blue Lotus had mingled with her scents to remain, with him of hers as well. "Will you be interested in the maps, Yusuf when we work on them again?" One could wonder how he could easily switch but then this was Anhur and what went on inside his head remained a mystery for most.

No, but the Qiana had served him, even if he had no part in their training. It had been a long time since he had done more than listen to their music or watch them dance. He pressed a kiss to Autumn's neck. "Did you miss my question, my love?" Dark eyes lifted to Anhur and he nodded. "Of course."

The question would be if he was still being serviced or had in the time parted. If so, it would be accepted on her part knowing it was their custom more than anything else. She had been caught up in this interlude to see how it went. "Oh, yes. I would." Turning a bright smile up his way as rose dusted her cheeks again.

The sudden change of topic did have her glance his way. It was a strange feeling, to be his total focus then.. not. She wondered if he did it on purpose! One might note the ragged breaths, she forced to calm them down to something a little more.. normal. Remembering her cider, she took a small sip of it before setting it down. She turned then, listening to the talk of maps and she angled a smile towards Autumn.

The smile a touch shy but heartfelt that was returned Banafrit's way. She had held up well in her opinion with such temptation. It also showed she was a full blooded woman and not cold of heart to be unaffected by one such as Anhur. Who she respected even if his customs were different than hers. She was learning the neutral grounds between, where she and Yusuf could meet half way and had. Although a wicked thought came and passed her lips as well spontaneously while blue eyes turned on Anhur, "one day a woman will come along that will have the same effect on you." Like a prediction, as it came, they were usually insights.

He released her but only so he could remove the chain from around his neck. Her ring had been worn there since the day she had given it back. With a grin, he went down on one knee as was the custom of her people, after she was done teasing Anhur of course. "Autumn, I ask you once again, from the fullness of my heart, to become my wife." The ring was a mix of cultures. The Eye of Ra and Celtic knots engraved on a gold ring, the stone a rare yellow diamond. He could only hope her prediction on Anhur would come true!

He didn't agree nor disagree with such words in prediction sounding. He studied Autumn with a hard to read expression before he placed his hands together, fingertips to his chin as he bowed his head in reverence to her words. He didn't take them as teasing but then he was no expert on teasing. Straightened away with ease as Yusuf needed her attention.

Banafrit must have held the same thoughts as Yusuf; hoping that the prediction would come true. There had to be a reason behind the sudden smile, dazzling and a touch on the wicked side. It softened though, and warmed as she watched Yusuf briefly, then the smile tipped over to Anhur.

A slight bow of her head but attention was quick back to Yusuf as her heart pounded like it had that first time she was asked. Long story, what had been done was not to hold him in promise with her unpredictable time away. He was down on his knee as she joined him there, one hand guiding the folds of rose satin to accomplish it gracefully. She had told him she would meet him in all things equally. "Once again the answer is  yes, now that Fate has brought us back to this moment."

He was watching his brother with Autumn. The union was welcome by both families. With the tipped glance his way, water blue eyes seemed to know as they were near as instantly there to meet. He hadn't missed the dazzling wicked smile either a fraction of a moment ago, replaced by a calmer one. "Your smile becomes you." Smiling as well, white to show against bronze briefly before back to his brother and this special moment.

She was so independent, so full of life. Was it any wonder that he loved her so? The ring was slipped back on her finger and as he stood, he gathered her in his arms again and kissed her fully, in a way that would let no one doubt his love for her. He felt as happy as he had the first time she had said yes, and for a time, the burdens of the past would be forgotten. "I love you," was said softly before he glanced over at Anhur and Banafrit and grinned. No apology behind it. Yusuf was being ... what was the term Desh used to use ... mushy.

She knew the family carried a few burdens, ones of dire consideration. She would stand by his side and all the gifts she possessed being trained in the Druid ways. The cold of gold upon her finger felt as the reminder of her words and heart. Making it more real with the physical symbol. She melted into his kiss, hers of the promises spoken and unspoken for their future together. Truth be told, her father will be pleased it turned out this way. Lips parting as her hand lifted to touch upon his cheek, voice a huskier sound in whisper. "I love you, Yusuf and I know now without question we were meant for each other." There was a time to be mushy, wasn't her usual either but she was not embarrassed by it, too happy to be.

She'd been certainly quiet for a while now! It seemed Anhur had completely taken her ability of speech away a while ago, when he touched her. She blinked for his compliment then tipped her head. "As does yours." She wasn't sure what else to say. She turned her attention briefly back to Autumn and Yusuf, long enough to say, "Con-grat-u-lations." She struggled with that one! Smiling warmly, she suddenly pivoted on her heel to face Anhur fully. She might cause a few blinks or stares with her sudden boldness--Banafrit usually wasn't the bold type. But she stepped in, languidly, as if she were going to do something or share some great secret. She eyed his chest for a long moment, then looked up to him; her dark eyes hooded. Then! "I will get gifts for your Qiana. Very soon." Then, she started to step around him, as languidly as she had when she eased up so close. She can be sly, sometimes, or so she briefly thought!

"It is long overdue, I am pleased you shall marry finally." Yusuf needed a good woman at his side to help him in the days to come. One that would listen to his heart, worries and joys and make him a stronger Vizier. Blue eyes dipped from his brother to the woman now standing that close to him. She was getting over her fear of personal space invasion. Lips quirked off to one side causing a dimple there. He hadn't moved other than dip his head to watch her up this close. "Put it on credit and I will see it paid." That she didn't have to worry about. "They like pretty things." That much he was schooled on. "Nothing too big," here he paused struggling to find the right word, "pretty trinkets." Having heard one call them that but picked out with taste. Which reminded him, "there are four." Luckily only four instead of fifty or a hundred.

"I need to get back to the manor as the hour grows late," words soft to Yusuf as she watched Anhur and Banafrit again in an amused way.

"Thank you, both." He watched them a moment then looked at Autumn. "I will escort you. Has your father returned?" He had to release her again, but only until he helped her with her cloak. "Did you ride?"

She had hoped to affect him in some way by easing in so close. She should've known it would be much harder than that! She nodded gently. "Four," repeating the number to herself. She turned at the door after retrieving her cloak, and performed the quite familiar bow; hands together. Straightening, she offered a hint of a smile. "Good eve," she said to the group. Abe, glancing towards the three, then to her, broke from his stance to join her at the door.

"Yes he has and maybe you can stop in for a night cap if he is still up. Hopefully Tara as well. We can tell them of the news." And he could congratulate her father and Tara as well. "I rode in, so we can ride back together." Noting Banafrit leaving she turned her way. "I am pleased we have met, Banafrit. A very good night to you. I hope to see you again."

Knowing her father and his love for his children, he would be listening for her to return. "I would like that." He had a gift waiting for their return and would send it to them in the morning. "Anhur I will see you in the morning.

"It was a pleasure to meet you, Autumn. I hope to see you soon, as well." She spoke warmly even showed her an equally as warm smile.

He knew enough to let Yusuf and Autumn have time together as he was over to collect his cloak in Banafrit's wake. "I will ride back with you and Abe." Not really asking but a statement.

"Banafrit, I will see you soon as well." No more hiding in the manor of any either of their family members.

"I will see you tomorrow, Yusuf. I am pleased for you both." Few words that said it all. Abe having gotten the door before Anhur could because really it was his duty to be doing so. He stepped outside and waited for them both. There was something to be said about crisp cold air in stimulating the mind if one was starting to get sleepy in a warm tavern.

"Yes, and yes." For Anhur and Yusuf both. She pursed her lips, then smiled before she slanted a look up to Abe. When he got the door, she stepped out easily and started for the carriage with a glance flickering in Anhur's direction. After everyone filed out, Abe caught up to her and opened the door for her for the carriage. She, quiet, slithered right inside.

He had never removed his cloak but it didn't matter the temperature. Offering his arm, he would then guide Autumn down the back hall and to the stable. Alex was bade good night as they departed.

He would ride the white Arabian alongside the carriage and might well talk with her on the way. She would have her personal space in there, more he didn't like being so enclosed.

This worked with her. After everyone settled and Anhur was on the horse, the carriage rolled.

They would be out in their wake and following behind until the road that led off from the main one to Ravanna.


Date: 01-16-09
Poster: Kenneth O'Beirne
Post # 6

Talk on the Ways of Women

Kenneth could tell his nephew was out of sorts lately. He knew the reason why, a very good one. To try and help out, get Joshua's mind off things even if only for a short bit, he invited him to come along to the Thistle with him. A note being sent off to Charlie where she could find him after his work was done on the ranch. Josh had been working with him this day so a quick cleanup afterwards before heading out. Making use of a table near the front window as Irish stew as ordered with a side dish of smoked haddock and buttered brown bread.

Charlie was always glad to spend some time with Kenneth, note tucked next to her heart. She was bouncing down the road, giggling, wondering what sort of mischief they could get into, it was a bit too cold to be falling out of the wagon, but what the hell, all the more reason to warm up. The tavern a welcome sight, she made her way across the porch, pausing at the window to gawk at the hot gypsy with a meal, that looked really tasty, tapping the glass to get his attention.

It was going to be a chore for his uncle to distract him from thoughts of late that plagued him on his father. He didn't get back for the holidays and with no way to reach him nor know how he was doing, set Josh's mood
to sour completely. Work managed to distract him during the day when he had to focus or accidentally brand himself instead of the calf. It was after work hours that his mood worsen with worry. Coming along with his uncle was a welcome distraction and the food delicious so had him eating well. Not much conversation but then it wasn't needed at the moment.

And lookie there, there was the kiddo, of course grown up a little, okay so he was gaining on his uncle and father, he would break hearts some day. Not that she blamed him, sticking her tongue out at the pair, licking her lips as she winked at Kenneth.

He caught sight of Charlie through the window as he gave a quick wave before she would be coming within. Gaining his feet in ready. The lick of his lips in a return gesture would be missed by his nephew but not Charlie. Oh yeah, he was grinning following the quick sentiment.

Josh was lucky he missed those subtle exchanges or not only his neck would start getting red but his ears as well. He caught sight of Charlie, giving her a rare smile and quick wave before he was wolfing down more of his food.

Bounce, bounce and she was inside, careful not to let all the hot air out, but then again she was full of it most of the time, "Kenneth" she trilled lifting her arms up as she sashayed to him for a big hug.

He stepped away from table and chair as he swept her up into his arms. Feet being lifted as he swung her around and then dipped off to the side as he stole the kiss waiting for him. Wasn't really stealing but certainly the tease of such.

Eep, yes she still squeaked after all these years, giggling at the stolen kiss, humming at his warmth. "Oh my let me crawl in your clothes with you. I am freezing," she grinned, reaching her hand, to lightly tap Josh on the back of his head. "Slow down boy gonna swallow a gizzard," she laughed softly.

Which once they started the lovey-dovey he was NOT looking. Focus on his food or out the window but more on his food as he was sopping up the stew's thick broth with the bread. He would get to welcoming Charlie after their kissing was done. Which had him near choke with the tap to the back of his head, coming in a quick cough and smile to follow as he glanced up from his food. "Nice to see you again Charlie." He might be taller than his uncle Ken at a this point.

"Don't say that too loud or you'll have Hazel out here denying a piece of gizzard would ever be found in her stew." Arm resting around Charlie's shoulders in a light.. and somewhat possessive way. Good kind. "Care to  join us or have you eaten already?" Well, she could join them no matter if she ate or not as he pulled out a chair putting her between him and Joshua.

"Nice to see you too Josh..Though I am a bit higher then that plate there." She mused, "hopefully you didn't eat it all," meaning everything in the kitchen. Not that it bothered, she would snitch from Kenneth's plate. Bobbling her head with a grin. "Of course I would." It was always a good time to spend with Kenneth. "Food is needed to keep warm," as she settled into the chair.

"I was leading up to talking with Joshua on girls. Maybe you can give him some pointers on what to look for and what to avoid." Such a near evil grin as bluntly out there and focus on his nephew as he regained his seat. Hazel was out with another bowl of stew, more of the smoked haddock and brown bread.

"Oh yeah, I got lots of pointers." See that wicked smile, knowing that Josh would most likely bolt if she got started on the difference between a floozy and a good girl.

Now almost choked, so much he had to stand a moment and thump his chest. "w... hee..," clearing it, "where did that conversation come from Unk?" Eyes were watery for near choking and the topic had the shell of his ears starting to redden, course it was creeping up his neck to get there. He took his seat again and washed down the food with some of the ale.

He recognized that look, "he needs to know what a nice girl would be like opposed to a wolf in sheep's clothing. I think he knows well how to recognize an outright doxie."

"Thank you Hazel," she grinned. It all looked great, picking at a piece of bread,chuckling softly as Josh had to cough up a bit of air. "I think he would rather talk about fish," using her fork to take a bit of haddock, humming at the flavor.  Charlie was sure that the youth was well aware of a wolf in sheep's clothing, though when the heart pitter patted, that could be in question.

He might be shy still to a degree but he wanted to learn. "Unk says you hung out at that northern tavern a lot and got to see all kinds. That you were the best authority on different kinds of women and barracudas."

He sat back with a grin on his face as this was a conversation he wanted to hear. A hand slipped to pat over Charlie's ending with a sensual trace of a finger before falling away. "I think the lad is ready."

"Well that is true. Protected a lot of my friends from sharks over the years." Sampling the stew. "You got your Dad's looks, the women will come to you," she mused.

That had his brows lifting, "come to me? How?" Here he thought he'd have to pursue now that he was noticing girls even more. Overheard talk between the men that worked the cattle ranch which would ceased as he came around.

Charlie grinned, reaching over to pinch his arm, "cause you are good looking baby boy." It was hard to get serious when she had seen him grow up.

"I am?" Then more a statement, "I am." Wow. Here he didn't think he was but if Charlie said he was then he must be. "Me Pa is," so it stood to reason if he looked like him. A frown started just mentioning his Pa. "Does that mean women will leave me too?" Trying to cover up the real reason, that he was worried on his Pa for this undercover job he took.

Well that had a strange edge. "Josh, people will come and go in your life. Women, who swear they love you, but can't change you, and those who worship from a far. There are lessons in all that. Tell me what pretty girl has you blushing down to your long handles," changing the subject.

It was hard, it seemed only yesterday he was bouncing Josh on his knee when his sister was still alive. The lad had grown and grown well into his looks. Tempted to say something but then it might hit home better coming from Charlie. A woman who wouldn't just say something to appease what was thought Josh might want to hear.

He was soaking this all in. "So it is different for everyone but could happen to me too." More mussed as he glanced to his uncle then back to Charlie. "I haven't really been out enough to notice any in particular yet, more in general. How one's hair shines for the color, like golden red or how another's eyes are bright, blue or green. The way one's lips.." but then he kind of swallowed and ate another chunk of his bread.

"Well if you go looking for it, sure. You can not spend your life worrying about what happened to your Da or Unk here, because everything that has happened has made both of them stronger."  Oh yeah, Auntie Charlie having the sex talk, his Da was gonna kill her. "Pretty lips huh, make you want to pucker up and go sssssssMOOOOch." Yeah it was a noisy sound.

Which had him ducking his head, the heat running up his neck to the edges of his ears. He set the bread down before he choked on it. Taking a moment to clear the wheezing sound that went with her noisy one. Oh, devil rose up with a glance of green eyes back her way, "is that how you and Unk kiss, making all those sounds?"

Molly had been exploring her new home, after promising Dorian she'd stay out of trouble. She meant to be back at the manor before dark but there was so much to see. Now she was lost. She could have found her way back if it still had been daylight but it was dark, and she was cold. She did recognize the Thistle and knew she could get directions from Alex. Heading inside, she paused a moment, blinking water from her nearly frozen eyes.

Which had him outright laughing before stifling it with a drink of his ale.

"Now Josh, you have been around us since you were this big." Her hand under the table, but he got the idea. "Have you heard us being romantic ...or silly ?" The latter most likely, but it was all good.

He glanced between the two, oh, he heard many of the stories. Very seriously came the reply, "yes."

"And here I thought I gagged your Unk better all those nights in the vardo," she chuckled. "You heard things Josh ... and if you did, it was the love that comes from sharing your life with someone that makes you feel good," Which Kenneth did. Charlie looked to the one coming in grinning. "Hey," waggling her fingers.

The tankard settled to the table, although the grin from ear to ear was still there, he caught sight of the lass coming in. "Evening lass, come on in and get warm."

Which had him blink, believing, "you gag Unk?"

"Oh yeah. Silk stockings and whoo whoos and such," bobbling her head, with a big assed grin. Though a biscuit worked well too.

He was trying not to laugh as he shook his head Josh's way. Obviously Charlie was teasing. Oh, and she was bobbing her head. Now Josh would be confused.

"Evenin'." She unwrapped the scarf first, then removed her cloak and hung it with the scarf. Her mittens were tucked into a pocket of the cloak. "Thanks." She smiled at the man and woman then headed for the bar. A cup of cocoa and maybe some stew. Blonde hair was pulled into two braids and she was dressed in a heavy sweater of pale blue with black woolen pants tucked into fur lined boots. She looked at the boy there and smiled again. "Evening." Then nearly missed the stool she had just started to climb on. Catching her balance, her cheeks bright red, she continued to speak to Alex.

Uh uh. His Da was gonna kill her after he laughed his arse off.  Not to fear she could run fast ...when she had to.

A little too much information! He could feel the heat around the collar of his tunic again, only a matter of seconds it would be reaching his ears. Worse, he managed to tear away from Uncle and Charlie to the one coming in. One around his age. Taken by surprise he stared a moment before quickly adding, "evening," then ducking his head away back to consuming his food. Food was safe!


Date: 01-16-09
Poster: Kenneth O'Beirne
Post # 7

Charlie chuckled softly leaning closer to him. "You are not ready for the sharks sweetie. Maybe next year." She would tell him about tying a board to his arse, so he didn't fall in. 

A good dose of Charlie would never hurt the lad. It would help him to see the humor in things as well the serious. Devil take him as well, "the stew is very good here, lass, if you're hungry. You're welcome to join us." Knowing well the empty chair was on the other side of Josh.

"They might not wait for me to be ready, then what?" Trying not to look at the lass as his words were real low as Charlie leaned in. He had some smelly stuff on too, spicy tinge to it with sandalwood.

Charlie grinned, seeing his wanting to look at the young lady, and still wanting to hear how to woo. "Hon, there are always sharks where the McDonough men are concerned, they will be there trust me." She mused, "just pay attention to the nice girls around here. Treat them like your sister." Which meant be nice and don't see that they are girls, just friends to rag tag play around with.

The nice thing about sitting at the bar was she could look in the mirror and watch without seeming real obvious. Once she had her cocoa and food, she set to eating, enjoying the warmth that spread through her. It would take a little longer for her feet to thaw out.

"How can I tell a shark from someone nice," still keeping his voice low and lean towards Charlie. It seemed the lass wasn't going to join them after being invited. Disappointment and relief combined as he glanced her way. "So, I should treat a nice girl like my sister?" Could he do that? He seemed a bit worried on that idea. Which he had to add, "Tamara punches me when I tease her." So that meant he'd be getting punched a lot too?

"Like I said wait till next year, and we can do some shark hunting."  Oh yeah, like she was gonna remember it. "Well you might like it this time. Just be nice Josh, be yourself," which was a very nice young man.

"Well, Tamara's punches don't hurt, she hits like a girl." Which was about right and for his sister's younger years. "Next year," which had him slightly shrug his shoulders, more squirming inside than outwardly. "I'll be sixteen in a few weeks."

"Ayup you will. Big enough still to be turned over someone's knee," trying to not say that Unk like it like that. She would have been teasing, unmercifully, and that wasn't fair. "Hey Miss, I am Charlie, my love Kenneth, and this pup here is Josh. I haven't seen you around here before." Not that Charlie was paying attention to a lot of things recently.

"Pup?" near choked out under his breath and now really embarrassed as he turned a quick look the lass' way.

She hadn't meant to be rude but she was so cold, she hadn't exactly heard right. She turned though when Charlie spoke, after wiping her mouth with her napkin. "I'm Molly Tremaine. M'brother and his partners just came here not too long ago. They opened Hollow Woods Inn and Mercantile." It came out in a rush and she blushed again. Dorian was always teasing her about talking too fast.

"Oh yeah. I heard about that place." Uh uh, and she had yet to descend on it. "Well, welcome to Heathfield.  It's my pleasure to meet you." poking at Josh.

He was grinning, trying hard not laugh or Josh would be red to the crown of his head. "Nice to meet you Molly Tremaine. Name sounds familiar but I can't presently place it." Ah, now he did. "How is the mercantile coming along?"

"I hear they carry a lot of things in the mercantile shop." He was going to get down there and check over the inventory for his father. Something on his to-do list once he had time. Cattle were taking up a lot of it lately.

"Pretty good. I help there some." Of course, she also had to go to school. "They do. All kinds of things."

Charlie leaned a bit against Kenneth, bemused by the whole thing. Letting Charlie teach anyone about anything was like asking for trouble; usually associated with lots of laughter and running like the devil was behind her.

Why do you think he led her right into this helping Joshua out? A hand slipped around her waist as he hooked a booted foot around the leg of her chair, discreetly drawing her closer to him. "You're welcome to join us Molly, instead of talking all that distance away." A slight upnod to the seat next to Joshua.

"Oh, all right. Just give me a few to finish up my stew. Don't like to eat while I'm talking." She gave them all a quick smile and turned back to her meal. Not one to waste food.

Uh uh, she was glad to be distracted by the young lady. Lawdie knows what she would have Josh believing if she kept talking.

He stared at his uncle a moment when he realized the only seat available was the one near him. Closer even for the shuffling around. He set to finishing off his food as well, extra portion of it tonight. He'd not been eating too well of late and now made up for it.

The way Josh was hanging with his Unk, he would learn to laugh at just about everything. Which was not bad really, he was too young to be worrying about things he could not change.

It didn't take her long and after she made sure she didn't have anything on her face, she picked up the mug of cocoa that Alex had refilled and headed over to the table to join them. She gave them all a shy smile now that she was  close to them. Sitting, she peeked over at Josh then looked down at the mug. "This is really good hot chocolate." Not that she had much experience with different kinds.

Which was the idea of it, get his nephew out amongst peers and those older so that he learned and less he'd be blushing. Though he seemed to conquer embarrassment that ended up stammering or stuttering.

Charlie smiled to the young woman. "Have you had much chance to see anything of the area before the cold shut everyone in their houses?" She asked, aware that the docks were always open.

"Not much beyond the commons. I was looking around today some after school but got too cold once the sun went down and I uh ... well, kind of forgot where the manor we have now is." She admitted the last sheepishly. "Everything looks different after dark."  She wasn't allowed to wander the docks alone.

Charlie would feel the discreet trace of a finger along her arm and down over her hand as he watched the two, nephew and lass under a hooded gaze.

"Hmm yes it does. Perhaps Josh would take you back to the manor. He was born in this area, and has roamed it constantly." Well as much as any of the other children raised in the region. Her fingers stirring to the light touch, never mind that shiver.  It was all good. You could tell by her smile.

