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Thistle Tavern

Date: 05-07-10
Poster: Concessa Quinn
Post # 21


Concessa was curled up in a wingback in front of the low burning peat within the hearth. Not that heat was needed any longer for the pleasant warm weather. Weather that was only going to get warmer. She had a dreamy look about her, kind that one could swear they heard a sigh though there had been no sound.  Attired in a pretty frock of orange melon it was as soft as silk though made of cotton. Slippers were off resting on the floor beneath the chair as her feet were curled up under her. Dark hair had a ribbon of the same color that had been tied neatly earlier and now had slid down to barely hanging onto a curling lock.

It was the nights that needed the fire, even if a low one. Sometimes the cold seeped through but soon those would change as well, and most would be trying to escape the heat instead. Gemma made her way from the manor to the Thistle, too restless to sit anywhere for long. She was dressed as usual in soft doeskin pants that hugged curves just right and an embroidered vest over a red shirt. Her hair had been braided at the nape of her neck, though some still curled about her face. As she headed inside, she was surprised to find the tavern empty except for one familiar person in the chair. "There you are, Cessa. I was wondering where you wandered off to."

It took a few moments for it to register she was being spoken to. That glazed over look of a mind that had wandered further than her feet had taken her. Blink. Smile. "Oh Gemma, how are you? I was just wondering what it would be like to fall in love, to find someone that keeps stealing glances your way that you can't help to steal glances upon too. Although there had been that knight from allied lands, it is not something I see more than the time it had been." If that made sense and not quite what she was talking about, "like Segan with Vanessa and even like you now with Patrick around. Does he make your heart skip, your thoughts to wander? Have you wondered what it would be like to kiss him, better, to have him kiss you?" Probably the best would be a mutual kiss but that went without saying.

While her sister came back to earth, so to speak, Gemma obtained an Irish coffee. "It sounds as if spring fever has taken hold of you, Cessa." She teased lightly, her smile warm and fond. She settled into one of the chairs, tucking her leg beneath her, though she'd not stay in that position long probably. "I think about him and sometimes at the oddest times." She chuckled as she looked over at Cessa. "But I'm not sure what's the norm." The smile widened as she added, "and I don't have to wonder what it's like to kiss him. I found it ... quite lovely."

Which had her bottom lip not only assume pout position, it quivered. "I'm the only one left without someone to have romantic ideas about..." not totally true but she was comparing apples with oranges. "Well, can you picture yourself with him? I once heard one ask another on such, if you could picture yourself in bed with him.." and here she leaned as her voice went to a whisper, "naked."

She was glad she hadn't been drinking when Cessa asked that last question. Her throat would have been burned and she would have been choking. "What about Patrick's cousin, David?" She teased then laughed. "Cessa, do you ... "  She paused and pursed her lips. "I suppose I could, yes." Thankfully her brothers weren't about. "Though, I don't believe that's a certainty that you're in love with someone."

"Do I what?" Being she didn't finish the question she was curious but she continued to answer the other questions. "David is older," not really having any idea but he was her boss so seemed much older, "and immersed in his work. I don't think he notices me. I hear there are a few young knights that would be worth taking a peek at on the kings field, run into them if possible." Although she got back to the matter of Gemma and Patrick. "He's a good looking man, well established of a good family but aside all that for Grandmother would point all those out, did his kiss make you feel all liquidly inside or .. oh hum nice kiss, thanks?"

"I was going to say, do you think that's a fair question to ask, but then I thought about it and didn't have a problem answering." She looked at her sister over the rim of her glass, brows furrowing slightly. "It made me feel very warm inside and tingly. How old are you now, Cessa?"

The young easterner drew his destrier up as he came across the familiar-looking tavern, a faint smile on his swarthy face...moments later, he'd step inside, clad in dark chain mail with the silver star burst of Zakarum emblazoned across his chest, eyes the color of winter storm clouds peering out from beneath his bull horn-topped helm as he glanced about the common room.

She seemed satisfied with that answer, made it all better for some reason. "How old?" which the question took her by surprise, "almost nineteen." Knowing well Gemma was only a few years older than her. The conversation was put on hold as one was heard outside. Not hard considering the door and windows were open and a fair quiet night. It was almost as if a ghost appeared, but one certainly with a familiar face. "Tolroze," rising from her seat at the hearth. "How good to see you again. You are well?" Then remembering her manners, "this is my sister Gemma."

"A good evening to you, Concessa." The lanky young paladin smiled, inclining his head to her, then to her sister, "and to you as well, Gemma."

She knew and there was a reason she asked but she didn't continue the conversion. Perhaps later. "Good eve, to you, Tolroze, and welcome." A hint of a smile appeared and then was gone as she took a drink.

He nodded to Concessa. "It is always good to see you as well...I am well enough, and yourself?"

"Far better with the warmer weather," which had her smile to blossom fully for the moment. "Come, get a drink," which she glance Alex's way and back, "and join us."

"Indeed." Another nod, the return of spring was most welcome to him, "and thank you." The dusky eastern youth inclined his head to the two of them before settling into an unoccupied seat nearby.

"How do things fair in Kurast," which she probably got the pronunciation correctly this time. Had nothing to do with her interest more that it was an odd name that eluded her the first couple of times. She took her seat, settling into the comfortable wingback now that he was seated. Her drink was mostly gone that sat on the table, one of raspberry punch. A punch made with potcheen.

"Rebuilding has been going fairly well, I imagine it will continue to improve now that the weather has turned..." he smiled slightly, and yep that was it, a pronounced "oo" sound in the first syllable. "Our settlement of New Kurast in Solurius has become quite developed as well...and it has begun to feel like home." His face reddened slightly as he said that, but he couldn't help it, home was an almost forgotten thing for him these days.

"So there is an Old Kurast in a sense and a New one settled in Solurius." So she was getting her facts straight. "It is the original lands that had been devastated and is being rebuilt while the new one is being built for the first time?"

"Indeed," he nodded, smiling slightly...socially inept as he tended to be, it probably never occurred to Tolroze to just lay this sort of information out up front.

At least it gave her the opportunity to ask questions instead of them both sitting there quietly for being socially inept. "What happened to Kurast," not the New one as there was Kurast and New Kurast. Two different places. Obviously there was a story behind the first.

She was interested in the conversation and was paying attention, especially when it came to the last Cessa asked.

Ah, now it was just becoming funny and ironic...though his face, usually about as expressive as a piece of unworked granite, did seem to darken just a bit, his eyes taking on a slightly hollow cast. "A considerable tragedy befell it...the tale is a bit lengthy..." that was added sorta hesitantly.

"If it is too painful to talk about, I understand." There was enough tragedy their family faced in prior years before coming here to have such understanding. She pinned her bottom lip beneath her teeth a moment and actually managed not to ask about family, brothers, sisters, parents, for they might be part of that tragedy. "Length is not a problem." Which she glanced to Gemma to see if she agreed.. or if it was getting that kind of late. She had gotten out late for a walk and her sister seemed to have the same urge.

"Not at all." She agreed with Cessa, though once his story was through, they would both have to return to the manor. Their days started early.

"Very well," he considered for a bit. "Well...Kurast was the home of the great temple of Travincal, the spiritual center for the Zakarum faith, of which I am a order, the knights of Zakarum, exists to uphold its tenants and to help and protect others, spreading the Light by example. Several years ago, however, the church hierarchy began to change...they became much more concerned with converting those outside the faith, until eventually proclaiming that all those who would not convert were to be considered irredeemably evil. This flies in the face of our faith's core beliefs, and as such, many of my brethren went into exile, for being accused of treason as we refused to uphold such abhorrent proclamations...I was among those who went into exile..." he lowered his dark eyes, their gaze looking distant.

He had told her some about his faith upon a time but now this was adding far more to it. A sigh escaped that such a thing would happen. It would not be the first time and unfortunately not the last. "Any enlightened faith understands that just because one does not embrace your faith in particular it doesn't make them evil. Actions make them evil. Which then makes those in accusation and condemning such." Which was her opinion and not sure she had spoken out when she should not have. So it was quickly amended. "So you and many of your brethren came to Solurius to build a New Kurast?"

"Indeed," he nodded, looking up at Concessa. "Such were our arguments...unfortunately, the corruption was the result of more than mere ignorance and intolerance...for centuries, a demon had been imprisoned beneath our temple, where it was thought that he would be contained forever. It was his will reaching beyond his prison that corrupted the High Council, and spread from them to much of the priesthood and knighthood..."

"A disease of the mind and spirit and of those who could do the greater harm," which was more mussed beneath her breath. "But this demon was not able to corrupt your mind or your comrades.."

He sighed as he shook his head, "some of my brethren realized the truth...they came to seek out the rest of us, and we rallied to return home and reclaim it, and free our people from the demon's tyrannical grip. Kurast was for the most part devastated, both by the fighting and by the malevolent influence on the land itself. When Kurast was at last free, it was mostly in ruins...the king and the queen of Solurius most graciously allowed those survivors who wished for a new place to live to move to the kingdom, where they had granted me some land..."

"Have some of the people remained or returned there then?" She glanced at her sister, then looked back to the young paladin.

"So you are of both Kurast at this point in time. There to the other to help rebuild it and in Solurius where lands have been given and a home made too. I suppose Kurast will never be the same even if rebuilt? There in lies the true tragedy? My sister Gemma is a warrior." She just piped in as a little tidbit matter of fact.

He nodded to Gemma's question, "some insisted that they would rather rebuild, the Light bless them and their undaunted spirits..." Then he nodded to Concessa as well, "I do not know what will come of either, but I have faith in my people." He smiled faintly, though it looked a bit hollow still, "they have gone through a crucible, of the spirit as much as the body, yet they are not broken."

Cessa was quite proud of her too and it showed in the glance her sister's way. "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" She heard that somewhere.

That pride meant a lot to Gemma. Then again, she held the same pride in Cessa. She smiled back to her then chuckled. "A good saying, that one."

"Indeed," another faint smile, he'd heard that saying before, was pretty apt too.

"Tell me of this home you have on lands given, they are not ones then that are part of New Kurast?" It sounded like it was separate, something that was part of Solurius. "You are the King's knight.." if she was not mistaken, which was a great honor. She was sure it included protecting the Queen and any of her children too.

"New Kurast is the name we gave to our settlement once we began building it on the land the monarchs gave me, in honor of our has also more or less become the name of my barony as a whole, since the settlement is its primary distinguishing feature...and yes, I have the honor of being the king's friends Holak and Durrang aid in that." Concessa might remember his two draconian enforcers/room mates.

She remembered them although she didn't have any direct interaction. They were hard to miss however. She better understood the lands granted were New Kurast. "There is a lot of responsibility that lies on your shoulders." Helping to rebuild Kurast, being in charge of New Kurast and seeing to the King for his position. "You are very strong spirited." For such took more than physical strength.

His swarthy face reddened slightly at that, and he shrugged, "I try my best...the Light willing, hopefully that is enough..."

Her drink finished, Gemma placed the glass on the table beside her chair. She had been studying Tolroze and smiled. "Our best is all we can do."

The young Zakarumite nodded, "indeed it is..."

One of her wishes had been granted! She was considered now, a citizen of Heathfield! She'd already received word from her petition and all that was left were those tiny things called details. Beatrice loved details from her covered head to the tips of her slippers. Neat as a pin in dusky rose, eyes all but shone like little lights as she slipped into the tavern humming while wearing the biggest grin - ever! "Good evening!" Gemma she knew from the tracks, the others not so. "Hello Gemma. It is nice to see you again! Alex, cider please. And thank you." She'd seat herself at the bar there while still grinning until cup was in hand.

"Indeed," she had to agree, "and it seems all is working out well with your best foot forward." Which was a compliment for him as achievements spoke more than words. Distracted then to another coming in her smile turned her way, "good evening. I'm Concessa Quinn, my sister Gemma and Sir Tolroze."

"Good evening, Bea." Distracted slightly, she laughed when she heard Concessa. "I met Bea at the tracks." Standing, she picked up her cup and smiled at Cessa. "Are you staying a while longer? I need to return to the manor so I'm not late on the field."  Oh yes. "This is Beatrice McCarrin." Since Cessa gave their names.

"Oh," well, something she didn't know. "I haven't been to the races in a while and I should go again." Being she had a horse that raced. She seemed in a quandary too at the moment, worrying her bottom lip again. "I should go back with you even if I would like to stay." She had work in the morning and the day would really drag if she didn't get sleep, otherwise she enjoyed her work.

The lanky young eastern knight inclined his head to Beatrice upon being introduced, "a good evening to you."

"It is nice to meet you, Concessa and Sir Tolroze." Bea knew Gemma to be related to Segan, but it was nice to meet another member of his family. "Be safe on your travels home."

She nodded and returned the glass to the bar, waiting for Concessa. "I hope you both enjoy the rest of your evening. Good night."

He stood, inclining his head to the two of them, "it was an honor to meet you, Gemma...and it is always nice to see you again, Concessa..."

She rose, taking her glass with her. "It is wonderful to see you again Tolroze and I'm sure I will again," eventually, sooner or later. "It was nice to meet you Bea," having gained her name from her sister's use of it. "Perhaps another time to talk, get to know you, when I'm more awake too." Which she was getting sleepy. She was over to the bar to drop off the glass there. "You are welcome to stay the night here, Tolroze if you wish not to make the trip back this late of night."

"Good night!" This was said brightly to Gemma as they took their leave. Bea however remained at the Thistle for now as her place of residence. "It was a pleasure to have met you, however brief, Concessa."

"As it was to meet you, Sir Tolroze." She inclined her head slightly then smiled as Concessa joined her. She was sleepy if she hadn't caught Gemma giving the lass' full name. Though somehow she had a feeling, her sister wasn't so sleepy that she'd forget the beginnings of their earlier conversation.

"Thank you, I think that would be most welcome," the young Zakarumite nodded before returning to his seat.

Her smile was swift, warm, as she took her leave with her sister. The manor was not far but best for them to have each other's company.

"Do be careful!" She couldn't stress that enough, having had it stressed to her not to go walking about at night. The land was safe, but still. Bea had a habit of getting lost.  "You are not a resident then of Heathfield, since you were offered a place for the night here?" She had gotten that much at least!

Gemma wore a sword at her side but she smiled at the caution then headed for the door, holding it open for her sister and then they were gone into the night.

He nodded in answer to Beatrice, "indeed...currently I dwell in the kingdom of Solurius, but I have friends who live here, and as such occasionally when I am out riding I stop by."

"It is good of you to be able to do so. Open borders make for good friendships." Or at least, so Bea thought. She wasn't a politician though. Generally just an overall nice person.



Date: 05-09-10
Poster: Niklas Traugott
Post # 22

Back from Luneberg

Niklas was on the prowl again after coming back from Luneberg. Still no headway in the disappearance of the King and three of the King's horsemen. A few were missing and it looked grim in the least. He was gone, they all had to accept that and his brother had absolutely nothing to do with it this time. He needed to shake the depression of losing his liege, one he fought for many years in the bowls of the castle. It seemed like eons ago. He got himself a tumbler and a bottle of potcheen to go with it as he made his way over to the cozy gathering of chairs by the hearth. He felt like there was a hole in his heart just seeing the empty chairs and the infamous one created by Vincent. Vincent, one he greatly respected along with Lazare and Dana. All gone too in trying to find their king. Now, they were lost. It was with a heavy heart this night he sunk into a wingback and proceeded to tossed back one, two, three shots before filling the tumbler again and setting the bottle aside to the small table. He knew he should probably eat something but he just couldn't bring himself to do so. Not tonight.

Even while Niklas was brooding about the past, he might spy a new face there in the sitting area by the hearth. Though her presence was so unobtrusive he may not even notice for awhile. Maggie was curled up on one of the couches just behind the ring of wingbacks, fast asleep. Her almost feline features were peaceful in repose, dark lashes unmoving against the natural fairness of her cheeks. Her mane of auburn-streaked dark hair was partially tumbled across  her face, blocking out some of the light and acting as an eye mask which helped to keep her asleep. Such long and deep naps were unusual for her, but she hadn't slept well last night and her body simply demanded rest. She'd laid down when the tavern was deserted over an hour ago, in the middle of cleaning tables and so she still wore an apron over her pale pink dress and there was a rag on the floor too. Curled up on her side she was not yet disturbed.

Niklas didn't know about the new hired woman as he only got in an hour before getting here. Late this night, although tired, he was restless. He was a warrior in his own right though different from those with a sword, which he had skill there more than most, it was something else. Something that took him into an underground city at one time, a world in itself. The prickling of the hairs along the back of his neck was the first signal. That of something behind him living and breathing he didn't know. Ears strained to hear the subtle sound as he slowly set his glass aside. He was quick, very quick as he was up to leap right over the back of the chair, coming to land on soft sole boots without much of a sound. Except the surprise backfired, hands out, fingers splayed in a crouched position of one about to wrestle another to the ground. Like he did with his brother. It was a vision that took his breath away. There upon the couch slept an angel. Niklas had the finer features, handsome in a pretty way. Something he fought with for most of his life. Curling blond hair and the bluest of eyes, yet nothing like the McAndrews. Caught unguarded, within his own mind and own doing, he slowly straightened. Not moving from the spot as he shot a glance Alex's way in hopes of an explanation.

Deeply buried in sleep as her mind was, it was a slothful response she had to a man literally leaping into the air and onto the ground in front of her. Quiet though Niklas was there was still the instinct every human had, alerting  her to a presence nearby. Maggie dragged a breath into her lungs, shifting some on the couch and slowly opening her eyes. Standing not three feet away was a man... a very handsome man and he was halo'ed in the light from the fire behind him. Her head tilted on the pillow, eyes upon him bemusedly, eyes that were shockingly glowing blue even in her sleepiness. She stared at him for only half a moment longer before she fully woke and startled, sitting up on the couch quickly. Her heart was pounding in the way that was natural when abruptly woken, eyes flying to Alex and back to the stranger as those tousled locks fell all about her face. Her disorientation probably amusing to Alex at least. "Oh - I - " She was not the sort to usually flounder with her words but she was still waking and discombobulated to boot.

One of those probably served her right for falling asleep on the couch. Except Alex was busy with something, maybe on purpose so that unless someone spoke up, they were on their own with this. The glance there and back in that fraction of a second. He cleared his throat with bedevilment rising to blue eyes dancing there giving them that kind of expressive light. "You're lucky you woke up Miss...?"

Alex was no help to her! But at least her employer hadn't seen it occur maybe? "Um.." A glance to Alex's turned back before looking back to Niklas. "Maggie. Miss Maggie. I mean, no Miss, just Maggie." Oh she was bleary still as she pushed the hair out of her eyes. Blinking a few times more as she tried to shake off the slumber. "What time is it?" A glance to the window told her it was dark and she winced, pushing herself into a stand. Re-tying the apron strings. "I'm sorry Alex.." It wasn't exactly a good thing to fall asleep in the middle of the workplace, was it?

She was humming as she came in, head bent over the wicker basket she had used to hold her embroidery supplies. Her place as a Heathfield citizen was now solidified she felt more at ease with her surroundings. There was still so much to do but she was just happy to be for the moment. Slipping inside the Thistle, her features all but glowed even at this time of night. "Evening Maggie, Alex!" Spying the stranger, her smile widened. "Hello! I'm Beatrice!" She was in a sense very effervescent, bubbly in a way that was good but not so sweet that it was annoying. Obviously she was a young woman in love with life.

"Nice to meet you Maggie o' Miss Maggie, no Miss, Maggie," amusingly spoken, "I'm Niklas, no Sir, just Niklas, Traugott of the cuckoo clocks shop. Midnight, pumpkin time." A hand lifting as he was about to offer her help up for she didn't look too steady on her feet but it was of no need as he discreetly lowered it back to his side. Turning instead to the cheery voice of another he had not met. He felt disoriented a moment, the place familiar but the occupants not. Except Alex, he was the grounding fixture to this place. "Hello, I'm Niklas, nice to meet you Beatrice."

What on earth was he talking about? The reference didn't register yet in her foggy mind. Her dream had been so vivid that she was still trying to shake it off. A faint though decidedly absent smile was given to Niklas, and the same to Bea before she was moving off. "Excuse me a moment." That as she slipped into the back, specifically her private rooms, where she'd take a minute to splash some cold water on her face to rouse herself a bit better.

Bea could well understand feeling the disorientation of new faces. So many were new to her after all. "It was such a beautiful day outside. I love Spring, but I cannot wait for Summer!" Humming, she settled herself at the bar, the basket just a ways from her. "Some lemonade, Alex. Thank you." For a minute she wondered at Maggie's befuddled look, but let it go for now. Another time.

Being he was over by the hearth, he managed his way back to his seat to settle there. "I prefer summer as long as there is a way to keep cool during the dog days." He had devised the pulley fan that hung from the ceiling in here that was not moving presently. Giving a glance there thinking it probably needed dusting for it was up fairly high. "I'll see to checking that out for you Alex," which he gained a nod in return. Niklas would make sure it was in perfect running order and dusted in the process. Not that he planned to do it tonight as he would choose time in the afternoon one day soon.

She was from an area were a balmy day was a treat, so Niklas' words drew her curiosity and her worry. "Does it get very warm here, in Heathfield?" The fan was glanced toward with a tilted, covered head. "Isn't that canny, huh." When her lemonade arrived, she drank deep of the crisp taste, enjoying it as much as the company.

A few minutes later had her stepping back out into the common area, skirts smoothed and hair neatly pinned back... a few sleep lines remaining from her nap but otherwise appearing refreshed. "Sorry again, Alex," she said with a sheepish smile to her boss. Looking around to take stock of who was here and what was going on, blue gaze finding Bea with a smile. "Hello Bea, sorry I was a bit.. fuzzy before." The same smiling expression, tinted with rue was turned then upon the man. "Niklas, was it? You gave me a fright," she admitted.

"Sleeping Beauty arrives after her couch turns into a pumpkin." Rather silly teasing but he had a few shots downed rather quickly and was having another one as he spoke. Answering Beatrice, "it gets warm, very warm, dog days that run from July into September for the humidity. Hot days consistently in June as we've had a number of such already. Lake is warm enough and many will be making use of it." Pausing there with a winsome smile to show before dashing it like it escaped him for the moment with her words. "I'm sorry to have frightened you. I acted on instincts, ones that have saved my life in the past." Since there was no where for him to go in that split second, his natural choice before even conscious thought to debate it and be lost, was to confront what was behind him.

Douglas had been at the manor for most of the day but decided he needed some time to himself. He would head to the warehouse to the room he kept there after a quick stop at the Thistle. He didn't expect anyone but Alex to be there and frowned when he saw that to be a mistake but still came inside. "Evening, Niklas, ladies. Evening, Alex." He leaned against the bar and requested a glass of potcheen.

Bea gave Maggie a cheerful grin, all while swiping her hand through the air in a gesture meant to dismiss the fuzziness. "Don't you worry. I'm all fixed up here." As Maggie spoke to Niklas, she reached for her basket to fiddle with  its contents for a moment only to look up at Niklas' words again. "That warm? Goodness." She no doubt would live near the water by then! Looking up at another stranger, she laughed a little. "Good evening. I'm Beatrice." She was getting used to getting out those introductions right away, otherwise she'd forget. Humming a little, she found what she sought, a small pair of gloves, neatly edged with little pink flowers.

She had not meant it as an accusation, so her answering smile was warm and reassuring. "Not to worry. Startling me is not difficult to do when so soundly asleep." A wink was given before she turned to the door, nodding a friendly greeting to the man. "Good evening. Can I get anyone anything from the kitchen? There's Irish roast pork tonight with stuffing, or a delicious salmon," she was learning the extensive menu quickly.

"Douglas, come join me in a drink," so he didn't feel so outnumbered and sorely out of date in socializing. "These are the ladies Beatrice and Maggie, just met." Which had him wondering for  Maggie had gone into the back without being stopped. "Do you work here Maggie, do you also, Beatrice?" Color him clueless presently. "I'll have a little bit of the pork and the salmon." Knowing this late it would be whatever was left over so small portions.

"I ate earlier, but thank you Maggie." Setting a few stitches into the little wrists of the gloves took a bit of concentration but Bea was used to it now. "I am presently working for Mistress McGuire. Sewing." She smiled broadly then, eyes lighting up as she showed off the tiny little gloves. She thought them a great gift for little Ysabeau, Vanessa's daughter.

Once he had his drink in hand, he was over to join Nik. "Well met, ladies," politely but distant.

"Yes," she confirmed Niklas's guess with a smile, collecting a couple of finished glasses from the hearth area and carried them over to the bar for Alex. "I started work here just a few weeks ago. Those are adorable, Bea," she added as she noticed those cute little mittens. A nod bobbed to Douglas along the way, smiling his way even though she noticed his cool demeanor. "And anything for you?" That to Douglas.

"No, thank you. I ate before I left home." He said about the food before he took a long drink of the potcheen.

Sunshine seemed to just float off of Bea in little waves as she grinned at Maggie. "Thank you. I got them at the market and thought they would be very pretty for Ysabeau. Vanessa's daughter." What little girl, shouldn't have pretty gloves? "Which family do you belong to? The both of you?" There were so many families here in Heathfield that Bea thought it a normal question to ask as she looked at both Niklas and Douglas

Another polite nod to Douglas and she continued over to the kitchen window, leaning in to give Hazel the order for the food, or whatever leftovers remained. She had a habit of standing on her toes almost like a ballerina as she did so though it wasn't necessary for her height.

"Amazing the changes that can take place in a span of a few weeks," not that he was complaining, "you compliment this tavern." Certainly a pretty face would. He was not a good one when it came to distinguishing gloves as a gift item over something else but his mother and sister had use to do such fine stitching so that he could appreciate. "I am Traugott, my family has the clock shop, cuckoo clocks in particular." One of them hung over the mantle, a gift to those of the tavern.

"A master craftsman then. How wonderful! Maybe some day I shall purchase one of your clocks." She could imagine her mother might like one. Smiling, she stitched a little and then looked at them a little while humming softly. It helped her stay on track, and kept her from staring. It had to be the water that made them look so good.

"We have already made ones and then there are the special order ones that can be designed into a clock. One was a tug boat type for a child's room, for instance." His sister was the one that usually did the designs and it might be a good distraction for her being her husband was one of the ones missing in Luneberg with their King.

"A tug boat? What a nice theme." A few more stitches, and a hum. "Can you make a clock from anything? The designs I mean? Like if I had an idea?"

Her smile deepened the dimples upon her cheeks at his compliment. "You are too kind. That'll be a sweet gift, Bea," she was juggling conversations as she turned back to the room, a platter balanced in one hand and a bowl in the other. These were carried over to where Niklas sat at the hearth and placed expertly on the side table by his wingback. "Here you are," The platter was piled with thick slices of pork and salmon, with some parsley-scented potatoes on the side. "And I thought you might want to try the Mortar soup." That would explain what was in the bowl.

"Ja, you write down your idea and then we'll sketch something up accordingly and see if you like how it looks. It has to be done where it can be a clock as well." Then upon Douglas, "how are your brothers and sisters? Parents? Rhett still busy making swords and such for Kildare?"

He just went ahead and let Niklas do the talking while he drank though he shifted when Maggie approached so he wasn't sprawled out. "Everyone's doing well, and aye, Rhett's still busy. I think he got another order in but I don't see him much."


"Thank you Maggie," he would dig in leaving Douglas to answer any questions his way. So there would only be the sounds of him eating, and they were mild... luckily. He paused with a look Douglas' way, "I hope it is all for the work than a falling out between you two?" Not that it was any of his business but he was friends with both.


"Aye, for the work, and when he's not working, he's with some lass." Doug chuckled with a shrug. "The normal order of things."



Date: 05-09-10
Poster: Niklas Traugott:
Post # 23

"You mean that Karina?" Maggie piped up after Douglas's comment with a curious smile, since she'd met the scrappy lass a few times and it was usually with Rhett.

"Rhett's got himself a lass?" Paint him surprised but then he chuckled shaking his head, "and you didn't beat him there?" Doug was older if he remembered correctly. "Not so bad a thing to have happen.."

It took her a minute of listening to understand just who Douglas was related to. "Rhett is your brother, that is very nice!" She knew Rhett to have siblings, so it was nice to meet them. "That's right, Maggie. He is seeing Karina. They seem pretty serious." She went back to stitching then, chewing a little at her lower lip as she hummed a little more loudly.

"Aye, Karina." He took a drink before answering Niklas. "I'm not worrying about getting with a lass. Soon as Da can hire someone to take my place, I'm going to go on one of his ships and work there for a while."

"Going to take a trip to the Colonies?" He was sure Rhett still sent his ships there yearly for trading as well many other places. All the while he was making short work of his meal, talking between bites and swallowing so he didn't talk with his mouth full and have something fall out while doing so.

Looking up, Bea ventered a thought or two of adventures on the high seas and what they might be like. But to the Colonies? "Is it a very long journey to the Colonies? With more people like Mat and Yas?" She knew little if nothing of the place, so she was more than a little curious.

He gestured to Douglas to tell her of such a journey as he was in the middle of a mouthful.

Maggie meanwhile was flitting about the place efficiently, content to listen while wiping down tables. That was how she learned more of this place and its people... and goodness knows there was plenty to learn.

"I've never been anywhere but here, so anywhere." He might even sign up on one of the Callihan ships, though he hadn't discussed it much. "Aye, long enough and with both natives and folks from different lands building cities and exploring."

A little furrow formed between her brows as she looked at Douglas. "Exactly what is long enough? A month? Two? Six?" Bea's mind worked as neatly as her long fingers did with needle and thread. Besides, it wasn't often she could ask questions without stuttering.

It was probably not a good idea to eat this late, he would probably have some vivid dreams if not too vivid that it was hard to tell the difference between them and reality. He'd been there before, lived some very strange adventures that were more like vivid dreams and some could wonder if they had not been just that. Except there was proof. With his plate finished and his hunger sated, he was up to return the plate, and empty bowl to the bar.

