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Thistle Tavern

Date: 01-30-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 21

She chuckled as she watched the four then turned to smile at Trevor, tipping her head slightly. She knew that type of look because of her brothers.

"Then do not worry, nothing should happen unless you're.. uh." Somewhat copying Kieran. She tilted her head towards Davin, her brow arched and she let out a quiet laugh. "You sound as if you'd want that to happen."

The elf was a bit lost now.... as they stopped finishing their sentences, and so stepped back a bit from the table to let them continue.

He was laughing at the unfinished sentences and their implications.

Which had his brows raised with the comments and reactions back. "One never knows unless they try on the ring but it seems best I tuck it away." But to the last blue eyes turned on Nora and a slow smile spread, one with a dimple to finally show as well. "I am normal." What did she expect? She might even wonder if he had experience just for the look. He'd never tell.  Kieran was probably a virgin, the quick look his way all but dared before back on the lovely Nora. After all, her looks were more appealing to him.

Her impish smile returned, hidden when she lifted her glass for a tiny sip. She was quiet at this point, her attention briefly falling back to the items. Until Davin spoke up. She looked up at him, a little rose cheeked and she smiled. She noted the look he sent to Kieran and she too glanced his way, curious, of course. Then she glanced right back to Davin. Her brow curved into a subtle arch.

Could be! But he'd never tell either.

The elf went back to her stool, but had to chuckle at the looks that were being given between the three.

His brows lifted in near mirror image.

"What was that look about?" When his brows lifted, she questioned! She motioned towards Kieran, indicating the look Davin slanted him.

"Do you get time to spend in Heathfield much or spend most of it in one of the sister castles?" Heathfield lands were built up more than the other two, more children to be taught and really could use two teachers here.

Now was the time for him to be quiet!

"More in Heathfield. I usually travel to Ballicastle and Tyremoor once a month just to see how things are progressing." Innis had their own education system as far as she knew.  "I'm not sure what they do in Kildare yet."

"You mean the one to mirror yours? I would need ask you first then!" His brows lifting a tad higher as eye contact remained steadfast. He was the rebel in his family, the adventurer.

"Ask me what?" Confusion set into her features, and she tilted her head into an avian like cant. She was watching Davin and even allowed the eye contact, only because she had no clue what was on his mind. She was still in her forward lean but she reversed it some. The glass was taken up again and she drained it before setting it back down on the table.

"I'm sure they will organize a school as the lands settle more. Things are very diverse presently." Amused glint surfaced in dark eyes in overhearing the conversation at the table.

"You looked at me first raising your brows. I raised mine for it seemed you wished to ask me something but didn't want to ask outright?" One of those silent questions that was answered silently!

"I raised by brows because you were staring at Kieran in an odd manner! Or at least, sneaking him some sort of look. I think I have confused myself." Her lips pursed faintly then she let out a quiet laugh.

"I would argue that point, I only looked his way for what he had said. Now, if you accused me of staring at you, that I could not argue for I have at times." They were digging a hole .. weren't they!

"Oh..." That seemed to silence her, some. For a moment. A second. She cleared her throat. "You have?"

The elf chuckled at that. They were indeed....

Smile swept that reached blue eyes, dimple there before settled back. He didn't need to repeat himself.

She might say it was the wine that had her flushing, if she were asked. She smiled to him and again cleared her throat. Must be something stuck in there!

He also knew if he kept it up he could rightfully get swatted or worse, slapped. "Have a drink of your wine," being helpful? Certainly he noticed the nice flush upon her cheeks.

He watched a moment more before he finished his drink and placed the empty glass on the table. Only one for him.

"My glass is empty." She motioned to it. She hadn't planned on having another, but maybe that wasn't such a bad idea after all.

"Maybe you would all like to go on an excursion for treasure hunting along the coast some afternoon." When it was safer rather than evening. He had to cut the coins away from barnacles that held them to the rocks, precarious angle too or he'd end up in water. Worse, it was later in the evening and the use of the lantern is what had them catch his eye when exploring behind the crag.

"Do you spend free time away from books, rulers and grading papers?" Quietly to keep up the conversation with Laura but he was amused by the other at the table.

"I would like that." It would be something different for her, something enjoyable, even.

She was chuckling at them too, amused, even if a bit confused at times.

He leaned over and poured some from his glass, even if it wasn't wine but potcheen. Just enough to whet her throat, maybe have her very warm.

She was enjoying the discussion as well but her attention went back to Trevor and she nodded. "As much as possible. Before the other teachers were hired, I didn't have any spare time. It's nice to have some now. What about you?  I know you have a young son, but do you enjoy your free time away from training and the field?"

She had no clue what he had poured for her, honestly. She glanced down at the glass, then up at him with a soft blink. Without asking what he had given her, she lifted her glass for a sip. Needless to say, her expression turned to one of shock, very quickly. Fingers from her other hand shot up to her lips, in an effort to keep herself from spitting the stuff right back out again. She swallowed, hard!

"Aye, I'd like to when I have some free time." He wasn't sure when that would be though. He watched Nora, wincing a little for her.

The elf winced and chuckled at Nora, a brave lass she was indeed.

"I spend as much as I can with my son, being a lone parent it requires more but I enjoy it. Though I know I need to spend time of my own as well not associated with duty or family. Do you have any hobbies then.?" Pausing as he watched Nora's initiation.

It takes getting use to but is best to stave off the cold. Probably because you can't feel your extremities after a while for it to register." Half teasing melting into a curious look. "You've not tried it before?"

"Are you trying to put hair on my chest? What is that?" A bit croaked. Obviously she hadn't tried it, so says her questions!

Which he duly noted. "Potcheen, it's finely made. Whiskey to others but more pure. It's medicinal as well, will kill a cold. It is said it puts hair on a man's chest but along with that rumor is the one you get pregnant by drinking the water. Rather silly considering that is not how a child is conceived."

"Ah, I see.." She quietly laughed, her eyes bright. "And I see why it gets you warm so quickly." She finished the rest of it, which meant it couldn't have been that bad to her. Strong? Yes, but she didn't mind trying something different.

She had waited a moment before answering, lips curving with a smile. "I like to paint though I'm not very good at it. I read too, and I like to go riding." So she wasn't a complete recluse.

Which honestly, he was relieved to see. She could have dashed the bit in his face after the first taste. Obviously his mouth and deeds got him in such predicaments before. He lifted his glass and saluted her instead. She went up a notch in his esteem for weathering the potcheen. He kicked back the rest of his. One was enough for him as well. "Then we shall find a time convenient for us as well the weather in going treasure hunting. Unfortunately I need to get back and feed the fire of the Lighthouse before I find my sleep. Eric will be waiting to be fed, again." The cat ate more than him he'd swear.

"And I should be getting back to the barracks." He would be up early and on the field same as every morning, well before dawn.

"You should paint as much as you want, for it is the enjoyment that counts more than recognition." An accomplished feeling as well letting creativeness have its expression in a certain medium. "Riding, one needs to take care in the where presently, I'd stay away from the more mountainous areas this time of year. Unless you go with someone that knows their way very well. It is getting late, may I escort you back?" He would see her properly home.

"I should ride back, as well." She was pretty tired. She rose up from her chair and went to the bar to collect her gloves.

It seemed to be the time to go as he rose from his seat. "If you are not staying here, we can see you both back. Nora, Pyper."

"I stay to the roads mostly this time of year, unless I'm with one of my brothers." She smiled as she stood. "I would appreciate that very much, Trevor."

She finished off her drink as well, then standing to put her gloves on as everyone was leaving and it was late. She had quite a walk ahead of her. "Thank you, though I think I'm going the wrong way of you all." She didn't want to put anyone out of their way this late, especially those that had to be up early.

"It has been a pleasure meeting you Nora, Pyper and of you Davin. Kieran, I will see you on the field as well Davin." Challenge set in dark eyes to Davin that he would not only return but join in. He would see to Laura's cloak, first the jacket to be donned over the red satin vest and poet's shirt, matching the pants. He was over then to retrieve their cloaks, helping Laura into hers first.

"I'm fine with the walk, Pyper. Besides, its a nicer night out to have the walk. Have you a horse?" Wondering as he was over to get his cloak, he'd help Nora and Pyper with theirs as well if needed.

"Thank you." And it was nice to have that assistance as well. "It was a pleasure to see you again Pyper, and to meet you all. Good night."

He'd help one or the other too, and once they were ready, he'd hold the door for everyone. A wave was given to Alex too.

She shook her head. "No... but I like walking." and she found that she didn't sink down into the snow. It gave her several inches, which made her chuckle. "Thank you," said softly as Kieran helped her, smile and twinkling eyes in his direction.

"Pleasure meeting you Lady Laura," like a contrite school lad, the kind the teacher would become wary of! "Sir Trevor, I'll be there in the morning once I see to the fire," then out the door he went with Nora, Pyper and Kieran. They had the energy for such a walk. His mother use to swear they were not all human and had him thinking maybe there was more to those words he took as just a comment.

"Good night Laura. Safe travels to you both."

"Good night, Sir Trevor, Lady Laura." He bowed slightly before he was heading out with the others. Nice brisk night.

He would see Laura out in the group exit but they would head in another direction from the four.

She went out with everyone else.


Date: 01-31-09
Poster: Niklas Traugott
Post # 22

Back from Luneberg

Along with Sir Cairns, Niklas also returned from Luneberg. Their shop there needing the family's attention. There was also the consideration of what to do with the manor now that their mother had passed away. It sat empty except for a skeleton staff and the few times either he or Aleric were there. It would be hard to part with it but they might consider renting out rooms, it was quite massive. So he sat, chair pushed back tipped against the wall at a table that gave him a good view of the door. Drink rested clutched in a hand against his thigh, blond hair an unruly mass of curls with that just got up look. Far from the truth, more that a hand would dash through it now and again. Woolen tunic of deep blue worn over a lighter blue shirt, black pants as well the boots. One booted foot braced against the leg of the table helping him to keep the balance of his chair.

Dia wasn't singing this night as she made her way to the Thistle. Rather she was shivering in spite of being dressed warmly and wrapped in a fur lined cloak of white wool. She was certain she was coming down with a cold though she had been in the attic of the theater looking for a chest she had noted previously. Not having found it, she was certain the ghosts were playing pranks. She was quickly up the steps and inside, closing the door behind her quietly.

The opening of the door brought Niklas back to the present as a twinkle set in periwinkle eyes. Chair was eased down and a good opportunity for him to rise after sitting for some time. "Good evening, it is still snowing outside, ja?"

"Good evening, Niklas." She smiled as she lowered the hood of her cloak. Though it had been some time ago that they had met, she would never forget a handsome man's name. "Si, it is still snowing like the cats and dogs." Using the saying for rain as it seemed to fit. She hung up her cloak, and gathered the skirt of her gown to shake off the hem. She wore red satin tonight, the bodice covered with black lace, the neckline showing a hint of cleavage. Around her slender neck she wore a black ribbon choker, a cameo decorating it. "You have been well, Niklas?" Accent was still heavy though a little less than it had been.

"You look very lovely Brigidia," the red satin looked really good for her darker looks. Wherein if she was pale complexion it might blare instead. "You are welcome to join me," indicting a chair then around to pull it out for her if she took him up on his offer. "I have been well, very busy over the holiday and then afterwards up in Luneberg." Things there were a continual thorn in all their sides. A number of different things. Certainly he also had a few extraordinary adventures there, one underground in another dimension of reality. "How are the shows going?" He knew that they ran regular smaller ones.

"Thank you." She felt her cheeks heat up, knowing they would be turning a soft pink. "It is one of my favorite gowns though maybe too festive?" Not that being too festive would stop her from wearing it. "I like it too because it does not ... stain." A little hesitation on the word but her English was good. "I would very much like to join you. Being busy is good, si?" She had crossed the room to the bar, asking for a mug of hot tea with a splash of whiskey and honey. Once it was in hand, she was joining him. "The shows are doing very well. The people here like to come. It gives them a chance to forget the cold weather."

"Nein, it is prefect. Vorzüglich." Finding the word better in his native tongue. The next had him a little confused. "It does not stain?" Had he heard her right? All clothing stained that he knew of, now he was staring at a sleeve (safe place) to see if the material looked different, if it had some quality about it he could detect that rendered stain free. This as she neared as he would see her seated. Once she was settled he was back around to claim his seat again. Though he didn't push it back against the wall like it had been. "You are able to keep the theater suitably warm then?" It was very large, very high ceilings and so he wondered.

"Ah, I say wrong I think. Most satin gets marks when it gets water on it. They do not go away and the material is ruined. This does not ruin." There. That might be better. "I think wine might stay on it." She nodded, smiling.  "Si, somehow. We have the stoves that burn coal throughout and then the people being together help to keep one another warm. I am not sure how. We also have the hangings on the wall but the laughter does the most."

"Ja, you had if it does stain. I thought maybe it was a new kind of satin material." So he knew some about material and stains! Wait. That didn't make sense. "You are wearing red satin but does not stain but satin does?" Oh yes, really confused look! He was feeling a language barrier more than usual here.

She looked thoughtful, then giggled. "It is hard to explain I think. It looks like satin, but I have had gowns of satin that have been ruined when they got wet. This one ... it does not get ruined. I can have it washed and the marks are gone." She leaned slightly to look at the hem. "I found it in the theater so I think perhaps it is not really satin." She was hoping that made sense!

"Ah, it only looks like satin but doesn't stain like satin does." What a conversation. Stuck on satin. "It is vorzüglich, ja, satin but not." He had an infectious smile that curled in a way that usually had others smiling even if they had no clue why. "You have found a treasure then." Not looking directly at the gown as it would have his eyes on her chest being seated across from her at this point. Tempting, possibly a flicker too fast to really be considered looking.

"Si!" She laughed as she sat back again. "I hope I am not sounding too ... dizzy?" She laughed and shrugged her shoulders. "Perhaps we should change the subject?"

Treve had entered from the side door, once closed he took a few moments to dust off the snow coating his cloak. It had just started up a few minutes before reaching the tavern, one reason he quickly continued on as he'd been waiting for his brother. Snow squalls, whiteouts some called them. Gusts that swirled bringing visibility to zero for a few moments until passed before another swirled up.

Nora had to slow Luna's gait to an easy walk; the snow that started to fall, fell quickly and it was hard for her to see. Flakes gathered in the curls of her hair that peeked free of the hood, and in her lashes, on her clothes. When she reached the tavern, she passed the reins of Luna quickly off to a stable boy before she hurried for the door. Dressed in pale lavender trimmed in white, a dress with a full skirting and a snug fit of a bodice decorated in the white lace. She bumped through the doorway drawing in a sharp breath. Teeth chattered as she removed her cloak. Her cheeks were quite rosy.

Attention swiftly shifted to the front door as it opened. His cloak removed by this time as he hung it up to a peg by the side door. At first he thought it might be his brother but a far lovelier face greeted his vision instead. One he recognized in those few seconds as well. "Nora, you look like the Ice Queen." Snow still held in the curls of her hair. "Did yea see me brother out there in the white?" Like one could see much of anything at all.

"Guten abend," forgetting himself a moment as he rose being one was a lady, very obviously. A twinkle rising in periwinkle eyes again for her frosted, yet lovely, appearance. Now there were two lovely ladies to grace the tavern this evening. "Good evening," correcting himself with English. "I am Niklas Traugott and this is senorita Brigidia Valdez of the theater."

Her cheeks were already pink enough from the cold, but the flush did seem to spread down to her throat not long after Trevet spoke. "I do not believe I would make a very good Ice Queen," she remarked quietly, not without a low, breathless laugh. "And I did not see him, no. I could not see much of anything, though. Ah, good evening." The last for the greeting, the introduction. "My name is Nora, uhm.. Elleanora Stockard." It was the first time she'd said her name, nearly in full--she'd left out the middle part. "It is a pleasure to meet the both of you. That is Trevet.." She motioned to him, smiling.

Kynan wasn't far behind Treve or Nora but he didn't realize it with the way the snow was blowing. He was holding his cloak tightly, head down and nearly walked into the building. Snickering, he hurried up the steps and inside. He didn't remove his cloak immediately after closing the door. Instead, he waited for the snow to melt off his lashes so he could see better.

"It is a pleasure to meet you both." She inclined her head slightly. "The weather has taken a turn, si?"

"No, on second thought you would not. A frosted fairy queen with the tint on her cheeks like the petals of roses in spring." Ice Queen, he realized belatedly, implied a more nasty disposition, cold hearted, and so forth, far from Nora. He caught the introductions as he rubbed his hands together to bring back their warmth. "It is a pleasure to meet you Niklas and Brigidia." The color of her attire caught his eye as well, red satin had a way of doing that. He needed a drink before he tripped over his tongue or any unseemly action like staring. Pretty women indeed. Alex soon setting out potcheen as it was collected. The first kicked back, second to follow and the third he would wait on refilled in his glass.

"I am pleased to meet you Lady Elleanora Stockard, Nora. The cold brings out the lovely color to your cheeks and brightens your eyes." Very appealing to a male, he was not blind. Another in her wake, "guten abend, good evening."

"Thank you, Trevet." She bowed her head in a sheepish fashion, ducking her eyes briefly to the floor. She left her cloak to hang from a peg on the wall. A smile was directed to Niklas, Brigidia, then she glanced to the door when it opened. "Ah, Kynan, good evening."

He caught sight of his brother in the mirror as he turned, adding him into the introductions. "This is my brother Kynan, the senorita Brigidia and Sir Niklas." Ah, see, he knew the man was one of the kingsmen.

"Evening." He smiled at the unknown man and woman, then glanced at his brother with the introduction. "Pleasure to meet you both, Brigidia, Sir Niklas. Evening Nora, Treve. Bloody cold out there." He grinned as he turned away and hung his cloak. He kept one arm close to his chest.

"Aye, good night to go down the dragon head. Wont see a single curve, only feel them. Wont know you're airborne until that very lofty feeling and nothing beneath you as you go down."

"And thank you, too, Sir Niklas." Late on her thanks for his compliment. She'd been distracted, perhaps. She arched a brow listening to Trevet as she approached the bar. "You .. ride down a dragon? The head of it?"

"It's a toboggan run the Shawnesey brothers built along with Rick McAndrews. You've met them? It looks like a snaking dragon down the side of a good size hill that leads to the lake." Glancing up to this brother. "I was hoping you made it here tonight. You were missed the other."

"Ah yes, I have, though I have not been to this toboggan run. Nor the lake, even." Spoken quietly as she settled into a spot at the bar. She was still chilly.

She was watching the others quietly then she looked at Niklas, studying him. A slight smile appeared before she sipped her tea.

"Ruarc was teaching me some." He shrugged slightly as he turned, cradling a small mostly gray puppy in his arms. It had black ears and markings of brown and black on its face and legs.

"Well then, it seems another place to add to your list of to see. There is a lot of fun to be had there. Toboggan runs, races, ice skating, snowball fights." Words quieting as Kynan was also talking and his drink lifted to have another taste.

The little thing was shivering as he approached the bar and asked Alex for some warm milk. That was all he had to say at this point. Just letting Treve know where he was.

"I have egg on face, ja?" Having her caught looking at him. Perfect opportunity to tease that had a dimple showing with his smile. Twinkle in periwinkle eyes resurfaced.

She nodded, for Treve and smiled in reply. She seemed to fall quiet, too. Mostly to give the brothers a chance to catch up. She did note the puppy though and her smile seemed to widen a bit.

She laughed, cheeks turning pink at having been caught. "No, no egg. Dimple though." And very nice eyes but she didn't say that or the pink would turn to bright red.

"Where did you get the puppy?" Moving closer as he set his drink aside. Fingers found the fur to stroke in a soothing way. The shivering might be do more to fear than the cold, rightly so with a pup out on a night like this.

Which only had the dimple deepen as instinctively his hand was up to try and tame down the thick unruly blond curls. He managed some this time. "I was told I look like I just woke up."

"I heard her crying and found her under a porch when I was passing by. The house was dark so I'll take her by tomorrow and see if they claim it." He looked up at Treve, frowning a little. "Think she'll be okay?" She was cold but warming up.

"Si, you do." She laughed as she watched him try to tame the curls. "But it is a very good look for you. Muy attractive." Now she was blushing more.

"She's adorable." Quietly spoken. She caught Alex's attention and leaned slightly towards him when she placed an order. The same as usual, wine.

"I think she or he will be fine." Being he had not looked to see what gender. "A lady's touch might be even more comforting," stepping back enough that Nora could come see the pup. See if she had the motherly touch for an animal infant. It also dawned on him, he could get a dog finally. No longer running and a more stable environment.

"Well then, if anyone says that to me again, I will tell them you say it is attractive." That would shut them up. Chuckle came with the smile once again. Each time the dimple would appear. He remembered something told him this morning on the field. "Congratulations to both of you, Trevet and Kynan for participating in the joust and for taking first place, Trevet." Niklas was very good in certain areas but found he did not do well in a joust at all for one held last spring.

"Please do, or send them to me and I will tell them." She laughed then looked at the two young men. "That is wonderful. Congratulations indeed."

"It's a she." He grinned at Treve then looked at Niklas. "We were honored to take part." His first joust and he was thinking he wasn't really suited for such. He offered the pup to Nora.


Date: 01-31-09
Poster: Niklas Traugott
Post # 23

"Ah, the men performed quite well, Niklas." She spoke up a little when she heard the congratulations sent to the brothers. When Trevet stepped back, Nora eased down the bar, closer. She took her glass of wine with her, but it was set to the counter when she was close enough to take the offered puppy. She held the pup close to her chest, cradled carefully in one arm. Her other rose to give comforting scritches. "What if no one is at the home tomorrow, Kynan? Will you keep her?"

Coming up and around with a slight apologetic expression. "Thank you both. I was honored to represent Heathfield, especially all the lands have done for my family. I was equally surprised and of course pleased to do as well as I did." Kynan was suited just as well as he was in his opinion. Next time he could come in first and Treve drop. Never knew. Jousting was a tricky sport.

"Aye, I couldn't let her there." He watched her with the pup and offered her a shy smile. "She's a tiny thing, isn't she?"

"She is very tiny. Very precious." Nora smiled, holding the puppy a few more moments before she carefully handed her back to Kynan.

He watched them for a moment, the pup was definitely appealing even to him. He knew where to get one if he went that route as well. Focus soon shifted back to Brigidia. "Have you been to the lake yet? Ice skating, tobogganing?"

She was watching the puppy now as well but her attention went back to Niklas and she shook her head. "I have not done so this year. Last year I went ice skating with my sister. We never tried the dragon."

He set the pup on the bar so she could drink, watching her a moment. Very tiny but old enough to survive on her own. His expression became thoughtful as he fell into his usual silence.

He went quiet, watching Nora with the puppy. Whatever his thoughts were, nothing was said to indicate them one way or another. Another drink of his potcheen instead but he certainly looked thoughtful for a moment.

She took note of the silence around her. This, of course, had her wondering; not that she was speaking much herself. She sipped her wine thoughtfully and as she set the glass down, she cast a glance towards Trevet, then Kynan and back again. "Is there something bothering you two?"

"It might be fun to give it a try, ja?" He was one for adventure and certainly had a few. Always up for more as it made life far more entertaining no matter the circumstances he got himself into.

The puppy was making sounds as she noisily lapped at the milk. He smiled to see she seemed fine, especially when Alex brought out some finely ground meat. Blinking, he looked up at Nora. "Not me."

"Bothering? No, not at all." Slight sheepish smile followed. Then he blurted it out, "you should have a puppy."

"Perhaps one day. At least, after I have made up my mind on what I will be doing, where I will be staying, permanently, I mean." She gave it some thought. She did note the sheepish smile though and her head canted gently. She smiled, too, a moment later, then drank more wine after pulling her attention from the brothers.

"Si." She nodded then laughed. "I hear it is quite a ride, and it feels like flying, and not always does one make it to the bottom."

Her smile brought more of his own before caught up in what she had just said. "You have? Will you share with us then what you've decided?"

"I would suggest you not wear a pretty dress like you wear tonight. Do you have trousers?" He knew there was a style made for woman that seemed to accent the curve of their hips.

"Of course I will, but right now I am just.. ah, stuck on a road with many forks in it and I do not know which direction to take." She laughed quietly at her description. It fit well.

"Oh yes I do. I also have fur lined boots and heavier clothes that were my brothers when they were younger." She knew how to dress in layers now though it had taken time to learn it. Their home had been in a warmer part of Spain.

"Oh, I thought you said you had made up your mind," realizing the faux pas as he looked at his drink then up again. Maybe he took those first two too fast tonight. He could maybe cover his tracks. "Do you have any ideas?"

"Maybe we could have a mini toboggan race for fun." He would see about getting prizes too. He was in such a position. He said it loud enough with a glance to the three over at the bar as well, making it inclusive.

"Mm, I should find a home, a permanent one; and possibly somewhere to offer my services. As what? I am not sure, I do not quite know what is available. Those are the main things that I should address, first." Her lips pursed gently and her gaze trailed over towards Niklas when she heard him. "I've.. never been on one.." Fair warning, she thought.

"Si, that would be great fun! Neither have I, Nora." She laughed, a chime like sound. "So we will not be alone in that, si?"

"Ah, yes, quite true then!" She replied to Brigidia with a sudden smile.

Dimpled smile was shared between both Brigidia and Nora. Obviously he would see about having such a more unofficial run. Let word get around then anyone who showed up.

"That sounds like it'll be fun." He grinned then looked at Treve. "What do you think?"

"Aye, and as with everything, there is always a first time." Then he cleared his throat, another drink was in order!

Her brow arched oh so slowly. She slanted a glance to Kynan, then back to Trevet, then back to Kynan. It was hard to say what she was thinking right then!

He purposely didn't look Nora's way just in case she had a questioning look. If he didn't see it, he didn't have to squirm.

Hmm. "Will this be your first time, Trevet?" They were talking toboggans, right? However, with what he had said, she might have meant something else entirely. Lady? Where?

He had been resting his chin on his hands which were resting on the bartop. So instead of saying anything more, he lowered his face briefly. Which gave the pup an opportunity to attack his hair.

"No, I've been on sleds before, makeshift ones but not this toboggan run in particular." So, it could be that, squeeze in that thought.

"Oh?" She tipped her head delicately to the side. She requested another glass of wine, too.

Laughing, he straightened and picked up the pup. He carried her to the fireplace and sat in front of it, playing with the pup so he wouldn't say something he shouldn't. Nice and safe here.

He cleared his throat followed by a smile. "Yes." Like agreeing it was he wasn't on this particular toboggan run yet.

She said nothing more, seeing that they'd chased Kynan off! She did smile though, right over the rim of her wine glass before sipping.