Smile came with a curl to the edges of his lips as well a dimple could be seen this close. "Did you get the whip cream and shavings of chocolate on it as well?" Giving a lean as he asked to try and see into her  mug and almost bumped his head with hers before quickly drawing back. "Aye, I know where it is if you need an escort back..." dark brows lifting over very green eyes with a glance to Charlie first with her suggestion. Fleeting one his uncle's way as the two were starting to get romantic.

Hardly romantic, more like enjoying the moment of each others company, and aware of the rest of the world. When they were romantic, they would vanish ... until they fell out of some hiding place.

He had that look on his face, content smile as he could tell the reaction his touch had. Josh might see it as romantic and in a way it certainly was, he loved being with his Charlie. "You don't mind then if we need see to a few things. Molly, you'll be in good hands with Joshua. He'll see you properly back." He had a few ideas of what they could fall out of tonight, the dragon's head of the toboggan run popped into his thoughts.

She almost giggled as she nodded, and realized how close he had come to her forehead. "Aye. Wouldn't drink it without. Do you really know where it is?" She perked though a glance at Charlie and Kenneth had her nearly giggling again. "I don't mind at all. It was nice to meet you both."

She would bring the blankets for it, smiling as she rose from the chair. "It is nice to meet you as well Molly. I shall have to see about this new haunt for me to go." Grinning, she offered a hand to Kenneth.

"Aye, it's up behind the upper part of the port area in an area that is domestic, other manors and families. I can show you a shortcut that is safe from the port to there as well if you need such. Best not to be alone down there when dusk settles in. It can get dangerous especially for a pretty lass." Had he said pretty? He rose from his seat as his uncle and Charlie were about to leave. "I'll see you out on the ranch tomorrow then, Unk. Charlie, I'm please seeing you again and thank you for the advice." Well, what she gave of it for now being he'd have to wait a year for the rest of it.

He had and had her near gaping though she caught herself. "Thank you." For the offer of the shortcut or his compliment? She didn't know herself! And Charlie would be welcome at the Mercantile or the Inn.

Charlie winked at Josh. With what she had not said was more trouble then he could handle. "Have a good night Josh. I think we will end up at the vardo." Telling him just in case he needed his Unk.

"I'll see you tomorrow as well your uncle Garath." Whom he would speak with to make sure he was aware to keep an eye on the lad for depression. "Sounds like a good place to have a few brews. Nice meeting you Molly." Which he was then seeing to their wraps before their walk in the cold. Well, they had a way of heating up the air around them so wouldn't be noticing it overly.

Oh yeah they did, and Charlie was happy to giggle as they stepped out into the night.

He was over to get his cloak and see to hers like his Unk had done with Charlie. "If you are not ready to get back straight away to the manor, I can show you some of the other stores about in the commons." They would be following them out but not following them from there. Instinctively he knew not to!

"Sure, I'd like that." She grinned at him as she slipped on her cloak, with his help and her scarf. She glanced at Charlie and Kenneth again, and bit her lip to try to keep from giggling.  They were cute!

It was dark, all they would hear is giggling and laughter, as the pair walked. They were fun.


Date: 01-21-09
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 8

After the Races

Pyper might have been so tired that she had chosen to go home. Either way, Gaelle trusted her with her horse. For most of the ride over, Gaelle was quiet, tucked against Broch and quite warm.

He was enjoying the ride, keeping warmer still with Gaelle tucked in. Too soon they arrived as Pyper parted company where the road forked off. He dismounted first then helped her down. "Yea bae want'in somet'ing warm?" The words out that had a glint in burnished green eyes to arise. If Charlie heard that one she could run with it!

The question, while any other time might seem like an innocent offer for food or drink, didn't seem so innocent when she noted the glint in his green eyes. She could be bold, sometimes. And though she was pink cheeked -- which could be from the cold! -- she boldly lifted her chin and went right along with it. "Yes, I do, actually."

"Me too" she piped, chuckling, all tucked under her cloak, quite warm, from sharing the mule's warmth.

"Sae t'at means I bae kiss'in yea bot'?" Still teasing as he gave a wink, one arm around Gaelle and the other around Charlie as he escorted them within. Arms falling away to get the door and hold. Once they were in he was in their wake to close it off from the gust of a snow shimmering breeze.

"I don't think Gaelle would appreciate you kissing us both," chuckling as she was swept into the tavern.  "Ah, blissful warmth."

"I'm sure you'd like that," she chimed in, with a bright sound of a laugh. She bumped her hips against his before they reached the door, breaking away as they were ushered inside. She removed her cloak to hang it on the wall.

"I bae t'inking yea mon mig't bae mind'in." He helped them with their cloaks before seeing to his, then to the bar as he would be having potcheen. It kept him warm, warm going down too.

"I almost didn't use that certificate, you know." She thought to say while she eased up to the bar. "I almost gave it away." He ordered potcheen and she ordered the punch. "What are you drinking, Charlie?" Curious.

"Aye? W'y bae t'at and who would yea 'ave given it tae?" He was curious as he settled into a lean that had him facing both she and Charlie.

"Hot spiced cider " she mused, keeping her cloak for now till she warmed up. "Thank you much." she mused.

"Do you really want to know that?" The answer. She thought weird sometimes! Or well, made things more complicated than they really were. "I thought about giving it to Logan or Laura." She grinned. Then shrugged. "And why? I didn't know who to pick. I mean, I wanted to pick you, yes, very much so, but there were reasons I didn't think I should but if I had picked someone else then I would regret it because I didn't pick you and I couldn't see myself  really spending the time with anyone else and besides I thought for some reason you might get upset and I don't want you upset. And I would have wasted the night if I had picked another person, because I would think that whole night that I should have picked you because--uhm. I quit." Rambling much?

Charlie was giggling listening to the explanation. "Twitterpated," she mused to Broch, shaking her head with a big grin.

He watched her as she gave the long explanation. Actually understanding the dilemma as well. Instead of saying anything on it, he leaned in to steal a kiss instead. Lips were warm and the action spoke all instead of words. It was just enough, not long, not short and proper enough where they were.

Actions do tend to speak louder than words. She was rather pleased with his response. She managed to keep herself from swooning all over the place, probably to Charlie's dismay. When it broke, she snuck another quick peck of her lips against his jaw. Then took a drink of her punch.

Good way to end a rambling as well! "I asked Draven tae put mae on it w'en I found yea 'ad won t'e certificate. I had been asked before." But he had not done it before. He wondered how she would react to that, cry .. FIXED! See the grin rising!

Charlie just listened. She was fine with swooning, and all that.

Broch was so sneaky! "You.. you did?" She seemed very surprised by this news. She pursed her lips. No, she didn't cry! But it was hard to say if she wanted to or not. She grinned over at Charlie and even sputtered out a giggle. Yes, a giggle.

The evening had gone very well but, in order to get some time with Brigid, he suggested a walk. They could stop at the Thistle for a nightcap and then he'd walk her back to the Manor. He made sure to walk slow just to stretch out those moments, but not so much that she'd be feeling frozen.

See that smile as she broke into a chuckle. "Don't look at me. I haven't the faintest clue what you are two are talking about." Waggling her brows.

"Aye, I did bout t'ere were seven ot'ers yea could 'ave 'ad an escort wit'." If she had, he would not have gotten mad. He was not the jealous type, not this time around with life. He would hope she had a good time even. The Attendant Services was not a dating service, in fact they were not allowed any such overtones if they wanted to see the one outside that time of service, it would have to wait to then to ask the one. It was strict. It was to enjoy a time out.

She had been fussing with a cold to chance going to the races but by the evening she was feeling better after a nice meal and time afterwards spent with Mike at the Manor, why she had invited him. It was good to get some fresh air as well. She stayed close to him to stave off the cold even if bundled up.

"I could have. I don't know them though, not that well. A couple not at all, I don't think." With that in mind, she wasn't sure the night would have gone well. It might have, yes. But she wasn't that much of a risk taker. "I would've been all twitchy and nervous around the Princes, probably with the Knights too. And I can see myself just staring at the Egyptians because I don't know a thing about them and wouldn't know how to act." She worries too much!

"I'm pleased it went as it did," no need to worry on a bridge that wasn't going to be crossed. There were pros and cons both ways but he planned to show her a good time. "I 'ope tae see tae it by the end o' t'is week, next week bae t'e latest." He was seeing about getting a horse drawn sled. Something he didn't own but knew where to rent one for the night. Actually the Services covered the cost.

Princes, Princesses, Knights they were all human, and a few actually liked to party, and a few squealed like girls when threatened with kisses and things like that.

He'd keep an arm around her too, until they reached the door of the Thistle. That he'd opened to allow her to go inside first, closing the door behind him when he stepped through. "Good evening, Broch, ladies." Giving them all an easy smile.

"I'm not in a rush. It can be anytime." She wasn't planning on going anywhere soon. She smiled when she caught sight of Michael and Brigid. "Good evening to you both."

"Evening " waving at Mike, still listening to the pair, but she looked like she was sleepy. Had to be the heat of the tavern, or the long day. Either way she was behaving for the moment.

"Mic'ael mae brot'er, Brigid, guid tae see yea bot'. It was a guid race yea missed. I finally beat Gaelle." Not even mentioning he took first place!

"You beat everyone, Broch." She covered the first place part.

"Aye? Well congratulations." He assisted Brigid with her cloak while he listened.

"I'm cooking for him." She broke the news to Michael. She was grinning though.

Charlie chuckled, listening to Gaelle.  Never mind Gaelle had been last or so ...

"Aye, I did fir a c'ange bout t'e best part is t'e dinner I won!" Which had him pause, looking serious her way as he repeated the earlier question, "yea can cook, aye?"

"Are you? Well, then he's doubly lucky." He laughed as he hung up the cloaks.  Now was a fine time for Broch to be asking!

Funny that. Broch first, Gaelle last. She hadn't even thought about that, yet! "Of course I can cook. What do you want for dinner, anyway?"

"Horse steaks and matches ?" Charlie quipped, not that she would harm a horse.

She laughed hearing Charlie. "I will not cook Buttercup! She was just.. uhm.. showing off her beauty." Or something.

She slipped out of her cloak with Mike's assistance. Smile warming as violet blue eyes turned to the others. "How is everyone doing tonight? Congratulations Broch." Catching the fact he won the HT race.

Fingers waggling to Brigid with a smirk. "I would say she was showing her arse ...but" she shrugged, "next time I ride backwards so I can watch the race."

His hand resting lightly against Brigid's back, he guided her to the bar and he'd keep an eye on her too. If she got too tired, he'd see her home.

"He did very well, Brigid. Won the race, completely." She was happy for him and it certainly showed in the way she smiled.

"I will 'ave w'at yea consider yea best meal tae make." Giving an affirmative nod liking that idea. Also would be easier for her than requesting some exotic dish she never heard of.

"I would like some of the blackberry brandy warmed up." Quietly given to Alex when he looked her way in expectation of an order. "How did you two do?" Did she miss that?

"I'm quite well. How are you, Brigid? Michael?" She wasn't even sure if she'd asked! She turned some to settle down onto one of the stools.

Charlie smiled, taking a sip of her spiced cider, though coffee would have been better maybe. "Do?" Yeah, she was lost, sort of.

"I'm doing quite well." He smiled as he lowered his glass. Potcheen of course.

"In the race.." maybe it was her for being a little zoned out. The blush touching the curve of her cheeks was also from not feeling as well earlier.

"Ahh ... I got to see Broch's arse as he passed me," she chuckled.

OH, see, Gaelle must be half asleep, she thought Brigid said How do you do. She blinked slowly. "Oooh." Charlie had her laughing. "And I got a nice view from the very back." Answering.

The blush deepened as she dared dart a glance Broch's way, luckily his behind was not facing her way or she would not have resisted a look.

Gaelle would've looked. No, she'd probably stare.

Especially if he was o'natural? As Charlie would put it, bare ass naked. Literally.

More of sneaking in glances while trying not to give herself away. And a lot of blushing.

That's how he would know. "I t'ink I bae need'in a list of bets tae present fir t'e next number o' races." Like he was planning on winning over her in them in the least.

"Oh? What kind of betting are you planning, there, Broch?" Teasing him.

"Maybe some night we can go ice skating?" Slightly leaning against Michael as the question was posed to him as well the others as the sweeping inclusive glance indicated.

"Aye, that sounds like something that would be fun. Provided you're over your cold." Or he'd never hear the end of it! He slipped his arm around her shoulders.

"O' t'ings yea will bae ow'in mae." Giving a firm nod before distracted to Brigid and Michael. "Aye, we could dae t'at. Maybe consider an ice skat'in race."

Charlie sipped her cider, pleased with the events of the day. Her prize would highly amuse her too when she finally got it.

"Aye, or my brothers would have my hide," and probably his, that comment almost came through as such but she managed to cut them off with a press of her lips, smiling instead.

"There's back massages, more cooking, and there could be gross or humorous things that could be involved." Why was she giving him ammo? She counted them off on her fingers as she listed the ideas, then spiked a grin. "Ice skating would be fun."

He lit up with the first. "T'at will bae first o' mae list. I'll have tae t'ink o' more, aye." Cooking was a standard one, either way.

She didn't have to say it. If her brothers were anything like his brothers and himself, he knew it.

"I can recommend the snow slopes," bobbling her head. Not that she was saying how she went down them.

"Charlie, I refuse to go down the snow slopes naked." Obviously she told Gaelle!

"I only went half way down," she trilled.

"I don't even think I could go halfway down that way." Bubbling a laugh Charlie's way.

"Oh it wasn't so bad. I think Kenneth made it all the way down," Bobbling her head, it would teach them to test different out of the way places.

"T'at would bae a bit cold and yea would need a lot o' warm'in up.."

She... swung her attention towards Broch. Didn't say a word, but she was staring!

"Have you met my brothers yet?" She couldn't remember and they were only here a few times so far. Mostly to check on her and then back to Kildare for all that was going on. There was a bit of fear to show in her expression though she tried to hide it. Hard to for what she feared they were up to.

"It was cold, but a hot tub was a nice dip for us both ..." Nothing slowed the rabbits down.

"Ken and yea go bare naked down snow slopes?" Just to make sure he got that right!

"Well not intentionally." She mused.

"No, I haven't but I will next time they're in." He touched her cheek, a slight frown appearing. "I'm sure they're all right, Brigid. The Twins will ask for help if things get too bad."

Gaelle was staring at him and he was staring at Charlie. "Yea w'ere 'n a loft and accidentally fell out into a snow mound and slid 'ow far down?"

"Well ..more like the head of the dragon," or that is what she thought Kenneth said it was.

That's where she burst into laughter.

"I think they are going to check out the deeper forests to see if the rumors are true on beasts roaming there. Those of another kind, not normal at all." If he got her drift.

"Sae, he's got one t'e size o' a dragon yea bae say'in?" He was grinning and enjoying Gaelle laughing as well.

Chuckling. "Actually it is a place, but yeah it is like you said," nodding her head with a wicked grin.

Which he couldn't help adding, "iffin t'at bae true all I got tae say is bae glad it is not a two headed dragon." Giving a sage nod.

Well, was laughing. Now she was blushing, a lot.

He had heard about those when he and Logan were in Kildare. "Your brothers are smart. They survived before and they'll survive this." He smiled at her again. "No worrying." Though he knew that would be impossible.


Date: 01-21-09
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 9

That had her laughing, "oh poor Kenneth."  Like if.

"Does he bae wear'ing a kilt? Fir he'd be dragging his dragon behind him." Which he gave a hip nudge to Gaelle at this point.

"I don't think Gypsies wear kilties." She waggled her brow.

Mouth opened, mouth closed, opened, closed. She wanted to make a comment!!!! And did, even though she was blushing. "I've seen you in a kilt, Broch." ...Nothing else!

"I'm glad to be here for I've met you, Michael, but I can't help worrying the fact they sent me here to make sure I was safe. That means it is extra unsafe there." She kept her words low but the other conversation had her smiling even if a blush was rising.

Looks to Gaelle with a smirk. "Yes?" Seeing that complex look, "oh really? What was under it, Gaelle?"

"I didn't look under it!" She nearly stammered that out. She finished off her punch and set her glass to the bar top.

"Depends iffin t'ey bae clan gypsies." He knew some obviously. He slid his hand over Gaelle's mouth, "yea bae catc'in flies that way." Whoops, it was down and out came the words.

Charlie giggled. "I should hope not ...tradition is not to wear anything." She grinned.

She knew! She swallowed and looked up at Broch. Innocent smile!

"T'at bae t'e words o' aut'ority. 'ow many did yea look under before decid'in best not tae? W'ere yea look'in fir blue ribbons?"

"I haven't looked under any! I know what's under there." Or not under there?

"Blue ribbons most likely," she mused.

"Aye, same here though I can understand your worry." He smiled again and looked over at the others. Oh yeah, that was funny. He looked back to Brigid, looking thoughtful. "They're being very careful about information, but I'll see if we can find out anything if you'd like."

"Yea bae beliv'in second 'and information then, Gaelle?" Brows up like it was a serious question.

"Well." She stared up at him. "Do you want me to go around staring under kilts?" Pause. "When you wore one, you weren't.." Oh, it was hard to say this without sputtering. "..dragging.. anything. At least.. you're dragon free?" Her face was so very red.

"If you can without raising suspicion." She couldn't help wanting to know. She finally found Niall to lose him again or Cian. She couldn't bear that. She'd not let them know she found out anything either through Michael.

Charlie was giggling into her cup. Oh yeah, keep talking Gaelle.

She, for some reason, seriously thought she had this!

"Well, yea din 'ave tae stare unless wort' staring.. aye Charlie?" Like Charlie was in on all this with him.

"Yep ... she could have just went for the ribbon," nodding her head.

He wasn't going to crack up while he was talking so seriously but dang, he was close.

"I'm not going to stare. Because I won't be looking." She nodded firmly.

Poor Mike. He should know how it was when Charlie got to making mischief.

"I bae sport'in a sword." Slow grin that brought out a rare dimple. "Big bastard sword, aye, t'at bae drag'in. Scraping, s'ooting off sparks."

"But it is a dragon for gawk's sake, you would stare," sage nod.

"But Broch has a sparking sword! That trumps dragon any day, because it sparks!" Out before she could stop herself.

"Come o', yea want a peek at least?" Giving her a nudge, she was just so into kilts, dragging dragons and what not under them.

"Oh he does huh?" About to fall over from giggling.

"I bae t'inking, Gaelle 'ere, would want tae tame t'e beastie. Bae interst'in 'ow s'e would gae about it. W'ips and chairs, c'ains, siren song?"

"That's.. what he said." She coughed into her hand and slanted her attention up to Broch. She nudged him back, but couldn't speak. Not yet. She widened her eyes. Then, "You're wanting me to tame your beast?" What?

He finally started laughing as the visual of Gaelle singing to tame the dragon under a man's kilt came to mind.

That did it. Charlie was howling!  "Tame his beastie ...oh yeah!"

"That's what he said!" Or she thought he said it!

"Yea bae 'aving tae start wit' t'e dragon if Charlie will let yea near it.."

"Do I have to go down it naked?" That sounded so wrong. She was confused!

"She can get her own dragon."  Nodding her head.

"Well, ye'll 'ave tae gae dragon 'unting under kilts tae find out.."

Hell, whoo whoos had scared Gaelle silly! She could imagine dragon hunting under kilties ...scared stiff maybe.

Maybe it was the warmed up brandy as she felt giddy of a sudden and started laughing.

She stared at Broch, just stared. "Well, if you had on a kilt, I'd look." Under his. Maybe. Or she was just saying that. She lifted her chin, appearing sassy. Brigid's sudden laughter had her giggling.

He wasn't going to say a word though he started to laugh when Brigid did. And was glad she was.

Maybe she would scare the one in the kilt .. stiff. Then he'd be complaining of the tilt in his kilt. Such thoughts as he watched Gaelle.

.....   If he said that out loud, she'd faint! Or ask if Broch ever had tilted kilts, one of the two.

Charlie just laid her head on her arms, laughing.  Poor Gaelle.

"Yea could always walk up tae a mon 'n a kilt and ask, iffin 'e 'as a dragon under t'ere before lifting 'is tradition."

"Are you trying to get me into trouble, Broch?" Finally asking!

"Your doing fine on your own Gaelle," she cackled.

"Dae I need tae? Yea seem tae dae just fine o' yea own." Another sage nod with a sliding glance Charlie's way.

"You're the one wanting me to look under kilts!" Laughing, then, when she heard Broch pretty much parrot Charlie.

Charlie grinned, "you started it Gaelle."  Uh huh, innocent she was.

"Did I?" She believed it. She couldn't remember how this all started.

"Aye, fir t'e dragons yea speak on." Like she had done it all!

"Hey, Charlie started that conversation." She broke out into a laugh and nudged him.

Poor Gaelle, hanging around with Charlie she would have to dodge the numerous bullets of humors thrown at her.  "Nuuh ...I said I went sliding down the dragon." She grinned, waggling her brows.

"Maybe s'e bae 'elping yea in yir dragon quest?" Holding the grin as he added. "Unless ye'd rather settle fir a puppy?"

"What?" She looked absolutely confused then.

"A puppy?" That had her attention.

Exactly, one of war tactics, confuse the enemy. Although in this case it was all in fun. "Yea look cute confused, oh mig'ty dragon 'unter."

Charlie cackled, shaking her head.

"What does a puppy have to do with dragon hunting and polishing swords?" The last was made up and added in right then and there. "I am confused!"

"Defender of t'e kilt lift'in faction."

He cleared his throat and looked at Brigid. "I should probably get you back." Or Chandra might come looking for her. The woman was mother hen to anyone who she considered part of their extended family. Of course, she wouldn't search any of them down. She'd not embarrass them in that way.

"You're awful." She was blushing!

"It 'as not'ing directly tae dae wit' dragons ot'er t'an t'ey bae tricky fellows sae yea need tae keep s'arp, not bae misled by a cute puppy t'rown 'n t'ere." He might actually be making sense in an odd sort of way. Maybe. Possibly.

Charlie grinned, listening to Gaelle.

She furrowed her brows and glanced aside to Charlie. In a way, it made sense, yes. She cracked up laughing suddenly.

It was getting late but she had welcome the diversion. She also needed to keep from getting depressed over her brothers' welfare. "Thank you for coming this night, it was wonderful spending time with you." At least she had not been thinking on her brothers the whole time. "It is best I get back or Chandra will take the broom to your dragon."

Charlie was not saying anything,. She was innocent at that particular moment.  Well almost, chuckling when she heard Brigid.

She heard Brigid and that only cracked her up even more.

"See, Chandra bae know'in 'ow tae tame dragons.." or beat them to death. Death of a Dragon by Broom Beating.

"We wouldn't want that now, would we?" He laughed as he straightened. "Good night, Broch. Gaelle, Charlie. Watch out for wild dragons on your way home."

If that was ever in the paper, Charlie would be howling with laughter, and wondering what poor man died.  "Night," waving to Mike and Brigid.

"Have a good night, Michael, Brigid. Tell Chandra I want to borrow her broom." She gave Broch an evil look!

"Hers is in the shop for repairs." Charlie piped up.

"S'e bae want'in lessons tae, so we can all come tae t'e demonstration. Guid nig't tae ye Mic'ael, I'll bae seeing yea tomorrow, guid nig't tae yea Brigid, bae well wit' yea cold."