Cue Maggie swooping by Niklas like a butterfly and taking his dirty dishes away from him before he could blink. "Sit and relax, that's my job," said with a pert smile over her shoulder as she brought the dishes the rest of the way to the bar.

"I never asked the exact amount. Just know it's long enough that you think you're never going to see land again." He felt like he was talking to his youngest sister. Finishing the drink, he stood. "I need to get. Shipment coming  in tomorrow and inventory to do." And since he'd working with another man, he didn't need to be fully awake, so he headed for the bar and requested a bottle of the pure to take with him. "Oh, Niklas, do you know if Rick McAndrews is in Heathfield?"

"No need to sp-sp-speak that way. It was j-j-just a question." Bea muttered more to herself than anything as she looked hard at her stitching. What did Bea know of being in the situation where you were wondering if you were ever going to see land again? She hadn't ever been on a ship for much longer than it took to cross a channel.

Hands full, hands empty as he blinked when Maggie whisked by taking that which he was delivering. "You're quick!" Although he needed to get back before he was asleep on the couch like Maggie had been. Then again if she did an encore, it would be interesting. Slapping such thoughts from his head to answer Douglas, "ja, he is here I'm told. Something with the swords being done for Kildare and meetings." Of which he would be reporting to come tomorrow morning. Any news, even if things are still at a standstill, he was to report. His brother would  be going there next for a few weeks. Niklas has a German accent though he spoke English very well at this point.

"Rick McAndrews? Aye, he's here. I met him just a couple of days ago."

"Speak what way?" He looked at her confused then looked at Niklas. "Thank you. A friend asked me if he was."

She kept stitching and frowning, trying to right herself. She wasn't in Ayrshire anymore, so there wasn't any reason to hang onto thoughts of it. "As i-i-i-if I'm sli-slightly t-t-t-tedious."

"Someone I know?" Being he spoke on a friend asking to find this out.

And Maggie since she had met him. He grabbed up the potcheen. "I don't know if you do or not. Lia ... Athalia Edan."

"I've heard of her but never had the pleasure of meeting her." Even with having been here a long time, there were still those to meet that have been here a long time too. "Maggie, Beatrice, it was a real pleasure meeting you both. Thank you for the service Maggie, you do justice to this tavern." His words sincere with a cordial bow of his head. Turning to Douglas,
 "I will head out with you and learn of anything else I've missed in the number of weeks I've been gone." Then he added a bit of knowledge for Beatrice. "A journey to the Colonies can take a month, three weeks if there is fair winds, no storms. A storm could knock a ship off course many miles if not sink it. Most trips take a month I would say, approximately."

"Well, thank you!" She replied with a bright smile to his words and a quick curtsy of her own. "It was a pleasure meeting you as well. Perhaps you will be by again.. I may even be awake next time." Teasing herself and him both.

Niklas gave her some peace of mind with his answer, and she mustered a smile up while setting her sewing aside. Humming before she spoke to Niklas. "It was a pleasure to meet you, and thank you. For the answer."

"She's sending notes off and wanted to be sure where to send them." He looked at Beatrice, a brow lifting but rather than say anymore, he headed for the door.  No point in getting himself into more trouble. He'd wait outside for Niklas.

There seemed to be something going on with the Douglas lad and the last to grab his curiosity. "Good night ladies.." and out he went, leaving them to their talk.

"And lovely to meet you as well, Douglas," since he seemed to be on his way out too. Or she called after him rather!
 With the men gone she turned back to Bea then, moving over to join her friend with a warm smile. "My, he was a bit gruff wasn't he," she murmured.. meaning Douglas of course. Maggie hadn't missed the way their interaction made poor Bea stutter a bit. "Are you alright?"

It was like being in her cousin Liam's presence, a thing Beatrice avoided at all costs in the past. Simple questions answered in a way that made her feel less than bright. Swallowing, she forced a too bright smile when looking up at Maggie. "I'm fine. I am sure he was simply out of sorts." Excuses. Bea hated hearing them, and hated making them in regard to others' behavior. He could have said a month, or two. Or that he didn't know for Christmas' sake. Instead, he had acted like she was missing several brain cells. Or was an annoying sibling!

Setting her rag aside for now, Maggie took a seat next to Bea. A pat given to the girl's shoulder. "I'm sure he meant nothing by it. I think he is simply a curmudgeon." A reassuring smile. "Or else he is unversed in talking to people politely," she gave a bit of a smirk there, trying to cheer Bea up.

"Or perhaps he requires a swift kick to his arse." Bea never wanted to speak ill of others and normally wouldn't have said anything, just kept it inside but everyone in Heathfield had been so nice to her thus far so this was like having some cold water tossed on her face. It wasn't pleasant at all! "I am sure your probably right, Maggie. He just reminded me of someone unpleasant that's all. I probably over reacted." More excuses, and her stomach churned.

Maggie couldn't help it, she laughed at the spunky way Bea answered. "Now there's an appealing image." Head tilted with that smile remaining, growing curious as she looked at Bea. "You have every right to your feelings."

Shaking her head, she sighed a little in frustrated before pulling the cover away from her hair. It felt tight now. Her hair was a dark mahogany color, tinted with bits of red here and there and wound into a tight braid which was lumped into a bun at the base of her neck. Unraveled with shaky fingers, the lot of it reached well past Bea's seated backside. "He reminds me of my cousin, a rather rude brute who enjoyed making me feel stupid at his convenience."

"You have lovely hair," which Maggie could only now comment, having never seen it before. A soft smile was offered as she listened to Bea's words and nodded her understanding. "He sounds like a right bully. Bad memories can be powerful, can't they?" She watched her friend for a moment then added carefully, "Though maybe you shouldn't let them have that power over you, to taint your current experiences." Searching Bea's eyes as she made that suggestion. Mags had some insight so she could speak from experience here.

"Oh!" Nervous, she ran a hand through the wavy mass. It helped to fiddle with it, rather than fixate. "Thank you. And your right. They can have if you let them. It was just so unexpected." Though silently she was admonishing herself because she should have expected it. If for no other reason than because the past taught you about what could be. "It gets in the way, so mother always had us cover it. It's a habit I suppose." One she stuck to, because Bea liked things to be neat and tidy.


"A useful habit... though you ought to wear it down sometimes, it's so nice." She smiled again, watching Bea before becoming a bit serious. "It must have been unexpected, since everyone here seems almost... supernaturally kind." She gave a small laugh. "But Bea... you must know that not everybody can be kind. Some are angry or uncaring or just plain rude. Even here." She spoke gently, certain that Bea knew this already.. only offering a gentle reminder that was
 also reassurance.

She laughed a little then to help shake off the horrid little mood she almost fell into. "I might." Though she would probably braid it or something to keep it from her face. Listening to Maggie, she nodded. "I do, but I suppose I had forgotten that important lesson because everyone had been so kind to me. Even the men from the Colonies were nicer than that." At least, they hadn't treated her like an annoyance. "I suppose I shall simply stay away from Douglas Shawnesey if he is like that. No sense in putting yourself in harms way when a better path can be taken." Her mother gave her that little nugget of advice long ago.


"Good advice, and very true." Her smile returned as she leaned back in her chair. The wingbacks were so comfy it made a body just want to sink into them, especially this time of night. "At least the majority of men here are nice and respectful, rather than the other way around. That's a rare thing in males." She nodded sagely as she reached up, stretching her arms some before pulling the hairpins out to let her own hair tumble free from its bun. She usually wore it like that to keep it out of her way, but the weight of it atop her skull tended to exacerbate the headaches. "Have you explored much of town, Bea? Found somewhere you might wish to live?" For Mags could only assume that her friend wouldn't want to live here in the tavern forever. Not that it wasn't nice, but it was after all.... a tavern rather than a home. Except in Maggie's case.

"That rarity I think lulled me into some false sense of security." Her normally bright and sunny mood had been shattered, but she was trying to put things to rights in her mind if for no other reason than for her friend. As the conversation turned, it got easier. "I've been about quite a bit, but I can't see myself living alone. Where I am from, that simply isn't done. That, and I think I'd be afraid to be alone at night. I'm used to being near people."

Maggie nodded slowly. "I can understand that. This is the first time I've ever had my own chambers, actually. I still get a bit of a strange feeling in there at night, by myself... but then I remember that Hazel, and Alex and Matthew are right next door, and I feel better." She offered a smile, thinking about Bea's dilemma. "I wonder whether there is anybody about town with a spare room they'd wish to rent out. I can ask around, if you'd like." Considering her job here at the tavern, which saw so many different people each day, that would be easy to do.

Bea could well understand that as she felt herself settle a little more. "That would be very nice of you, and I would appreciate it. I can help them out with their home if they like. If they needed it." She made sure to rush that part out, because no one wanted an extra body around unless it was being made useful. "I know how, to care for a household that is." Her mother had done so for Lord MacKinnon all her life, hadn't she? And Bea had been a part of that labor force since she was able.

"I will add that, and make sure to paint a good picture of you," a dimple in her cheek as she flashed a teasing smile. She felt a kinship with Bea of sorts, perhaps it was because they both seemed to have humble backgrounds, and had
 both spent their lives serving others in some form. Maggie could understand Bea's not wanting to be a burden in somebody else's house. "I'll let you know if I find anything. For now I think it's time for bed, so that I don't go falling asleep on couches tomorrow!" She laughed ruefully. "That man, Niklas, came upon me sound asleep right here a bit earlier and nearly scared me out of my wits. I shouldn't have been dozing about the place like that."

The simple teasing garnered a little laugh from Bea as she wasn't sure what a good picture being painted of her would look like, but she trusted Maggie. "Thank you, for helping me. For everything." Picking herself up, along with  basket and hair covering she could easily follow Maggie's suggestion for sleep. "At least you knew someone was sneaking up on you. I am pretty certain were it I, there would have been fainting involved." Bea scared good and easily under the right circumstances. She'd nearly missed having a Warrior Brave drop in on her before hadn't she? Bea just simply didn't observe things around her at times so it made her an easy target for pranks of the like. "Rest well then Maggie. I'm sure I'll see you tomorrow."

"You're welcome." And she meant it. Rising from the chair she gave Bea a warm smile. "Thank you. Goodnight, and I'm sure you will." Another smile before she'd make her way back to the staff quarters.

Date: 05-11-10
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 24

All Work

Bea found herself returning to the Thistle earlier in the evening than she had planned. She was neat as ever, and in her usual happy mood as she strode in humming. "Evening Alex!" Bea seemed to have recovered well from the previous nights worries.


Maggie was there, a clean apron covering her simple off-white gown and dark hair pinned back as usual. She was sitting on a bar stool, engrossed in one of the old Gazettes as she had a cup of tea. Some of those old papers were interesting and some, downright funny. She had an elbow leaned casually on the bar as she sipped, glancing up long enough to smile to Bea in greeting. "Hello."

Curious as to what Maggie was reading, Bea sat next to her and bent ever so subtly toward the papers. "What have you there?" They looked not like books, but something other. Smiling, she set aside the wicker basket from her hand atop the bar a little ways away before settling her arms over the bar. Alex would set her up with the usual cider. "And what's for dinner tonight?" She said it with just a little edge of laughter, knowing whatever it was, it would be good!

Lancely hesitated but a moment giving a glance through the front window for any within. Wry grin came with a rub of his chin before continuing within. Lanky yet strong stride took him the distance to the bar easily. Casually attired, at least he wasn't wearing any armor or mail. A sleeveless tunic showed off tanned muscular arms and with the front left partially open, he was cool this warm evening. "Good evening ladies, Alex," which the latter was setting out a tankard of the German ale along with a shot glass of potcheen for the chaser.

"A Heathfield Gazette." She held up the paper for Bea to see. "They're full of articles, recipes, gossip even. There's piles of them, I've been reading them all afternoon." She gave a smile then glanced over her shoulder towards the kitchen. "Chicken cutlets, beef with fried or parsley potatoes, and chicken and leek pie. Beef and Barley is the soup." As she finished the sentence the door was opening and she glanced that way, lips curving as she saw who came in. "Lancely.... something, wasn't it?" She'd met him awhile back when she was still quite new here.

"Oh! I suppose that is one way to learn about the place you live." Bea looked over the flash of articles, noting the recipes with interest before her eyes roamed the column of gossip. As the night's menu was rattled off she pondered the options. "Mmmm, I'll have the beef with fried potatoes. That sounds quite filling." Turning toward the sound of a strangers voice, Bea smiled in welcome. "Good evening!" There certainly quite a few people in Heathfield, so Bea figured she would never be done introducing herself. "I'm Beatrice. Nice to meet you." Hopefully this gentleman didn't have a bout of the crankies as that Douglas had yestereve.

They would have to mention the Gazette, the Crones had a lot of fun with him in their column. Hopefully the two would not recognize the parts on him for how elusive they wrote. Anyone who knew the ones, knew right away but a stranger would not .. necessarily. "Aye, Sir Lancely Caster at your service. Maggie, is it not?" Slow smile was rising as he lifted his tankard in salute. "Sliente." Immediately taking a good dose to wet his throat before smoky green eyes turned to study the other lass. "Nice to meet you Beatrice." Which he noticed the bulletin while leaning there against the bar. "Congratulations."

She nodded and went to give Bea's order to Hazel. Leaning against the wall there by the kitchen window, she rewarded Lancely's memory of her name with a winsome smile. "Yes. Nice to see you again. I hope you've been well?"

"I've been well. Getting the water gauntlet ready for use. Actually it is warm enough to be used and will be starting tomorrow." First he wanted to get it all tuned up and the timing changed so that it was always a new challenge each time tried, just like the regular gauntlet. He still needed to come up with a new contraption that would be considered just as wicked. "How have you been? I see you have gotten a position here with the esteemed Sir Alex." Which Alex was a knight even if not a practicing one.

It seemed that Sir Lancely was indeed in good spirits. Bea smiled at his congratulations to her becoming a citizen and she hummed just a little as she listened to him and Maggie speak. "What will this, water gauntlet be used for?" Having never heard of such a contraption Bea did what she did best, she asked questions. Her curiosity was innate. Her sense of wonder at the unusual almost child like.

"It will be used for fun aside testing your skills in balance, maneuvering your body out of the way or get slimed by seaweed, doused in whip cream and totally soaked. Just like the haggis hurling contest is fun, although that one is done with couples."

Bea laughed then, shaking her covered head. "I am not so sure that being doused with seaweed or whip cream would be fun. I like my whipped cream on my pies and cakes. And seaweed dried." It was a strange food to be sure, but then everyone had different tastes.

"I've been well, and yes, I'm a Waitress here now." She smiled brightly, listening to the other two chat for now.

"Do you like the idea of a challenge that pits you with any and everyone else willing to try it? Prizes for those that do well and the gathering in social reward. There is a small lake one can get washed off in so no one is left with even the feathers to fall."

Bea thought about it for a moment and as much as she couldn't see the contraption in her mind she had a little bit of a competitive nature. "I think I do. I mean, I think I might like to try it." She was willing to take up a challenge which was probably why it was called a water gauntlet.

"Then you shall some evening soon." Which he really liked when others came along to test it out. "You can watch a few before you try it to get a better idea." Which there ended up being more laughter than not for the fun of it.

"I'll try it if you will, Bea," Maggie offered with a grin. She was always willing to try new things, even if it meant making a fool of herself... which in this case, would probably be the outcome!

Grinning broadly, green eyes looked to Maggie. "That settles it then, we'll both give it a try!" Settling as her food came out, she tucked in neatly while thinking over this water obstacle course. "what does one wear while doing this?" She couldn't see herself in her Sunday best of course!

"Did you mention something about a chicken and leek pie?" Which was not really a pie but a meal in a flaky pie crust. "If so, I would love a piece." Which he would take right there at the bar as he straddled up a stool Lancely always had his appetite whether he had missed a meal or not.

She dipped a nod to Lancely en-route to the kitchen window. "Would you like some soup with that, or maybe some soda bread? It's the best..." a bit of singsong tone there to entice him as she stood on toes near the kitchen.

"It really is the best." This said between mouthfuls of her own dinner while thinking as to whether or not she was going to have something sweet afterwards.

"A slice or two of the soda bread as well the brown, if you don't mind." And if there was any. Bea's input had him dipping a smile her way before kicking back the dram of potcheen. He would be back to the ale with his meal.

Her brows lifted before the dimples popped into her cheeks. "Big appetite." She gave the order to Hazel, adding a request for a bowl of soup and some brown bread for herself. Then traipsed back to her barstool until it was all ready. "Has the water gauntlet been keeping you busy all this time, Lancely?"

Bea couldn't help but wonder at the water gauntlet now. "Do children partake of this water obstacle course that you have, or is it for adults only?" That of course would be interesting to see if there were children running through it. If they could, why couldn't Bea?

"A lot of things keep me busy. First there is the gauntlet that we ran all winter as part of all warriors' training, from knights down to squires and even those with interest in becoming a warrior. Precautions are taken," interrupting his speech as she brought over the plate, "thank you sweetling," eyeing the food with great appreciation as it was barely set and he was digging in. Obviously his stomach became a priority in that moment. Although he took a breather after a swallow to answer Beatrice, "not too little but teens, yes." They were afraid too young might slip and get hurt more than an adult or teen would.

"Sweetling," she murmured it with a soft smile. "Goodness, nobody's called me that in years." It was a rather nice feeling though. With her own soup and bread arriving, she tucked in neatly. Mags ate like a bird, and methodically, ripping off bits of bread and dipping them in the soup before popping it in her mouth. Rip, dip, repeat, and her tea washed it all down.

"I wonder if the children think themselves left out because they do not get to do the obstacle course. Surely, there has to be something fun in the water for them to do?" Bea's features fell into lines of concern as she wondered if the little ones did indeed feel left out.

He came up for air again. "Those that come run along the ground aside the gauntlet for it sets up on a platform. They encourage those they wish and help them if they end up in a trough of water of seaweed. I think they have as much fun and then go swimming in the lake." He had not known of any such complaint and if there had been any feeling they were left out the would have heard, or so he believed. It gave him a moment in reflection before dismissing the idea any had been and he dug in to devour the rest of his meal with aplomb.

"And I'm sure they spend plenty of time in the lake during the summer, paddling around like ducklings," she could imagine that with a smile. "Maybe at our summer festival we can have special water activities for the children, Bea."

"I should very much like to have a few little voices cheering me on." Bea could imagine it, and laugh a little before she started to hum. At Maggie's suggestion, she clapped her hands together, eyes widening with delight. "Oh that might be very nice!" Bea was happy to encourage little swimmers, but then children didn't generally make fun of one when they stuttered.

It was his turn to leave the ladies to their conversation while he continued his meal. He would have a slice of blueberry crumble pie with ice cream on the side.

"Maybe some swimming races and team games. Maybe even very basic swimming lessons for the tiny ones and their parents." Which would be fun for the families as well as a good safety lesson. She pushed aside her empty bowl and glanced to Lancely, remembering what he'd said a moment ago. "So what are you then... a squire or warrior?"

She got that amused look her way when she mentioned squire, a lopsided smile that went with it. "I am one of King Peter's knights that is stationed here. I help train the Squires and practice against the knights and kingsmen of these lands. Sir Calhoun, Sir Gabriel, Sir Aiden and Sir Cole are my comrades at arms in these lands."

"And I think those marvelous ideas to be sure, Maggie." Bea enjoyed the thought but soon fell silent as she listened to Lancely. "And to which castle does Peter belong?" She knew there were several but she wasn't sure which was which.

He would leave any games and the like for kids and toddlers to the ladies. No, he was not going to venture there for he would be out of his element if he did. Not that he had anything against them, for certain he would like to have a half dozen or so someday if he found the right woman, but it was almost comical to see him with a baby handed to him. "Innis Daingneach, which means island fortress in Gaelic." And it was exactly that.

"Ah! Alright then, I have it straight in my mind now. I haven't been here very long, so I'm still trying to learn about all the castles." And the families! There were so many, and some of them large enough to be their own kingdom's without anyone else in it that wasn't related by blood! "Have you any family, Sir Lancely? Are you part of a," what had they called it? "A tribe?"

"That is understandable. You may wish to read some of those gazettes for they will help put it in proper perspective. Or, you can ask me questions. There are five castles involved. Heathfield here is in precise terms an empire. Though they like to keep it more like family. Sister castles. Ballicastle, Tyremoor, Innis Daingneach then Kildare in the order they became part over time after the dark years." He had to smile with the last, "my parents live further north with my half brother and sister. Small family." Which was better than none. "Have you family too?"

Seeing as the Gazette might be an interesting way to learn some of the previous history of the "empire" as it were, she tucked it into the back of her mind. "I shall certainly do my best. I want to learn about Heathfield as almost everyone here has been nice to me." Almost having occurred just last night! Smiling, she pushed away her empty plate with a satisfied sigh. "I do have family, but I am not sure if they will travel here. I would like for that very much as I miss them. But, all in good time. There have been so many large families I've discovered here that I was almost shocked!" Which only made her laugh more. "And some not even from this land but across into the Colonies. I didn't know much about them, the Colonies but it's all been so much to take in even over a period of time!" Bea however, was up to the learning challenge.

Maggie was learning a lot, about the lands and about her friends as well just by listening. Soaking it up like a sponge as she went about with a watering can, tending to the plants stationed about the place.

"Good Celtic families," which brought on a laugh. His meal was done leaving the sweet taste of pie and ice cream on his palate. He rose from his seat in a languid stretch, arms going up as hands tucked behind his head for a moment. He was tall but not as tall as some in the lands. Hands finally swung down with a roll of his neck to follow. Subtle enough. "I hope your family comes if that is your wish and their need. It is a good place here. Most are very friendly, the worse you'll meet is brooding or cranky that if upon first meet, don't take it personally as how could it be caused by you? Something else or just their personality, you can feel sorry for them instead." Luckily she had not met Sir Vincent deBeauvias before he got married. He grunted at the women in his way of greeting. Despised them in one way but not another. "Well, I think it is time for me to get some rest as I'm to be on the kings field come dawn."

Bea enjoyed his laughter before she nodded in agreement to his words. She felt that it would be nice for her mother to get out from under the MacKinnon's thumb, but she could only wait and see. The old codger had to die some day didn't he? "Ah yes, I've met one of those cranky individuals. I'd rather not give him my pity either. I'll just keep my own company if and when it comes to it." Bea wasn't going to make someone else stand her presence if they didn't like it. "Rest you well, Sir Lancely. And good luck on the morrow." He certainly was far more friendly and bounds more sober than any knight she had met under the MacKinnon's banner.

He had another outlook on that, if one was around he didn't get along with he would pretty much do his own thing whether they stayed or not, in short he would not have their presence make him leave if that was not in his intentions to start. "You have a good night," too late to get into any exchange of views. Giving her a wink with a smile to dash as he headed for the door, "night Alex, Hazel," the latter a little louder to be heard before emerging with the darkness beyond the tavern.



Date: 05-22-10
Poster: Deirdre Callihan
Post # 25

Mischief Afoot

It was a quiet night in the Thistle, Deirdre was out for a change but found no one else about. The quiet was lulling after a hectic day and so she curled up in one of the wing backs with a mug of hot chocolate. Although it was not a cool evening, it wasn't overly hot after the rains that came earlier. Looking half asleep her mind was quite the opposite as thoughts zipped about from one subject matter to another. Most of them lingering on romance even if she would never admit to it.

Maeve had adjusted to her new life, at least on the level of training and interacting with those at the castle. Now, she needed to take the next step. Though she wore her sword, her clothing was more casual than usual, with tunic and pants, as well as soft boots. She enjoyed the scent of the air after the rain, noting the hint of flowers the breeze carried. Up the steps, and she headed into the Thistle. Not even her dog was with her tonight.

It was quiet enough to hear footsteps and the feel of a presence that had not been in the room until now. Curiosity getting the better of her as she peeked around the corner of the wingback chair. A smile reaching the twinkle of green eyes. "Hello, I'm Deirdre," being on the norm those met here were friendly so she went with that ideal.

"Evening, I'm Maeve." She couldn't help smiling back at Deirdre. "Well met. Seems to be a quiet night." She was over to collect a drink from Alex, a glass of peach-flavored potcheen punch.

"Nice to meet you Maeve, you're welcome to join me." Watching her acquire the drink from Alex as a normal way of things. "I don't get out that often," finding herself at a loss for conversation all of a sudden.

"Thank you, Alex, and you as well, Deirdre. I'd like that." She nodded at Alex, then moved to the hearth and sat in one of the chairs. "Neither do I so we may both be in trouble." She laughed then grinned. "So, should we ask questions or just start talking about ourselves or maybe the weather or how we can't wait for summer?" She tucked her hair behind one pointed ear as she spoke.

"All of those are good ideas," coming with a slight snicker under her breath, "or talk of handsome men in the lands." Which had more of a laugh but certainly it was something on her mind and she'd find out if Maeve was one for or against men. "I work in a tattoo parlor, I end up designing art for tattoos than actually doing them for not many women want a tattoo. Which I can understand as it not really considered proper for a Lady. Most Ladies, it is like they sneak in and where they have one put, something small and cute, is where only their husband or lover would ever see it. If they ever noticed." Figuring if the woman was that undressed with a man, he might not see the tree for the forest.

"Not proper?" She chuckled, "this is what I'm supposed to learn. Why isn't it proper? I have a tribal marking on my shoulder, though it's small. It's supposed to be added to for each important event in our lives. Now that I know you can do them, I may come to see you. I'm Commander of the Order of Athena, serving under Maureen McLoughan. So, we certainly could talk of handsome men since I see the knights on the field."

"Well, that I'm not sure of. Seems there is never a really clear reason of what has been determined proper or not and that also depends on the culture you grew up in. The more pagan Celts would have tattoos. The more English courtly ways they would not. They would say something like a violation of what God made perfect. Or that marking is what is done to slaves. So it is really up to the individual, those that matter to them in what is proper or not, I would think." Adding the last for she was no expert and just her thoughts on it.

She nodded, then smiled again, her expression thoughtful. "That makes perfect sense to me. Do you have any, Deirdre?" She took a sip of the punch, content to be sitting tonight and away from the castle. It was a bit overwhelming at times with what had been happening.

"Not yet." Quietly said. "I am thinking of getting a swan done but not sure where and I would have to have my boss do it, most likely." She would have to think on that for maybe she could do herself?

"A swan would be lovely, and I'm assuming it has special meaning for you?" She could do it if it was somewhere she could reach likely. "I'd like to see some of your designs sometime. You work in the shop in the commons then?"

"Yes, run by a very handsome man named Seanan. It has been amusing to watch women come in hoping to have him work on them and how quickly they can't find anything interesting enough when they find out I will be the one to do any on women."

"I would imagine they would be disappointed." She chuckled and continued, "and I would imagine some of the men feel the same when they learn you'll not be working on them?"

She blinked first with that thought voiced before brows lifted and her laughter contagious to follow. "I highly doubt that with all the freckles I have. There are many beautiful ladies in these lands that I doubt I'm noticed, not like that." Her expression showed she was totally amused.

"You should never think that, Deirdre." She made a slight face. "I'm no expert on men, but I don't think the freckles would bother them. You have beautiful eyes and hair. Wonderful skin, and you're very pretty. You'd be surprised what they notice."

"I'll take that as a compliment," though it may appear she still didn't really think so but also wasn't bothered by it either. "Do you have a beau? You are very pretty and I would think you may have a few."

"Me? She shook her head, "I haven't been here long enough and I think I intimidate most of the men I meet here. Or maybe they find me odd."

"Well, I have four older, handsome, single, brothers if you would like a blind date. You can have your pick, a duke, a harbor master, and two captains that are presently away getting odd animals for the zoo."

She looked at Deirdre again, then laughed. "Are you matchmaking without their knowledge?" There was an impish look in her eyes. "Perhaps I've met them already?"

"Of course. They are all too busy and too shy to meet wonderful ladies on their own." A bit of a fib but not totally, they were too busy and none, presently, had a descent woman in their life. "Blind date might be fun."

"It could be a disaster too from what I hear." She wasn't at all offended by the offer. "Don't you have your eye on someone? And before you ask, no I don't. "

"You've heard much on blind dates?" She heard of them but didn't know anyone that went on one. "It could be a disaster or it could be just a nice time out and you'd get to meet one of my brothers or it could end up something more. I have my eye on no one, I keep them to myself." Which had a giggle escape.

She laughed and nodded. "I listen and hear talk of them, mostly from the squires. I will think on it and maybe consider such but I don't know if your brothers would appreciate it." She downed the last of her drink and stood with a sigh. "I should get back to the castle. We're to be on the field at dawn." Though she didn't need much sleep.

If she could convince Maeve, she could convince one of them. "Which would you pick? Duke, master or a captain?"

Well, that was a surprise and she had to think for a moment. "Duke, maybe? Or Captain?" She laughed and shrugged. "I don't know to be honest." That reminded her too, she needed to find Padriach.

Her smile beamed as she got up. "I must be away now or I'll be asleep here on the chair. I enjoyed meeting you Maeve and you'll be doing my brother a favor with the blind date!" Which she meant her words and had no feelings it would be disastrous. Before any protesting could be done she swept by Alex with a good night and the key set out before dashing to the hall, words trailing, "good night!" Feet on the steps heard trailing off.

She blinked as Deirdre dashed off and laughed when she realized she had been caught! Ah well, it could prove interesting, if it came to happen. Carrying her glass to the bar, she told Alex good night before heading on out and to the castle.



Date: 05-26-10
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 26

All in Good Fun

Bea felt the first sprinkling of Spring rain on her face and laughed. It wasn't heavy but it was just enough to dampen clothing and skin. Pleasant really! All but bounding into the Thistle, she gave Alex a beaming smile. "Cider, please! It's sprinkling." And the fact that it was warm, it was strange to her.

