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Thistle Tavern

Date: 06-21-10
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 41

She gave him an impish smile before downing a good portion of the drink. "I heard good things about her." Though she hadn't met her.

Who would dare to say otherwise?  "Not sure how the whole warrior thing works, but do you come up against Eion in your training, Maeve?"

Conor should know when the odds were against him as he gave a glance to Eliane as she joined them then one to Conor then back to her, waiting for them to talk over him! Being he was between them and Maeve on the other side of Conor, "would yea bae want'in mae seat t'ere lassie?" To Eliane.

"No, I've not, though I have worked with some of the squires. The older men have been so busy of late though I expect things to pick up now that the King has returned. We may find ourselves at least working beside them more."

She smiled and even tapped Broch on the shoulder. "You were here first. Stay seated." Laughing.

And Maggie just sat on her stool, watching and listening to it all. This was often a fun place to be a fly on the wall and she always enjoyed it.

"Aye, yea got a point t'ere," but he held that wary look for the situation. He'd do what he always did, play it by ear or flying by the seat of his pants at times. He gave a pointed finger Maggie's way.

Which finger?!

Guess, one of five.

"Has anyone seen him? The King?" Curiosity...and the cat.

Must have been the pinky and he drank his potcheen very properly.

"Which king are you referring to, Conor?"

Actually it was the pointer he pointed with.

"Heathfield's. Just recently ... returned." Not sure how much he was allowed to divulge where the latest news was concerned. He'd let Maeve take it from there. She was the expert on all things knightly, it would seem.

"I 'aven't seen em bout I 'ear 'e is being nursed back tae 'ealth by t'e Queen. It may take a w'ile," implying who wouldn't take advantage of such a situation!

"No, he hasn't been on the field yet, but Sir Vincent was." She smiled slightly as she glanced at Broch and nodded.

She nodded and shook her head. "I have yet to meet his majesty but it's a joy to hear he has returned."

He didn't know the men by sight, only by name. And he recognized that one for sure! Both the King and de Beauvais had reason to linger in their chambers, though the likes of Conor would NEVER mention that to anyone! "Then things are returning to normal it sounds." Normal was always good. Conor was an Irish Country Boy. Things 'normal' were more his speed. Unlike his brothers who thrived on adventure and surprises.

Maggie just lifted a brow at Broch when he pointed his finger at her.

Well, it was a quick sort of thing and his finger was tucked back where it belonged, around the handle of the tankard as it was drawn up for another drink. Coming down with a thud as it was followed by the filled tumbler of potcheen.

Maeve blinked and watched as Eliane both nodded and shook her head then shrugged. "They sometimes mingle with the good people of Heathfield. Yes, things are. The feeling in the castle has changed quickly. And it's a grand thing to see." Indeed the whole realm seemed brighter.

Broch had his chance to study Maeve now. Tit for tat sort of thing.

"I've heard the Royals here are much in adoration of each other. A fine example for the 'good people of Heathfield'. No wonder the air is lighter now that they have been reunited." Conor had watched as one waned when love was stripped away by loss. Not something he'd ever wish to witness again, or worse, be a participant in.

"I've met King O'Neill.. He is a good man" She trailed off.

Maggie was keeping her quiet with this line of conversation. She had heard rumors of the king's disappearance, and now return, but being still fairly new to the lands... she knew not much of the politics. Learning by listening as she was doing now.

He sat back, looking to Eliane from behind Broch. "I've yet to meet either. You're one up on me."

It was awkward being in the presence of the king. Good thing for her was humble and charming. Smiling at Conor she toasted him.

"It is so. I have not seen them together but I have seen the Crown Prince and his Princess together and been told it is the same. It seems to me, a match made by hearts in much better than one arranged."

"Though not as easily made." Conor chuckled to Maeve.

"King Peter O'Neill from Innis Daingneach'?" He was impressed.

"Yes.." She nodded to Broch.

He tapped his tankard on the table top lightly. "The thing poems of made of, eh?"

"W'en 'ave yea met him 'ere?" He was curious now.

The conversation about Peter O'Neill was a bit over Conor's head. He had a hard enough time with Heathfield's royals and nobles and gentry. Much less throwing in another kingdom!

"He trains with the knights often when he is here. I am anxious to see the Kingsmen back on the field as well." She smiled at Conor. "The knights have all had to face them at least once or twice and it is quite an experience to watch." And that included his brother.

And wasn't Innis an island? That you had to take a ... ship ... to? Wrong answer! Avoided as best he could! "Eion as well then?"

"Excuse me," spoken to the room in general just to be polite, as she rose from her stool and slipped down the hallway to the back where the staff chambers lay.

"Yes, even Eion. And each time, they improve a bit more though I don't know if as good. Close but ... " She shrugged and laughed, "And then the squires spend days talking about when they really get to go against them instead of just training."

"I 'ere Peter seeks a wife bout t'en rumors 'ave it sae does t'e King o' Kildare." Watching Maeve with that kind of curiosity if she would make a good Queen for one or the other. So, yes, he made that statement while giving Maeve that kind of look. Maggie was spared this time around.