She swatted Broch's arm lightly, very lightly. "Yeah and I'll be calling up volunteers, too."

How wonderful if she could get Chandra into a bit of trouble and mischief! "Get Laird Maurice tae come and see what happens." Oh yes, she didn't say that!

Oh Lordie, the Dragon man himself! That would be cheating ... or so rumors spoke.

"Aye, I want tae see 'ow fast ye faint!" Burnished green eyes turning to dip her way with a smug smile and challenge dared.

He laughed again as he guided Brigid over to their cloaks and helped her with hers. Laird McDonough, huh? Interesting.

"Lickedey split most likely," meaning Gaelle fainting.

"What?" She blinked over at Brigid. She wasn't sure if that offer would be good or bad on her part! She peered up at Broch. "That'll be the time you'll actually get me to peer under a kilt. When I faint."

Poor Gaelle they got her tongue tied. Lord knew what would come out of her mouth next.

No telling, seriously no telling!

It was becoming interesting, well, what bit she noticed so far and was making sure to notice. Discreetly of course. Giving them a wave with a brilliance of a smile before cloak was on and they out heading home.

Another wave before they were out and gone.

"Sae, I wear mae kilt and get yea tae faint?" Like it was some plan she was offering him.

"If I look under it, yes." She paused. One of those moments where she looked like she wanted to say something! Which was never a good thing.

Charlie would have to pass out blue ribbons to all the kiltie men.

"Never kin w'at lies 'idden under a mon's kilt." Making it sound like a who done it. "Yea could find o' some a case o' t'e missing dragon."

"Or solve it," she added lightly.

"I hope you're not missing anything." Blurted!

Charlie snickered softly. What a question to pose to a man.

He leaned in, words in a huskier tone. "I bae miss'in none o' mae parts." Giving a wink as he straightened. "It 'as been grand ladies bout I must bae back. I will see yea 'ome if yea are not staying t'e nig't."

"I am heading to the vardo," she grinned.  Ears was her escort. He was ornery enough to ward off most things.

This made her blush, no doubt. Not that she's ever really stopped. She cleared her throat, nodding. "I should head back, really."

"Aye, I'll escort yea tae t'e Dairy." He would have to stop in and see the twins too, get something for them first before he did. "A guid nig't tae yea C'arlie." Retrieving his cloak from the back of the stool. "Yea bae rid'in wi't mae t'en Gaelle," to make certain. After all Pyper still had her mare.

She finished off her drink, drawing her cloak more secure around her. "A good night to you as well Broch." She grinned, sashaying to the door.

"Good night Charlie." Grinning to her as she went to snatch up her cloak. She turned as she put it on, nodding to Broch. "Unless you mind.."

Hurrying out side, clamoring onto Ears who was half asleep. "Night yah all ..Gaelle watch out for them dragons ... under the kilties." She called and the mule was trotting towards the vardo.

"I would not 'ave offered," smile touched with the wink as he helped her with her cloak before seeing her out and on their way.

She snugged against him the whole way, too. Had to stay warm, you know.


Date: 01-22-09
Poster: Rhett Shawnesey Jr.
Post # 10

The Sword

Rhett made his way to the Thistle after long hours at the forge. He had completed the sword he'd been working on. Working on a few aside other weapons right down to the shoes for horses. He got enough of those each day, the smaller jobs that kept him in food and other necessities. He was also saving, being frugal but these swords were special. Ones that would make his father proud of the workmanship. He had eaten a good meal, full course with extra helpings thanks to Hazel. She had a soft spot for growing boys in that they were fed well. Meal done and plates taken away as he had a bottle of potcheen setting on the table he claimed near the hearth. He was use to being warm so more comfortable for him there. A few extra glasses in hope that his brother, in the least, showed and possibly others to share a drink with him. The sword laid over his lap as he was working the steel into a high polish. The edge being sharpened gradually, smoothly with a wet pumice stone.

Douglas had gone home for the evening meal and after spending some time playing checkers with their little sister, Maureen, then headed out for the Thistle in the hopes that he might get Rhett to join him. Not finding his brother at the smithy, he headed for the Tavern. As he stepped inside, he spotted Rhett almost immediately and grinned. "There you are, brother mine." He spoke as he removed his cloak, scarf and gloves. "Bringing your work with you?" He spotted the bottle and glasses and with a lift of his hand to Alex, made his way to the hearth to join Rhett.

"Aye, come see for I am hoping it will make Da proud of me." So he would get his first opinion as he looked up from his work. He didn't get up and upset the sword while working on it. "I know I should go tomorrow for dinner or Ma will be fussing at me for a while." Pressed smile held amusement behind it as he indicated the bottle of potcheen and glasses. "Sometimes I think she forgets I'm eighteen now." A man on his own especially after the battle in Kildare. Eventually he would realize it wasn't his age or that she thought him a boy.

He chuckled as he settled into a nearby chair after pouring some of the potcheen for himself. "It isn't that so much as she misses you." She had fussed something awful over Douglas when he returned from school. And Rhett was closer. Leaning forward, he took a look at the sword and let out a low whistle. "Beautifully done, Rhett. I'd say you're a master blacksmith now. I also know Da is already proud of you." He especially liked the knotwork on blade and hilt.

"It's more than the design, it's a war sword." Pausing in the polishing as it was near done as well the blade sharpened enough until it was to be sold. "See how it feels." Lifting it to hand over hilt first, "be careful of the blade it is sharp enough to cut."

It was at this point Davin wandered into the Thistle. Having seen to the Lighthouse fire before he left that kept the light bright, he'd have a few hours to spend out. He hoped to run into those he knew and sure enough the Shawnesey brothers were out as well. "Good night to be out." Grin swept with his greeting and letting them know it was he that had come in. Door closed off and cloak removed to hang off to a peg before heading to the bar to get a glass of the potcheen. Alex indicated the bottle over on Rhett's table so direction was altered as he was over to pour himself a glass. He was eyeing the sword in a very appreciative way.

He put down the glass and took hold of the hilt, stepping away so he could test the balance and swing of the blade. Eyes held a shine as he moved about with it, a step here, a spring then a thrust before he handed it back, hilt first.  He hadn't even had to examine closely to see how perfectly straight the bade was.  "I think any knight or warrior would be proud to carry it into battle." There was a glint in his eyes that didn't fade as he turned to greet their friend. "Evening, Davin. Isn't she a beauty?"

"Evening Davin, good to see you again." Quite the proud look in his expression for Douglas' praise, "come try it out Davin," inviting him for that look he recognized. If Douglas needed a sword, he was going to make him a special one.

"I was going to see about having a sword made." Rather quickly was he was over take it up from Douglas. First he held it up that it caught the light and watched the way it ran down the blade. Perfect alignment was quickly noted before stepping away into an open area giving it a figure eight around in one hand then the same but with exchanging it to his other hand effortlessly. "Perfect balance and you can hear the blade sing. She is a beauty." He liked the way the hilt fitted to his hand as well. He could do this a while but they were in the public tavern so he was over to hand it back. "I'd like to come up a day soon to see what ones you have for sale."

He hadn't sat yet as he watched Davin and didn't realize it until he was back over with the sword. Giving his brother a sheepish smile, he sat again, taking up his glass. He took a drink while Davin and Rhett talked business.

"You're welcome anytime. I'm always there in the morning as the sun rises. Most days until the sun sets before I call it a day. I'm just starting an inventory of special made individual blades like this one as I had been doing a lot of ones for the soldiers in Kildare for some time. Now that the immediate need has eased, I can work on my own designs." The others were well made of course, like this one, just not as fancy, in fact quite plain but functional. They were quicker in the time not spent on etched designs and scrolls. Taking the sword back to slip into a scabbard to protect it and others from accidentally getting cut.

Pyper had been window shopping in the marketplace, just seeing what everyone had to offer this time of year, humming softly to herself as she strolled the streets. The tune was clear and light, a very old one her father had taught her as a child. She kind of skipped down the streets on her way to the Thistle, a smile on her face, cheeks rosy from the chill in the air, as she mounted the steps to head in.

Upstairs a door quietly opened and a door just as quietly closed, followed by hushed steps that eventually led her to the top of the staircase. She could hear voices down below her and she was hesitant to come down. Still nervous like a bird, she'd tucked herself away quietly for most of the day yesterday. But tonight, the woman was oh so hungry. Her only decent dress that she had with her had been cleaned and it swished against the floor, the stairs when she finally took them down to the bottom. Her hair was groomed straight and long, skirting about her shoulders and against her back.

Miriam rubs her hands together to try to create friction as she nearly ran down the streets towards the Thistle. However, it didn't look like a person running, as much as it did a wad of clothes with scarves, and cloth trailing behind her as she sped towards the steps, nearly tripping over the layers of fabric as she climbed the steps behind Pyper. "Waiiiiittttt!" She shrieked as she panted heavily as she actually saw Pyper's face. "Oh... uh, sorry? I thought you were someone else." Her cheeks were already flushed from running, so she couldn't blush but she would've.

"Evening Pyper." In the next breath with a press of a smile her way, cordial and slightly boyish one.

"Evening," smile turned Pyper's way as he too caught sight of her coming in. He would need to see what Rhett had or intended to make and what they would cost so he could save up. Brows lifting as another near ploughed Pyper over.

She gave a slight wave to everyone in the room as she scooted towards the coat rack. She was now way too embarrassed to say much more as she had already said too much by accidentally screaming at the poor girl in front of her.

It was a good thing he put the sword safely away and laid it on the one side of the table. Beyond the commotion he noted Nora. "Good evening Nora, I hope you have settled in well here."

"Evening, ladies." He stood and remained standing as each woman entered. There was a hint of laughter in his eyes as he watched Miriam then he turned his attention to Nora for Rhett's question. He'd sit in a moment, after the lasses were settled..

Another name mentioned had a quick diverting of focus to the hall where Nora could be seen. "Evening Nora," welcoming her as well as he was around to take up the abandoned glass of potcheen. A quick kicking back of the potent brew was in order.

She chuckled as she ducked slightly to the side, so the one coming up behind her could continue her rapid assent. "Its quite alright." The Elf smiled, coming all the way in now and closing the door. She pushed back the hood of her cloak, chestnut curls pulled around a bit to hide her ears as there were new faces and she didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable. "Evening to you Rhett, Davin, and Douglas." She said, giving a curtsey to each. "I'm Pyper, " to the ladies she didn't know yet.

She didn't really expect to see anyone she'd met, though she did carefully study the gathered, more out of caution than anything. One, two, three. Faces of the helpful men and she visibly relaxed. "Good evening. I have settled in as well as expected, though I admit I had trouble finding sleep last evening. Thank you, and thank you again Davin for your kindness." She approached the bar slowly, a gentle smile claiming her mouth for the lady's introduction. "My name is Nora. It is a pleasure to meet you, Pyper."

Miri peeled off a layer of fabric from her head as she untwisted it from around her neck, face, and the top of her head to reveal soft brown curls that fell down her back loosely. She hung the piece up first, as she continued to pluck clothing from her body. She unraveled herself from her cloak next as she tipped her head respectfully towards the others in the room. "Erev Tov, all. I am Miriam." She figured the first part of her speech would give her last name away.

"A pleasure to meet you Nora." She said smiling, as she went to the bar to order a glass of warmed peach brandy.

"I'm pleased I could be of service and that you had found someone that late at night in such a storm." Her fate could have been far more disastrous had she not happen upon the Lighthouse. He grew quiet as the room started filling up. Not an uncomfortable kind but one better to observe.

"Pleasure to meet you Miriam. I'm Rhett, my brother Douglas and our friend Davin." Indicating each so the names could be put to the right faces.

"Miriam," repeating her name for memory's sake. Her head tipped in a slow nod. "It is a pleasure." She considered keeping her body situated in a way that she could see the door more easily. At the bar, she quietly requested a bowl of stew, bread, and for now, water. She heard Davin, she only needed a moment to think of a reply. That night could have been bad for her, yes. "That was a terrible storm. Perhaps Fate can be kind after all?" She turned to smile at him.

Which he gave an upnod to, cordial way with the same quality to his smile.

"Well met, Miriam. It's good to meet you." And with the introductions out of the way, he sat and took a drink of the potcheen.

She smiled to them all before turning around still flustered by her outburst earlier as she fumbled with her own buttons.

He addressed Miriam, "where you looking for someone in particular?" He had overheard the outburst thinking Pyper was someone else. It was possible he might know the one.

The Elf took up one of the wingbacks near the fire, curling up into it, angled so she could still watch and listen to the others, her glass of brandy balanced delicately in one hand.

"Well, I thought she was my sister." She turned around as she finally managed to sling off the cloak and onto a peg. She dusted herself off subconsciously to turn around to face them. She wore a long three layered skirt, with the top layer peeled back, and tucked up under her belt which was brown and wide, that gave way to a chemise that had been threaded with colorful designs along the collar and sleeve openings. She moved towards the group to lean against
the bar with her hip as she leaned forward to place an order of mulled cider with Alex.

"Aye, it can work in mysterious ways as I've heard it said. The storm was a dangerous one to be out on the cliffs alone. But then, we would not have met and it turned out we were there." So one could spend days wrapping their mind on consequences but the fact remained -- there was a bad storm she was out in but she ran into ones who helped her lending her safe and sound.

"I, for one, am glad we all met." She felt that was a perfect way to end the subject and she even punctuated it with another smile. Her meal arrived, but she wouldn't eat it at the bar. Everything was gathered up and Nora moved off to a table to settle down.

Stretching out his legs, Douglas glanced at Nora then looked at Davin and gave a slight shrug. No point in pressing the point. "Did Eric decide if he likes sharing the Lighthouse with you?"

"Is Kizzie your sister?" He was standing there quiet as his mind reeled to place the accent.

"Cousin. Or well, best friend... however, you wish to say!"

"So there is another as well, a sister aside your cousin Kizzie? I have met Kizzie. She hangs around with Lancely Caster a lot."  One of the knights he trained with so knew him well.

"We've seen Mr. Lancely around the deli." She nods slightly with a hint of a grin. "But yes, I have two other sisters of my own. As well as an extended family, as you would say..." She kept fumbling over how to explain the large amounts of people that were staying at the Thistle, and at the Deli that were connected to Kizzie. She felt a little surge of pride at the fact that Kizzie was so well-known and rather liked in this town.

"You are like our clans then. Half relations taken in until your house overflows so you build more houses or additions."

"You are welcome at our table, all of you," not to sound exclusive. "Though be careful of the sword Rhett has forged. It's a beauty though."

He checked to see where the sword was, moving his chair closer to his brother's so the sword was between them.

The mention of the sword had her eyes light up and a bit curious, but stayed curled up, enjoying the warmth of both flames and company.

She glanced around the others when she heard the offer. The invitation was accepted, though she was in a rather quiet mood and may not be of very great company. Once she was seated, she smiled graciously to the two men. "Thank you." Curious eyes peered over the table top, she was trying to see the sword Rhett had just moved. "It is?" She watched him now, her eyes squinting as she ate, like a bird.

That made it easier for it to be out of the way. "Aye, it's a war sword specially made." He was quite proud of it but figured it would be something quite boring for the ladies.

Not boring to an Elf, but she only chuckled and smiled, glad to see his pride in his work.

If no one spoke up, Rhett would never know if anyone was interested. "The workmanship is quite amazing."

Ok... now that had her curiosity peaked, as she uncurled from the chair and walked over. "Would you mind if I took a look at it?"

Where amongst men he was proud and took the compliments well, now he could feel some heat around the collar of the poet's shirt worn under a woolen vest. "Aye, but be careful, I have sharpened the blade some although not completely. That I will do before it is given or sold."

"Aye, that it is but even more is its balance and the way the blade sings." Which were even more important and should be noted.

"I never understood the differences between all of the swords. The blades are stronger in those made for war, yes?" She looked over the others as she questioned though curiously, her attention stayed on Pyper when she was granted  permission to see the sword itself. She picked at her bread and chased the bites with water.

He was curious, the fact both ladies seemed interested in it. A good sign in his opinion as he grew quiet again, smile first to Nora in joining them. he set to taking a drink of his potcheen.


Date: 01-22-09
Poster: Rhett Shawnesey Jr.
Post # 11

She nodded, taking the scabbard carefully and walking a few paces away from the table so that when she drew it, no one was in the way. She drew the blade out slowly but in one fluid motion, testing the balance by twirling the sword in a circle once, then twice, it coming up straight each time. A good sign. Then she held it at an angle to allow the light to illuminate the markings, running the tips of her fingers of one hand along the top of the edge, not to get cut, but to feel the etchings. "Beautifully done indeed." She said with a smile, deep sapphire eyes twinkling a bit.

"Aye, shorter usually and a stronger blade as most combat is up close, yet long enough to strike while riding a horse. Not too heavy that you tire out quickly." Some battles were a test on endurance to start.

"You have the Lady's approval. I do believe she knows her swords well." There was a delightful twinkle in her blue eyes, sharded in pale green. She was done with her meal and stood to take everything back to the bar.

"You know your swords in the way you handled it." Obviously it wasn't too heavy that she couldn't. A broadsword or bastard sword might be near as big as Pyper!

"And Davin is right, it sings clearly. A good measure of the blade." She put it back into its scabbard in the same smooth motion, then handing it carefully back to Rhett, with a bow of her head. The Elf wasn't THAT short! "Aye, I've held a blade a time or two," or a few hundred but who was counting.

She looked small to him! Pressed smile was in place as well a glint in blue eyes. It was the first of many to come and so his baby in a sense. He took the sword to set back in the place it had been on the table, out of the way.

She returned soon enough, reclaiming her chair with a posture that looked rather straight, stiff even.

"My father helped make the hundred swords of Heathfield along with the Druid Prince, under his direction and alloys only he could get. Some not of this world I'm told. Now, they are exquisite."

She started to head back to her chair by the fire. "You have then inherited your father's talent, and I'm sure will be recognized for it in your own right."

"Aye, and a lucky few receive those." He wondered briefly how many of them had been handed out. Maybe someday when work was slow at the warehouse, he'd try to figure it out. Actually, Pyper didn't have to go far. They were near the fire themselves.

"That is quite something to be proud of, Rhett." She said, smiling his way.

"Are you all right Nora?" So the quiet man had noticed the difference in her posture and something else evasive about her in an undercurrent.

"Yes. I am still.. somewhat sore and stiff from riding." She hated to admit that. "It will pass," she assured him then. Hopefully no jokes would be made about her comment. She didn't know them that well however and didn't expect any jokes to be fired her way.

"Aye and I am, we are," including his brother for certainly anyone was honored in helping Andrew with any project. He had gotten the privilege to learn from him as well a few others of certain abilities.

"I'm sure Alex will have something even better to take before you turn in tonight." Slight smile, more of concern, while he kept an ear in soaking up information. So there was a Druid Prince here as well other Druids. This interested him very much.  He could credit his uncle for teaching him many things, offering him many opportunities others never got but he shied away from what he called dabbling in magics that would only turn on the person. It was obvious that area frightened his uncle where nothing else seemed to at all. That was something he was going to find out, determined to, by asking his mother on it. If anyone would know it would be she.

"I will ask him before I return to my room." She glanced to the bar thoughtfully. Reaching up, she swept her hair back, over her small shoulders.

"So, tell us a little about yourself, Nora. What you like doing. Places you have been. Goals in your life.." offering suggestions than just landing a plain question on her.

"There are usually ointments and the like here too." He added then waited to see if she'd answer Davin. As skittish as she was, he wasn't sure she would.

She could have answered his last question with a joke, but Nora decided against it. She did watch him though, her brows furrowed in thought. "I am eighteen. I love flowers, especially roses and riding horses.." She paused to laugh, the sound of it nervous. "I've been to England and .. France." Rather short answers, but she did answer him. She heard Douglas and nodded. "I will ask for those, too."

He would return the favor without needing her to ask. "I'm eighteen as well, so is Rhett here, Douglas is nineteen. My mother was originally from these lands but was taken away during the war here long ago. She moved to England where my uncle is still. My father died when I was young and so I was more raised by him in a father image. My mother decided to come home, as she put it, once I was old enough, considered a man on my own." That was as far as he'd elaborate on the situation other than adding, "I came to visit her and stay the winter." Certainly there was more to that statement but it was complete in itself and would do. "How old are you Pyper?" Curious on the Elf. She looked young as well but then their aging was different from all he learned.

She chuckled a bit. "Which age would you like?"

This was a good time to listen, he was good at that as he sat back in his seat, tipping it against the wall. Glass in hand rested against his thigh until lifted for a drink.

"Both, if you don't mind. I find it rather fascinating learning about your races. Elves in general and particular. I know one Elf is not the same as the next. I also learned there are different ones here as well partial breeds."

She listened intently, watching him as he spoke. "Home is where the heart is," she said quietly. When he questioned Pyper, she looked towards her, not bothering to hide her curiosity.

Which had him dipping a glance Nora's way with a smile to quickly follow before focus shifted back to Pyper in wait.

He looked at Rhett and grinned. He was being quiet himself tonight but he could blame it on the meal he had earlier. Maybe he'd just stay here tonight.

She nodded, a bit impressed at what he did know. "Well....I am... in aging... I'd say about.... um 24 years.... but I have seen 137 winters come and go."

"A hundred and thirty seven is young for an Elf, well, depending which particular race of Elf you are. Which one do you come from? Although I have had some studies I could not necessarily determine on sight."

Nora looked quite impressed. She didn't know much of Elves, of course. She glanced aside to the quiet Douglas and Rhett. "And what of you two? Would you care to share some things of yourselves?"

"All would be fair in doing so. I was born and raised in these lands," although they were not totally human they only made claim to the human side for it was easier. "I trained as a blacksmith under my  father but had wanderlust over a year ago. I trained with the knights, a squire under Sir Aiden Collins. There was a war going on in Kildare and I had illusions on the glory of fighting and war. I learned firsthand what war is all about, near died as clan tradition was held. Myself and Sir Aiden up against two of the other army in a coup for them to save face. King Leoric under the advice of Mikhail MacKay went with it. To keep Sir Aiden from a underhanded move, Mikhail warned us they would try, the blade went into me." Obviously he was alive so didn't need to go into that which was not of the norm that transpired that faithful day. "I was knighted, honorary, under King Leoric McLarkin of Kildare. I had decided to follow in my father's footsteps as a blacksmith. There are many ways to aid a sister castle. They have my sword still if ever needed. I still practice and train with the knights, now helping to train others."

"You are right in that I would still be considered young," she gave a smile. Young at heart too. She paused a moment though. "I am... was... of a tribe that is part of the ... the... " she wasn't sure of the word for the translation. "Mith'quessir..." then she pointed to the silver on the scabbard, repeating the Elven word for the metal.

He was listening to both conversations though when Rhett was finished, he smiled at Nora. "I was off to Dublin for a year to school, came back home and help our father in his business. He has warehouses now. And that's about it for me." He gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. "Though I do train now and then with the knights."