"I need to get back as I will be on the king's field come dawn. I will leave a note here with Alex with a good time for some toboggan fun." He rose from his seat. "If you are taking your leave as well, I will see you back." He knew where the theater was of course and had even stopped in to watch from the back when he had time.

"Si, I should go as well. I have enjoyed myself this night." She stood and carried the empty mug to the bar. "It was a great pleasure to meet you all. Please, come to the theater some time. We are glad to show visitors around."

"Have a pleasant night, Niklas, Brigidia. It was a pleasure to meet you both." She spoke up from her silence, turning some to look their way with a pleasant smile.

"It was a pleasure to meet you both, senorita Brigidia and Sir Niklas." He would probably come around to the practice as well being he'd been invited and his brother Mikhail nudging them both to do so.

He stood when the two did, the pup in his arms. "Good night. It was good to meet you both." Then he was over to get a rag from Alex.

"Guten abend, it was good meeting you all. If you decide what you would like to do, or would like a cottage, Nora, let Alex know. One of us will help you out." A few of them helped out in that way. He was across the way to don his cloak and help Brigidia with hers before heading out.

"Thank you, Niklas." Everyone she'd meet had been nothing but kind here. It still amazed her.

She smiled warmly, thanking Niklas as he helped her with her cloak. Ready to face the cold again as they stepped out.

"You should get a small woolen blanket to wrap her up in when we head back." Just a suggestion even if Kynan tucked her under his cloak as well. He remained standing there by the bar, a step away as he swirled the potcheen left in his glass. An idle habit that showed up when he got thoughtful. "The sledding should be fun." The glass then lifted to kick back what remained. With a step back he set it on the bar. He had enough for this night or might be saying something stupid.

She still had wine left in her glass, and she sipped at it slowly. One more sip, then she carefully set it to the counter top. "Yes, it should be fun," she agreed, even if she had no idea on what it was like. She grinned slowly. "Even if it will be my first time."

"Aye, I will." He was over to discard the rag then was directed by Alex to the back room. The wiggling pup was placed on the floor, and followed him down the hall. He was leaving them alone for just a moment.

"Yes, there is ... " but he didn't complete the sentence for it would be repeating what he said earlier and he managed away from putting his foot in his mouth, wise enough not to go back there so laughed instead.

She laughed, too. A flush set into her cheeks, possibly from the wine. Possibly not. She tapped one finger against the side of the glass. "Perhaps I shall visit the lake soon."

"It's very beautiful, the lake, winter or any other season I'm told." He really didn't get to see it in any other season. Yet. "We could all go down together or at least have someone with you. Winter can be tricky no matter where you go or who you are." Accidents happened even to the most skilled. It was just using common sense to go in pairs or group.

"Ah, then perhaps we will all go together. It would be terrible if I did go alone and fall through ice or some such." That would be her sort of luck.

He was back out, carrying the pup this time. She had caused him to trip but luckily he had been out of sight. The piece of wool blanket he found was being chewed on by the pup. "Yes it would." Agreeing with Nora's words.

"That's exactly why. It would not be wise of me to go alone and end up falling through the ice. No one to help or get help." Sad way to die. It gave him a chill up his spine. "Shall we head back, see you back to the castle on our way?"

"That would be wonderful, thank you, Trevet." She finished her wine off. The glass left to the bar before she stepped delicately away from it.

He was over to get his cloak near the side door then headed for the front door to take down Nora's. He'd help her in it being Kynan's hands were full to be able to.

She met Trevet at the front door, easily sliding herself into the cloak. "Thank you," she offered with a smile.

He had to put the pup down while he put on his cloak and gloves. She was busy shaking and attacking the blanket and when he went to pick her up, she ran with it. Once he had her, he wrapped her up, tucked her under his cloak and rejoined his brother and Nora at the door. "Ready."

She stepped towards Kynan to give the puppy a scratch, then drifted ahead of them; out.

For a moment there his arms were practically around her before he stepped back. Glance to Kynan to make sure he was ready before getting the door, once all were out to see it closed behind them. They were greeted with gusty snow filled wind.

If she was surprised, she hid it. Though she did seem to slant a look down to his arms, what she could see of them. Clearing her throat, they were out soon enough. She shivered against the wind, the snow.

They would keep her close so she wasn't lost in the snow! Huddled with quicken steps, it was invigorating too.


Date: 02-01-09
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 24

A Night for Getting Out

There was no hiding his entrance or the fact that cold still dominated the weather.  He shook off his woolen coat, as if he fought off the cold, and hung it to a peg by the door, speaking to Alex without even scanning the room yet.  "Whatever you have that's warm,  My Friend, I will take it."  He turned then, pulling the sleeves down fully over his wrists.  "Ah, good day do you."  A smile for the lady within as he continued toward the bar and the mug that Alex was placing there.

Her head turned towards the man that just entered.  A handsome devil, she'd say to herself; though not out loud.  Nora rose up slowly, a little hesitantly--she was still somewhat nervous when it came to strangers.  Though there was a smile on her mouth, one that glittered in her blue green eyes.  "Good day," she began, pausing to carefully look over him,  "good Sir. Is it snowing?"  Her question was a soft one.  She remained standing near her chair, her small hands folded in front of her and resting against the full skirting of her dress.

Carno might be strange for eternity, but a stranger he would not remain long.  He collected his mug, feeling the warmth settle into his palm as he turned back to the female.  "Snowing?" A quick glance to a window but soon enough back to the one he conversed with.  "Not as yet, just a bit cold for my liking.  Still, it's warm enough in here, no?"  He started toward her and offered a faint dip of head in greeting.  "Lazare Carno."

"There was a lot of snow last night, I had to stay here.."  Mentioning quietly, with a vague motion of her hand upwards, indicating the rooms upstairs.  "I slept well, however.  And Alex is always so kind.."  She looked away from the man to pass a sincere smile towards Alex, then her gaze settled back on the man once more.  Her head bowed gently and a dimple pressed into her cheek when she smiled.  "Lazare Carno," she repeated, mostly to tuck the name into her memory better, "My name is Nora.  Well, Elleanora Stockard, though everyone calls me Nora."  She suddenly curtsied, a slow one.

He watched as she saw to formalities, a curtsy no less.  He found his smile widening.  "Well Nora, I've a bad habit of forgetting names.  I tend to make them up as I go."  A twitch of a wink set off that grin all the more.  "So I will ask your forgiveness and your I need not in the future." He dipped his head toward her chair.  "I didn't mean to disturb you."

"I see, well, you are forgiven, though I hope you do pick nice names for me in the future--if you are to forget mine."  She smiled again, complete with the comma shape curve of dimples in her cheeks.  "You did not disturb me, I was simply.. thinking.  Keeping warm."   She peeked around him to the bar, to Alex, perhaps considering ordering a drink for herself.  Her lips pursed and when she looked back to him, she rocked back a slow step.  "You may join me, if you'd like.."  There were plenty of empty chairs and she made a motion to all of them.

Trevor made his way in through the back where the offices were. He knew Lazare was back, or more that he was back from Luneberg. His cloak removed and folded over an arm as he made his way down the hall leading out to the tavern area. He was dressed finely as was his way. Vest of charcoal grey over a classy poet's shirt. Tailored pants that matched and finely tooled dress boots. A smile already starting to dispel the otherwise more stoic appearance. Neat appearance, hair tied back and clean shaven.

Lazare turned his gaze over a shoulder to look back to Alex as she did, but soon enough his attention was centered again on her.  "A lovely lady, a warm fire...what is not to like about those options?"  But hello, look who just strolled in!  "I will do my best, Lady Nora, to find a for you." He spoke to her but he offered his comrade a lift of chin in greeting for now.

Her eyes glittered, a star burst effect in the sky blue and near clover green of her eyes. She even felt a blush rise into her cheeks. She tried to imagine what kind of names he might call her in the future, and she was just about to inquire when she noted Trevor. She treated him to the same formality that she had shown Lazare. She turned slightly and dropped into a slow curtsey. "Good day." Her verbal greeting was soft and she watched him a moment as she slowly straightened. She glanced back to Lazare, then over to Trevor, curious to know if they knew each other or not.

Still, with his eyes on Trevor, he offered the introductions. "Lady Nora Stockard, His Lordship, Trevor Cairns...Sir Cairns...Nora Stockard." He lifted his mug for a quick, but cautious sip of the heated liquid within, then lowered it to rest it in the opposite palm. He tilted his head slightly, as if to share a secret with the woman close. "One of the Four Horsemen is Cairns. The King's Man."

Trevor folded the cloak over the back of a stool at the bar where he collected a glass of potcheen. A little early for such but there were times to make exceptions. Continuing on his way to join them, even if not technically invited, he would invite himself no matter, a few words pass low when he neared Carno, "life is a conscious continuity.." dipping his head otherwise to the lady, "Lady Nora, I trust you have been well," remembering her from a few days ago meeting in this very tavern. she might not recall him.

He cut a look her way, a waggle of brows, then smiled to Trevor as he approached. "Life... Comrade..." is all he said. More need not be added as yet.

She had met Trevor once, though the slip of information, a part of it that Lazare offered, she did not know. She appeared momentarily surprised. She divided a look between them, a glance that passed from Lazare to Trevor, where it lingered then tipped back to the other in time to note the waggling brows. She grinned, an impish thing. "Sir Trevor, I am quite well, though I almost got caught in a snow storm last evening.." She trailed, almost adding the word 'again' but thought better of it. She had come to the conclusion that Luck and Fate liked to play games with her. "Please, have a seat, both of you." Standing around made her nervous! She settled down into the chair she had previously claimed.

She had been with the young men, Davin and Kieran along with Pyper. "Snowstorms will come and go unexpectedly in these lands until April." Slight touch of a smile as he claimed one of the wing backs. Sinking into the more comfortable cushions in relaxing back. "I hope you were dressed warmly at least." Caught in lesser clothing this time of year could prove detrimental.

"Yes, I was dressed as the weather required. Pants, even." The last came with a wide eyed look and a smile. Trousers or anything of the sort, she rarely wore unless absolutely required.

Lazare looked from one to the other without sitting yet. "Nora, Trevor, excuse me a moment." And Carno made his way toward that back hall and the offices located there.

"You are as wise as you are beautiful, I can surmise." Though it was certainly a compliment of her appearance, there was also a detachment in that it was more one spoken in truth from an observer. An upnod was given Lazare as he needed to see to a matter. Not uncommon with them.

"You are a kind man, Trevor," she murmured sheepishly. Lately, she realized she'd blushed more than she had her entire life. Her cheeks turned pink and she felt heat gathering in them. "Your day has been well?" Questioned, of  Trevor. She watched Lazare as he headed to the back, briefly, and her attention quickly flicked back to Trevor. For now, she sat straight, her hands settled against her lap.

"I assure you, it is not based on kindness but the truth, Lady Nora." Smile showing a touch more that lifted a glint in dark eyes. Those trained on her at the moment, completely. "My day has gone very well although I await spring already as many others I am sure do as well. More mobility to be outdoors and all such excursions it incurs." His glass untouched, lifted finally for the first sampling.

Pyper had been exploring again, out to see who might be at the lake, watching the youngers play in the snow and on the ice. But she had decided it was time to thaw out a bit, though she didn't really mind the cold, but to see what was going on around town. She nearly skipped up the steps, humming to herself, but closed the door quickly and quietly behind her, a smile as she came in to those inside.

"Thank you," she said, ducking what appeared to be a sheepish glance down to her hands. A brief one. The mention of spring had her mouth caught in a smile that appeared somewhat dreamy. "Ah, Spring. I cannot wait for the warmer weather. Roses, blooming roses. I adore gardens." She did seem like the type. Hearing the door, she cast a blue-green glance towards it. "Good day, Pyper. Join us?" She was at the hearth with Trevor, simply soaking up the warmth.

Had Kieran heard Trevor speak about spring, he might have agreed. He had been 'ambushed' by a band of snowball assassins and though it had been fun, he was near frozen now as he made his way to the Thistle. He had lost his hat in  the 'battle' and now his hair was coated with ice. He headed inside quickly, closing the door behind him with a soft click. Ah, there were a few in here. "A-afternoon, Sir Trevor, ladies."

"You will enjoy the hanging gardens at the Castle then as well a few others such as the courtyards sport." He half rose in all due respect of another entering. Pyper recognized he had met the other day. "Good day to you Pyper, you're welcome to join us." Giving a quick gesture of hand to the many chairs collected near the hearth. One he occupied, one Nora and one that Lazare had until needing to step to the office.

She hung up her cloak at the door, giving a curtsey to them all. "Afternoon Sir Cairns, Lady Nora, and almost Sir Turlough" as she saw Kieran come in after her... looking a bit frozen. She ordered a mug of hot chocolate and moved to curl up in one of the unoccupied chairs at the fire.

One coming in after another. She kept her eye on the door, to see if yet another would be filing in. Though the look was a brief one. She released a breathless laugh when she heard Pyper's greeting to Kieran. It was fitting. "Yes, good afternoon Almost-Sir Turlough. Join us?" He looked half frozen. She motioned to the chairs, then sent a smile towards Pyper when she picked out one to curl up in. She rose upward, slowly. "I think I will have something to drink.." She just didn't know what, quite yet. More than likely her usual. She started for the bar, to speak with Alex.

"Kieran, good to see you again. Please join us as well." Open invitation to any coming within presently. He took his seat again. relaxing back.

"Soon as I get something warm into me." He smiled as he too headed for the bar. He'd have coffee rather than potcheen, though he nodded with appreciation when Alex added a touch of the pure.

From the back hall, Peter arrived as well. He'd been in his office going through papers and the sound of voices filtering through his concentration to the point he set them aside. The opportunity to socialize was at hand and should be taken advantage of. A tunic of tan was worn over a white shirt, the emblem of Innis finely stitched over his heart. Brown tailored pants with boots lacing up. The empowered sword hung sheathed from his left hip, much the same as all the knights here of these lands. One he was knighted with before being reunited with his family and Crowned by his father. Intense sienna eyes held a glint when noticing a few within. Trevor and Kieran as well the feel of another horseman present though not within the room presently. "Fine day of winter, good afternoon."

She couldn't decide; with three drinks on her mind she found it hard to pick a certain one. The ivory dress swished around her ankles when she took a side step, white lace layering itself along her arms, from just below her elbow down to her wrists. More of it along the hem of her dress. And the golden lace, around her waist and lacing up her spine. She pursed her lips and slanted a look aside when another made an appearance. "Good evening.. Sir.." Name unknown and he seemed like a Knight of some sort. "Or, day.. rather. Good day.." Apparently Peter's good looks confused the woman! She blushed, cleared her throat, and finally reached a decision. She ordered apple brandy from Alex.

Trevor was immediately up fully with a fisted hand to his chest in due respect. "Good afternoon, Peter." Hand falling away in a sweep as he introduced the ladies. "The ladies Nora and Pyper." Knowing well the king of Innis knew Kieran.

Good looks indeed, as the elf nearly stared, shaking her head a bit as she chuckled at herself. Were all the men in this land handsome? The elf would swoon... if she was prone to doing such. She stood up to curtsey to the newcomer. "Afternoon Sir," as she could tell he was one of rank, even if she hadn't seen Trevor.

Kieran turned when he heard Peter's voice, saluted him in a similar way to Trevor, though he added a slight bow. "Good afternoon, Sir." He wasn't quite sure how to address the man outside of the field.

A smile warmed his features, one with a healthy sun bronze from his tropical island he just returned from. "The pleasure is mine in the meet, ladies. Nora. Pyper." Noting each in turn respectfully. A hint of something else deeper in sienna that was there than gone in the next instant. "I trust the day finds everyone well, warm and healthy." It was the time of year when sickness claimed many.

She cleared her throat, noting the other reactions. Slow to turn from the bar, Nora's fingers tangled themselves in the full skirting of her dress. She slowly curtsied, bowing her head in the process. She straightened up carefully and turned to claim her glass. "A pleasure, Peter," she added quietly. She moved back to her chair to settle down. "And I am quite warm." She sent a sly looking smile over towards Pyper. Her eyes were glittering and one might note the blush on her cheeks.

"Peter," allowing them the use of his name as things were that kind of lax in this tavern, the lands on a whole, sister castles as well. Except for courtly formal events where they were required.

The elf, suddenly and strangely not sure what to do with herself among such beauty and nobility, curled back up into the chair, mug in her hand, as she watched everyone. She smiled back, her cheeks probably the same, giving her a wink.

It wasn't only his rank but the fact that all his life Kieran had been reminded of his standing. He still called Trevor, Sir Trevor. Smiling at the King, he picked up his coffee and took a drink. He'd warm up nicely in a few moments.

He noticed some of the odd reactions to his presence, had a man wonder if something was amiss when he came in. Nothing showed in his expression as he collected a mug of finely brewed coffee. A splash of poteen accepted as such was good in preventing illness of the season. "If I may join you." Not that he really had to ask permission of anyone but it was courteous and he was steeped in courtesy. He chose a chair near Trevor as he settled in. The sword at his side discreetly adjusted as well so he would be comfortable. "You are both new to the lands?" He had not met them before but then again he was not out socially consistently.

"We would love the extra company," she replied to Peter. She took a sip from her glass before leaning slightly to set it on a small table. When she straightened, she glanced aside to the quiet Kieran and smiled to him. Hearing Peter's question, she was sure it had been for her, and perhaps Pyper. He seemed to know everyone else. "Yes, I am quite new. I am residing in the castle, for now." Though sometimes, she wound up staying here, like last evening.

Once Peter was seated, he did the same. Settling in again as dark eyes took in much without any change of expression. Otherwise a smirk might appear but it did not.

"Of course your company is welcome Sir Peter." She smiled at him. And there was nothing wrong with him, or his entrance. Quite the contrary! She nodded after Nora had finished. "I've been here about two months... I think."

"Ah, yes." That put her to some information he read, as would be given him as one of the kings. Smile followed almost in a reassuring way. "You are very safe within the castle walls. It is also very impressive if you get a chance to explore the solarium, library and museum, amongst other rooms." Many were open to the public and certainly many more open to those staying there other than the royal section of the king and queen. Karl and he went way back and a tournament held here he talked his friend into joining with him. A tournament led to so much more. "In the spring there are many places to visit that are safer than in the winter. Although the Celtic Garden, natural one kept by the Fae near the Crystal Cave mountain, holds a spring like season all year round."

He was over to join the others, though he sat on the stones of the hearth so he could face everyone and warm up quickly.  An odd look was given to Pyper. He was certain it was much longer than two months.

Trevor was quite content to settle into observing mode, one more frequent and comfortable to him. Only the eyes kept track of body language as he listened. The glass of potcheen nursed than a need to drink.

"I have explored some. I do enjoy the library," she admitted. She always seemed surprised to learn of others here that knew of her.. status, those she hadn't met. She hid her surprise carefully, or tried, it might have shown some in her eyes. She suddenly smiled when Kieran joined them. "Be careful of those flames, or sparks, it would not do for you to go up in a blaze." She teased him, Kieran. Then turned a glance back to Peter. "I love gardens. I would like to see those near the mountain. Though I should probably wait until the weather warms."

He was keenly watching her, yet not obtrusive to make her feel uncomfortable. So he could tell, more from his mixture of bloodlines as some put it. "I am one of the few that is made privy to certain information for my position in the hierarchy of things. It is not something done to impersonalize anyone of these lands but more to be of service in helping if such arises. We do not flaunt titles as every man and woman should be judged on their merit than birthright. Still, birthright has its place as well. I am the King of Innis Daingneach, the O'Neill family. I hope that information doesn't have ones looking upon me as only that title but as the man I am. In that only time would have any judgements on those newly met." A chuckle followed for the comment on Kieran. "Presently with the cold that idea might be appealing."


Date: 02-01-09
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 25

He grinned easily at Nora then took another drink. He was finally getting warm enough that his teeth were no longer chattering. Grinning at Peter, he nodded. "I'll brave the sparks with the way I'm feeling." He chuckled then glanced at Trevor briefly.

"For some it happens regularly," mumbled under his breath with a certain look given Peter then shared with Kieran. They would both know whom he spoke on.

Which had him actually laugh, deep robust sound that might even be considered contagious in its tone. "Certainly at least one." Which had him recalling the very unusual confrontation between Trevor and Vincent. One of those rare days in the history of the lands where Fire and Earth collided in a unique show of ability. Not in a negative way but positive.

She knew that titles were not so boldly flashed here, in the tavern. Nor were the proper formalities usually held. And yet, she felt rude to simply sit there under the light of this new information. She glanced between the others,and her attention held on Pyper, mostly to see if she was just as surprised as Nora, herself. "Forgive me," she stated, suddenly. She abandoned her seat, for a moment at least--and she wasn't sure if her action would be so surprising to others. It might have been a show of her appreciation, too, her gratitude. She approached Peter slowly and she might've seemed timid, but she took up his hand and slowly curtsied. That was not all. She placed a rather chaste kiss on his knuckles before backing away. "I have noted, those of high positions here do not flaunt it, do not take advantage of it. For that, I am grateful. No less, for the kindness offered to me." She released his hand and cleared her throat.

She was listening quietly as Peter told of the gardens, something the elf had always enjoyed. She chuckled as Kieran and Nora talked of sparks. She was in a bit of a silly mood for her, and not sure where it was coming from, so best stay quiet or put her foot in her mouth. Pyper was surprised, sure her jaw was on the ground, and shut it quickly.

Words had ceased as she approached. He didn't stand from his seat or possibly knock her over if he did. He sat up more as she took his hand, his roughen from countless years of wielding a sword. That might be noticed over many nobility with soft hands for they never had to use them, or more, chose not to. "M'Lady Nora, your upbringing shines." Appreciated and respected in lieu of the more laid back. The touch of a kiss had him standing once she stepped back. Taking her hand in his, fingers curling beneath its palm as it was lifted. A chase touch of his lips just above fingertips before lowered and released, straightening in the process. It was the ideal that such respect should also be returned of one deserving as well. "Perhaps one day soon you will meet the King and Queen of these lands that have given you a home." Instead of using the word shelter, for it would be more than such.

Oh, those sparks. He hid his grin by taking another drink having seen those sparks used on some of the knights. In time, he had no doubt he'd face the same.

Peter didn't have to wonder on his social skills, they were naturally there even if he had not made use of them for months at a time. Trevor was still quietly listening, the glass of potcheen empty at this point and set aside, not needing a refill.

She was watching it all, fascinated, and smiled at the scene, reminding her of home a bit. She took another sip of her cider as she watched, curled up, deep sapphires twinkling.

She had not expected this turn of events. Surprising, yet it was rather delightful. Her cheeks pinkened and she smiled. "Perhaps soon," she repeated, somewhat. She was speechless, otherwise. And though she didn't try to show it at all, a slight bit nervous! She swore her heart leapt up in her throat, for a split second at least. She backed away slowly, to give him his space. And her throat gently cleared when she finally turned back to her chair. She appeared awfully sheepish, and she knew it. She expected a snicker to come from somewhere.

She got a smile, more full one that went well with his looks when he so allowed. One of the things he had needed to learn was to ease from the stoic, commanding appearance when out amongst the gentile. A slight dip of his head granted for her response, it needed nothing more and he would not wish to fluster anymore than she seemed to be. Not overly which was good. Such tended to make him uncomfortable. Once she was back to her seat he settled back down. Sleight of hand guided he sword aside, he turned attention on Kieran. "How is your practice progressing?" He knew he was coming up to be knighted.

Kieran stuck to drinking his coffee through the entire exchange. He had lowered the mug in time to answer, smiling at the question. "Well enough, I think. I've started to practice more and more with the knights, and less with the other squires. More of a challenge." Much more!

She grew quiet, now that she'd settled down in her chair. She sipped at her wine, watching others in between the tiny drinks. She listened to the conversation, curious to know of Kieran's progress. She tipped Kieran a quiet smile before glancing down to the glass in her hand.

This might take Kieran by surprise. "Do you feel you are ready to turn a round with me?" The corner of his lips twitched just so with repressed amusement for the ongoing challenges on the king's field and such the impact it would have.

It was probably a good thing he hadn't taken a drink about then and that he had a good hold on the mug because Peter did take him by surprise! "I uh .... it would be an honor, sir!" He had no doubt the King would thrash him good, but the chance might not come again for some time.

She fluttered her lashes slowly and her attention swept towards Peter. She watched him in silence, but curious to know Kieran's answer, she was quick to have him in her sights. She smiled over the rim of her glass, her eyes glittering.

She had to smile at Kieran's response, but was not that surprised at the king's suggestion. Her father had often done the same to those that were to become part of the guard. A slight nod that it was a good gesture, and showed a lot of the king's trust in the squire's training.

Now, with this offer being presented, Trevor grinned. Kieran had just been honored even if none realized exactly what the offer meant. "An offer best not refuse, lad." Mumbled in tease of the squire to become knight.

Only enough for him to learn a few more skills and styles even if they would then need practicing. Smile came with his response. "I will make it worth your while." He noticed the slight nod on Pyper's part that had a study of intense eyes her way. "It would seem there are thoughts behind the nod, Pyper."

He offered Trevor a nod, his eyes probably wide. It was going to take a few hours for the shock to wear off!

"Congratulations, Kieran," she said quietly to him. She was sure he was excited. Her smile came with a curve of dimples. She nearly laughed seeing his surprise.

Of course he knew what was coming and the fact offered Kieran was the last step. Possibly Karl would be taking a turn with him as well before knighted. With the comment from Peter, dark eyes tracked over to Pyper as well.

"There are.... good ones... on both your parts." said softly. She didn't exactly know how to explain more than that. Now with both sets of knights eyes on her she tried to curl even more into her chair. See, she just knew she was going to get into some kind of trouble today. Just that feel to it.

She almost teased him about something, almost. Well, she did. "Should you wear my favor, Sir Turlough?" Teasing him, mostly about the jousting, since it wasn't quite normal for such to be done outside of jousting. She suppressed a giggle as she rose up, her glass empty. She returned to the bar with it, debating on ordering another.

"Thank you." He answered Nora quietly then chuckled, ducking his head. He watched her go to the bar then looked at Pyper and the others.

"I think that is a good idea, Nora's, you should. It will have all the other aspiring squires take notice." Giving Nora a wink and certainly Kieran's personality, mostly shy in those areas but not with a sword in his hand, he might well blush. It did not take from him being a man in Peter's eyes, more that he still held enough innocence.

She looked at Kieran and smiled. Another good idea.

He felt the heat building from his neck up and with his fair skin, yes, he was prone to blush but he forced it away. "Then I'd be honored to do so."

She tilted a look over her shoulder when she heard Peter. She didn't place another order, deciding one was enough. Curious to know Kieran's reaction, she turned fully to watch him. She smiled pleasantly. "Then, I would be  honored for you to do so. Do you still have the scarf?" She tipped her head to the side, gently. Curls of blonde tickled along her cheek, across her brow.