Again, impressed by Eion! "Always good to have something to aspire to." Crap-it! He meant the squires, he started to stutter as he attempted to make himself clear. "The squires, to face off against the Kings or even the Horsemen, I mean." He cut a look to Broch then back to Maeve. "So they can improve ... and ..." He gave up. And blew out a rather deep breath.

Conor's remark and subsequent back peddling had her laughing... but only quietly and to herself this time, on the other side of the room as she stepped back in from the hall.

Although he was speaking on two kings as a grin welcomed Maggie back, "'ello t'ere Maggie, glad yea bae join'in us again."

Broch was! Not Conor! Geesh!

Oblivious to their conversation she returned the smile, though a bit surprised at his greetings, as she had only been gone a few moments. "What is it, did you miss me?"

Maeve understood perfectly! "Aye, it is a good thing. Though I fear some of them would faint. They near faint when they have to face Maureen or myself." She frowned as a thought occurred then shrugged it off. "He did." She spoke in a perfectly serious tone though her eyes held laughter.

Maeve was using humor? Check it out!

"Aye, better tae bae missed?" Lifting a brow as merriment danced in burnished green eyes trained on her, teasing and yet a compliment in the way he gave them out. She had no humor in missing his look her way.. and the statement about the kings. Eliane had faded into the woodwork after being asked when she met Peter.

"Then I am flattered," she replied, black lashes sweeping down then back up again.... teasing in her own blues for all her demure reply. Once upon a time, such manners had been required of them. Now she used them only to poke gentle fun.

If Broch meant her, she had noted the look her way but she was still learning. As far as the kings, no she didn't catch that. They could be looking for wives for all she knew!

Maybe so but he found it fetching and for a split second was looking at her in a different way. One he was quick to catch and avert. He'd been there before and got hurt. Wasn't a place he'd not step carefully if at all again. Slight smirk given Maeve's way as he watched her body language. "Welcome back tae t'e livin t'ere lass." Then with a realization, "w'at bae yea name? I bae Broch." Giving his name in the least.

"I met Peter several months ago" She apologized in her eyes for the delayed response.

Shit! She spoke! She had returned to the room! It took all Conor had not to cross himself right then and there since he didn't have that charm yet to protect himself!

She was still smiling but out of the corner of her lowered eyes, she did catch that brief look from Broch, there and gone so quickly one might have imagined it. And there was an odd way he looked away swiftly afterwards. Blues lingered curiously upon the man for a moment before mentally shrugging it off.

"So..." He was leaning forward again, crossing both arms on the table to speak with Maeve. "Do the knights ever play pranks on each other? Or are they all as straight to the training as you?" He sure would like to get one on his brother, but he'd need an inside connection to do it.

Watching Conor she frowned and even slightly narrowed her eyes.. These people were acting so weird around her!

Time to find some new chore to occupy herself with. Gaze wandered about the tavern, ahh yes, the plants needed watering. They were requiring water more and more often, now that the weather was growing warmer. She went to fetch and fill a watering can, one large and heavy when full but she handled the weight with ease. She had that air of strength despite her slimness.

"Yes, they play pranks. Mostly concerning the two machines that are used. The gauntlets? I think Sir Lancely is probably the best about it. I've been told that either Sir Dana or Sir Lazare play pranks on Sir Vincent, but I've not seen that." She tapped the side of her glass, absently. "Maureen plays pranks on Sir Aiden."

"But you? None?"

She shook her head, then shrugged. "I grew up in my father's house, and my grandmother had little patience with jokes or pranks. I think Elven humor is a little different too, at least it was among them. I'm not certain humor can be learned to be honest."

"Perhaps not, but I believe that learning to relax can be learned ... and enjoyed.  The reason I ask..." he attempted to scoot closer, although there could be no closer, the table was between them. "If ever I need to pay Eion back for, whatever..." He shrugged, and that was with his good shoulder! A motion that would include any and all things wicked done to Conor by Eion. "I would like to know someone I could trust who can get close to him without him knowing I am paying him back."

Moving over to Conor she placed a hand on his shoulder. " Boo!"



Date: 06-21-10
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 42

A huffing sound was made when he heard that Maeve was no fun, prankless lass but there was a devilish glint in his eyes too. Ones that were distracted to the serving lass for she had a way about how she moved even for the plants.

She listened then tipped her head to look at him. "I think I could help with that." She was trying! That should be in her favor. Eyes grew a touch wide as she looked up at Eliane.

That settled it! He'd be waking the Grand Dame tonight! The new moon was this weekend, was it not? Or the full moon. One or the other! And surely those were the best nights to perform some practical magic of protection!

Maggie blinked and looked over her shoulder after that sudden shout out of the blue from Eliane. Staring at the woman a moment before going back to her plants. Lifting the can a bit to reach the upper fronds and allow the water droplets to trickle down. Intent on her work it took a moment to notice Broch's eyes upon her, but when she did, she glanced again over her shoulder to offer a smile. Likely he was just daydreaming and his sightless gaze had landed on her, or so she figured.

Eliane was 'boo'ing' him! Scary! That! For sure! His hand lifted and rested on hers where she touched his shoulder.  "If your head begins to spin on your neck, lass, the horses by the trough will have nothing on me!" He'd shyte himself right where he sat, and he wasn't ashamed to admit it!