"The Silver Elves. They are considered one of the taller tribes of Elves." Human size and some even taller. "I think some of the rangers are Silver Elves." He was not certain as he needed time to do some closer studies. He had not been here that long but a trip to the library to take out some books was in order. Mainly the history of these lands as his ancestors played a part in it. "My cousin, Melantha, is head of the Barrett Royal Stables so I get to be around many horses. She's always had an infinity with them." They all did to a degree but it became his cousin's calling. "She is seeing a Sir Gabriel Vaughn, perhaps he is one you know?" Glancing from Pyper to the Shawnesey brothers.

"Sil-ver...." saying it slowly to make sure she got it right. She had mastered much of the language, but there was still a ways to go at times. She shook her head. "I know him," and glad for him too.

She watched the brothers closely and chuckled quietly when she heard Douglas' short answer compared to Rhett's. "So I am in the presence of two Knights, and never knew it." She wasn't sure how to react to this. She glanced  around when other names were offered, of course, she didn't know them. She fell quiet, thoughtful.

"I'm not a knight." He corrected, a little sheepishly. "Just allowed to do some training with them."

And she nodded when she heard Douglas. "One then.." She corrected herself.

"Indeed I do, good man as well others like him. You should come with us to the training field, well, the Kings Field. I can introduce you to some of the other knights as well the Four Horsemen. Special knights."

She assumed the offer was for Davin and her attention tracked that way.

"I would very much like that. I've been hoping to do some training and the spar hall was suggested. To get to watch knights, that would be far better and appreciated." He didn't know that Rhett was a knight as well although it seemed he lived another profession. So variations were allowed. Something he tucked away in his gradual gaining of information particular to his needs.

He smiled at her then looked at Davin, nodding. "You probably will be asked if you want to train as well, Davin." Knowing Sir Gabriel, he probably would have asked him soon.

Probably, once he managed to tear his attention away from his cousin. Something he was going to tease her on. Especially when she was so distracted when the knight was around as well. "I will feel more comfortable going with you both being you go there as well." He felt a friendship growing between them and a feeling it would continue on that path. Maybe get some stories to tell their grandchildren one day, still to happen.

Douglas was convinced his life would be a nice quiet one, without any adventure but he was always glad to make new friends. "How are the horses doing at the stables? I hear Melantha is very good at training them?"

Douglas might be in for some big surprises and discover a part of him that would rally up when needed. Best times for a man to grow stronger. "They are doing well and yes she is. Stables are virtually new even if redoing the old ones her grandfather had long ago here. It will take time as all good things do. Do either of you do any bronco riding?"

A full belly made her tired. Not to mention stress. She glanced from one to the other and out of nowhere, offered a very small smile. "If you would excuse me.." She trailed off slowly, then pushed upward from her chair.

"Only one place in these lands so far that offers bronco riding, is at the McDonough ranch when they herd in some of the wild horses. Offspring of those Melantha's grandfather raised and set free into the wild when Rath set himself up as a false king after murdering the Queen's parents long ago." That was a long story he didn't get into. Whatever else he was going to say was silenced as Nora was about to take her leave. "It was good seeing you again Nora. If you need anything you need only ask."

He stood as Nora did, smiling. "Good night, Nora. It was good to see you again and I hope you rest well tonight." He glanced at Rhett, smile growing as he nearly echoed him.

He rose seeing Nora getting up. "Have a good night's sleep and hopefully far more mended by morning."

Rhett's story made her flinch though she managed to keep a smile in place. "Thank you all. I hope your night is a pleasant one and your dreams sugar sweet." A rise of her playful side there. She bowed her head. "Good evening Pyper." Not forgetting her. She turned away to stop off at the bar before heading upstairs.

"Good night Nora. It was a pleasure meeting you. Sleep sweetly."

It was getting late and well noted he should get back and check on the fire as well a walk along the beach to ensure all was as it should be. Something else he started doing. Amazing what one found along deserted stretches of beach mingled with rocky areas. "I think I'm going to head back as well. Send me a note the night before you're going to the king's field and I'll join you." Finishing his drink before he was over to gain his cloak to don.

"Good night Davin and aye, we'll send off a note to you. Soon." They needed the courtesy of permission which he knew would be granted in bringing Davin to this particular field.

Gaining a few items from Alex, Nora thanked him then headed up to her room.

"Good night to you Davin. Safe travels wherever they take you." She gave him a smile as he was leaving.

"Good night, Davin. We'll see you soon." Even before obtaining the note if necessary. He looked at Rhett to see if he was ready to leave as well. "Mind if I stay the night at the flat?" They could talk some before bed.

He gave a wave before he was out the door and to the horse that came with the Lighthouse to ride back.

"I don't mind at all, I can show you some of the designs I have for more of the swords to make. If you have need of one, you can pick out a design you find suiting." He liked the idea and the company to keep this night. "We can both go over to Dunshire tomorrow, early, that I can spend some time with Ma and Pa." He gathered up the sword as blue eyes turned on Pyper. "It seems a good time to turn in for the night. I wish you a pleasant one as well. Nice seeing you again." He was over to get his cloak to put on with the Stetson last folding over the crop of wild curling hair, the hat making him look older as well.

His eyes lit up again at the mention of swords and he nodded. "Aye, I've some money saved up." And he and Rhett could argue over price as well if Rhett was of a mind to refuse his coin. "Good night, Pyper. Take care and rest well this night." He followed Rhett over to collect his cloak, scarf and gloves. "Maureen is likely to challenge you to a game of checkers. It's become her favorite pastime along with reading."

"Good night to you both, and safe travels." She said, chuckling a bit as he put on the hat. The style popular with the young gents it seemed. So much she had to learn from them all.

"Your coin is not good with me but I'm sure we can barter." Knowing his brother would feel the sword more his if there was some kind of exchanged than just given. A wink tossed Pyper's way with the press of a smile quickly there and gone before he was pushing the door open and heading out. They would be riding even if not too far a distance.


Date: 01-25-09
Poster: Rahmirre al-Azhar
Post # 12

Cabin Fever

Mirre needed to get out or go crazy. Too many cold nights which she dreaded heading out into. Too many long hours writing up the history of their family and of all things she learned in these lands. Many of which she made a few copies, tediously perfect penmanship and kept in their records room with copies made for both Yusuf and Anhur. Cold or not, she needed to get out again as she ran into Shere, near literally, coming from the Temple and so convinced her to join her to the Thistle where they could stay a night or more and do some shopping as well. Bundled up in furs over silks, they both had guards trailing them, arriving on horseback, as they vacated the horse drawn enclosed sleigh once at the tavern.

There were times that Shere didn't mind the guards and there were times she did. Tonight was one such time. She knew Desh rarely had them but then again, she had three animal companions to take their place. The best she could do was ignore them and that's what she did as she and Mirre made their way from the sleigh to the Thistle. Dark eyes swept over the empty commons as she hurried to open the door before the guards and ushered Mirre inside. At least she didn't close the door in the men's faces.

"Hmmm," sly glance given to their guards then a mischievous smile Shere's way that Abasi would not see. "Maybe tomorrow in the marketplace we have some fun?" Words low, too low for them to hear as she quickened her pace as the words were out, making it look normal and not raise any suspicions she was whispering in secret. Which she was! It also had the guards to near run in shooting ahead and get the door for them.

She wrinkled her nose as they ran ahead then laughed softly, eyeing Mirre. "I think so." She was certain they could elude the guards even if they did get chewed out some for it. She gave a nod to the two men as she swept inside, immediately lowering her hood. She truly did like coming to the Thistle.

She gave a respectful bow of her head in passing Abasi, not quite looking him in the eye but then she had that right. More it kept him from seeing any mischievous glint that might still be there. More it would seem she was rushing in from the cold and anxious to get something warm from the bar then head for the hearth. She had her cloak off before he could help her with it, a statement in a way she was self sufficient. Not really to slight him but there was a tick to the edge of his lips but he knew better than to say anything. Instead, he took up his post on the other side of the room, giving her plenty of space. She collected some warmed brandy from Alex, thanking him before heading to the hearth.

Ebo was the name of her guard and he often wondered why he was being punished by having to watch over Shere at times. She was never truly cruel but she could be stubborn. He joined Abasi while Shere followed Mirre to the bar after hanging up her cloak. Potcheen punch was tried tonight before she too was heading for the bar.

It would seem that Abasi and Ebo had a lot in common. Not that they would ever speak of it openly where possibly heard but the exchanged look between the two said volumes. It was not a punishment by such orders but an honor to be a bodyguard, put their life in the path of any danger that might come to the women of their respected rulers. "Do you think it would embarrass them if we got them gifts for staying so steadfast in guarding us?" See, she was planning. She would lose her guard, as well Shere with her but then that would be their excuse when they found them. More, when they let them find them.

She looked at Mirre and smiled, tipping her head slightly so the two men couldn't see her expression. "I think that's a wonderful idea. It might but I think it would please them too." She took a sip of her drink, her expression thoughtful. They would know the right thing for them when they saw it! Perhaps a new blade.

Patrick had stopped by Gus' shop for he wanted a bow made specifically for him. Especially after seeing the Elven one, something a lot along those lines. Night fell quickly as well his stomach to growl, reminding him he had not eaten since noon. Loud enough for Gus to comment and both needed a break, the Thistle the best place to go this time of night.

He prided himself on the fact that he had been taught by an Elven bowyer after he became a master bowyer in his own right. After talking over with Patrick what he wanted and taking measurements, they had set to talking. Food sounded like a good idea and so he had joined Patrick gladly.

The elf had been wandering around, not for any particular reason, skipping around here and there, humming to herself, an ancient tune probably not many knew, or so she thought. A smile on her face as the lightest of snow fell, her face tipped up as she stood just outside a pool of lamplight, letting the flakes land on her for a brief moment, before continuing on her way.

"It would boil their temper then cool it down like dash of ice water." Why did she do such things? Because she could, wicked as it might be at times and perhaps a challenge on all men. The very fact, no matter what freedoms they had, the male like to think he was dominant and a female like Mirre liked to prove every so often just how much they were not.

If only the men knew what they were walking into! "I can hope you are as hungry as I am for I am planning on getting a large tray as well some stew." The rush of wind brought the sting of ice cold particles against exposed skin, little as there was of such. Bundled up warm, hood over a knit cap, fur lined cloak, scarf and gloves. "It has been suggested I get out more and so I am." Door sweeping open and held for Gus as well, catching sight of another a distance away worshiping the snow it seemed with her face tilted up into it. Not really being able to make out who.

The Elf continued on her skip finding herself heading toward the Thistle, and decided to stop for something to drink and come out from the cold for a bit. Still humming as she went, twirling here and there, then up the steps as she got there.

"That seems to be a common theme among family." He chuckled as he stepped inside, and then moved aside. He didn't look around until he removed and hung up his outerwear. "And to be honest, I'm very hungry." He didn't admit it, but he couldn't remember when he had eaten last.

She was supposed to be in bed, with a head ache. It had been mentioned before and she had asked if the other sisters and women had escaped their guards. Determined to give it a try, and try she did. But now she felt like she had to sneak everywhere and she was oh so paranoid. A bright splash of color peeked up on the other side of a window; a violet head scarf, a covered mouth and a pair of dark, dark eyes. She's checking out the place before heading in.

Which had the door still open as Pyper twirled by. "Suzie snowflake tonight?" Tossing her a wink and still held as another walked in. He looked beyond the last to make sure he didn't close the door in someone's face. Literally. Easing it close then, "good to get warmed."

She just laughed softly, eyes shifted from her friend to the door and those who were entering.

Something behind her spooked her and she thunked her head on the window, by accident, when she tried to whirl around. There was nothing there, of course! Peeling away from her spot, she hurried inside before the door closed; really, a blur of color swished by the others. She was chilly.

Mirre and Shere didn't lose their guards tonight but were making plans for time spent in the marketplace tonight. Abasi and Ebo were over the other side of the room, giving great distance but still where they should be. Perhaps both noticed the absence of Abe but would not show that wonder in facial expression.

She paused just inside to look at Patrick. "Suzie snowflake?" The elf had a confused look on her face, head tilted a bit as her hood had now fallen down.

"Scottish humor," so she could write it off as such without the need of an explanation.

"Oh..." she then smiled, "and yes, it is good to get warmed up." She then went to hang up her fur-lined cloak on a peg, before going to the bar to order a warmed peach brandy.

While Patrick talked to the Elf, who was probably dizzy from all that twirling, Gus noticed who was over at the hearth. He smiled brightly Mirre's way and very nearly tripped over Banafrit.

She didn't expect to see Mirre or Shere. Caught in surprise, she froze half-way across the room. Which was the possible cause of Gus' near trip. She drew in a quick breath, peering up at him when she half stumbled in her turn. "Pardon me.." She murmured. "Good evening," then, to everyone.

She wasn't dizzy at all. It had been fun, and the excitement and joy showed on her face. "Evening Banafrit," who was the only one here she had been introduced to, though she had seen the two gents before, but not the other ladies. "Good evening to you all," she said giving each a nod.

Mirre rose as the Frasier men came in as well Banafrit and Pyper. "Fair of night Sahibs, MemSahibs," giving them the respectful forward bow of her head. She was in bronze silks, highlighted in blacks and golds this night. The headpiece was not the usual covering her face but interwoven in thick curling hair in keeping it somewhat contained down her back. The last foot loose again.

The elf wondered what the word meant that the lady had used before bowing, but assumed it was some sort of greeting from her culture. She thought the lady looked beautiful, and smiled at her back in greeting.

"Uh ... sorry." He looked down at her briefly, feeling like maybe he should pat her on the head for the wide-eyed look. "No harm done." Eyes lifted to Mirre again. "Evening, Mirre. Ladies. Gents." The last to the guards. He could barely keep his eyes off Mirre as he made his way to the bar but he managed to avoid tripping over anything.

"And he hasn't even started drinking yet. I do not believe I have met you nor the others," moss green eyes taking in Banafrit his brother near ploughed over as well the other two Egyptian beauties. "I am Patrick Frasier," to at least introduce himself as he worked off the cloak. A heads up to Alex as he mouthed platter and stew as well. Potcheen would be a standard.

She didn't reply verbally to Gus. Perhaps she'd forgotten how to speak. The most timid it seemed of the bunch, and yet, here she was--sneaking away from her second shadow. She moved slowly, gently across the room. "Pyper, I trust your night is well," she addressed her in a soft tone. Words always accented, always heavily accented. Turning to her sister and to Mirre, she drew near them but not too close. "My name is.. Banafrit.." Now, she stammered, and she pressed her hands gently together, nodding to the men.

There were a few quiet words to Shere, mostly on how Gus seemed to trip over his feet around ladies. Well, he had ever time she had seen him as well spilled coffee on himself. Smile graced her lips with a twinkle to rise in dark eyes.

She had to chuckle as she watched Gus, who seemed in a trance watching Mirre. Seemed he was taken with her, and she shook her head a bit to try and hide those chuckles. "I am, Banafrit, and I hope yours is as well." she felt a little out of place around the three other beautiful ladies.... what was that story about an ugly duckling?

She stood as well, elegant in motion and bowed her head slightly. "Good evening, Sahibs, MemSahib. "I am Emuishere, though most call me Shere, of the Family al-Dawla. This is Rahmirre, of the family al-Azhar. And Banafrit is my sister." She listened to Mirre and laughed softly. "At least around you?" She saw how he looked at her.

"I'm Fearghus Frasier. Patrick's cousin." He bowed slightly. "I've met Mirre. It's a pleasure to meet each of you, Banafrit, Shere, Pyper." He collected his potcheen and turned to face them all. "How have you been, Mirre? It's been too long." And she had constantly been in his thoughts.

"Pleasure to meet you all," she said, trying to put faces to names to remember.

"Yes, a pleasure." Parroting the other words, though sincerely. She fussed briefly with her head scarf and while doing so, slanted a dark eyed glance to the guards near the hearth. Lowering her hands, they clasped gently before her. For now, she remained standing. "And my night is well, Pyper," she answered her a little late though smiled towards her right after.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Banafrit," the touch of a green eyed perusal upon her features and especially her eyes before turning upon the other two. "A pleasure to meet you as well Emuishere and Rahmirre." Giving a forward bow of his head as he had seen them do. "If you will excuse me," pausing a heartbeat," I am famished." And the scent of the food being put out only reminded him with the rumble of his stomach. Hopefully not too loud as a slight smile hooked to the corner of his mouth just before heading across to where it waited.

She stepped closer to Banafrit as words were quickly whispered. "They are handsome two, are they not?" Then just as quiet, "tomorrow we challenge the guards but they will not know it." Which was pretty much saying they planned to lose them.

"Indeed, quite so." She answered honestly, at least, though she felt a rise of heat in her cheeks from doing so. She smiled slowly and nodded. "I am afraid they will know it tonight, of me, at least.." She slanted a worried look aside to Shere then another towards the guards.

"Please, we do not wish to interfere with your meal." She smiled at the two men then looked at Banafrit, lowering her voice. "You are here with us and two guards are plenty, no?"

Quick breath with a sunny smile to follow as dark eyes turned back upon Fearghus. "I have been well Saheb Gus of Frasier." Sounding very formal but there was something about her eyes that held mirth as well. "I hope you have been well and new boots that fit better?" Like that must be the reason he near tripped into Banafrit earlier. Since it was constant, it had to be his boots."They will not speak on it." Quieter words to Banafrit. She would warn her guard and they knew if such turned on them, then Abe would be expected to hold his tongue as well.


Date: 01-25-09
Poster: Rahmirre al-Azhar
Post # 13

New boots? He looked confused as he glanced down. "Not too new, no. Excuse me as well, please." His stomach would start to growl if he didn't feed it soon.

"Yes, true." For Shere. She suddenly smiled and she nodded when she heard Mirre. There was a soft laugh though at the mention of boots. She watched the two brothers then her attention briefly ticked towards Pyper.

Now, if Anhur or Yusuf found out they might end up with a talking to or the guards punished or replaced. Abasi was not the first guard assigned her, not the second, third, or even fourth. More like the tenth. Needless to say her brother would more suspect who was at fault and determined to find one that could handle her antics. Abasi was new, he needed to be tested out. Plain and simple in her mind.

She sat perched on her stool, and gave a smile back to Banafrit.

He dug in, far enough from the ladies that he'd not feel impolite eating in front of them. At least he was getting back his appetite, something that had been lost for near a year. Though not overly thin he had lost more weight than he should have. Now it was time to fill out again.

"Did you enjoy the races, Pyper?" Too quiet, even for her standards. She spoke up, though still, her voice was soft.

The elf shook her head. "I did indeed. It is always fun to watch them, and to watch everyone else get excited too."

Patrick's family would be glad to see that he was putting on weight again. He didn't say much either as he dug in. It was good to taste someone else's cooking for once. He was tired of his own.

She was feeling a bit bold or even brass, a new word learned. Giving a certain glance to Bana and Shere before she was moving without sound to her steps in approaching Gus from behind. Just a moment's pause before a hand slipped in to steal a piece of his bread. Stealth like, he might not notice but he might notice the scent of blue lotus about him.

She had been listening to Banafrit and Pyper but turned to watch Mirre, her smile growing with her delight.

"That was my first.." Race, she meant. Her words trailed off though as she watched Mirre. Banafrit's eyes glittered. If only she could be so bold.

The movement was caught from the corner of his eye. He could have blamed Patrick but it was the scent that made him smile. Heady and so enticing.  He pretended not to notice though, curious to see if she'd try to steal more.

Gus might pretend not to notice but he couldn't. Not with one of the exotic beauties so close and what was that heavenly scent? He had finished as he turned on his stool to view her better this way. He didn't say anything, just a smile. He doubted Gus was immune to that scent.

Far from it. "You should try the bread with some honey, Mirre." He didn't think the other two would be stealing bread and finally turned to look at her.

Smile came with a wink Patrick's way as she didn't try to slink away but lifted the stolen piece of bread to enjoy. More in nibbles being she was not really hungry even if the homemade bread was delicious. There was a small bit left as she held it out to him that he might put on some of this honey. Possibly end up on her fingers for holding the bit.

Moss green eyes lifted from the lovely lass to the others. "Would any of you like some bread with honey on it as well?" There was enough left to give each at least a small piece.

He was careful when he placed a small bit of the sweet stuff on her bread and watched her. Likely they had a different name for it but she might recognize the taste. And yes, there was some on her fingers. It couldn't be helped!

"Yes, I would like to try it." She had always liked the brown bread here but had never tried it with anything but butter. Standing, she approached Patrick.

Eyes held to his as the small bit was lifted to her lips, easing it past before the tip of her finger followed to be washed of the sticky sweet. Sliding back out as eye contact was never broken and the tip of her tongue collected the rest from her lips in a slow sweep. Once done she spoke. "It is sweet that which bees make."

She glanced aside to Shere to see if she would accept Patrick's offer. Her brow arched gently in question. When Shere moved, so did Banafrit. Like a shadow nearly. And while Mirre smelled of Lotus, Banafrit was narcissus and lily. She peered over Shere's shoulder, being she was behind her! Then, quietly stepped around her side.

He had to swallow the chuckle as he watched Mirre then quick to see how his cousin reacted. He noted Shere and Banafrit coming their way as he took up one piece to add some of the honey and offer to Shere first, being she came first. Then another in turn fixed to offer Banafrit.

She finished off her brandy, and then slipped off the stool to retrieve her cloak. She chuckled, leaving the beautiful ladies to be with the handsome gents, as she bundled back up. "Good night to you all. Safe may your travels be wherever they take you."

He watched her eyes until she took care of the honey on her finger then his eyes dropped to the swell of her lips and the sweep of her tongue. It took a lot of restraint to not say a word about how sweet her lips would taste without the kiss of honey upon them. "Good night, Pyper."

"Good night to you Pyper. I hope to see you at the races again. Perhaps you'll join in next month," if his words caught up with her as she was quick to leave.

"Pleasant eve," for the departing Pyper. She was quick.

"Good night, Pyper." She smiled then accepted the honey touched bread from Patrick. She savored each bite, licking the tips of her fingers when the bread was gone. "Thank you, Patrick."

"I will be reminded to keep bread and honey on hand from now on." Certainly if it brought them near to watch the exotic beauties. Certainly made his night.

"Thank you, Sahib," she murmured to Patrick. Her mouth wasn't hidden behind fabric by this point and she delicately took the bread. Her bites were small, bird bites. And while there was honey on the tip of her finger, poor Banafrit seemed at odds of licking it off in front of the men. So shy. She glanced to her sister, then to Mirre, then right over to Patrick before she eyed the tip of her finger. Then licked it clean, too quickly.

He noticed her plight and was about to hand her a damp cloth but she was too quick. Can't say he minded! "You are both welcome." Slightly clearing his throat only to be followed up with a smile.

It was getting late and she needed to be wide awake tomorrow to pull off her guard-ditching caper. "We are staying the night here, Banafrit, would you like to join us?" Abe might show up by tomorrow with her gone the night. The more the merrier!

Of course, she would be the one to say something about the throat clearing. "Is something stuck?" ...

She looked at him briefly through lowered lashes then smiled when she heard her sister. "Yes, join us, little sister."

"Just a little dry," not explaining why. Some women knew the effect they had on men and used it to their advantage so it wasn't something explained to those who did not know.

"Yes, I will." For Shere and Mirre. Staying somewhere different sounded oddly.. appealing.