Maggie was there spending the afternoon indoors, for the puffy gray clouds overhead were a harbinger of the rains to come. A pleasant change from the recent heat, and she was enjoying the pitter-patter of rain against the windows. She was folding some recently washed blankets and draping them back over the couches over by the hearth, the apron atop a simple scallop-laced blue dress. Her dark mass of hair was tied messily back with several thick locks escaping around her face. Pausing long enough to look up at the door and a bright smile of greeting for Bea. "Hello Bea!"

Rick was still in town and probably would be for a few more weeks especially with King McLarkin visiting. His brother had joined him but they took off in two different directions with the ideal they would meet up at the Thistle for a cold draft. He wasn't far behind Bea but not aware he followed basically in her wake. Steps taken in one bound as he lingered on the porch with a lean against the rail. He was watching the street. One dampened by a sprinkle moments ago. Squinted glanced up to the otherwise clear sky that had a few isolated rain clouds that were causing the off and on showers.

"Maggie!" Turning as her friend came in, she hopped down from her seat in order to assist her friend with those blankets. Four hands were better than two! Her hair was covered as usual, skirt and bodice the color of raspberries. Her favorite color because it added color to her cheeks. Or so her mother always said. "You are looking lovely today! It must be the rain. It's warm." Her voice was awed by the fact that rain could be warm. It was never warm in Ayr. Frigid really!

"And you as well. That's a lovely color," the deep purple-red of Bea's gown, she meant. A vibrant color such as Maggie loved. "Thank you," she said when Bea took the other ends of a large blanket to help fold it neatly. A slight laugh as she glanced to the window, and nodded. "Aye, so it is. A nice combination, the warmth and the rain... though there is something to be said for a chilly day of rain too. One that makes it so pleasant to curl up by a warm fire with some occupation or another." Reading poetry for Maggie, probably sewing for Bea.

It was stifling outside even with the breeze, temperatures in the low 90's and rising humidity. Most likely the cause of the clouds that might become ominous in a few hours with a wicked bout of lightning, thunder and a deluge of rain. Presently, though, the sun was out again beating down on all below. Steam rising from the cobblestones where the light rain had fallen, drying it in moments. No sign of his brother as he pushed up from the rail, he needed a drink, cold one, as he headed into the tavern. Door left open and probably would be during the storm for the shelter of the porch roof. If it hit while he was here, he would take his drink out to the porch to watch. "Good afternoon ladies," pausing with a quick bow. One that came with more a sweep of hand and dip of head before he was over to the bar requesting the tankard of a cold German ale.

Treve wasn't sure why he was still here, other than he was tagging along with his brother. He had gone shopping for their mother and grandmother, as well as their younger brothers. Everything would be sent home, arriving within a few days. He was walking slow, hands in the pockets of his pants, his expression thoughtful as if he had a lot on his mind.

Sewing would certainly have been her choice for keeping her hands from being idle. And her mind for that matter! Looking down at the skirt she looked up in time to beam at Maggie. "Thank you as well. It's my favorite." When the blanket was folded she relinquished her spot. "I am rather fond of warm rain right now." Of course if there was a very wicked storm, she'd probably go hide somewhere.

"I hope we get some thunder. I do love a good storm," and she'd enjoy watching it rage from the shelter of a window or the porch. Arranging the blanket neatly over the back of a chair, blue eyes bounced up to offer Rick a sunny smile. "Good afternoon, Rick," she recalled his name from their last meeting.

She couldn't believe that she was so wrapped up, she missed Rick's greeting. Laughing nervously, she set that beaming smile toward him for a moment. "Good afternoon, Rick!" Beatrice was just a little scattered today.

He had wondered there for a moment if he'd been invisible or that it was a girly thing they had been caught up in. Smile brought the dimples as blue eyes held that glint most took as devilish.  "A grand afternoon it is. The bowling gods may well be having a tournament this afternoon while Zeus lights up the sky with his bolts." Distracted then to Alex as he delivered the tankard. One taken in hand to lift for a very long drink. More like a thirst quenching guzzle.

He finally reached the tavern steps and headed up them. Since the door was still open, he walked in and headed to the bar to join his brother. "Afternoon, ladies." Politely.

Maggie laughed at the mythical reference Rick made, "Might make one wonder if Zeus is angry with us, or just bored." Up to the next person entering, another face she recognized, and he received the same bright smile. "Hello, Trevellyn."

It was the girly sort of thing that had her distracted. Or, at least it was for Beatrice! Laughing at his description of a thunderstorm, she took up her cider for a small sip. "I am not one for storms. They seem, angry to me usually." Setting down her cup then, she smiled brightly toward the latest. She thought she knew him. Yes! That's right, the brother! "Trevellyn, right?" She hoped that was right anyway.

"Aye, it's Trevellyn." He smiled as he answered then turned to Alex. "Potcheen, please, Alex." He leaned against the bar and looked at his brother. "Sorry I took so long. I was making arrangements to send things home."

"No problem there, Trev," setting his tankard back to the counter. "Meetings were long but not as long as I thought they would be. I think for the heat. Most headed for the lake." Which was a consideration for their next stop. "What did you think of the small adventure I took you on the other night?" Being he didn't really get to discuss it with his brother for the time they arrived back and exhausted.

The brothers jumped into conversation together, so after the greetings had all been exchanged she took Bea's hand to lead her over to the hearth to chat. Seating herself in one of the overstuffed armchairs, "Do you still wish to put on a bit of a festival this summer?"

Bea was all too happy to go with Maggie. After all, she was just happy anyway's. Seating herself, she nodded. "Yes, I would like to do something! I hope soon, because it is getting to be so, warm." She was seriously wondering how she was supposed to survive if it was going to get warmer.

"It was interesting." He gave his brother a grin and shrugged slightly. "People are pretty much the same everywhere, aren't they?" He thanked Alex, then picked up his glass and took a drink. Stronger stuff but he felt the need today.

"Good." A mischievous smile sparked on Maggie's lips. "Because I found something for it. I'll be right back." She rose from the chair and traipsed off around to the back hallway, disappearing to her rooms for a few minutes.

"Yes and No, I think the princess that the one spoke on, would be boxing their ears if they were even half serious of finding a husband for the one. It would be interesting to be there sometime when Siohban is, just to see if she is even pretty. Although, I don't see myself making a conscious effort even for the curiosity of it."

"Wonderful!" Smoothing out her skirts, she contemplated how most of the women here kept cool? Being unused to the heat was one thing.

He snickered and shook his head. "You'd probably have to go to one of their events. And before you ask, no I'm not interested in going." He didn't want to think about marriage. Maybe he'd imitate some of their uncles and avoid it completely. Like Liam.

Liam was always out to sea to have time for finding anyone. Although there were rumors he had a lass in every port he visited. That would not surprise Rick. Hell, he wasn't thinking of marriage either. Not for a very long time. Too many things to do first but certainly exposure brought adventure and experience. Experience brought wisdom. "You going to come with me to Kildare when I head up that way?"

It wasn't long before Maggie emerged again from the hallway, a basket precariously in one hand while her arms were laden with what looked like bolts of fabric. Making her way back to the hearth more slowly since she couldn't see her feet! Upon reaching the hearth she'd begin laying everything out before Bea, picking up something from the full basket first. It was a small toy animal, a butterfly specifically, plump with stuffing and decorated with sparkling faux gems and ribbons. There were all manner of other animals in the basket, tiny stuffed bees and bugs, squirrels and rabbits. "Thank you! Aren't these sweet? I thought we might given them out to the children."

"Maggie, let me help you!" Laughing as she got up from her seat, she tried to assist her friend. Bea couldn't help but be delighted with the fabrics. She was a girl to her toes! Looking at the butterfly, she couldn't help the little squeal of delight. "Oh, aren't they lovely!" Picking up a rather fetching looking bug, she squished up her face with a laugh before setting it back. "What an excellent idea, Maggie."

"Aye, father said I'm to go with you and keep an eye on you." He was kidding of course. More like their father said to go along and learn from Rick. Otherwise, he'd end up being a monk or something, hidden away from the world surrounded by books and papers.

"Keep an eye on me? Keep me from.. what?" Which had him grinning as he liked to play the boulderdash game with his brother.

"They can be 'prizes' for the children's races but I thought it would be nice to give them out to every little one who participates." She smiled brightly at Bea's approval, hoping the kids would like that. Next she picked up the bolt of fabric to unwind a few lengths of it. It was a lightweight linen material, creamy white in color and sewn throughout with sunbursts of thinner lace. She stretched the fabric out so Bea could see. "I hoped you might help me to make a tent out of this. We can put the food and drinks beneath it, perhaps and I thought it would be a nice effect with the sunlight... see?" Upon holding the fabric up above her head, the light of the tavern shone through to project sunburst shapes of light on the floor.

"From .... charging into situations because we know how impulsive you are. Just charge ahead without thinking." He was sliding down the bar as he spoke, lips twitching.

Helping Maggie lift the fabric, she grinned widely at the star burst of light coming through. "It's wonderful! I think it would make a nice bower." Bea would sew anything that Maggie asked. Anything at all! "I am sure I can do something for this."

Rick started stalking, "I'm not the one impulsive as I think everything through in a tactical sort of way." Grinning. Dimples were showing along with the determination in his eyes. "Who put you up to this?"

"Wonderful! Because I am not nearly so accomplished at sewing as you. I would not really know where to begin," she admitted with a laugh.

Maybe it be a good idea to put a few tables between them? "Put me up to what?" He managed to keep an innocent look on his face. "I'm just speaking the truth. I mean, look how far we traveled the other night." He was digging a deeper hole. "Or um... what about the time you dumped that water on Uncle Seamus?" Water that was meant for Trev himself.

Giggling as she helped set the fabric back to rights, she sat while going back and forth between the fabrics and the little toys. "I think the animals and such a great idea, and ... " Turning toward the upwards of commotion that was starting, she watched with wide eyes as Rick and Trevellyn seem to get into it. Leaning toward Maggie, she bit her lip. "Do you think they'll, you know, fight?" Bea didn't know.


"Aye, when did traveling ever stop me, you, or anyone? Are you saying the travel to Kildare will be too much on you?" He was managing the tables and chairs with few between them, full focus on his brother and didn't really matter the conversation for what he had his mind set on. "Are you saying Seamus put you up to this and not our father?" And he got dunked for it and owed his brother one as he leaped by vaulting over the table that separated them. Lunging with uncanny speed as he grabbed his brother around the waist. Tactical warfare, had it timed he was near the open side door as the momentum would take him and his brother outside. Rick was taller and stronger than his brother not that Trevellyn was a wimp, not at all. It would be a good struggle.

Maggie took a little stuffed and bejeweled squirrel into her hands, giving it a soft squeeze before following Bea's gaze towards the lads. Instead of seeming worried like Bea, a slow smile began on her lips at the prospect of some excitement. "It seems possible...."


"No, not Seamus!" He glanced to see how close he was to the door or to the ladies. Last thing he'd need is to bowl them over or to trip over the fabric and just as he did, Rick was on him. "Gaaah!" His only chance would be to try to get Rick into a wrestling hold, as long as his brother didn't cheat! Trev was very, very ticklish.



Date: 05-26-10
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 27

"Oh! D-d-did you see that?" The momentary blip came out, it just couldn't be helped as she watched, wide-eyed as Rick sailed over a table. Hands cupped over her mouth, she just stared.

Maggie's eyes widened too before she flashed Bea a quick grin. "Come on!" And up to her feet she went, dropping the squirrel into the basket before running lightly over to stand in the threshold of the side door and watch. The two brothers were quite similar in appearance though the elder was taller. Both seemed strong though, it would be a good fight.

Rick cheated! All was fair in any kind of skirmish. Every bit of knowledge known on the enemy was used to its best advantage. They went down, rolling in the grass as one hand had a vice grip on his brother's upper arm while the other dove to tickle. On the third roll, which brought him close to the trough full of water, he was up, dragging his brother with him to dump into it. Not that he could actually pick his brother up but he'd use his weight as leverage to push him into it.

Maggie's insistence that they watched made her feel a little ill. She didn't like fighting, but there didn't seem to be any malicious intentions here. More of a scuffle, really? Standing just off to the side, and a little behind Maggie, she peeked out cautiously.

Bea could hide behind the potted plant beside the door if she got frightened! Maggie gasped when Rick made to dump Trev outright into the trough, then burst out laughing.

"Ah, Rick, no!" He was barely able to talk for laughing. When he realized Rick was dragging him close to the trough, he grabbed hold of Rick's shirt. If he was going into the water, so was Rick. He took a deep breath even as he tried to use his leg to put Rick's into a leg lock. They'd miss the trough if he could but it was probably too late. At least the water would cool them both off. And they made a lovely, large splosh! Getting dumped into a horse trough was a McAndrews' tradition!

It was too late for them to avoid the trough for how Rick planned the attack. His brother surprised him by his grip on his shirt, poet's style that half tore off. With Treve going in first, the trough was big enough to hold one tall McAndrews but not really two. So that left Rick half in on top of Treve, holding him under the water until he could manage to pull himself free. Certainly, most likely, Treve would be pushing against him to get up, especially if he had claustrophobia. Water was great, cool compared to the heated air all around them.

Bea was rooted into the spot where she stood, just watching with those disbelieving eyes as they both took a near header into the water. "Oh my God!" It was hot outside, but really, did they have to do that?! At least they weren't punching one another!

Maggie was still laughing, watching them splash around like two overgrown fish before slipping away for just a moment. When she returned she had some clean towels in her arms. They were going to need them!

Not claustrophobic, just ticklish but he was still pushing against his brother while he held his breath. Once he got his head above the water, he took a deep breath, laughing as he did. "See! Impulsive!" It had been their father of course. Eventually, all the brothers would be old enough to have large battles like the first generation had! When he realized he was still holding the torn shirt, he really started to laugh.

He was laughing along with his brother, deep rich tone that rolled easily. Half of him was soaked the other mostly for the splashing around by the time he pushed up and away from the trough. The shirt ripped more as he grabbed the piece still attached above it and yanked it free. It was ruined but that didn't phase him as he offered a hand in helping his brother out. So there would be a lot of skin seen, chest wise, but he had good muscle tone so not an unpleasant sight.

He grabbed hold of Rick's hand, still laughing. "You cheated." He grinned, as he stood then made a face. "Wet boots." He didn't mind the rest of his clothing being wet but the boots squished! He used both hands to brush his hair back from his face.

"How's the water, lads?" Maggie gave them both a broad smile as she tossed towels their way, first one at Rick, then one to Treve, both of them aimed directly for their faces of course.

As Treve was up and out, a few quiet words passed to his ear. Wicked gleam in Rick's eyes as he was in for a little sport. He caught the towel on the turn with a spreading grin. Dimples there to tease as he headed for Maggie, "water's great..." but he bypassed her with a flick of the towel to her rump and fast after Bea just inside the door, "want a hug?" Soaking wet one.

Both seemed to be in good spirits after their little tussle, which made Bea relax, even smile a little. She did however avert her eyes. It wasn't nice to stare. No matter how nice the thing you were staring at looked. Wet hugs? It was as foreign a concept to Bea as the moon was to the ocean. Worrying at her lip, she shook her head. "N-n-no th-thank you." She liked being dry. Unless she was swimming. That was a whole other kettle of fish though!

He caught the towel, just, laughing as he did. He did put it over his shoulders and then followed Rick. "Aye, it is. " And he had his arms open to give Maggie a nice, slopping wet hug. "Wanna share?"

Maggie quickly sidestepped when the drenched blonde man came her way, but then eeped when he flicked the towel at her rear instead. Turning to give him a mock offended look, she was distracted until Treve was almost right upon her. Eyes widening with a laugh as she started backing up. "Don't you dare..."

Too late, she didn't move as expected and he had her up into his wet arms and wet skin to press her there in sharing. He had expected her to dart with a shrilling squeal! At least he felt cool, even where there was no shirt against his skin anymore.

That was exactly what Maggie was about to do if Trev got any closer!

Never dare the devil! Treve laughed and lunged for Maggie, intending to give her the kind of bear hug he gave his girl cousins. "Just one!" And he'd even spin her around a few times for good measure.

Maggie let out a squeal, "No!" But she was laughing too amidst the little yelps as she took off running, but she didn't get far before he managed to catch her. Squuuiiiish as his wet self soaked the front of her apron and dress. "Ooh yuck," laughingly as she sort of gave his back a few pats in return. Spun around and around, she was a bit breathless, "you're making me dizzy!"

It was in a word, mortifying. She would have said something but she was just speechless enough to know that any attempt at any sort of words were only going to come out garbled. Jaw snapped shut, she just blinked sort of owlishly.

It was that or bowl her over and the latter option she might have gotten hurt. That would not do. He was tall, she was short, so the hug had her feet dangling. The look on her face was priceless. "You're not hurt?" Deciding against just setting her to her feet as she might topple over or faint away, he opted for a few long strides that brought her safely to a chair to set her down on.

And since he had a shirt on, she'd be sure to be doubly soaked. He laughed and placed her on her feet again, not totally releasing her until he was sure she was steady on her feet. "Cooler now?" Maggie was a good sport!

Shaking her head quickly, she didn't even let out an "eep!" or anything! He was quite, warm, wasn't he? When he set her down, she was smoothing out her skirt and in general trying to pull herself together. "T-t-thank yo-you." Averting her eyes, she motioned toward his naked chest. "Y-y-you sho-should d-d-d-d," stamping her foot hard, she closed her eyes. "dress!" Oh for God's sakes, Beatrice!

She was steady enough, once she got her equilibrium back from all that spinning. Catching her breath on a laugh, she gave him a sardonic smile. "I suppose, but you won't catch me thanking you." The towel taken from his shoulder to drape over his head and face playfully.

He laughed and lifted the towel to peek at her a moment, winking before he was rubbing it over his hair. Then he sat down and took off his boots and socks. A glance at Alex kept him from emptying the water out on the floor. Instead, he picked them up and carried them to the door, letting them sit outside until they left.

Maggie rolled her eyes at the charming wink but she wasn't immune to the charm either, a smile sparkling in her eyes. A glance to Alex had her snickering softly, a murmur passed to Trev, "That is his Unhappy face." Her apron was soaked so she worked on untying the knot at the small of her back to pull the garment off and drape it near the door to dry.

Her nice dress was a little wet too in the sharing. He handed her the towel he was given. "Here, this might help," but with her exclamation he whipped the towel back to spread over his exposed chest, part where the shirt tore. "Like this?" Oh yes, he was grinning! He tossed the towel onto the table next to the chair before he headed for the hall where the storage rooms were and the stairs that led up to the guest rooms. "I will find something so I'm not offending to the eye," called in his wake before he disappeared into the hall and the sound of a door opened. The room with all the extra clothing. Only problem was that one of his size and build, there were few choices. So the closest he found was a little short and fitted like a second skin but he was able to get the buttons closed. Out he came looking like he wore his little brother's shirt, though in reality it would be hanging on his little brother. A bit of skin-do where his pants and shirt didn't quite meet.

Beatrice knew when she was the source of a jest, it didn't sit plainly or well but it sat. She was to used to it. "It is fine." Lamely said after Rick left for the storage rooms.

A glance was given over to Bea and her smile turned sympathetic as she noted her friend's somewhat stunned look. "Bea, would you like to borrow something dry to wear?" They were close to the same size though Maggie was taller. Attention stolen by Rick when he came back in, wearing... that... her hand quickly flew to her mouth to forcibly stifle the laughter.

He just grinned at Alex, knowing the man had dealt with his uncles when they were younger. He pulled his shirt off outside too, wringing it out before pulling it back on and heading back inside. "Nice shirt, Rick." He didn't bother hiding his laughter! "I think I'm going to head back to the palace and get dried off." He'd be carrying his boots!

Her head snapped up at Maggie's voice, and then she looked down, realizing her own predicament. What she really wanted to do, was run away, because that solves everything doesn't it? "No, it's fine." It would dry in time, gathering up one of the bolts of fabric for their bower, she held it to her like a shield. "I should get to the shop, and get started on this." She was humming loudly to herself, really wanting the hole in the floor to open up and swallow her.

Look at the winsome grin on his face, the infectious kind when he let it go fully like now. "Well, there is something to say for this shirt, you'd not get a grip on it next time, Trevellyn." Nothing extra! He held up the torn one, "you owe me one!" Balling it up then to toss at his brother's head. "I'll come with you." Second hand wet didn't get the other soaked, just a few damp marks. He would avoid putting Bea in that kind of situation again but he would target Maggie if such became the occasion.

Maggie was a good sport about such things, probably because she'd grown up with brothers and one big brother who liked to play the same sort of tricks. She actually enjoyed it! "Alright.." Said to Bea but she was unable to stop the giggles when she caught sight of Rick again in that skin-tight shirt. "Aye, find something your size, will you please?"

"Aye, that's true." He caught the torn shirt and laughed. "I'll see to it at the Gentlemen's shop. Maggie, need a rag?" He offered the remains of the shirt to her and if she said no, he'd toss it away. By the time they reached the castle and changed, Trev would be starved!

"Why not," she'd accept the rag willingly. Better than throwing it away.. though she'd wash it before actually using it to clean anything!

What? She didn't like horse water?

It was all done in lighthearted fun and to add some color to a hot afternoon. He couldn't apologize for it, as no one got hurt. Reactions unexpected were well noted nonetheless. "I can up at the castle," called to Maggie as he headed out the same side door. He knew the shortcuts.


She wasn't going to wait for an apology, because normally she never got one. The light hearted fun was again, foreign to her. Ducking her head, she went the way of the side door. She needed a few minutes to compose her thoughts before facing anyone else down today.

Maybe a good talk with Maggie might have her eyes opened to differences.

It most likely will!



Date: 05-27-10
Poster: Adrian Frasier
Post # 28

The Eastside Harbor Master

Adrian had wandered up from the port to see about a meal in the infamous Thistle. Sure he frequented the Blue Marlin a lot and the bay Cafe but there was something about Hazel's cooking that brought a man back with an appetite like his. He had trained two others to take over the duties of harbor master so that he could see to some time in socializing again and time to take his ship out for needed adventures. Adam Callihan was doing the same although he suspected that man loved his work too much and content to stay put. Adrian had wanderlust and it was a big accomplishment to see him stay in one place more steadily these days. Poet's shirt was tucked into black pants as a sheathed rapier hung from his left hip. Hunting knife and some pouches also attached to the wide belt. The place was quiet as he entered. "Ahoy Alex!" Dark eyes trained on the well known tender as it had been a while since he was here. There had been reasons but those reasons were now buried. Straddling up a stool with a firm slap of his hand to the hard surface. "You don't look a day older than last I saw you while I feel eons older. Cold ale with potcheen to follow." As he tried to see what was on the menu.

Things had been in an upheaval for Bannon of late. The disappearance not only of King Karl but of three of the horsemen, in particular Sir Vincent, left him in a unusual state. He had withdrawn into himself, much like when he had first arrived in Heathfield, saying little, keeping to himself except on the field and just generally trying to understand. He couldn't and likely never would. He had been out wandering, ignoring any rain, and was actually surprised to find himself in front of the tavern. The rumbling of his stomach reminded him he hadn't eaten since noon. He wasn't really hungry but maybe he'd ask for soup if there was any left.

There was a new face in the tavern since both Adrian and Bannon had last been here, the tall vivacious barmaid known as Maggie. She made her entrance with long graceful strides, a few locks of fire-streaked dark hair bouncing around her narrow face. A ready smile upon her lips and in the eyes that were so blue they almost seemed to glow. A smile and nod was given in passing greeting to Adrian but she was on her way to the potted plants with a watering can in her hand.

Niklas was restless this night which found him first wandering the commons before he was down to the spar hall. Rumors were passed about especially on one of his own countrymen that had him seeking Bannon out. They had to stick together, they needed to make plans, they needed to get past the hole in their hearts that was left by ones well respected, comrades and friends. The oddity of it was he kept missing the younger man: by a minute, by a different path taken. Finally his luck changed as he cut through a wooded area and across a lawn to come upon Bannon from behind. A hand going to weigh upon his shoulder with a few quick steps in catching up. "Hungry? I think I heard growling from your direction, ja?" Trying to lighten the otherwise ominous mood that held a few of them.

There was a wisp of a whistle under his breath as certainly that was a sight for sore eyes. Fiery lass with bounce, nice bounce too. Just right. "Things are looking up here, Alex." Which he gained the name from the tender along with her duties. "All of that?" Much lower and one could wonder if they heard his comment, grinning Alex's way who only smirked before seeing to that which a tender saw to. "I'll have the steak and kidney pie along with a bowl of Irish Stew." Which was Hazel's speciality and it came with the buttered brown bread.

Nik startled Bannon, who jumped then gave him a sheepish smile. He knew he should have been paying attention! "Ja, my stomach is trying to get my attention but everything sits like a rock lately. So maybe it needs Hazel's cooking?" He was trying to keep his feelings to himself but Niklas had known him for some time. Bannon had always found it easy to talk to him.

Standing on her toes with an arm extended to water some of the upper leaves of the large potted plant, Maggie turned a gaze over her shoulder to where Alex and the stranger conversed, a dark brow arching. A smile hidden to herself as she continued about her duty, humming lightly to herself. She was rather used to men making such comments, either behind her back or directly to her face. Such a thing went with the territory and only really bothered her when they were rude or offensive about it.

There was a moment that dark eyes met those of such blue and held. Slow smile that reached the depths of dark that showed of its sincerity then broken off as the order he gave had been filled and the tray brought over and set before him. Now all thought was to filling his stomach with the delicious entree.

Nik decided it was best to talk on it. "It is hard but I know we all must move on. Those that are now gone would want it so as we would want it so if it were us." That was the best way he could put it. "There is an offer for you to consider and no offense at all taken in your choice. I am pretty much going to stay here for the shop but I will be in service more with the others gone. I feel it is appropriate for me to do so. I have the fighting skills though not as good as Sir Trevor, I do have my own brand. What is being offered to you is to become either Trevor's or my squire. Whichever you would feel more comfortable. Though I would suggest to you if you like Sir Cairns, his skills surpass mine on the field." All the while they were heading up the steps and into the tavern for his stomach started growling.

He was certainly a handsome man, with those dark features and air of swashbuckling about him. After meeting his eyes for that moment, her gaze flicked along his form, noting the rapier at his side. A sailor, perhaps, like Faelan? There seemed to be a healthy population of those here and she did love overhearing their tales... some of which seemed so outrageous as to be exaggerated a hundred times over.

"Sir Cairns allowed me to be his squire when Vincent was gone to Luneburg before, but this isn't just about that." He took a deep breath then continued. "It was always like a fond joke between us that when he would go on a mission, he would tell me to watch over his ladies. I don't know what to say to Lady Julia now or to anyone. So I say nothing." He sniffed the air and put a hand to his stomach. "Part of me cannot believe they are anything but trapped." If he wasn't making sense, he didn't realize it and he quieted once they were inside.


"You need not say anything to them and still watch over them. Actions speak louder than words and in this case far better. I can assure you that Julia would not know what to stay to you. Best no words be spoken other than ordinary things. Perhaps bring her the wooden horses I had made for the twins. I will be too busy, ja?" Giving Bannon a good clasp as they stepped foot in the tavern proper. "Trapped for over ten months of certain kind of men with above the ordinary skills, does not bode well." Words low as he would voice what finally needed to be said. For the longest time, no one would voice the worse as if that might bring it about, so, it certainly was voicing the fears they all bore.

He paused in his consumption of the generous portion of food in front of him. "Good eve, Niklas, Bannon. It has been a while. Good to see you both." He knew well of the situation but held his tongue on any of it for here and now.

"I would be glad to do that, Niklas." He smiled slightly then nodded and looked down until he heard that familiar voice. "Good evening, sir. It is good to see you as well." Some things he'd never unlearn it seemed!

Pushing aside some leaves to better sprinkle water into the plant's soil, she glanced up from her chore when the door opened to admit two men. One of whom she recognized and greeted with a smile, "Good evening Niklas." The same bright smile was offered to Niklas's companion.

"Maggie, you have met Bannon, ja? Bannon, this is the Thistle waitress, and a pretty sight she is. You have met our harbor master, Adrian Frasier?" Not knowing how long Maggie and Adrian had been in the tavern before they got there or if any conversation had ensured. Reaching the bar he would put in an order. "I will have what he has." It smelled too good to pass it up. Indicating Adrian's half eaten meal.

Turning fully to greet them, still with watering can in hand, a smart smile pressed dimples into her cheeks. "And a flatterer you are, Niklas. No, I've not met either. Bannon, Adrian..." Her eyes moved from one to the other with a warm smile and incline of her head, "it's a pleasure."

"Maggie, it is a delight to meet you. If I was a younger man I would find myself hard pressed not to flirt with one so lovely." Devil himself twinkled behind dark eyes filled with bemusement but the words were meant for the sincere tone delivered. He stood from his seat a moment with a slight bow, "if you ever wander to the port, I will be at your service." Regaining his seat and meal at this point.

"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Maggie." He bowed as he was taught to do, though his ears were red. He didn't know which was worse -- a full blush or what was just happening. He quickly turned to Alex. "I would just like a bowl of whatever the soup is today and some brown bread. And ale, please, Alex."

"If you were a younger man, you might not be so skilled with your compliments." A sparkle in her eye as she dipped her head, "and I thank you." Bannon's greeting caught her off guard and she let out a laugh, "Goodness, please, it's just Maggie." She hadn't been called Lady Maggie in some time and rather preferred it stayed that way.

"Ah, but there are other skills to make up for lacking in oral presentations," he didn't talk like a sailor although he could where needed. Coming from the family he did, he'd been well educated for his station. Being a captain fulfilled the need for adventure and a high risk way of life even if that settled down some in the last couple years. It may not stay that way. One could rightfully suspect that Adrian was fierce in any undertaking.