By the touch of his hand she paused and eyed him with gentle intake. "I don't practice in dark magic.. Please don't think that." Knowing how to 'poof' that was just crazy. But a fun thought.

"What makes you think I think that?" Besides the head spinning comment that is! He slowly lowered his hand away and with it, he took hers from his shoulder, releasing it back to her once he could without dropping it.

They could continue their conversation shortly but right now, she was watching the woman.

"Conor.. You seem flighty around me."

Conor would continue the conversation with Maeve, after all, she might be his 'in'!

Broch was up and moving down a few tables... especially if Conor was going to start shitting his britches.

Flighty! Flighty? That was definitely a first. Young girls who come in contact with older men, were flighty. Adoring this one today. That one tomorrow. The next...the afternoon while the next that night. Conor Quinn was not flighty! But he was cautious.

Actually it was just getting crowded with Eliane wedged in between him and Conor so gave them room.

Trying to keep up with Conor was a losing battle so, with a defeated sigh she pulled away and sat upon one of the couches beside the hearth. "Sorry, Broch."

"Aye, well, more that I'm ..." But she moved and his response faded away.

He chuckled under his breath with a sliding glance over to Maggie with a wink. He was done with his tankard but now there was the potcheen and plenty of it. Especially if his bottle ran out, he could take some from that big tankard of Conor's.

"What were you saying, Conor?" She lifted up and leaned over the couch.

Cue an awkward silence that even Maggie could feel at her task. Catching Broch's wink, the smile returned just as quickly and to ease the atmosphere, she called out, "Can I fetch anybody another drink?"

He thought on it for a moment, for a few reasons but she was watering the plant and that would be wrong of him to have her fetch him something. "I bae t'inking t'at plant be want'in t'e drink'in more t'an mae." Stalling a moment, maybe he had a bit too much, "o' bae need'in more t'an mae."

"Nothing of importance, Miss Deverall. Enjoy the cushions." A wink twitched off in her direction then he settled back, stretching his legs under the table.

A brow quirked as he corrected himself and she chuckled lightly. "Aye, these plants are so demanding. They're banging down my door come evening if I've neglected them," winking as she crossed the room to water the other plant.

She was going to have some questions for Mo concerning human manners, certainly but attention went back to Conor. "As I was saying, I'll help you."

Springing up she all but pounced on the man's lap. "No tell me.. I was rude I'm sorry."

"If ever you want to practice your pranking skills in addition to your knightly duties, Maeve, I have the man you can practice on ... and I'll even help."

That was too much and Maeve looked at the woman, frowning.  "You are rude." It was one thing to politely interrupt, but to do so in the manner Eliane just had was irritating.

Conor was from the Isle of Ireland and he was used to women who knew their minds, acted on their feelings ... passionate in every way! Still, the springing lass that landed just at his side caused him to flinch, not sure what to expect from her. So much so he couldn't even appreciate her and Maeve had spoken at the same time, about the same thing! "It's not rude to find yourself a more comfortable spot." He smiled up to her now, offering her a nod. All was good with him. Conor Quinn should waddle around quacking, for all most things just rolled off his back. Unless ... they didn't. And then! The fun began! There...and gone again! Just about right for that one!

"Aye, t'ey will bae invadin' yea dreams, wrapping yea up 'n t'eir leaves ..." lifting his brows at the end instead of adding about .. instead of a mon.

Maggie gave the slightest of shudders though it was mostly in teasing. "Ooh that sounds a terrifying dream. Being smothered by green growing things, masses of vines with no escape."

Maeve just sat back as Eliane suddenly took off.  She eyed Conor then smiled to herself.

Swivel back to Maeve, where were they? Oh yes, paybacks for Eion! Don't you be eyeing him, Warrior Woman!

"You're very ... easy going I think is the word?" What? She thought it was funny that he smoothed things over though the woman's feathers did seem in a ruffle.

"Aye, best 'ave a mon as yea side then..." nodding like it was the best thing for her to do and keeping that grin tucked in.

Her brows began arching again. "Oh? You think I need a man to fight off the demons of dreams?" She posed it seriously, almost as if offended but her mirth could only be dammed for so long. Breaking free after a moment in an easy flood of laughter. "I see that grin, laddy, no reason to hide it away."

"Aye," sounding doubtful then, "or bae add'in tae 'em iffin 'e bae t'e wrong mon."  He was waving that pointer finger at her again, "aye, yea got mae t'ere." Letting his laughter add to hers.

"Is that the impression I give?" He chuckled, shaking his head as if dismayed with his image. He could definitely be a hot head, but compared to his kin? He was quite easy going indeed.

"Goodness!" Laughing still. "If he were that wrong a man, you can be sure he'd not be at my side for long, demons or no."

"Well, at the moment, though if you fight with your brothers, perhaps it is because it's another day." She smiled, showing that dimple again.

Conor snapped his fingers then wagged his pointer finger to her, as if making a grand idea come into fruition. "I'll owe you, Maeve, if you can help me get one over on Eion, somehow. I'll pay you in leather." Waggle of brow followed, he didn't expect the well-reserved knight to get the double-meaning, but he couldn't stop himself from stating it. He was serious though, when it came to paying her back for any help she might be able to offer. He'd have to think this one out well. Just so Maeve could get a good taste of pranking, and just how delicious it could actually be!