He cut a look toward Patrick and chuckled, then looked back to the three. "An adventure?" Teasing just a touch as he glanced at the two guards. They were watching closely but he was used to that. Somewhat.

"Sometimes I wish to be.. adven.. adventur-ous?" She stammered with the word and she grinned slowly, cutting a dark stare towards Patrick.

He glanced at Banafrit and smiled. "Careful what you wish for." Not even sure why he said it.

"We can stay in one room." If they had to bring in a cot so they could. This way they could plot and plan for some fun in the marketplace tomorrow. "It is good to be adventurous. I should show you pictures of the bull man I met and became friends with in the northern tavern."

She peered at Gus, wondering on his words, and she did look quite curious. Mirre's words pulled her attention back her way, though. Bull man? ".. bull man?"

"I think I should be getting back to the shop. Patrick, you're welcome to stay the night." He had a rather large cottage and some land with it, including a stable for Silent Thunder. Green-tinted eyes shifted from his cousin to the Egyptian women. "Good night, ladies. It was good to meet you Banafrit, Shere. Mirre, always good to see you. I hope our paths cross again, soon." It was for all of them, but yes, mostly for Mirre.

"It was pleasure to meet you, Gus." Quiet, yet warmly. She smiled to him.

"Good night, Gus. It was an honor to meet you." She inclined her head slightly, trying not to giggle at his look toward Mirre.

"Ladies, it has been a real pleasure. One I hope gets repeated." They had made his night enjoyable which might well encourage him to come out again. Giving them a forward bow of his head before he was joining his cousin in the offer. He would stay at his place and talk more on the bow to be made.

"It was good to meet you also, Patrick. We hope the same, I'm sure." She glanced at Banafrit and grinned.

"I wish you well, Patrick. It was a pleasure to meet you. And yes, we do." She caught the glance from Shere. She grinned, too.

"It was a pleasure to meet you Patrick and to see you again Gus. Next time your boots will fit better?"

"Aye, I'm sure they will. They fit good enough I didn't run Banafrit over though." He chuckled as he moved over to collect and put on his cloak and gloves. He rarely wore a hat, just used his hood. Eventually, he was going to be able to talk to Mirre alone. He hoped.

All he had to do was ask her. Smile came brightly again as the two headed off. They were good looking to them to watch as well. "Charlie thinks we should watch their buttocks as they leave." Words were low and certainly picked up idiosyncrasies of Charlie.

He waited for Patrick before heading on out, looking back over his shoulder and giving a wave. No tripping this time and he certainly may, soon.

Mirre made her giggle. The sound trickled into the palm of her hand. She watched!

Well, that was an odd thing to say but she watched, head tipping slightly as she waved at Gus.

"What do you think?" As she watched both backsides as they left. "I think we may need to wait for warmer weather when there is no cloak covering?"

"I think so. It was hard to see.." She grinned over towards Mirre.

"I'll have to make a note of that to test out in the spring." Which she would too. "I'm glad I didn't see Horam without his kilt. It is said some women ripped it off." Some sights she could do without.

"They need to wear linen, like the men of our land." Well, at one time they had. She glanced at the guards before looking at Mirre, eyes going wide. No comment!

"That could have been.." She trailed off. She wasn't sure how to describe that one!

"We can talk more upstairs," and away from prying ears and eyes. They were being watched like hawks. Folding her arms with each to her side, Shere and Bana, she headed upstairs. The men would be given a room as well on the same floor but she discreetly made sure it was not the one next on either side. She would not put it pass either of the two to be listening with an ear glued to the wall.

Mirre thought of everything!

That sounded fine to her. She smiled to Mirre, then Shere as they headed upstairs.


Date: 01-25-09
Poster: Keriann Frasier Saxton
Post # 14


Keri left word for Michael at the manor when he got back that she was going into the commons to do some shopping. She needed another gown to fit her expanding stomach as well some baby things. She would meet him at the Thistle and have dinner there with him so neither had to cook. Besides, Hazel's was excellent. She felt like a whale trying to get into some of the gowns and went with the smock styling that gathered beneath her bustline. She was told it was the style in England as the woman tried to make her feel better. She was nibbling from a tray with cheese and bread as well as some fruit pieces as she waited. There were a few boxes in the smaller buggy they won at one of the horse races.

Having found Keriann's note at the manor, and noting that she'd taken the smaller buggy, Michael braved the wintry cold and hoofed it into town under his own power. Frankly, he was glad that Keri had felt up to venturing into town on her own; he didn't want her to have to deal with cabin fever alongside the worries and discomforts of the pregnancy. Arriving at the Thistle, he took the door handle in a steady grasp and pulled it open. As soon as he'd stepped into the tavern's common room, he looked for his wife.

She had been smart enough to take the buggy or she would never have heard the end of it. Rightly so considering all the snow and she a good seven months along. She wore good boots as well so she didn't fall. The tip of a stick of cheese had been just bitten off, the rush of cold air had her looking up into the mirror behind the bar and then turning, slowly, easing from the stool as she opened up her arms. Usually she would have dashed across the room and jumped into his arms, accosting him that way but not of late. "How was your day, myheart?" She could get away with the endearment with no one else around.

Lethargy settled in causing for the wayward traveler to wish for nothing other than a warm fire and a comfortable bed. Everything she held dear in life now rested in smoldering ash beneath a blanket of ferns and under brush. Grief stricken and yet far from defeated the hooded woman moved slowly along the pebbled path until she reached the popular tavern. It seemed these people localed themselves here often. A timid smile to the thought of mingling with others she quickened her steps, navigating over the wood and gave the door a small shove. Once within and the fire swept upon her fragile face she swiped back her hood to allow those golden tendrils freedom to dance in the wind. A smile to everyone was her greeting.

"Poorer for your absence in it," Michael replied, and then he gathered Keri gently into his embrace and touched a soft kiss to her lips. "How did your little excursion go?" He asked, guiding her to sit upon the stool again. "Did you find everything that you were looking for?"

Sneaky little smile as she hugged him best she could with the basketball between them. "Last time I came out to help you dig a grave, you chased me away." Rightly so even if she hadn't been showing that much. The kiss had her forget what she'd been saying even if brief and left her with that dreamy smile again. What came to mind was what was on her mind a lot lately. Food. "Are you hungry?" She hoped he was for she ordered enough for three. "A few things before I tired out but I have now a gown that gives me more room." She might live in it from now until she delivered. It was then she caught sight of the other, giving a wave with her greeting. Smile as well. "Evening."

It was oh so cold, at least to the pale blonde woman hunched over the back of the cloud white mare. The mare's hooves dug into the snow, clopping noisily in the easy gait that the chilly lady held her. With her cloak bundled around her and thick gloves on her hands, she rolled her wrists back to give a firm tug on the reins to guide Luna to a stop near the tavern. She dismounted easily, the heavy skirting of her dress swishing around the delicate bones of her ankles. Passing a light smile to a stable boy, she handed off the reins after giving Luna a gentle stroke of fingers against her snowy mane. With a shiver, a shudder, Nora started for the door.

His attention was diverted away from Keriann long enough to offer a wave in greeting to those who'd just entered the Thistle, but then he looked back to her, and settled onto the stool next to hers. "I could do with a bit of something, I think." He really wasn't keen on the idea of taking anything from her plates, however. Inwardly, he marveled that she hadn't put on more weight than she had, as she was eating as much as he had been as of late.

Trevet noticed others heading to the Thistle and within as he took his time coming up from the commons. Cold night held the frosting of his breath with each release but he didn't mind. Patches of sky between cloistered clouds showed the bright pinpoints of stars. He was also wondering if Kynan would be joining him as well. Good meal they didn't need to cook.

Luckily there was one big platter with two plates, two bowls of stew, some smoked haddock, chicken strips in a light orange sauce, tender cooked broccoli and yams. Those were buttered up where they were split open and soft inside like they should be. She was heaping his plate up with the food as well a thick slice of buttered brown bread. Filling his plate like she would hers but knew she shouldn't. It was a way of overcoming the urge to eat everything in sight. Michael probably put on a few pounds with her pregnancy. "Here you go, with all your seeing to the grounds I'm sure you're as hungry as a bear."

Michael looked over the food, his expression one of mild bemusement. With a slight, affectionate grin playing at his lips, he looked to Keriann again. "That's going to be one healthy baby, I think," he offered with a touch of warm mirth. "And aren't I the one that supposed to be looking after you?" That said, he leaned across towards her and popped a quick kiss to her cheek.

Mismatched eyes bore warmth as she watched Michael and Keriann seated beside one another. Not only were the lands here beautiful but its inhabitants were equally as pleasant. With a sigh she moved to a lone table beside the hearth and waited patiently for the tendress to move to her table. Hands rested upon the table top while long digits folded over each other and the small of her back pressed firmly against the back of the chair.

The elf was out wandering again, taking advantage of the beautiful sky, and the stars. She was humming again, spinning around each light pole as she came across them, smiling to those she passed.

She wasn't aware of Trevet slowly closing in, or she might have held the door open, or at least waited for him. Instead, she swept inside, her teeth chattering and would be until she soaked up a bit of warmth. Just inside but out of the door's way, she paused to give a careful study of those within. Holding onto a smile that seemed timid, she drew in a deep breath as she plucked her gloves off, then her thick cloak. The cloak, she left to hang on the wall and the gloves were stuffed somewhere inside of it. On the move, then; she moved delicately, quietly across the floor to the bar. "Good evening," she said; a greeting for everyone.

"A healthy son like his father." Like she knew it would be a boy. "You are welcome to come join us here." Being there wasn't a tendress and Alex only set out the food requested that Hazel fixed in the kitchen as needed.

He hadn't been quick enough as focus was more upon the sky above then even where he was going. He just missed a passing couple with a few pardons before continuing. Kynan was no where in sight as he was going to visit a few shops this night to see what they had. He should do the same but would in time, he couldn't tear himself away from the saddle he was making. Until he got too hungry. Steps quickened as he almost made it in time to catch the door but it just closed a second before his hand caught the latch, opening it again as he slipped inside, shutting off the cold behind him.

She chuckled as she saw Trevet watching the sky too. Good to see that someone else was enjoying them, and skipped up the steps after him, closing the door behind her before removing the hood to her cloak.

"Good evening," to the two newest additions. "I'm Keriann and this is my husband Michael." The warmth could be heard in the use of his name. Dark eyes slanting there then back between the three. "Pyper," a face she knew! "Good evening to you."

It was Elleanora who caught her attention first and, with a small smile almost equally as timid as her's was given in return. Observant and silent was how this night would go for her.. It was not unusual in the least.

"And hopefully with better table manners," Michael responded quietly to Keriann, and then he reached over and plucked up a piece of chicken from her plate, ignoring the food on his own. "Hello," he offered genially to all gathered thereabout, and then he popped the piece of chicken into his mouth and chewed it contentedly.

"Good evening Nora, Pyper, Miss," catching the names of the couple as well, "Keriann and Michael. I'm Trevet MacKay. My brother and I recently back to join our family." Wondering if they knew them as it seemed a few had in the meeting. Divesting of his cloak, hat, scarf and gloves to hang up before on his way to the bar and some of the potcheen to warm him up as he would wait on a bowl of the stew and brown bread.

"It nice to meet you both." She quietly answered Keriann. I am Calamira."

"Keriann, Michael, I'm Nora. It is a pleasure to meet you." A cheerful tone briefly broke into her voice. "And you, as well." For Calamira. Nora's hands clasped in front of her when she neared the bar, a smile tipping Pyper's way. "Good evening." This was a crowd, to her. And it might take her some time to settle in, get used to them. Her small hands wrung together in a nervous fit, once she forced herself to stop. Biting on her lower lip, she ordered herself red wine, when Alex wasn't busy at least.

She smiled seeing Keriann. "Evening Keriann, and Michael.... " good to see her in such good condition. "Good evening to you also Trevet. I hope you are having a good night."

Diane had been out of sight (and probably out of mind) lately, thanks to a persistent sickness that had her twin laid low as well. Finally climbing out of the dregs of her sickbed, she needed a change of scenery desperately and saddled up one of her riding horses to head in to the Thistle for a little while.

"Well, those we can teach him as he grows." Smile went from normal to beaming with the thought before back to the norm. "A pleasure to meet you Calamira, Nora and Trevet. Yes, I have met your brothers Ruarc, Aedan and Mikhail as well your sister Kaylea." Now she could note any family resemblance.

Being the town's resident recluse (almost) he didn't know as many people as did his more genial and outgoing wife. Still, he wasn't entirely an ogre, and so a friendly demeanor and countenance were accorded all. Then he reached across towards Keriann's plate again, and brushed his lips gently against her ear in the process.

"I am having a very good night, Pyper. The shop is shaping up well. We have projects lined up with all the leather there and more to come. There is a need for saddles so I'm starting on the bigger projects."

With one last regard to her mug she breathed a small sigh and then headed toward the bar. When she was addressed by Keriann she turned and gave the woman a kind smile. Did she know the woman was with child? She had a good feeling. All pregnant women in love wore the same glowing brightness about them. She was truly happy for the woman and her husband. "Thank you, Keriann."

"That is excellent.... I knew you and your brother would be doing well." She gave a big smile to him, with a wink. She still pictured the handsome young gent with his hat and coat that he had donned the time she was there.

She ate well but then was getting really sleepy as she leaned against Michael. The whisper easier to hear. She glanced from him to Alex then smiled. "I think it will spare me carrying so much even if the buggy is outside. A lad can bring it to the stable and retrieve the boxes for me." Which she would give Alex some coins to pay the lad as he slipped them a key.

She had to break away for a moment, a brief one at least. Still feeling chilly, she neared the hearth after she picked up her wine glass from the bar. She settled into one of the large, comfortable chairs; one that offered her a decent view of the bar and those near it.

Dismounting outside the Thistle, she handed the mare over to the lad with a smile and a word of thanks before she made it up the steps and into the blessed warmth. Taking a minute after she closed the door to bask in the heat, Diane let her eyes adjust to the light, then began peeling layers off.

"I hope to see you all again, please excuse us for having to leave near in meeting you." She was sincerely apologetic but knew there would be another time. She gathered the key up in one hand while her fingers slid to capture Michael's hand, was she anxious? Was there just the minute wiggle of brows like he usually did?

Keriann was given a knowing glance, and then a happy little sigh escaped him. Yes, she was the love of his life, and no, he wasn't at all shy about showing it. Given all that they'd been through in order to be together, nothing and no one was more precious to him than she was. Arching a brow, he gave her a bit of a curious look as she took his hand, but he slipped off of that stool nonetheless.

A wave to all before the two disappeared down the hall leading to the staircase.

"Everyone should be able to get warm now." The night had a bite if one was out in it too long and not dressed warmly enough. "Good evening Miss," greeting another that came in from the cold as well.

The elf perched up on a stool, ordering a mug of mulled cider this evening.

"I do not think I will move far from the hearth tonight." It was quite warm. Comforting. She relaxed in her chair and it was the first night, since she'd arrived, that she wasn't aching in some part of her body. She cast a light smile towards the one that just arrived. "Good evening."

He was attired in an olive green wool vest over a white poets shirt. Black pants and boots. Hair was neatly combed back, tied off in a tail at the nape of his neck giving him an older look. "Not until you start glowing, being I was told women don't sweat." Twitch of a smile as he teased a little and then distracted to the food he had ordered. Alex then removing the empty plates left from the couple. "Now this will warm me through and through." Before straddling up a stool and digging in with little aplomb.

"We don't sweat." She replied with a lyrical lilt in her voice. Her chin even tipped upward, making her appear, for an instant, a little sassy.

Which had him chuckle under his breath as he had caught that look from the mirror behind the bar. Little was said as he took the few minutes to devour the stew, soaking up much with the bread as he went. He had the appetite of one very hungry man.

The ever curious Elf chuckled too, watching the reactions of both, one knee bent so she could rest her chin on it.


Date: 01-25-09
Poster: Keriann Frasier Saxton
Post # 15

He was also taking a glance to the quiet woman near the door still. He wouldn't take long in the eating without a drop escaping. Once done the napkin was made use of before he took up his glass and headed for the hearth area. It was warmest there as was pointed out. "So, have you two been in any good snowball fights of late?"

She grinned against the rim of her wine glass when she lifted it up for a quiet drink. She was much more relaxed this evening and drinking wine would only help in that. She suddenly arched a brow at Treve. "I am afraid.. I have not." She couldn't recall the last she'd been in one, in fact. A long time, was all she could confirm.

She smiled a bit, remembering the one. "I was in one, but a while back, at the beginning of winter." Patch had been her shield, and it had been loads of fun. "But not recently."

"We should have a snowball fight some evening again, run the toboggan run or go ice skating. Have either of you tried the toboggan run or gone ice skating?"

"I have gone ice skating, but I have never been on a toboggan." She pursed her lips in thought. "It has been a while since I have been on the ice, however." It has been a while since she'd done many things. She twitched her nose and peered down into her glass before sipping again. She was silent, listening for Pyper's answer to Treve's questions.

"I haven't ever been on ice.... or a toboggan... not on snow anyway." She smiled at them both. "But we should have a night sometime to have a snowball fight at least." It was fun the last time she did so.

He was listening and also waiting on Pyper as focus switched to her. "Then perhaps we should try out the toboggan a night soon. It fits three to four. The lake being right there we can all test out our legs on the ice. There is a shed with toboggans and ice skates to use for those that don't have their own."

"That sounds wonderful to me." She unfurled from her chair to get a refill, smiling to Trevet and Pyper as she stepped by them.

She nodded in agreement, not sure about the skating part, but she would definitely try the sledding.

The silence settled in amongst them to the crackling of the fire. A lulling sound as he took another drink of the potcheen. Dark eyes shifting between both politely as the glass was then lowered. "So, tell me some about yourself Pyper, I realize I know very little is known other than you await the greenhouses to be built." He would start with her.

The types of stories that always made her nervous; with reason. She returned to her chair and sat down, her free hand brushing against the heavy skirting of her dress. Her blue and green eyes divided glances and gazes between Trevet and Pyper. She was silent for now.

She watched both, learning, watching, as Elves tended to do. She was a bit startled that he asked her first. "Well, what would you like to know?" She would be happy to tell anything just didn't know where to start.

Maybe he picked up on Nora's nervousness and knew for some this could be a very delicate question, walking on eggshells or the feel of it. "Only that which you want to tell, I'm not trying to suggest secrets be divulged that one wishes not." Well then, they would not be secrets then. He could tell of a fantastic story as well or at least some of it.

"Well... not sure where to start..... not used to talking about myself.... what are you interested in knowing, and I'll start from there?" She tilted her head a bit. Still getting a grip on the language she wasn't sure if that made any sense. It wasn't that she was shy... just didn't know where to start...

"I'm not necessarily looking for anything in particular for I know you not." Chuckle same with a sweeping smile. "Everyone has good things and bad things so, let's stick with good things. Places you have been, things you have done, things you like to do, goals.." racking his mind to give her something to work on.

Her glass tilted gently in her hand, a swirling motion that was slow, careful so that she didn't spill the contents. She watched them, listening and found herself curious of the other two.

"Ok... well I haven't really been any other place than my home, and here. As for what I like to do, pretty much anything outdoors... I find I do not like being inside for long periods of time." She almost shivered at that thought. "In my home, we all learned how to do everything that was necessary for the village, everyone has skills needed incase something needs to be done." She wasn't sure that made sense either. But she was trying.

"Did each learn a different skill to master or did you all learn everything needed?" He was around to settle in one of the wing back chairs that allowed him to face both. Gentle glance given Nora, "you can help me out here you know.." teasing her in the hope of getting her to interact as well.

She had to think about that a moment. "We each learned the basics of everything... but then when we get older we learn more about a few things."

She laughed quietly and dipped her head in a near bashful way. "I was only letting you two speak. I love listening, sometimes." It was the best way to learn, she thought. "Is that how you learned of swords?" She asked Pyper. She remembered how well Pyper handled that sword a few nights back. She seemed to know a lot about them.

He felt like he was floundering trying to have a conversation going and then possibly stepping on toes for it or too close to an invasion of privacy. "Aye, listening is good until you can participate."

She nodded. "Yes...." being of the royal house she had to, but didn't explain that. "I learned about weapons... mostly sword, bow, staff...." she wasn't sure of the correct word, "how to run the village." She gave a nod to Nora though, agreeing that listening is a good way to learn, one Pyper used a lot. She meant governing and diplomacy... but those were big English words that the elf didn't know yet.

"My mind was a little preoccupied, forgive me." Gently to Treve. She listened to Pyper, intrigued. "That sounds all very interesting. I do not know how to handle swords, I'm afraid. I probably could not even fight my way out of a thin paper sack." She was being honest, at least. She laughed some and sipped from her glass.

"You would not need a sword to get out of a sack...." the Elf was confused.

"You held an important position in your village then. Royal family or diplomat?" It was a logical deduction before focus shifted to Nora. "Then perhaps you should accompany myself and Kynan to the spar hall to learn. The two of us plan to so we don't become rusty. My brothers are very good with weapons." Not just steel but he didn't add that.

She didn't mean to confuse Pyper. She widened her eyes slightly when the Elf didn't understand. "I mean, I do not know how to fight, at all. I always had some sort of protection before.." She listened to Trevet, her lips pursing. "I suppose I should learn some day soon." She agreed.

She smiled and nodded. "Then you should take up Trevet on his offer, and learn.... might be interesting to see how well you do." She had a feeling the lady herself would be surprised.

"I and those of my family, firmly believe a lass should become skilled with weapons as well. Our family, all, not age nor sex excluded, had to fight to survive. It is good to know how to. You might save  your life or that of another." His brogue was getting a little thicker but no where near how rugged it could become. "Perhaps you will join us as well and share your skills, Pyper?"

Pyper agreed with him... as her own past had taught her. "I would like that greatly, if you don't mind the intrusion."

"I would not have asked.." giving her a wink. That stood up to logic as well.

"Then yes, I will train with you and your brothers, Trevet." She cleared her throat, then smiled to him, and Pyper.

She winked back, chuckling a bit, and tossing her head. She would get a hang of this language... one of these days.....

"And I would be happy to have the help of Lady, if you wouldn't mind, Pyper. When I train..So I would be comforted, as well, if you came with us." Quite so. She didn't want to be the only lady there.

"Of course.... it would be my honor to." She gave a dip of her head Nora's way.

"Thank you. Just please don't laugh if I can't lift a sword." Light hearted. She smiled wide.

She smiled. "I will not laugh... and you will be able to lift the sword.... if it be the correct one for your hand." meaning the right type. They wouldn't start her out with one of the large bastard swords or the like.

She had a strange look on her face suddenly. She had trained for dancing--classes and such, and other arts. This was completely .. new. "What should.. I wear?"

"Then that is settled amicably. I'm sure you could teach us a few things in return." The ideal of learning from each other was always appealing to him. "So tell us a little about you, Nora. Did you as well grow up in the ways of the court? I could use a refreshment course in etiquette if I ever found myself in such circumstances and not come off as a barbarian." Which might be close in some ways and yet not. "You would wear what is comfortable, not cumbersome. They have pants for ladies or a comfortable gown without the layers of petticoats." He saw women fight in either so it was a personal preference.