The whole exchange had Niklas grinning but he didn't tease Bannon like he might have before. Before the changes that were taking place in the kingdoms.

"Uh, sorry Maggie. " At least he hadn't reverted completely to how he had been before. He glanced at Niklas, and ducked his head, letting his hair fall forward to hide his face. Though ... he was smiling.

"That is certainly true," replied to Adrian with a smirk before turning to Bannon. "Don't be sorry," smiling again as she dismissed his apology airily. A hand wiped against her apron as she moved across the tavern, to the other potted plant adjacent to the side door. Humming again beneath her breath as she commenced watering that one.

A dark eyed glance followed the lass a moment, certainly an appreciative one before it switched back to his friends. "How is practice coming along?" He was out of touch with the upper part of the castle dealings.

"Things are coming along. Slow but sure, changes sometimes take time in adjustments," especially drastic changes that affected so many. "How are things down at the docks?" His meal delivered as he would dig in and probably become quiet for a short duration.

"The usual. The fights to break out will be more with the hotter weather. It seems to spark hot tempers. New ships coming in that have to learn the law of the lands and so the confrontations there. Seems more wilder than in the past. Rowdy and less respect for anyone else but themselves. I've had to employ King Peter's ships a few times to escort unruly ones away that cannot follow laws other than their own making."

He took a long drink of the ale that Alex had placed in front of him, the red fading. He was surprised to see a dish of fried potatoes as well and glanced at the kitchen door wondering how Hazel knew. He wouldn't question it though and began to eat. The first step taken in what might be a long process of healing. "Where do they come from? These ones that fight?"

Everybody seemed to be eating at the bar, which meant no tables to serve at the moment. After thoroughly saturating the soil of the last plant, she carried the empty watering can to the side of the bar to put it away. Crossing the room again to vanish into the back storage rooms for a few moments though still within earshot.

"A lot are form England, fancy pants types but their crews are another matter. Don't like the Celts and most of the Celts don't like them. Not like those who are citizens here. Don't matter to them either there are many kinds in these lands. They hear the name Frasier and Callihan and it's like waving a red flag in front of their faces." Adrian was known for his fighting abilities especially when teamed up with Adam. "Places unknown too where they fly one flag but you know they are not from where they are suppose to be. Some trying to traffic black market goods and get a foothold in developing strongholds in prosperous ports. Not going to happen in Barrett Bay." Words were firm before he set to finishing up his meal.

And he peeked up to watch Maggie cross the room, then he picked up his drink quickly, hoping neither man noticed. "Ja, they will learn quickly." He'd been lucky to see the two men a few times when he and a few of the lads wandered down to the docks.

He was finished with his meal by this point as everything was set back on the tray. Long day had a yawn sneak up on him before caught and dashed away. "I should get going," as he eased from his stool. "I will be down to the port to spend some time talking soon." Knowing he was welcome and he would update Adrian on things he may not be updated on. "Good night Maggie," voiced up'ed few octaves as he passed the area of the storage rooms and out into the night. He needed to take a walk which would not be directly home.

"Good night, Niklas and thank you." He was nearly finished but not quite though he didn't want to stay too much longer. He was still expected on the King's field tomorrow.

Out she came from the back, just in time to hear Niklas' voice and catch his aft end going out the door, "Goodnight!" She replied and made her way back out into the common area, a fairly heavy box in her arms. Those arms of hers were slender but she had a subtle strength about her as well, and handled the box with ease. It would be set down on a table near the bar.

He was right up to help her with that box as a gentlemen would do. Even if he didn't really look the part for his rugged life chosen. Beard was trimmed and kept neat. "Are you going to decorate or something?" Wondering what had the box so heavy. "Tell me it's a dead body in there.." teasing her with a wink before taking up his drink of potcheen. Time for the chaser as the ale was finished as well the meal.

Smiling her thanks for the help. His comments had a laugh wafting from her lips. "No, far less exciting than a dead body or even decorations." The box had been sealed up and she began to break the seals until able to open it up. And with a flourish, she pulled out - a towel! It was full of folded-up linens. "Some of the guest rooms' towels are getting a bit dingy," she explained. Strictly speaking such a task would be a job for the maids, but being there were over seventy rooms between the three of them... Maggie was happy to lend a hand.

He stood but Adrian was quicker and so he sat again. The last bite of bread popped into his mouth and he felt much better, at least for the moment. He looked down into the tankard, brow furrowing for a moment but then he looked up to watch Maggie and Adrian in the mirror while he finished the last bit of ale.

"Aye, better towels or the Thistle would be in contention with the Old Seadog down at the port that sports dead bodies living there. Although they don't rot, they don't move except to drink. Some are so still that when they move they scare the beegeebers out of ones not use to the place. Dark and grimy, they fit in like rubbish decor of things found washed up on shore." If he had know Bannon would attempt helping the young lass, he would have stepped aside and allowed his gallantry instead.

Wasn't Adrian's fault the youth was slow! He finished the ale, swiped the back of his hand across his mouth and nodded his thanks to Alex. "Good night to you both. I should find my bed soon so I don't oversleep when it's time to be on the Field. It was good to meet you, Maggie."

Her brows arched at his amusing description of the Old Seadog. "My word, remind me never to venture there..." she said with a laugh before turning her sunny smile onto Bannon one last time. "The same to you, and have a good night."

He came closer with a dead serious tone and look in his eyes, "promise me you will never go down there without an escort, especially at night and never ever go into a dive like the Old Seadog, even the port here has its hell pits for there are enough sailors that have such a preference. Not a place for a lovely lass as yourself. Not even if you have the wicked vein for adventure in your blood." He could wonder for the fire streaks of red in her hair but he also would not presume. Smile dashed on a bearded handsome face before he was around and heading out with Bannon, "I'll walk you up to the castle.  Nice to meet you Maggie, I'll be see'in you." As he figured this would not be the only time seen.

Her brows arched at the way he became suddenly solemn. She might have replied with a quip had he not been so serious, and her smile faded some, but she nodded. "I do like an adventure... but alright, I promise." And then his smile was back, she blinked at the sudden mood change and bemusedly replied, "Aye, you as well."

He bowed just as he had when they first met, then nodded at Adrian, giving him a slight smile. "I would welcome the company." Better than being left alone with his thoughts again.

If Bannon caught Maggie's eye for just a moment, she might quirk a brow at the man with a slight gesture of her chin towards Adrian, as if to ask, is he always like that?

He'd just give her the slightest of shrugs though the smile did grow. He really didn't know!

How Adrian was, might be discovered in time at least to a degree. Way it went for most hard to tell or read. He would start out the conversation. "Do you have a liking for the sea and sailing, Bannon?" Stride held an easy swagger that was not overly pronounced but gave the air of one assured of himself no matter what life had thrown him.

"I never had much chance to sail. But the few times I did go out, I didn't get seasick and it was rough one time." All of three times, but it was a good opening for a conversation. "You have always wanted to be a sailor?" Well, captain, but not even Adrian started out as one.

......and so the conversation would continue as the voices faded into the shadows as they themselves.



Date: Matoskah McDonough
Poster: 05-31-10
Post # 29

White Bear and Buzzing Bee

Mat was actually excited, motivated with the idea of being able to set up a real village for his people. There were five of them here in the lands, seven if they counted Wolf and Feather. Which would be up to them to come live with their tribe. Tribe of the Bear and all welcome that wanted to live in peace and harmony of the old ways. He had been out to see about buying a canoe rather then borrowing one. He would need that of his own to get back and forth from the island if all what he had in his head came about. He was determined. Presently he was sitting at a corner table near the front window. Lunch menu had this hero sandwich it was called and so he was willing to try it out. It had all kinds of meat, lettuce and tomato along with a dressing. Mayonaise he was told. He was also trying a cold tankard of beer which he would need to acquire a taste for the rather bitter brew but it went down well this hot spring day nearing summer. One that had him with no shirt nor the usual leggings but a loin cloth that covered him back and front. Usually they just covered the front and like a thong in the back. Still had a belt on too that wove through that had a few pouches and his hunting-eating knife. He was use to eating with his hands anyway.

Beatrice was a person in love with experiencing life. There were moments when she got so caught up in discovering something, that she missed other things all together. Her mother would have said it was because Beatrice was in too much of a hurry to get on with life. To get everything she could out of it that she just, well, got caught up. With that being stated, it didn't detract from the fact that today she was mulling and mulling seriously, the other day and how she reacted. It had been poor sport of her for certain but fun and games like dunking people into a trough and then hugging a body when they were half naked? They were not games she'd experienced in Ayr. For one thing under her mother's watchful eye it just wasn't done. And the other? It would have been far too cold, even in the height of Spring. Here though, oh blessedly here, it was warm! Beatrice was growing to enjoy the heat for the most part. It did take some getting used to and an adjustment to the lightest fabrics she owned. And no extra underskirts but there was a freedom to that, wasn't there?


Willing to look on the bright side, and since no one was going to know she just smiled about it. Even laughed a little. Someday she'd learn to be as carefree with any situation as Maggie was. Perhaps she should take notes next time? Coming to the Thistle she was both hungry and thirsty. Her fingers were cramped from her work and her eyes a little sore but her features literally beamed. Beatrice was also a young woman in love with her current occupation! From the bright of the day, to a little dimmer interior, she squinted for a second or two to see if Maggie was there. Not spying her friend, she continued her trek in with only a brief pause. There was the Colonial man. The Brave, she recalled. Alex was there as usual and Bea couldn't help but smile. "Good afternoon Alex. I am here for lunch, and some cider please." Something cool for her throat. Rattling her brain, she struck mental gold while turning toward the Brave. "Good afternoon, Mat." She was happy that she remembered his name since their first meeting had been interesting. Which said nothing for the closer inspection of his person and a quick aversion of her eyes. Going about half nude seemed the norm here, and he was certainly, dark wasn't he?


Maggie had probably gotten some time off and headed for the lake. It was where many headed these days. Mat was here only for being at the wainwright then the mercantile at the port about a canoe, debating, for he really wanted to make his but then he wanted to get over to that island by his own means.. yesterday. Especially after seeing it on the spiritual level. Hair was braided with the usual feathers and leather piece that wound over a portion of the long black hair. Eyes were blue, deep, dark blue. He rose from his seat, a muscular body of one that was use to living in the wild. Not an ounce of fat, lean and fit, powerful legs which could be seen for he took up the tankard having finished the brew and was bringing it over to Alex to fill again. "It is a very good day, Bee." Still hadn't gotten that quite right, buzzing bee although she seemed subdued this day. "You are doing well?" Concern touched the look her way before distracted back to Alex as he filled the tankard again. "It washes down well with big sandwich." He had a rich coat of tan, golden with a reddish tint in a way, one could guess it covered his whole body.

One didn't have to guess now did they? Not with the fact that his legs, sweet God in heaven, his legs were very visible. Customs from far off lands were to be respected she knew, but, just what was she supposed to do about that?  Keep her eyes averted to be sure, while trying not to seem rude. Maggie no doubt would have said something clever and just right but instead she looked up at him long enough to note the color of his eyes and the concern there. Which certainly puzzled her enough that she shook that covered head of hers. "I am fine. Thank you for asking." Looking at Alex while pondering her own meal, she had to tap her foot a little to keep time in her head. "I'd very much like the cold chicken sandwich, please." When she was sure she wasn't going to stutter, she ventured another glance at Mat. "Why do you ask?" If she didn't ask herself, she would never know now would she?

It would not faze Mat if he saw a woman naked bathing in the river for it was a common sight amongst his people. In his mind it was perfectly natural, although he might react if the woman happened to be one he was drawn to. It would not enter his mind he could be embarrassing Bea for his state of dress, or in her eyes, there lack of. "Is not that which wraps up your head, hot to wear?" He preferred seeing a woman's hair for it was her glory. Bea was the first for him to encounter that wrapped up her head like it had been wounded or some disfigurement. He reached out to tap it lightly with a finger before drawing his hand back. A half year ago, he would have tugged it off to see what was hidden beneath. Then to answer her question, "you have a look in your eyes that has you not here more than somewhere else that is not land or sea." With a dipping glance to his table and back. "You are welcome to join me." Simple and straight forward as he took up the refilled tankard.

She certainly hadn't expected that sort of question of her own person, considering in her mind he was the one half dressed. While his hand moved away hers went toward the covering on her hair while her face held a look of momentary confusion. "It can be, yes." Fingering it a moment more before her hand fell away. "I do not usually think on it." Until she was warm and took it off. His way of speaking was intriguing to her, and every once in a while as he spoke she had to watch him mouth. It took a little longer to understand what he meant, but it made her smile more brightly than it should have. "Oh! You mean I was daydreaming?" Taking her cider, she joined him without thinking. It was odd to see the broad, naked expanse of his back but not in a bad sort of way. "I was thinking that I acted poorly the other day." Her voice sounded small, a little guilty over the admission.

"It is like dreams, yes, when awake." So he learned another word. His English was good as he had started to learn it once the White man came and so many of them. He was intelligent and learned quickly as did his twin brother. It was still a little choppy compared to his native language which was rarely used, mostly in his rituals for it was better to speak the language of where you lived. Those in these lands spoke well so it was become more refined. He pulled out a chair for her across from his, a sleek move made on his way before he was seated. His table manners might not be considered the best but he would get away with it being a sandwich was eaten with one's hands. He had two, one was gone and the other was partially when he ran out of ale. "How do you think you acted poorly?" For appearances and what might be considered crude ways, one may well find out the wisdom there was in the man.

Bea hadn't ever thought him to be dim-witted simply because he was from the Colonies. Rather she found him fascinating. "Yes, it is exactly that." She had been daydreaming? Usually she tried not to do so while out in public, but she supposed it just couldn't be helped sometimes! Setting her cup of cider down, she kept her fingers around it because it was cool. Now that he had her thinking about being warm, she was warm. "Most people know how to tease or be teased, in good ways. The sort that aren't meant to be mean and cruel. The other day a few of my friends were having a bit of fun, but I couldn't seem to be able to have the same fun." She wasn't lively and carefree like Maggie. And she really, dearly didn't want to be exactly like Maggie, but perhaps have some of her confidence. "So I behaved poorly and think I might have insulted my friend without meaning to." Which in Bea's world was one of the worst things you could do to a friend besides betray them.

"You have to learn to let go. If the teasing," which certainly he and the others of his tribe possessed not all that different from those here, "is good. You know in heart," which had him placing a free hand over his chest a moment. Yes, he still spoke with his hands at times, a lot when he was first learning the language. "Then you can learn to enjoy it. It takes steps. If you are so not use to another's way, it takes time. Do not beat up yourself for being different. I have found those here accept being different. I am different." The last said with a bit of pride, one that came with a smile which was also very noticeable for the tan of his skin and the very white of his teeth.

And his words were exactly right now weren't they? It made her settle a little inside as he spoke. Again, she had to watch him speak because to her it was interesting. "It still does not mean that I would not feel bad for how I reacted. But you are right." Of course he was right! Sighing just a little, she thanked Nola as her plate was set before her. Setting a napkin over her lap, she ate with her hands just as he did. Only oddly enough, Bea was just as neat while eating a sandwich as she was with just about everything else. It was one of the things that made Beatrice different. His smile, the brightness of it against his skin, made her smile in return. "Heathfield is different in that they celebrate differences. Where I am from, it is not so." Humming just a little as she took another bite, she chewed thoughtfully before speaking again. "I will probably apologize for being a complete idiot, and hopefully I won't feel uncomfortable about it." And stutter. That would just make things worse.

"It would depend on how drastic you reacted if you need to tell the one you feel you offended." He would not judge or even ask her as his words stood true for anything done. "I think it probably bothers you inside than anyone else has noticed?" He was guessing here but it was usually the way. "So to fix your feeling you mention to the one as you mentioned to me and all will be well." Most likely for most even though there was the occasional jerk that would use it as a means to hurt. He had not found ones here like that. "I would not say in your apology you are idiot," not being sure what it meant but in context it was not a good word. "You have a right to being you and the other should understand this, so it is more to come to an understanding."

Beatrice stopped eating, just to look at him. It was so simple really even though her mind was rebelling against her with "buts". "If you noticed, then surely someone else will." Her sandwich didn't seem to hold any interest for her now as she looked down at it now. "Rick and Trevellyn had a scuffle. They ended up in the trough outside. Trevellyn tore Rick's shirt. Both of them were wet. Trevellyn chased after Maggie. Rick came after me but rather than play along as he thought I would, I stood there like a, a tree! I stuttered." It felt worse to admit that she couldn't be light or carefree. As Mat had said though, it did not sound as bad as her mind had made it out to be. "He was shirtless, and I think I insulted him because," Looking up, she noted now how odd it would seem to him. Because he was not only shirtless but without decent pants.

"I noticed a far look in your eyes. Was this the same then?" She had him a little confused for that wasn't a reaction to teasing but her contemplative mind at work. All right, it took him a lot of restraint as she painted a picture of a stuttering tree. Big pretty eyes, green babuska on her head and words tumbling out in that strange way. Certainly they were talking about something different than he was wondering as she explained further. "You stutter seeing skin?" He was really trying to understand since he was ninety five percent naked.

Her shoulders slumped then. If only she had known what he was thinking, she might have laughed a little. Lightened the mood that had settled over her. "Somewhat I guess. I was thinking how I would like to be able to be like Maggie. She is very lively and confident and adventurous." Obviously, Bea didn't see herself that way. No, not the tidy and neat Buzzing Bee. As long as she didn't look directly at him, she was fine. Until he had to go and bring it up. "N-n-no. It's not t-t-th-that." Hating herself just a little, she took a quick drink of her cider while humming a little. Loud enough that he'd hear, but she couldn't help that. "Rick caught me." He seemed so serious, so intent. It made her blush. "It made me nervous. So I stuttered." She was talking a little slower then, pursing her lips a few times.

"It is not Maggie you want to be but her carefree way. If this is something you feel you need to change, then it will happen but with work. It is not to say that her way will be good for you for your upbringing." Maybe for the first time realizing how covered she was, including the head piece compared to himself. "You were not offended but feel it is something lacking in you and it caused you to become embarrass and then your words come out like that?" He didn't think lower of her for the stuttering but more concern for Bea didn't have enough self assurance. "You need to become Bea, no one else and if that means you stutter, then you do. If someone doesn't like that, then they lose out from your company."

She narrowed her eyes at him a little, watching him intently for several moments before she started to speak. "Yes. When I am nervous, sometimes when I'm overly excited about something I speak like that. Usually I can keep from doing so. Others not so much." She drank again, for lack of anything better to do with her hands. "We are not as free with ourselves." There was that far away look again, and a little smile. "It is nice yes? Not so hot?" If she seemed a little wistful, that was because she was!

"This is what you need, to become free in being you like the bird that flies higher than all the others. The hawk and Eagle." He reached over as a fingertip teased her cheek in a light touch, "you need to smile more and no one will notice anything but that." He was noticing the time as his hand retracted and stood. "I have to go see if I shall buy the canoe the mercantile has, they had to go get it out of storage." If it was made well he would purchase it then make one of his own once on the island. There were birch trees there. "You should go swimming at the lake if you like water." It was a suggestion as he picked up his tray, all food having been devoured and his tankard empty. "I will probably see you again, maybe you will have sprouted little wings to start."

A bird certainly was a step up from a buzzing bee, wasn't it? The touch however brief was dear to her, in that she didn't jump or freeze up. Maybe because she was so intent on what he was saying. "I hope your venture is successful." He slipped so easily into the workings of their culture. She wondered if the same could be said if the situation was reversed? "Oh, I don't swim. I sink. Like a stone." Which was probably why she didn't swim. Wade certainly, but never swim. "I hope to see you again, Mat. You helped me today, so I am grateful to you." The smile might have been small, but her eyes were light and just a little brighter than they had been. "And I hope you are right. Perhaps I shall have wings." Or at least a dollop more of confidence.

"If time allows, I will teach you to tread water in case you ever fall in." It would be a shame if she drowned and there was a lot of water in these parts from the ocean to the lakes. His smile flashed and out he went.


"I should like that. Thank you." Not that she knew what it entailed. But she was willing to try, anything once at least.



Date: 06-03-10
Poster: Raul Valdez
Post # 30

New Friends to Charm

Raul had pitched his voice higher as he glanced over the script, "Fie, fie! unknit that threatening unkind brow, and dart not scornful glances from those eyes to wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor. It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads, confounds thy fame as whirlwinds shake fair buds, and in no sense is meet or amiable." Turning to walk backwards while one hand moved in emphasis as if speaking to his brother from Katherina's words and Demian being Petruchio.

Maggie was spending some time outside in the garden, whiling the afternoon away with a book and now that daylight had faded, she lingered. She had lost track of time to daydream, a bad habit of hers. Sitting in the Garden on a bench she was leaning back on her hands, head tilted upward to idly watch the stars break through the twilight sky, one by one.

Demian was listening as they walked, hands in the pockets of his trousers. He shook his head, his expression serious. "You do not have the right voice yet. Try again." Teasing because he knew what Raul wanted him to do and he was being contrary. "You need to stomp your foot too, and show some fire."

"See! Si! You are better for this part," plastering the script against his brother's chest with a grin. "you know what to do, stomp foot and throw tantrum. I will watch you." Reaching the garden side of the tavern as he stepped from the sidewalk onto the grass, arms folding over his chest as he waited on his brother to comply.

She had a bit of a sheltered spot on her bench, behind a tangling rose bush but the voices did rouse her from her reverie. Not recognizing them, she leaned forward a bit on her seat to see around the flowers, trying to get a peek of whom was entering the garden. Not eavesdropping, persay.... though mischief had her keeping quiet to listen unnoticed for now.

He just shook his head as he took the script. "I am not one for the lead." He tisked as he rolled the script up. "No, you must learn all the parts correctly." A rare smile appeared as he added. "We could make special clothing, so you can play all the parts. A turn and you're Kate. Another turn and you're Petruchio. A change of the cape and you're the father of Katherine." He laughed as he continued. "You could be like ... what was his name back home? The one who would stand on the street corners and do all the parts of a play, and when he'd forget, use his own words?"

"Me? I will no play Katherina." Taking back the script to unroll as he pointed to the lines that Petruchio and Lucentio had. "The men say little compared to all this." Slapping his hand against the larger portion that was the female's part. "Ha, you dress me like circus clown or little monkey from jute box, this way, that way, I would forget and have Lucentio speaking Katherina, si!" Brows dipped into a knot just above the bridge of his nose. "Maybe we should attempt MacBeth, it is long time here and there be no things moving or that head rolling across the stage. Maybe they are gone, si?"

It was two men, that much she could surmise from the voices, and foreign men with some sort of accent she was unfamiliar with. Peering around the roses, she could see one was fair and one was dark but that was all she saw...because she had leaned too far forward on the bench. Causing her to topple right off and onto the grass with a rustle of dark green skirts. A muffled "Oh!"

"No one has said the name for long time so is hard to say." He rolled his shoulders in a shrug as he continue. "Maybe we say the name and see what happens and then decide? If it starts up all over again, then we know for sure." He paused and looked toward the bushes. "Maybe it is starting now?" That was definitely a feminine voice and not a ghostly one.

About to say something, agree or disagree would not be known for the sound behind them in the garden. "Come, now a roundel and a fairy song; then, for the third part of a minute, hence; some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings, to make my small elves coats, and some keep back the clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders at our quaint spirits. I do believe I heard an eep, or an oh, oh oh owl oh." Nudging his brother before turning in through the gate a foot away from where he had been standing prior with his back facing. "I do believe it is Romeo's Juliet fallen from her balcony for the moon shines so sweetly upon yonder features." He was over to offer her his hand in helping her up. "Or has taken a spill under the pale moonlight."

How unbecoming, but at least they had not seen her? So it seemed as they continued talking. Trying to tug her skirts about her so that they would fall as they should when she stood, she was about to stand when suddenly there was a hand hovering in her peripheral vision. Looking up from behind a few stray strands of crimson hair, there was the dark-haired stranger, looking down at her. Her features were arranged in sheepish lines as she took his hand and rose to her feet, then began brushing bits of grass off her skirts and the apron she wore atop. "Ah.. I must have lost my balance," letting out a soft laugh that was more embarrassment than mirth. "Thank you."

"You are uninjured, fair Juliet? Being there is no balcony, did Puck himself play a prank upon you, and cause you to stumble?" He'd continue the talk in the hope that it would amuse the lass instead of having her feel embarrassed.

"The moon was waxing or you were waxing the moon and rascal Puck pushed having you take a tumble, you are unhurt, si?" He was trying to notice as she brushed bits and pieces away if as she limped or winced. All seemed to be fine. "I am Raul Valdez and me hombre Demian."

"I hope to meet a better fate than poor Juliet," She was smiling by now even if she was still rather discomfited by her tumble. "My name is Maggie, and yes, I am fine." Giving a nod of greeting, first to Raul, then to Demian, each receiving one of her bright dimpled smiles. "I do believe that is a good idea to blame it upon Puck... rather than my own clumsiness!"

"That is a good thing. We go inside and have a drink. You will join us?" He motioned toward the tavern. "Yes, it is good to blame Puck. Even when things disappear it is always the fault of the wee folk as they are called." He looked at Raul and smiled. "Or the ghosts."

"Where I am from we call them the Sidhe." She pronounced it Shee. The ends of her skirts gathered in one hand, she would fall into step on the walkway behind the two gentlemen. "Aye, I am going inside myself."

"Good." He moved ahead so he could open the door, only to find it was already. It allowed a breeze to move through with the front door open. Instead of holding it, he bowed and motioned Maggie and his brother inside.

Her hand released once up as a smile beamed from ear to ear. "I will sleep tonight that you are uninjured and it is true that Juliet's fate is not one I would wish on anyone though bittersweet it is best left for the stage." A chuckle on Puck for certainly any mischief could be blamed on the half goat man. "Be careful of the ghosts they are worse than the wee folk." Giving a sage nod as he stepped along following them inside.

She dipped her head and there was even a little curtsy he might notice as Maggie passed Demian and through the open doorway. She called out a greeting to Alex that suggested familiarity then turned to walk backwards easily as they all made their way in. "What would you like to drink? I can give your orders to Alex if you'd like to have a seat somewhere." Adjusting the bow at the small of her back which held the apron about her slim waist.


"You are the new waitress here in this tavern," as it just sunk in and having heard of the one but as usual had not paid complete attention. His head was always on the next skit they were to do and the recent thought of doing a major play, which certainly would not be performed by only himself as Demian suggested. None were except perhaps a short spoof. "I will have the homemade brew tonight." Picking out one of the tables near the bar so she didn't have far to walk. Chair pulled out for her before seating himself, putting her between him and Demian.

"A glass of Merlot would be my choice this eve." Once inside and heading for the table Raul chose.

"Aye, I am," she admitted with a breezy smile. "A homemade brew and a Merlot. I'll be right back," and off she went to the bar. Her tall, lithe frame took up a lean against it to give the drink requests to Alex and she'd linger there for a few moments until both were poured.

He would be blind not to notice her tall sleek form but he was noticing in a way of what parts she could play if she had been in the acting business. Taking a nice eye full before he turned back to his brother with a serious tone. "If the ghosts still plague the Blue Rhapsody, then we should extradite them by whatever means we can. Including and not limited to, bringing in a ghost buster."

He settled into the chair, making sure to leave the one for Maggie and watched his brother. He chuckled until his brother mentioned the ghosts. "Si. We'll have to see to their release from this earthly realm."

It was only a matter of moments before she came over to their table, the home brew in one hand, merlot in the other. Each set down before the respective men, "Here you are."

"You will join us, si?" Hazel blue eyed glance upwards with the most appealing charmed smile he could muster.

"Thank you." He picked up the glass then looked at his brother again, lips twitching before he took a drink. Best to keep his comments to himself, except after he lowered his glass, he nodded. "Please do."

She hesitated, tossing a glance over her shoulder... but the place was immaculate and empty except these two gentlemen. Whom she could easily serve should they need anything else. So she eased herself into a free chair with hands wiped against her apron. "I suppose I can sit for a few minutes."

"Let me get you a drink? Lemonade, or something with a zing?" He rose as he spoke for certainly he intended to wait on her by his choice. "You are new, you have come from lands far away as we have, si?"

"Oh, no, please sit, you needn't serve me!" She was laughing in surprise and gesturing for him to sit back down. Perhaps futilely but she could try. "Aye, I've been here only a few months. My homeland is far, yes.." Though she hadn't ever been back there since first leaving.

He was bad to the bone at times as he was over to collect the bottle of potcheen and another glass. Being she didn't state her preference, he was seated again to pour her a half shot of the potent brew. "Tell me, or we, of yourself, si? If not too painful?" In short he wasn't asking to make her squirm or step on any toes.. bring back bad memories or the like. He kicked his brother under the table to get him awake.

He was awake. Just listening and enjoying his drink. He glared at Raul. "Why did you kick me?"  Yes, he knew why!

Maggie watched Raul with narrowed eyes... and the way she arched her brow would tell him that she knew perfectly well what he was up to. Even so she accepted the shot glass, not drinking it yet. Pausing when asked about herself, she snickered at the exchange between brothers, which gave her a chance to consider how to answer. "There is nothing much to tell. I am from Wales but spent much of the last several years in Britain. I've worked as a servant and lady's maid amongst other things.... and was lucky enough to stumble upon these lands, and to be hired on as waitress, and, here I am."

"You like the waitressing?" He motioned in a way that included the entire common room. "Get to know the people because many come here?"