It was growing late and supper would be set on the table back home. Time to be spent with his son as well. Something he looked forward to. He would not be missed here for his silence the last hour as it stood. He rose from his seat with a fisted hand over his heart to Peter first, "your majesty, I will see you and the others come dawn," on the king's field of course now that he was back. His hand falling away with a courteous nod to the ladies. "It has been a pleasure."

She nodded as Trevor stood to leave. "Good night to you Sir Trevor." a smile on her face. "Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle."

Stepping away as a hand squeezed Kieran's shoulder. Touch of a smile and the look in dark eyes needed no words before he continued passed the bar to the hallway that led  back to the offices. Respectful nod given Alex on the way as well his cloak collected before stopping briefly at the entryway. A nod given Pyper for the Elven words then around again and gone.

"We shall talk soon, Sir Trevor," knowing he would hear before too far as he watched the respected man take his leave.

"I think you're thinking about Kynan MacKay." He stood as Trevor left then chuckled. "He was the one who participated with his brother." They were friends though! "I'll see you on the field tomorrow, Sir." He was going to be leaving soon as well to share his news with his friends.

"Have a wonderful day, Sir." Quietly for Trevor. She offered him a smile before he fully departed. Drawing in a deep breath, she realized her mistake. "Ah yes, that is correct. Hm..I will have something for you soon." Her promise was for Kieran.

She shifted her position a bit in the chair, still curled up, as she finished off her hot chocolate, deciding not to get a refill just yet.

Speaking to Kieran as he would one of the knights, he made the comment in good nature, "I do think Trevor's ears are slightly pointed. Have you noticed that?" Once again he was watching Kieran in how he would respond to such a remark. Certainly not a degrading one in these lands, the opposite if anything.

Nora received another smile before he looked up at Peter, his expression changing. "I have noticed something like that yes." He absently lifted his hand to touch his own ear, remembering the way he and his sisters had been treated.

Pyper looked at the king on that comment, tilted her head a bit, then smiled, shaking her head a bit. If they were, she hadn't noticed, but was sure the king meant something slightly else, that was lost of the elf for learning the language.

"Not so much that they were pointed but ... beyond his gifts." He actually winked at Nora. A thank you there.

"Oh, there is no question on his unique gifts as holds the other three horsemen. Each individually and far more as One. His ears are actually slightly pointed." Smile settled lazily with the comment as focus remained on Kieran presently. He could get away with saying such and his ears hidden under the sun touched brown hair, giving it a golden crown at times when the light hit it just right. A glow that might be more than highlights. Maybe there was a reason he has, of late, been noticing others he spent time with, the shape of their ears. The slant of their eyes knowing the gifts not of the norm they possessed.

"There are a few like that here." He smiled again, meeting Peter's gaze. "It doesn't seem all that unusual, and to be honest, so are mine." They were hidden by the mass of reddish blonde curls. "It's a relief in a way to know there are others." First time he actually confessed that.

She'd fallen quiet again, listening. Interested and curious, to say the very least.

His weren't the only ones hidden, and she silently acknowledged that it was a relief to know how many others were here. She wasn't so unusual here.

"I have noticed, when your hair is pulled back when facing a more grueling workout in practice." That was all he would say on it here. He was more gathering information for a more personal reason. The whole outlook and tone was more of an observer that had set to noticing certain traits that also then linked with the person's abilities. Some more than others, some not having any such traits and still skilled.

Pyper's should be more than slightly slanted considering her heritage. He nodded, smiling. "I realize others would notice. It's just not something I think about much." He had accepted his differences finally though it had taken coming here for him to do so.

"I have had a wonderful time, though I do believe I will visit the castle library for a while." Reading sounded quite pleasant. She bowed her head gently to the three as she turned form the bar to collect her cloak, her gloves.

"Have a good afternoon Nora. Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle." she said with a smile, as the lady took her leave.

In spite of a few things that he knew of that transpired for the horseman in the past year, Trevor seemed to be handling it. Although he seemed far more quiet around women. Least what he noted tonight. It was time to take his leave as well. A meal to have and a meeting with Karl later. He rose from his seat. "I will see you back if you would accept the escort, Lady Nora. Kieran?" Having a feeling he would probably need to be back to the castle as well. "Pyper, a pleasure in the meet."

"I would be honored." She replied quietly, nearly shy voiced. She fastened her cloak then slid her gloves onto her hands. "Thank you, Pyper." For her kind words, even if she wasn't sure what the last meant!

He stood as Peter spoke, nodding. "Aye, Sir. I should be back as well." He would break his news to his friends at dinner. Barely hiding his excitement now, he prepared to return to the castle.

"Then our gracious Lady will have two escorts." He was there by her side to help her with her cloak before stepping away. A slight motion of hand to the hall that led back to the offices. "We shall take this way so I can collect my cloak on the way." Normally Nora would not be allowed back there but with him it was perfectly fine, she was in his escort.

"Pleasure to meet you as well Sir Peter," she bowed her head. "Good afternoon to you all." Ss it seem all were leaving. "Safe travels back to the castle."

He smiled at Pyper before following Peter and Nora to the back way and out.

"I thank you both, sincerely." She was blushing. Easily noted on her fair skin. She glanced towards the hall when Peter motioned. She had always been curious to what was back there. Quietly nodded, she started for the hall, keeping close to the men as they headed back there.

It was a plush hall that led to one perpendicular to it that had doors down along both sides. Two guards were stationed there, one at each end. His door was ajar as he parted from them long enough to retrieve the more cape style cloak, swinging it around broad shoulders as he stepped back out. The closer guard quickly there to see to closing up the office, a few respectful words exchanged before he was back over to Nora and Kieran. A steady easy pace would be set to accommodate her and enjoy the walk once through the exit down the other end. One that allowed them a shortcut as well where they were headed for the castle.


Date: 02-03-09
Poster: Aaric the Black
Post # 26


The night winds swept in white sheets of snow, swirling around the lone cloaked figure upon the massive warhorse. Hooves fell heavy against packed snow as thunder rolled in an unusual sound for a winter's storm. Citizens scurried to take cover from the squalls that seemed to rise up suddenly from the more gentler snowfall. It didn't seem to faze this particular rider if one could read body language. The pace set was leisurely.

It would seem the tavern was quite the favorite spot for the locals to spend there evenings within. She was no different. Only she was not yet a citizen to the beautiful Heathfield. A traveler by curse-- Finally searched for a place to call home. Wavy auburn locks cascaded along the slender slope of her shoulders while various strands proved to be a nuisance as they draped across the thin brim of her nose. The graceful fall of the snow did little to annoy her either.. It was the chill that tormented her and forced her steps to quicken when she looked upon the smoke rising from within the establishment. Then the beat of a rider stole her attention and for a moment she watched his approach. A nod directed if the man saw then she disappeared into the warmth.

Where one was, the other would soon follow. Tonight was no exception as the lone rider was joined by another. The sudden squall had him grinning from beneath the shadow of his hood, and he glanced at his companion. "A good night for a drink." He said as his horse came up beside the other. The cold did little to sour his mood, then again, there were few things that did.

His face unseen for the fold of the hood as nostrils flared minutely, taking in a certain scent most humans could not. His stallion, Storm, stopped when the tavern was reached without the need to be rein in. Aaric was down in a fluid ease of one born to ride in such storms. Snow crunched under the soles of his boots as a hand came to run down the stallion's sleek neck. Words in an ancient tongue blended with the wind before Storm took off heading for the stable down the side street of the tavern. He had made note of the woman, briefly, before she was within and now focus was on his comrade. "I was hoping you would be joining me this night." Leaving him to take care of his steed as he headed up the steps, hands lifting to lower the hood then down as he waited the few moments at the door, hand on the latch in ready.

His own mount followed Storm to the stables as soon as he was down, which caused a chuckle to ease from the depths of his throat. His patrol had gone well, and the steed rightly deserved warmth and food. He was up the steps quickly, not wishing to make his comrade wait too long for a drink.

Once he was ready to enter, the door was pressed open. He'd not have the air filling the room while waiting. Cold, heat, wind, rain, had little effect on Aaric but he was dressed the part. Mostly. Making sure the door was securely closed behind them as the storm as well seemed to ease back to the more gentle fall of snowflakes. A touch of a smile off to the side was more noticeable in storm blue eyes.

Finding the table that suited her most beside the hearth, lithe form crouched until her rear touched the edge of the chair. What she desired most was warmth. Beverage would come later. As the fire crackled beneath the heat of the flames, oceanic depths stared into the abyss for a moment. Then, with a soft sigh her gaze lifted and she looked to the door to greet the men. The edge of her mouth curved into a sincere smile as she whispered. "Pleasant eve, m'lords" Then as if expecting for them to wish their time here in private she grew silent and stared back into the fire only this time she began knitting what appeared to be a mitten.

A glint as he was back around, cloak being shrugged from broad shoulders and hung to a peg. He heard the lady within as he stepped away from the foyer area. "Good evening, m'lady," minute dip of his head before he was moving in the direction of the bar. Alex already setting out a bottle of potcheen and glasses. He would collect one as he turned back around, easing into lean right there at the bar. He studied the woman a moment before speaking up again. "Aaric and my comrade Darragh." Glass in the hand slightly lifted as if saluting his comrade before a drink was taken. Attire consisted of a dark leather tunic over a poets shirt, black pants and boots of the same leather lacing up to below his knees ending in a cuff. One of the empowered swords hung sheathed from his left hip.

After his cloak was hung, he joined his comrade in heading to the bar though he nodded in the direction of the woman. "Good eve, m'lady." Alex received a smile in thanks as he picked up the other glass. He didn't lean just yet but turned to face the common room. He was dressed in similar fashion to his friend but in browns, his shirt tan in color. His boots were made of a softer leather than his pants, fringed around the top.

It was her good fortune that the chair she sat on was a rocker and allowed for her to slowly sway. A calming mechanism perhaps even. But when one of the men spoke she offered both an over the shoulder glance. Instantly a kind smile offered while fragile hands lowered her project on her lap. "It's very nice to meet you both. I am Calamira" Her attire was a simple robins egg blue gown along with a crimson hooded cloak that shielded her from the winter. "Even in the winter's chill your lands are remarkable." She would never forget this place.. And it's people.

When Nora swept in, she was covered in snow. It gathered on her dove grey cloak, more of it caught in her blonde hair and even a few snow flakes were trapped in her long lashes. She shivered as she stood just inside the doorway, removing her gloves finger by finger. Wearing a dress of cornflower blue, it was trimmed in pale yellow lace and ribbons that zigzagged along her spine. Her hair was half up, secured by pins, but the wind had caused quite a bit to fall in a mess of pale blonde curls.

"A pleasant evening to you, Calamira," the intensity of storm blue eyes upon her features as she spoke only to slide away down over her attired for such a blue. It was as quick as a flicker and not to linger. "You have
been here before then." More a statement than question for the obvious remark on her part. Attention shifted with the one coming in from the storm with more of nature's winter coat on her than cloak. Another with a blue dress on like a summer's sky. "I can almost feel spring around the corner. Welcome this night m'lady. I'm Aaric, my comrade Darragh as well the lady Calamira."

"The ladies certainly make it seem so." He smiled at Calamira with the introduction. "Well met, Lady Calamira." He then turned his attention to the second woman and nodded to the mention of his name.

"Around the corner and not yet close enough." She stated, "Nice to meet you, I'm Nora." She didn't remove the cloak yet. She wanted to warm herself up first.

The one called Aaric was quite easy on the eye and, when she felt herself captured by the net of his intense blues she tried to quickly look away before her blush was detected.. To late no doubt. "I have been here for a few weeks.." Her nod was confirmation to his observation. Then, with just as much warmth she addressed Darragh. "Thank you, Darragh." Then as her name was spoken she looked to the other woman. " Hello to you as well. I am Calamira" Setting the unfinished mitten on the table she twirled her rocker to face them. "If you are cold, Nora please feel free to have a seat at my table" Quickly looking from her she eyed the chair across from her.

"The pleasure is mine Nora." He had purposely avoided surnames not that most would realize it. The name also rang a bell for being one of the Force of Five though he made no mention of it at this time. Possibly he might, possibly he might not. "You have also been here a few weeks, Nora." Though not implying the two women were together as it was obvious they were just meeting now.

"Well met, Nora." Dark eyes studied both women briefly though not so long that it would be improper. He brought his glass up for a first taste of the pure today. One that was welcomed.

She was slow to remove her cloak, dusting some of the melting snow off of it before she left it hanging on the wall. With her hands free, she curtsied slowly to the group, for no other reason than she felt it would be the polite thing to do. Starting for Mira's table, she slowed slightly when she heard Aaric. "Yes, I have..I am currently staying in the castle," she stated quietly. She wondered if he already knew that, too. Furrowing her brows and pursing her lips thoughtfully, she forced her expression to relax, to become more friendly.. inviting even. She settled across from Mira with a fresh smile. "Thank you." Spoken to her.

Apology swept her gaze as Aaric mentioned the other woman's length of citizenship. "I regret that we haven't met before." By the woman's curtsey she politely chuckled, rather happy to have company. "Residing in the castle" Her eyes widened with admiration. " How wonderful.. I would be honored if I were you." Not that she didn't think Nora wasn't. "You are most welcome. Actually I was about to get something to drink. Could I bring you anything?" The invitation also included the men.

"As do I." Slight smile as that might surprise her, eyes held upon her the while. Easing then, "it is warm for a castle, not drafty like most." Except he knew the real reason behind it. It was made of stone and mortar just like any other. He lifted his glass as focus shifted upon Mira with her offer. Silent communication worked just as fine with him as verbal.

He was watching Nora's reaction with a slight smile. News traveled quickly among the castle dwellers. "Thank you, but I think I'm good for the evening." He held a glass in his hand also.

"Oh, I see. Now I understand why you've heard of me." For Aaric. She had guessed they had warned of her being there, so he wouldn't be alarmed at seeing someone unfamiliar sweeping along the halls. Though, she did wonder.. if he knew. If Darragh.. knew. She glanced from one to the other then smiled up at Mira. "I would love a warm glass of brandy." The flavor didn't matter. She cleared her throat, again looking between the three. "And yes, the castle is very warm. Very warm. I am grateful, thankful, and indeed honored." The last touched upon something Mira had said.

Rising to her petite height she caught Aaric midway lifting his glass. Words were not always necessary and, with a knowing smile she walked over to him and gently took the mug. "Of course." Then she looked back at Nora. "I am quite the fan of brandy myself. Apricot?" Without waiting for a response she walked to the bar and gave Alex their orders.

If they did, there was no outward indication nor was there any hint of judgement. He looked upon it as anyone newly met but he would give her enough information to ease her mind. He could feel the undercurrents of a troubled one, far deeper down than on the surface. "I work for and directly under the Druid, Crowned Prince, Andrew MacNeil." Pausing only a heartbeat with a glance to his comrade, "as does Darragh." A brow lifted as Mira took his glass of potcheen. The lifting was indication he had a drink. Not empty. A glance sent over his shoulder to Alex who only gave a shrug of his shoulder.

"Apricot sounds wonderful." Offside to Mira, watching her briefly. Her attention ticked back to Aaric and her brow arched. She was silent for a moment. A long moment. She had met so many lately that now, names and faces were becoming fuzzy, blurred. "He knows me? I do not believe I have met him.." Heard of him, possibly. She touched her fingers to her temple, looking momentarily confused. "So.. you both, have heard of me, then, I assume?" She glanced Darragh's way.

Even though she heard Aaric say that he and his comrade worked directly for the Crown Prince she pretended to be away from ear shot. It was his business to say and she would not pry. Moving back with the two drinks she placed the one in her left hand in front of her then, when she noticed Aaric's potcheen full she nervously chuckled. "So much for being smooth huh?" She teased then moved back to her seat.

Now he leaned against the bar, laughter dancing in dark, depthless eyes. He didn't dare look at Aaric, instead answering Nora. "Aye, we have. There is little the Prince doesn't know, Nora." Trying to reassure. "His mother would know of you and so it would be passed to him."

"You're not a little bit nervous perhaps, Calamira, being in new lands?" He would get even with Darragh later as only he could. Of course that made a good excuse for the two to practice with the elements.

Of course, it didn't quite work that way but close enough.

Nora was a woman of importance.. It seemed obvious by the way she kept asking the men if they recognized her. Brows knitted together as she watched her new friend carefully. This time remembering her face for the next time they would meet. Gaze looked back to Aaric though she all of a sudden felt embarrassed around him. "Aye. It's always hard to be new in a place that has such deep roots and comradery within it. But it's ok. I will find my way" A  reassuring smile was offered to him. Yes, Darragh was right.. Most Princes in the lands she traveled from knew his people like the back of his hand.

A chuckle came rumbling as he tested out Darragh in words, "I don't know if one would find it reassuring to know there is a Druid Prince that has such abilities. Though, if they met him then they would be reassured." There was that something about Andrew that could calm a ranging beast.

She smiled towards Calamira. Nora was still nervous, too. She understood completely. "I see," this was for Darragh. "I did meet a king. Uhm... Peter?" Now, she was struggling to recall names. She took up her brandy for a sip. "Thank you," for Mira.

He laughed as he looked back at Aaric finally. "I didn't mention his abilities, you did."

"You've met the King of Innis Daingneach then, Nora?" The spar of words abandoned as this was rather good news. "So, he's been out socially," tone spoke approvingly.

"Yes, last evening. He is a kind man." She smiled some. She relaxed, just by mentioning those she had met. "I have also met Prince Rick..Mc--Andrews?" She blushed a little.

Being silent and more of the listener seemed more her forte anyway. Lifting her glass to her lips she indulged in the sweet taste of her brandy while her gaze mirrored the images of all three. She could not help but smile when Nora spoke of King Peter. "McAndrews? That name sounds very familiar." Though she did not know his majesty personally.  A chuckle was given to Darragh's comment.

"Yes, a fine young man growing up in credit of his father, Chadrick McAndrews. Ruling family of Ballicastle. You've met some fine men of these lands. Have you met some of the ladies as well?"

"I have, a few. Pyper, I see quite often. A nice lady. And I recently met someone near the lighthouse. Niamh.." She did not recall her last name. She tipped a smile offside to Mira and fell quiet as she sipped her brandy.

The lighthouse was quite the beautiful place to stare far out at the rolling waves of the endless ocean. But the rocks that surrounded it were quite the other story. She smiled fondly to herself in remembrance to her own visit  there. "I have been to the light house too. It's remarkable." a grateful smile was sent to Nora.

He knew of Pyper but Niamh was a new name as he rolled it around until he picked up on some. "She is one born to these lands, Niamh." Pyper came in from other lands many months ago and a citizen a couple months ago.

"You'll meet more as time goes on. Perhaps even the Crown Princess, Noirin, or one of the Queen's daughters since you stay at the castle."

"If you have met Rick, have you met the Shawnesey brothers? MacKay, Riley McAndrews sometimes is with Rick. Cousins." There were quite a few her age, if she was as young as he got the impression. Not a child by any stretch of the imagination.

"Yes, she mentioned a fishing village. I have met so many, names are running together," she admitted with a quiet laugh and her eyes sparkled when she looked aside to Mira. "I never got a chance to go up. It started snowing so badly, we all had to go inside the cottage. Uhm.. I have met a librarian? Abigail. And I have met Trevet MacKay, Kynan. Shawnesey? I think I met a Douglas and.. uhm.. Rhett? I may be confusing names." Her brows furrowed. She sipped again. That brandy was vanishing quickly.

A nod of understanding was given as she considered the limitation of the snow. "I'm sure you will have ample amount of time to visit it, Nora." Clearing her throat she continued. "I met there a man by the name of Davin Byrne. He was pleasant."

"Not to worry, pretty Nora. Names will become more prominent as you get to know the ones. You seemed to remember Rick's name so he has at least left an impression."


Date: 02-03-09
Poster: Aaric the Black
Post # 27

"Davin is a very nice fellow," she agreed with Mira. Aaric had her blushing some. "He was the one that g.." She trailed off. Of course there was a reason why she remembered him so well. "There are many reasons I remember," she said, leaving it at that. And she was blushing, probably because of what he had said to her.

"I'm sure Rick helped you out in whatever way he could, properly." Just a touch of a smile but he'd let it go there. Not prying but certainly the blush had been noticed from the first she mentioned his name, only growing as the fact was elaborated on.

She'd blushed, in part, that he'd called her pretty Nora, too! Now that it was just.. the three of them, she explained a little further. "He granted me sanctuary. He also helped me with the stay at the castle. And he even hugged me, which I had not expected. I thought it had been very kind, warm hearted of him." She pursed her lips and eyed the glass in her hand, which, was empty.

"He is kind, warm hearted. He was brought up well by Chadrick and Danielle. As his nine brothers. I will warn you in meeting Darthanian McAndrews, he will steal your heart away," slow smile as he paused long enough before adding, "and he's only six years old."

"It seems many men here would have that ability." Of stealing hearts. She smiled slow and easy. "Six years old. Children are always a delight." She laughed quietly. "And already, he's stealing the hearts of women? He should be watched when he's older." Dimples curved against her cheeks with her smile which took on an impish quality.

"He will probably grow up much like his brother Rick. I'm sure he stole hearts when he was six as well. Darth will give you a lot of hugs. Perhaps when older they will be more selectively given as well."

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with a warm hug now and again." Stated with a nod to confirm it, she lowered her eyes again briefly before flicking a glance towards the bar. She did note Darragh's silence and curiously, she pulled him into her sights. "Are you always so quiet?" She questioned in a murmur, grinning.

He had topped off his glass, and Aaric's too. Nora's question had him smiling. "Usually, yes. Keeps me out of trouble." Unless Aaric got him going then he wasn't so quiet.

She watched Darragh filling up the glasses and almost offered hers over. Almost. She wasn't sure what they were drinking, however.

Aaric seemed thoughtful, almost a frown upon his features as focus dipped absently to the glass he was holding. Not even noticing Darragh had topped it off. Curious thought he then tried to just shake off but one that would probably nip at his thoughts again now that it got its first bite.

She might recognize the bottle if others had drank it before in front of her. He smiled at her again, noticing her look. "Would you like some? It's potcheen."

"Is there something bothering you, my lord?" Surely what she called him would get him to speak, wouldn't it? Nora tried, she really did. She bit gently on her lower lip and her attention flickered to Darragh. Oh, she'd had it before. Now that she took another look at the bottle and heard the name. "Only a small bit, please.." She offered her glass over to him.

He added a splash to her glass, checking the level and nodded. "Good way to get used to it." So it didn't knock her on her rear. Dark eyes shifted from her to Aaric, watching him a moment. He knew he'd talk on his thoughts if and when he was ready.

It was unlike him to be caught! Storm blue eyes lifted with an unsettled spark in them for a fraction of a moment. It would remind one of storm clouds in the distance. He didn't avoid the question and was totally truthful. "I can't remember the last time I hugged or was hugged by anyone."

"Yes, I have had this once before. The first taste.. took me by surprise.." She recalled her reaction, even, though she didn't laugh over the matter. She was too caught up in Aaric's answer. She masked her shock well. Though honestly, before Rick's hug, she couldn't recall many before that. At least, those that were sincere. Catching the look in his eyes, she somewhat sat back, perhaps briefly startled by the stormy stare. She set her glass aside and rose up to move closer. There was one way, one way to rid of that problem and she was quite sincere about it, too. Timid, perhaps, in the way she wrapped her arms around him; not so tight, only because she wasn't sure how he'd react. "There is no better time than the present to change that, yes?" Quietly.

He didn't answer that mostly because Nora had moved closer to Aaric and he was watching. He remembered the last time but that wouldn't be mentioned either. It was part of a past best forgotten.

As quickly as he could conjure up a fierce storm full of lightning and thunder, pelting rain or hail, he could as easily bring the brightness of summer, balmy warm breeze and the gentle ease. The last was showing now in the warm blue of his eyes as she drew closer. He really didn't want to scare her. It was good for scaring many others deserving. He set his glass aside as he lifted from the lean, she'd find herself wrapped up in the same kind of warmth seen in his eyes that moment. The strength of a hurricane gentled as he closed his eyes, resting his chin lightly upon the crown of her head. He was soaking it in and subconsciously giving off such tranquility as one of those balmy breezes. The hurricane attitude was steeped in his unsettled background that rose up like a volcano spewing its fire every so often.

She wouldn't admit it verbally, but it was something she'd needed as well. Actions spoke so much louder than words ever could. If she had been timid or nervous before, that seemed to all vanish away beneath a blanket of comfort and peace. She found herself smiling and she even closed her eyes. Her embrace tightened, some. She didn't want to squeeze the breath out of him. And she found herself so comforted, so calm, that she didn't quite want to step back all too soon. This peace was not something she'd felt in quite some time, even if she did go about day to day pretending all was perfectly well. She opened her eyes to peek off to the side, to Darragh. Lazy it might have been, but she did send him a look that stated all too clearly: you're next!

He just offered her a half smile when she looked his way. He wasn't going to say anything to tease either one since they looked so content.

He'd probably congratulate her if she could! He soaked it in, the warmth, feel of another living being so close, wrapped up in his aura with hers mingling as well. His scent was like the fresh balmy breeze with mixed spices that only hinted. A first day of spring to be drawn in deeply filled with hopes and promises. Keeping her in his arms as he soaked up all her worries, least while she was there. He had a way to diffuse the negative. His lips pressed gently against her hair as well. There was something about her, warm and gentle, caring heart and a little lost mixed in. It brought to mind to some words that rose, "you are home little one." There was a time to tease and not, this was one of those 'not' times for it was a serious moment that went deeper than a mere hug, but a need met long overdue.

She didn't know, had no idea that the way her troubles seemed to fade was all his doing. She thought that, perhaps, he just had that type of comforting warmth automatically built in. Something that naturally blanketed others in a calming way whenever they were close. She felt what she assumed a kiss to the crown of her head and she peeked up when she heard his low words. She seemed surprised. In a way, and it was so strange to her, she'd felt like she had been thrust a confusing map with so many directions that she couldn't make sense, and on top of it, it felt as if she were trying to read it in complete darkness. And he was there, like a light on a compass to show here where she needed to go, where she belonged. Here. "Thank you.." She wasn't sure what else to say! She reluctantly released him to step over to Darragh. He was hugged too. She did not want him to feel left out.

She brought the rare smile that came swiftly as he lifted his head and slanted back just enough for his eyes to meet hers. Searching but not too deeply for he'd not intrude without permission. "You're very welcome and I am pleased you have come here as we were drawn here." Easing from the hug so that Darragh could have one as well. Hugs were the food of the soul.

