Poster: Mariah McCormick
Post # 10
Quiet evening had Mariah curled up in one of the wing backs in front of
the hearth, mug of tea wrapped up in her hands soaking in the warmth as
she watched the dance of flames over the logs. Mesmerized, her thoughts
not even on earthly grounds they were so far away. The skirt wrapped up
with her legs of a dark blue cotton matching the fitted top cut like a
jacket. Slipper shoes were on the floor half under the chair.
Eion had returned to the manor after leaving early in the morning for
training on the king's field. He had spent the day going over bills and
such with Mel, his grandmother and aunt. Though Mel was the Stable
Master, Eion was head of the family here, even if Uncle Brady was head
of the whole family. It was a position he'd gladly give up, but he knew
it was important to his family that he take care of responsibilities.
Still, everything was in good order and they were pleased. He had
finally escaped and before heading for the castle, decided on a drink.
Maybe Segan would be here. He was dressed in a Aran sweater, in the
natural shade of gray, with black pants tucked into black leather riding
boots. His hair was neatly combed instead of going every which way. As
he entered the tavern, he glanced around but hadn't spotted Mariah
curled up in the chair. A quiet greeting was given to Alex as he
accepted a glass of potcheen and the bottle.
Perhaps it was the sound of steps or perhaps it was the sound of
another voice or even perhaps it was the presence felt before steps or
voice were heard that had Mariah drawing back from those exotic lands
she created in her mind and thoughts. Tipping her head around having
large wide eyes seem even more so at that given angle as she caught
sight of who came in. Caught sight with a traveling glance given from
head to toe. She recognized Eion having met him before but perhaps in
this moment she quietly got to really view him fully. A smile curled
nonchalantly as she didn't interrupt his moment acquiring his drink and
greeting of Alex. No, she would soak in the view appreciatively
unhindered, unseen by him and by the time he might notice her before she
would speak up otherwise, her eyes would be lifted to meet his with an
unreadable twinkle in them.
He spotted her first in the mirror behind the bar, turning with glass
and bottle in hand. "Good evening, Mariah. Good to see you
again." Crossing the room, he motioned to one of the chairs, a
slight smile curling his lips. He could very well be wondering at that
twinkle in her eyes. "Do you mind if I join you?" If she said
yes, he'd return to the bar.
She sat up quickly, uncurling in a smooth graceful way as stocking feet
dipped from beneath the length of skirt to slip into the slipper-shoes
waiting below. He might notice enclosed toes in black searching until
the edge was found and drawn around before within. "I don't mind at
all. I would enjoy your company." Slight tip of her head with a
more curious look about those eyes, he seemed friendlier, a little more
open and not so distant was it? "You're not much of a crowd man are
She didn't need to put her shoes on just because of him but he didn't
say anything, rather than embarrassing her. "Is it that
noticeable?" He placed the bottle on a side table as he sat and
then took a drink from the glass. He thought about explaining it was
more mixed company but that might not be wise.
"Yes," which had a quick smile to follow like sunshine after
the rain. "I would suspect there is a reason and that piques my
curiosity but usually such mysterious reasons are not one a person
really wishes to divulge. You become the quiet observer which for a
woman can be just as intriguing for those mysteries hinted at. The look
caught in your eyes when you don't realize. Perhaps even a
sadness." And perhaps she was being too bold with one she barely
knew. "If I start to let my imagination run too far, gently let me
know." She might not be very good with a blunt harsh word.
"You may be right on what some might see but, I think it wiser to
not dwell on certain things." He smiled more fully now, one that
reached his eyes. "I'll let you know as gently as possible."
He tended to treat most women either with polite distance or as he might
one of his sisters. "Did you spend another night here?" He
hadn't come into town except for in the morning so of course, he was
curious if she intended to stay several days at the Thistle rather than
"Never wise to dwell too long on anything that causes pain though
sometimes it needs to be dwelled upon to get past it, if it is possible.
I suppose," bottom lip tucking as she became uncertain but her
smile was surely to follow, dispelling the other. "Aye, that I
have. It is the hope, expressed wish of my father, that I socialize
finally before life slips away and I find myself alone an old lady.