"Aye, I like it," she smiled and shrugged a shoulder, following his gesture with a brief gaze around the place. "I do meet lots of people, many different types of people... and it gives me something to do, aye?" "To be honest?" She returned the smile almost gently, leaning forward a bit across the table as if sharing a secret. "I preferred being a servant over a Lady's Maid." A pause was taken to swallow the potcheen and even though it was only half a shot, it had her coughing briefly and patting her upper chest with her hand as if to ease the burning.

"Si," he nodded, a smile appearing for her answer. "To keep the idle hands busy? did you like being a lady's maid? Servant I think would no be much fun." Whatever he was going to say was lost when she choked and he stood so he could pat her back. "The potcheen, goes down harsh." And since Alex had a glass of water ready, he was over to retrieve it, returning to offer it to her.  He'd save his questions for when she could talk again.

"Oh, I'm fine," and so she was after one more cough as she blinked her eyes rapidly. Demian given a quick smile though as she accepted the water, "Thank you." A long sip would be taken to chase the pure.

"This the first time you drank it?" He sat again, glancing at his brother and then back. This time it seemed Raul had fallen asleep.

"No, not the first.... but I do not drink it often," a small grin as he probably had been able to guess that himself.

For a change, he was quiet, listening intently and having a few shots in the process.

"It is good for the throat. I drink like Raul, when the mood is right. But tonight it is the merlot I prefer." He looked thoughtful. "I think I am out of questions."

She quirked a brow at that, for it didn't feel good for the throat! But she kept that thought to herself, smiling lightly as Demian looked so considerate. "I am surprised you did not ask why I preferred the life of a servant over a noble?" It was what most people might ask anyway.

"Si, there are nights for wine and there are few nights for ale and more nights for potcheen or the like." Expounding on that thought as he felt that Maggie could handle anything put her way. "That is good question, we ask, why do you prefer the life of a servant over a noble?"

"I think I forgot that I was going to ask when you choked." He looked at Raul and nodded, saluting him with his glass and taking a drink.

Indeed she could handle most anything put her way, whether it be potcheen or the hardships of life that everyone comes across sooner or later. A thoughtful smile played her lips as she replied. "As a Lady's Maid I was always being watched, and always bound to the side of the lady whom I served. I had to always be dressed perfectly and behaving properly. As a servant... nobody paid me much mind." A rueful curve of her lips for a moment. "I was more free in many ways."

"You were being choked every minute without any time to call your own. It sounds like a hell to live unless you are the lady being served but I think you would not wish ones to be waiting on you like that?"

"No, I would not. Being a Lady's Maid was much of the same sort of work as a servant... only in silks and petticoats," she smiled again wryly and even gave a small wink before sipping more water.

"Have you ever done any acting in your various jobs?" So the curious question was out as he studied her. She had the looks, possibly a voice and mannerisms too. One never knew.

"Must be much like being a duenna." He muttered then hid another grin. He wondered how long it would be before Raul asked that one.

It had been probably longer than usual for him. Mark it up for having not been out socially in a while.

"No..." the word spoken on a laugh at the thought of it. Blue gaze had a thoughtful sheen to them though as her fingers lingered along the water glass. "I did used to tell stories, to my Lady's aging father. He was a kind old soul though very ill... anyway, I would tell him the stories my mam told me as a child." A dreamy tinge to her smile that was genuine though likely brought on by the potcheen as well. "Sometimes I still recite them to myself when I cannot sleep."

"These are good stories, si? I might be interested in hearing the most favorite ones. We may be able to use them to act out. Another time as I need sleep." The potcheen was doing its job and he would sleep well tonight for a change. Man with too much energy to expend and acting help to do just that. "We will see you again," rising from his seat as he took up the rolled up script. "It has been a pleasure in meeting and in the conversation."

"Si, it is that time. And like Raul, I have enjoyed meeting you and talking." He stood, covering a yawn as he did. "You are welcome to come to the theater any time, Maggie."

"Perhaps I will, I do love the theatre." Just as she loved poetry and novels. All stories no matter how they were told. She rose from her chair to give both men a smile as they prepared to leave. "It was a pleasure meeting you both as well. Travel safe, wherever you are going."

Smile spread in a dashing way over handsome features. "Buena noche," stepping away with a bow before he was heading out the front door as it was left open.

"Buena noche," And he followed Raul right out that front door.



Date: 06-06-10
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 31

Journey's End

Still a bit green around the gill, this sea faring, not-so-sea-loving Quinn made the most of the spirits offered at the Thistle. He had not long been returned, hadn't even been to the manor house to announce his return, just dropped his things at his lodging then came straight away to the Thistle. Just to relax and recoup from the journey.

Segan had been off running cargo down the coast. Jobs that took a day or two although he was considering taking on some that ran a week or good part of it. Unlike before, he was sticking around land more than he ever had since acquiring the Anaconda. He had a good tan, blond hair becoming bleached as he headed up from the port to the Thistle for a brew and the hope of catching up with any he knew or even didn't know. Poet's shirt was left partially open down the front with tails tucked into black pants. Sandals on his feet, the kind that nearly encased the foot yet didn't stop the natural swagger carrying him on in through the open door. "Well, blow me over!" A grin shooting wide as he accosted his brother into a good bear hug, dragging him up from where he sat. "Grandmama is going to be fussing something terrible..."

When the door opened, Conor glanced over, but he didn't even have time to stand fully before his brother had helped him up and had him in that tight hold of greeting. He gave Segan a good pounding on the back as they embraced, then took a step back with a grin. "I'll take her fussing, any day, over the wail and whistle of that sea you call friend. It's good to be on solid ground, to be sure." Conor looked to Alex with a nod, knowing the man would see to Segan's drink even without the prompting. Conor, unlike Segan, sported the darker looks of the Quinn family, though there was no mistaking the blood they shared. Quinns never held back their affections or their anger ... and more so was the case when it came to family.

The pounding was met in kind before holding his brother out at arms' length. "You look hale for the while you've been away." Good while but he didn't get into that, "have you addressed all that you needed?" Releasing his hold as he stepped away to gain that tankard of cold ale this early in the evening.  He ordered the lobster bisque with Roast Duck, mashed potatoes and gravy before heading back to the table with the tankard. "Looks like Maggie has it off today," more mussed under his breath but then Conor didn't know about all the changes. There would be time to fill him in. Drawing out a chair as the tankard was set and himself to follow as he got himself comfortable. "How did your trip go? Anything exciting? Any news on our uncle, aunt and cousins?"

"Hale?" Conor laughed, but nodded with gratitude. "I suppose seeing to rights all that is left to be finished does something for the soul now, eh?" The last of the business he had left behind, the final paperwork, and now there was only Heathfield where business was concerned. He settled back into his chair, watching Segan as he joined him. "Everyone is well. One lass in particular asking after you." He cleared his throat, the thought of the young maid's never ending questions about Segan. Elusive. That was Conor's stance. He shared very little with her, and avoided her as best he could while he still managed to spend time with family. "What has transpired in my absence?"

He couldn't remember exactly when Conor left other than it was at the end of last summer. He took a long drink of the ale first before he started up. "Had you met Vanessa Baltimore before your leave?" The timing would have been very close.

"Baltimore?" He shook his head even as he repeated the name. "I'm thinking there's an important reason you ask?" With a cant of head, he took in his brother, studying his eyes with a squint of his own.

"She came to the lands and established the Avian Gardens, over time, well, we're engaged now. Our sister Melantha is engaged to Gabriel even before myself. Eion is," and he stopped right in his tracks and quickly amended what he was going to say, "well, he is Eion. Still as grumpy as ever." Which was followed by a laugh and luckily distracted as Nola came out with his fare on a platter, leaving it on the table before she was quickly back to help Hazel.

Silence. Stillness. Blink. Blink. The faintest lift of eyebrows twitched upwards and he continued to just look at his brother as the meal was delivered. He didn't even a glance to Nola. Just one more blink and his hand shot out with a flat-palmed smack on the table, rattling the plate, the tankards there. "Well what do you know! I knew about Mel, but you? Holy mother Mary, Man! She must be one hellova woman, this Vanessa Baltimore.  She's okay with your mistress?" Conor was chuckling under his breath. Segan was engaged? Engaged! Satan must be wearing long-underwear.

"Aye, she is and I hope you get to meet her soon." Both got pretty busy that they didn't get to see each other all that often after being around quite a bit together. "She has a little girl, Ysa, her sister's who was killed in an accident along with her husband." Just a little thing to have him aware. "There is a new waitress here named Maggie too." Wait. Stop. Now it was his turn to blind before he laughed, "which one?" Teasing back, Vanessa would thwack him upside the head if she heard him but his brother knew the truth.

"Oh?" The word was more mouthed than spoken so much, and he looked around for this Maggie. "Is she comely?" Then he cut a look back to his brother. "Ready made family, eh? Not going to get lazy on that soon to be wife of yours I hope." Now Conor was really laughing, taking a moment for Segan to contemplate that whole mistress matter while he took another drink of ale. As the glass lowered, he gave a jerk of head toward the door. "That fickle hussy, the Sea." A wink followed and he grinned, settling back in his chair, so glad to be back home, yes home, again.

"Time will tell on that. You remember Karina?" Being at that time she would come and go, be gone for long periods of time. "She changed quite a bit in the following months and even settled here."

A look of deep concentration wrinkled Conor's brow as he searched his memory for this Karina. His answer began as a slow shake of head. "Maybe if I saw her, but the name ... no ... can't say as I remember the name." He shrugged a shoulder as if letting go of the need to try.

Giving a glance to the door and back as if the little devil would show up, "she settled along with another lass named Beatrice who recently came and is working for Marcy McGuire. Karina moved in with Vanessa." He was surprised he didn't remember Karina for they all had wanted to strangle her more often than not. "She use to ride a mule as stubborn as herself and dressed like a street lad."

Sometimes it was best to push certain memories into the dark corners and forget they are there. "So no more lad?" He was still trying to pretend he didn't remember, but there was a fleeting flash of recognition in his eyes, there and gone. Better to drink now ... which he did.

"Well," getting back to family, "I think even Gemma is sweet on a certain Frasier man." Which Gemma would be raising hell if she heard him, and on that thought wishing that she had heard him! "Aye," getting back to the other, "she even has a beau now." And wishing to see Karina's face if she were here to hear him for that matter. Segan was in that kind of mood. There was yet more news to convey.

It was the second time tonight Conor was silent following Segan's information. He drank another swallow, thinking over what was said. "Ah well, good for her then. " Which 'her' he didn't really make clear. "Which Frasier?"

"Patrick Frasier, one that has the race tracks. Well, runs them being his family owns the race tracks. He has their stables too. We also have cousins we never knew we had." Long story there and an adventure that went with it. "Michael Quinn's descendants, brother of our great grandpa."

Conor nodded with a grin, what a better Frasier to have? The race tracks? Life was gooooood. "More family is always good, I'm betting Gran is delighted."

"Aye, that she is and even left the house when he was over to have Gemma make him breakfast. Can you imagine that?" A will power even Segan would have bet against for Gram's curiosity. "There is not really anything more than her losing a bet and having to cook. Which she had to get Gram's help with." Even Conor knew well how horrid a cook Gemma was to have her try and learn. She burnt water as she would put it. "The cousins names are Liam, Ciaran and a missing sister Oisin. A close family friend named Evan. They are off with the Private Investigators to the Colonies to try and find their sister."


Conor was relaxed back, but he seemed to press back even more with surprise with the news that Gran left the house ... left the house! ... he listened as Segan continued. "A lot happens in under a year." Okay, so almost a year, but still under thank you very much.

Were her ears buzzing? She lifted a pinky to rub her right ear a bit as she jogged up the steps of the Thistle. They were out of a few spirits at home so Karina had volunteered to pick them up, and if the company was good she planned to sneak a small potcheen here while she was at it. Not that Vanessa really cared, but still... there was the baby in the cottage now. So she whistled as she traipsed up the steps and through the doorway left open to catch the warm evening breeze. Stepping into the bright interior she hung up her wide-brimmed straw hat and turned to look around the room. She still walked with the same boyish bounce but it was a young woman that wore that rakish smile now. Her short-cropped curls had grown out into a mane of soft amber waves that surrounded her face and fell past her shoulders. A summery dress of butter yellow hugged her slender frame along the faint swell of hips and bosom. Ever-large turquoise eyes moved around alertly, landing first on Segan and a grin crossed her lips for she hadn't seen him in awhile. Sandaled feet began to advance and then she saw the features of the man sitting with Segan. And stopped in her tracks.

There was probably more he was missing but Segan felt confident that he hit the major ones. He wolfed down the lobster bisque and started on his meal, meat to be washed down with a swig of the ale from his tankard. It was the sound at the door that had him glancing there as he stood next. "Hello Karina, do you remember my brother Conor? He's come home." Being Conor hadn't really remembered her, he figured the same might hold true to her end. "You're welcome to join us." Being he was standing, he drew out the chair next to him. "How is Rhett?" As he usually asked when encountering each other anymore. "How is Vanessa being I've not been here in the past few days," which she would know too as he'd been making a few runs.

The young woman entering drew a double-take from the youngest Quinn at the table. He smiled to her with a nod, then ... recognized that bounce, even beyond the feminine transformation. His smile started to fade, but he forced what was left of it to remain. As Segan stood, so did he, and he offered her another brief nod. "Karina." Rhett, as in Shawnesey? He looked from his brother to Karina. "Yes, please, join us, Karina." He offered a dip of head toward the chair Segan was offering then lowered back to his own.

After almost a year and Conor's disappearance it was a lot to take in. Especially being bombarded by Segan's questions. "Sure I remember him." So she wasn't just seeing things. Blinking at Conor for a second before looking back to Segan. "Uh, Rhett's doing well, been busy with a lot of orders and Vanessa is well too. She sends her greetings and so does Ysa," the infant who adored Segan. Eyes fell to the chair that both men gestured to. "Err, I'm really just here to pick up a couple things...." gesturing towards Alex at the bar.

"Aw, come on, Karina, you can take a couple of breaths with old friends."

"Well, if you are going back to the Gardens, please let Van know I will be by later this evening." Being he would need to stop at the manor first and wanted to be there with Conor and his return. "Have you been to the Manor yet, Conor?"

A brow lifted in dare, then he looked to Segan. "No, came here straight from the farm. Wanted to get my wits about me from the trip before facing off against She."

She stared at Conor for a moment as if he had two heads. "Sure, I'll tell her." Without answering their request to join them just yet, she headed over to the Bar for a few words with Alex. She needed a moment to process this and could use that drink now too.

"You mean, Herself?" Which had him chuckle.

He gave a curt nod of head. "Aye, the She Herself." He too was chuckling. Their grandmother was known by many names, all which held nothing but ultimate respect and devotion. And, yes, just a wee bit of from boyhood fear!

Words lowered, "at least she has not come storming down to the port and my ship.." Conor at least knew of Herself's trip to the Barracks armed with good food and bribes.

Conor held up his forefinger. "Yet." And he grinned, casting a look Karina's way, then back to Segan. His voice was lowered as well, leaning in slightly toward his brother. "You didn't say Rhett Shawnesey."

"Aye, that would be the Rhett, Shawnesey, blacksmith," which he was pretty sure Conor had met for when he got them the swords.

Rhett Shawnesey was definitely one Conor had met, and would not forget. "Aye." Was all he said about that. Changing the subject. "So, this Vanessa, Gran has met her I take it? And she can cook? Clean? Can? " He cleared his throat, fighting as he was to keep from chuckling with his questions. "All...all...all..." A dance of brows as he made sure Karina was not in hearing distance. "...the things that make a woman worth wedding?"

Which had him laughing, "she is best with making soups and stews. Grandmama, Yada, as Vanessa refers to her, has met her but with her needed at the Avian Gardens, she has not really had time to sit down and get to know each other. I think Grams is hoping to get some time with just them sometime soon, especially after I got engaged." Maybe he should be worried on that but Segan usually didn't worry on such things.

Karina shot back the potcheen Alex had brought her, then thanked him when he brought over a parcel containing two bottles, one of whiskey and one of cider. Blowing out her breath as the potcheen burned down her throat, she didn't really have an excuse to linger at the bar any longer. Tucking the parcel beneath her arm she now had to decide whether or not to stay or just get out of here. Steps taken away from the bar but slowly.

He was still standing as he eyed Karina curiously, "you're not feeling you have to sneak a drink anymore?"

It wasn't unusual anymore for Rhett to swing by the Thistle in the evening. Especially after a scorching day and long hours shaping metal into fine swords over the forge fires. He cleaned up, crisp white shirt over skin that had bronzed nicely tucked into brown summer pants. Pressed smile already spreading as he stepped within the tavern. "Evening all," which he was pleasantly surprised to see a few here. Surprised not to see a certain lady here being Segan was and pleased another was here, one he had hoped would be.

"Evening, Shawnesey." Conor called with a touch of fingers to his temple in modified salute. He shot a look to Karina to watch her reaction.

Karina blinked and quirked a brow at Segan, then understood, and gave a shrug. "These are just to have in the cottage. Mostly for when you come over," she teased with a slight laugh. "Well, I should get go-" and then a familiar voice called its greeting at the door. Surprise flickering across her features as she shot a look to Conor half a second after he had glanced at her. "Hi Rhett, what're you doing here?" Silly question, he was here to get a drink like everyone who came here was.... but she was a bit thrown off tonight.

"Evening Rhett," finally taking a seat as he wanted to finish his dinner before it got cold. So they could excuse him and he chuckled at Karina's response to her 'drinking'. Next he was enjoying the meal.

"Conor, Segan," brows lifting as distinctive blue eyes turned on Karina before the pressed smile was back with a snicker. "Probably the same reason you are here..." which he continued on in rather than be blocking doorway as certainly he filled it up otherwise. "I got most of the swords done," coming to pause where she stood with a dip of his chin in and the drop of his sight down upon her. Shrimp in comparison. He wasn't wearing the Stetson tonight as it had been too hot and the heat along with humidity made his hair curl even more.

She had been on her way to the door, so paused when Rhett stepped in and across the exit path. Brought to a stop when he drew up right before her... or above her, to be specific! As tall as he was in comparison to her petite frame. "Good, that's good." She replied in a bit of belated answer to his mention of getting the swords done, along with half a smile.

There was a brief glance to Alex then back to her, "are you heading out?" Leaning just enough to see what she had in the parcel. "Am I invited to the party?" Teasing tone added as the slight lean was adjusted back.

Conor stretched out his legs, crossing them at the ankles beneath the table. "Are you going to the Manor house, Segan, from here?"  
Karina passed a glance over her shoulder before looking back up to Rhett, and gave a brief snicker at his question. "I was heading out, yeah. I should get these back to the Gardens..." as if there was some deadline for the delivery of booze to the Cottage.

"Aye, that is my plan. That is where you are going?" Easing back to drink some from the tankard to wash down the mashed potatoes.

"I came for a drink but to see if you happened by here too, so, if you'd like, I'll walk you back up to the Cottage?" A question and a suggestion all rolled into one. Nothing out of the ordinary either although he was getting that odd sensation from her again that happened every so often.



Date: 06-06-10
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 32

"Mmmm." That sound of confirmation that really didn't need any actual word. "Been gone too long not to make an appearance, aye?" He also had some deliveries from their uncle to their Gran. And those had waited while Conor got his land legs back.

It was rare for Eion to stop at the Thistle lately, between training, his trips to the docks and to the manor. But it seemed something drew him that way tonight, and there he was stepping through the side door. He stopped right there, eyeing his two brothers and not saying a word.

"Well I don't want to mess up your plans, stay, get your drink," she waved her hand slightly. He looked like he needed one too after a long hot day at the forges. She did feel a little guilty though, leaving right when he got here, especially since he'd mentioned he was hoping to see her here. She was half listening to the other conversation at hand, and it sounded like the Quinns might be on their way out anyway. "I can stay for awhile longer, I guess." She finally offered with a nod up to Rhett.

"Eion, come join us.." eyeing his brother as certainly he was probably as surprised to see Conor back finally, since there was no word when he would come back.

Since there wasn't much more to look at, his gaze wandered to the movement that caught at the corner of his eye. And what do you know! His smile spread and he pulled his legs in, standing slowly. "Linger in doorways, Brother?  Bad form."

He glanced over to the brothers with one of those slow draws back. "Mess up my plans?" Like he had plans other than why he even came here. She was starting to confuse him. "Is something on your mind or something?" Although pleased with her last as he finished the few steps it would take to the bar and the waiting tankard of ale he scooped up for a long thirst quenching drink. Once lowered, "evening Eion," as Rhett was courteous and a lean taken that had his back braced against the bar.

He actually grinned and crossed the room. Conor was caught up in a bear hug. "About time you got your arse back here. You're looking well."

As well as one could for spending the better of a month draped over a ship's railing heaving what guts they had left into the sea. He returned the hug with that customary pound of back. "As are you, Brother. Life has been good to you while I've been away. As it has for Segan. And quite a few others ..."

She was distracted by Eion's entrance and the jubilant reunion which followed. "Huh?" Again answering Rhett belatedly, and realizing he'd already walked over to the bar. She followed. "No, nothing on my mind. My mind's clean as a whistle," she jested with another half smile.

A swipe from the back of his hand went over his lips as he witnessed the reunion. Not interrupting it anymore with the dipping glance of blue eyes upon Karina as she joined him. "Then have a drink with me before we are on our way."

"Evening, Rhett, Karina." He nodded at the two then chuckled. "It's been ... interesting to say the least. He's caught you up on most things?" He looked at Segan in question then blue eyes shifted back to Conor.

Segan grinned watching the two, giving them their moment as it had been far too long having Conor gone. "I've been trying to catch him up all that has happened in the lands so far.." a pointed look given Eion as Segan felt he should just tell them all what he told him and be done with it. Dolly would be definitely showing and he heard she was no longer staying down at the docks. Word had it she moved on.  Although Segan knew she didn't move on, other than moving from one society to a better one.

She waved to Eion when he released Conor from that bear hug, then nodded to Rhett. She wouldn't tell him that she'd already had a drink and a potcheen at that! Catching Alex's eye she ordered herself a cider then took up a lean against the bar next to Rhett. For now the package she had under her arm was set atop the bar.

"From the sound of it, I should travel abroad more often." He followed Eion's look with one of his own, from Segan and back, not missing that 'certain' look that all had not been shared as yet. "What?" Conor didn't sit back down, he waited, and waited, looking between the two of them as he ... waited. There was something else, something that he hadn't been privy to yet.

Karina would feel the touch of his hand against her opposite arm from where he leaned as he kind of put his arm around her. Loosely for the lean and being out in public. Thumb did a silent touch in reminding her of his presence. He knew what it would be like if any of his brothers had been gone a long time as he watched the three.

Her eyes too had gone to the brothers, absently. Seeing the three of them together reminded her of different times altogether, a time that felt almost like a different world. She'd been a different person altogether back then... but it felt like little had changed for the three of them. They'd always been close. Rhett's gentle touch brought her back for a moment as she passed a smile up to him, a slight but genuine one as she seemed to be in a quiet mood tonight.

He wasn't sure he should share it here! Especially with Dolly still being ... stubborn. "Uhhhh..."

Little did Conor know what could and couldn't be shared in public. He was in the dark, and in the dark, you're more likely to bang a toe or a knee or ... worse! And he was just about to start blunking about if he didn't get some kind of response other than the thoughtful ... uhhhh. "What?" He repeated.

It seemed to him the brothers were having a moment or a few for that matter. A lot of catching up as he finished his drink. The ale hitting that spot. "Whenever you are ready," words low leaving it up to her when she'd like to depart.

He was watching Eion. He had not said anything to Conor on that matter. Mary would need to be told and their sisters, he suspected Melantha might know being she had that way about her just like Conor picking up on something that 'Uhhhh' would not suffice as the answer. He cleared his throat and drank some more of his ale.

Which had Eion laughing. He should smack Segan for getting him into this. Glancing at the two youngsters, he looked back and lowered his voice. "I'm going to be a father."


The more she thought about it, the more she had to wonder... where the hell had Conor been? Neither of the remaining Quinns had ever mentioned it to her, and of course she'd never asked. Her eyes were narrowing slightly as she watched the three. Her ale had arrived by now and she finished it in record time, putting it back down on the bar as she glanced to Rhett. "Let's go."

"A father?" Okay, so this news came as such a surprise that Conor didn't even have the chance to check his volume before he said it. He actually shook his head, as if to clear his mind, make sure he heard it correctly. His voice did lower then as he hissed. "Are you friggin' kidding me?" He glanced to Rhett and Karina, noting the couple seemed to be preparing to leave. And just as well!

He shifted up, arm sliding back to his side as he did. "Good night," normal tone and not expecting they would hear him for their conversation, yet saying his farewell in being courteous. Something that his mother, Maggie, had instilled in all her sons and daughters. He would escort Karina out by way of the garden door, take that nice route on their way for it was in full bloom.

Conor lifted his hand in farewell to the both of them. What once was, or could have been, whether it should have been or not was not even a thought right now. What was fore most in his mind was his brother was either playing one hellova joke on him, or ... dang ... he wasn't!

Segan gave Karina and Rhett an upnod to their depart. He was keeping an eye on his brothers and noting well Conor's reaction. Maybe they should gauge how he reacted to an idea of how the others would react.

Not a thought for Conor maybe. Karina couldn't help those thoughts. She blinked at that word Conor blurted out but it seemed the brothers were having a private conversation, and Rhett was whisking her out anyway. "Night," she said to the Quinns in general on their way to the door.

"Good night," was said absently, before he looked at Conor again, then shook his head. Any other time he might have slugged Conor on the shoulder for blurting that out but not this time. "No, I'm not kidding. I asked the lass to marry me and she turned me down." Several times.

"I don't think that it is not because she loves you..." which he had to add to that comment Eion just made for certainly, what lass in their right mind would turn Eion down? Wondering if that came out right then?

Was he hissing before? He sure as hell was now, his voice was low, he almost growled out his words. "She turned you down?" He glanced to Segan, nodding, agreeing, then looked back to Eion. What lass would turn down a Quinn period?  "Dang, man ... that well, that is just wrong." He shook his head, scratching at the sharp line of his jaw as he thought about this whole thing. "No one else knows then?" Surely Eion wasn't fool enough to tell Herself about this! Not without his brothers to flank him.

He looked at Segan then sighed. "She ... well, she feels because of who she is, it would be bad for me. That she would ruin me good name." He gave a shake of his head. "I haven't been brave enough to tell Herself, and don't know if our sisters would understand my not telling her."

"Well I understand." Conor mumbled under his breath.

"I think Herself needs to be told. This is the first grandchild," great grandchild but best not to get technical with Herself on that point. "The start of the next generation." And they all knew how Grams love babies, how she covet Ysa all the time. "I think you need to get Miss Dolly to meet her and tell her story, she might be surprised that she would not be looked down upon nor ruin your good name or the good name of Quinn. Then maybe she would marry you provided she loves you. Which should be the sole reason one gets married or not." See, Segan had time to think on it but there was one point he wasn't totally sure on it. "Do you love her, not just asking her because of her condition, Eion?"

"And how do I do that?" Eion might be able to face battle on the field where he could die, but Herself? "Gran, there's a lass who's carrying my child but won't marry me because people think she's a ... lady of the night?"

"Is she ... a professional lass then?" Wow, this was just getting better and better. "And, what makes her think you have a good name anyway?" He started to chuckle. "Mercenary, murderer, warrior, escaped prisoner ... " A brow quirked up. "Yeah, sounds like a real catch to me." But he thought highly of his oldest brother, a respect that went beyond just blood.

He looked at Segan, his expression near blank. "As much as I am capable of loving any woman. I trust her, respect her, can't imagine how life would be without her and I would give her a good life." He looked at Conor and barked out a laugh. "Aye, there is all that, isn't there? Oh, and I found out my old friend, that I thought dead, wasn't. Bastard tried to have our cousins, whom you've yet to meet, kidnap me and bring me as a prisoner to him, just to say surprise, old chap, I'm still alive and my wife, wasn't my wife at all but my sister. So you going to prison was to keep you alive."  He was going to have to explain to Conor all about Dolly, just as he had done with Segan.

He almost spewed his ale but ended up managing it down and almost uncontrollable laughter.

Codfish. Yup. That was the look at present. Conor's mouth was hanging agape, and he blinked ... this was, well, this was Eion's life. Did the man ever just go home, pull off his boots, prop up his feet, and drink a tankard of ale to the sound of the wind whistling around the corners of his house?

He had friends to keep him dancing on the tips of his toes. Segan was just grinning listening to the two. "First, I would like to say, Eion, that for as much as you can love any woman, sure sounds like love to me and that maybe being a little more positive about your capability of loving this lass, she might accept your proposal, especially if she felt it were true and that she would not be doing any more damage to our name than we have done it already. Of course the biggest hurtle will be meeting Grandmother."

He actually used his room at the castle for his retreat! Though he hadn't written in his journal for a while. He just looked at Segan. "Haven't asked her lately." He muttered before he finally decided he needed a drink. Truth was, he wasn't too sure about it all even now.

He looked to Segan. "That's way to deep for me, Brother." and he laughed, looking back to Eion. "So, what then, you just going to wait until the babe is born and bring her by the manor and say, hey, let me introduce my son ... yeah, that will go real well."

"Maybe I could fall on my sword... " Muttered as he sat back down, and then he sighed. "No, I've made up my mind to tell her within the next week or two. Otherwise, she'll hear that I've been seen with a pregnant woman and that won't go over well either." Like a ton of horse manure, in fact.

"I think you will be able to get some sleep once you tell Herself. I think that once you do that it will go better than we fear the worse it could go."

"Bah." He waved a hand, brushing away all the concern. "She will probably be thrilled. I think when I fear her the most, all goes well. When I think all is well, she lets me have it and I'm not prepared." He silenced himself for a moment, just a moment. "Holy hell, I'm never leaving these shores again. The both of you, straight to hell in that hand basket without me around to keep you on the straight and narrow."