"Aye, yea could wrap 'im up 'n t'e leaves."

She might have gotten it for the smile on her face but nodded. "Just tell me when and how." He might create a monster!

Just call him Frankenstein! "How do I reach you?" He wasn't good at intrigue, but revenge he could deliver with the best of them.

"Aye, but not these leaves," as she rustled the leaves of the plant she was currently watering. "I doubt I would want to see his face staring out from amongst them, here where I work, forevermore."

"Especially at nig't, 'n t'e dark. Big round bloods'ot eyes. Staring at yea, devouring," spacing out is words as he drew a mental picture.

"You could send one of the lads to the castle, with a note saying where and when and just the letter C?"

Now it was more of a genuine shudder. "You're like the bards, painting a picture so vivid it might jump into life at a moment. How they frightened me as a child, when they told their ghost stories." A nostalgic sort of smile curving her lips now as she absently sprinkled the last water into the pot's soil.

Conor sat silent for a moment, blink, blink, blink ... she had done this before! "Aye, could at that." He nodded as he stood, leaving his tankard there. "Glad to meet you, Maeve. Look forward to seeing you again." Very slowly one brow inched upward. A night like this, one had to believe everything was for a purpose. Eion's payment was forthcoming. Now Conor just had to figure out how to repay Segan.

He shot a look beyond her at the plant like there was something there behind her as she addressed him. Eyes widening just that much as if seeing what he spoke on. Hell, if someone grabbed her shoulder at this point, she'd probably go through the ceiling.

She had been reading books from the castle library!

She might be able to give HIM ideas then!  "Night, Maeve." He knocked his knuckles lightly to the table top, then looked to the others. "And to you, Maggie ... Broch. Night."

Yes, yes she would. Coming back from her thoughts and her memories to see Broch looking at her in that strange way. Sliding a somewhat disconcerted look behind her and she gave a gasp and a jump! Which dissolved a second later into laughter for it was only the plant she'd just been watering. Still laughing with a hand over her heart, she waved her farewell to Conor, "Travel safe and sleep well!"

Which had him laughing, good rich deep from the belly kind as he got up. "Check under yea bed t'is nig't fir t'e boogie man." Teasing her still as he brought the tankard over to the bar to leave as well the bottle of pure that was left.

"Good night, Conor. May your dreams be sweet ones." She inclined her head and finished her drink, chuckling at Broch and Maggie. It seemed there were small pranks ... and then there were big ones!

Size DID matter!

"You are cruel and unkind," she accused him, but it was clearly not meant as such for her smiling. It seemed to be that time that everyone got the idea to leave all at once... it happened that way nearly every night.

Next she would be accusing him of being surprising as he was quickly over to sweep her up into a good hug and the burn of his lips to her cheek in a chaste enough kiss before done.

He liked that idea, sweet dreams, in fact, he liked it so much he was nodding faintly to himself while he thought on it, even as he walked out of the door.

She would have accused him of such! If she hadn't been so shocked to be rendered speechless a moment. Blinking as she was taken up in that squeezing hug then a hand lifted to her cheek where the kiss had been planted, and she laughed again. "I still think you cruel and unkind," she would call after him with eyes a-dancing.

Yes, it was that time of night. Her glass was placed on the bar and she grinned at Maggie and Broch. "Good night to you both." It had mostly been a good night.

Broch had his own surprises, "aye, t'at bae accused o' mae.." giving her a wink and feeling it was worth it all for her expression.. kind of figuring she liked it too .. possibly.

Of course she liked it, he was a handsome guy... what girl wouldn't enjoy it?

"I'll walk yea out, t'ere Maeve.." being he would probably be going most of the way she would be going too.

"Watch yourself with that one, Maeve," she smirked but it soon became a genuine smile as they took their leave. "Goodnight to you both."

"I welcome the company." Answering Maggie as they heading out though she laughed. "I will."

Maggie might actually be right in the warning.. one never would know how he would behave, however, not that Maeve had to really worry, besides, she had the bigger sword! And so they headed out into the night.. Broch with a gleam in burnished green eyes.



Date: 06-22-10
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 43

The Candy Lady

Broch was lounged out in one of the larger chairs at a table near one of the front windows. Back butted up against the wall as long legs were stretched out. Empty tankard had previously held ale and now replace with a bottle of the pure and tumbler. Full tumbler was being turned by thumb and index finger against the table as his arm rested along its smooth surface. The tavern was quiet even with Alex about, back and forth between the bar and the kitchen where Hazel was. He was staring at what he was doing, not really seeing as thoughts were turned inward on a few things.