Now it was the elf's turn to sit and listen, perched on the stool with her knee up to rest her chin, deep sapphires watching both.

Hopefully Pyper was in pants!

She always is.... you'll hardly ever see her in a dress.

"Yes," she began, hesitantly. She glanced from one to the other. "My father was Seneschal for the King that was recently killed. But he is no longer living. He lost his life in a fight." She took a sip from her glass again then leaned to set it aside. "I was young. I could teach you some things, perhaps, Sir Trevet." She teased him quietly. Lacing her fingers together, she rested her hand over one of her knees.

The elf was curious now. It seemed in this she and the lady were not so different. "I am sorry to hear about the loss of your parent." She said very sincerely.

"I'm sorry to hear on your loss." Tragedy hit many families. "My mother died long ago and my father not so long ago." Though his conception of time had been distorted while in the Hollow Hills. The death was still more raw to him but he was coping. One had to in surviving and knowing his father wanted it that way. A strong man. "I have no claim to the title of Sir although I am a warrior honed by my father and brothers while growing. Still, I would like to consider myself a gentleman if circumstances warrant." She might have a time with him for being in the wild for a number of years, amongst various Fae and Druids.

"Thank you Pyper. It was many years ago." Her smile was a tempered down version of what it could have been. Faint. She listened to Trevet quietly and the smile she held, as faint as it was, faded. "I am sorry for your loss, as well, Trevet. And I do not think one should necessarily own a title to be called Sir. You are a gentleman, and I respect you. That seems enough." She paused when she heard his last. Her lips trembled with the urge to laugh. "I will swat your hands if you do so." Gentle threat!

Just to tease her back, "so I should not whip out my eating knife to stab the whole leg of a turkey and begin devouring it in one piece?"

She sat quietly, thinking now on those she has lost too, confused by Trevet's comment about the turkey leg, and letting it pass over her head.

"I have a feeling I best wear gloves or I'll be having chaff hands by the end of the lesson." Giving her a wink and a smile shared between both ladies. Pyper never saw a barbarian eat.

She did... which is why the comment got missed... she didn't see anything wrong with it...

Actually that was using manners to use the eating knife. Most ate with their hands. Pieces flung from their serving dish of that which they didn't want as they rooted through their food. Taking food from other plates they thought more appeasing. Sometimes it caused fights to break out.

"No, I won't be so harsh, Trevet. I would not want you scared of me." Spoken as if she were a bully of some sort.

"That's why you'll need to learn how to wield a dagger or sword as we parry." Trying to make the serious conversation hold some humor in it.

"You have no idea how nervous I am just thinking of that. What if I accidentally hurt you? What if something odd were to happen, like someone's clothes accidentally sliced in half." Sometimes it was hard to say where she got her imagination from. "What if I get a blister?" The way that was questioned, it seemed far more important than anything!

"I can ease your mind on that for you'll be starting with a wooden sword and dagger so you don't hurt yourself or anyone else until you feel capable of handling it. I would suggest, if your hands are soft and smooth," which went along the lines of a lady, "that you were light leather gloves. Ones that allow flexibility but will protect your hands."

"I shall wear gloves," she said thoughtfully. Her head canted to the side and she smiled, a true one. She glanced between him and Pyper.

A glance was given the window and darkness beyond. It didn't seem Kynan was going to make it tonight. That's when it occurred to him why. He found a card game or two down at the port? That also meant him possibly getting into a fight. Which if there was going to be a fight his brother was in, he wanted to be there as well. He finished off his drink as he rose from his seat. "The hour grows later and I've a brother to find in case he has need of me. I enjoyed the conversation and plans laid when we get the time." Not trying to pin it down but he was sure it would come about. A few things they talked on.

"I should go, as well. The wine has made me tired." She rose upward, brushing her hands down the front of her dress. "I hope you both have a pleasant evening."

"Good night to you then Trevet. Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle." she then nodded at Nora as well. "Good night to you as well Nora." She finished off her cider to head out since both were leaving.

He gave a bow to them both, not overly done but one hand splayed over his stomach a moment before straightened. "Sweet dreams and we'll talk again soon as well." Smile dashed that reached dark eyes before he was off, grabbing his coat to don on his way out. It wasn't like his brother not to show up, although they had been tentative plans.

"Good night." Spoken again. She snagged her cloak, her gloves and shortly after, she was out.

She gave a wink to Alex before heading out.


Date: 01-26-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 16

A Stop at the Thistle

Trevet didn't talk much on the way back but more the concentration in getting there with a snowstorm greeting them soon as they hit home turf. At least his armor was off and in the wagon but he kept the silk scarf on his person, well, in a pocket of his cloak. He handed the warhorse off to a stable boy soon as he dismounted, the wagon already on its way there and the squires would see to any dents in the armor. He waited the few moments, stretching his legs as both brother and Nora reined in. He would offer Nora a hand in helping her down.

The ride back was a sobering one. The twist of events earlier witnessed did not set well with Nora. She, too, was quiet. Snow was all over her, sticking to her cloak and her hair. When she guided Luna to a stop, she slid from her back with the help of Treve. "Thank you."

He was silent too, mulling things over as they rode. As they finally reached the Thistle, he let out a sigh and dismounted. He was up the steps and waited at the door so he could open it for Nora and Treve.

He held her hand a second once upon ground to make sure she was steady before releasing it. "You look thoughtful." Which he had a inkling why and wondered if she wished to discuss it. Steps taken alongside Nora as he was up the steps and within when his brother opened and held the door.

"Disturbed, worried, sad even." So yes, very thoughtful; there had to be a reason she felt all of those things. When he released her hand, she walked by his side to the door before ducking within. She removed her cloak, her gloves. "Thank you, Kynan." For holding open the door!

"I think everyone there had a right to be disturbed with a pregnant woman insisting on jousting. The man honorable but it also made it so he wasn't able to test his skills, sharing points is a poor trade off. She should not have ventured with such an idea and worse, continue that joust. They would have set the man up with another instead."

He smiled at her then followed them in closing the door behind. He shook off his cloak before hanging it, careful to not splatter Nora or Treve. "Aye, and if they put me against her, I'll forfeit before the joust begins. I would think even riding like that would be hard on her. And the babe." Not that he knew for sure.

"Aye, same here so I hope we are not presented with the situation." It was bad enough to joust women but a pregnant one? No way. Divesting of his cloak to hang up then Nora's.

"True. Honorable it might have been for him, but at the same time it was very unfair. Some people like to think they're made of steel. And maybe she is, but the babe surely isn't." Spoken quietly. She smiled to Kynan, as she listened. "I hope that won't be the case. I hope she changes her mind about the next joust." She smiled as Treve helped with her cloak. "Thank you.  Treve?" ..Suddenly!  And she shortened his name. Maybe he noticed.

"That is exactly the point. No matter what protection she thinks she has, to hit something with a lance, especially shattering one, roughs you up a bit. I would not live with a conscience if something had happened to the child she carried even if I never used my lance but let her ram hers into me." About to head for the bar and the potcheen waiting, he paused. "Yes?" He noticed and it brought the twitch of a smile to the corners of his lips.

"Maybe I should switch that scarf out?" Obviously teasing. He surprised a few with the way he plowed that one woman over. She smiled lightly as she started for the bar, one that twisted towards Kynan.

Half laughing with his grin as he near danced backwards, he'd transferred it to his pants pocket. "You'd have to fight me for it. If this is bringing me some luck, I'm not parting with it without a fight." Maybe she'd catch his quick wink.

"You could give it to me." He rubbed his backside. "Won't be showing these trophies off." Ouch. He could tell he was bruising already.

"Oh. Well, we've already discussed my skills in fighting. I have none. So I'll have to stun you somehow and sneak it away when you're stunned." She laughed brightly when she heard Kynan. He'd gotten some hard hits! "Are you going to be all right?"

"That almost sounds like you'd be showing them off otherwise me brother. Twin moons rising like white flags in the night."

The elf was out and about, as was her usual habit of late, walking around in the snow, not so much skipping tonight however, a bit more somber. She was still humming to herself none the less, watching the night sky here and there, smiling to those passing by from one place to another quickly to try and stay warm. She found her feet at the steps to the Thistle, and decided to head in for a moment, maybe a drink.

"Be careful lovely Nora, he might ask you to massage them for him." Reaching the bar as he claimed his drink and kicked back the portion of potcheen before refilling it.

"Ha, ha. And no, I wouldn't be showing 'em off otherwise." Though he might tease Kay and ask if she wanted to kiss them and make them better. "And I'll let you know tomorrow, Nora. After I see if I get unhorsed again."

Trevet brought out a blush from her. "I am sure others could give him.. a massage?" Questioned. Because, she wasn't sure at all, actually. She ordered her usual, wine for herself. "Maybe you won't get unhorsed tomorrow;  that's my hope at least.. Good evening." The last for Pyper, if she'd made it indoors yet. If not, then it was just a random outburst.

"You were only knocked off once, thankfully." Unlike Aly unfortunately but fortunate for him. How jousts worked. He gave his brother's shoulder a thud. Sliding a glance to the door as he thought someone may have come in or just lingered outside the door.

She came in quietly, closing the door behind her securely. "Evening everyone," said as she removed her scarf and fur-lined cloak, hanging them both up at the wall before heading over to order a mug of mulled cider.

"My hope as well. And I wouldn't ask anyone to massage me." He'd be blushing himself if he tried to ask any one!

A slanted look Nora's way with her outburst before the fact, indeed, it was Pyper. There was an eerie sound somewhere with the wind outside. "Evening Pyper."

"Uhm..I saw her pass a window?" Trying to explain, maybe! She cleared her throat and sipped her wine. "You should." For Kynan. "I would if I were sore enough."

If she kept up such traits, he'd be taking her aside to speak on more serious things. With her explanation he only made a hum sound under his breath, as not really believing her.

She'd heard extreme stress and trauma could bring out... other senses in people. Maybe that had been the case? She smiled slow, faint, and took another drink from her glass.

He watched her closely before adding a low comment, "I do not look strangely upon such abilities." A reassurance and about all he would say at this point, smile returning to hopefully bring out one from her in turn.

"Evening, Pyper." He smiled in her direction then cut a glance toward Nora and Treve, a slight smile appearing. A groan followed though. "I'm in for more training once Rurac and Aedan hear about this."

"That never happened before." Quietly, right back. So she might have been a little confused by it. "I thought you did very well, Kynan. At least you two didn't completely miss each other like those other two had. Did you see that?"

She nodded to them all just as Alex brought her drink over, then took it to one of the large wingbacks and curled up into it, letting the warmth of the mug seep into her hands. She was turned just enough that she could still see everyone.

"Aye and if it is any consolation, they'll put me on the hook as well." It would be good for them, however. "You missed getting here last night. Nora and Pyper agreed to us helping them learn how to use weapons or in Pyper's case, to practice."

"Aye, I did." He nodded then looked at Treve, a brow lifting. "Oh?"

Giving a nod to the 'oh'. He watched Pyper head for the hearth, more quiet than usual.

"I'm still wondering what I have gotten myself into." She wrinkled her nose gently and smiled towards Pyper.

"I had wondered if maybe the two were doing a comic relief after some of the more tense runs." In reply to the statement on the two whose lances completely missed each other. The draw of dark eyes then back to Pyper. "I was hoping you would be attending tonight as well. They are holding it again tomorrow night if you would like to watch with Nora." It would also give Nora company in the stands.

She gave a smile back to Nora, then shook her head. "I tend not to go to the... jousts?" Not sure if she had said it right. "The idea of purposefully going at another with the intent to knock off or harm is not one I really like." She shrugged her shoulders a bit. "I'm sorry for disappointing you however.... I had not realized I would be missed." there were usually so many people there. She might go tomorrow night, just to give Nora some company, and to do something different. Maybe.

She nodded gently, respecting her decision. She watched Kynan quietly. Perhaps somewhat concerned. Everyone here had been very kind to her, she felt she could return the gesture somehow. "Would you like for me to rub your shoulders? And please do not think I am making a pass at you by offering." She grinned some.

His brother might not think so but oh the grin as he headed off to a nearby window to look out. Leaving the two alone. "It is quite understandable, Pyper. I would not expect you to go. Not everyone enjoys the joust, it is the most dangerous one."

He blinked and looked at Nora, ducking his head a little. "I wouldn't think that. Thank you but I'm fine, really. Just a little stiff." He spoke very quickly and he was going to knock Treve into a snowdrift if he saw that grin.

She watched Trevet go to the window for a moment as he looked out. "You hear it too..." more a statement than a question.

"She may... find one aspect uncomfortable, Trevet." The very thing that bothered everyone there. She might have noticed his grin a moment ago. She certainly noticed how he simply strode off. "I could offer the same for you. A massage, Trevet?" Her voice quieted when Pyper spoke up. And she glanced back and forth between her and Treve, confused. "Hear what?"

It wasn't that he wasn't appreciative of the offer. He just was a little shyer than he let on. He looked at Pyper then at Treve.

"The wind speaks on snow to come. Lots of it. You can almost taste it in the air." Tearing his eyes from the darkness beyond the window to Pyper then Nora. Lips slightly pressed before saying anything more. "I'm afraid if I let you massage my shoulders, needed or not, I'll enjoy it too much and not wish you to stop." He wasn't as shy as Kynan, though not really bold either.

She gave a nod, then eyes lowered. The voices carried on the wind spoke more to her than just that, but that in itself, the sheer force of it, was enough to give her pause. She didn't assume he heard the other, and made no mention of it.

"You and Kynan, among others, have been so kind to me. I felt it was the least I could offer." Quietly. The change in the mood was something she tried to ignore. But it was in vain. She cleared her throat and found herself staring at one of the windows, her brows furrowed in obvious worry.

The wind spoke differently to each, telling what it should. The weather part probably common to most any that heard it. There was more but not something he would speak on. There were shadows of riders intent upon their path, dark horses with thundering hooves as mists rose about them in swirls. He would talk to Ruarc and Aedan soon. He turned fully to face Nora, something else in the depths of dark eyes before he banked that fire. "You have done us a lot, being there, cheering us on, gifting us with your favor."

She had heard and envisioned the same, but wouldn't have known it. And it was those that had her mood quieted this night. She didn't know what it all meant, but didn't think it boded well. But kept it to herself. "You do a lot just by being here with us... in our company."

She looked up to Trevet in time to catch the intensity in his eyes. She couldn't help asking. "What's wrong?" She smiled faintly for Pyper and Trevet. "Thank you."

"The storm could be a wicked one for some. Possibly the intensity of a blizzard. Hopefully it holds off until after tomorrow night." He could not really speak on the other as it would really end up spooking her.

"Just a storm...." she seemed to be parroting Treve this night. "But all will be taken care of as needed. The right preparations will be made and all will be well in the end." She didn't want to frighten the lass.

It is possible, very, especially if it involves men riding their way. "Oh." Quietly. She still appeared worried. Snow storms could be horrible.

"You will be safe here or in the castle even moreso. Just don't go out in it deciding for a Sunday stroll." Knowing well she had more brains than that.

"I won't." She promised. She straightened slowly and glanced to the door then up to the ceiling before she regarded the others again. "Perhaps I should get back to the castle."

He was listening quietly, not really having much to say. Maybe just a little more weary than he wanted to admit.

He still hadn't had the chance to talk to the family on a whole about his time in the Hollow Hills. Basically they all needed to be here at the same time. A few things to discuss now. He was starting to feel the effect of the joust, certainly not in near as bad shape as some others would be this night. "Here's to doing well in the joust tomorrow." Lifting his glass in toast for a good omen.

"And keeping our rears in the saddle where they belong." He added with a devilish smile.

She lifted her mug to the toast, hoping to pass on some good luck to both men.

She lifted her glass of wine for Treve's toast then downed the rest of it. "I will see you tomorrow evening. Rest well tonight." Kynan's additive made her grin. She moved to the door to collect her cloak.

He kicked back the portion his glass held before grinning his brother's way, a touch of a wicked smile and gleam in dark eyes, "we could nail your arse to the saddle.." He set his glass aside as he was over to collect his cloak. "If you ladies are leaving, we'll escort you home."

He had luckily kicked back his portion has well since Treve had him laughing. "Aye, that's the least we can do." And then find their own beds. He was going to fall asleep before his head hit the pillow.

She chuckled at Treve's comment. She wasn't sure which way they were going. "I think I'm headed the opposite direction as you three. But thank you none the less. Safe travels and restful healing sleep to you all," as she made to get her own cloak and scarf.

"No matter, the walk will do us good. Besides there is no storm to face tonight." Fresh air might lift that more ominous mood that almost settled over all.

"Kynan, I would suggest a hot bath, or that massage. You don't want to be too stiff tomorrow." She was only looking out for his well being!

Hot bath in soaking sounded good to him when he got back. Although he might fall asleep before it ever happened as well. Sit down in a chair to rest his bones a moment and in the next he is waking to morning.

They couldn't both bath at the same time. "I might just do that." If they were out walking, he might need it to get warm too.

So motherly, at what, age eighteen? She tried. She had her cloak on soon enough and started for the door.

She nodded, accepting. "Thank you... and I agree with Nora, even if you fall asleep in it.... being stiff won't help you tomorrow." and even if she didn't show, she still would want them to do well.

He leaned to tease his brother. "Methinks she is sweet on you." Either that or he would have been better off being unseated. Then again there was the fun in teasing his brother. Waiting on the ladies as the four were soon out with the door closed securely behind them. Alex would probably be over to latch it close and head for bed himself.

"Treve." Giving a warning as he headed out with them.

Which had him rolling off a laugh that would fade as they continued on.


Date: 01-27-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 17

Final Joust Night

Treve was feeling a bit sore by this time but still too amaze that he had won the tourney. That was one of those still a shocker as they reached the tavern. The wagon to continue on to the stable as well he to hand off Thor to the stable lad with coins to see him with extra feed. He was considering buying him if Rory would sell the warhorse on loan. He certainly had the money now. He was up the steps and to the door to open and hold for the others.

She dismounted Luna as soon as they were all there. And handed the mare off to one of the lads before she turned to rush inside, out of the cold. She'd been in the cold air for too long!

Kynan was going to avoid riding for the next few days, even if it meant staying at the shop instead of the manor, though of course, they'd be heading there tonight. He waited for Nora and then Pyper to go ahead of him before he stepped through the door.

The elf hopped down off of Isilme, still bundled up, watching the two men to make sure they weren't too sore, then headed inside. Not that she thought either of them would say anything about being hurt. A guy thing.

It was a guy thing but then he was not hurt, just sore which went with the territory in jousting especially. Once they were all in, he closed off the door before divesting of cloak, cap, scarf and gloves. "So, it has been an interesting time." Aside even winning it which he still was duly surprised. "As you can see, women joust." This more to Nora for the time talking about that very fact.

"I did see, they do joust, and joust well." She commented with a soft smile tipping towards Trevet. "I am very happy for you, congratulations." She took her time in removing her cloak, her gloves. Then reached to hang her cloak on the wall.

Kynan's rear was sore. He certainly wasn't about to share that! "I think the King handled that in a most excellent manner." He settled against the bar, avoiding the stools for now. Maybe he'd try a chair later.

She nodded and chuckled. "He did indeed... I thought it very well done."

Fingers dipped into the pocket of the tunic worn over a poet's shirt, bringing up the tip of the pale yellow silk that held a shimmer to it. Tucked back just as quickly. "I'm keeping this as my good luck charm. Thank you for the favor. As I was honored so is the lady that favors the jouster."

"And if I may, I'd like to keep the one you gave me as a souvenir of my first real joust." He had only been in practices before.

"Yes, keep it, so that you may use it next month. I am honored, quite, that you wore it, Trevet. You too, Kynan and of course, you may keep it." She smiled to both of them and started for the bar. Her dress swished against the floor.

Seemed Nora was the popular lady... and she chuckled, giving her a wink.

Next month? He just groaned.

If she heard right!

Oh, she did. He just didn't want to think about it!

"Aye, each month until November I believe. Though it seems there will only be two matches each time instead of three." Confirming what Nora said and answering Kynan's look.

"Only two? That might be a good thing, for the jousters anyway. Are you two feeling all right?" She knew they'd be sore at one point. She couldn't see it any other way! She smiled over to Pyper as she settled at the bar.

A chuckle followed as he took up a lean against the bar, glass engulfed in a hand while a booted foot perched on the lower rung of the stool next to him. "I'm feeling grand but I know I'll be feeling where some lances shattered and where I ended up on the ground come the morrow." Adrenaline was still flowing to cover up the other.

"Nothing that potcheen won't numb." He grinned at her. "Here's to m'brother, Trevet and to all those who did well tonight!" He held up his glass in his brother's direction.

She had ordered a mug of hot chocolate and lifted it up to the toast as it was given. "Here, here."

She laughed. She'd just ordered a glass of wine, good thing. She lifted it up. "Here, here." Parroting Pyper, she took a drink after.

"Aye, it was a grand showing of sportsmanship." He didn't notice anyone being snobbish as he lifted his glass in toast. Next it was kicked back as a few of these should ease any soreness to come.

"You looked like you could have been knocked over with a feather when they announced you took first." He chuckled as he lowered his glass.

She recalled Trevet's expression when he was announced as a winner and she laughed for Kynan's words. "Indeed. Or a stray breeze."

"If it had been summer, flies could have flown in and out."

She giggled!

"I could have been!" Obviously why. Grinning between them, "can you blame me?"

"No, not at all, Trevet." Her head shook. She took another sip from her glass, then glanced thoughtfully to one of the windows.

"Not at all.... the look was still a good one." She giggled.

"You well deserved it, brother mine." He saluted Treve with his glass before downing a good portion of the liquid.

She drew up another smile, pulling her attention from the window to watch the others. She was quiet, sipping her wine.

He kicked back his glass before he stepped away from the bar, booted foot sliding from the bottom rung before over to Nora to take her hand in his. "To properly thank you as a lady should be." He lifted her hand to meet the bend of his head, lips touched between knuckles with his hand curled beneath against her palm. It was quick, even gallant, as he straightened while guiding her hand down to release.

She had to smile as she sat, perched on the stool, watching Trevet and Nora.

She was quite surprised. This wasn't expected, not at all! She watched him quietly, with a quiet smile. Then when he released her hand, she murmured to him. "You did not have to do that, but thank you, Trevet. That was very kind." And she might have blushed .. just a little.

The smile reached his dark eyes as he watched her, perhaps the touch of a blush noticed as well. He didn't need to say anything for of course he didn't have to do it, he chose to. In his eyes she was a lady, one who favored them with her silks and came both nights to cheer them on as well helped out getting them water. That meant a lot. Just a dip of his chin in a slight nod before he was back to collect his glass in a refill.

She watched him quietly, even as he stepped away. Her hands in her lap, until one reached for her glass on the bar top. She offered a small version of a smile towards Kynan, Pyper, then sipped her wine. It wouldn't be long until her glass was empty.

He gave Nora a wink when she looked his way. Treve was full of surprises and that was a nice gesture, and again, deserved by the Lady.

She smiled and nodded back, seeming appropriate gesture. Deep sapphires were twinkling however.