"I think you are right on that Conor, it's her ability to keep us guessing and never guessing right."

"If it takes you to keep us that way, then good! You stick around." He laughed then nodded. "I know she'll love Dolly. I have no doubt on that at all, and I sleep just fine, Segan."  His training took care of that!

"Dolly? That's the woman's name?" He nodded, tucking that away for use later. "Well, glad I am to be home and not having to hear it all at once. Dang ... things are never stagnant with a Quinn for sure."

"Our whole time since our father fell ill, has not been easy going and relaxed. It's been from one thing, or adventure, to another that keeps testing and molding us. Just you have not been around to get into any of it with us. Although, you had things you needed to see to."

"That's her nickname. Dairenn is her true name." He grinned at Conor. "It's good to have you back home, Conor."

Conor nodded, when they were first on their way here, he would have never thought it, but now, yes, it was good to be ... home. "Thanks, Eion. It's good to be home." He stretched, drew in a deep breath, and as he lowered his arms let that breath go. "Guess it's on to the manor...think I waited long enough that I may have a reprieve until morning?"

"Hard to say. Gran seemed pretty mellow tonight when I was there. She could be in bed." He didn't want to say that it was unlikely! "I was going to go to the barracks tonight, but I'll join you both." He stood and carried his now empty glass to the bar.

He didn't need to say. Depending on the moon, the Mother of the Quinns may very well be out in the gardens, tending the herbs that need tending after the sun sets. "And glad I am for it, Eion." He tossed his own tankard to his brother, empty of course, but a few drops still managed to spay over the eldest Quinn. Conor started toward the door.

Of course, but he could make Conor pay for it later. After he was certain there was no left over seasickness.

"You want to talk to Herself tonight?" He needed to finish off his drink.

Whoa! Conor paused, looking back to Eion.

"Hell, no. I'll need at least two glasses of potcheen before I do!" Though, if it came down to it, he would.

He was up to bring his tankard to the bar. Chuckling at the antics, "I'm glad you're home too, Conor." At least another to get Eion going. "Oh, and tell him about your invention, Eion."

"Ah, it's for flattening the snow come winter. Huge roller pulled by draft horses with blades to keep the rollers clean. Smaller ones for the more narrow roads." Talk about anything else, good plan!

"It's amazing how your mind works." And he meant it..."Tell me more." And he walked out the door, anticipating hearing all about it as they walked home.

He, for once, was not the one talking up the storm as he brought a bottle of potcheen with him to enjoy on the way home. Shared of course. They might need it if She was still up.



Date: 06-09-10
Poster: Vincent Hamilton
Post # 33

Stormy Night

The lands seemed to be plagued by storms of late. Sometimes severe that one couldn't see more than a few feet in front of them if they were caught out in the downpour. Vincent had managed his way to the tavern without due course, nor soaked to the bone. A fine meal was enjoyed before he sat with his glass of potcheen in hand in front of the hearth. One that, by tradition he discovered, burned peat for the scent it gave off and the feel of Eire to welcome strangers.

What with the wet, Beatrice had quickly learned not to leave the shop unless she was carrying a hooded short cloak of oiled cloth to keep the wet from her. Pushing back the hood as she came in there was a beaming smile there. "Good evening, Alex." Humming to herself while pulling off that short cloak, set a basket with some of her work onto the bar and then sat herself.

The arrival of another had Vincent sit up with a slight lean forward that he could see around the wingback. "Good evening Miss," greeting her with a slight smile and looking beyond to the door as if expecting someone.

Simon had taken his meal at the castle, and then gone for a walk, specifically to the Celtic Gardens. He had heard others talking of it and found it to be of great interest, for various reasons. Now, as he made his way into the common room of the Thistle, he was dusting something off his shoulders and muttering to himself.

Blinking she turned, and gave that bright smile to the stranger. "Good evening to you!" She was setting up an embroidery frame now.

He eased up from the chair, not so much he was tall but a big man, height and the breadth of his shoulders. A warrior. "Sir Vincent Hamilton at your service as is my comrade," a slight lift of his hand towards the newest arrival, "Sir Simon Marshall."

Turning toward the latest arrival, she continued to smile. "Good evening and it is nice to meet you Sir Vincent and Sir Simon." It took a minute or two, but she remembered then. "Oh, I'm Beatrice."

A look up had him nodding at the young woman. "Good eve, Miss Beatrice." He lifted a hand to Vincent in greeting before heading to the bar. Alex was setting out a glass of the pure for him even as he approached. "Thank you, Alex." Once he had the glass in hand, he took a drink before moving to join his comrade.

Thane was not so lucky to escape the downpour. The skies opened up with a rumble of thunder and sudden flash of lightening, and he was still five minutes away. No choice but to duck his head and walk quickly the remainder of the distance. In he came with another clash of thunder from the sky, water streaming from his dark hair and coat. The door shut quickly behind him as he barely spared a glance about the place, endeavoring to rid himself of the waterlogged wool coat he wore.

"A pleasure to meet you Lady Bea," there was the half smile, one that could be considered cordial with the slight dip of his head. "Here is another, comrade at arms, Sir Thane Roberts," he felt the grand introducer of the night.

Stretching fabric over the frame, she laughed just a little as it did seem Sir Vincent was the grand introducer. "It is nice to meet you as well, Sir Thane."

"Thane, get a drink and come join us. The fire will dry you." Apparently he had just missed getting soaked.

He was not the most talkative nor social man in the world. Nevertheless he was polite, and glanced up when he noticed a stranger in the room, one he was introduced to. He dipped his head in a deep nod of greeting. "My pleasure, Lady Bea." Hanging up the heavy jacket he crossed to the hearth, lifting a hand first to ruffle through his damp locks...spraying droplets of water here and there in consequence.

There was a chuckle under his breath as he took in the state Thane was in. "Just your luck.." taking up his seat again as he relaxed back. Perhaps a bit pensive as one thoughtful but then that was not unusual for Vincent.

Should be an especially quiet night then, though he did dust his shoulders again, sending up a small cloud of something sparkly, that settled right back down on him. He stood, placed his glass on the table. "I'm just stepping outside." And he moved to the garden door and out.


"Aye," he agreed with Vincent with a wry glance down along his soaked self. Watching Simon step abruptly out, his brows furrowed slightly. A glance back to Vince, "He alright?" Taking Simon's earlier suggestion he moved to the bar to get himself a potcheen and a bowl of soup and bread.

"I believe so, we can always get a bucket of water to toss out the door in his direction and see if we hit our target.." Or maybe they would not have to as the rain came pounding down after his suggestion.

He had removed his shirt and tunic, and was shaking them out, sending more of the glittery stuff into the air. When he was satisfied, it was all gone, he remained where he was letting the rain wash any that was left away. There'd be a puddle of the stuff when he was ready to move inside, and he didn't care that he was soaked if the blasted stuff was gone.

"Nature beat us to it." He wondered what had made Simon step outside in the middle of a downpour, and eyes lingered on the side door a moment. Then his potcheen arrived and he thanked Alex, taking it back over to the hearth. One of the wingbacks claimed for himself, he eased down into it with a long sigh that suggested a long day. It wasn't long before his meal was delivered by that Bouncy Buxom Barmaid called Maggie, and he thanked her before tucking in.

Vincent was about to lift his tumbler when he noticed the sparkly dust on his hand, clinging to the hair and skin alike as well the shirt he had rolled up, "what the.." then yelling louder. "Simon, what did you bring in here to infect me with?" His voice was like thunder as he gained his feet.

He was pulling on his shirt as he came back in though the tunic was left off. That he hung near the fire. "Butterfly dust," the answer came with a shrug. "I went into the Gardens and it was thick with them. Didn't realize they gave off a dust until I left there." And a grin appeared. "It washes off in the rain."

Thane's eyes followed Vincent as he stood up, puzzled by the outburst. Then he noticed a fine layer of sparkling dust along the side table. Glancing up with subtle amusement when Simon came back in with his explanation. "Strange butterflies," he commented idly before taking a sip of his drink.

"I never heard of Butterflies giving off dust," the while smearing it into his skin in a good rub. At least thinking that would take care of it. Now it was on his other hand and anything he touched without realizing it. A narrow eyed look was given Simon as he figured he was pulling their leg.

Maggie was going to have an interesting mess to clean later too!

"Neither did I. Never saw ones like these either. Their wings were like rainbows." He still had some in his hair though most was gone. Instead of sitting, he leaned against the stone fireplace so he was closer to the fire. "I guess they were swarming. Heard some lasses somewhere in the gardens laughing, but the sky was getting dark so I figured I better leave before the rains came."

And all of a sudden Thane was chuckling to himself. No explanation for a few moments, as he just chuckled and shook his head and continued eating his meal. "Simon, I don't think those were butterflies."

"Are you saying they were landing on you? You're probably full of butterfly poo.."

"Just touching down. They flew right up again." He snorted and looked at Vincent. "I doubt it. This was falling from their wings." Of course, Thane had him pausing. "What else would they be?"

"You say you were in the Celtic Gardens?" A pause to remind them just what an enchanted and surreal place that was. "They might well have been a kind of Faerie. That may have been the laughing sound as well."

"That many?" He ran a hand through his hair and looked at it and there was the dust again. "Wonder what it does?" So far, he hadn't felt a thing.

"I have heard of this garden but I am surprised you have gone there for the information that is on this place." Which he was eyeing Thane next like he grew two more heads, "you have been there to know all of this?"

"It's possible." Replied to Simon before he felt Vincent's eyes on him. He only shrugged. "I've spent some time there." Actually it was one of his favorite places in Heathfield, somewhere he went when he needed peace and serenity. There was something about the Gardens that soothed his soul even while it seemed to hold mysteries he'd never fully grasp.

"Have you encountered these butterflies, or fairy folk on wings there too?" All of a sudden he was becoming amused with all of this. A new side to Thane's personality being exposed. He finally noticed that the quiet Bea had taken her leave.

"Once or twice." Yes he was being vague and closed off but that wasn't particularly unusual for him... Actually, he was a tad embarrassed that the lads had discovered this habit of his.

Upon a dirt road and a breath of wind catapulted the young woman further onward and straight to the porch steps of the favored establishment. Heathfield. This had to be.. No lusher landscape had she seen in all her travels. What a place indeed to behold. Bid, blue eyes sparkled in the fading images of the sun as she stumbled upon the steps and paused at the door. Slightly nervous she breathed a sigh and mustered the strength to continue on her path. Once the door parted she was slammed in the face by the warmth of the roaring hearth.. A welcoming invasion. Then, as though mechanical she headed toward the bar.. Smiling to those within her passing.

The intensity of dark eyes kept upon Thane for a long considering moment. "I think I shall have to visit this place and see what there is to see," or not. They might go running from one like Vincent. Or something else might happen when he dared the devil. That was the mood he was in. Eye contact broken when another came in and since he was still standing, greeted the one. "Evening lass."

Thane just shrugged to that. He had a feeling that Vince and Simon might not appreciate the same things about the Gardens that he did... but he would not tell them they couldn't visit. A glance to the door brought him automatically to his feet to greet the female with a bow and low murmured, "Good evening."

She would have hated to interrupt but since she was addressed she paused and slowly turned to look upon each gentleman.. Resting finally upon Vincent. "Good evening" Her smile a sacred innocence. Then cerulean depths founded the man who bowed to her? Slender neck craned to the side as she watched him curiously. "I hope I have not intruded." And with that she headed toward the bar.

Hand moved in a gesture of dismissal. "Nothing of dire importance. I am Sir Vincent," them motioning to each of his comrades in turn, "Sir Simon and Sir Thane." Once more the great introducer but his comrades might notice the giving of names got shorter as he cut off surnames this time around. Next time it would be their titles.

Date: 06-09-10
Poster: Vincent Hamilton
Post # 34

He glanced at his hand again, brown eyes growing slightly vague before Vincent's use of his name brought him around again. "Evening, Miss." A slight bow given along with the greeting.

Hey, he was a Knight, the bowing thing was part of his Code. With that done, he sat down again, pushing aside the empty bowl that had previously held stew and going for his tumbler instead.

"It's very much a pleasure to meet all three of you.. I'm Eliane" Her small, five foot and one frame slid upon the stool and, with a small lift she situated herself. Brunette tendrils cascaded along her ivory face and tumbled around rounded shoulders. They all were introduced as "Sir" A noble rank to be certain. Very much awarding her favor and such a smile was given to each of them. "I'm afraid I have no title other than my name.. I am a humble seamstress.. I have hope that such a talent is welcome here" She was getting rather tired of traveling from place to place.

"I don't see why not. There are ones from many walks of life here and all respected as the individual earns that respect by the person they are, not their station in life." Slight smile followed with a minute dip of his head, words to encourage her that she would not be looked down upon or whatever she might fear of others. Vincent knew what most of the world was like outside of these lands. Taking his seat again as the lass had taken hers. "Nice to meet you Eliane, title or not."

"I think I'm going to return to the barracks." He looked at his comrades. "Feeling a bit tired." He'd be asleep nearly as soon as he hit the bed, with not even the walk in the rain waking him. "Vincent, Thane. Miss." A polite bow in her direction and he grabbed up his tunic and headed for the door.

Thane would let his comrades converse with the young lady for now. They were much better at such things than he. Rather than searching for words he kept himself to himself, enjoying his potcheen as dark eyes settled on the fire. "Goodnight, Simon, try to stay dry."

"I'll try." And then he was out the door and gone into the darkness and rain.

Vincent's words warmed her heart and made her feel comfortable. Assured that many others here shared his belief. Wise and humble. True knights! Wonderment filled her eyes as she watched each of them with soft care. Motherly. "Its my honor to have come upon this place." Upon the departure of Simon she bowed her head. "Fair night, sir Simon it was a pleasure." Eyeing Thane momentarily she looked back at Vincent. "I really don't want to be a bother but could I have a cup of tea?" Then the tender stepped over to her and she couldn't help but laugh, feeling a heated blush growing.

He wondered if Simon was all right as he watched him leave. A slight furrow of his brow and the press of his lips. "Alex will see to your tea." Which the elderly gentleman was seeing to as they spoke.

Nodding she sucked her bottom lip inward and momentarily chewed as she waited for her cup. When it was ready she reached in her pocket and offered Alex the coins. "Thank you very much" Nestling it within her palms she raised it to her lips.. Blowing before taking her first sip.

It could be the hour or something else like whatever was picked up from the Celtic Gardens, that dust. Seemed to multiply too as he noticed his arms, it was on the other now as well. Taking note as Simon had said it would wash off and so he was up again and heading outside to the water trough. Side door was left open but the angle would have him go unseen though the splash of water could probably be heard.

Wrapped in his thoughts, it took him a moment to realize how quiet it had suddenly gone over at the bar behind him. The muted splashing sounds finally caught his attention and he peered around the side of the wingback, seeing the lady sitting by herself now at the bar. He had a bit of dust along his arm as well, but he'd experienced it before and let it be for now. The potcheen finished, he was up and over to the bar to fetch another one. A brief side glance to Eliane as he waited and slight nod, nothing more.

The silent one approached and, even thought she was confidant the man did not wish to converse, she nevertheless whispered to him. "Not much for words are you.. It's ok" A knowing smile offered as a brow arched and she eyed Alex preparing him another potcheen. "How much is it for a room do either of you know?"

Thane quirked a brow at her momentarily before his eyes squinted a bit. A few lines creasing around his eyes that may have been amusement, though he didn't say a word to her reassurances. He answered for the tender, "All rooms, food and drink here are free. A courtesy of the Crown."

Thane's statement caught her off guard and her smile drastically fell from her lips as she reluctantly took up the coins. "That is very kind of them. Uncommon but nevertheless humbling. I thank you for your digression, Sir Thane."

His what? He gave her that strange look again, wondering at her displeased reaction. Most were thrilled when they heard there was no charge. Taking up his potcheen, he drew a long sip.

He was back in, hair dripping wet as well the top of his shirt and sleeves. The dust seeming gone at this point or as gone as it was going to be. He went right for the bar to gain another tumbler of the potcheen.

Catching Thane's reaction she tilted her head to the side.. Gradually offering the man a dusting of a smile in askance for his own to reappear. But her attention drifted upon Vincent as he reappeared at the door. "Getting worse out I see.." Lips threatened to frown but never quite managed. She was grateful she had a place to stay here. Better than being out in the storm.


He caught that glance, at least out of the corner of his eye but he didn't return it. Now that Vince was back at the bar he took up his tumbler and moved down a bit. It seemed rude to go back over to the hearth so he took up a barstool of his own, instead.

"The rain has ceased. For now." Taking up the tumbler as he turned. "I washed off some trail dust left over from Simon." Which he was doing his best not to grin as he stole a glance Thane's way.

Unfortunately for Thane this woman had a great deal of patience.. Accepting everyone for what they were and as he brushed her off she never gave it a moment's thought. He was a man who kept to himself and she understood. Then she eyed Vincent. "I enjoy the rain actually.. It's pure and heals the land" She could be uniquely strange in a lot of cases. "What majesty shall I boast to of your hospitality?" She chuckled.

"The Queen of these lands goes by the name of Honeee. We serve her son who has become the King of Kildare." Not getting into the reason. "The rains have been good to these lands and I'm sure days of sun and heat will follow." Which doing the water gauntlet would be a treat. "Where do you hail from?"

See. Vincent was much better at this than he was. So Thane would leave it to him and drink his potcheen quietly, for now.

Vincent was social and distant at the same time.

Honeee what a beautiful name.. One she would not easily forget. "You both are to be an example for certain." She toasted them with her tea cup and took another sip. King of Kildare? Perhaps one day she would have the honor of seeing the castle and meeting others of this nation. But when she was asked where she came from her eyes darkened and sadness took the place of contentment. "I'm afraid I really don't have a home." She cringed.

Yes.... sort of an oxymoron, huh? That got his attention, and he turned slightly on his stool to lift a brow at Vincent over Eliane's head. Not hard to do since both men were so much taller than her.

He could be an ox and moron at times. Yes. Stubborn to the core like a mule. Mule headed too or so he'd been told but he was a hell of a good warrior. "Well, you had to have come from someplace but if the memory is too painful then I will not pursue speaking on it." It was one thing on the fairy dust but he was not going to accept she appeared out of nowhere since she walked through the door.

"Coming from someplace is not the same as having a home." Thane spoke up seemingly out of nowhere, though it was more of a murmur to himself. Briefest of glances flicked between Vince and Eliane before he went back to his drink.

Feeling the awkward silence she tried not to smile but as it turned out she failed miserably at the attempt. "I know what you both must be thinking.. But it's true. I was born on a caravan.. Taken from my mother at a very young age and from then on I.. was passed from different families until I reached womanhood and was forced to venture out into the world and develop my own talent." The voice of Thane caught her attention and a quick over the shoulder glance was issued to him. " Well.. Perhaps I can prove myself here?" She had hope.

"I don't think my mind is a good place to even attempt crawling into..." which had him laugh before kicking back what was in his tumbler. "On the same account, I'd be afraid to crawl into Thane's head either."

She turned back to Vincent and issued the man a sure gaze of confusion.

"You did say you knew what we must be thinking..." brows lifted a touch as he kept the stoic composure otherwise.

That whole exchange between Vincent and Eliane, along with the comment of crawling into heads... had a brief smile on his lips. There and gone as he kicked back the rest of his tumbler, and stood. "Think I'll be heading to the Barracks as well. Goodnight Vince, Eliane, pleasure to meet you."

"Ah!" She laughed and nodded.. "Your right I did.. It was merely a figure of speech. Even if I were a mind reader I would respect you far enough never to invade your personal thoughts." Brows pinched together as she pushed off the stool and turned to face Thane in his depart. Yes they both towered above her. "Fair eve, Sir Thane. Perhaps I will run into you some other time." As unfriendly as the man was she somehow managed to find room in her heart to befriend him.

"It seems to be that time of night. You are welcome to a room here. Alex will give you a key and one of the chambermaids will see you above. Pleasure in the meet, sleep well for you are safe here in the least." Which might not be the case in Kildare outside the castle itself presently. Of course he knew it was a figure of speech but he just seized that opportunity to tease. Something he needed to work on for his usual demeanor and had only left her confused at first. Giving a dip of his head with a flamboyant swing of his hand with the bow and following the momentum with a turn on his heels to head out with his comrade.

"Thank you, Vincent." She smiled widely at him and bowed her head.

He dipped his head in one more nod towards Eliane, then started to the door. Pausing to wait for Vincent and to collect his coat, which was nowhere near dry. He shrugged it on anyway and headed out with his comrade.



Date: 06-12-10
Poster: Hugh MacNeils
Post # 35

Traveling Bard

Hugh had eaten a good meal after deciding to get out for a change. More of them should again. Perhaps the thought was sparked by Ailbhe emerging and there was a stir in the air that he could feel also. It was quiet, perhaps too quiet and with no one about except Alex and Hazel, who were in the kitchen anyway, he decided to play with the fire. Sitting in a wing back with just thoughts, the hearth would fill with flames, first the gold orange to reds then the white blue to greens, the rainbow effect probably had anyone passing by the place blink at the windows. A light show going on that reflected off the ceiling beams, walls and panes of the glass alike.

She could have stopped at any tavern along the way, could have begged a room with song or smiling at any farmer or curled up beneath the stars. Her feet were well used to the road and not yet too weary, but it was that light show in a window that drew her up short. Floppy felt boots paused in the dust and she tilted a head, watching it for a moment, intrigued. Every new place was a new adventure, a new source for stories and experiences... she was hardly one to walk away from such an enticing opportunity. So she adjusted the bundled unwieldy pack on her shoulder and jogged up the steps, sliding into the tavern and allowing the door to shut behind her. She had the appearance of one who had grabbed items of clothing at random out of a closet, but somehow it worked, fetchingly gyspy-like. A brightly-printed skirt worn over tight leggings that reached down to mid-calf, green felt boots loosely fitted on her feet. A short-sleeve poet's style shirt was worn atop, ruffle and an orange color that was once bright. A mass of palest blonde hair falling all about her face was flicked away with two long fingers as she glanced around. The source of the fiery entertainment was quickly found and she merely watched with a bemused smile.

In that split second as she stepped into the tavern, the fire in the hearth was the normal low burning peat although the candles lit about the place gave off a warming glow to anyone setting foot within the establishment. Smoldering dark eyes shifted as he lifted from where he was seated, mostly hidden by the wingback for the one he chose had him facing away from the door and hence would not be seen at first. That was until he stood and turned, obviously he heard one coming in or at least that would be assumed. "Good evening," eyeing the pack she carried which was easily deduced she was traveling. This late, "rooms are let freely that include meals and the meals are free to any that chance to come. It is the way of the lands and of this tavern in particular," implying there were other taverns in the lands that were not free.

A brow quirked briefly as she returned his greeting with a deeper smile and echoed, "Good evening. I've no need for a room, but a meal I will take, and since it is free, take it gladly." And so to the bar she went first thing, for the good smells wafting from the tavern were waking her stomach. A few moments to make the acquaintance herself with Alex and peruse the menu, before ordering herself the seafood platter and boiled potatoes, and some bread and butter on the side. Might as well eat large to take advantage of the generosity here.

There was a intensity set to dark eyes as he studied her a lingering moment before speaking up again. "You are just stopping in and on your way again tonight?" Although it was possible she was of the lands as certainly he'd been away to Genesis manor many months since out last. "You have traveled far?" Curious filtering in but then he felt the presence of another of his kin not far away.

"I am on my way, aye, though to where I never know. I may stop here for the eve or stroll beneath the stars awhile longer... I do not know yet." She had a lyrical quality to her voice that was almost like a spoken song. Her words were accompanied by a blithe smile. She settled herself on a barstool with her odd-shaped pack carefully nestled at her feet to await her meal. "Ah yes, quite far. Do you hail from here yourself? And will you show me that trick of the fire again?" One question casually followed the other as if it were nothing... a curious glint in her eyes.

Breda was humming to herself as she made her way toward the Thistle. A pleased smile curled full lips as she felt the presence of another and she made her way up the steps. She had been walking in the forest near the manor, so her clothing was suited to such, doe-skin pants, with a poet's shirt of red. A vest of doeskin was also worn but she had embroidered it with tiny flowers. She was carrying a notepate under her arm and had several graphite sticks tucked into a pocket of the vest. Her long hair was braided and fell over her right shoulder.

"Nature's child, sidhe," more under his breath but his smile was short of brilliant the few seconds it lasted. "Like the butterfly," but he didn't expound on the thought as focus shifted to his kin, coming in from the darkness outside. "Good evening Breda, it is good to have you out this far as well."

"Greetings," she called out to the woman who entered, before shifting attention back to Hugh. A smile quirking to her lips as she considered his words. "I have been called worse." Just time for a dimple to appear in a freckled cheek before her food arrived, and attention went to tucking into her meal for the next few moments. One dangling foot set lightly against her pack, a gesture almost like absently holding a loved one's hand. She liked to have that physical contact with Claira at all times.

"Hugh," her smile was warm and fond for the man before cat-like eyes turned to the woman. "Good evening and welcome to the Thistle." She made her way to the bar to ask Alex for a glass of potcheen punch before she joined him. The pad was placed on a table. "It is a lovely night, isn't it?" Her question was for both though she didn't expect the woman to answer since she was eating.

He had kind of missed that one question getting distracted as he was wont to do. Perhaps it was just as well for he rarely showed off his gifts like that. Having idle time on ones hands became the devil's playground. Perhaps another time he would show her. Especially since the newly arrive lass was eating, he would no longer disturb her. "It is a good night, Ailbhe has been out." They no longer had that totally open communications anymore as time moved on, the longer they were here. Most likely Breda would know for Ailbhe was the one foremost in keeping what they had left of Alteria alive.

"Lovely," she agreed, which was about all she could say politely with a full mouth. Which she would have a few minutes longer as she made quick work of the seaflood platter, delicately ripping off a chunk of bread to munch on as well. Her arms and hands moved expressively, almost as if performing a dance with those everyday movements. She did not miss that Hugh had not answered her questions but with the other woman now here she would not pry.

"Was he? Good. He has been in isolation too long." She had taken to helping at the orphanage when she could, which was often lately since Henna had family matters to deal with. She crossed long legs at the ankles as she sipped the drink and studied Hugh over her glass, then glanced at the woman before her attention was back on Hugh.. "I'm surprised you slowed down long enough to have a drink."

"He has been in isolation far longer than any of us," considering it was Ailbhe that came here first to see if this world was suitable. There were stories shared of that time. "I am Hugh and this is my kin, Breda." Addressing the unknown lass that she might share her name.

She realized she was being spoken to again, and by now she was nearly finished, just picking up a few crumbs off her plate with the tip of her finger. Pausing in that endeavor to turn slightly on her stool and offer a smile. "I'm Finna. Nice to meet you both." She caught the word kin and wondered just how they were related... they did not appear to be siblings by their features alone.

"Then I should get a drink so that I may slow down," which he was highly amused as he moved from his chair at the hearth to the bar. Potcheen would be his fare and the bottle left. A burn he could appreciate. "Nice to meet you Finna on your passing through." Eyes held a fire in their depths if one got close enough to see and possibly he was now that he was at the bar collecting his drink. "It is comfortable at the hearth if you'd like to join me there," the offer made in general as he headed back with bottle and glass in hand.

"It's nice to meet you also, Finna." She smiled in the woman's direction. "You're a traveller then?"

"Aye, by profession and nature." She pushed the empty dishes across the bar so Alex could collect them. Pulling the long waves of flaxen hair over one shoulder to get them out of her way. "I am what some call a minstrel and others, a Bard."

Hugh made himself comfortable again while wondering if she ever came across the wandering Bard from here, although the man had not been around in a while he was certain he would show up again. "That has to be a very interesting profession. Wander like the breeze, bringing story and song to many across varied lands."

"Do you also play an instrument?" She had noticed the odd shaped backpack. And she was still chuckling at her mistake and gave Hugh a mischievous look. She would miss the link greatly if it disappeared completely.

"The people are as varied as the landscape, and each has their story to tell," she agreed... then at Breda's question her smile brightened. "Aye." She hopped off the stool and crouched, fiddling with her pack, which turned out to be something wrapped up in oilskin rather than an actual bag. It was a small harp, gleaming rich amber wood with silver strings and pegs. It seemed very old but very well taken care of, and she handled it with tender care. "This is Claira. She is my best friend," and her fingers lightly tripped along the strings in a glissando that sounded in perfect harmony.

She would not miss the link when they went off to those islands again in search of treasure and Mellan met up with Boom Boom or her associates again and they decided to have a replay. Amusement touched upon smoldering eyes and just that hint of a curl to the corners of his mouth. Not a word passed them presently as he would let the ladies talk and settled in to listen to the lilt of their voices. He took to enjoying the potcheen for it had a sweet burn.

"Ah, a harpist. There are a couple I know of in the lands. Will you play something now?" Yes, that replay she could do without.

She was not a difficult one to entice to play. Singing was not merely her profession, it was like breathing air. Smile deepening yet further, she settled herself again on the barstool, the harp tucked with practiced motions into her lap and slightly beneath one arm. "What would you like to hear? An adventure," fingers plucking a series of tense notes, "or tragedy," a dark chord struck, "or a romance, perhaps?" Plucking a sweet, hopeful note.

He was interested to hear which Breda would choose and in due course what the song or story would be. So a glance was spared between them both before kicking back more of the potcheen.

"An adventure." She decided after a moment of thought. Tragedies didn't interest her and she wasn't in the mood for romantic either.

Romance would probably be an adventure for Breda being she had never embarked upon it. Wait, did she hear his thought? Wondering now if that had been an unguarded one.


It could have been because she gave Hugh a narrowed eyed look in warning though she said nothing.