He smiled warmly to her as she stepped over and though she didn't need to worry, he was glad to accept the hug. His comfort was that of the earth, solid as a diamond but warm as earth when the sun had shone on it during a summer's day. He had never needed to fully share it before but he did willingly. Dark eyes shifted to Aaric as he wrapped her in his arms. "Indeed we are. Heathfield has called to you as surely as it has us." He'd release her when she was ready to step back.

The elf had been exploring again, out in the snow, taking it all in, the beauty of the lands covered in white. She was a bit of a popcicle now and so decided to head to the Thistle to thaw. Still able to skip up the steps despite being frozen, she closed the door quickly behind her, taking off her cloak as she smiled at Nora who she recognized, and to the other two gents she didn't, before heading to the bar to order a very warm mug of hot chocolate.

She wasn't so sure how often Darragh was under the assault of hugs, or if he had been in the same position as Aaric, where he couldn't remember. It all was truly stunning. "I am not sure of you, Darragh, but if you do not receive hugs often, or give them? Like Aaric, you both should. You have.. uhm.." She wasn't sure how to describe it. "Comforting souls.." It was the only way she could think to finish her prior words. She tightened her embrace. "And now, yes, I believe Heathfield did call to me." Added when she stepped back. She was aware another had entered and she turned to see Pyper. She smiled warmly to her. "Good evening, Pyper." Nora drifted around the men to return to her former spot and reclaim her glass.

"Thank you." He liked the idea of having such a soul. "It has been a while since I have." Back when he left his home and his sisters. They would be young woman now, possibly even married. Arranged marriages.  He pushed that thought aside, quickly. "Evening, m'lady." He greeted the Elf with a nod before taking another drink.

"E-evening N-nora." She said through chattering teeth. "Evening to you both as well," to the two gents.

"Pyper, this is Aaric and Darragh. Gentlemen, the lady Pyper." Offering introductions when she realized that names were not known.

"A pleasure to meet you Aaric, Darragh," hoping she was pronouncing them well enough. They felt a bit funny on her tongue.

"Well met, Pyper." He smiled in her direction. "Sounds like you're in need of warming up."

She nodded her head a bit, a smile when Alex brought the mug, wrapping both hands around it.

Her smile was soft. She had noted Pyper's chattering teeth, as well. She finally sipped from her glass, tiny sips, to get used to the taste. "How are you this evening, Pyper?" Asking her when she set the glass down, with a glance given to it before her blue eyes turned to settle their gaze on the Elf.

That was probably the first time someone had said something like that to him, or even a shared thought. There was a lot to think on and perhaps the time was finally here to find out about his past. There had to be clues and time for him to find them. "A pleasure to meet you Pyper." Like a hushed breeze at this point as his mind was so reflecting back. It made him feel better. It had also made him realize what his life lacked. In turn that very fact laid at the core of his birth and not knowing who he was birthwise. How could he possibly have a relationship when he didn't have a surname to offer his children one day. It was something unsettled and time was marching on without much thought to it until now. That was a good thing, it was not something to be left ignored. He met Nora's eyes once more in that searching way before drawn back, leaving a reassuring smile instead. It wasn't her, he was just awakened to a need.

She had to wonder if she'd been too bold earlier, now that she thought it over. She turned her head slightly, enough to see Aaric. And here, her gaze settled for some time, in a quiet, curious watch. She had wondered if her hug made him feel at least, somewhat better. She offered a warm smile to him, one complete with soft curves of dimples. She noticed the way he searched her eyes, the silence that made her wonder if he had something on his mind. Or perhaps, he wanted to ask something from her? Of her? She wasn't sure. Either way, she felt it should be addressed. "Is there... something... you want to ask or say?" Gently to Aaric.

She perched up on a stool. "Good... just was out a bit too long. Thinking." Then got quiet as the others talked.

Hearing Pyper, she nodded, and cast a glance to the door in thought. "It seems like one of those nights that if you're out too long, it could pose a danger."

"The hug was good for a starving soul, one that didn't realize it until it had such a taste. I am a man without a heritage nor surname and it reminded me it is something that I need address." There was a determination in his voice, one finally set to see this through.

Her attention swept towards Aaric and she, again, was caught with a bit of surprise in her eyes. For many reasons, not just the fact he was lost on his heritage, his name. "D.." She started, failed, and tried again. "Do you know where to start? Do you need help? I'm not sure what I could do... but.." She'd received so much help from others, she wanted to offer her own some how.

She sat quietly to listen and learn, starting to warm up.

"I have a box with some things left from my childhood, given to me by a priestess. They seemed ordinary things but there is probably some clue hidden that I am ready to find once I look them over again. If you can assist, I would welcome such. I don't really know presently." It would all depend on what that clue was and where it would lead him to find the next.

"I would be honored to help you in any way that I can, Aaric." She smiled for him and seemed quite pleased that he accepted her offer. She glanced over to Darragh and Pyper before taking a step backwards. "It is rather late, I should probably ride back to the castle.."

Now that she mentioned it, it was rather late. "We can escort you back up to the Castle, properly." There were some matters to discuss with Darragh on Desiree to be tested. Orlaith was taken under the schooling of Noir. "Pyper, perhaps another time to talk." Not that it seemed she talked much, rather quiet in fact. More that she barely got here and they were taking their leave. They had been here a while.

"Thank you very much." Quietly said for the offer for an escort. She bowed her head for Pyper. "I hope to see you soon." She turned to cross the floor to the wall where her cloak was hanging.

He had been lost in his own thoughts but the two brought him back and he finished the drink he had nearly forgotten. Pushing off the bar, he smiled again at Pyper. "Good night. Stay warm and travel safely." He was across the room to the cloaks, and helped Nora with hers before slipping on his own.

She'd find him there at her side, reaching for her cloak to take down and help her within its warmth. His next.

Two men were cloaking her. She felt suddenly.. well. She blushed.

"I hope that you all have a great night. Stay safe and warm." She smiled at them.

Both of near the same mind, it came with working together, perhaps far too long! Mirth touched upon storm blue eyes as he was over to the door first, opening it as they could pass through then he out behind them.

Sly sometimes. She considered secretly unfastening her cloak to let it fall to the ground, just to see if they would both try to grab it up and put it back on her. "Thank you." She passed through the door with a wide smile.

Usually he was too slow and Aaric already helping one before he had even reached them. He grinned at his friend as he passed him, following Nora out. Still cold and he wondered if the squall would start up again.

She'd have one to each side and certainly she was safer than it would even appear.


Date: 02-04-09
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 28

The Handyman

She appeared a few years older than the truth of the matter; at least, if one were able to peel away the layers of clothes that kept her quite hidden. Clothes that were shaded vibrantly, though she was quite fond of white and was known to wear it often. Tonight, though, it was bright splashes of violet, teal and a dark, dark shade of blue that swirled along the top layer of her clothes. Top layer, yes. It was silky and it might have been perfect to wear alone in the summer, but now it was just far too cold. She wore a head scarf that matched and a part of it clipped over her mouth like a veil, keeping it hidden. This might have been to protect her mouth and nose from the chilly winter air, or perhaps she was overly modest. Not alone, she quietly stepped in through the door with a large brute of a man shadowing her.

There was hammering down the hall with the steps leading to the upstairs rooms. Bang Bang Bang. Pause, Bangbang, Bangbang, Bangbang, Pause. Silence settled until a CRASH, dust poofed out from the entryway that had Alex to even turn looking in that direction before a chuckle and he continued with his task, getting ready for the lady and her drink. There was muffled curses under his breath as Matthew climbed down from the ladder and out into the hall from the room that held all kinds of donated clothing, boots, hats and such. He lifted the door back into place to match up with the hinges.

Comical, it might have been to see--with each bang her shoulders flinched and her head slightly ducked. It looked as if she had the urge to suddenly dance. So funny to Abe that he barked out a sudden laugh that was quickly smothered by his hand when she sent a wicked stare in his direction. Clearing her throat and straightening her posture, she continued across the room to the bar with only one jerk of her body when she heard the louder crash. Kitten curious, she slanted her attention towards the hall and down it, what she could see of it anyway as she settled against the bar in a very gentle lean. And she leaned further to request something from Alex. Abe did not hear what the young Egyptian ordered.

She might get a glimpse of a man, descent height, usual clothing of a dark brown tunic over a cream vest, pants of a golden tan and dark boots up to his knees with a cuff. By that time he was slipping the bolts to hold the hinges together. The door had been fixed and realigned so that it swung smoothly without a sound. He opened and closed it a few times to make certain. Open. Close. Open. Close. Open. Close, before adding a little more grease to the hinges.

She wasn't sure what she found humorous in the way the door fanned opened and closed, over and over again, but either way a very low laugh trickled up from her throat, muffled into the palm of her hand. She lifted her eyes to Alex when he returned with her glass, something fruity and possibly, possibly holding the touch of something not so fruity; something a little stiff for the tongue. Scented in lily and narcissus, the oils were not so strong as to chase everyone out of the room. If anything, it was.. pleasant. She sipped from her glass as she watched the hallway and Abe shuffled away to take up a stance near the hearth.

All seemed to go quiet before footsteps were retreating further down the hall. Another door opened but no closing sound. A few minutes to pass before more footsteps against the tiled floor sounded growing louder as one approaching. Hard to see who it was by the time he emerged for the pile of wood near up to his eyes carefully in his arms. Normally he would not come in with a female present, noted barely, for the logs would go flying from his arms after he tripped over something, or nothing, when the curse was still upon him. No so tonight. Walking a bit funny, shifting this side then that as he kept the balance of logs in his arms over to the hearth. He almost ran into Abe, luckily he caught sight of him for noting boots when watching more towards the floor. He crouched down, easing the load from his arms to roll off on the stone lip off to the side of the hearth. He set to stacking them as he stood, more in a lean, dipping with each he picked up and lifting to set it on the pile. "Good evening," with a glance first to Abe who was closest then the woman. He seemed to freeze only to turn back slow motion. Memories assaulted as his eyes went slightly bigger. Only for a moment when he realized he'd not met this Egyptian lass.

Of course, by now, her mouth was in view. The veiling silk had been pulled away to give her an easier time in drinking. Though when she caught sight of the man holding the logs, she almost jerked the material back up over her mouth. Instead, she watched with her head slightly bent forward, as if this would shadow most of her face, though it didn't. Abe quickly shuffled aside to clear the man's path, watching him at first in silence; that brooding sort of silence until the man spoke. "Evening." Abe replied, his voice rough and low, as if he'd spent years swallowing sand. Banafrit noted the man's surprise and her brow gently curved into an arch. There was a pause in her, a moment where she was completely still, like a statue before she spoke quietly to him. "Greetings, Saheb."

He caught the man's brooding look and body language to interpret it for something else as he cleared his throat, addressing him. "Pardon my seemingly staring at your wife. I thought she was someone else I accidentally unraveled many years ago." How time flew. Wait, did he just state he unraveled the other? Quickly adding, "I'm Matthew, here to get more logs on the fire to warm up the tavern well," which he was quickly in route to do. The screen lifted away and set to the side, pretending not to notice either at this point but ready to flee if the man took offense. The poker taken up as he wield it like a sword in poking the nearly burnt down logs in place. Embers hissed and he was now armed!

Abe had heard that so many times, so many, and each time he corrected the person. Until tonight. There was something about Matthew that amused him. "Aye, we have been married for many years. We have twelve children." It was easy to note Banafrit's shock; by the way her jaw unhinged itself and the way her eyes flew wide. "Ab-Rah-Ham!" She said in a voice that suddenly sounded so shrill. He grinned and cleared his throat, but did not offer more to the conversation. "We are not married and we do not have children. He is my guard. My name is Banafrit al-Dawla." She grew quiet then, perplexed over him.. unraveling a woman? For some reason, it sounded dirty to her, and it might be exactly why she didn't ask anything about it. "A pleasure." Her accent was thick, and it somehow gave a husky quality to her voice.

He didn't see Banafrit's reaction, he heard the words. There was a clanging, rattling, slight bang as the poker fell first against the stone lip then the floor and rolled a half turn. "Twelve!" Voice pitched higher in disbelief, "she is so skinny.." anything else was swallowed away as clear hazel green eyes turned her way and stared. Actually she was very pretty which dawned on him in that moment. Not really having looked at her features before, only that she wasn't this other that had wanted to kill him that night for the faux pas. "Your guard," tearing glance from the vision to this guard. "You sly devil, I can understand the wishing."

Abe grinned wide, his teeth showing. He seemed proud of himself over the joke. Though he was wise enough not to comment on what Matthew said last. He only nodded, once, quick. Meanwhile, at the bar, Banafrit felt her cheeks fill with fire. She bowed her head slightly, then lifted it when she had the glass on the counter in her hand for a slow and steady drink of the contents. When she set it down, her hands rested in her lap, against the brightly colored silk layered over thicker material. "My guard," she repeated. "I do not have children, I am not married, and Abe has been in the mood lately to stir trouble." Each word was carefully spoken and oh if her eyes could shoot out daggers, Abe would've been full of them right then! She relaxed her expression after a deep inhale, a slow exhale, and offered a tiny smile to Matthew.

"Well, you cannot blame the man. You're quite beautiful to have thoughts," realizing he was starting to put his foot in his mouth and digging a hole next if he continued. "Spring must be in the air for one wanting to stir trouble." Or see the lovely woman flush like she was. He cleared his throat, better not to say anything more along those lines. "It is a pleasure to meet you Banafrit al-Dawla," giving a flourish of a bow, sweeping his hand to the side as he bent forward then back up just as easily. Certainly he had courtly manners, more than his job as handyman would lend one. He took the moment to retrieve the poker from the floor and put three more large logs on the fire. Size would have them burn all night.

"It is a pleasure, Saheb." She murmured to him. There was a tiny smile, another one that managed to light up her eyes some. She finished her drink and stood, Abe moved to her and after a slow bow to the man, complete with her hands pressing together, she hurried out.

He barely had the logs on the fire when he went for the screen, only to catch the quick exit of the lady and her guard. He stared at the door a minute, at least, for once, he had not chased the lass out by some accident to befall her. Possibly something he said. The place went quiet again as he positioned the screen back in front of the hearth.

It had been some time since Maeve had been out socially. Oddly enough, she hadn't noticed until something was said. She wandered along the commons, looking into shops before deciding to head for the Thistle. Though the cold didn't bother her as much as some, it still had some bite. Hurrying up the steps, she moved on inside.

Alyse hadn't had much of a chance to step outside of the Orphanage after the Christmas ball, but with the cooperative aid of her helpers, conspired to take a few hours to enjoy some adult company. Heading to the Thistle, she kept her cloak around her as she quickly took the steps, pausing to remove any snow from her feet before entering into the welcome warmth.

The fire taken care of he stood back a moment watching it before distracted to the door as it was opened. Wondering for a split second if the Egyptian lady and her guard decided to return. Instead it was another and another! Smile spread easily enough for now he had company. "Good evening, I'm Matthew." Getting introductions out of the way as it was time to relax, door was fixed as well. He headed for the bar to claim a glass of potcheen. Done quickly as it was waiting and around in a turn with his back against the bar, facing them. That was courteous.

She was quickly out of the way when she heard someone coming up the steps. Smiling at the other woman while she hung her cloak, she turned to face the man. "Good eve. I'm Maeve."

"Good evening to you both." She curtsied a little to them, placing her cloak beside Maeve's.

"A pleasure to meet you Maeve," realizing he really shouldn't be leaning as he greeted them so he was up from his lean. Hazel green eyes seemed to change to more a blue as they turned from Maeve to the other. "Your name would be?" Almost tempted to tease but he didn't really know them well nor comfortable in socializing to have it come off correctly.

"Alyse MacKenna. I don't believe I've had the pleasure of meeting either of you?" Straightening, she twitched her skirt into place, her eyes bright with the pleasure of being out.

"Myers," adding his surname as he already gave his given name. "I'm the handyman here," least he had continued to do so after so many years even if the curse was lifted. There was still the debate to go back home and face his family. Though, if he did, he'd need a talisman in protection from any further curses. Presently it was better to leave things go as they were.

"No, though I know of you, and your work at the orphanage. Ni CasCorach," adding her last name as she made her way to the bar.

"I know so few, so I fear I'm not able to return the favor. Well met, Matthew and Maeve." Following, she let her thoughts wander over what to request from Alex.

Matthew mouthed Maeve's surname because it was a mouthful. More silent to commit it to memory. "I'm here near all the time, although I've rarely been out socially." He knew of many and had heard of Alyse for the Orphanage. "If you ever need something fixed there, I do have time of my own and would consider it a donation to a good cause."

"I am a Knight of the Order of Athena, those charged with the safety of the women and children of the Court."

"I'm duly impressed by both your professions. I heard they had established a new order for the women. Do you practice out at the spar hall at all?" If they did he could go and watch them sometime. He had not the advantage of watching female warriors spar. Of course it was appealing.

Alyse was impressed as well, smiling at the woman as she quietly requested a mug of hot cider. "You must be very talented, Maeve. I've not heard of such, but I can see how you and your fellow warriors are needed."

"Aye we do, and on the King's Field as well. So far there our order is small, but we are testing more and I expect our ranks to grow. It is very new. Maureen McLoughan is head." She smiled at Alyse. "Thank you." She wasn't certain how talented she was but she worked hard.


Date: 02-04-09
Poster: Matthew Myers
Post # 29

"I'll have to come by the spar hall in the least, catch you during practice. Back in the stands, out of the way, not interrupt," to reassure her. Then upon Alyse, "how are things at the orphanage?"

"Would you mind if I brought the children to watch some time, Maeve? I think it might do a world of good for them to see that men and women can rise to the defense of others equally." Thanking Alex for her mug, she looked up at Matthew with a smile that brightened. "They're very good. Thanks to the help of Princess Elaina and her ladies, and the knights, the children are enjoying a warm, comfortable winter. We're all very grateful, and occasionally, Sir Hugh comes to teach them about their plants."

"I read where some have donated their race winnings to the Orphanage." He was sure that helped as well. "I'm pleased to hear they are all doing well and keeping warm. This winter is proving to be a cold one and the rumor a blizzard may hit as well." He wondered. "I was here during one a few years ago. They had to dig out many, snow right up to the second floor windows where it blew in drifts."

"Of course. They may be lucky and see the gauntlet being used." She was certain they would be greeted by any of the knights who would be there. "The snow can become that high?"

"Thank you. Hopefully soon we'll have them down." At the mention of snow, she had to shiver.

"Aye, but everyone helps in such emergencies." Glancing between them both in hoping to reassure. "Have either of you tried the gauntlet?"

"Aye. It's part of the training." She made a slight face then laughed. "Though I admit, it's not an easy thing to attempt."

"I think I would like to attempt it." Giving a firm nod in a silent commitment to himself. "I should practice the sword again." Before he was too wary that he might spear someone for the curse if a woman showed up.

"Not I. I'm afraid I have no ability in that area. I'm hopelessly clumsy." She glanced at Maeve with rising respect, then grinned quietly at Matthew. "You should then, if you're wanting to."

A hand lifted with a scritch of a finger against the stubble beard. "Ah, I am due to the fact I had been clumsy for far too many years." Sheepish smile as his hand lowered and around to claim his glass. Swinging down and up as he kicked it back. Once done it was set back to the bar, one was enough for tonight.

She chuckled then nodded agreement. "You should and perhaps in time, you'll feel you can attempt the gauntlet as well."

"I might try the gauntlet first to see how off my balance is for not having done such exercises in..." pausing the moment as he started recounting then gave it up, "too many years."

Too many years? Alyse eyed him openly then. "Forgive me if I question that statement, Matthew. You don't seem old enough by half to qualify for 'too many years.' "

"Well, I'm twenty five going on twenty six. So seven to eight years ago that things changed and I became a klutz for a seven year stretch." That was too many years, one was more than enough to be cursed.

"What exactly is a klutz?" She smiled slightly. "I'm afraid there are words I don't know and why did you become one?"

"One that can trip over their own feet, leave others flat out in their wake. Dangerous to themselves and anyone around them."

"Seven years! What did you do, break a mirror?" Alyse couldn't imagine being that badly off, let alone for seven years.

"Something like that. I rejected marrying a witch, literally, my parents felt I should for status quo."

"But it is over now and you are no longer a klutz?" She had to test the word out of course!

Alyse held her tongue on the subject of witches; they weren't always well-received, thanks to the sort Matthew obviously had to deal with.

"That is exactly what I wish to find out. I wasn't before the curse and hoping there isn't any residue in an after effect." He had not tested it out although he no longer had the problem around women.

"It sounds like quite a problem." She frowned slightly in thought then perked. "Though perhaps you could attempt a spar with one of the squires first, using training swords." They shouldn't hurt one another with those.

"Maybe under supervision as well, so that nothing's left to chance?" She added, trying to be helpful.

She nodded at that suggestion. "Yes, nothing should be left to chance in this situation. Once it's certain the curse is cleared completely, then move on."

He squirmed at the idea of using a wooden sword like he had when little and was trained. "I think I can use a regular sword with a guard on it. I don't think it should be that bad." Slight smile feeling a bit self conscious at this point.

She smiled at Matthew and nodded. "Then that is what you should do." If he had the self-confidence, who was she to say otherwise?

"Do you believe the curse is lifted? Sometimes the power of belief is more than you realize." Alyse sipped her cider, glancing between Maeve and Matthew with interest.

"Aye, it is lifted. Thanks to the help of a couple friends I made here." Ones willing to chance being around him and solving the riddle. It was more he hoped being a klutz didn't become habit. There were times but then everyone had normal accidents. Nothing like before. "I will be careful nonetheless and start out slow." He was resolved in doing so the more he thought on it, it would get rid of any doubts and good exercise in becoming agile.

He had fought a battle right there with his resolve. "I think you will find it will come back to you rather quickly."

She smiled, again keeping to herself.

It was certainly enough talk on him, finding it a little uncomfortable but good in the long run for the resolve. A change of subject was needed. "Do you both get much time to yourselves?" It seemed they rarely got out.

"I fear not. Having the Orphanage keeps me busy. It's like being mother to thirty children." And she loved every minute of it.

"Oh yes, but I have been spending it in the library and exploring so I come to know this land better. I also hope to better my language skills." She didn't mention she also hoped to bring together her 'two sides' and be more accepting of her human side.

"That is a lot of responsibility," he was impressed. He hadn't realized there were that many children. Then to Maeve, "I would not have known you had a problem with your language skills." She sounded well versed.

She smiled, showing a dimple when she did. "Thank you. I've been working hard on them and spending time on the King's Field has helped." Her eyes took on an impish quality. "Though I've learned some words best not spoken unless alone or with ones who won't be offended. My father taught me some of my mother's language but not everything."

Alyse laughed softly. "The same can be said of spending too much time with my cousins, who are sea captains."

"Ah," almost laughing, "there are those words and amazing how younger ones especially pick them up real fast." Like magnet words. The later having him study Alyse, "you've a sea faring family then?"

"Aye. Salt water for blood in most of us, but there's a few who don't favor the sea." She nodded.

She settled to listen while she drank the punch she had selected.

"As they have salt water surrounding them, you have children surrounding you. Something that might be hard for them to be surrounded by as another would find such of the sea."

"We each do what suits us best. Thankfully, our grandparents are supportive of us each finding our own paths, so long as it keeps us productive, happy and centered." A wistful note entered her tone as she thought briefly of home and family. "The family is large, so we're scattered far and wide. Fortunately, I've some family here in Heathfield, and up north in Kildare."

"Family is important, fortunate you are to have yours intact and large even if some are scattered." He couldn't be sure of his family at all and so didn't go there. "All in all, you're happy where you are and what you are doing." More a statement for he felt it was so.

"Very happy, and glad to combine what I love with filling a need." Alyse's expression remained warm and content as she glanced at Maeve. "I imagine I'm not the only one in Heathfield who feels that way, though."

She looked at Alyse and smiled slightly. "I am where I am to be and have come to accept that, though yes, I am happy with what I am doing. I feel I have an extended family here, if not one by blood."

"I still have some loose ends but I am where I want to be and will continue to be." A somewhat distant look came about before he shook it off. "It was a pleasure meeting you both and I shall consider getting out more often to meet others. I know many names but not the faces that go with them." And that was actually a shame. "Sleep well, stay warm, I hope our paths cross again," probably would if he made the effort.

She watched him a moment then nodded. "It was good to meet the two of you as well. I hope to see you again, and you, Alyse, I will watch for at the spar hall. Along with the children." She'd let everyone know that they might be appearing some morning.

"Thank you, and I'll see about arranging it on my end." Getting to her feet, she nodded to them both. "I'm glad I came out tonight, and met you both. Have a good night!"

Smile warmed upon them both before a nod was given Alex, he would see to a few things requested on the morrow. He was tired, long day but a good one in how it ended as he headed for the back hall and the few permanent flats for one like himself.

"I will walk with you if I may, Alyse. At least until our paths part." She was up to collect her cloak as she spoke.

"I'd like that." Collecting hers, she hurried to make herself ready to face the winter's night. "Shall we go?"

"We shall," she gave an impish grin then waved at Alex before opening the door. Following Alyse out!

And off they went!


Date: 02-05-09
Poster: Lahoneee
Post # 30

Royal Night Out

Inside it was warm, cozy, very quiet. Nora was already there, curled up somewhat in one of the large chairs near the hearth. There was a book in her lap, spread open and a glass of untouched wine on a table near her. She was lost in whatever she was reading and sometimes, a small smile turned up the corners of her mouth. Her hair was down, groomed straight though the ends held a soft curl to them. The colors of her dress were pale yellow with green ribbons, white lace.

The Royal pair didn't get out enough and this night proved to be only a gentle fall of snow. Karl was back earlier from all his duties, training the men then with meetings, especially since Peter was in. Now she wanted to have him to herself, not so much selfish, certainly not, but it was her time to be seen out with her husband. Night, was theirs when he was here, always. Bundled up, least she was in a light gray fur cloak, hood up and hands tucked into the sleeves, one curled about his arm as they carefully, leisurely, made their way to the Thistle. It had been a while since they visited with Alex and Hazel.

Karl saw to the door, pressing it open for his wife to enter first. Once she was through, he followed, closing the door behind them with a gentle click. Hands that knew the form of the woman beneath all that fur well assisted her to remove it, then he pulled his own warm pelt from his back, hanging them both near the door. He noted the woman in solitude with her book, then looked to the bar in search of Alex. The chill could quickly take over the marrow of the bones, better to seek out a drink and the fire before it could take advantage.

She lifted her blue-green eyes from the book to turn a slow glance to the door when it opened. She watched silently at first, then she closed the book itself. The leather of the thing worn, faded and cracked in places. She set it aside, near her glass of wine and she stood. It was a good time to stretch her legs anyway, she'd been curled up for a while now and it wouldn't do for cramps to build up in her muscles. "Good evening," she greeted, her tone polite, even a touch lyrical some thought.