Cairenn had escaped from the candy shop for a while. During the warmer months, things slowed quite a bit and the younger women she had hired could handle the orders. By the time things picked up again, she was hoping to still have a day or two a month to herself. She had borrowed a horse from the stables and gone riding, out to where the ship had been sunk, then back to the lake for a swim. After the horse was returned, she came in through the garden door, a rose plucked and placed over her ear. Because she had gone riding, she was wearing a pair of comfortable pants, nicely fitted, riding boots and a short sleeve shirt in pale topaz cotton, two of the top buttons undone. "Alex, I would love a glass of iced tea." She declared as she approached the bar. Once that request was made she turned to see if anyone else was in the room. She wasn't certain she should greet the man yet since he seemed so far away.  But ... "Good evening." All too often, people were well aware, even if they seemed distant.

He may have been far away but he was alert. Hard to tell if the humorous side of him would surface as it usually did socially. He wore it like a cape that kept him from the rain. Eyes shifted first, then his expression perked seeing a lovely lass, certainly not hard on the eyes. Lips quirked into what came naturally as a smile while he gained his feet. "'Lo t'ere little lady, I bae Broch and yea bae a vision." Charm and compliments came easily from his tongue for they were honest ones.

Today, she wouldn't smell of chocolate but the fresh scent of one who had been outdoors. "Thank you," she inclined her head slightly, a blush touching her cheeks though it might be hard to tell with the touch of sunburn across her nose and cheeks. It didn't hide the freckles there though! "I'm Cairenn. It's a pleasure to meet you, Broch." She picked up the glass and motioned to a chair near him as she crossed the room. "May I?"

"Aye, yea may," taking a step to drag out the chair for her, one next to his so it would be easy to converse. "It bae mae pleasure tae meet yea Cairenn," with her coming closer he got a better look and certainly he had seen her before and just as certain he had not met her before. "Yea bae about t'e lands t'en Cairenn?" Once she was seated he was back in his but sans the stretch of his legs which would interfere with her legs most likely. The thought was tempting.

"Thank you." She settled into the chair then nodded to his question. "Aye, I am. My sister and I own the candy shop. Well, we did but my sister married, so I run it myself though sometimes my brother helps." An impish look touched blue eyes. "You may have heard of the marriage, Corina Turlough to the Regent of Kildare, Prince Gaidan?"

"Aye, t'at I 'ave, a pretty lass and seems very 'appy wit' 'is lords'ip Gaidan. 'ave yea considered 'iring on more 'elp? W'ere two 'ands fall s'ort o' four o' even eig't. I've been by yea place afore and seen yea t'ere. I'll 'ave tae come in and at least buy mae sister some c'ocolates." Which she would love him for that, especially if he added in goodies from the pastry shop too.

"I've had to hire help, especially during the busier seasons. Right now I'm training two lasses just to do the chocolates, and the others do everything else. My brother comes in at times too, when he's able." She smiled, showing off her dimples. "I do believe I've seen you before and please do. We see more penny candy this time of year but we ladies do love our chocolate." She chuckled as she lifted her glass. "Even me, though I'm around it constantly."

"Aye, some candy yea never grow too old fir. Alt'oug' I bae t'inking mae sister will prefer t'e c'ocolate o'er t'e ot'er." He finished off his shot before gaining his feet again. "Iffin yea bae go'in back tae t'e commons, I would bae 'onored tae escort yea."

She had finished her ice tea just as he stood and she did as well. "Yes, I should head back. My days start early." Her glass was carried over to the bar for Alex to take care of. "Though today, I took for myself."

"Yea s'ould bae tak'in more days t'en for it is said one becomes dull ot'erwise," tipping a side smile and half speaking out of the side of his mouth too as he escorted her out. "T'ere bae t'e lake tae enjoy, t'e races, t'e walks and 'orseback rid'in wit' yea mon," slipping that one right in there to find out how careful he should be around the lass.

"I plan to. I don't want the summer to slip away from me this year." She blinked then laughed. "Alas, no man I'm afraid. I go off on my own." She stepped outside and moved toward the steps. "I've not been to the races yet."

And so the conversation would fade off as they exchanged some information about each other. Not much and only the social type as the night was wearing into the next day.



Date: 06-24-10
Poster: Adrian Frasier
Post # 44

Time Off

Adrian was taking some time off as he was preparing for a short trip to appease his men. Two days for them to get ready as he enjoyed the chance to do nothing at all. Something he was not use to, at all. He looked the part of a Captain, not just a sailor. The touch of refinement and authority. Although the latter came with the territory of being Westside Harbor Master. Poet's shirt left partially open exposed the dark curling hair on his chest. Black pants and short boots worn, wide belt held a rapier sheathed over his left hip. Eating dagger or hunting, it was long enough for either and two throwing knives. A couple pouchs held various items, one with coins of course but he was not one to carry too many. Down at the port such was an invitation to disaster. Presently he was lounged out in a chair at a window table, feet up on the opposite one with a tankard in hand while enjoying the cold ale. Potcheen on the table with a filled tumbler.

Diane had finally taken time from the stables just to do a little shopping, and spend some time with her sister. That had been lacking lately but now that summer was here, there was no reason not to take time off. All in all, it had been a productive day and an enjoyable one as well. Dressed comfortably in a cotton print gown of pale blue with slightly darker flowers, she had barely felt the heat at all. Her hair was pulled back into a simple braid rather than elaborate curls.