"Mmm." It was indeed always interesting to learn what people chose to hear.... it sometimes told her things about people who were otherwise strangers. But those thoughts kept to herself as she considered a moment. "This is called The Enchanted Forest." It was not really an epic adventure but a poetic story of wild journeys that rather suited her mood. She tilted her head down towards her instrument and that was where her focus went, completely. A few opening notes struck that were light and airy before she began singing. "The gnarled boughs hand darkling down, and biers sweep my knees; the moon is low, like a gold lamp, behind the twisted trees." Her voice was pure and sweet, a natural talent rather than something perfected with coaching.


"O dark and still are the wet fern, and trees where no birds nest; what heed have I for night or day, who ride a lifelong quest
?" The tempo shifted some to evoke creeping mysterious shadows as her voice went a bit quieter. "There is no cock-crow in the dark, no bleat from a far sheep fold.... When the Forest Folk begin to stir under the starlight cold." A sudden burst of fey energy, "Rend your wild hair, you elfin things, that peep from bush and tree; I know what strangling arms you reach athwart the dusk to me. Twist your fierce lips, you false fair things, I know what dance you tread... To what drear tune 'neath the cold moon, of nights with the sheeted dead." Three final chords, dissonant then ending on a cliffhanging chord that shimmered in the air.

He cleared his throat with that narrowed eyed look his way and lord help him, it amused him no end. She would be able to tell by his profile for having known him for so long, eons. A spark ignited in dark eyes as he set to listening to the sweet notes of the melody. The fire seemed to grow in the hearth, dancing along as if each and every note affected the various flames in their height and color. A hand swept out once she neared the end of her song to still them back to the norm especially after that last chord. The gesture minute, subdued, to go unnoticed as his hand settled to the curve of his knee. Another drink of the potcheen was taken before setting the glass aside and applauding. A custom he learned here. "A very interesting tale sung."

She had to bite at her lower lip to keep from laughing at Hugh but then the song took her attention. She closed her eyes as she listened, her enjoyment no less than her kin's. She too applauded, her smile growing as she opened her eyes. "You have a wonderful voice."

"Well, that is not all of it..." She gave a slight smile, eyes dipping away at the compliments. Fingers lifted off the strings which still sung in a barely-audible high note across the tavern. "I've not finished the rest yet."


"By all means then, finish your song.." they would not know as that last chord was of a type usually at the end of a song.

"No, I mean..." She laughed softly. "I have not finished writing it."

"Ah, so you are one of several talents, singing, playing and writing. Excellent." She smiled again. "And traveler as well. " A nod of approval was given and her glass lifted in a salute. Then Breda finished what was left in her glass.

She dipped her head with a smile in return for the salute. "I earn my keep, at the very least." It was not an easy life nor a wealthy one, but such things mattered little. Certainly it was an exciting life for a restless spirit. She had had a glass of water with her supper and now finished it off in a gulp. Her harp was re-wrapped carefully in its oilskin then secured with a belt that also served as the carrying strap, and this was slung over one shoulder. "I thank you for the hospitality, but I shall be on my way."

He was getting antsy to explore the night as he rose to his feet again, "perhaps you will pass this way again and the song will be finished." They could hear the rest of it. "Safe travels, Finna. A pleasure in the meet. May your wings bring you the joy and freedom of the bird in your flight." Bringing over what was left in the bottle and the empty shot glass to rest on the bar.

Breda would be interested in how it ended She stood as well, lifting the pad with her sketches and carried the glass to the bar as well. These would be put into a larger book that she was making. "Good night and stay safe, Finna. I'm sure the next to hear your song will enjoy them as much as we have."

"Thank you, very much." It was always nice to hear such pleasant and kind words, especially from strangers and her smile was warm. "I hope we meet again." She gave Alex a smile in thanks as well before stepping toward the door, Claira on her back. "Farewell!"

Door was open or he would hold it for them, figuring Breda may want to make her leave as well. "We will walk as far as our paths part." At least he would have some company as sometimes that was preferred while other times being alone was.

"I will enjoy the walk with you both." Until their paths parted. She waved at Alex before following Finna outside. Once down the steps, she paused to wait for Hugh.

He was a-coming, following them both out and down as a gentleman would. He was practicing his manners as off they went.



Date: 06-14-10
Poster: Sean DeBurgh
Post # 36

Prince Bard Return

The warmth of a breeze stirred the leaves in the tree tops this fair summer's eve. Lights gave off a golden warmth from the tavern's windows beckoning those about to come in for a meal or drink with always the possibility of company. Sean was home and after seeing his mother and aunt earlier, he now occupied the porch in a half sitting position against the rail, booted foot propped on a bench as the notes flowed from his lute. Adept fingers a blur, sliding and plucking to fill the air with a sweet melody.  Sun streaked hair held the braid with the eagle's feather attached to the bottom. Fringed leather vest was worn over a loose fitting poet's shirt. Boots laced up over lightweight pants of a darker brown. He was content to play the instrument presently than sing.

Maggie was returning home to the tavern just in time for the usual busy hour, but as she approached the tavern, well-trained senses told her that the place was quiet tonight. Quickened steps slowed in relief on her way up the pathway towards the porch. It had been a long several hours, exhausting more in the emotional sense than the physical and she trod slowly up the steps to the porch. She wore a light summer dress of pale rose, a light woolen shawl around her slender shoulders held it place by one hand. Rich chocolate locks with their crimson streaks loose about her face. She glanced in through the open doorway, confirming that the place was quiet before glancing to the man with the lute, a faint smile finding its way to her face. "That's lovely."

The notes subtly changed as the shift of Fae blue eyes turned on the woman approaching. A twinkle set within their depths as the Irish tenor's voice lifted in song. "There's a tear in your eye.. and I'm wondering why, for it never should be there at all. With such pow'r in your smile, sure a stone you'd beguile.. so there's never a teardrop should fall. When your sweet lilting laughter's like some fairy song and your eyes twinkle bright as can be.. you should laugh all the while and all other times smile... and now smile a smile for me." It was one of his favorites and certainly his voice should be heard within the realm again.


"When Irish eyes are smiling.. sure it's like a morn in spring, in the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing. When Irish hearts are happy... all the world seems bright and gay and when Irish eyes are smiling.... sure they steal... your heart... away." Slightly shifting as fingers never ceased their motion over the strings pulling forth the melody with ease. "For your smile is a part of the love in your heart.. and it makes even sunshine more bright. Like the linnet's sweet song, crooning all the day long... comes your laughter so tender and light. For the spring time of life is the sweetest of all, there is ne'er a real care or regret... and while spring time is ours, throughout all of youth's hours.. let us smile each chance we get." The words fading off with the music to follow as booted foot slipped from the bench to the boards beneath. A flourish of a hand out with the slight bow considering the lute still in hand. "Sean DeBurgh at your service."

When he started singing she found herself leaning against the porch railing, hips resting comfortably there to listen. It was an old song she knew so well that even the passage of many years could not make her forget it. A smile began on her lips then bloomed fully when he proved his talent. Almost childlike pleasure softened her features for those moments despite the tired lines about her eyes. When he finished, she beamed a smile as the song had bidden. "Maggie Callahan. You are a bard?" This Welsh-born lass knew the type well for Bards were beloved amongst her people.

"Aye, the song comes from me heart, the skill of hands o'er the lute from the Fae I'm told," giving her a wink as if teasing but he wasn't really. "Your smile pays the highest compliment," for a bard  it was the praise over coin, although for some that coin was important in keeping them alive.  "Shall we adjourn inside for a drink?" He was the distiller of potcheen, which he was probably more famous for in these lands than his singing.

"At least it is said to be of the Fae, and not the Banshees," she teased gently right back. His suggestion was met with a nod as she pushed off the railing. "Aye, I ought to be getting inside. I wait tables here," she told him as they stepped through the door. Her shawl hung up on a peg nearby as she started towards the bar. "Hello Alex, sorry I'm a bit late."

Alex broke out into a big grin seeing Sean coming in. He didn't say anything but Sean could tell he was pleased he was back. So was his mother who got him to promise to go with her to the villages where she saw to the children in those remote places and he could sing and tell stories to their delight. He would do anything he could for his mother. "The tavern is taking a step up hiring a lovely lass as yourself to see to the tables. I have been gone a while, I imagine there will be many changes to yet witness, people to meet, but always the feel here remains unchanged." Moving inside with her and heading straight to the bar where he set his lute aside out of the way. Words exchanged between him and Alex in a quick catch up and greeting.

"You flatter me," she replied to the compliment with a soft smile. She'd noticed her employer's grin upon their entry and guessed correctly it was at the sight of the Bard. She left the men to their greetings and slipped into the back for a moment to fetch an apron and pin her hair up.

Maeve had been at the castle for most of the day, first training then working with those who wished to become part of the order. Instead of remaining there, she rode Nimsul until it grew dark, then returned to Heathfield. Once the horse was stabled, she made her way in through the garden door.

"I flatter where warranted," given with a sweeping smile before she left as the potcheen was set in front of him, bottle had his name on it too if one read the smaller print under Heathfield Potcheen. One had left and another came. "Good eve to you lass. I am Sean DeBurgh," said with raising his glass in salute before it was kicked back, leaving the burn upon his tongue and throat.

"Good evening to you as well, Sean," she inclined her head in respect, having recognized his name. "I'm Maeve Ni Cas'Corach. It's a pleasure to meet you." She smiled as she spoke then moved to the bar as well, requesting a glass of the potcheen punch and allowing Alex to choose being she hadn't found a flavor she didn't like. Since the night was warm, she wore a shirt with short sleeves beneath a natural doeskin vest. Doeskin pants that matched the vest
were also worn as well as low boots. The empowered sword of course was in place at her hip.

He noticed the sword once she came closer and a slipping glance was given over her naturally. "You are knighted here in these lands?" He could feel his cousin all over that sword and it had a smile to bear witness to that very thought. "A pleasure to meet you Dame Ni Cas'Corach, or would you prefer Maeve?"

"I am, yes. I serve as one of the Knights of the Order of Athena." She smiled again. "And yes, here as most do, I prefer to be addressed by my name rather than my title. You have been away, have you not, Sean?" A dimple appeared as her smile grew wider. His family would no doubt be pleased to have him back.

"Yes I have," then with an added chuckle, "far too long as my mother would say as well my aunt and cousins too. Although I've a yin to travel the wide world and learn of new tales and songs to spin, I suppose one day I may settle before I am old and brittle that I might have a child or two to carry on m'name." Of course such was never quite that easy as he made it sound. First it required the elusive thing called love and on top of that, acceptance of a rather different heritage.

"As long as you are happy with what you do, and content, then the need to settle will come when it should." Being as she was, she could sense there was something different about him, though she was unsure what. "Have you found many new tales and songs?"

"It is amazing that for the wide world to be as big as it is, there is more that is in common no matter what race. Tales are of the heart, of sorrow, of joy and of war. Of victory and triumphs be it physical or mental. The latter usually more profound in the long of it. I've enough tales and songs to last me a life time but I never lose the interest in meeting new faces and the personalities that go with them." Taking a glance to the corridor where Maggie had disappeared, "have you met the lass that waits the tables here? Maggie.."

"Aye, I have. Is she here tonight?" She followed his glance to the corridor, wondering if the young woman had left for some reason.

"Aye, not sure what is keeping her unless she had retired for the evening." Which it was growing late and he was starting to feel the weight of the day.

Maggie re-emerged from the back, a short apron tied about her waist and thick locks swept up into a loose bun atop her head. Noting the new arrival she nodded to Maeve and gave a slight smile of greeting. Over to the bar and Alex, softly requesting a tea - he knew which type and she asked for it strong. She never liked to make a large thing of it so endeavored to ask in a light tone.  And yes... oblivious that they had just been talking about her!

"There she is, you have met the lady knight, Dame Maeve, Maggie?" Pouring himself another shot of the potcheen as he spoke.

"I believe I have, once...." A vague memory but the name seemed familiar. Then again she did see a lot of faces and sometimes they were difficult to match to names.

"Good evening, Maggie. We did meet, but briefly a few weeks ago." She relaxed against the bar after her greeting and sipped the drink. Turned out to be strawberry flavored.

A slow smile lifted as he looked between the two. "Seems we are all getting tired.."

"Ah yes. Pleasure to meet you again." She offered another smile then received her tea from Alex, its medicinal smell strong. She blew across its surface to cool it a bit before taking a long sip. "Aye, it has gotten late I suppose..."

"I will have to come another evening and play some more songs and sing, until then, have a pleasant evening and days to come." He had finished off what he planned to drink this night, although it would take a lot to have any effect on him anyway. More than was human. "I've had the pleasure in meeting you both." Spoken as he shifted up from the bar and a modified swift bow to both.

She hadn't realized it was so late but that wasn't unusual for Maeve. Finishing her drink, she inclined her head as she had when they had first met. "It was a pleasure to meet you as well, Sean. I'm certain to see you again." At the castle, at least once or twice before he was off again. "Good night, Maggie, Alex." She would have to retrieve her horse from the stable. Her dog was likely done with his run and would be waiting for her by the castle stable.

"Good night, Sean, Maeve."

With their farewells given he headed for the side door and out, direction taken to the castle.



Date: 06-15-10
Poster: Thane Roberts
Post # 37

Late Night Gathering

Vincent's form soon took up the space of the entry side door from the street. Standing there a moment in silence as he met silence. Hair was still dripping wet as were spots on his tunic randomly spreading. Fingers delved through the soggy locks to plaster them back from his face as he was on the move again. Hand swinging back down and soon planted on the bar's edge with a slight thud. "Seems it's you and me, Alex." At least so far but that certainly could change as he straddled up the stool, potcheen set out with the bottle left.

Simon had been exploring again though he avoided the Celtic Gardens tonight. It had taken time to get that glittery stuff off and he didn't want to go through that again. Instead, he had ridden along the coast, reaching the lighthouse and returning as it grew dark. Instead of making his way to the castle, he headed for the Thistle.

Thane had spent his day on horseback as well, venturing out of town and to the outskirts. He spent hours ranging about the countryside and could have spent hours more, enjoying the rustic scenery and exchanging greetings with those met, many of them farmers. Whom he still thought of as his people. Trotting across the vast fields, he ventured as far as he could until he deemed the hour past its prime. So it was a late return he made, swinging easily out of the saddle and tying up the borrowed horse at a post just outside the Tavern.

Something in the air had him perk up as he didn't keep Alex locked up in conversation but took to drinking a few shots. "Fee fi foe fum, I smell the rotting carcass of two knightdoms.." so it was one of those spur of the moment, kind of rhyme but he was not all that good at it other than the humor he hoped would ride his words.

The horse was given a gentle rumple to the ears before Thane made his way up the porch steps and into the tavern itself. Worn leather riding gloves tugged off one hand at a time as he glanced around, and somehow wasn't surprised to see Vincent already there. Boots coated in dried mud carried him over to the Bar, where he nodded first to Vince, then to Alex in greeting. "An ale and a bowl of stew, please, Alex."

"It's a real pity you and Simon didn't make it down to the lake today. Water was cool compared to the heat of the day. Fishing was great by the time evening came and the catch smoked up real good over an open fire pit. Melt in your mouth filets lightly seasoned, some in done up in batter, some with the touch of lemon."

Thane gave Vincent a long, hard look. "You're trying to make me hungry while I wait for my food." A statement, not a question. And not very nice for it had his stomach grumbling.

He had taken his horse around to the stable to let him get some attention and came in through the back. Hearing Vincent, he just chuckled then stepped into the common room. "Sounds like you had an enjoyable day, Vincent, and evening to you both."

Which had him smirking, "you need to train that thing. Maybe get it to stand up and beg for its meal.." which was an amusing visual to say the least. Distracted then to Simon and his late arrival. Actually they were all late if one realized the hour. "What do you say we join that joust in allied lands and see what there is to see while we're here in Heathfield." Once back to Kildare, he doubted they would have the leisure for such competitions. "We have the approval of the King who may join us to watch."

Thane just gave a short snort of laughter at that. His meal arrived then, and he thanked the tender. A long draught of ale taken to quench his thirst before he started in on his stew. "Perhaps," all he offered to the suggestion between bites.

"The King wants us to take part?" He looked up from his drink and then looked at Thane, hiding his smile by drinking.

"I think it was mentioned that if we'd like to test our skills in another land, it went with his approval." In short, Leoric would not force them to go, or even word it in a way that would make them feel obligated.

Thane glanced to Simon around Vincent's back, wondering if his comrade was as interested in this joust as Vince seemed to be. For Thane's part, he could do without it. But where his brothers-at-arms went so would he. For now he just ate his stew, dipping chunks of bread into the bowl to wipe up the dregs.

The place had been quiet for lack of a crowd this evening. Roseann wasn't sure exactly what woke her as she came down the steps barefoot and wrapped up in a colorful kimono. Long hair, of such a deep walnut color it was almost black, flowed loosely about her shoulders and down her back. Caught in a yawn that had a hand up to cover when she realized that she was not along in the tavern like she thought. She froze on the spot, eyes widening like a doe caught in the headlights. That freeze brain thought, should she continue like nothing was amiss or run like a little chicken shit?

And Thane was caught too with the bread midway to his mouth. A soft sound on the stairs had drawn his attention only to see a sleep-rumpled beauty there. And one he recognized instantly. The tree nymph, as they had called her. A blink of dark blue eyes and he set his bread down before it could drip broth all over him, but made no move to acknowledge her yet. She had the look of one deciding whether to flee or stay and wanted to give her that choice before drawing any attention her way. Just as he had that day on the spar field though it had not worked that time.

Thane might feel the nudge, one administered discreetly as he shifted on his stool to see the almost sleep walking beauty. She was completely covered in a bright and fetching wrap but there was more about a waking lass with hair flowing free. His smile was getting bigger, his way of greeting, as he too gave her the moment of choice.

He just nodded, not really answering though he'd consider it. Instead he glanced up as to see the lass there and nodded at her. "Evening," with a hint of a smile. If he recognized her, he wasn't saying. Instead he went back to
his drink.

"I didn't mean to interrupt your meal." Catching herself as the ideal to run was brushed off as being childish. Although her appearance seemed to affect the one eating. The smile she returned of the other, and last but not least a response to the one that greeted. "Good evening Sir, Sirs, I hope I am not intruding upon your time." She knew men liked to get into manly talk and the reaction was enough to support that idea. Continuing to the bar as she ordered a cup of tea, which she could take back with her upstairs. "I am Roseann," realizing as she got closer that they were the knights on the field that evening not long ago. Shirtless. Perhaps a touch of color stained her cheeks as they got her profile once the introduction was done and her order given to Alex. Where was Diane! She was going to drag her sister here to see all these handsome men.

Well, now that the jig was up he found his manners and his feet. Standing from his barstool to bow his head in a respectful nod to the young woman. Dark blues meeting hers for only a fleeting second before he seated himself again. His demeanor perhaps a bit formal but that was simply his way, and hey, nobody could not call him impeccably polite. "It is no intrusion," he offered in quiet reply to her concerns before going back to his ale.

"No intrusion at all. A pleasure, in fact, Lady Roseann. I am Sir Vincent and these are my colleagues, Thane and Simon. We are knights under King Leoric McLarkin and here with him for a duration." He too gained his feet adding the introductions.

"Well met, Lady Roseann." He smiled at her as he turned fully to face her. He was standing already so didn't need to stand.

She turned back, eye contact made that seemed to linger with each as she committed their faces to memory. She went to curtsey, natural habit instilled in the Cleary sisters and realized quickly that such would have her wrap parted and showing more leg than would be proper. See how quick she switched horses as a phrase would put it. Did a one two step that she managed at least to get off gracefully. "I am honored to meet you each. Vincent, Simon and Thane." She slightly cleared her throat which kept her from saying something stupid like, you can go back to what you were doing, pay me no mind, pretend I'm not here.

He did catch her aborted curtsy out of the corner of his eye, one barely noticeable for its grace, but it drew a faint smile to his lips. One there and gone and its reason kept to himself as he pushed his empty bowl across the bar for Alex to collect.

For some reason he was picturing her dancing through the flowered fields on a moonlight night, in silks if not anything at all. Dangerous thoughts there as he remained standing, easing into a lean so that he was politely facing her. Tumbler was up to kick back its contents which was enough of a jolt to bring him back to the present. Although he kept quiet, just a smile to surface that reached his eyes but not overrun her with questions.

He finished his drink then smiled again. "I'm afraid it's late for me so time for me to retrieve my horse and be off. Again it was a pleasure and I hope next time, I won't be disappearing so quickly." He glanced at his two friends. "And I'll see you both on the field tomorrow." Then, he turned on a heel and headed out.

A glance up to Simon as he made his departure, bidding him farewell and goodnight. Simon's words reminding him of the early starting hour tomorrow, yet Thane was not at all tired yet.

It was getting late and he wasn't going to have Simon get the advantage over him of getting more sleep. "I should be on my way as well. What Simon says, it is my sentiment as well. A good night Lady Roseann." A slight grip to Thane's shoulder before heading out and wasn't there just that kind of smirk there!

They would do that... both of them abandoning him with other company present. Perhaps not Simon but with that smirk, he knew Vincent was taking pleasure out of it. His other comrade bidden good-night as well and then he gave a glance to Roseann. Without any words coming to mind, so after a moment he gave up the attempt and leaned across the bar a bit to quietly request another ale.

She felt a little strange but each got a smile as they departed. She had expected Thane to go as well. Her tea arrived and best she headed upstairs for it would not be proper at all, alone with one male attired as she was. "I bid you all sweet dreams and peaceful sleep, perhaps another time our paths will cross again." Or she might be up in that tree again to watch the men work out. There was a fascination about how they trained. Willing her thoughts not to go there or she would not find sleep this night for a while. Tea cup was curled in delicate hands with the long tapered fingers of an artist. Her walk was as graceful as before, sweeping her across the room to the corridor that led to the stairs.

A glance up again when Roseann rose, and there was a prick of disappointment though he was not at all surprised she chose to leave. Coming to his feet once more as his deep voice spoke up. "I hope God gives you pleasant dreams." There was no smile there but something might tell her that he meant it. Only those who knew him best realized that his oft-formal speech came from a genuine place of the heart.



Date: 06-20-10
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 38


He should be headed back to the ranch, true. He should be settling in to begin a day of hard labor tomorrow. True again. But here he was, in the Thistle, a tankard in hand, resting back in his chair with his feet propped up on another one he had pulled around. The truest statement of all! True. True. And true again. Third time was the charm it would seem, so he drank, and relaxed and pretended tomorrow wasn't another day.

With Conor not working as much as he had and gone so long, Segan made sure to come around to the tavern once his ship was unloaded. He hadn't lost that swagger even if he'd been on land more than sea. Things had been a changing over the past number of months although he was getting a lot of the shorter runs. The Captain was home again as he filled the doorway of the tavern, one left open these warmer days and nights. "Well, there's my scallywag of a brother. You've been at least socializing with those ye kin?" Heading in to collect a tankard of ale before joining him.

He chuckled, "and some I don't kin." Conor didn't drop his feet yet, there were two more chairs to be had at his table. "Though the don't kins seem to be more in number than the do kin." He frowned, though not a serious one, one more of just considering his own words. "Where have you been?" Conor never really did get that whole sea travel thing. Feet versus fins and all. Aye, he had feet, and solid ground suited him just fine.

Straddling up a chair as the intensity of blue eyes pegged his younger brother. "Well, have you seen the McDonough's yet? I'm sure your job with them was kept. And, have you seen the Indian lass that hung about yea or not?" He knew he had made friends with her too. He reached over to ruffle up his brother's hair briefly, "good to have yea home again. Many to meet, aye, way of the lands but that is not unusual." Then to answer his question. "I've been running cargo for Bovee Shipping. Usually just up and around to Ballicastle or in the other direction to Tyremoor and even Kildare."

Conor got seasick and that was reason enough for him to avoid sailing. He'd be gratified to learn at least one of his cousins had the same affliction when it came to the sea. The eldest of the three brothers had come in through the back door, spoken to the guards and now was making his way to the common room. "Ah, now there's a sight to see." He saluted his two brothers. "Good to see you both tonight." He knew Segan had been out at sea of course. "How
are you both this eve?" He made his way to the bar to obtain a drink as he asked.

Brows arched up. Was that first a reprimand? Was the last a bit too nosey a question? He didn't bother to smooth out his hair, or answer. His life beyond the Thistle was no one's concern but his own. Wait! He was a Quinn! What a ridiculous assumption. No one's concern! The Grand Dame, Herself, was the matron of all-knowing. No one's concern indeed! "Ever been to Ashland I..." He didn't get to finish his statement, at least his voice trailed off at the 'land' part of island as Eion entered. His feet did drop to the floor then and he scooted up to sit straighter. "Good evening, Eion. Doing well, here. How's ... things ... with you?"

At least he knew his brother was normal for the way he reacted to his suggestions of those that he kin over those he kin not. "Eion, I heard the bells toll this morning with good news." Which he would know more directly having been on the king's field or so Segan was assuming.

He selected potcheen for his drink tonight, chuckling at the way Conor had sat up. "I'm not Herself, Conor." He teased as he joined them then nodded. "Doing well enough and yes, there was excellent news in fact. The King and his Horsemen as well as the two knights were all found alive." Not well, at first but they were all well on the road to recovery.

Conor had spent the better part of the day with the Grand Dame. Give him a break for reacting to his ::ahem:: elders. "That is grand news!" He lifted his tankard and stood. "To those who returned, and those who have been waiting that return!"

"Aye, I'll drink to that," as he stood offering his tankard up and out. "To good endings may they continue to heal the hearts and minds of those we love and beloved by those we kin as friends." Which he drank down near all of the cold ale then grabbed up the bottle Eion had brought over to chase it down with the pure.

"Aye, separated no more." He lifted his glass as well. It was as if a great gray cloud had dissipated over the entire realm. Down went half the drink.

He followed in like fashion, drinking down that toast. As the tankard lowered, he looked to Segan again. "Have you?" He didn't finish the question, just let it hang from before.

"Have I .. what?" He was bent on fogging up his mind with good ale and potcheen. Nicely on his way as he relaxed back. Conor was talking in strange riddles tonight, "and what of Ashland?"

There. He had heard him! "Have you been there, seen it, in any of your travels?" His gaze darted to the area of the map, then back to Segan.

He settled in the third chair and leaned back. He'd enjoy his drink while they solved riddles.

Conor enjoyed riddles nearly as much as he enjoyed sea travel. Good thing it was Segan having to figure it out rather than Conor, eh?

"Have I ever been to Ashland.. Ashland off the seas.." singsong, "probably have at least hit it's port if it has one.. otherwise, no. Not of land have I seen it. So, tell me about this Ashland.."

"I think I need to catch up with you two in drinking." He muttered after a moment, utterly lost.

Conor was all about shrugging today. Seemed it either started or ended most of his comments. He shrugged a shoulder. "Don't know anything about it. Was hoping you could fill me in. But what good are you?" He chuckled, then glanced to Eion. "And what's new there? You're a lazy sod of a drinker."

"Ah.. so that's it," giving Eion a glance then back to Conor, "I think little brother wants a beating and to be dunked in the trough outside." Starting to get up as he could see to that..

"Aye, that might be a good idea." He just gave the youngest a smile ... the one that usually caused little brothers to run.

Which had Conor coming to his feet as well, prepared to defend himself. Which he had done quite often in his lifetime. "You daft horse's asses, you've both lost your friggin' minds." Ah, yup, he was preparing to dart, you better believe it! "What does catching up with drinking have to do with tossing me in a trough? Lost them, gone, no minds at all." He'd get his fair share of bruises from the attempt, but dang if his brothers would come out of this unscathed should they try it. He shifted his weight to one leg, ready to push off, and scat!

Which had him burst out laughing. "Thought maybe you'd be seeing Ashland after a few dunks but iffin you want to get drunk then that is a horse of a different color. I'll drink to that," lifting his tankard to drain the last before he was off to the bar for a refill. He would be bringing back more potcheen too.

Segan's move to the bar had Conor tensed, even if it seemed the conversation had switched to drinking rather than dunking. He chanced a look to Eion to see if that brother had relaxed his stance too.

No dunking. He laughed and sat back down stretching out his legs. "You look like you're in pretty good shape still. Might be hard to catch you. Though, I admit, it might be fun to watch Segan try to catch you."

Since Eion sat, Conor leaned toward him in a hushed voice that was rather loud, just so Segan could hear. "He's getting old, he's already been caught by a lass, how quick can he be?" A look to Segan as he leaned a hand on the table, just to watch that brother's reaction to the engaged reference.


That's when Conor got tackled from behind. Segan had left the tankard at the bar, so when he looked, he wasn't there but certainly like a monkey on his back. "Get his legs, Eion!"

Whoa! He hadn't expected that himself and nearly took a tumble from his chair. Now the question was, did Segan really have hold of Conor?

"Ffff..." The word started, but didn't finish. He hadn't seen Segan at the bar and the expletive started but didn't get to finish as he was jumped from behind. His head snapped back, catching Segan square on the bridge of his nose, even as he kicked his chair aside, hoping to keep Eion from coming at him from that angle. Alex would not be pleased if the boys broke any of the furniture, but this was survival!

That chair didn't help Eion keep his balance much but he did save his potcheen! As he tried to untangle himself, he placed the glass safely on the table. They'd be taking it outside as soon as he got to his feet. The scrapping that is.

"He's as squirmy as an eel, get his feet," trying not to laugh at the same time even with the zing to the bridge of his nose. It wouldn't be the first bloody nose he ever got nor the last but at least he could bleed on his brother. Not gushing thankfully as he hooked his arms up under Conor's that had his hands turn up and around to cup behind Conor's head too so there was no more head butting.