The cloak slip easily from slender shoulders, a modest gown of a deep green spun wool worn beneath. Soft, much like the impish smile and loving look within ocean blue eyes that turned up his way the moment. There then away to Alex first as the smile remained as well to Nora, whom she had not formally met but knew well she was staying within the walls of their home. "Good evening, Nora. We have not met formally." It was possible either or both had been pointed out to her as Honeee nor Karl didn't stay confined to their quarters. "I am Honeee and my husband, Karl." There was a musical lilt to her voice, soft yet carried well.

Alex knew them well, and drinks were placed on the bar counter for them but they didn't continue there yet. He offered the woman a dip of head in greeting since Honeee had verbally done so. He ran the width of his palm along the small of her back in a silent, but meaningful gesture. He crossed to the bar, spoke in a lowered tone to Alex, then collected both glasses to bring one to his Queen.

It was rare to see her mother and stepfather out, but always a cause for celebration. Even the cold of the winter's eve didn't stop those who were out from talking excitedly. Henna, her face shadowed by the fur-trimmed cloak she wore, smile to hear them as she hurried toward the Thistle. She slipped in quickly, trying her best to not let more cold air in then necessary.

She well picked up on each small touch, seen or unseen. Only had her smile warm even more. Warmed blackberry brandy would be set for her as that was her usual when here. She moved gracefully at his side in silent steps, well matched with his and him. Pausing before reaching the bar as he collected the drinks and met her there those few steps away.

"It is a great honor to meet both of you. I have been waiting for this day. I wanted to say how grateful I am to you both for allowing me to stay within the castle." She sounded suddenly excited and at the same time, she appeared a touch nervous. Her eyes, a brilliant shade of blue touched with clover green, widened slightly but they lit up with the smile that showed her teeth. There were dimples curving against the soft skin of her cheeks, the expression remaining even as she dropped them both a light curtsey. Nor required her, she knew, but she would have felt positively rude if she hadn't done so.

Karl pulled his gaze from the young woman speaking to Honeee to glance to the door. "Henna?" A smile creased at the corners of his eyes, tilted ever so slightly the edges of his lips. Of course it was that particular twin, but still, with all that fur about her face... A twitch of hand invited the princess over as he looked back to Elleanora.

"The rooms given you are comfortable, all you need?" She would have been given a small suite. Bedroom with an antechamber and living area. Chambermaids were assigned, taking care of all rooms. The arrival of one of her daughters had a slender hand move out in invitation to join them. "This is my daughter Henna, please meet the Lady Elleanora, or Nora." She knew of the shorter version of her name used in preference. So she was informed by the young prince Rick McAndrews.

She lowered her hood and smiled warmly at her parents, removing her cloak so that she could join them after obtaining a drink. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Nora." Sincerely meant. She placed a kiss to her mother's cheek, adding a hug and then did the same to Karl. "And good to see the two of you out and about." Nothing made her happier than seeing them together.

"The rooms are more than I had expected, far more than what I would have ever asked for. Thank you." Her nod was subtle, but there. "And most call me Nora, yes." She trailed off to send a smile to Henna. "It is a pleasure to meet you, as well." Her head dipped, more than the previous nod that was barely there. "The castle is beautiful," she thought to add. "I love the library."

The kiss was returned the moment of hers as well a gentle hug before her smile brightened. It was good to see her out and she had still to coax Solarina to socialize due to her wings. Even Tykir had not been out socially. In time. "I'm pleased to hear all is going well for you, Nora." Leaving her daughter to meet the young lady as she glanced up to her husband "Shall we take our respite by  the hearth?" Chairs were more comfortable and arranged so they were able to talk to others in the room.

Karl bent slightly to receive that kiss, patting lightly to the woman's upper arm as he straightened. Tykir tended to spend a goodly amount of time training. Karl could not fault him there. The lad's skill and confidence  continued to grow. Proud? Karl found himself quite often succumbing to the sin of pride where the princes and princesses were concerned.

Where one certain king was to be found, the other would show if at all possible. Peter came from the back offices having been here earlier to go through a number of papers. Sienna eyes glinted as he emerged from the back hall. This night a tunic of dark blue with silver trimming and emblem of Innis over his heart, was worn. Black pants and tan boots. The empowered sword sheathed at his left hip. "Good evening," the smile showed he was pleased to find them both here. "Karl, Honeee, Henna and Nora." As each name was spoken so dark eyes touched there.

"Yes, of course." Karl started them in that direction, only to have his steps paused by the appearance of a good friend. "Grab a drink, Peter. Come join us at the hearth." A large hand came to rest on the back of a chair for Honeee to take her ease.

Nora had to take another look around, a double check to make sure she was still in the Tavern and had not been transported unknowingly to court. Perhaps her double-take was all Peter's fault. "Good evening," she returned the greeting, flashing him a warm smile. Her hands were clasped gently before her, resting against the full skirting of her dress.

"Good evening Peter. It is good to welcome you once again to these lands," ones looked upon as home for the Innis King, once a knight here as well. Certainly she had seen him out on the king's field since his return but had not the opportunity until now to greet him informally, socially. She had chosen a seat, wingback to be exact, at the hearth by this time and was seated comfortably so any others could be seated as well that held to propriety by habit. A wink given her daughter with eye contact only to glance to one of the seats that she might join them.

Pyper came in from her walk, not having had any particular destination in mind. She got pelted a bit from the lads and lasses outside having a snow fight, and tossed a few herself, more in retaliation than anything else, and not at any one person, more a general direction. Chuckling as she finally got free from flying snow, and made it to the steps, she quickly went in so as not to let in too much of the chilly air. "Evening," said to all, and then realizing who it actually was that was here, the elf gave a deep curtsey. "Your majesties, Lady Nora", then went to the bar to order a mug of mulled cider.

"Good evening, Peter. It's good to see you again. And Pyper." She caught the wink from her mother and joined her, hoping the others would do the same. "It's a good night for visiting. And being inside."

An impish smile then turning upon Pyper. "Good evening Pyper, have you met the others?" Not being certain if she had met everyone.

He collected his drink from Alex. Tonight it was potcheen straight up, a good amount in a glass so he didn't need the bottle for refills. One should be enough. "Ladies," sweeping a hand towards the grouping of chairs in front of the hearth including them all who wish. Knowing well the invitation was open for anyone to join them.

She nodded. "Yes I have, though it has been a while." as she perched on a stool to await her cider, tossing her head a bit to free it of any left over snow.

In mid-lowering, Karl's gaze lifted to the opening door. The motion continued though and he lowered to sit, reaching over to place his mug on a table nearest his chair. He'd wait for Peter to join them to speak more.

"Pyper, good evening to you." Nora's voice was cheerful, but soft. She greeted the Elf with a returned curtsey, a quick dip before she straightened again. She hadn't moved far from the chair she had chosen earlier. She settled back down finally, but didn't adopt the near slouch of curling up as she had earlier on. Her hands rested against her lap, though she couldn't quite keep them still.

He stood a few feet from Karl as he would wait for the ladies that chose to join them to be seated. He had a question for Karl. "Will you be taking a round with Kieran Turlough before he is knighted next month?"

The elf picked up her mug from Alex, with a nod of thanks, and went to the hearth where they all were seated, choosing one of the wingbacks closest to the flames, needing to thaw out a bit.

Silent for now, that dark gaze rested on his wife. He hadn't released the hold on his mug where it rested on the table and thumb gently stroked the warmed glass. Peter's question distracted him from his thoughts and he cut a look up to his comrade. "I've spoken with Trevor about it. He seems eager to test his skill...or his ego." Karl chuckled low, but nodded. "I think it would do him well. Unless you think you'd like to try the lad."

"You appear so cold, Pyper." Spoken more out of observation than anything. It was quiet, too.

She chuckled. "Not so much cold.... more wet... I got caught in a snow fight coming here...." but had been amusing to her so she didn't mind.

"I am to take a round with him soon. I would make certain to be there when you do as well, though we may wish to space them. Or short turns." He would not overstep Karl being Kieran would be knighted under him, more it was the way of a conversation they had right here in this very tavern a few nights ago. "I believe the young man would be even more honored if you took a turn."

"That has happened a few times to me," she admitted to Pyper. There was a subtle lean to her side, just enough for her to be in easy reach of her wine glass. She lifted it slowly, fingers curled around the stem and sipped.

She listened to each conversation quietly, a slight smile playing over her lips. She could imagine the young squire's nervousness at facing both Kings.


Date: 02-05-09
Poster: Lahoneee
Post # 31

A dark brow twitched upward. "I believe the honor would be mine, Peter. Vincent, Trevor, Lazare, Dana...their squires will, to the soul, be worthy of their spurs. I'll let Trevor know we'll both like to see what the young man has to offer the crown." And Karl would make sure that Kieran heard that conversation with Trevor. A little extra nervous energy might do the young man good. A single dip of head to Peter, by way of a smile, then he slid his gaze to the ladies. "I fear our lands, though peaceful, tend to transform into a war zone come snowfall. We've many a well-trained snowball warrior in these lands."

Honeee was enjoying the warmth of her brandy as she listened to her husband and esteem friend. Henna was quiet as a slanted glance was taken her way, finding her listening as well. A natural curl to the edges of her lips held that elusive mischievous way about it, having one wonder what might transpire. Pyper and Nora also noted, quiet but at least in conversation. A glance up to her husband as a glint brightened in ocean blue eyes. "I can still take you on in a snowball fight."

The elf only nodded, "yes I have noticed," then had to chuckle at the Queen's comment.

"A good plan. Perfect." Anything else fell away before a laugh erupted. "I do believe you have a challenge laid at your feet, Karl." He had taken his seat at this point, sleight of hand guiding the sword out of his way as he relaxed. A drink of the potcheen to follow then lowered to rest against the arm of the chair.

"Yes, they know how to... confuse their enemies quite well. They tend to scatter and launch at once and it is quite difficult to pick out which direction the snowballs are coming from." Chatty there, but Nora silenced herself for  another sip of her wine. She set the glass down, her hands back in her lap. She smiled to the Queen, the Kings, the quiet Princess and finally to Pyper.

The king actually...laughed...when he heard Honeee. It was a deep rumble of amusement and he nodded. "You can take me on...but can you take me? This will need be proven, My Queen."

She was going to mention having attended the races but instead she laughed when she heard her mother. "And a challenge issued in return."

"Mmm...hmmmm..." smile only swept more with the twinkle in blue eyes brightening. He was fairly warned all was fair in love and war.

"I think we should launch an attack on the teenagers," so said she that wasn't quite out of the teenage years herself.

Karl released the hold on his mug and leaned forward, resting his forearms to his knees and smiled at his minx of a wife. "There is a bright moon tonight and I am not one to let a challenge go unanswered for too long. Peter..." Karl slowly diverted his eyes from his wife to look to his friend. "You will handle the men on the field tomorrow if I am brought low tonight?" The king of Innis would, without further explanation, understand the King of  Heathfield's true meaning. He sat back, his bent elbow to the arm of the chair, his jaw resting against the tips of his fore and middle fingers as he looked once more to his lovely opponent. He didn't take that intense gaze from his wife as he spoke to Nora. "They are heavily armed, M'Lady, and have seen enough winters here to have perfected their plan of attack as you well know. Pick your allies well to stand at your side in that endeavor."

She had to chuckle quietly as she watched the teasing between King and Queen. Very cute to see. She curled up a bit more in the large chair, watching and listening, taking a sip of her cider every now and then.

"Ah, but dear King, I have a secret weapon." She held up one finger, her eyes brightening. "It is called.. cheating." She did not explain further though there was a wicked smile spreading along her mouth. She glanced to the others then rose up, taking her glass to return to the bar. "Pardon me." She needed a refill.

"A bright moon is perfect," such an impish smile in return as she leaned forward mimicking his move. Delighted, clearly showed in her eyes. There was fun to be had under the pale moonlight.

Poor timing! Karl was about to ask to use that secret weapon for he would surely need it against Honeee!

"Aye, indeed I will." Trying hard not to laugh. "You may well be brought low..."

She might have expected questions, a request for her to .. explain her weapon of choice. That could have been why she went to the bar so quickly! She either wasn't sharing, or she either hadn't figured out how to use cheating to her advantage.. yet.

Peter's comment, oh yes, that had the warrior king dipping his head in an attempt to hide a rather tell-tale grin. He looked up to his wife from beneath his brow, head still dipped but dark eyes resting there.

"I do believe Rick has constructed a fort down in the commons at a prestigious junction to gain an advantage over the groups that will emerge to try and seize his snow castle."

Which only had her minutely wiggle her brows. It was quick and probably pass the others' notice. Or not unless they happen to be looking right at her that split second. Honeee was going to cheat, Karl was well prepared but knowing it would be in his favor in the long run. Taken down can be fun.

"He's a McAndrews. It is in his blood to always hold the advantage." The mug was once more in his grip and Karl brought it around to drink. Taken down may be the intent. Especially by one of such ... expertise.

She turned when she heard Peter, bright eyed, wide eyed. "Oh? Rick is such a genius. I wonder if he would hire an extra.. guard." She notched up her chin, grinning. Returning then to her chair, she sat down after carefully placing her glass on the table.

The elf was curious how one actually managed this cheating in a snow fight... doesn't everyone eventually get so covered with snow that they are soaked or was that just her?

She studied Nora when she spoke of Rick then she turned her attention to her mother, watching her and Karl was always so ... enlightening.

"I'm sure Rick would accept comrades to fight at his side. Would you make a good guard?" Amused certainly as sienna eyes turned her way then upon Henna. "Do you join in the snowball fights?"

She'd not had real.. fun in what seemed like years. This was like a perfect opportunity for her. She smiled over towards Henna then her eyes lifted to Peter. "I am not so sure, honestly. Perhaps we will see soon?" She laughed low, ticking a smile towards Pyper after.

There was always the dungeons afterwards... place where prisoners were taken. Chained to the wall.


"Only with my siblings." She smiled as she looked at Peter. She was rarely out when the teens were.

Karl could probably read her thoughts. They knew each other that well. That certain glint different from other glints there.

She winked back. "I'm sure you would make a good guard Nora."

Take note: Nora certainly was not watching Karl and Honeee.

Peter was avoiding looking at Karl and Honeee at the moment! Focus on Henna presently. "You enjoy snowball fights or do you prefer the toboggan run or ice skating?" Hopefully drawing her into the conversation.


Could, couldn't, he tried his damnedest not to let anything show on his features. "There is only one way to find out, Lady Nora." Karl cleared his throat, perhaps the content of his mug was too hot. Something...was a tad hot in here. Honeee and Karl were the epitome of self-control and propriety. What went on in their thoughts, well now, that was a horse of not only a different color, but many, many, many different colors.

"I could stun them with my beauty." She was absolutely, no doubt kidding with that! "Or, my ugliness? Whichever might work to stun the enemy. They will be stunned, however." The last sounded oh so threatening. See? Cheating.

That was part of the challenge! Squirm. Loving it too and keeping it from his expression. Giving that reprieve, eyes sparkling as her glass of brandy was lifted and attention shifted to Nora. "Well, ugly will not work for you." That was obvious.

"I've never tried the toboggan runs, though I've watched others on them. I do like ice skating." She laughed softly. "I'm afraid my aim is terrible. I would probably hit anything but my target."

"To ask Rick, King?" She questioned Karl, she guessed that was the only way to find out, to ask to see if she could play guard! "Same here," she whispered to Henna. "That's why you cheat."

"To ask the McAndrews, yes. He is, as you say, a genius. Surely he would recognize an asset to his ice kingdom when he sees it."

"I'm sure if you and Henna put your heads together, you can come up with some unique cheating techniques. It is best to take aim at the biggest target, Henna." Which had him chuckle as he realized something, "although that might put you throwing snowballs at Rick." The prince as near as tall as his father.

"Peter, for example, Dear Henna. You should practice with .. that...formidable target." Flicker of dark gaze in one particular direction.

"It is easy, play decoy, distract them, and while they're distracted, others take fire." She rolled her shoulder. It sounded like a plan to her. Her lashes fluttered when she heard Karl. "Then, I shall ask, certainly." Oh, her smile. Though, it crashed and burned when she heard Peter's last. "Huh? Why would I do that?"

"I just close my eyes and throw..." she didn't really understand anything about the actual game part, or strategy... just thought it looked fun. "And most times there is so many of them, that one would eventually hit one of them?"

"I am at your service, Henna. I promise to stand still until you can hit me square in the chest." Of course once she hits him square in the chest, it would relieve him of the point of staying still or throwing ones back.

"And that could very well be until you're nearly frozen." She laughed again, eyeing him. "Or I could hit you anywhere but the chest."

"Your strategy of aim sounds a bit like Carno's when it comes to arrows, Lady Pyper. I hope it works better for you." He leaned toward Nora. "I believe he meant that for Henna's practice." ...Henna...careful.


Date: 02-05-09
Poster: Lahoneee
Post # 32

"Well, we'll call one that is a fair hit in aim then."

"I got confused," she admitted sheepishly.

"I think I am much better with arrows than balls of snow....." besides most were bigger than her anyway, so she had to hit something right?

When wasn't she careful? Her smile might remind Peter of her mother's ... impish.

"It is not difficult to do, I fear." He nodded to Nora with understanding then, with a pat of his large hand on the arm of his chair, he unfolded from the comforts of his chair and stood. "Madame, I believe fate is calling." His open palm was offered to his wife, his love, his soon to be snow covered

Was he in trouble like Karl was in trouble? Nah. Smile touched off to the side and hard to tell what he was thinking from there.

Karl wasn't in trouble. He was in Trouble. Make that a large T. But then, when it came to Honeee, bring it. Neither of them had ever held back from the other, anything. Tonight would be no different.

Nora stood up slowly, after one more drink from her glass of wine. Her hands in front of her, resting against the fabric of her dress. She glanced to the door then back to the group.

She was quiet. That usually meant she was plotting. Don't be fooled by her soaking in the conversations as the only thing she was really doing. She was up, her hand to curl within Karl's. "It has been very pleasant a night out but it is time to lay a certain king low. Moonlight and snow."

"Are you waiting for someone, Nora?" Breaking the spell of quiet looks going around. He rose from his seat in all due respect. "I will see you on the king's field come dawn, Karl. Always a pleasure to see you Honeee." Giving a respectful dip of his head. Karl might well be having the better night this one.

Karl loved that kind of Trouble, as did her mother! She bit back an uncharacteristic giggle as she watched them again then a sigh. They were so very perfect together.

"Mm, no," She shook her head gently, smiling towards Peter before her expression turned to Honeee and Karl. "Enjoy yourselves."

Karl brought her hand up to his lips, turning it to press a lingering kiss to the pad of her palm. "Don't count on it, Peter." An arch of brow as he lowered her hand and shot a look to Peter, then started them toward the door to collect their furs. "Ladies...Princess." He helped Honeee on with hers then shrugged into his own.

She chuckled as she continued to watch, admiring seeing the royal couple still so in love with each other. It reminded her of... many. She gave them both a dip of her head in respect. "Good night your majesties."

Which had his lips twitched with another slight dip of his head, well reminded. "A very pleasant night to you both." Like it needed to be stated.

"Good night, Mother. Karl." She blew them kisses as they prepared to leave.

"Good night. May you all have a pleasant one." She fully planned to and always it was when time was spent with her husband. Hand in his until their cloaks were collected and now the time looked forward to.

"Have a pleasant evening." Quietly to the couple. She reached for her glass on the table, lifted it for a drink. She drained it, in fact. Then, with a slow, lazy turn she carried the glass back to the bar. Two was quite enough.

The door was opened. "A perfect night..." Were his final words just before he shut the door behind them.

Once they had left he took up his seat again, sword adjusted in a guide of hand.

"Would any of you like anything?" While she was still bar side. She turned to look over the small gathering near the hearth.

"I have a family filled with joy." She said softly, contentment in her voice.

"You do indeed princess. A wonderful thing." She smiled, then nodded her head in the negative to Nora.

"I believe I still have potcheen," he'd had but one drink from it so far. "Perhaps if there is any freshly made raisin bread, the kind with the icing on top.." Warm and slightly buttered was how Hazel made it.

Peter's voice was loud enough that she didn't need to repeat it again. She nodded faintly and soon enough, some of the bread Peter spoke of was set on the bar. She picked up the plate and turned to cross the room, pausing near the King to offer it to him. "You are in luck." She smiled.

"That sounds wonderful. The bread I mean." She nodded at Pyper. "There's Mother and Karl, and Andrew and Noir. All my brothers and sisters." And Lah could very well be married again soon. She stood to see if she could have a slice of bread as well and made her way to the bar.

He sat up more as he chose one of the thick chunks it was sliced into, leaving plenty for the others. "Thank you Nora," a man and his appetite were both pleased.

There was plenty, she smiled over at Henna as she started for the bar. "I have quite a bit here." She made a motion to the plate in her hand, that she set down in Peter's reach. Then she returned to her chair.

"Oh." Laughing, she turned and rejoined the others. "So, are you planning to stay, Nora, or aren't you sure yet?"

She didn't answer Henna immediately, which might seem like she was hesitating, or unsure. She recalled an incident, then, well--more like an awakening. "If I am allowed. I think.. and this may sound strange, I think it is meant for me to stay.." Her brows furrowed and her voice had grown softer. She pursed her lips and sent a brief stare to the hearth, growing more than just a little thoughtful.

"Well, I'll put in a good word for you." Which actually would carry weight. Got that out before his mouth was being stuffed with the raisin bread. A thorough look of heaven on his features. Very far cry from the more stoic. He was loosening up. Unbending as some would say.

She chuckled quietly as she saw the look of pure bliss on the king's face as he ate the bread. couldn't help it.

"Thank you, dear King." Spoken his way with a lingering smile. She cleared her throat some for his.. expression and looked back to the hearth.

"So will I. I see no reason you won't be allowed to stay." She looked at Peter and laughed. "It's always good to see someone enjoy their food." Of course, Hazel's food was deserving of such expressions!

"Thank you, too, Princess." A smile flashed her way, too. Brighter.

There was probably something else that could bring about that look and more but presently he'd have to contend himself with the delicious bread. "I think I might have to put my name on the list of men that have petition for Hazel's hand." A complimentary ongoing teasing that certainly flattered the older woman.

"I do believe that is a long line to be added to...." if her observations were correct.

That caused her to slip out a very quiet laugh, nearly a giggle. "You may be in for fierce competition."

"I haven't seen anyone who doesn't like her cooking." She pouted, though it was all in fun. "I wonder if she'd be willing to teach me the way to a man's heart."

"Perhaps all women need lessons from her. I know I do," she commented to Henna, grinning.

"Aye," which he actually thought about it as if serious. "Then I would need come up with something unique to stand out amongst the rest or find myself another who cooks and bakes as well." There were always options as a quick wink was added.

She laughed then quietly.

She chuckled and looked at Peter. "So, if we all learn to cook well, we'll have you standing in line too?"

She grinned hearing Henna, then let out another quiet laugh. "Then it will be the women on a list wanting him."

"Well, first I would have to run a contest of cooked dishes and baked goods. Testing each until I find such perfection Hazel has mastered." Far better than standing in lines, let the food come to him!

"I think there already is one of that Nora," she teased with a wink.

"That could be a large amount of food, you could get quite.. uhm.. large in the stomach." Hearing Pyper, she giggled and winked towards her. "I can imagine."

She grinned at Nora then turned to Peter again. "Or work extra hard in training."

"Instead of riding a horse from place to place, you might want to run." Offered. So helpful. She still held her smile, even as she rose up again. "I hope you all have a pleasant night. I think I will return to the castle, rest."

"Then I would need to find enough exercise to balance out all the good cooking. Running is an option. One of many.."  it was getting late as he finished off his potcheen. The bread already done. Rising as he took up the platter to take to the bar to set it there. "Can I escort you both back to the castle then?"

"Yes, please. That would be lovely." Answering Peter.

"I'll join you, Nora." She stood as well, then laughed. "I think we would enjoy your company, Peter."

"Then I shall be the thorn between two roses and the envy of the other men that sets eyes upon us." Compliment was sincere for certainly with such beauty on each arm he would be envied. He would see to their cloaks as well his own before they would vacate the premises, leaving Alex to close up with the help of Hazel.

Peter caused her to blush. She smiled for his compliment and glanced aside to Henna. Cloak on soon enough, she left with the two.

"Thank you, Peter." For both the compliment and the help. Outside and with Peter as their escort, they weren't likely to be snowballed.


Date: 02-07-09
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 33

Stowaway Pets

At the end of the day, before exhaustion took over and demanded that eyelids close, a man could always find some relaxation and good company at the Thistle. So it was there that Lazare made himself comfortable with a glass of a fine brewed spirit. None better could be found outside of these lands, and Lazare knew from experience. Ah yes...this was just what was called for.  He was seated near the hearth, just far enough to enjoy the heat but not be overwhelmed by it.

Nora was somewhat tired, yet not quite tired enough to crawl into bed. Her hair, tonight, was left down and the wind had played a number on it--tangling up the curls and lending her a rather wild look. Her cheeks were pink from the cold that kissed them, as well as her nose. Hardly the one to wear pants, it wasn't a surprise to find her in a lacy dress with a bodice that fit snug, decorated by ribbons. Lavender with white lace, the dress's hem brushed the ground, and in turn, the tavern floor when she stepped in. She paused to remove her cloak, making sure, too, that the door had shut behind her.

After cleaning cages of all kinds of poop, and seeing to all the animals in the pet shop, Beth soaked in a long leisurely bath. Once that was done she had energy again and decided to get out. Though she was worried over one of the small chameleons, as she had counted them, was missing. A fur cloak of tans was worn over a deep rich blue gown, deciding to look nice as well, trimmed in Irish lace of white. Dress boots were not the best but they would suffice. Half skating to the Thistle where the steps were clear and so stomped lightly once on the porch before proceeding in. Hair was a shining luster of gold and blond mixed that came in waves down her back, seen once the hood was lowered and the cloak removed. Smile just as bright seeing it wasn't too late in others being out. "Good evening!"  Hanging the cloak off to a peg before the slip of hands smoothed out the gown while proceeding to the bar.

A casual glance took in the woman entering, a twitch of gaze away, then instantly back. Lazare brought his glass up to temper his smile for a moment, watching her in that amount of time, then lowered his glass to rest in his grip along the arm of the chair. She looked a tad like the woman battling the beast last night. The next woman entering had his attention diverting. "Good evening to you." He returned her greeting from his seated position.