Though, I can agree that it can slip away far too easily and we find it
gone, I don't necessarily agree being alone as in never to marry is that
horrid, the agreement to socialize in making friends so that you are not
alone when those golden years descend." She had her demons there
too though not as his might be, they were still obstacles. "So I am
to spend a few nights, perhaps a few weeks here. A holiday from being
the head of a household that is not really mine." Which she quickly
covered up any emotion that very thought provoked once spoken she had
not realized it would. She didn't want to become doom and gloom but her
fingers were tightly wound around her mug as if that gave her stability
in these uncharted lands of socialization. "Unfortunately no one
has been around tonight until now. I plan to visit some of the places
I've always known about but never had time for. Such as the Celtic
Garden. Have you been there?" Which would only drive home the point
of a newcomer
seeing it before she had when she lived here all her life.
"I've heard of it but no, I haven't been there." He cleared
his throat slightly then continued. "I uh ... tend to shy away from
some things. When I first came here, I wasn't sure I should stay. The
things I saw, and felt were more than a bit un-nerving. I'm doing better
but one step at a time is the best way to describe my approach I
guess." Sounded a bit odd when he said it but it wasn't easy to
Which at first she wasn't sure what he meant. "That which is not
considered of the norm? Such as the Fae and their twilight lands that
border ours, unseen, most of the time? I think what might help is when
you take a good look at life and realize there is nothing normal about
it at all, nothing stable when we are born to eventually die rendering
this reality only a passing faze. To where? Unknown though many are the
speculations. Like the other unknown, might as well accept them for
there are more unknowns than known." If she was making any sense at
all. "I think it is better approached as a surprise each day that
what was unknown becomes known rather than avoiding that which is not
understood or not known." Which had a laugh slip free with her
smile then covered up with the lift of her mug for a drink.
He chuckled as he listened, then nodded. "Well, that was what I
ended up doing." He thought! "And I've not run into anything
that has set me to running off screaming, so I guess I'm doing something
right. I spend a good many years in the service of others, and away from
Ireland that I suppose I lost that ... sense of wonder." He wasn't
sure if that was the right explanation either but it was as close as he
"I'm sure there are good reasons to have one's sense of wonder
stifled for a time but can one really lose it? And if they could would
that not be tragic?" Contemplating the thought had the edges of her
lip dip in a slight frown. "Would it be like being alive but not
living?" Closet analogy she could associate with it.
"Maybe not totally, but many adults do lose it." Now he
wondered if he were still more the skeptic than his siblings but her
final question had him nodding. "I think it's very much like
that." And perhaps it explained why, like it had for his family,
Heathfield had finally become part of him.
"That's what is sad, if they lose it altogether." There was a
pause as she studied him in a curious way. "You have not lost
it?" Slightly lifting her chin in a subconscious dare against the
thought. The smile slipped in place reflecting a most wicked thought,
"if you saw such that would have you running, and screaming, would
it be a high pitch sound that would have everyone around cringing?"
Yes, she was being terrible!
He watched her a moment before answering then smiled. "Heathfield
has brought back what I lost when I left home." He leaned toward
her, his expression serious. "I became a mercenary after I left
home. I saw things that made me hard, cold and skeptical. And when I
came here, I didn't think I could stay. But no, it was hidden not
lost." He snorted, shaking his head. "I haven't screamed since
I was a lad. As far as running, I think it would be more an easy gait
unless it was something that intended to make me its lunch." His
blue eyes held a twinkle as he picked up his glass and took a long
She had to lighten the mood for the conversation was going to those
darker places one preferred to keep in the dark. Although knowing at
some point they needed to be dragged out into the light. A life as a
mercenary had to be one of the cruelest of all in what a person had to
see if they had a heart at all. Concern edged bronze green eyes. "I
am pleased to hear, for yourself and your family, that it was only
hidden and not lost. Otherwise your Grandmother would be taking you to
task I'm sure." She knew enough living in the lands and stories
told getting around, personalities of those new though one learned far
more of any truths by meeting. It became interesting to find out how
close they really were or how far. "I don't really think there
would be too much that would scare you, or that you couldn't face."
There was something strong, an inner strength, she felt around this man.
"Though, if family were threatened.." that would be another
After a long and rather odd day, Vanessa opted stop at the tavern before
making her way to the cottage. Tennison was left to stand and rest as
Vanessa made strides to the door. Reaching for the door, she managed to
get it open before the hem of her cloak was tugged on. Turning, she
looked out over the steps then down when another tug occurred and there
was a strange clicking sound that came from....a spider monkey. Tugging
and clicking. Releasing her grasp on the door knob, she waved her hands
at the silly thing. "Go on, shoo." Not trying to be unkind,
she recognized the thing and it was far from where she'd last seen it.
"Go on. Go home." The creature mimicked her waves and shooing
gestures with more clicks.