"You did not find the event too gruesome, Pyper?" Recalling her comment why she had avoided them. A tracing glance was given the windows across the way and the darkness beyond them for a moment then back again. More a flicking glance if one caught it at all.

She had been looking out the window as well, then turned back when Trevet spoke. "Not tonight.... probably because I got there just in time for the King's antics... "

"How do you like the jousting, Kynan?" She wasn't even sure if he'd ever jousted before, until tonight. She couldn't recall. She finished her wine and stared at her empty glass, considering another.

"Yes, honorable as well," which Pyper had missed the night before and the fact that one woman jouster was pregnant, why the men would not let their lances strike the woman. To him it was insanity on her part.

She nodded. "Very honorable... though I do not understand her want to participate... considering her state...." it didn't seem wise to her.

"I like it well enough." He smiled easily as he answered. "I'd like it better if landing wasn't so hard." It was all part of the sport though and something he'd accept.

"I can only imagine what those landings must be like." Quietly, with a very quiet laugh. She shook her head and ordered another glass of wine.

"Hard and very noisy." That was the best way to explain it.

"Isn't all of that armor quite heavy?" She'd never worn such, so she didn't know!

"It wasn't so much the fall but the sudden stop." Laughter laced his tone before kicking back more of the potcheen.

She chuckled before taking more of her hot chocolate.

"Aye, that stop... " He laughed then nodded. "Aye, it is. I'm never sure how we manage to get up after a fall."

"It's heavy," glass lowered, "more cumbersome but helps not getting really hurt when taking a well placed hit. Either way. With the way you bounced that first time unseated, it had to hurt more, Kynan!"

"I do not see how you men can stand up with all of that on, much less stay on a horse. If it were me, I'd fall off at the slightest nudge of a lance." Stated thoughtfully. Trevet brought out a quiet laugh from her. She remembered that first fall quite well.

"It did!"

"I don't see how you move at all, let alone ride and hold a lance."

"Practice." He chuckled then shook his head. "Jousting armor is heavier in places than armor worn for battle. And ceremonial armor is even lighter." One reason why he preferred mail.

She smiled faintly. Then blushed as a thought struck her. She said nothing of it though and instead, drank her wine!

"You are not feeling feverish, Nora?" He noticed the blush and mistook it for the time she had spent out in the cold while watching.

Her lips pursed, blue-green eyes peered towards Trevet. She slowly shook her head. "Oh, no, not at all." Her smile came slowly and it curved dimples against her cheeks.

He was to the point of feeling no pain and decided that he had reached his limit. Setting the glass aside, he cross his arms over his chest as he listened.

She sat and watched and listened quietly.

He visibly seemed relieved. Although still wondered on the flush of color to her cheeks but there it seemed they were fading back to normal skin tone. "I'm pleased to hear that, I would feel aghast if you should become ill after being out on our account."

"No, no, I am quite well." Her smile was a secretive thing. She finished her wine off and was feeling quite relaxed. She watched the others momentarily then peeked to the door, the windows.

"Are you watching for someone?" Now he was curious.

Glass was fiddled with in his hand, slightly tipping it this way and that in debate of filling it again. Dark eyes on Nora with this other nagging of thoughts. "Was the flush upon your cheeks of another reason?" He found himself asking that which questioned his thoughts.

She heard both questions and she slowly tilted her attention back towards the brothers. First, Kynan, then Treve. She answered them in that order, too. "Not really. I just like to keep an eye out, Kynan. And yes, Trevet." She glanced down, gently clearing her throat. Then ticked a look offside to the quiet Pyper. She smiled to her.

The elf chuckled quietly.

Which had his chin lower as she glanced down. "Not something you can share then?" But really sounding more like a statement than a question. Sure he was curious, even more with the clearing of her throat.

She had to smile as Trevet questioned Nora, couldn't help it. She peeked a glance at Kynan to make sure he was still awake.

He was. though the events of the day were starting to catch up to him.

"I find some of the men quite handsome in their armor." Shared, though mentioning it did bring another warm flush into her fair cheeks. She drew in a slow breath and glanced up to him.

The elf, feeling a bit sorry for Nora, smiling at the lass's blush, she added, "you are not the only one Nora."

She was grateful for Pyper's words. She looked over at her, smiling brightly. "Ah, you too, then?" She laughed.

"Well," certainly that was not so bad a thing, "perhaps ladies do find a man in armor appealing especially mounted on a white stallion and coming to their rescue?" A bit teasing but it obviously held its appeal. Certainly a lady dressed up for a ball or the opposite, in a light frock running through a field with their hair loose tossed with the wind, were appealing to men.

"Ah, that's quite appealing too, yes." She admitted to Trevet with a smile.

She nodded. "Not on a... stallion.... " she was assuming that was a type of horse. "More with a bow or sword in hand... for me as least."

She grinned hearing Pyper. "Ah, I think I'd like swords out of those two. A man in armor, then? With a sword in the air, riding a white stallion?" Not so bad, she thought. She grinned slyly.

Knowing they were expected at the manor, he pushed off the bar. If he didn't leave now, he'd end up sleeping here or at the shop. "I think I'm going to head out."

"Rest well, Kynan." She watched him for a moment.

"Good night to you Kynan. Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle." She said with a smile.

"I will head back with you," though reluctant to go, maybe even move. Knowing well too that he should and get a good night's sleep. Probably take some medicinal tea before calling it a night. "Good night to you both. We shall see you soon." They had tossed around ideas of a few things to do including some practicing in the spar hall. Tobogganing, skating and snowball fights. If his foggy brain remembered correctly presently.

"Good night then to you as well Trevet. Restful and recuperative sleep to you both."

"Rest well, Trevet. Have sweet dreams tonight, both of you." She did worry that they might be sore come morning, but didn't voice it. She glanced aside to Pyper. "I suppose I should get some rest, too, but I think I will stay here tonight."

"I'll sleep like a rock." He smiled at both Nora and Pyper. They could celebrate tomorrow. "May your paths be green as well, Pyper, and the breeze gentle." They had older brothers who had gone through this and would help both if need be.

That was a good idea, for he'd offer to see them home and if they were staying, he'd not feel so guilty. "I think rock is a good idea for sleeping tonight." Collecting his cloak. He would look forward to celebrating but his brother just as well. They both participated.

"Then good night to you as well Nora. Sleep peacefully." She finished up her hot chocolate, and went to get her cloak, wrapping back up.

She rose up and sent Pyper a quick wave before securing a key from Alex. Shortly after, she went up to her room.


Date: 01-29-09
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 18

The Delirious and the Serious

It was a clear day for a change, sunlight filtering down yet leaving the lands still bathed in cold. Wintry light some called it and it seemed brighter still glaring off the white blanket of snow. Broch headed into the tavern to warm up as well have a bite to eat, which was always more than a bite. Good appetite yet kept from gaining any fat for how active he was. He reflected over a few things of the recent past as he settled on a stool, light conversation with Alex as he waited for his food. He would have a tankard of ale with his meal this early in the afternoon. The fur cloak hung just inside the door which kept him warm no matter how cold it got outside. A tunic of dark green over a white poets shirt, black pants and boots, ones that showed the wear of being up in the mountains again, crusted dirt and snow stains.

There was a man, a scrawny, skinny man with a massive amount of curly, auburn hair that peeked in through the door. He squinted his beady eyes then the door shut. There was murmuring, if it could be heard, then it opened again. Shut. Open. Shut. And every time it opened, and the man peeked inside, he looked Broch's way. Perhaps he was trying to get a description of some sort. When it shut again, there was a long, long pause. A moment of silence before Mr Skinny burst through the doorway. He stood stark still, very straight. Apparently, this fellow had either some sort of announcement to make, or either.. he had some sort of beef with Broch!

"What the...?" Noticing the door opening and shutting, not once, twice but at least trice, had him turning in his stool for the glimpses he got through the mirror behind the bar. "Yea bae 'aving some difficulties t'ere mon?" Sizing the one up in a normal way for the situation. One hand coming to rest at his right hip, the other still resting along the edge of the bar.

"For the man that hides Deadly, Dangerous Dragons Down beneath his Comfortable, Cool Kilt. I present to you!" He paused, thankfully, he didn't get tongue tied.. It'd taken him forever not to mess that up. He stepped aside, and motioned to the door. "Sir I'Jus Tate Abugg." He waited, as instructed, to see if Broch got the humor in the false name. He hoped so. He hoped the man wouldn't hang him up by his toes from a tree. The door shuttered, then, when it slammed open. And yet, yet, there was a pause. Then a severe sound of clanking. Slow at first, then awfully fast. Clankclankclank! The person that shuffled through was in armor, completely, and even though it was the lightest she--uh--he could find, it was still awfully heavy. Couldn't see the face, it was covered, with the helmet--visor. And a bright plume of red and green feathers sprouted up from the top. "Sherwin!" The voice was croaky, struggling to keep it low and yet, it was obvious that had to be a female under there. Sherwin, the man that presented the great Dragon Slayer turned. Then an order was given. "Fetch-eth my sword-eth!"

He burst out laughing for that long winded announcement reflecting on a conversation a few nights ago. "Aye? And mae mot'er is queen o' England tae." The laughter still lacing his tone. "Bae it a cock'roac' tae? Dragon size it bae?" With a twitch of an eye he eyed the door as a rattling man was coming in. He was up from his stool standing his full formable height, "ah, it bae Sherwin t'e tank'ard." Since tankards were made of tin. He was over to knock on the helmet's crown, good tunk, thunk, thunk. "Yea bae 'iding t'em cock'roac'es 'n t'ere?"

"There are no cock-a-roches in here!" Squawked the armored.. person. That nearly lost his/her balance from all of the thunking. The red headed man rushed out to fetch the sword, apparently. And moments later, he came back in, struggling with the huge sword. He tried to hand it over to the briefly dazed Tate, we'll say Tate, and the moment it was in her hands there was a clatter from the blade of the sword hitting the floor, because... she couldn't pick it up. "Have at you then! Show thy dragon!" All growly, while she grunted and groaned. The armor was heavy, the sword was heavy. She was breaking a sweat!

The higher pitched squawk had a brow to raise. "Yea bae one o' 'em girlie mons?" Stepping back as the skinny one fetched the man his sword. Although very questionably a man at this point. He was holding back his laughter while smirking instead. "I'll just bae a minute," as he was asked to show his sword. Leaving the one there trying to lift his up. He was over to his cloak to draw out a bastard sword attached inside the back of it. Not something most knew and was only for emergencies for he never knew what he might run into up in the mountains. The sword was probably as big as the lad, lad or woman. As he returned, a look was given Alex to assure him all would be fine, no blood would be spilled in going along with the ruse. He swung it down in a swoosh only to raise it above where the one could not see through the helmet worn. Up, up, up, then swinging down like a pendulum but halted as he only tapped the blade atop that helmet. "Now remember laddie, iffin yea pee yea pants, it will rust t'e suit and yea'll never get out o' it."

He couldn't see the way her eyes widened. Though he probably did note how Sherwin's flew rather wide. "I shall fetch your shield!" Sherwin squeaked and fled out through the door. More than likely, that was just an excuse to flee the area. She watched the blade swing down and up. And she tried to backstep, started to, and as she did she was tapped on the head. There was an echo of a 'twang' ringing in her ears, even if it was only a tap. As if he'd cut down a tree, the armored person tipped backward and landed with a rather loud crash against the floor. "Ack!" Too highpitched. No question, that was a girl in there! The sword had been dropped too. It just laid on the floor.

"Yea Sherwin tank'ard abandoned s'ip." Watching the man turn tail and run. He had to give him credit for even approaching the highland warlord. He tucked his sword under one arm as he helped her up with the other. Suit might have her weighing more but he picked her up easily. Hand curled under an armpit. "Yea bae fig'ting tae many dragon cock-roac'es by falling o' 'em." Certainly amused as once she was standing, still not completely certain as to who, he picked up the other sword to place on the bar before heading to put his back in the scabbard attached to the back of his cloak. "Yea bae want'in tae come out o' t'ere lass? O' yea bae sweat'ing like a mon soon." Slanted glance back their way as the sword slid smoothly into its scabbard. Once done he was back to stand a few feet in front of the one, hands on his hips waiting.

"Only if they're wearing kilts!" She exclaimed, sounding rather breathless. She stood there, stark still after he helped her up. She'd not gotten any further than this with her plan. Wait. Since she gave her voice away, she decided to take this further; all sneaky like. "I don't know if that will be wise. I'm naked under here." She wasn't, really. But she wondered if he'd buy it. She flipped the visor up to peer at him, dark eyed and it was apparent that she was grinning. "Hi." A hello, late, now that the joke was pretty much over and done with.

"Aye?" He could tease right back, it wasn't like she was underage or didn't know where this kind of teasing went. "T'en yea bae seeing mae Dragon Lance, w'ich bae yea quest." Oh, he was watching to see if that brought about her blush. He had moved closer just before that visor was flipped up, the curve of his lips would be seen mostly first before tipping his head as he kissed her right through that opening. A little restrained for the metal between but that hadn't stopped him. Least he had his hands on either armored shoulder before lifting away, lips parting and stepping back. "Hi."

Her lashes fluttered a few times and she almost slammed the visor down, but didn't when she realized he was getting rather close. She was blushing, quite a bit. Hot enough inside all of that armor that was supposedly light, the kiss didn't help with the matter. She made a very, very quiet noise and sucked in a breath when he stepped back. She stammered forward a little, with a shuffling step that sounded out in repetitive, quick clanks. Thankfully, she regained her composure before falling on her face. "If I get to see your, ahem.. dragon lance or not, help me out of here!" She already removed the helmet and sort of dropped it to the floor which only made another loud noise, one that had her wincing. "Sorry." She tried to peel off the rest.

Which had him quick to catch her up again when it looked like she might end up flat out on her face. She would hear the rumbling laugh caught up most in his throat as he proceeded to help her out of the contraption. "W'en we foug't 'n t'e hig'lands we used little armor, breast plate mostly. Better tae bae lit'e o' yea feet t'an falling down a crag an' bae dead." She had the helmet off so he unhooked the shoulder plates from the breast plate, sliding them off and unhooking the breast plate but would leave that to her in taking off. "T'ere bae not'ing tae bae sorry fir. I enjoyed yea bit'o' a ruse. I din t'ink yea beau will bae coming back tae soon." Teasing her on the skinny man being her man.

She listened to him as he undressed her. Haha. She almost made a joke on that, but kept it to herself. When all of the armor was off, she breathed a sigh of pure relief. "I think I'd rather run around naked trying to fight then having to wear that stuff." Sadly, she wasn't kidding. And she wasn't naked, like she had stated before--obviously! A pale yellow blouse with dark green pants, brown boots. Dressed down, but she had to be to get into that armor. Her nose wrinkled for his last and she glanced to the door. "I do believe you scared him quite silly, Broch." She bubbled out a laugh then looked up to him. Now that she could--she stepped forward to wrap him up in a sudden hug. "And he is not my beau." Stated just before she pressed a kiss to his cheek.

"Aye, I'll 'ave tae keep yea fir meself t'en. Finders keepers.." thicker voice still laced with humor. "Yea will nae bae shedd'in a tear o'er 'im running off on yea like t'at?" Like it might be a concern. She was wrapped up good, engulfed in his arms, strength and warmth there yet gentle. "Aye, yea din 'ave a beau, yet." Giving a wink as she pressed a kiss to his cheek then easing from the hug. "I enjoyed baeing yea Attendant t'e ot'er day but unfortunately I could nae kiss yea o' souch." Hence the reason he kissed her first chance he could although he didn't explain it that way exactly. "Come 'ave a drink wit' mae." His food was warmed up again for him while he addressed the tin man ruse.

"Shed a tear? Oh, I might. I might shed many." She tried to look hurt, but the expression only showed itself for a split second before she was smiling again. She nodded. "And no, you couldn't, but I enjoyed myself, too. I really did." She walked with him to the bar to settle down, a smile tipping towards Alex before she had Broch in her focus again. The food, she noted, which reminded her. "I still owe you dinner." She had plans for that, already. Or, a planned meal at least. She hoped it would surprise him. She was quiet for a moment, pursing her lips thoughtfully, still watching him. Though when her throat cleared, Gaelle turned to order potcheen punch from Alex.

"Aye, yea dae." Which he would collect on as well. One, he always had an appetite, second he wanted to see if she could cook well, three he would be spending time with her again. "W'o bae t'a mon?" It was one he had not seen before. The last look had him watching her more closely. That look without anything to follow meant something serious was thought upon. "W'at bae o' yea mind, Gaelle?" See, he was getting to know her which said a bit in and of itself too. He took to eating some of his stew while waiting. Focus mostly on her and still he didn't lose a drop.

"Uhm. I don't know much about him. His name is Sherwin, that wasn't a joke." She pursed her lips. "I saw him when I went back to look for supplies last night." With the word supplies, she motioned to the mess of light armor and the sword. Which, she didn't know what she'd do with any of it now. She slanted a look down to her glass when Alex slid it across the counter. And she thanked him in a quiet voice, with a twitch of a smile offered to him. She hadn't realized that she'd given away that something might have been bothering her, until Broch's question. She blinked slowly, looking back to him. After taking a drink from her glass, she simply spilled it out, her concern; hopefully he wouldn't choke on his food. "I had a dream there was a horrible snow storm and that Pyper and myself.. died in an avalanche." It's spooky when you dream of your own death!

"I will give yea t'e coin yea spent o' t'e tin. Donate it tae t'e spar 'all." He'd finished up the bowl and every last crumb of the bread as full focus was turned her way as well on the stool he occupied. "Tell mae t'e details o' t'is dream. W'ere yea bae, 'ow muc' snow, everyt'ing nae matter 'ow small yea can recall t'at stood out even if it mig't seem insignificant during." There was a reason he was asking all of this and added. "Take yea time."

She wasn't surprised that he wanted more details. He'd done so with the last dream. She smiled faintly, somewhat grateful that she could get it all off of her chest. She tried to remember everything, from start to finish. "It was all quiet at first, peaceful. I was outside.. uhm.. somewhere? In the sky, I'd gather, because I was looking down on the town. There was already snow everywhere, thick. And people were out enjoying the day; children, adults, couples, friends. There were people ice skating, a few walking up to the mountains, that sort of thing. Then I felt as if something changed.. like I could feel something in the air, and I saw it. Dark clouds, like thunderstorms--these didn't look like snow clouds. Very threatening. And a blizzard came. Everyone ran for safety, but when I looked back to the mountains I saw two people still there, though at first there were three. One ran off, left them there, I guess. Then there was a rumble, a loud rumble. And it looked like half of the mountain just.. broke away. The two were trapped and when I looked closer, I saw Pyper's face and my wrist. I know it was my wrist because I was wearing this bracelet." She showed the one that he'd given her. She wasn't sure if she missed any details, but trailed off there to take a drink and listen for his reply, see his reaction.

"It bae a vivid dream, one o' possible forecast'ing o' t'ings tae come. I will take different parts and tell yea o' t'eir general meaning t'en yea piece it taeget'er. First bae obvious fir t'ey are yea feelings, peaceful, joyous sig'ts. Guid feelings and may'ap reflect yea presently? It bae like yea are look'in at yea life as it stands and relationships wit' ot'ers." Pausing before he would being again on the next parts.

She nodded, understanding. It made perfect sense. She even smiled. "Yes, everything is quite perfect right now." She admitted. Her glass was on the bar and she clasped her hands, rested them in her lap. She watched him closely as she listened.

"Now clouds can mean different t'ings but t'ese were storm clouds 'n a dark sky. T'ey bae mean'in 'n souch a dream tae predict sorrow t'rough a broken friendship. Now, yea said t'ey were like t'understorm clouds, did yea 'ear any t'under or just dark like t'ose are?" He needed to know if there had been any thunder. This translating dream symbols was not going to be as bad as it may seem to her.

"I don't remember hearing thunder, no, just dark clouds. Though there was a lot of wind." She didn't mention that earlier. "A lot of wind." She looked quite interested in his translation though the last bit of news caused a frown. "Wait--the rumble before the avalanche. That could have been thunder?" Now that she thought about it.

"Sae, it was 'ard tae tell for t'e wind. If t'ere bae any it would bae muted and rolled, it would bae warn'in yea t'at yea suspicions o' false friends are well founded." Finding a friend to be false was something hard to swallow and went with the first, if there had been that kind of thunder. "I din t'ink t'at bae the same." But in a dream it could be considered to flow with the other. "Wind, if it bae a brisk steady breeze would bae mean'in a guid omen for all your current concerns bout if it came in gusts, means periods o' frustration and delay to be overcome. Gentle predicts guid news bout a stormy gale forecasts 'ard work a'ead. Iffin yea w'ere buffeted by a strong wind, indicates t'at yea will 'ave tae fig't some tough and probably tricky competition to get w'at yea want." Letting her soak that in before going on to snow and avalanche.

She canted her head lightly as she listened. "I think the last is more fitting.." Thoughtfully. At least, she recalled how strong the wind had been in her dream. She pursed her lips thoughtfully and as he spoke, she reached out take his hand. For no reason, really, other than she wanted to.

Fingers laced with hers as she reached out, shifting his stool closer. "Dreams o' storms o' t'e w'ole bae meaning obstacles tae come and discontent w'ich yea will only recover w'en yea realize yea are t'e master o' yea own fate. Snow is generally a guid omen, unless yea ate t'e yellow snow." Adding a bit of humor as any color wasn't specified just if one ate it. "Deep snow or snowstorm signifies hard work but wit' an unexpected big success at the end." Obviously her dream had both, deep snow and snowstorm, blizzard type. "Snow o' t'e mountains forecasts important guid news. Snow in winter predicts success after minor difficulties," there were different seasons to dream of snow in them and different meanings but with the scene earlier, hers was definitely in winter. There was more, shoveling, bathing in it and so forth but they didn't seem to apply.

"Yellow snow," she repeated quietly, snickering for the humor he slipped into the translation. She was still listening to him, intently, though her gaze was directed to their hands. She soaked all of this in, bit by bit, and did find that some of it either fit her situation now, and some of it fit things that had happened in the past. "What about the deaths?" That was the main thing that frightened her so much.

"Now, tae dream o' an avalanc'e, tae observe one predicts some formidable obstacles 'n yea pat'. If yea were buried," which seemed to be this one instead of the other," 'n an avalanc'e, you will 'ave a spectacular stroke o' guid luck; if yea dreamed o' ot'ers being buried, the forecast is of a c'ange o' surroundings." He paused as his thumb stroked hers. "W'ere yea dead o' yea figured yea w'ere 'n t'e dream fir 'ow it looked?" He would add in death just in case if that is what she felt at the end of it. "If yea dream o' being dead yerself, it indicates an approac'ing release from all yea worries o' recovery from an illness. Any dreaming o' deat' bae guid news, frequently would bae birt', if yea spoke wit' someone dead yea would 'ear very guid news." Death in a dream had quite the opposite in meaning than one would assume.

"I think I was dead.. I had the impression that I had died." She chewed on her lower lip, a gentle bite and looked up when he explained what death meant, in dreams. Her brow arched and she grinned. "So, I'm going to have babies?" She had to slip in a tease, too, as he had earlier with the mention of yellow snow. "That's comforting, at least I won't be dying soon, maybe. I'd never been so frightened before, from a dream." She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "Thank you for explaining it to me, talking to me. . I feel better."