She noted the man first, and dropped him a polite curtsey. When the door opened, her attention drifted towards it, taking note of the woman entering. Nora flashed her a wide smile for the cheerful greeting. "Good evening," she said, with a low laugh as she turned to cross the floor. Her direction, first, was the bar. And there she tipped into a very light lean while she passed an order across for Alex. She fussed with her hair while she waited, trying to tame some of the wildness out of it.

There was a twinkle in golden green eyes, what she didn't know was that the little chameleon was clinging to the ends of her hair, a golden green as well. Best it could change color to try and blend in. She would have some warmed brandy as her fair this night, warm her up inside. "I am Beth." Taking up her drink as a glance was spared the young woman then the man who seemed far more seasoned. "Nice night to be out, full moon soon." Almost full that it could still cast its light over snow and buildings alike. Stars were bright where no clouds pressed. So much brighter in a wintry sky, she wondered on that. Maybe it had something to do with the cold. No matter. It had one thoughtful.

It was a good night to be out, even if cold and icy. Then again, ice was never a problem for Desiree. She laughed as she watched some of the teens sliding on a long stretch of ice before she made her way to the Tavern. She did the same, only there was more to the slide when she was through. Quite pleased with her handiwork, she continued on up the steps and inside, closing the door quickly so as to not freeze those within.

"My name is Nora. Nice to meet you, Beth." She watched her, smiling as she straightened. She had a glass of wine and she walked slowly to the hearth. She squinted once, not seeing the chameleon quite yet. Passing a glance over the quiet man, she smiled again before her attention drifted to the door when it opened. "Good evening," she offered to the woman. Then, Nora.. simply sat. Settling into one of the overstuffed chairs.

Since one of them came nearer, Lazare stood, leaning to place his glass aside. "Lazare...Lazare Carno. A pleasure ladies." Again he looked to the door, offering the newest arrival of nod and a smile.  She sat...he sat.

"Good evening." She answered as she hung the cloak she had worn. It was deep burgundy with embroidered symbols of gold along the hem. She wore trousers as usual, this pair black doeskin that fit her curves nicely. A shirt of  blue watered silk was also worn. "Desiree Crawford." She recognized Lazare's name of course and had seen him on the King's Field.

"Lazare Carno," rolling that over in her mind and her tongue as she was headed for the hearth to warm up. "Nora," smiling her way as she took up one of the vacant wingbacks near them. Not too close, not too far. Now another to greet, "a pleasure to meet you as well Desiree," another name she had heard on. It dawned on her then who Lazare Carno was. A second glance there with eyes slightly widened in surprise to actually meet one of the four, especially in her little world.

Close enough to have the King's Man standing slowing in respect but this time remaining on his feet until Desiree decided where she would take her ease.

"It is very nice to meet all of you," she offered, her tone pleasant and a little lyrical.

She collected a glass of potcheen punch before she too, headed for the hearth. She sat in one of those comfortable chairs, and smiled at the King's Man. "I'm glad to finally meet you, Sir Lazare."

"Finally?" He chuckled, reclaiming his chair as he looked over to Desiree. "Had I known you were so eagerly awaiting, I would have sought you out. How did you fare last evening, Nora? You look none the worse for facing off the beast." That was her...wasn't it? Did he even care that he may have confused her with another? Lazare? Probably not.

Her eyes widened slightly, and she cleared her throat. That was him? He was the one she thought she saw walking by? "I--uh..I managed to make it by the third section." She furrowed her brows, then smiled sheepishly.

"Of course eagerly." She smiled as she spoke. "I didn't want to interrupt your training, or mine." She turned ocean blue eyes on Nora and chuckled. "That's an accomplishment, believe me." She looked at Beth then, leaning slightly. "You own the pet shop, don't you? I've been meaning to visit. I heard you have quite an assortment of animals." Was Beth's hair .. .moving?

Sir Lazare, a touch of pink glowed against her cheeks but then she remembered that there were laid back here so she hadn't blundered. A touch of a smile on a thought that had her glance dipping down to her drink  for a moment before lifting. Luckily she had not sat back enough to squish the chameleon. It has managed to jump from the ends of her chair, run up to her shoulder then the back of the chair before disappearing again. something streaked across the floor then up a boot, into where it was laced with a big enough hold to fit. Down around and started up a pant leg.

"Ah, well, many a good man has been downed by the likes of that creature. I suppose it doesn't discriminate." He looked to Desiree as she spoke of training. Here he thought he had just dreamed of her, and that's why she looked familiar. So much for that.

"..I.. I think it was the third, anyway. It was quite difficult, Desiree, frightening, even," she admitted with a quiet laugh. She glanced towards Beth when Desiree spoke to her. A smile flickered towards Lazare. "None of us made it that --Faaah!" Ever girlish. She didn't catch sight of the stalking chameleon but she did see a flash across the floor. Her legs curled up in her chair and she tugged all of the heavy skirting up there  too. "Rat! Rat!" She honestly didn't know what it was.

Maybe not. It was a flicker at any rate. She was about to ask Beth more when Nora yelled out. Rat? In the Thistle?

"Yes I do," catching something out of the corner of her eyes but nothing to be seen when she looked. "Too small and long to be a rat. I do think it's the chameleon I'm missing. They are harmless, don't even bite.. although they can get in the smallest, darndest of places." She was up, setting her glass aside and was stalking Lazare. Well, more in circling his chair, crouching down with a guide of her skirts in one hand to peer under his chair.

Lazare threw up his free hand, glancing toward Alex. "I swear, man, I didn't touch her." But then, he felt that tugging of slight weight and had a momentary jerk of gut that Nora may have actually seen that very rodent. Chameleon?

Pardon, she's staring at Lazare.

She was laughing as she watched, leaning forward again, though not moving her feet just in case the wee lizard was on the floor. "It may be hard to find it."

Both brows raised as Beth went on the hunt near him, the view was rather nice. Did he dare tell her that what she sought, was currently clinging to the inside of his pant leg? He took another sip of his drink, His knees were bent, that would keep the little critter from going further than it should so he was just enjoying the view and gave the little guy a few moments more to hide.

She might untie his boot and roll up his pant leg in search of the poor critter. It was probably frightened. Although they were pretty expressionless, just stared most of the time. Almost on her hands and knees at this time as she rounded his seat, then sat back on her heels. A hand lifted to smooth away blond tendrils that escaped the small braids holding most back from the sides to the free flowing. "Would it be much of an imposition to stand, Sir Lazare. I do believe I've lost my tiny dragon to your chair?"

She slowly relaxed; enough to put her feet down and sweep the heavy dress back into place. She found it a perfect time to drink some of her wine, and did just that.

To his chair? If...she only knew. "Dear Lady, please..." He stood, reaching a hand down to her for her to stand. "I believe I can relieve you of your search, if you but gain your feet again."

The little chameleon was about to escape but when Lazare stood .. well.. hopefully he wasn't ticklish. Her hand slipped in his probably at the same time as she brought herself up gracefully enough all considering. She was about to go on a dialogue on how one was missing but managed not a word for his. "You have him then?" Although it was questionable if it was a him, or a her.

His other hand pressed to the side of his leg, catching the small handful beneath the fabric. "Hmmm, actually...give me a moment, will you?" He looked to the others there with them. "Would you excuse me?" A smile for them, then he slipped his hand from Beth. With a hitch to his step and his fingers tight against his pant leg, he giddy-upped to a back room. There, he ended the hide and seek and played the rescuer.

Her attention was on Beth and Lazare, but she did glance towards Desiree, offering her a small smile. She leaned forward some in her chair, lifting the glass to her mouth. Her brow slowly, slowly arched at Lazare. She nodded, then informed the others in a pleasant tone. "Look at the bright side, it could have been a snake."

She was watching with much interest, eyes shining with laughter. Clever little beastie! "Of course, Sir Lazare."

Soon enough, he returned to the room with his hands cupped one over the other. "I believe I have what it is you seek." He moved around to stand before his chair again, looking to Beth.

Anxious as she nodded her head quickly as he was just as quick to head out. Seems the little rascal found a way into the Sir's pants. It wasn't until he was out of the room and it all dawned on her that she finally laughed. Couldn't be help. It was soft and musical at least. Fae quality to it. Lips quickly pursed as he was back, quickly too. "Thank you," hands folding out that he could place the little guy there to be captured. Her smile like sunshine on a summer's morn, came gratefully. "He might be smaller than other pets I have but I consider them all important, not determined by size."

She watched curiously, quietly, smiling over the rim of the wine glass held in her fingers. She took one sip, then another before tilting to her side to set the glass on a table. Her hands swept over her lap before stilling  themselves against the fabric of her dress.

He made the hand off, a twitch of a grin before it showed itself in full, looking behind him to his cushion to make sure no other ... pets...had found a place in his chair. No matter the size.

She was quickly over to the bar to gain a small box with holes in it from Alex. Luckily he had such, punching the holes into the cardboard before the chameleon was placed inside safely. Once done she was back over to set it on the table next to her drink. More like exchanging it for her drink as she finally took her seat again.


Date: 02-07-09
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 34

"They're fascinating little things. And you handled the capture very well." Eyes moved to his chair as well, then to the one where Beth had been seated. Just to make sure there weren't any other escapees!

He once more claimed the comfort to be found there, and his glass. "I must say, had someone told me I would be fishing lizards from my pants tonight, I would have walked away in disbelief."

Which brought her light laughter again, "one never knows how a night will go." At least it had been unique and humorous.

A quick point indicated Beth. "So true, but we go about thinking we have some control, no?" He chuckled a bit, then brought his glass up to drink.

She listened to the talk, even let out another laugh, lyrical. She rose up and moved to the bar to return her wine glass.

As Nora stood, walked away, Lazare tilted his head a bit, watching.

"You'll have to make sure that whomever buys your little escape artist knows how quickly he can hide." She chuckled then smiled at Nora as she stood.

Glass on the bar, she turned in time to catch the watching. Her brow arched up and thinking.. something was on her, she tried to look behind her, over her shoulder to her back. Then this drifted into swishing her dress from side to side, checking the fabric. She was paranoid that something was on her, obviously!

"Indeed I will and some hints on drawing him out from his hiding places." Noticing Nora, she would reassure her. "Only one was missing and there are no rodents in this tavern." They had a couple of cats.

A quick twitch of brows as he was caught and he just as quickly looked to the other ladies as they spoke. Better yet, a drink. And he finished off his glass.

She blinked slowly, nodded. "I see. Good then," she visibly relaxed though a very quick, quick questioning look flicked towards Lazare. She returned to her chair, settled down. "What other types of animals do you have?" She asked Beth.

Hopefully none of the teens will hear of this, and use it for pranks. She took a drink of the punch as she too, waiting for Beth's answer.

With his glass empty, the ladies entering into conversation, Lazare stood to take his leave. Not that the odds were not to his liking. Not by any means. But he didn't think the Black Griffon would give him a chance to explain the reason he overslept in the morning. Three lovely man...sounded like a good reason to him. But the King was not so easily amused with such a tale. "It has been a pleasure, Ladies. One I hope can be repeated."

"Reptiles, got a boa named Cleo. Puppies, kittens, love birds, parrots, mice, guinea pigs, fish, even frogs." She could go on but she stood instead as Lazare was taking his leave. A curtsy dipped, "it has been a pleasure Sir Lazare, thank you for rescuing my chameleon."

She stood as well, bringing her fist to rest over her heart. "It was good to meet you, Sir Lazare. Rest well."

She rose back to her feet, dropping a curtsey herself. She smiled politely. "Rest well, Sir Lazare. Pleasant dreams."

"If ever I can be of assistance..." A flash of a grin and he collected his glass, bringing it over to Alex. So the King's Man took his leave.

"Tell me of this gauntlet, I've heard others talk on." Directed to Desiree as she believe she had mentioned it.

"Well, it has several parts to it and each part is different. Lancely Caster created the Beast. He changes it every so often so no one gets too comfortable with it." As if they could. "I'm sure Nora could tell you a little too since she tried it last night."

"It was a pretty.. ah.. stunning experience," she admitted to the women, laughing. "Moving floors, swinging.. balls.. blades." She still couldn't believe she had the nerve to try to take the thing on.

Which had her turn a glance on Nora, slightly leaning forward in her chair. Arms laced one over the other. "So, you have faced the beast? I'm impressed. I've not had time but have always considered trying so daring a beast as that. I should take some weapons lessons as well. Been a long time," the last more mussed under her breath. "Any nice looking lads there?" Teasing but she watched to see if Nora blushed.

"He created a water one but that's best left to the warmer months." She chuckled and looked at Nora too.

Of course she blushed. "Uhm.. Kynan and Trevet MacKay were there. Then Pyper showed up." She smiled, cleared her throat.

"Tall, dark and handsome, blond, tall and handsome. Their older brothers are very good looking as well. It's only normal to notice and certainly can talk about it amongst other ladies. You can be sure men talk about women amongst themselves." Such a teasing glint, "unless you are meaning Pyper stole your attention away?"

It was as if she'd never realized that, men talking about women. Her head canted. "Hm. I wonder if they speak of me." Not just them, others. She laughed at the last. "No no. I just--uhm. I don't know." She laughed again. "Every man I have met here.. they've all been.. strikingly handsome." She said that, blushing.

She could have sputtered her drink but luckily she had just lowered it. "They are, aren't they?" Totally agreeing!

"Indeed." Her smile turned impish, directed to Desiree. "They certainly can be distracting."

"Unless they're training you, then you best not be distracted." She laughed softly. "And has one in particular been distracting or all?" She was teasing so of course Nora didn't need to answer.

"Yes, I noticed that right away when I first step foot here. I don't think I've seen an ugly man, even older men." Which she glanced towards the bar and back, assured Alex was busy, words barely a whisper, "like Alex."

She thought that over and shook her head. "All of them have been." She grinned to Beth, nodding. "Even the older ones, I agree. But it seems a lot I have met are .. well, some are older than myself. Still nice to admire secretly, yes?" She giggled.

Lightly clearing her throat, "so, one puts aside looks to a degree. Certainly there are ones that you find a touch more attractive but it would be more then. Their humor perhaps?" She was nodding, "I agree. Lazare is older as well but certainly there is something about them. Have you ever been attracted to a younger man?" Well, realizing they wouldn't be too much younger than her!

"A few. Though I admit, I try to keep myself from getting too carried away.." She shook her head. "No, well, I don't know ages, really, so I am not sure." Answering Beth's last.

"Desiree, don't you work with at least two good looking, exceptional men?" She was pretty sure. Then back to Nora, "has any prompted you getting carried away?" That could be a sign!

She nodded as she agreed, taking another drink after glancing at Alex. She nearly did choke then. "All the king's men are handsome. Even Sir Vincent has something about him, even if he's stern." She laughed. "Of course, his wife and daughters make him less so when they come to see him. Aye, Aaric and Darragh."

"Ah, Aaric and Darragh are quite handsome." She nodded, she'd met them. She smiled faintly and she considered Beth's question. "Almost.." She said, nodding. "But I always keep myself in check." She laughed.

"I would agree, his wife .. softens him. Quite the opposites, he was stern, very rough around the edges. Tall, dark, brooding, and she is fair, soft, amicable." Talk about opposites attracting. "Was it one more your age or one of the older ones?" She didn't directly ask but certainly was curious! "There is one man that if he comes into the room even in silence, everyone becomes aware of him." She wondered if Desiree knew who she was talking about.

She pursed her lips. "I hugged Aaric." Blurted.

"You did?" Big bright smile. "Well, I think that was a good thing for you and for him then. I don't think I've seen him really much around women, like some men are around women." Not to imply there was anything wrong with Aaric but he was not one of the .. charming the women types.

"And Darragh and Prince Rick hugged me. Uhm. .." She trailed off, blushing horribly. "Trevet and Kynan are nice. And Rick. And.. the other two I mentioned. And Peter. Really, all of the men are distracting!" She laughed again.

She looked over her glass at Beth and grinned. She had a good idea who she meant.

Then again she was going on her limited experience for when she'd been out. More in the beginning when she first came. "I use to wonder if I would ever meet a man I was attracted to and he was with me as well." Relationships were tricky like that.

"I always wonder that." Admitting.

"I did get selected to do an Attendant Service for a crow type man of another lands." It had been a different kind of experience.

"Attendant Service?" She'd not heard of this yet. She grinned slowly.

"I think we all wonder that at one time or another. You did? How was it?"

"Yes, his lordship Draven MacShire, now there is another handsome man but married as well Malcolm Douglas.." she was getting distracted as she knew about how they found love. "Ah yes, well, he has this Attendant Services where ones are asked to be part of, earn money, but there is absolutely nothing sexual in it. A good time out for ones that don't have another but might like company going someplace. The one had a pet store too so I think that is why I was chosen. He had a luncheon at his place of business and his friends, mostly females, flocked about him. They were different," she had to be honest, "I got the feel they were afraid he was seeing me like a man that asks a woman on a real date." They had gradually warmed up to her when they realized she had no such interest.

"Ah, how interesting." She thought this over. Nodding. Then, she straightened up. "I am quite exhausted. It was lovely talking to you ladies, but I think I will return to the castle."

"I should return as well. Beth, will you join us in the walk?"

"It is late, time for me to go as well. I will walk with you part way then." She was up to return her empty glass to the bar then over to collect her cloak.. and box with the chameleon in it.

That answered her question. She returned her glass to the bar and followed Beth to collect her own cloak. "I serve under Prince Andrew so I stay at the castle also, Nora."

"Now, it is Prince Andrew that comes in before you realize or see and everyone then becomes very aware of him. He glows like the sun, something about him."

"Oh?" She smiled, listening to Beth. There were many she had not met yet, she realized. She stepped away from them to gather her cloak, sliding it on her shoulders.

She nodded as she looked at Beth. "His presence is very commanding, yet calming." It was a short explanation but when Nora met him, she'd understand.

"That's part of the something about him as well his dark looking counterpart, Myles." She got the door the while she was talking to hold for them.

"I haven't met them, I do not believe. Perhaps soon." She smiled as they headed out.


Date: 02-07-09
Poster: Antonio Sibio
Post # 35

Out from the Bistro 

The horse ride had been pleasant, if not cold. Nora decided to stop by the Thistle on her way back to the castle. Always dressed in something frilly, tonight was no exception, even with the horse ride she'd taken. She wore a light yellow dress, trimmed in white lace, white ribbon. The cloak was grey and thick enough that it kept her quite warm. She'd already passed the mare off to one of the stable boys which meant she was free to go inside. Sweeping through the door with pink cheeks, she paused to remove her gloves and hang her cloak.

Sammy was at the bar, the dress bow-tie hanging off to the one side from the collar. Undone. Vest was still on but open, the suit jacket off as he was laughing for the exchange of words with Alex. He had needed to get out of the kitchen, get out of the Bistro and hadn't bothered changing. He wore the tux so much they were as comfortable as anything else, especially after loosening the tie and dumping the jacket. Not quite dumped as it hung over the back of a stool. With the arrival of another, a dark eyed glance was sent over his shoulder. In the next second he was up and around from the leisurely lean. "Tu assomigliare primavera carino signora," Forgetting himself as he spoke in his native tongue, which he did most of the time around his brothers and in the kitchen. "You look like spring, pretty lady."

At the explosion of the foreign language, Nora froze halfway across the room. Her brows oh so slowly rose above blue green eyes. She eyed the man quietly, perhaps thinking he'd said something quite mean to her in those words. She cleared her throat when he switched to English and Nora, blushing, dipped into a faint curtsey. "Thank you, sir." Her hair was left down, quite long and a pale shade of blonde that held large curls here and there. She tucked a few strands behind her ears, continuing for the bar in a steady step.

It was, perhaps, a good thing that the woman didn't understand the Sibio brothers' native tongue because she would have definitely gotten an earful as this particular sibling skid into the tavern with a litany of curses in Italian  He tried to remove his heavy coat in the process of mule pushing the door closed behind him with the heel of his boot. He still wore the pants of his trade but all else but the tailored white shirt had been removed and there,  the sleeves were rolled up mid lower arm beneath the coat just removed. He practically spun in a circle, fighting the sleeves to his outer attire until that was finally removed and the object tossed to a peg as if it were some loathsome creature. "Sam." He said, a smile replacing his previous scowl as he started to the bar. "Good eve, Signora." Was added as he nodded to the lady.

"Did I scare you?" Some women were scared of him, timid mousy kinds. Probably for good reason. A hand splayed over the red sash around the dark pinstripe pants. A bow of his head given for the curtsey, at least he was dressed the part even if work related. Dark eyes jerked up in focus as Sal arrived. "Mio fratello, Sal. I am Sammy.  He dances with his coat, si?" Humorously, showed in dark eyes as well as he watched his brother, then wondered with a glance to the window but only darkness could be seen beyond from where he stood.

"Scare me? Oh, no, I just.. I did not know what you were saying." The blush was still on her cheeks. She watched the man at the bar for a moment before she turned her attention to the door, just as it opened. Her eyes widened a touch, showing off the green and blue colors sparking wildly in her irises. The tease of the man dancing with his coat brought out a low spun laugh from her, one that caused a vague tremble in her shoulders. When she controlled the laughter, she divided her attention between the men. "I'm Nora." Simply.

"It is my pleasure to meet you Nora. You are new to the lands?" His English was very good when he decided to speak it. They had been in the lands a good six years at this point. Still there was the accent and the movement of his hands when he spoke in emphasis.

"Something red, Alex." Sal had arrived before the most of them, and had learned the ways of this land quickly. He had to. While he waited for Alex to pour his wine, fingers rapped a light tattoo on the wood of the counter, his gaze moving slowly between brother and woman.

"Yes, I have not been here for long at all. A few weeks?" She nodded, that sounded about right. Her hand settled on the bar, fingers splayed as she gave a small push for leverage while she hopped up onto a barstool to sit. Her ankles crossed, but that was hard to see beneath the heavy skirts. "Are you two new?" She questioned, she'd never seen them, but then again, she was quick to realize that there were many, many that she had not met.

"Welcome to the lands then, signora Nora." Which kind of rhymed too. Had a smile twitch a fraction more. "We have been here six, seven, years. One loses count. Myself and my brothers run the Sibio Bistro." Which also gave their surname at that point.

A light rap of knuckles to that same wood thanked Alex and he brought his glass up, swirling the liquid for a long inhale, then with a smile spreading well into his eyes, he drank allowing his brother to answer while he enjoyed that first taste.

"Oh, so you have been here for a while. I have not been to the bistro," she admitted. She leaned away briefly, to place an order with Alex. Warm brandy for herself tonight, peach flavored. She straightened with a smile cast to the older gent behind the bar, but that same smile she turned to share with the brothers. "I am still trying to find my way around."

Sal passed an assessing gaze over the woman, Nora, slow, so slow, from her eyes down, down all the way down and then back up again as he took another taste of his wine. One brow twitched upward and he shot a look to Sam.

He was also drinking a wine, being that was what he usually drank while cooking, cooking with as well. "Only come if you like a fine Sicilian cuisine." There was a difference between being Italian and Sicilian. "It takes time and there is enough to see." She being one of the sights he liked best, a pretty woman.

"Oh, it has been so long since I have had Sicilian. I will make sure that I sto--" Her words cut off, quite suddenly. She caught Sal's oh so slow look over her. She blushed in reply. And her throat cleared before she continued, or tried. She forgot what she was saying. "Uhm. Yes." That sounded right.

Oh, he was grinning. "Have you ever had a Sicilian before," certainly it was another implication with that one little word added. Certainly a tracing dark glance eased down over that pretty yellow dress before up to glance over her hair, then her eyes where it stayed. No, he didn't look anywhere he should not, directly. He'd outgrown that kind of staring a long time ago.

"Yes, I have had Sicilian before." She breezed right over the 'a', somehow, thinking maybe it had been a slip in his accent. She nodded, smiling wide, because really.. she had no clue. Even though he was eyeing her up and down nearly the same way his brother had. She lifted her wine for a drink then set the glass back down.

Tony was in with little fanfare, leaning against the door as it was eased closed. A smile tipped off to the side as he watched his brothers entertain the lone lady by herself this night. He was surprised she hadn't run!

No, never staring, just enjoying what God had blessed them with...a most enjoyable sight. "You've gone too long without then." The first he spoke to her to be sure but the words were heavy with his accent even if the English had been practiced to perfection. "No one should ever go without ... Sicilian." Ah, Tony! Sal threw up his free hand to his brother then leaned over to speak with Alex. The tender placed two bottles on the counter.

A shift up as the cloak was shrugged from broad shoulders. He came a little later in following his brothers for he took the time to change. The cloak hung away as he greeted, "good evening to all." Though he noticed Franko wasn't here. Yet anyway.

"I have, it has been very long," she agreed with Sal--still not catching her previous mistake. She glanced over her shoulder to the door when Sal waved. A smile was flashed towards Antonio, pleasant, indeed.

He too gave a gesture of hand with his greeting. "Three goombas, we are only missing one. This is our brother don Antonio, the signora Nora." He liked how that sounded.

He was over to give a squeeze to the back of Sal's neck first. Unlike the Irish who grasped shoulders and forearms. They were more head slappers. Sammy got one as well before he turned to the lovely woman being introduced. "Now I know why my brothers are here this night." Adding a quick wink with the compliment.

"Hello Antonio, it is a pleasure to meet you." Nora rose up from her seat to offer him a curtsey. She blushed for his compliment, teeth briefly biting on her lower lip as she settled back down again.

Sal dipped his head as his brother gripped his neck, that lock of hair falling over his brow before it was smoothed back into obedience.

Sammy returned the gesture with more a grip of Tony's cheek ending in a pat. "It is time we get out to see the sights again, si."

"Considering the sights." Sal spoke low against the rim of his glass, smiling to himself before drinking.

She cleared her throat, her eyes on Sal. Had she heard him wrong? "Pardon?"

English may be his second language, but he didn't stutter. He tipped his glass to her by way of a toast. "Considering the sights." He repeated, meeting her gaze without hesitation and even reached for that bottle of red without breaking his look. Using his forefinger and thumb, he centered the mouth of the bottle against the rim of the glass, the remaining fingers bracing his glass and poured. By sound alone he filled his glass, then smiled to her, placing the bottle aside. With wine returned to his glass he smiled to her and drank.

"I will drink to that, the prettiest ladies in all the lands are right here." Why it didn't bother him not to return home. Glass lifted as he proceeded to take that drink.

He didn't add to their words, only giving a slight upnod with an amused look as he got a glass of wine from Alex and so lifted it as well before taking a drink. Obviously he agreed.

"Oh," she breathed it out, more than anything. She nodded gently, a curl of blonde bobbed over her slim brow. She kept an eye on Sal, suddenly speechless. And as he poured the wine, she broke the eye contact to stare down at his glass--no doubt, expecting him to over fill it. She was surprised that he had not. She looked back up, smiled, then silently drank her own wine.