Rose was thrilled that her sister finally came out of hiding. A shopping trip was just the thing as she told her of watching the knights on the water gauntlet and of the various handsome men she was meeting in the Thistle, good men, not the usually braggart bums. She had even bought her sister flowery scented bubble bath so when she came out, she didn't smell like her horses, though nothing against the regal beasts. She was wearing a pale orchid gown with yellow centered daisies embroidered around the modest cut neckline and small shoulder cuffs. She bustled her sister right up and into the tavern.

Adrian was glued to the position he was in and this being that kind of relaxed place, he grinned the ladies' way but didn't make the effort to move. No, he was too comfortable looking, of a kind that one could not recapture if they moved. A grin upon a handsome face greeted the two instead, "guid eve tae yea lasses. A good place to take your respite." Two such lovely ladies he wished a few of his cousins had joined him. There were enough of them still single.

Humph. She didn't smell like horses! At least not today. She was laughing as they entered the tavern, then she smiled at the man who greeted them. She glanced at Rose to see if she knew him before giving him a dazzling smile. "And a good evening to you as well. I'm Diane Cleary and this is my sisters, Roseann."

She had not met this one but certainly he was a 'looker' as she would put it to her sister. Except she would possibly be heard so only discreetly nudged her sister as she came up alongside her. "Good evening," her smile just as bright but Diane would get the feel she was on the matchmaking bend where her sister was concern. Which would eventually get her in trouble most likely.

The Footlight Poet, the Wandering Song, whatever name you gave the Bard, in she came through the door. Several days had been spent traveling and now that she was back in the area, that familiar tavern sign called to her. So in she tromped, clad in those lightweight but thick-soled sandals on her feet, snug leather breeches peeking out from beneath a colorful top that was half short dress, half shirt, all flowing reds and oranges. The pack of precious cargo over one shoulder and her mane of downy blonde hair all loose about her face, for wouldn't you know, it had come loose from its braid in the breeze. A breeze which seemed to wash her in and straight over to the bar, asking for an ale to ease her parched throat. Even as she went she was glancing around to those within, and offering her own friendly smile.

As all good things must end, Adrian shifted, booted feet vacating the seat across from him as he sat up. "A pleasure to meet yea both, Diane and Roseann. You are welcome to join me if you'd like some more company. I am Adrian Frasier." Which giving his surname would place him as most likely the two ladies met a Frasier or two. Here was another as dark eyes turned her way, "I believe you have the names if we might have yours. You are welcome to join us also."

"Hello," to the lass coming in before curling her hand around Diane's arm, "we'd love to," already ushering her sister across the floor to the very table the handsome Frasier man sat. Once  there she would abandon her sister, "I'll get us some drinks. Would you like a raspberry punch or stick with lemonade?"

She didn't have a chance to answer for herself but she chuckled then answered Rose. "Lemonade will be fine for me."

The tankard was taken quickly to hand, a moment spared to thank Alex before she guzzled down a long, thirsty gulp. The bit about a parched throat had been no exaggeration; the cold ale was like honey to her raspy esophagus. Swiveling on the stool she'd perched upon, their greeting was met with a quick and friendly smile. Swallowing the gulp before replying, "I'm Finna, and I will join you happily and with my thanks. My only company these last few days have been the stars and the squirrels," and so she would not mind a bit of human contact now! Tankard in hand, she made her way over to where the others sat.

"A pleasure to meet you Finna, the stars I can understand for I've slept under them many a night but the squirrels... I'd watch out for," giving a wink as squirrels could be pesky little devils." Then back to the sisters, "I recognize the name Cleary for I've met Victor and Kathleen. I've also been to the races as I believe you have one of the stables, Diane?" Slow smile was on the rise for certainly he was a lucky man this night surrounded by lovely ladies. "Finna, are you of the lands or visiting?" He could not be certain but knew she was not about down at the port.

Leaving her sister to get acquainted as well the other, "I'm pleased to meet you Finna," listening to the questions asked as she was over to get her sister a lemonade. She would be more adventurous by trying out a raspberry punch with crushed ice. She would wait the few minutes for Alex to see to the drinks there at the bar.

"I am of no lands and of all," she replied, her lips curving a bit to acknowledge her own vague reply. "I am a Bard," added more pragmatically to explain. "Though one could say I am visiting for I have been here, once before." She took care to set down her travel-stained pack carefully at her feet before settling herself into a chair, one leg pulled up to tuck beneath. Not entirely ladylike but certainly comfortable.

"A pleasure to meet you, Finna." She smiled her thanks to Rose before her attention was back on Adrian and Finna. "Yes, I have Golden Dawn Stables. I brought my passion for horses with me when I came to Heathfield. Do you know either Victor or Kathleen well?"

"Welcome to our lands, Finna of no lands and all, traveling Bard. You should have quite the stash of songs and tales of which we would love to hear any you wish. Or none at all if you would like to sit and enjoy your drink and possibly a meal." Smile tucked within the dark trimmed beard before answering Diane. "I know Victor more than Kathleen. They have been in the lands a long time, longer than I have. I have the race horse, Snake Bite, stabled in my cousin's stables, Patrick Frasier." Obviously which had his smile quirk once again.

"The drink is near gone, but a meal I think is in order, if I am to give you a tale with any talent at all." A wink quickly given before she settled back to listen for a few moments.