"Aye, one day I bae bett'in, yea will." Like he was taking it seriously, twinkle in burnished green eyes and a slight squeeze of her hand. "In t'e meanings over all, it seems yea will bae 'aving some upcoming c'allenges, some o' w'ich will sadden yea, t'e loss o' a friend, in t'is case yea bae find'ing out t'ey were false. Sae, t'ey 'ad not really been a friend tae start." Which he hoped she kept in mind if such indeed occurred. "T'at seemed tae bae in t'ere prominently as well t'e over prominent feel yea will 'ave greater joy and reward after t'is storm bae done." Storm, as well, symbolic of life's rougher challenges.

"It all makes sense. I suppose everyone has to face a challenge or two every once in a while, don't they?" Her mouth curved into a slow smile.

"How about we take a walk down by t'e shops and port?" After such seriousness it was good to get out in the fresh air and they would be spending some time together as well doing such.

"That sounds perfect." She'll handle the armor and all later on. She rose up to her feet, polishing off her drink.. the glass slid across the counter to Alex after.

He offered the bend of his arm once they had their winter cloaks and all else on. Door seen to and off they went into a rather nice wintry day.


Date: 01-30-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 19

Time to Get Out Again

It had been a while since Trevor visited the Thistle, not for lack of wanting but he'd been away for a while to Luneberg. When back he focused on the training of the men, spent time with his son as well continuing to hone his own gifts. Tonight he was taking time out as was needed and a conversation, along with a good hearty meal consumed in an hour or two as the place remained relatively empty. Not that he minded for there was a lot of information to be gained from Alex. He was neatly attired as was usual for him. A red satin front vest over a fancier poet's shirt, tailored black pants and boots. The jacket was off and placed over the back of his chair as time marched on for the tavern was warm for him.

Laura had spent the day teaching for Fiona who had stayed home with her daughter while the lass was ill. Fiona would be back to teaching tomorrow and Laura would be getting ready to journey to Ballicastle come Monday. She was enjoying the easier pace of her job now and finding life less hectic. She hurried inside the Thistle, closing the door behind her. Stepping away from the door as she lowered her hood, she smiled at Alex and the man talking to him. Rather than interrupt, she hung her cloak and made her way quietly to the bar.

He was aware of the one coming in, something familiar about her though they had not met. Hair was neatly combed back with a tail at the nape of his neck. Clean shaven as well as he moved from his stool as if he had not been sitting at all it was so smooth. Dark eyes held an intensity to them as one with greater depths in his psyche. A slight bow of his head but eye contact was kept even with the dip. "Good evening M'Lady, I am Sir Trevor Cairns. Although I can wonder if we have met before, I do not think we have."

She was still wearing the gown from earlier, a soft dove gray velvet that near shimmered in the light of the torches and candles. Trimmed with dark lace, it had a modest neckline and a full skirt. A locket of silver in the shape of a heart was worn about her neck. Her blonde hair was pulled back, several strands curling around her face. "No we haven't but likely you've met one of my brothers. I'm Laura Cunningham.." She had heard of Trevor and curtseyed to him now in a show of respect.

The woman held the stance and appearance of a very refined lady. That was duly noted without any change of expression. Cordial but there was a distance kept on another level. "Ah, indeed a pleasure to finally meet you Miss Cunningham, unless you mind not using first names?" Giving her the option for her profession as well. "I am well met with your brothers. I am surprised it has taken this long for our paths to cross. Though mine take me far and wide at times." There was a pause before the slightest hint of amusement came with a twitch, almost a smile, to the corners of his lips. "A recluse as well too I'm told often."

The elf never could stay indoors for long, and had been out wandering again, despite the weather, admiring the beauty of the scenery even in town. Being out all afternoon, she was near a popcicle, and decided it best to step inside to thaw out a bit, and as she was by the Thistle, it seemed Fate agreed. She mounted the steps with a skip, and closed the door quickly behind her, smiling and rubbing her hands together, blowing on them before heading to the bar to order a mug of warmed cider.

"Good evening, a good one to come in from the cold and get warm." Greeting Pyper cordially as well. Still standing he need not rise. In fact it might prove prudent to remain on his feet.

"Outside of the classroom, I prefer it." She laughed, relaxing somewhat. "If I might also call you Trevor?" She smiled as the door opened and another entered. "Good evening, Pyper."

"Good evening Sir," she could sense the power and status from him so the title seemed to fit. "Evening to you as well Laura. Good to see you again." She perched up on one of the stools, as she warmed her hands waiting for her drink.

Outside, Nora made sure her horse was taken care of after her ride over. She gave a stroke to the pearl white mane of Luna and smiled to the lad that took her away. Her dress was a pale, pale shade of teal green, trimmed in yellow lace on the hem and the sleeves. Even a bit of it on the bodice. She wore thick gloves and a deep grey cloak. Tonight, her hair was bound up, though stray curls were left free to spiral along the back of her neck. More along her cheek. Stepping to the door quickly, she let herself inside, exhaling a white, misted breath that she'd been holding.

Davin could her voices from within as he eased open the side door. Quick glance proved him right that there were others here. He was well cloaked with a hood up over a knit cap. Scarf around the lower half of his face but didn't stop the frosted breath before he stepped within. Gloved hand was up to lower the scarf. "Good evening," suppressing a smile in that he was pleased to have others here. He recognized the kingsman from watching at a distance of their morning's practice. Distance, meaning not too far but didn't want to disrupt anything. Making sure the door was closed he proceeded to take off the winter wear to hang up.

"I believe you are Pyper," hard for him not to pick up on her lineage. "We have not met until now, I am Sir Trevor Cairns." Giving the courtesy of his name being he figured out quite quickly who she was. Dark eyes lifting to yet another coming in from the cold, first the male and then another female. "Good evening and welcome." Not ignoring Laura as dark eyes were back there, "I would prefer so, Laura." Just a hint of a smile whisked across his features with a slight bow of his head. Well then, hearing Laura address the woman ascertained it was indeed Pyper.

She smiled and couldn't help staring a bit. It seemed it was true that all the men in Heathfield were handsome indeed. "Pleasure to meet you Sir Cairns." yes she had heard of the Four Horsemen, and a little surprised that he knew of her actually. "And yes, I am Pyper." she turned to see who had entered, and yet another handsome gent made his presence. "Good evening Davin."

Davin slid his hand down the side of the presentable tunic worn. One of various leather pieces over a poets shirt, black pants and boots. He was over to offer the kingsman his hand respectfully. "I am honored to meet you Sir Trevor. I'm Davin Byrne." Not sure if he even knew his mother let alone become known still as Chandra's son. With no disrespect of course. He just wanted his own identity. "I saw you on the field this morning. I was very impressed with the training." Deciding not to overdo it either or he would go on and could go on, usually went on. He was learning when to hold his tongue. Although the thought that followed almost had him laugh, out of nowhere, if he held his tongue, literally, he'd talk funny. "Good evening Pyper, Nora," in quickly as well in those few seconds.

He took the young man's hand in a good strong handshake. "Well met Davin, I hope you continue to come to the practice. Next time be prepared to suit up or at least a chosen weapon to practice." He had noticed the younger man but did not have time to approach him this morning. There were many young men noted and eventually they met. The trace of dark eyes were upon the young lady next. "Lady Nora, welcome this night." Then back to Pyper, "being we are informal here, please call me Trevor."

Slowly removing her cloak, she reached to hang it against the wall. Her gloves came next, but those were plucked off, finger by finger on her way to the bar. "Good evening Davin, Pyper. Lady, Sir.." She tipped her head lightly, trailing off. She'd heard his name when she'd first entered; Trevor's. "Very pleasant to meet you." She settled down at the bar, her gloves folded and set on the counter.

The handshake met, "I'll be sure to do that, well warned." Not wishing to keep him from meeting the others he stepped away to claim a glass of the potcheen. Something he was looking forward to. Although he had hoped either the Shawnesey brothers and/or Kieran had showed as well.

"Good evening to you Nora." she gave a smile as the warm mug was delivered and she wrapped her chilled fingers around it.

"The lady Laura Cunningham," slight gesture of his hand her way as he introduced her to those who had not met her yet.

"Ah, my name is Nora.." She offered for Laura, in case she missed it. "A pleasure." Smiling faintly to her, she turned to watch Alex. She was debating an order of some sort.

"Davin, Nora.." She just used their names to save time. "It's a pleasure to meet the two of you." Well, her brothers couldn't say that she wasn't meeting people. That her smiling to herself as she turned to Alex and quietly ordered tea with a touch of potcheen.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Lady Laura," giving her due respect of a lady older than him by a few years. Or maybe it was something else that surrounded her for him to act on his best behavior.  He collected the bottle, deciding it was best he head for a table near one of the windows before he got himself in trouble. Trouble as small as saying something that would end up embarrassing his mother when it got back round to her. Window also made it possible to watch for any of his friends. There was a slight anxious quality about him for whatever reason. Bottle was set as the legs of a chair scraped briefly as it was lugged out and he down within its comforts near as quick.

There was a slight twitch to the corner of his mouth as he watched the young man. Reminded him of some things long ago. It was held in dark eyes that dipped to the liquid in his glass he collected before taking a drink. He didn't kick back his drinks but took a bit in normal intervals.

Quiet tonight, she might have been tired, or thoughtful. She watched Davin sneak away and even kept a brief eye on him when he settled at the table. She still wasn't sure what she wanted to order. Her lips pursed and she tipped a glance down to her hands that rested on the bar top. Fingers tapped very quietly, a slow rhythm.

She sat perched, watching too, seemed many were a bit quiet this night. She held onto the mug, looking at Davin too, chuckling softly as he reminded her a bit of one of her younger relatives. Then back at Trevor and the look he gave the lad too, another smile. Funny how Fate gave you glimpses of yourself at times...

It dawned on him who Nora was in the next instant. Drawing the perusal of dark eyes back her way. "We know a mutual friend, Prince Rick McAndrews." Which would say volumes without actually talking on her particular situation. Obviously the Prince had confided in him for good reasons.

She lifted her eyes from her hands when she realized that Trevor was talking to her. Her brow curved itself into a slow arch and of course, she wondered what had been said. Her throat gave a gentle clearing and she tipped up a hinted smile. "Ah, so he mentioned me, then? He is a very pleasant man." She stretched her smile a little further recalling how much the Prince had helped her.

He could tell her wonder as he added, brogue was Scottish laced in the deeper tone, "you are seen very favorably. He is a good friend to have. Enterprising young man that follows well in his father's steps. Honorably."

"I am?" Her eyes widened a touch, showing the bright spark of blue and green colors. Her cheeks were touched with a shade of rose. "Thank you," she said softly.

He was watching the shadows outside. Forms of others moving about at times then gone again as they passed heading home or some other destination. He was listening to the conversation and the one on Nora had him shift in his seat enough to watch from the distance.

He gave a slight nod, not having to voice the affirmative. He wasn't the kind of man to say something without substance and truth to it.

Kieran was whistling as he made his way toward the Thistle. He had spent the afternoon at the candy shop and smelled of chocolate. Valentine's Day was soon coming and he was helping his sister when he could. She might have to hire help if his other sister stayed in Kildare and that was looking more and more likely. He was also pleased because his birthday would be soon and he was closer to becoming a knight. As he stepped inside, he saw Trevor. Once the door closed behind him, he bowed to him, fist thumping to his chest over his heart. "Good evening, Sir Trevor. And welcome home." He hadn't slacked off at all in his training while the King's man was gone.

Trevor had been impressed, as well the others, with Kieran's progress as his squire. Soon there would be another knight and eventually he would be assigned another young man to take under his wing. The thought had a brief glance upon Davin. One never knew. There were some rippled waters there with the young man as well. Disturbances which were not uncommon for his age. Back in a blink to Kieran," good evening Kieran. I see you are walking in spite of today's practice." Teasing him and it wasn't just he, Kieran had taken a turn with in practice. A few of the top men for a reason. "Back home and right back as if I had not missed a day. Have you met the ladies Laura, Nora and Pyper? The young man, Davin?" Who was over across the way at a table near the window.

Once she had her tea, she turned so she wouldn't have her back to everyone. She smiled to herself again, watching the young man entering. Ye gods, she was starting to feel old! Best not mention that to any of her brothers or they'd try to start matchmaking.

She slanted a glance towards Davin, perhaps aware that he had been briefly watching her. Listening? She passed him a smile complete with a show of dimples before she looked towards the one entering. She watched him silently, then at the mention of her name, she turned to fully face him. Proper and polite, she curtsied, but it was a quick one. "Good evening, I'm Nora."

Davin was up, not that he needed to get up but that kind of energy. Anything he was about to say never made it passed his lips as his friend addressed the kingsman and then the introductions. "Aye, we have met." It was how he was invited to the field. Not that he needed to add that.

"Aye, I am, and even put in some time making candy." He grinned at Trevor, then cleared his throat, becoming a touch more serious. "I've met Pyper and David but not the other ladies. A pleasure to meet you both." Easy smile as he spoke to them. "Davin and I are friends."

Laura wasn't the only one feeling old.... as she watched the young gent enter. She scooted off the stool briefly to give a curtsey. Good evening, Kieran." said with a smile before hopping back up onto the stool.


Date: 01-30-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 20

The smile was caught, a little by surprise at this point but was readily returned. A hand then lifting to run his fingers through his hair, taming it back from his face and a slightly neater appearance.

"This young man will soon be Sir Kieran Turlough." Which gave way the lad's training as well.

"How wonderful. Early congratulations, Sir." Perhaps teasing, perhaps not. Either way, she brightened her smile.

Which had his grin growing. "Thank you." It didn't matter if she was teasing or not, he was pleased!

"Yes, congratulations and it's nice to meet you Kieran." She might not see him again until he was a knight.

"Are you excited?" She was curious about this. She'd forgotten entirely about ordering anything and briefly turned to request wine from Alex.

He glanced at Trevor before he answered Nora. "Yes I am, though nervous too. I expect the testing to be a real challenge." He knew it was beginning and how he handled it would be important as how well he did.

She nearly curled up on the stool, impressive, and deep sapphires twinkled as she hid her smile behind her mug at the lad's enthusiasm, which was good to see.

He let out a whoof under his breath. "Aye, congratulations!" He was impressed but then he got to see him hold his own under a pummeling this morning.

She nodded, smiled again. She didn't want to steal all of his attention, the reason she'd fallen quiet. Or one of them. The other reason was so that she could enjoy her wine.

The lad had reason to be proud, he did well even under the pummeling as it may be considered. It made him better and stronger each time. All of them, except the two kings, had one at least above them to be pummeled by. Presently it was regular endurance with weapons but eventually, after he was knighted, certain ones were going to test other areas not of the norm, to see if he had any hidden abilities. Trevor, especially, looked forward to that time of testing.  "Are you settling in well, Nora?" Concern hinted in dark eyes turned her way again. He obviously knew some about her and duly, that she feel comfortable in spite of her plight. In his opinion such smaller things made the difference.

He didn't admit that when he had gone to the shop, he had made use of the salves offered to the squires when they were being tested, but Trevor would know that. He grinned at Davin. "Thank you. I'm going to get a glass and join you."  He felt he could now that he and Trevor were done talking.

"Slowly but surely, yes. I keep finding myself being surprised by others being so nice. It isn't like this everywhere.." The last said thoughtfully. Which, it was probably information they all knew. She curled her hand around her wine glass, towards the top rather than plucking it up by the stem. She took a lingering sip.

He would invite Nora and Pyper as well but presently she was in conversation or would be with the question posed her way. He got seated again, chair turned that he could observe the others as well and not so much the window like earlier.

"No. It is not. It is one of the reasons I like being here than some other places I need to be at times. I am one of the kings four horsemen and we travel to his kingdom periodically." He came with the king when he married the queen here as well his three counterparts and Sir Lyons. Although the latter had his own estates, he was still in service to the Black Griffon. "You see the difference more sorely once in certain other lands."

She lifted her eyes from her glass after a glance down to it, obviously somewhat surprised. "Oh, well, in that case, I am honored to have met you, Trevor." Her smile was sincere, warm. "I might add that it seems all of the men here are not lacking in handsome looks, either." Sheepishly. She couldn't help it, a light tease for the men in the room. Her smile turned impish and it ticked to the ladies first before she peeked to see the younger men's reactions.

She winked back at Nora, definitely in silent agreement.

He nudged out the chair near as he watched Kieran, listening as well. So much to be absorbed.

He took a moment to have another drink of the potcheen still held in a hand. "I am pleased you are fitting in and made to feel comfortable as it should be." There was a slight dip of his head again in acceptance of her compliment. The ghost of a smile to chase the more stoic appearance. There was much more under that which he presented to the public on the whole. "Some say it is the air or the Fae that inhabit these lands that give beauty and health to both genders, much as their own possess. Some say it is the water that flows pure from the crystal cave and some say the lands have been blessed by the ancients. You possess beauty as well, for neither am I blind." Returning the compliment without the feel of any undercurrent meaning more than simple truth. "Yourself and two other ladies here. I'll hear no protest on my observation." Due warning for maybe one in particular he felt would come a rebuttal than accepting the compliment as truth in his observance.

Ooooh. smooth of the tongue as well as handsome. The elf could have listened to him talk like that all night. She shook her head a bit and chuckled at herself, but kept quiet, only giving him a dip of her head in thanks, deep sapphires lowered for the moment, before back up to watch and listen again.

Good Elf, or he might have to come over and gently pinch her lips closed to any protest!

"Thank you then, Trevor." She laughed softly. "You'll hear no protest from me for the compliment."

He joined Davin though Nora received a smile and a slight bow. He looked at Trevor with his answer, his expression unreadable briefly.

Oh she didn't necessarily agree... just didn't voice it... she was learning! The elf just wasn't used to compliments.

"A lady should always graciously take compliments her way even if they feel they fall short of how they see themselves. Even if the one is only being kind as well, in time we all grow old and wrinkled and will rue the day we protested compliments well placed and meant."

Too many things to think about with the mention of what the lands could hold. He glanced at Davin and gave a slight shrug.

She didn't dare protest. She did blush however, and lowered her head in a soft bow. "Thank you, Trevor.." Not so impish, her smile was warm instead. She glanced away from him to study the two at the table.

Trevor had his rapt attention. There was a lot here to discover, especially after recent finds along the coast of these lands. Blue eyes studied the kingsman before upon Kieran with the slight rise of his brows, accepting the words true on Fae and Ancients, unless his friend indicated otherwise. There was a different feel here, something that had one more alive or so he found. He noticed Nora looking their way next, from her to Pyper, "you're welcome to join us." He was itching now to show Kieran something, well, a couple of some things that went hand in hand. "I scourge the shoreline as I feel part of my being the Keeper of the Lighthouse. In case a smaller dinghy or ship has met the rocks and wrecked. Morning and early evening in the least as I find I see more down along the shore itself than from the tower. The tower I see more of which is out at sea." A hand fished into his pocket as first he placed two Caribbean pirate coins on the table, the second was a ring made different than any he had seen before and the last was an ancient stone. These three things of his find so far were carried with him in case he got the opportunity to show them.

Compliments were always nice to receive. She sipped her tea and bit back a soft sigh. It had been a long day.

He just gave a slight nod to the lift of brows. Kieran himself had felt different on coming here. A sense of coming home and felt it was due to those rumors connected to himself and his sisters. He smiled at Pyper, then looked to what Davin had found. "Looks like a ship lost some of their treasure off shore. The fleet here keeps an eye out for pirates. That ring is intriguing." The stone too. He picked up the ring first to examine it.

"You have long days. How are the children of these lands and sister lands?" Turning the conversation back to Laura as well his attention there.

She smiled back at Kieran, and hopped down off the stool, now curious as to the treasures Davin pulled out.

"Some days are longer than others. Fiona Afton's daughter was ill and she needed to be with her, so I took over her teaching duties."

With the invitation, she abandoned the barside to approach Davin's table. Her wine glass in her hand, she swept around to pick out a chair, which she pulled out herself to drop into. She sat with her posture straight, always her posture straight, so much so that she might appear uncomfortable. She watched Davin and Kieran, though murmured, "Thank you, Davin," for inviting herself and Pyper over.

She smiled as she continued. "She'll be back tomorrow since the girl is well enough to stay with Hazel. I am pleased to say the children are doing very well, and since each land has their own full time teachers, learning. It's amazing to watch how they soak up knowledge."

Except something that was brought out demanded his attention on another level, two in fact, one more than the other but the other was dormant. He didn't even need to go over to the table. "The stone is an ancient Druid one. Four corners of the earth, the mounds of ancient lands represented and the circle of life at the center with the spiral of power. Keep it well if it allowed you to find it. There would be a reason. The ring is ancient as well, dormant to its origins. The fact it is found it now belongs to you and may present powers as well. The stone unusual, not of this earth that will probably glow if it awakens. It seems to be one of fertility. Possibly a husband's ring to bring about heirs than one for power. Yet it would have been possessed by one of standing." It was the impressions he was getting. The coins meant nothing to him other than they were a means of trade.

"Its a coia'ondo... um... a life stone?" not sure of the translation. she had only seen one once before, and a bit surprised.

Smile swept Nora's way, pleased she had join them but when Trevor started speaking upon the objects he set on the table, he went near slack jaw. The man had not even come over yet saw their detail. Oh, he was soaking in the information, he had felt they were special in some way or another. Swiping a glance to Pyper. "It would seem so as well protection from what is said."

Fertility? He examined again then placed it on the table. The stone he didn't touch for some reason.

After the revelation from her brother, she wasn't surprised by much of anything. Green eyes shifted from Trevor to the four at the table.

Nora was quiet, very quiet. She was intrigued by the findings and quite intrigued that Trevor knew so much about them, without even stepping over. And the Druid history as well. Her brows furrowed and she set her wine glass down,  leaning forward some to get a better view of the findings. "The ring is pretty." Well? She didn't know what else to offer!

Well, he cleared his throat. "Maybe someday I'll feel it might have a use." He could feel the heat around the collar of the poet's shirt. "You sure you don't want to put it on Kieran?" Easier to tease and cover up the heat he was feeling.

"Nooo. You found it." He grinned at Davin. "It's all yours, my friend."

"Anyone else want to try it on?" Almost daring them as he glanced from Pyper to Nora, resting there as he tried to hide the grin.

Nora had never.. been exposed to any sort of magical.. things in her life. Mystic, whichever. Pyper was, in fact, the first Elf she'd met. She snickered suddenly. "Davin, it is a ring. What could possibly happen?"

She chuckled. "I do not believe that anything would happen to any of us... for you are the one who found it. Anything it has to offer will be to you.... not to us." That was usually how it went, from her experience anyway.

"I don't imagine anything unless you're wearing it when ... uh ... " Catching himself, he hid his laughter by taking a drink.

His smile was fuller that turned on Laura as if sharing ethereal secrets. He knew something else on the ring but withheld the information and let them have their sport in due fun.

"Well, you could turn into a Siren and lure us to drool at your feet as sweet notes erupt from your throat? You could have us.." but not saying what as he pointed to Kieran as if he had.


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