"Mangy cur dogs!" He whooped. Life was good when in the midst of a scramble, especially if he was outnumbered by the best! Before Eion could get to his feet, a heel had found the top of Segan's foot, and had the table not been directly in front of him, Conor would have used Segan's hold to drop his own weight, and then bend to flip his brother over his shoulders. That might crush the table though, and even in the fray, Conor tried hard not to do any real damage to the tavern. Just his brothers! He struggled with Segan's hold, squirming fiercely, just as Segan had dubbed him.

Which had him hopping and jerking Conor back and forth so he could not get a good foothold nor even land his feet on the floor much at all until Eion could get hold of them in a lock.

Right! Was Eion daring enough to attempt to lower himself to that level of kicking, flailing feet?

Eion was laughing and up on his feet. He sure as hell was going to try and with one caught good and the other dragging, (and trying to protect a vital spot), was shouting "Out!" Before either Alex or Hazel came after them with a broom, bucket of slops or maybe even a frying pan. Hell, Conor had always been tough to hold onto, and it didn't help that they had been drinking. "Ow!" Came as Conor's heel caught him in the shin.

Conor would have preferred to have walked Out! Then they could have taken it up from there! Limp of arms and jerking of legs, still his brothers held firm top and bottom. Conor had no doubts, unless some unexpected miracle happened, he was going in the water tonight!  Dammitall!  But one or the other of those two who towed him out, were going in with him!

Or worse.. laughing. Certainly Segan was even with the welt on his forehead. Blood on the top of Conor's head and back before it ceased. Heading out, there was no way to back out of this now or get the broom. The faster he moved the better it was and the lock held Conor plastered to his chest facing Eion. It was not a straight forward path, nor even a steady one, more like zigzagging and faltering all the way as Conor squirmed, twisted and generally tried to get loose from their grip. Almost stumbling down the steps, Conor might have some temporary other concerns or scares as Segan finally got his balance and was heading towards that trough, scared the few horses away to give them room.

Concerns or scares? Bah! Bumps, bruises, bleeding, it was all a part of the evening, was it not? He never quit jerking about, attempting to catch one of the brothers off their guard with their hold. Finally, as they neared the trough and the horses snorted and whinnied with their disapproval of this game, Conor made one last effort, and rather than surging out to kick Eion away, he jerked his legs in, pulling Eion to him, then that free leg, the one dragging and kicking this whole time wrapped around the back of his brother's knee. Catching him at that vulnerable spot that might weaken the eldest Quinn's stand. At the same time, he snatched Segan toward him as well, rather than fighting him away, causing both the captive and assailant to teeter to one side, dangerously close to both tumbling into that large basin of water.

It was that insult of Conor's that always caused him to crack up. He was barely managing to keep his balance as it was and kept trying to grab Conor's other leg. Cussing, he stumbled again though he was laughing. It was beginning to look as if they'd all be smelling like horse water tonight. He wasn't letting go of Conor, even if he went in.

"Just because you can't get a girl," ho boy, Segan just had to add that as a come back. Pulling Eion in like that had the two smacking foreheads but dam if he was going to let go or even be pulled in tothe trough as he braced a foot there to keep him from thus. Time to let go as he surged a little forward in a heave ho, letting Conor go through the air. If Eion didn't let go on that cue, then well, only Conor's head and chest would be in with Eion holding on to his leg.

He caught the heave ho, but falling to one knee, he didn't toss Conor quite right. Wincing, he watched to see if the youngest even made it into the trough or missed!

Shoulders smacked hard on the wooden rim, causing him to grunt out a curse of revenge. His arm smacked into the water, sending a spray of horse-lip water up and over the lot of them. That caused Conor to sputter and choke, he wasn't expecting that! He fell to the ground beside the trough, with a rather loud thud/splat and another groan, right in, worse than the water! A remnant of one of the horses' last meal!  He was kicking like a madman now. Eion better take the hint and let!

Segan was back pedaling fast, laughing his ass off. Sure he got initially splashed but noting compared to the squirt Eion probably got when Conor displaced the horse's refined meal.

Ugh! At least it hadn't hit him in the face, but the chest yes. He was up quick, though, laughing as he turned and started to run. Maybe a good place to head was the lake rather than the castle or manor. He didn't want to set the knight's hall to smelling!

When his feet dropped hard to the ground, and Eion took off in a sprint, Conor was scrambling to his feet, and in doing so, caught Segan with both palms firm to his chest, and gave a mighty shove, right toward that trough, before taking off after Eion. The son of a motherless goat! Yes, Eion was adopted! And so was Segan! Conor was the only pure blood Quinn worth any salt!

After an entire day of exploring the land the brunette visitor returned to the familiar establishment and made her way inside with a small tug to the door. Heathfield was quite the wonder to behold! The people that called the nation home were wonderful. Hospitable and friendly. Head gave a small tilt as she felt the warmth emanate from the hearth and strike upon her lithe form. A wave to those within as she moved toward the bar. She really didn't want to interrupt anyone.

Being he had back pedaled a distance the shove didn't get him close enough to the trough to fall in. Nope. Only Conor got that honor as he too was now after them both! "Mangy curs!" laughing it out.  No one was inside except Alex. She might hear the laughing, yelling and shouts from the brothers outside.

Don't make Eion laugh! He was trying to run here!

A sigh puffed between chapped lips as she leaned upon a stool and eyed Alex. "Now I understand the pride" There was love in the pitch of her voice.. But her smile dwindled when she heard laughing, and yelling voices out side.  "What's going on?" Oh she should have known it was the cause of brotherly 'love'. Moving towards the back door she paused at the threshold and watched them. Conor.. She recognized him instantly.

Trying...the word that mattered. Old coot that he was! Smelling of horse shyte and drool water, Conor was fast on his oldest brother's heels and knowing that the next in line was fast on his!

"I smell like horse shit! So does that make me a mangy horse?!" He jumped a crate that was in his way, looked over his shoulder and poured on speed. Oh look! There was the fountain!

He would have waved a farewell to the peeping female had he the chance to see her, but ... oh no ... there was hell to be paid. And Eion's interest was adding up, as was Segan's!

Next in line had grabbed up a wash bucket with sudsy water still within as he turned the corner of the tavern fast on his brothers' heels. He noted the woman at the side door and gave off a salute as he passed.

Going in, Eion? Probably so, but Conor took to the air, catching Eion about the waist as they both sailed head first into the fountain's depths!

She was completely fine with being put on the back burner of attention. She understood very well the need to uphold your honor.. Especially when faced by your own kin! Full lips quaked into a smile as she stood there and leaned on the sill of the porch beam.

Segan skidded to a halt at the fountain's edge and would send the sudsy contents flying upon them when they emerged.

Chickenshit Searat!

He had been planning on going around it and keeping it between himself and the youngest! But instead, he held his breath as they went, then he was twisting around to try to make sure Conor stayed under a few extra seconds. Of course, the face full of suds would cause him to release Conor and fall back into the water. And the fountain would be foaming!

But when the brothers fell head over heels into the fountain she cringed and tried not to chuckle.

Conor, after staying immersed a few more seconds than Eion, came up spurting and choking, and swatting at bubbles that plastered to his face. Where had they come from...ah! There was Segan, bucket in hand! He wagged a finger at his dry brother. Paybacks. God how he loved them!

He'd be giving Conor a hand this time as he came up, looking like a great suds monster.

Upon hearing Conor choke she frowned and even took a step forward but.. Something inside of her resisted. Brows pinched together and she laced her arms around her chest.

"Now, thank me for the bubble bath you pansies..." yes, he was moving away from the fountain.

He shook his arms where he stood in the waist deep water, like that would do any good and slapped his palm to Eion's forearm, clamping down in thanks for the assistance.

Maybe they'd put a bug in Herself's ear and have her come a-visiting Segan's ship? "Segan." Growled though he grinned at Conor. "Shall we?"

The other hand swiped his hair back, slicking it to his head as he looked to Segan. "Tonight?" There wasn't much Conor liked more than a drawn out scuffle, but they were wet, and slippery, and Segan was dry, and fleet of foot. But...for another time tonight, he shrugged. "Why the hell not!" And he was scrambling from the fountain.

He would be coming up with a good seafaring story on how he got the bruises on his face and at least the bloody nose had stopped bleeding. Luckily he wasn't much of a bleeder. "Pansies can't catch a real man," yelling that out over a shoulder before laughing.. running too! He had his land legs when needed.

"Real men don't run!" He shouted to his fleeing brother's back, even as he was chasing after him. Eion could catch up, or not, either way, there would be more bruises to be had yet tonight!

"We can chase him clean back to wherever he's running to hide." And be dried off by then. "You'll be singin' a different tune soon, boyo!" And he was joining Conor in resuming that mad dash.

Listening to them she shook her head.. Eyed each of them and moved back inside the Tavern.

"Who's running? I'm racing you two slackers!" Taunting them still as was the way of it tonight.

Yup, too much to drink, and too much testosterone, always made for an interesting night!

Date: 06-21-10
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 39

Busy Night

Here he was again. In the tavern. At a table. With a tankard. Quite content to enjoy the breeze from inside the establishment.

Broch had been here earlier but not a soul in sight so had gone down to the lake for a swim. Now he was back. Hair soaking wet with droplets dangling from the ends. Shirt not even closed all the way with areas stuck to his skin. Pants at least were dry as well the sandals on his feet. Cue the tipped, off to the side, grin as he stepped within. "Well, t'ar bae a body about now."

Conor chuckled, lowering his tankard to place it on his thigh. His legs were stretched out again on the chair he had pulled around. The man had made himself quite comfortable. "Aye, though the mind is a whole other matter." He balanced the glass there, hand wrapped around it but not much of an actual hold.

Moving down the steps the slipper footed woman paused at the parapet to calmly shift her gaze upon those within the lounge. Heavy lashes fluttered, readjusting as she smiled and then continued onward.


Maggie had spent the morning with her usual lemon-cleaning of the entire common area, but the heat had soon chased her outside to the gardens. Which led to a lovely afternoon of reading her favorite poetry volume and daydreaming amongst the roses. Even beneath the shade of a broad willow the humidity had been cloying, so she stepped out from the back now, fresh from a bath. Cheeks flushed from the heat of it, her dark crimson-streaked hair was swept half-back in a few different braids, the rest falling past her shoulders in tousled waves. A pale blue puff-sleeved dress fit snug upon her tall frame, and she was tying an apron about her waist as she stepped out. "Evening Alex, and Broch, nice to see you again," she greeted the familiar faces with a bright smile. A nod offered to Eliane, whom she recognized as a guest here, and then curious smile of greeting to Conor whom she did not know.

"Aye, I bae t'inking mine bae on vacation wit'out mae." Grinning as he was over to the bar to collect a tankard of ale and a bottle of potcheen, some serious drinking was about to commence. "Yea bae sav'in t'at t'ere c'air fir anyone?" Eyeing the seat at the table where he was situated, "or can a bloke like mae bae join'in yea?" Distracted by not one but two pretty faces. "Now t'are bae a sig't fir sore eyes." Giving a half bow to the two as he stalled by Conor's table. "Guid eve tae yea ladies."

Conor noted the spirits of choice and his grin spread. "Please do." A man who could drink like an Irishman was always welcome, not to mention the accent. His voice lowered, for the man at his table, his gaze resting on one and then the other. "Now you can be talking about bodies..." He sat back, nodding to each of the ladies with that smile in place, and even the lifting of the tankard to his lips didn't hide the fact. The smile was still there in his eyes.

He had the accent and the booze! Setting all down for certainly the bottle of the pure could be shared. Tankards of ale, well that was an individual thing unless one wanted to be swapping spit. "I bae Broch of the Cunninghams," laird and all that but who was getting into particulars? He wasn't. "Guid tae bae see'in yea again Maggie lass.." such a smile shot her way as he made himself comfortable.

That smile was returned as she made her way over to the table where the gentlemen sat. One hand against the edge of the table, the other rested on her hip as she leaned down slightly towards them. "I hope you've kept well," that to Broch before a dark brow arched towards Conor. "I was about to ask if you had a name," she replied, laughing as she was stalled in the attempt. "Maggie Callahan," she named herself.

"Conor, Conor Quinn." He offered back the introduction, then looked to the woman addressed as Maggie. Tucked that name away for future use if need be. Holy she was! Brows lifted as he listened, and watched, cutting a look between the two of them for the moment.

The half-Elf knight cared little about the weather. She found living in a place with changing weather as interesting as the lands themselves. This day, accompanied by the wolfhound, Dagnir, she had been exploring but rather than returning late, they had returned to the Thistle for a meal. Well, Maeve did. The dog decided he wasn't ready to go inside and plopped himself down on the porch to rest.

"Quite the pleasure, Maggie Callahan." Should he stand? His legs just weren't moving off of that chair. Shame on him! Herself would have thwapped him good! But, dang, they just weren't working. "Can you join us?"  There was another chair and he still wouldn't have to give up his prop.

"Mmm... I'm working," was her answer to Conor with another smile, this more apologetic. "But perhaps in a bit if it doesn't get too busy. Can I get you lads anything to snack on?"

"Aye, I bae well preserved by t'e nig't end." Grinning as he lifted his tankard in salute and an appreciative dipping glance over her. That came naturally. "Well met Connor."

He looked around, leaning forward slightly, yes, the tavern definitely was hopping, she better not sit now! A smiling gaze lifted to her. "In a bit then." Then he shook his head. "Besides your company, there's nothing else needed."

"Evening Maeve," she called out over her shoulder in greeting to the woman. Back to the men she gave another cheery smile, the sort that seemed natural on her lips. "Alright then," a little laugh at Conor's words, "let me know if that changes."

"Aye, I'd be ask'in fir a lap wamer but I mig't get smacked." Giving Maggie a wink as he had a full meal here earlier, when she must have been off for a few hours.

"That I will, Maggie, that I will."

"Ah now, I'd not smack you... but I may find you a wee kitten to warm your lap. Whether it is declawed or not, now that I don't know," she replied to Broch with a wink of her own.

He gained his feet as the knight made her way in. This much he knew of her on sight but had not really met, "yea bae welcome t'is night Ma'am Knight."

Conor laughed, cutting a look to Broch.

"A few t'orns and a few claws on a wee lioness would be t'e c'allenge. Would yea bae say'in yea bae a wee kitten or would yea bae a lioness, Maggie?"

Yep, he looked to Broch just as the man came to his feet. Conor's brows shot up, looking to the female he addressed. Now Conor didn't know who was who in Heathfield yet. And he debated jumping to his feet too. Didn't happen though. Not tonight.

"Good evening, Maggie." She called back to the lass and smiled at Broch. "My thanks, but call me Maeve, please." She didn't mind the title of course, but preferred her name in less formal surroundings.

To which Maggie arched a single dark brow ever so eloquently as she paused there just a moment longer. "Which do you think, Broch?"

Ho-Boy! Conor coughed, yes, it was time to drink again, grinning behind his tankard as he watched Maggie.

"Aye, Maeve it will bae iffin yea bae call'in mae Broc'. Yea bae welcome tae join us, t'ar bae a chair." And didn't he just pull out the one Conor had his feet propped up on!  "I bae t'inking yea bae t'e lioness t'an a wee wet kitten 'owling tae bae on mae lap." Then adding with some humor, "and best I bae no ask'in t'e lady Knig't fir s'e 'as a sword bigger t'an mae." Making a gesture of hand to one of the empowered swords Maeve wore.

Thunk! Conor pitched forward, nearly spilling the tankard of pure that had been balanced there. He was quick to catch that though. Can't be spilling good spirits.

Maggie's smile crept across her lips again, pleased at his answer. "Too true, and don't you forget it.." Pausing at Conor's near topple, a hand shooting out to catch the tankard also, but he was too quick. Just as quick a cloth was whipped out from her apron to wipe up the few drops which had spilled. "You alright?"

"I will at that." She was chuckling as she watched, then picked up her drink and headed for the table. "Quick reflexes." She nodded approval and if Conor hadn't stood, she hadn't really noticed.

"Will be ... in a bit." Grin. Lift of tankard in a semi-toast to Maggie.

She laughed again. "Ahh I see, well take it easy," a brief wink of brightest blue eyes to Conor and then she was making her way towards the bar. "Can I get you anything Maeve?"

"A refill likely in a bit." She held up her glass of potcheen punch. "I had Alex get it this time so you could make sure it was understood you're a lioness."

The good Lord above knew what he was doing when he created an Irish Woman, with winking blue eyes. Heaven on earth, that. Heaven...on earth.  "Conor Quinn." He offered to Maeve. Since she had joined them.

He sat back and enjoyed the view of Maggie from behind or was that Maggie's behind? Either cause it was a right wonderful sight and one he'd not get caught. It wasn't done in a lewd way but an appreciative one.

A broad smile at that. "My thanks!" And since nobody needed any food, off she went to the bar to perch on a stool and dry a few glasses off with the rag. Good thing she didn't have eyes in the back of her head... or anywhere on her rear...

"Quinn did yea say? T'ar bae a few o' yea now at t'e manor."

Well, yea, that would be rather disconcerting. Conor nodded to Broch. "Like roaches, my father used to say. We grow in numbers, especially when there is good food about. And we're a hearty bunch. Rather difficult to get rid of us once we settle in." He changed his gaze to Maeve. "Perhaps you know Eion?" Or was that like saying ... you're from Ireland? I know someone from Ireland, maybe you know him!


They could stick a fake nose on it too then, like a potato head but the opposite. "Aye, Eion, the inventor of the snow pancakes..." which was the humorous side of the useful invention.

"A pleasure, Conor." She settled into the chair that Broch had pulled out. "Aye, I know Eion from training. He's a good man." And yes, it was like saying that!

Stepping out of her guest room she paused at the base of the stairs upon hearing a mixture of voices below. Drowned out by the soft wind blowing through the cracked window Eliane decided to investigate. Stopping midway down to look upon the faces of the gathered. Though content there was a hint of reluctance on her angelic face.

But! She DID know him! "Aye, that he is." Then, what Quinn wasn't?   It just sunk in, what Broch had said. He did a double take in the man's direction. "Did you just say a snow pancake?" Why hadn't Conor heard of that before? Or, maybe he had and just chose to tuck it away in the deeper, darker, less used corners of his mind. No...actually...he would have remembered snow pancakes.

"Looked a little worse for wear this morning though." She laughed when she saw his double take. And Broch would get to explain that great beast of a machine.

Moving off she headed toward the bar and seated herself upon one of the stools off to the side

"That would be me." Conor bragged, with a grin. He wouldn't mention the back of his shoulder was practically black with bruise and he had fought a horrible headache this morning from their 'fun'  last night. Or that he hadn't washed the shirt and so the arm of it was stiff with manure.

"Aye, 'e came up wit' t'e idea o' panking snow down wit' t'is huge barrel pulled by two Clydesdales. 'he wainwrig't, O'Keeffe I t'ink is 'is name along wit' R'ett S'awnesey lad all made it tae 'appen."

Elaine's return drew his gaze, a twitch of brow as he considered her previous disappearing act. Was she of the dark arts? Here one moment, don't blink!, gone the next.

Brotherly love! She knew about that at least and just offered him a dimpled smile before attention was back on Broch. "Noisy thing at night but it works quite well." And she had disappeared again!

And there she goes.. blinking out again. "Aye, a grand machine and t'ey at least didn't run 'em after ten." Lifting his tankard for a long drink of the ale to be followed by a tumbler of the pure.

He'd be getting Herself to make him a poultice to hang about his neck. He'd been told a man was more open to evil spirits when he drank. And Conor liked his drink. He wasn't giving that up! Better to be safe elsewise.

"Would you like any-" she started, seeing Eliane sit out of the corner of her eye, but when Maggie looked up, the woman was gone. Blink, blink.... a glance around and she shrugged. Humming lightly as she went back to wiping glasses.

Said DON'T blink!  "Eion never ceases to amaze me." He muttered to himself. Just another gold star for the laird of the Quinn clan.

Conor may have believed he was cursed.. For within a split second Eliane had returned from the upper levels with a recipe book in her hand. Blues shifted back over to him and, with a small smile she raised the text and began  the search.

"I understand that you're a saddlemaker at the McDonough ranch. Do you work for others too?" She was thinking it was time to replace her old one.

The unknown lass got a squinted eye look her way as he tried to decipher exactly why she was reading a book in the tavern.



Date: 06-21-10
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 40

For her part, Maggie jumped, a hand even flying to her heart when AGAIN she saw Eliane out of the corner of her eye... apparently having appeared again out of nowhere.

"Do." He answered with a single nod of head. "Not just saddles though, Maeve."

Ah ha.. She found it! With a pleased smile she quickly closed the book and noticed Broch eyeing her and with a smile she waved to him and set the book on the floor.

"What else?" You mean that wasn't part of the norm? She glanced at Maggie to make sure she was all right.

Conor followed Maeve's gaze, even as he started to speak. "Anything of leather." He answered, watching Maggie a moment more before looking back to Maeve.

Oh she was perfectly fine, just recovering from the start. Eyeing Eliane a moment before offering her a tentative smile. "What are you reading, there?" A book of vanishing spells perhaps?

For all Conor knew, she was reading up on more of her black magic. He wasn't a big book reader. To each their own.


"Aye lass, yea bae read'in up a storm t'ere, love poems?" Such a smile to dash as he lifted his tankard to down more of the ale and another tumbler of the pure to chase the other.


"It's a recipe book.. I want to make mince pies tomorrow." Her voice was gentle as she studied their awkward stares. As though she were indeed a witch? Of course she wasn't.. Throat cleared and she shifted uncomfortably on the chair.

Conor loved a witch (of sorts) dearly. At least, he suspected she dabbled. Anyone who met her, fell in love with her. Perhaps that was one of her spells!

"Ahh." A brief smirk over to Broch before glancing back to Eliane. "I see, that sounds lovely." Her smile returned, she was trying to be friendly at least! For Maggie that came easily. "Do you enjoy cooking often?"

She wanted to make pies? She didn't ask but wondered where she was planning on making them. Hazel did not share her kitchen.

She did love poems.. Being the center of attention not so much. Broch's words had her smiling as she nodded toward him. "Perhaps one day when I have someone to recite them to" A wink and then she looked at Maggie. "I do.. But it had been some time. Perhaps all of you can be my taste testers tomorrow then?" Cerulean depths moved to Conor and tilted her head to the side.

"Miss Deverall, poems are to be recited to a lass, not by a lass."

"That is not always the case," Maggie stepped in, half-turning on her stool to quirk a brow at Conor. "There are some poems by women, for men.... lesser known than those by male poets, I give you that."

At least, that's how he was raised. But what did he know, these were new lands, new people, new ways of doing things perhaps.

"Why?" Brows pinched together as she mirrored Conor in the light of her eyes. "I find it romantic?"

Broch had yet to meet that endearing Witch of the Quinns, grandmother. Even he heard of her.

Case...and point!

"It is romantic," she agreed with Eliane, then gave Conor a smile as if to say.... two against one, we win!

"Where are you planning to make those pies?" She finally piped up, "And what exactly is mince meat?"  And she wrinkled her nose. Romantic?  Ugh, she had to figure out that aspect as well.

Her smile grew when she heard Maggie defending her. Even perhaps the other woman was given a thankful nod for her gesture.

"Aye, w'ere will yea bae bak'in t'ese mince pies?" Curious for he knew the reputation of Hazel here and her kitchen. He got chased with a broom to his arse trying to go in and find something.

New lands, new rules. And he knew better than to argue with a female. Mama didn't raise no fool. So, he said instead. "I'm not the best at poetry. I stand corrected."  or sit for that matter.

Was she enduring? That was not something anyone had ever said to her before.  Good question.. Looking to Maeve she cringed.. "Um.. Well.. I'm not sure yet"

"No hard feelings," replied to Conor with a more blithe smile. "Perhaps you can even borrow a book of poetry from me, sometimes." There was just a hint of a tease to her smile there... for she got the feeling that poetry was not Conor's 'thing' per say.

Whoah! Hold on a minute. The Witch of the Quinns was Herself! The Grand Dame of the Quinn family, and best to be respected and at times .. aye ... feared!  "In a bit." He repeated her words from earlier back to her. Since it seemed she'd never get the chance to rest, he'd never get a 'chance' to read poetry!

Conor's comment had her laughing as she studied him carefully. "You are forgiven.. Your talents are more physical. Did you ever catch Segan?"

She was a clever sort and she caught the way he tossed her own words back at her, making her laugh. "Aye, indeed." Eliane's next words had her biting her lip to hold back the chortles.

More physical? Catch Segan? He did the unthinkable around Elaine and blinked! Not sure at first what she was referencing. Then he started to chuckle with a shake of his head to the negative. "No ... he knows where to go that I will not."

Endearing.. and it was in reference as was the Witch to Mary Quinn, matriarch of the Quinns.

His confusion was her disappointment, or perhaps at the very least her reluctance to continue. But then came his smile and she whispered. "Oh good you remember" Unable to hold back she giggled.

Not quite sure still what she meant by physical, but aye, that he could be. Though she could only guess at that. She must be meaning his choice of professions. Aye. That must be it. "How can I forget? I've a shoulder the color of tar that screams each time I shift it about." Dumb ass, he did just that, rotated it as he mentioned it. Funny how that works, almost as if you want to check out the pain, just to make sure it's still there. Then curse yourself for doing it! But, in a few, you test it again! He wouldn't change it though. It was the badge of his courage!

She was watching both women as they spoke, then her gaze shifted to the men. It was in the name of study, of course and learning about the people of her mother.

Which had Maggie arching both brows now, glancing between Conor and Eliane. What exactly had happened last night?? She had to wonder but did not ask. Some things perhaps better not to pry.

He muttered something under his breath that probably only Conor would catch, possibly Maeve being she was sitting at their table too.

As far as his extra circular activity she certainly would have had no idea at all. " I was talking about last night.. The brawl with your brothers." Then she noticed him rotating his shoulder and she frowned.

Conor was Irish, Maggie. There was little sacred to him. He had no secrets whatsoever.

Better for HER not to pry... she did not always want to know! Eliane explained now though and she swiftly hid her smile. "A brawl, was it? I missed all the fun, it sounds like."

Tapered ears definitely caught Broch's words and she laughed. Watching Conor had her chuckle. "If it hurts, don't do that. Did you put anything on it?"

"Aye, was." He cocked a brow Maggie's way. "You like to brawl, Miss Maggie? Or just to watch a good one." 'Cause he and his brothers could have some good ones! "Aye, Maeve." And he fought not to move it again. "My shirt!" A grin, rather boyish in nature, before he chuckled to himself.

"I am a Lioness, remember? I can hold me own in a brawl," she winked. "I do enjoy to watch, though."

Come to think of it she didn't have a tankard in her hand. Smiling to those around her she pushed off the edge of the chair and gave her order to Alex.

"'ere, dae yea some more, yea bae a guid warrior sort," as he reached over and gave that shoulder a nice shove. If there was pain, would he yell out or let his eyes water as he bit his tongue. "Pain reminds yea bae alive." Coming from one that knew what it was like to be dead. "Aye, Maggie bae t'e lioness, I bae wait'in tae 'ear 'er roar." Which had him sending a wicked smile Maggie's way for the hell of it.

"I'm not much for fighting" She admitted with a scowl.

There was more a mutter of a chewed off curse from that offer to let him know he was alive. He was breathing, and drinking whiskey, was plenty enough to let him know he was alive, thank you very much! "No, Miss Deverall? Shame that. Bet you'd be something to behold all flushed with the heat of battle." Conor had settled back in his chair, mostly to keep from leaving his shoulder out in the open for further abuse. His chuckle was silent with Broch's words about Maggie. More so just the slight shake of shoulders than any real sound.

Watching the others she slowly smiled..Masking a laugh behind the swell of the mug   Stepping over to Conor she laughed. "Maybe one day we will find out."

If he didn't abuse it himself, someone else would!

He looked up to the approaching Eliane. "Doubtful, Miss...since you don't much like it." Twitch of a grin, barely contained.

"You can always put that very pungent salve on it that Alex has." Then he wouldn't have to worry if he fell into horse shit again. Eyes the color of a summer sky shifted to Maggie then to Eliane and a brow lifted.

Nodding in agreement she took a sip of the mead.

"Ahh... that is not how it works, me boy-o." She said to Broch with a growing smile. "Lionesses are stealthy, silent hunters. We snatch our prey unannounced, ere they even have time to blink. We leave the roaring to the lions."

"Guess one of us has to act as the lamb" She shrugged.. Perhaps she wasn't so interesting as they all had anticipated. The thought had her smirking.

"Aye, t'at a lioness bae bout after s'e 'as 'er win, t'en t'e 'owling begins."

"And both are best at what they do, eh, Miss Maggie?" He laughed, sitting forward to rest his arms on the table to address Maeve. "Had my fill of pungent last night." Not that she would know, but Conor did!  "Besides, how can I get special attention from my Grandmother if I have nothing to show for the abuse?"

"Depends on how good the win is." Were they still talking about antelopes and other prey? Blue eyes danced a bit naughtily. Shifting to Conor then with a winking smile, "Aye indeed."

"My grandmother would have told me to lift my chin and start over." She laughed and lifted his glass. "I salute yours for giving special attention."

Truth be known, the Grand Dame had taken a look at his back, grunted softly, and said something along the lines of ... If you can't handle your brothers by now, Young Buck, you've a long life of bruises awaiting you. Following that, she had patted him 'kindly'...right on his shoulder! He could only smile to Maeve, knowing the truth of it as he did.

Now that was the kind of woman he'd love to find a younger version of! He might even resort to courting the one, spewing poetry and the like. Would be worth it.

Finding a seat beside Broch she nodded up to the man and then chewed on her lip.. Opting to listen rather than opening her mouth.

The Grandmother sounded like a wise woman!

But then he added. "Aye, Mary Quinn is nothing if not affectionate."  Bah, women spewing poetry...still didn't believe it was right. But voice it? Not here tonight!



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