Walking until he came to the tavern, the massive bronze dragon would
look around, following the scent of Vanessa, before looking down to her.
She was with...a monkey? The massive bronze was about two-hundred feet
from nose to tail with his wings tucked close to his body. This would be
the first time he had appeared to the tavern in his dragon form. Screams
may come, but he would deal with them, and knew that 'Vanessa would be
able to calm everyone.
"Gran was concerned for me and fussed, but I'm fine now." He
chuckled softly. "Well, I haven't seen anything as of yet, but I
think after my initial training, I'm over worrying about it. I went up
against the four Horsemen." She had grown up in Heathfield and
would know who he meant. "But yes, if my family was threatened, I'm
not sure my family would like what they see."
"I hear she is a very nurturing woman. Kind words have filtered
about the lands and on your family as a whole. Melantha with the horses
and how well they do at the races. Mary in her visits to other elderly
ladies. Even your youngest sister, Concessa, had represented the lands
well along with the MacKay brothers. Davin, your cousin has been doing a
wonderful job with the lighthouse. Conor with his expertise on leather,
Segan for his proficiency and seeing Andre Bovee through on emergency
runs and yourself, aspiring warrior that will probably be knighted under
King Karl himself."
Where his ears ringing just a little? A hand lifted to tug on an earlobe
as he headed up from the port. Cooler night had him in heavier britches,
thicker leather boots lancing up to just below the knee, woolen tunic
over a buccaneer shirt and a light cape over all along with a Stetson he
had bought at the Hollow Woods mercantile. One of black that contrasted
against blond hair.
The door was pulled closed to keep the cold air from filtering into he
tavern as she stood and looked at the little primate. "Go
home." Morjin's landing was rather hard to miss, and likely none
would make a fuss over his arrival. A wave and smile to the dragon.
"Eve, Morjin." Then attention dropped once more to the monkey
as he clicked once more at her. "You're not going away, are you?
I'm not sure I can take you into the tavern." Maybe she should try
putting him in a tree instead.
"If you have gone up against the four, that is a most wonderful
sign. Though," and light laughter under her tone, "you may not
have felt like it on the field." There seemed to be a commotion
outside as she was up from her comfortable seat to give a look towards
the darkened windows to the front of the tavern. "Did you hear
"Good eve, Lady Vanessa." The voice from the dragon would
sound as though a storm was rumbling in. Leaning his large muzzle down
to her, golden, slitted eyes would take her in, as well as the monkey
that seemed not to want to leave her alone. "Do you want me to take
this little one away? It seems to be bothering you."
"No, it didn't and when I did face them, I wasn't in very good
shape." He nodded as he stood and watched her move to the window.
"Aye, I heard something. Do you see anything out there?"
"No no..." She shook her head to Morjin. "He is pet to a
friend of mine that I went to see today. I'm not sure why he followed
me." Another tug on her skirt, the critter bounced up to grab onto
her hand as she tried to wave him off and used her arm to climb up to
her shoulder. She squinted up her face and lifted her shoulders some
with a squeak. "Oh please go home..." She thought to reach up
and grab it until it started separating her curls, looking around with
She approached the window as she cupped her hands to see out through it
for the light behind her. "All I see is a kind of wall, not sure
what was put there made up of plates." That was about it, a section
of such a large dragon and wasn't seeing the forest for the tree. She
backed away, "there is a woman out there talking to some small
animal," turning away as she didn't wish to come off as spying when
it was only curiosity.
Grin was growing as he got closer and caught the antics of the spider
monkey with Vanessa. At least it was not his that was bothering her as
he had acquired one from Aleric Traugott. One that was known to cause
mischief in the lands and so on a ship it might be curtailed. "Hey
little fellow," swinging up over the rail of the porch down the one
side being Morjin was blocking the area otherwise. Feet landing solid as
he headed down the length of the porch. "Evening Vanessa,"
then swung a look out over the rail and up. "Morjin," before
he ducked back under to approach. "I can go get him some bananas
from the kitchen, he might just be hungry and such have him on his way
so no one steals his fare."
"I believe it has taken a liking to you. It might feel that it
belongs with no one but you." His head tilts some, and the massive
wall of plates seen from the window would shift some, so the dragon
would be sitting on his rear, and now the presence of the one called
Segan would have him nodding. It seemed that this one accepted his
presence, so he would simply sit silently, watching and listening.
Hayley had made it back to the Thistle Tavern. Found it quite warming.