While she was near staring at Sal, it afforded him a better study of her features. The way a curl of blonde hair bobbed, way the rest curved over her shoulder and that spring color dress. He needed to get out more often he concluded aside any other thoughts.

A man perfected what he did all the time, what he enjoyed doing. Only one of those things for Sal was wine.

She briefly considered her position, realizing, that she was the only lady in the room. Heaven? Or torture? Nora exhaled and before she even knew it, her glass had been drained dry. She looked down at it, puzzled, once she lowered it from her mouth. "I wonder how that happened.."

While his brothers flattered the lady, he got Alex aside in a low conversation.

"It is because you need another one?" Trying not to laugh in the way she drained it. Was she starting to feel the effect of having Sicilian males around her?

Sal pitched to the side, using the neck of the bottle to hook her glass and pull it a tad closer, refilling it, then nudged it back to her with the side of that same bottle. "And now you have just that."

Oh, she was. She didn't know how to ... really handle it all. "Ah, Sal poured me another one.." She spoke to Samuel, indicating her glass that.. now had wine inside. She smiled wide to the brothers, then murmured to Sal, "Thank you."

His own glass raised toward her. "Enjoy." He knew he was.

He went for small talk, practice it as well being it was going too quiet. "So, what do you do for a living? Profession, skills, hobbies," adding the last to make it easier for her.

Since his brothers weren't to be found at the Bistro, Franko made his way to the Thistle after an evening spent at the casino. He was quite pleased with the results of his evening out and it showed as he entered the tavern. "Good evening, brothers mine, madame."

Sal's tone lowered, and his voice was tinged with a deep chuckle. "Fraaankie."

"Thank you," she repeated. She didn't know what else to say!! That was for Sal. Samuel's question pulled her attention towards him, but there was another one that entered and she blinked when she looked towards the man. "Good evening, Sir." For now, she pretended to forget Samuel's question.


Date: 02-07-09
Poster: Antonio Sibio
Post # 36

He finished up the conversation with Alex, leaving the man to his duties by the time Franko arrived. "I was beginning to wonder if you were swallowed up by one of those abominable snowmen."

"Evening Franko," but dark eyes were trained on the woman as she evaded his question. A smile ticked a fraction before sight was pulled away to his brother.

"Saaaaaal. Good to see you all out and about." He grinned and patted the pocket of his shirt. "Just was doing well at the tables."

Her blue-green eyes flickered over the brothers, all of them. She furrowed her brows, and her attention, eventually swept back to Samuel. "Currently.. nothing." He did ask what she was doing presently, did he not? She worked up a slow smile and reached for her glass.

"You are lucky the Casino is so close to the Bistro." Amused but then they were friends with the Frasier family and Brogan ran it.

Which had dark eyes turn back her way and a genuine smile slowly lifted. "Then you have many possibilities before you. Provided you want do to something, si?"

Sight of the vaguely familiar Thistle was a welcome one as she and her chaperone rode up. The horses left to their own vices, the pair entered quietly. Older gent first who held the door open for Jenna who entered after. Hood of her cloak pushed back and dark eyes took in the scene with a light smile. Her chaperone left to find himself a seat, she approached the bar without interrupting conversations already going on.

Sal gave a nod toward Frank. "His hobby." He relaxed to the bar, resting his side to the edge of the bar. "You have no hobbies, Nora? None at all?" Brown eyes passed over her again, but this time he just studied her features.  "That is a shame."

"I am at that." He thanked Alex for the glass of potcheen that had been set out for him and turned. "And who is the lovely vision who has no hobbies?" He wasn't entirely sure about the conversation he walked in on.

She bit down, very gently on her lower lip. Her attention lingered on Samuel then it trailed to Sal, before it moved again only to bounce off of Franko. "Well, I have hobbies. I ride horses, for instance." She made a flippant
gesture with her hand and a polite smile tipped to the woman coming in before she looked back to the men. "I will find something soon, I am sure.." Her chin bobbed, a slow nod complete with a twitch of another smile. "Who knows, really, I could have a thousand hobbies and none of you know. Perhaps I like to keep my .. mystery." As if she were a rather mysterious person.

Sal offered the woman entering a slight nod of greeting, cutting a look to her chaperone before returning his attention to the woman speaking. "Nora." Sal offered to Frank. "The horse rider." Twitch of a grin followed which he quickly hid behind his glass.

A light smile and nod returned to Sal before turning attention to Alex and request of apple wine as she pulled the gloves from her hands.

"Good evening," greeting the woman coming in as well noting the older gentleman with her, father or chaperone would be a logical guess.

"Buenos noches, Senor." To Antonio as gloves were settled into a pocket of the dark amethyst cloak she wore.

"A pleasure, Nora." He placed his hand over his heart and bowed. "Evening." Politely to the newcomer and her companion.

Now that had brows shooting up.

"Are there things you like to do? It is a good place to start. Then there are those things you have found you are good at even if they might not have been appealing." Hearing another, which he had noticed but not the moment to greet until now. "Buona sera," similar but not the same accents either.

"What was your name again?" Questioning Franko, she had missed it earlier, perhaps. There was so much going on. She smiled, again, to the woman with the man with her as she listened to Samuel's questions. She nodded gently. "There are many things I like to do. Sing, for one. I like to paint, even though my.. creations are rather lacking in beauty. For instance, I tried to paint a dog and it appeared more like a badger. I was quite disappointed." The wine glass in her hand was held by the stem and she tipped it to her mouth for a sip.

"You may see the one at the art gallery if painting appeals or see the Valdez family who run the theater, if they could use another singer." He was trying to be helpful in giving her some ideas at least to consider.

"Franko." Not Frankie, though he'd answer to it.

A nod was given to the man's greeting and a smile to the woman. She only half listened to the conversation as it was none of her business and thanked Alex for delivery of the drink. It was picked up and a slow sip taken.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Franko," she finally offered. And as she had the other brothers, Nora lifted from her seat, abandoning it for a moment to step aside and offer him a curtsey. It was polite, if anything. She found,  really, that part of her.. information she didn't really need to hide. At least, she felt it might be safe. "I was a Lady in Waiting in my old home, well north of here. But that was.. well, then and this is now. I suppose I am in search of ... other things. Ah, a pleasure to meet you, Antonio." She smiled warmly.

Tony was unobtrusively studying the woman and the man with her. Easy for the conversation and he had drawn quiet, inconspicuous. He finally spoke up on a curiosity to see if he was right, "you have come a long distance?" He gave a slight gesture of hand to the others in turn, "I am Antonio Sibio, my brothers, Sammy, Sal and Franko as well the lovely lady Nora."

After popping the back of Franko's head, he'd answer to it. So Sal used it sparingly, but he did still use it. Distracted at the moment, the second born allowed his gaze to linger on the woman's lips as she drank her wine. He spoke  a few words she'd not understand to himself, the slightest shake of head to follow the comment.

Attention of dark eyes drifted over them all to finally come to Antonio with a light smile. "A few weeks spread between a few visits here and there." Watching the gesture that came with introductions, a nod to each once more. "A  pleasure to meet you all. My name is Jenna." Spanish accent prominent in every word spoken, she motioned to the older gent who accompanied and had taken a seat where he could simply watch. "My chaperone Carridean."

When Franko would least expect it, Sammy was up to pop the back of his head.

There was a lot of head popping going on. Nora was trying not to laugh over it. She settled back down with a polite smile cast to Jenna. "Nice to meet you." She lifted up her glass then, pressed it to her lips to drink. The wine, needless to say, was drained.

"It is my pleasure to meet you Jenna," he'd been up from his lean during the introductions then back into a lazy one. Hand was up to pull the bow tie completely from where it hung from under the collar. Before he lost it. He reached over to slip it into the breast pocket of the suit jacket hung over the back of the stool.

It was only the fact that there were ladies present that kept him from retaliating though he did speak low to Sammy, something that was best not repeated in English.

"A pleasure to meet you Jenna." It almost sounded like she was on a safari of lands, places to stop, people to meet. By the looks of the man, well escorted properly.

Pity the woman didn't know how to best appreciate a glass of wine. This wasn't whiskey. Regardless, a lady should not have an empty glass so hers was filled again without even asking. Rather than speaking, though, he just smiled to Jenna as he poured. He settled back to his lean, handing over the empty bottle to Alex.

Escorted was not by her choice. she requested a glass of brandy with a smile to every before attention turned to the keep. Once the glass of brandy was given, it was picked up and taken over to where Carridean was seated and set it  in front of him with a quiet exchange of words with the man before patting his shoulder lightly. Attention then drifted back to the others gathered. "Livelier in here than it was my last visit."

Her brow curved into an arch. She might have been nervous, the reason to drinking so much, so quickly. Her eyes were on Sal, even as he poured her wine, though again, she flicked a glance down to the glass in silent expectation of him to pour too much. Her hands were in her lap, but one lifted to press against the bar top, near the glass. "It is lively." She agreed with Jenna, smiling.

He watched the woman and man, being he was not in the other conversation at this point. Duly noted her serving the older man. There could be a few reasons. Still, it was all curious. "You have been here before. Have you met others then?" More than likely he might know them considering how long they have been in the lands and the fact most have been to the Bistro at least once.

If he were curious, he could have asked. She was trying to get her chaperone to lighten up some. The man had a weakness for good brandy, lucky her. A nod given to Antonio as she returned to her chosen place at the bar. "Si, though I cannot recall names. It's been quite some time since I've been through the area." The wine glass rose and was sipped from before being set on the bar for now.

"You do not have to drink all the wine that Sal pours you. Especially if you are not use to drinking wine." Wine could give a nasty hangover as well.

"Are you a traveler by profession then or need of a holiday from time to time?" He would ask questions, gradually, or cease if she indicated he was asking too many.

She heard Samuel and she could not help it, she teased Sal. Her eyes brightened, widened with her teasing. "Are you trying to get a lady drunk, Sir?" To show the fact that she was teasing, she winked very lightly. At least she had relaxed, a good sign. "Thank you, Samuel, I -- hm. I feel fine." She nodded slowly, tipping him an impish smile.

"Si, he is," flashing a grin from her to his brother.

"Not trying, Bella." He grinned back, slanting a look to Sam with a cant of his head, his smile only growing.

She considered the question with a smile of amusement. "A profession more so anything else, I suppose. It's required for a good education." Well, that was sort of the truth. More fun to learn when in travels that solitary in one place.

He chuckled lightly as he listened, enjoying his drink and the conversation.

"Nora. My name is Nora." She thought he confused her name. She flashed a smile towards Sal then glanced down to her glass on the bar. She did not touch it, yet.

"It is a good way to learn than from a book. To study customs does not come close to living or at least experiencing them. Where will you go next from here?"

She nodded her agreement with Antonio. "I've not yet decided. I thought perhaps we would take up a few days here if Alex would be so kind to have us and see what has become since my last visit."

"Si." He was still smiling. "Bella." A quick look was directed to Tony and Jenna, then back to Nora then Sam.

"Si, bella Nora, beautiful Nora." Smile reached his eyes more than the restraint on his lips, he lifted his glass in salute before taking another dose of the wine.

"Rooms are always open to travelers if they wish to stay a few. No rush, no pressure." Way it was set up which he found out firsthand many years ago. A glance was spared his brothers and little Nora. Tuck of a smile, lady was being initiated. 


Date: 02-07-09
Poster: Antonio Sibio
Post # 37

A dark brow arched with amusement and then, he shared a look with Franko. That brother must be revealing in his night's victory.

"Oh." Understanding, she slightly tipped her head down, a blush warming through the softness of her cheeks. "Thank you," she murmured to Samuel and Sal. She glanced away to others, offering them a quiet smile.

"Then I believe we will be staying for a couple days." At least. She really did enjoy the area and the company she found here.

Oh, he was. It had been a very good night. He might wander down to the docks soon and find a card game while Lady Luck was favoring him.

She was fickle, that particular lady. Franko better make the most of her affections quick.

Hot, fast and furious. Franko could hope Sammy didn't play the trick on him he had on Sal when he first arrived in the lands. Rumors.

"What is it that you do here, Senor Antonio?' inquired curiously as she picked up her glass once more.

She wasn't so chatty now. She seemed content to watch and listen. Her hand, though curled around the wine glass, did not lift it. Her fingers tapped once, twice, then her hand swept aside to rest against the counter top.

"My brothers and I run a high class Bistro, Sicilian cuisine. It does very well." He was watching his brothers as well, amused certainly.

"Sounds wonderful." she'd certainly have to try and find it while she was there.

Nora wasn't chatty now because she was currently enjoying what a quality wine could provide for her. Sal's attention dipped to her fingers and he shook his head. Sam better not have thwarted his efforts...again.

That could be it, too. She really wanted a drink of the wine, also, only, she was trying her best not to drink too quickly. Her solution? She poked her finger down in the center of the glass, then, the finger stuck into her mouth.

He had heard the stories of course, but that particular area he left to his brothers. Much safer that way.

Mother of...there was that flash of white as Sal's smile could not be contained. He crossed an arm over his midsection and braced his own glass there, his back finding the support of the edge of bar.

Of course he was watching, "I could help you with that.." smile growing wider.

The antics of his brothers had him slightly shaking his head but there was a rumble of laughter with it.

Her lashes swept low, a lazy looking blink. The tip of her finger popped from her mouth and she turned to eye Samuel first. She had not been aware that Sal was staring, not until she realized.. Samuel had been watching at least. She ticked a glance towards Sal, then back to Samuel; Sal, Samuel, Sal, Antonio. "Shhhh. I am going slow." She resumed her.. drinking. By the fingertip.

"It is wonderful, we have been enjoying running it." Kept his brothers busy most of the night and not into trouble.

Perhaps he'd head to a different place tonight when he left here and not tempt Lady Luck further. That was another possibility.

Unlike tonight, the brothers were not busy, and about to get into trouble. Such trouble. Sal lived for this type of trouble.

"Sounds fantastic." Spoken with a soft laugh to the antics of the men towards Nora. "I'll have to attempt to find my way to it while I am here."

"Does it taste better by fingertip?" He had moved closer, his drink abandoned as he was watching her like a hawk.

"It... yes. It does." She eyed the tip of her finger for a moment, puzzling over why it seemed to taste better. "Try it. Though you have to suck your own, you are not sucking my finger." Her chin lifted primly.

Sal didn't know about the taste, but he was sure enjoying that way. "You will not be disappointed." This said to Jenna, as he dragged his appreciated gaze from Nora to her. Mind, he hadn't forgotten she had a 'guardian' near.

Which had him throw back his head in a good laugh, "ah, but I have a feeling you are much sweeter than I am. A sweet wine is preferred at times."

Carridean was enjoying his drink by now and the light buzz that came with it since he rarely drank. He'd likely eventually find his way outside with the horses. "I am sure you're right." Spoken to Sal.

There was absolutely nothing sensual in her next act: She jabbed her finger back into the wine and teetered Samuel's way. She was trying to thrust the tip of her finger into his mouth, or against it; only, she nearly jabbed it up his nose. Nearly! "Quit moving." She murmured.

"Ah, wise as well as lovely." He chuckled, forcing himself not to take in the chaperone with that comment.

He jerked his head so he didn't end up with a bloody nose or her finger up it slicked in wine. That was not on the agenda! Strong fingers curled around her wrist to steady it before slipping his lips over and tongue to wrap around beneath. She had gotten too close, no turning back. He savored it, taking his time before slipping her finger back out. "Perfecto, you taste like the wine of the gods."

Just a meek smile was given to Sal while watching the exchange between Samuel and Nora. glass of wine rose to finish off the contents and set the empty vessel down.

Her brows arched, slowly, oh so slowly. She watched him intently and there was a nod when her finger slid right back out. She eyed it, then leaned to wipe it on his shoulder. A smile curved itself along her mouth, brightly, one that was offered to the others before she murmured to Samuel. "I almost got your nose." Realizing this, she laughed quietly.

Sal struggled not to look that way.

He was wicked too, one brother far too quiet. "I think Franko needs a taste.." and yes, she had. "That would not be as good for either of us." Tossing in a wink.

"He is not drinking wine?" She didn't get it at first. She peered around Samuel, trying to locate Franko.

He wasn't sure exactly what Franko was drinking but it didn't matter as he located his brother. One whose mind seemed occupied with gambling later. "He has not tasted the wine from the goddess," changing the last more appropriately.

He hadn't moved. "No, I'm not drinking wine," said with a soft chuckle. "And no thank you, I don't need a taste. Perhaps Sal or Antonio would wish a taste."

So Franko was going to toss the ball to them? A hand was rubbing over the stubble along the line of his jaw, first considering his brother then the lady. "I think the lady would probably like to enjoy her drink at this point." Too many fingers in the pot, or in this case wine glass.

She finally understood what was going on. Her attention lit on Samuel and she wrinkled her nose at him though a smile was born soon after, complete with a shivering laugh. She lifted her glass to drink from it, rather than sticking her fingers back inside.

Sal pushed up, easily finishing off his glass of wine with a final drink. She was young, this Nora. He was enjoying her actions and yet, he recognized the innocence behind her actions. Were she a woman of experience, there may have not have been need to mention that wine always tastes best when savored from sweet lips, being she was innocent, there still was not need to mention. He twisted to place his glass on the counter, still smiling to himself and his own thoughts. "Franko, where were you heading?" He may just join his brother.

"I was thinking of a place on the docks I know where there's usually a game to be found and high stakes." And maybe a certain Garden after. "I think you know of it?"

She set the glass back down after her sip. The flush in her cheeks seemed like a natural thing. She'd grown quiet again, listening, and watching but her attention broke away to flick towards one of the windows. Here, it lingered.

Wine. Women. Winnings. The best things began with that letter W. Sal nodded to Franko to answer the question. "Well." Indeed, Sal knew it well...both places.

Wasn't it Sal that introduced Franko to both? "Planning to join me?" Any of his brothers were welcome to go along of course!

It seemed the best thing to do. Though he hoped their attention didn't embarrass Nora too much as he spoke low, "you are a very lovely lady putting up with the likes of us." Dark eyes searched a moment before he was back to finish his wine then join his brothers. "I would like to see some of these places you have found, Franko."

Sal stroked the palm of his hand along the back of his neck, glancing for a moment to Nora. "Si, I think it might be best."

She furrowed her brows. They were leaving because of her? "I--uh..Well!" She stood slowly, her hand on the counter before it brushed away.

Not because of her but because the places Franko frequented were so very tempting. "Of course. Whenever you are both ready." He looked at Tony in question as well.

Whatever made her think they were leaving because of her? Nothing they said, hopefully. Nothing they...did. It was growing late and working men needed certain ... add an end to their evenings. "Ladies, such a  pleasure."

It had nothing to do with her. Just time to hit a few spots before it got too late. "Buona notte, sleep well and stay warm. We are off to lose Franko's money." Like he would be supplying the coins tonight.

It wouldn't be the first time! "Buona notte, ladies. It was a pleasure." He just cut a look at Sammy.

"Good evening." Spoken to the group.

A nod given to those who were leaving. "Good evening to you." Not quite sure who was staying and who was going. She spied Carridean taking his leave outside she grinned and turned to Alex to ask for another glass of wine.

"I should go to keep them in one piece and not lose the Bistro in a hand of cards. Good evening. It was a pleasure meeting you both, Nora, Jenna." Grabbing up his cloak as they made a formable force when all together in not having certain ones try and pick a fight, or might pick a fight to test their egos.

Sal strolled to his coat, rolling down his shirt sleeves so that shrugging on his coat would be easier. And Egos they had. Was it not what sent them from their homelands in the first place? With his coat on, he turned to walk backwards a couple of passes, smiling to Nora, nodding to Jenna, before he turned and made his exit.

He put his suit jacket back on before his cloak was in a swirl, donning it as he moved to the door., opening it just as Sal turned, prefect timing.

She wiggled her fingers, a quiet goodbye for the brothers. Then, she turned to speak with Alex, a quiet tone. He passed her a key and she glanced up to the ceiling. Soon enough, she tried to climb the stairs and locate her room. It was.,. somewhere along the hall.

Egos they all had and none of them could resist a good fight. He winked at Nora as he passed then joined his brothers heading outside.


Date: 02-09-09
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 38

...along came a spider....

Rick avoided the groups of teens out as he had a rolled up parchment under his arm. Kieran was with him as they caught up with each other heading from the castle. "I've got plans for that snow castle to go over.." wicked gleam in bright blue eyes. Words low as if some of those gangs might hear him. They could have spies!

"Plans of battle?" Kieran's gaze shifted from Rick to the teens and back, a grin appearing. "Practice for the future." Though the odds of war were slim, they could always have war games.

Nora was already indoors, lounging in a large chair near the fire. She was half turned in her chair, the skirting of her dress fanned out all over the place. She wore brighter shades than normal, a deep purple trimmed in pale, pale yellow. Her head was tipped back and she eyed the ceiling. Blue green eyes were half lidded, something hummed, soft and low.

Snow war games, it helped him and it would help the teens growing up if they ever needed to battle. They would learn the hard way. Why he was taking it to a new level than just throwing snowballs. He was up the couple steps to the side door, swinging it open with a blast of cold air. Air that held flakes starting to fall as he whisked Kieran in as quick so he could close it over. He was wearing a darker cloak of a deep royal blue, one he had not worn before and hooded as well. Obscured his face so he had not been recognized by the usual cloak he wore. Time to make plans first. The hood was down after he was in, spotting Nora ceiling gazing. "Stars are much better but far colder outside."

There was an empty wine glass on her table, she'd had enough, just enough to make her relax. Hearing the door, she didn't quite look down, but the voice caused her chin to tuck downward and a sly glance flit towards the Prince and Kieran. A lazy smile appeared as she straightened, and she made a gesture that meant nothing with her right hand. Just a lazy swoop in the air. "Who needs the stars when much better sights are indoors, anyway?" So cheeky.

"Do you speak of yourself, Lady Nora?" He grinned at her as he removed his cloak and hung it on one of the pegs. "Or are you speaking of someone else?"

"Myself?" Her brows hitched up and she laughed, a quiet laugh. "No, I am speaking of you two." She extended a finger in a wiggling point towards the men that only lasted a second before her hand swept down to rest against the arm of the chair.

He flashed a grin Kieran's way with a thumbs up, point. While Alex set out the drink of   potcheen for him, he was over to stand behind her chair, looking up to the ceiling to see what she'd been looking at. "OH, look at that, Kieran," pointing to something up there where the beams were.

He knew that sometimes Mellan McNeils' owl roosted up there but likely there was nothing. Still, he joined Rick and tipped his head back, squinting.

Nora hadn't seen anything up there, so of course, she looked up too, her brows arching. She swept the ceiling with her gaze. "What?" She questioned.

"That has got to be the biggest spider I've ever seen. We should capture it for scientific purposes. You can see its pinchers from here." There was a quick slanted glance over Nora, "or.." but he let that hang presently.

She didn't see it! She tucked her legs up, in the chair, suddenly appearing quite frightened. When Rick said 'or', and glanced her way, she turned to stare at him. "..Or?"

"Oh, aye. He's a huge one all right." He looked thoughtful, avoiding glancing at Nora or he might start laughing. "Probably fast too."

"Or, it could be a left over clump of mistletoe they missed cleaning up after the holiday. I think, either, you are the perfect size to climb up on my shoulders and see for sure. We can get you a glass jar to put it in, for I think it is the rare black chuckleberry widow spider species."

"I am not touching a spider! What if it's a spider? I'll faint!" Especially if it was as big as they stated. She peered back up, to what the men had been watching. "You want me.. to climb on your shoulders. Rick, I am in a dress." She slanted him a blank stare!

A minor detail, as he noticed her attire. "A pretty dress as well. I could promise I wouldn't look but I think that still wont work. Hold on." Slanting Kieran a look as he was quickly gone over to the bar and around, disappearing down the hall behind the bar for deliveries. A door opened, then closed, before he was back with a long handle broom. Back over, to loom over her where she sat, his height a great advantage with the long handle as he started poking around the seam of the beam where it junction with another. A few bits of debris fell down, probably landing in her hair and lap. Hard to tell what they were, could be the spider.

Didn't matter. She didn't look. As soon as whatever hit her lap, Nora scampered to her feet. She shook at her dress, hopped around in what appeared to be some strange looking jig. Her eyes were impossibly wide. "Getitoffgetitoff!" Repeated, very very quickly!

He was over to collect a jar from Alex who likely knew the two were up to no good. Back over and he watched as Rick poked around. Stepping back, he watched Nora then acted as if he was trying to find the beastie and catch it.

It was SO very hard not to laugh. Certainly an interesting reaction. Just at that point a mass of dark stuff fell right near her hopping feet. It was a wad of mistletoe covered in dust and soot from the constantly burning fire. "There it is, by ... your .. feet." Pointing in emphasis.

With all of the stuff on it, it was easy to mistake the thing for a spider. All she did was glance, just a glance and she had warned them! She did! The size of the 'spider' was enough to drain the color of her face. She tried to side step, to run, but she only managed to pick up her foot before the room began to spin at an awfully quick rate. She let a, "Unnnnngh!" Then.. hit the floor. Completely out!

"Man down, err.. woman." As he was quickly over to pick her up in his arms. Easily cradled there. "I think she is really that kind of scared of spiders." Which was stuff he only heard of, all his female cousins would capture it and throw it outside. "Kieran, some cold water, smelling salts?" Quick glance to Alex then back to his friend. He never had to deal with a fainted lass before.

He was heading for the bar before Rick even spoke, placing the jar on the bartop before accepting a basin with cold water and the smelling salts which he tucked into the pocket of his pants. He was over to one of the sofas, waiting for Rick to place her there. "I think that was a bad idea," he said dryly. Understatement?

Bad idea? No, really?! She was frightfully pale, the poor thing. Her mouth half opened. And she moved with ease, just as Rick wanted, kind of like a rag doll. He could probably have so much fun right then!

He wasn't sure she was breathing. Usually he put his head against the one's chest but he could get slapped if he did that. Easing down to a bend of knee as he placed her on the couch. "I think's she died of fright!" The way her mouth hung open. Then he remembered a process he was taught, first time to use it as he pinched her nose while leaning down in, lips meeting as he blew some air into her lungs.

There's a story somewhere about a girl being kissed by a frog that turned out to be a Prince. This might come to mind, considering Rick's.. prank on the girl. And the fact her eyes flew wide open right when their lips met. Nora yelled.. into his mouth? It sounded rather strange, muffled. She'd passed out with spider on her mind, it was natural that was the first thing that she thought of when she... woke up.

He swallowed down another's words? That was a new one. Almost like occupying the same space at the same time with another. His head jerked up, he'd not have to breathe air into her anymore. About to tell Kieran such but the strangest sound came out instead, like with a burp, "Unnnnngh."