Thane made an unobtrusive entrance, not through the front but in through the side door. The past several idle hours had been spent on the training fields, dancing with his sword, alone and silhouetted by the sunset. It was a physically demanding occupation and also one that focused his mind, streamlining his thoughts into every nuance of his movements. His long dark hair was still damp with sweat when he entered the tavern, the neck of his poet's shirt open and the sleeves rolled up past the elbow. Black  pants that were slightly dusty from the fields, and boots of the same which carried him over to the bar. He heard voices and saw a few people out of the corner of his eye, but most had their backs turned to him, and the first order of business was a drink to quench his thirst.

She was listening the whole while waiting. Silver blue eyes trained on the three before she heard a sound behind her and the drinks set out as she took them up. Thanking Alex she turned just in time to crash those two drinks against a chest that wasn't there a few moments ago. So excited over her sister's presence she had not even heard the man come in, or maybe it was his stealth that prevented her from such? "Oh my!" as red stained into his shirt from the more round glass the punch was served in. Nice splash but only one, the lemonade sloshed but managed to stay within the glass. It was the traveling up of blue eyes that met the face that belonged to the chest and she sucked in a breath, "you." Devil take her, or better take him! "Sir Thane, I am sorry," flustered now as pink rose to tint her cheeks, "you're welcome to join us at the table," inviting him on her way as she was quickly over to set the drinks before he could say a word! Before she could spill any more.

"Of course, be my guest and indulge in the finest cooking in all the lands." Hazel was good and there was a menu posted at the bar and one at each table.  A smile welcoming Roseann back in joining them as then the man was studied. "Aye, please do join us Sir. I am Adrian Frasier and the ladies, Finna, Diane and Roseann."

"Oh yes, I've watched him run. He has a lot of strength, quite a handsome lad too." She took note of how her sister had spilled drink on the man but didn't say a thing as Rose rejoined them, only gave her a hint of an impish smiled before looking toward the knight with Adrian's invitation.

Thane parted his lips to greet Alex, but he was serving the unknown young woman a few feet away. She seemed familiar somehow but before he could place her, suddenly there was a small crash against him and the sensation of wet across his chest. Dark blue eyes fell down to meet her lifting lighter ones, holding there for that moment of recognition which he was nearly as surprised by, as the spill itself. The way she had said You made him wonder, but only fleetingly for then she was moving away. Before he could even marshal his tongue into speech. Leaving him standing there at the bar looking bemused with that bright red stain like blood across his shirt. It was Adrian's greeting which drew speech out of him. "Well met," spoken in his low and somewhat grave voice, "I am Sir Thane. Lady Diane, Lady Finna, well met. Lady Roseann..." a slight clearing of his throat and it might have been laughter lurking in his eyes now. "A pleasure to meet you again. Do not trouble yourself, if the shirt cannot be mended I will simply use it for something else." He was nothing if not practical.

She tried to keep focus upon his face from the short distance acquired but her eyes betrayed her as they shifted down. Quick to bring them back only to have them shift down to the stain again. "I will, in the least replace the shirt. You would take a size broad?" Had she really said that? She couldn't help it, she laughed. Light as air itself before stifled back by the close of her hand over her lips a moment.  Trying her best to keep her composure before losing it completely as she straightened a mite. "Sir Thane, good to see you again. I trust the day finds you in good health," although he looked wounded by his shirt, "and that of your comrades, Sir Simon and Sir Vincent."  If Diane said anything or did anything at the moment, she might lose it.

"A Knight, is it?" Finna was all smiles as she rose with empty tankard in hand to move towards the bar. "If you have any exciting tales of battles or rescues, I beg you to share them with me so that I might thoroughly exaggerate them." Though she fell silent to watch the interaction between Thane and Roseann, brow arching in amusement as the girl fought her giggles.

Actually she did. "Well met, Sir Thane, it's a pleasure." And then she lowered her voice so Rose could hear. "Is there a rule that all knights have to be somber, sour-pusses?"

He was amused, like watching a crash in progress. "Sir Thane, I'm honored to finally meet you. I know your liege for some time." Finally taking up the tumbler to kick back the amount of the pure it held. "She will also embellish them." Giving Finna a wink. "The steak and kidney pie is excellent tonight."

"Then that is what I shall have," she replied, and ordered the same from Alex, taking up a perch again there at the bar to await her meal and watch the show with the fascination of a born observer.

Her lips curled like an oyster's, scallop style for a moment as she tried her hardest not to laugh. "I think it goes with the training." Said equally low but there was no malice in her words but a glint twinkled in blue eyes, made them sparkle.

There was a lot going on, between Roseann's words and her laughter.. and she was rather bewitching when she laughed. He watched her struggle to compose herself before Finna's words distracted him, and the Bard given a slight smile, and then over to Adrian. "Then I am honored to meet you as well," said with a slight bow from the waist. By now he had come up with a reply to Roseann's earlier words and he turned back towards her, even advancing a step or two. "There is no need to replace the shirt, though your guess was correct." Amusement in his eyes too but it was more subtle. "My comrades fare well, and would thank you for inquiring were they here, I am sure." He did see that whisper between the two young woman and had a sudden brainwave. "You are sisters?"