She had to come back. The door would open and in the woman went. A smile
was given to those as she entered. She remembered them from a few nights
ago. To the bar she went. Decided that it would be good to get some
cider.. if they had it. For some reason she had a slight craving for the
"Well, if it's not Kaylea MacKay, I'm not sure who it might be.
Hopefully they're both come inside. It's cold out there." He was
watching the window, frowning as the 'wall' moved. Hopefully whatever it
was would be careful of the other buildings out there.
A lopsided smirk to Segan. "Eve, Segan. Hopefully something so
simple would send him on his way." She looked at Morjin. "Oh
dear I hope not. I'm not sure I could handle a monkey at the cottage
with the birds." Celestine must have bribed the creature to follow
her as some sort of joke. She watched as Hayley passed right by and then
turned attention to Segan. "If you would be so kind. It's cold out
here and I'm sure Alex would prefer not have the monkey in the
tavern." Asking for the bananas.
It had been a long day, but a good one, the sort of day that left you
tiredly satisfied at the end of it. Full of hard work and small
accomplishments. Needless to say she was enjoying her work at Vanessa's
bird menagerie - enjoying it very much indeed. It was wonderful having
something to do, some higher purpose beyond just survival and gaining a
little something for herself... even if it was just picking up
rat-leftovers and cleaning out cages. She was responsible in some small
way for the birds' health and happiness, and that felt good. Karina had
even started wearing some of the dresses that Vanessa had handed down to
her, mainly because she hadn't had much market time yet to buy anything
else. Tonight it was a simple dress of pale green spotted with little
darker green flowers, a common sort of material and hanging fairly loose
on her lanky frame. Of course she wore her heavy boots beneath it,
hopefully shattering any image that was too 'girly'. And so up she
tromped, humming a little ditty to herself. Spotting Segan and Vanessa
on the porch, and the dragon she'd grown used to seeing she offered a
grin and wave.
"We shall see," as Hayley passed by he caught the door and
headed in behind her and straight off to the kitchen. He hadn't noticed
his brother yet but when he came out with a small basket of fruit, he
stopped dead in his tracks. There he was with a lady, one they had both
met the other evening. "Evening Eion. Mariah, Hayley,"
sweeping grin, as he slightly indicated the door and beyond with the
lift of the basket before continuing onward and outward to see to the
little spider monkey. He set it on the rail, leaving it to the little
beastie to make a decision.
So far so good, it didn't seem that people were screaming or running in
terror from the massive bronze dragon sitting outside of the tavern.
Morjin would watch all the comings and goings, occasionally looking in
through one of the windows with the huge golden eyes to see who all was
inside the tavern. But then would look away just in case it unnerved
"Oh my, there is a dragon outside," realizing such for the
certain kind of eyes and massive face. "It's not the blue dragon
though," a fleeting look to Eion but then realized he would not
know whom she spoke on. Though caught up short and direction of thought
altered, "Hayley, how nice to see you again. Segan, I like your
hat," though he did look handsome in it, she'd not say so for it
would come off probably the wrong way even if he did and that be all
there was to it. She eyed Eion, maybe wondering how he would look in
Those dresses were comfortable and not overly fancy. Just enough to look
like a dress rather than a burlap sack. Vanessa waited patiently while
the little monkey went on playing with her hair. When Segan returned,
she smiled to him and turned monkey side to the railing. The little
beastie hopped down and started going through the fruits until finding
something it wanted, and went on to eat. "Thank you, Segan."
Silly monkey. She was going to have to kick Celestine. A smile to
Karina. "Eve, Karina. Want a monkey?"
Segan needn't get any ideas in his head. Outside he could hear someone
yelling but not in fear. The dragon was blocking the road and a merchant
was telling him to 'move his arse'. "He can't be very comfortable.
Not very roomy out there." He just gave his brother a look but
didn't say a word.
A blink at that rather strange question, though her eyes moved quickly
to the monkey on Vanessa's shoulder and she understood. Sort of. A
crooked smirk lifted her lips. "Wish I had a silver every
time someone asked me that.... gonna have to pass on the offer though.
Don't think Amergin would be too pleased with that thing as a
brother." She answered both Vanessa and Segan.
Morjin would lift his tail, since that would be the only real major
roadblock, and lets the merchant pass. That wasn't something anyone had
ever told him before. If the dragon weren't in his right mind, he would
be sure that this land had all gone mad. But he would remain silent,
nodding to those that greeted him.
"Aye, Karina, one to wear on your back," teasing her but he
noticed how much better she looked. More alive, not dragged out,
something there certainly.