It looked as if neither was needed as Nora woke up. He started laughing, sloshing some of the water when he stepped back. And Rick made him laugh harder as he carried the water back to the bar. There'd be plenty of teasing tonight back at the barracks!

"--Ooooo!" That was.. the end of whatever she was screaming. And the sound kind of faded off, nearly like a howl. The color was returning to her face at least, a little too much of it in fact. Nora was blushing and she couldn't quite move. Not that Rick was pinning her down or anything. It was if she'd become frozen. Her throat cleared and her head turned to the side to stare off towards Kieran. She didn't rise from the couch, perhaps she still felt a little dizzy. "Where is it?" Asking both men. They knew what she was talking about.

He was close, almost looming over her to see if the color came back to her skin. No, he didn't have her pinned down. "It was a clump of mistletoe covered in silt and dust. Here, let me get it for you." He was up to give her room now that she came to and over to scoop up the mistletoe into the palm of his hand. "Maybe you could use that drink of water now? Maybe ease up, don't get up too quick." Moving back to show her what was in his hand so she need not fear it was a spider.

Blonde tendrils cascaded along the slender slope of her shoulders as she made her approach to the familiar establishment once again. The snow coated the back of her shawl only to dissipate as it met with the warm breath from within. Hand extended and she moved within offering to those near a small smile of greeting and then as always she made a bee line for the table closet to the hearth. While in mid stride right hand dipped from inside her robe only to withdraw the half sewn mitten.

"It was ... a case of mistaken identity." He called over his shoulder then gave Alex a sheepish look and shrug. He was wondering if Trevor would hear of that and well... add some extra training. Back over with a glass of water for her.

Kieran was going to have enough in taking a round with the Kings, about as rough as it would ever get for him. Luckily they were on his side or he'd be dead meat in two seconds flat. Catching sight of another out of the corner of his eyes, head turned, dimple smile coming alive easily. "Good evening to you, we near had a fatality, why the bustle at the moment."

"I think I will be all right," she murmured. Her fingers massaged her temple. If anything, Nora seemed rather comfortable there on the couch, on her back. She eyed the mistletoe when Rick brought it over, her brows furrowing. "Oh, I only saw something.. fuzzy looking and I .. " Well, they both knew what happened to her. The mention of nearly having a fatality brought a huff out from her, and she reached up to lazily swat at Rick's arm. She couldn't reach and her hand simply swept down to bounce against the couch beside her. "Good evening," she said to Mira. She slowly raised herself up when she saw Kieran with the water. She took the glass carefully. "Thank you, Sir." She smiled then, sheepishly to both men.

Once seated she lifted mismatched eyes upward to look upon the face of the Prince. Fatality? How awful. Condolence swept her angelic features almost instantly. "It's very nice to see you again, Nora.." Then she addressed both men once more. "I'm very pleased to learn there were no deaths this night." An awkward smile offered as she settled herself deeper beneath the cushion of the couch.

"It was hard to tell if you were breathing." He defended Rick, eyes of blue green holding laughter as always. "And you were terribly pale, Nora."

That somewhat frightened her, the prospect of.. not breathing. Her brows furrowed and her blue-green eyes switched glances from Kieran to Rick, right back again. Since Rick happened to be close enough to know, she cleared her throat. Imagine, this could turn into a fantastic tale of Rick saving a life rather than getting into trouble over a prank! "..Did I stop breathing?" She asked him.

He had natural inborn reflexes as she went to swat, his hand jerked. Unfortunately it had the piece of mistletoe flip from his palm and down the front of her dress to the valley below. Well, he wasn't sure where it went but Nora would be able to tell.


He just ... rubbed his face with both hands. Oh yeah, best not to look at anyone for a few moments.

She pretended, for a brief second, that mistletoe was just not caught in her cleavage. Give her.. a moment. Her cheeks? Very red.

Brows pressed tightly together as she observed those around her. "Nora..What happened?" Concerned was an understatement.

"I'm not sure, but why I put some air into your lungs just in case. You were as white as a banshee."

"I thought I saw a huge spider, I fainted," she explained to Calamira, blushing still. She lowered her eyes to stare down the front of her dress. "Oh, dear... Prince?" Sing song.

Then he pointed to her cleavage, looking towards the other woman. "There it is, the culprit that fell she thought was a spider." It more than sat down beside her. There he stood, the aspiring Crown Prince of Ballicastle, standing in a public tavern pointing to a woman's breasts!

His shoulders were shaking and he had to turn away. Maybe it would be a good idea to retrieve his drink. And Rick's!


Date: 02-09-09
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 39

Bottom lip tugged into more or less that of a ' yikes' expression when her eyes followed the guide of the mistletoe. A chuckle bubbled within her throat as she looked back at the prince. "Poor dear" She lightly teased.

Indeed, he was. She looked at his pointing hand. Then again, down into her dress. When she peered up, she blinked slowly. "You dropped something, dear Prince." Oh, her smile. She glanced aside, around him, noting Kieran hiding his laughter. He was in on it too!

When he realize the scene, his hand slowly lowered. His throat cleared and he all but made a mad dash to the bar. Glass of potcheen set out for him a bit ago was tugged up, kicked back, refilled and kicked back again. That's when, he was reminded he was a McAndrews. Turning with a devilish glint in blue eyes and just as devilish dimples with the smile. "I might have to use my teeth to retrieve it." He was stalking back her way, glass in one hand and the bottle of potcheen in the other.

"I have to say it has been quite sometime since I have laughed this hard." Her face too brilliant of crimson. But now she introduced herself to the men. "Forgive me for not offering my name. I am Calamira McDouglas." Maybe they cared..Maybe they didn't but she would be polite none the less.

"That means you will have to stick your head down my dress and it might get stuck." Always one to point out the .. obvious? She smiled over towards Calamira then up to Rick. "Calamira, this is Rick and that is Kieran." She made a quick motion of the two.

"I don't think there is enough room to fit my head between the hills," at least he didn't call them mountains. Luckily he bit his tongue, not saying anything more, instead met the introductions. A hand coming to splay over his stomach, all but thumb and forefinger holding his glass, with a bow of his head. "I am Chadrick McAndrews, but call me Rick. A pleasure to meet you Calamira."

"Kieran Turlough. It's a pleasure to meet you, Calamira." He bowed slightly, finally calm enough to speak before he peeked over at Nora. Hills...

Her smile was as genuine as always and, when the man gave her his name a small part of her faltered. "No my lord.. You bow to no one." With that her knees bent into the fall of a curtsey. Then, as she rose she looked at Kieran. "Likewise I am very certain, sir." Idly she began her work of sewing.

She was silent for the moment. The comment about.. hills.. temporarily broke her mind! She still had the glass of water clutched in her hand and she lifted it slowly to take a sip from it. Her attention skipped over the three, between one to another, to another.

The pattern changed into deeper complexity as she reached the completion and, with a small sigh she looked at Nora. "Would you do me a favor?" With out asking she offered her the pair. "If it fits I would be honored to gift them to you" Perhaps a chance to get the mood away from her breasts.. With two men around? Not likely but it was worth a try!

Her attention ticked to Calamira and Nora's eyes widened in surprise. She stammered a little, "Are.. are you sure? That is very kind of you. Yes, I will try them." She smiled wide and took one of the gloves into her hands. She worked it on slowly, making sure she didn't stretch the material too much.

He had just the thing, like none of this conversation transpired. He was over to his cloak and the shelf above where he left the rolled up parchment. Back over to a table near the group as he spread it out. Using two of the candles to hold the ends down. "Kieran, come take a look. Nora, once you're done and if interested." He'd not leave her out as he quickly scanned over his work as if to make sure everything would work once again.

He smiled when Calamira looked his way then took a drink of the potcheen. As soon as the glass was lowered, he was over to join Rick at the table, leaning there while he looked at the parchment.

It pleased her to see that her talents were made of good use. "Yes I am very certain. I only wish I could offer more." Watching her slide on the glove she nearly beamed when she noticed it fit. "Truly, Nora it was made for you." Throat cleared quietly as she noticed out of the corner of her eye the other man smiling. Intoxicating? Oh yes. Bashfully her eyes shifted toward him and, as the man moved to join Rick she felt herself shift closer to Nora. "It's ok" She dismissed. "Go see what he has to show you." She would not pry.

"I have designed and made a small catapult." Which he tapped on the layout of their snow castle-fort's diagram. "Now, my informant has told me that the group led by Billy Bull, as he likes to call himself, is over here, with the fountain to obscure it. This catapult is sized with a spring board to be small enough yet with enough lift to fling a snowball of this size," which he demonstrated with his arms, about the size of a snowman's head. Which he planned to be unique and have coal eyes, nose and mouth on all he sent. There was a looping dashed line, showing how it would clear the fountain and slam into their fortress walls. "Now, I plan to bring this the night before the snow war. I'm going to chain it in place," which he had the heavy chain drawn in that went from the catapult to around a big oak tree. "Cover it with a canopy with snow on top until it is needed." A secret weapon. "I know at some point, after we demolish their fort, they will rush ours and try to steal it. So, being it can't be moved, which they don't know. While they are trying to get it, we will pelt them with the reserve snowballs, hidden in these areas on the one side of our fort." Which had a finger sliding to that area which was obscured as well. "They will think us out of ammunition."

She examined the glove on her hand, then slipped on the other. Her laughter was girlish. "Thank you so very much, Calamira. I do not receive gifts so often." Which meant, she didn't take them for granted. She removed them and folded them up, setting them near her hip carefully. She watched Rick from where she sat, listening to his talk. There was a small smile slanting along her mouth and she tipped slightly towards Calamira. "I will be back. I have something to remove from .. the secret valley." Her throat cleared lightly and she pushed upward. She walked by the table where Rick and Kieran stood and gave a quick look over the map before she continued on, towards a back room to be out of view while she goes digging for that darned mistletoe.

Trying with a great deal of restraint not to hear what the Prince was saying to both Kieran and Nora, shoulder pressed firmly against couch's back while her head bobbed ever slightly to the right by Nora's leave. Even though she did not know what they were talking about, a part of her sensed it was all in good fun. " Of course. Take your time" It was far to comfortable for her to wish to dash back out into the cold any too soon.

"How exactly do we know we've won?" He looked up from the map, grinning. "Or do we cover them with snow until they can't move." He found that thought appealing, especially if Billy couldn't move when they were done with him.

"When you can see less of them than us covered in snow or they give up." There would be a point where the other would give. Rick was not one to give up. "I didn't take anything real from the weaponry rooms but made and designed my own. Is there anything you wish to add in setting this up. All's fair, long as we don't really hurt anyone." It was all in fun but Rick always had surprise maneuvers to win over his opponents.

By the snap of the fire beneath the bed of scorched wood her eyes took to it's brilliant dance. Mesmerizing she easily lost herself in the fire for several moments.. Until pale features turned brilliant and the warmth overwhelmed her.. Back into reality once more. Rising to her petite height she bowed her head in passing the table of her new friends as she reached the bar to quietly speak with Alex. "A cup of tea please, Alex?" Such an unusual order?

"No. The fortress will be slick enough to keep them from climbing so we should be able to herd them right where we want them. Maybe make two walls to the entrance so they can't push their way in without trampling one another?"

"We could put a netting up in that tree to bring down once they try to seize the catapult." Mind at work, then the war would be done and the Billy Bull taken down, prisoners. Blue eyes lifted beneath darker blond brows as Mira passed them by. A dimple smile quickly to follow before back to the plans at hand. "We could sprinkle the snow along the front walls with water so it freezes." Which would make it harder to take down being part ice.

A snow war sounded very appealing to her but, as everyone may find out is that she of all people was about the last person anyone would want on their team for an activity. Her aim was dreadful and her balance not much better. It humored her to be on the sidelines of what appeared to be the beginning of a very tactful victory on this team of trio. Without thinking she offered to them. "Something tells me you will win.. A deserved victory." Small hands gave rise as she brought the elegant cup to her lips and, before taking a sip she softly blew just above the amber liquid.

It had taken her some time to remove the.. offending object from her dress. And when she swept from the backroom, she slowed near a certain table. Actually, right next to Rick. Her blue green eyes flickered over the map then and a smile began to curve up the corners of her mouth. She tipped forward, lightly, gently, then her hand rose and her palm landed right in the center of the map. When it lifted, there, remaining on the map itself was the very thing Rick had flung into her dress. "You will do well," she commented, nodding, then stepped away to close in on the bar. She glanced over her shoulder though, grinning to the men.

"It'll be partly iced as is, so more wouldn't hurt. " The idea of a net had him laughing. "Aye, I like that. Keep 'em in place while we bury them." He grinned at both women before looking at the map again. Rick had it all planned out and planned out well.

Interest sparked and her friend rejoining her she just had to utter a question for both men if they wished to answer. "What does the gallant vectoring team get as reward?" A brow arched while thin lips tugged into a coy smile.

"Most likely that is the plan. This Billy Bull has been bullying my cousin once too many times as well a few other females. He wont take on females to his team either. He's about my age and thinks he will win." What the lad didn't know was that Rick was the assistant to Mikhail MacKay in tactical warfare for Kildare Castle and had used his plans in a real battle. Billy needed to learn being a bully would be his downfall.

He was surprised Mary Colleen didn't sic her dog on him but maybe Billy didn't bother her when she had Destiny with her.

"I am feeling rather exhausted, I do believe I will head up to a room, stay here for the night." She already asked for a key from Alex. "Have a pleasant evening, Rick, Kieran, Calamira."

Which gave him an idea when she put that dirtied hunk of mistletoe there. "We could make a dirt pit, cover it up with the canopy and snow as well and draw it away when they come charging."

With effort she tried to hold a straight face while listening to Rick's explanation. "Then it certainly is your civic right to defeat him." Lips curved into a smile instantly.  "Have a good night, Nora. I hope to see you again soon"

"All right, Nora." He smiled at her as he straightened. "Talk to you soon."

"Are you going back up to the castle, Nora?"  If she was he would see her there but it seemed she collected a key from Alex? He wasn't sure, she could have been collecting a drink of the pure.

"I will tomorrow, I'm staying in a room here tonight." She called over her shoulder to Rick, a smile flickering over her shoulder before she headed up the stairs.

"Good night," called to her, he would talk to her another time if she wanted to join in on the snow war.

Heading back to the couch she made up her mind already that after her tea she too would retire for a night. But her stay would not be in one of the upper rooms. She housed boarding at a nearby inn. Back into the cold was something she was not particularly looking forward to doing.

"My cousin Mary will be part of our army. I can count you in? We'll see if we can get Trevet, Kynan, Rhett and his brother Douglas as well. Davin if he can spare the time." He had a list of names even if they ganged at different times for skirmishes. The fort would be represented. He rolled up the parchment at this point, leaving the hunk of mistletoe within as well. A reminder of the night. "It was a pleasure meeting you Mira, but it seems to be that time of night to head home and get some sleep." Well, he would be heading to the castle here, not actually home. Though he was due to head back to Ballicastle and visit his parents and brothers soon.

"Of course you can." Fae touched eyes held a hint of excitement."Can't let that bully get away with this." And he was never one to turn down a bit of fun. He finished his potcheen before nodding. "Aye, dawn comes far too early."

With one last swig she offered the Prince a nod and then took to her feet. "It was an honor making your acquaintance your majesty" Blues looked to Kieran. "I too must take my leave" Lifting the cloak higher around her shoulders she placed the cup on a tray and then headed for the door. "I do hope to see you both again but if I don't before the war is decided I wish each of you the luck of the Irish" Even if they weren't Irish, she was enough for everyone. A shiver and then she stepped out into the black night of elegant snow drifts.

"Your majesty would be my Da," giving a quick wink as he was over to collect his cloak. "We can walk you part way then." Being she was leaving as well.

Kieran had been born and raised in Ireland. It was only in the past year or two that he and his sisters had come here. He just grinned for the wish as he was over to collect his cloak and then it was outside for the walk back.

McAndrews was all Irish, many families were here although some were Scottish, of the Celt ones that is. There were many other nationalities and mixed bloods, Fae and Druids.


Date: 02-12-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 40

Strange Night

Trevor was at the bar in light conversation with Alex. Man kept everyone up to date that needed to be for their position in the lands. At this point it was small talk as the snow started falling outside. At least they didn't get that blizzard that was being rumored. What might be stuffy for some in attire, was comfortable to him. A vest of light gray over a silvery shirt, charcoal gray pinstripe pants and dress boots. The jacket of the same hung over the back of the stool next to him. A glass of potcheen being nursed. He wondered if any of his comrades might show up or anyone else that he knew. Then again if ones he didn't know came, that would change with at least introductions.

Nora swept in from the cold, her teeth chattering as she brushed flakes of snow off of her cloak before she removed it to hang on the wall.  The gloves on her hands were slowly removed next, finger by finger.  With her, it was almost always dresses, almost always something with lace and ribbons.  Tonight was no exception.  Her dress was a pale green color, trimmed in white lace, white ribbons.  Her hair was left loose and long, waves of near platinum dancing against her spine as she moved for the hearth.  She needed to warm up.

Almost on Nora's heels Jenna swept in behind her just a few seconds after the other woman had closed the door. Whispers of the heavy velvet cloak she wore played against the floor as she spun enough to push the door closed. A couple hushed words breathed, not at all liking the snow. It was far too cold for that bronzed complexion of hers. Dark eyes drifted over the interior, immediately noting Nora. One of the few she would recognize. "Buenos noches, senorita." Warmth! She wasn't shedding the dark blue winter wear or gloves just yet.

She hadn't even been aware that someone was behind her. She whirled around, nearly on her toes to see the woman that had just entered. She smiled brightly, her cheeks rose tinted from the chilly air she'd just escaped. "Good evening, Jenna." Nora remembered her name, a surprise. She was, in fact, very surprised that all of the names and new faces hadn't blended together by this point. She smiled at Trevor when she spotted him, but didn't interrupt his talk with Alex.

Quiet steps carried her in Nora's direction as they greeted one another. "Nice to see you again. How are you?" she hadn't really much of a chance to speak with her a few nights ago, so her greeting was a bit on the meek side, warmed though by the bright smile. Following her momentary attention to the bar, she offered the man a nod and light smile along with Alex, and returned attention to Nora.

He had watched the two a moment while they entered and discarded their outwear. He was around and up from his stool in a fluid motion. "Good evening Nora," yes, he remembered the lass before dark eyes were on the other. "Good evening, m'lady." Slight dip of his head cordially to both with a touch of a polite smile.

"I'm cold," she laughed, her answer for Jenna's question. She dipped into a quick curtsey for Trevor, then made a motion to Jenna with her right hand. "Trevor, this is Jenna. Jenna? Trevor." Easy enough, at least to her. She eased closer to the hearth to steal some of its warmth.

A soft laugh and agreeing nod to what Nora said. If it weren't for her enjoyment of the area, she'd probably move on. When addressed by Trevor, she dipped her head in return. "Senor Trevor. A pleasure to meet you."

Of all the Alterians, Breda was out and about the most. She was fascinated with the customs, the emotions, and most importantly, the children she met. Of course, her work in Genesis kept her busy but she enjoyed helping at the  hospital and the school. Tonight, however, was a time of relaxation and so she headed for the Thistle.

He almost. Almost. Started to say something in how he could warm Nora up but knew well it would not sound right. It would be elementally, still, certainly would be taken wrong. Instead he welcome the other, "a pleasure to meet you as well Senorita or would it be Senora? Jenna. Welcome this night to warm up at the fire, a drink." Both would do the trick.

"Senorita." A warm smile given to Trevor as she finally felt enough warmth return to her fingers to tug them from her hands. "Gracias, Senor. That is most kind of you." A smile back to Nora. "Can I off you a drink while I go to the bar?" Since the woman was nice and toasty by the fire and all.

"De nada," slight dip of his head and his smile a touch warmer, dispelling the more stoic he was prone to. He had his reasons to fall back into old habits. "Have you traveled far?" Remaining standing aside the stool he had occupied. A dark eyed glance was given the window, dark beyond to most but his sight was different. Perhaps why he remained standing.

She was quickly up the steps and inside, shedding her cloak as soon as the door closed behind. Dark eyes held a glint of laughter, something rarely missing. "Good evening!" Said cheerfully. She was dressed in a poet's shirt of bright blue, a few of the top laces let loose. Black doeskin pants fit nicely to her curves and a low pair of boots were also worn. Her hair was pulled back into a french braid, the longer lengths fell to the middle of her back.

Politely she awaited a response from Nora as she moved towards the bar with a casual smile. Another nod to Alex and quiet request for some brandy, she then turned to face Trevor. "Perhaps over the course of the day. Though I have been in Heathfield for a few days now." Hearing the new entrant, dark eyes turned towards the woman who entered, bright smile in turn to her cheery tone. "Buenos noches."

"Oh, no thank you, Jenna." She wasn't thirsty at the moment. She stayed near the hearth, though when she was warm enough, she stepped forward to claim one of the large chairs. "Good evening," she said with a grin that was cast towards the lady entering.

"Good evening." Something about her was familiar although they had not met. "I am Sir Trevor Cairns, the ladies Nora and Jenna," slight gesture of hand would indicate which name went with which. Then back to Jenna. "Then you are staying here at the Thistle? You should find the accommodations comfortable and the food excellent."

"Breda of the MacNeils. It's a pleasure to meet you all." She inclined her head slightly before turning to take up a glass of punch that Alex had left her. "It is a pleasure to meet you all."

Waggle of fingers to the woman as introductions were given, she nodded to Nora's decline of a drink and then returned to Trevor's comment with a nod. "Si. Alex has been very kind." She thanked Alex for the glass of brandy and smiled to Breda. "A pleasure, Senorita."

Hugh could give off a signal a mile away to those who had the perception to intercept it. Thus it was between the Kin. Where one went, most likely one or more would follow. The wind picked up, snow thickened that was starting to fall, except around the lone man making his way to the Thistle. There it started to turn into rain but melted into a mist near instantly. A few quick steps had him to the porch before the door swung open, no cold air got past this particular man, as he entered. Door then closed off as the cloak, for appearances sake, was discarded to a peg.

"It is nice to meet you, Breda." Nora said, leaning to the side to smile around her chair. Usually, she stood when introductions were in place. She was tired tonight, perhaps the reason she didn't quite stand up while names were traded off. She turned her attention to the flames, first, but when she heard the door an idle glance of blue-green eyes tipped in that direction. She shivered from the gust of cold air that managed to snake through the doorway in the small amount of time it was open. Or not. She shivered anyway!

Which had him smile. He agreed with the statement: Alex was a very kind man. The one coming in was recognized with a quick glance back to Breda. "A pleasure to meet yet another Alterian, lovely one at that." Then back to the other. "Good evening, Hugh, good to see you again." They had something in common even if slightly different.

A leather tunic was worn over plain brown pants, comfortable kind tucked into leather boots of a supple leather as well. He didn't wear a shirt under the tunic which allowed bare arms to be seen. "Good evening Trevor," eyes had a smoldering quality about them, warmth there and much more even deeper. "Breda, ladies," heading then for the bar and some of the pure. What was a burn for most was neutralized for him. Unfortunately. He enjoyed the brew nonetheless.

"Thank you, Trevor." She smiled for the compliment then turned to watch the door. and her Kin entered. "Good evening, Hugh." It didn't matter if she had seen him an hour ago, her greeting was always the same. She would wait until he drew close then hugged him tightly.

Jenna fell silent as the others all seemed to know one another in some manner. Glass was taken up by slender fingers and rose for a small dip of the drink, a nod to Hugh after once the glass lowered.

Hugging was good as that was first collected. Warmth shared to the core of her being. Comfortably kind, not too much or too little. "Mellan and I have the sea dipper almost completed." A nickname he gave the bubble that one could go under the sea for a while. They were able to figure a means to have it last over an hour.

"Good evening," she offered tot he man as he walked to the bar. She seemed surprised that he wasn't bundled up like most of the others. After a momentary watch, she turned her attention back to the flames. She leaned forward, pressing an elbow gently against her knee, her chin cupped in her palm.

"Hugh, the ladies Nora and Jenna," once he was done greeting his kin. He also eased into a lean against the bar so he was facing everyone for the conversation. It would not be unlike him to fade into silence. Watching and listening instead. Enjoying being around others whether participating or not.

"Will you wait for the winter storms to pass to launch it?" She turned slightly so she too, could face the others.

Smile held warmth as well, went with the dark smoldering eyes that turned on Nora first. "A pleasure to meet you, Nora," then upon Jenna, "a pleasure as well, Jenna." Better to remember names that way by using them. "Yes. It will take more time for it will need be set up on the ship so we don't sink it," after a near mishap.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, too," she offered to Hugh as she finally stood. She felt warmer, at least, and if she remained too long in the chair, she'd fall asleep.

"A pleasure, senor." A nod given to Hugh and light smile, drifting attention between all the occupants.

He was very observant, a bit different in their way of things but certainly with no ill intentions or stepping on the rules of propriety. Such they were learning here but hard to break some habits. "Are you cold, Nora?" At least he asked.

"We wouldn't want that." She was quite serious too. She took a drink of the punch, watching the others over the rim of her glass.

"Not quite as bad as I was earlier. I'm slow to warm up at times." She smiled to him. "I believe I am more .. tired than cold."

That was one of those middle of the road replies. A new phrase he learned. "If you should find yourself cold, let me know." Otherwise it didn't seem she needed to be warmed up.

She was quite happy to stand near Hugh and soak up the warmth. "You are one of the Horsemen. I've met Lazare and Vincent." She'd turn her attention to the ladies in a moment.

She blinked slowly, watching Hugh... of course, quite confused. She could only think of one reason why he'd say something like that and how he'd offer to warm her up, so to speak. She glanced from his eyes to his arms, an indicator to what Nora might have been thinking. She.. blushed.

"Now you have met another. Indeed I am. There is still one more but he is away to Lockehaven. Vincent hasn't been out socially in some time but then his wife and two daughters keep him busy."

Content to listen quietly, she smiled to Breda, noting the glance then lifted her glass for another small sip.

A scuttle...and then a scratch...and then a thump on the door, followed by a sudden explosion of movement as the door pressed open and a four foot tall bundle of white fur tumbled into the tavern's entryway, a few erratic somersaults and the thing came to rest on with a thud on its rear. It was a boy...blinking big blue eyes, with a look of surprised on his face...and a genuine, authentic, rabbit costume. Complete with satin ears. He glanced down at his "paws", mittened hands that didn't give him any fingers, and then a look of horror crossed his face and he yelped, "Gods Bill! This is not funny! This is not freakin' funny!" He ended this melodramatic little entrance, literally shaking a fist at the ceiling.


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