She grinned at Rose before turning her gaze on Thane. "Why, yes we are."

"Certainly there must be a song or tale in here, of a seafaring captain. A noble knight, a blushing lass and a horse trainer all meshed in with a traveling bard."

That caused a bright grin to bloom suddenly, and she tapped her skull lightly with one finger. "It is already a-brewing in here. Perhaps next time I visit, I'll be ready to regale it for you all."

"I had been hoping my sister would join me in meeting so many," almost saying men but left it to end with many instead. "We don't get out enough." Which was probably true but Rose had been making the effort more than her sister, until tonight. "Diane trains and raises horses." Very proudly spoken.

"Then have me sent for so that I may hear it and join in the appreciation." Smile crept once more tucked within the dark trimmed beard. Then a question directed to Diane, "I hear there are some horses for sale that are running in the races."

Ah yes, he could see the resemblance between the two as well as the differences. Thane nodded, Roseann's words drawing an interested gaze back to Diane. "Is that so? I've a  fondness for good horses." Well. Wasn't that... eloquent. Perfect way to make himself sound like a simpleton but there was no un-saying the words. A slight clearing of his throat and he moved back again. "If you'll excuse me." The opportunity taken now to move into the back. He'd strip out of the stained shirt there and seek another extra one such as was stored back there.

At least he didn't say he had a fondness for sheep so consider himself ahead. He took to his drinking with an amused curve to his lips to linger.


She would see to acquiring that shirt and if she could not get the stain out, then she would have the sizing and style for a new one. She would get Alex to help her later on this task for it was a worthy one.

"And  Roseann works with stained glass. She's quite an artist," she was equally proud of her sister. "Then you should come to the races. You'll see many." She looked at Adrian and nodded. "There are several, yes."



Date: 06-24-10
Poster: Adrian Frasier
Post # 45

It was the work of only a few moments to find a new shirt that fit him reasonably well. It was a dark blue and green flannel that was hardly knightly, but of the country style he preferred anyway. The ruined shirt balled up and tucked beneath one arm as he strode back out to the bar, and he'd tried to finger-comb his damp tousled hair, too. He never had gotten his drink and so he went to the bar to order an ale from Alex, nodding slightly to Finna as she was sitting there now.

She had to think for a moment. "I believe they're from the Royal stables, McDonough and one from Patrick Frasier."

And by now the Bard was busy tucking into her pie. "This is as good as you say," proclaimed to Adrian sideways through a slightly full mouth.

Oh darn! She eyed the balled up shirt and knew it was the one being part of the stain could be seen. Bottom lip was tucked between her teeth as her mind whirled in how she could get that shirt. "The shirt fits you well Sir Thane, I am truly sorry about the spill." Though an honest to goodness accident.

"Aye, I devoured two before taking my time with the third," they were not that far away, nor the tavern so crowded he could not speak easily with Finna and Thane. Then back to address Diane. "How are your horses doing this circuit?" He knew they went in 6 month periods. "Stained glass yea say, I will have to tell Hannah and Kathleen about your shop."

Tankard in hand, Thane took a sip, to steady himself as well before Roseann's voice sang out again. He turned back towards her, the darker hue of his shirt bringing out the color of his deep blue eyes. Perhaps this time he could speak without sounding a fool. "Do not trouble yourself," he replied almost gently before pausing. "Lady Diane said you work with stained glass, did she not?" Just as Adrian repeated it to confirm it! Eyes shifting to the other man before returning to Roseann. "That must take a lot of creativity."

Which had her bouncing a glance between Adrian and Thane at least twice before pausing on Thane with his question. "Yes, I am considering opening up a shop here as thus far the one is in the Ballicastle commons. Golden Dawn Manor is located just over the border into Ballicastle. My brother Allan's Dairy is in Heathfield, just over the border from us." If that didn't sound confusing!

"They're doing fairly well. I'm quite pleased with each of them. One is placed third in the top fifteen."

It was rather a lot of information but he took it all in stride. Absorbing it all with a nod as he took another sip of his ale. When she paused for a breath he spoke simply, "Then you ought to open a shop here." Seemingly just a matter-of-fact statement but there was a smile wisping across his lips. It was a vote of confidence that she could succeed at such a thing, spoken in his own way.

"I may consider on consignment in one of the other stores such as the Linen shop or possibly the furniture shop. I hear Angel makes up rooms and often gets such items as I make to show how the furniture would look." Half mussing to herself in working this out and such a consignment would work better. It would bring her here into the lands often enough.

As she spoke he had made his way across the room again, almost unnoticeable for his quiet ways and strong grace borne of years of fighting. Taking up a seat across from Roseann, the shirt tucked beneath it and his tankard balanced on his knee as he leaned back. Nodding slightly as he let her air her thoughts. "Mayhap some of the new buildings going up might want to include some of your work," he suggested.

Her smile beamed Thane's way as if he had come up with the suggestion or perhaps just offering her confidence. The smile lingered to soften slowly as he made his way across the room. He moved a lot like her cousin Victor which had her wondering if he had Fae blood or Druid in him. A blink took her back from wayward thoughts. "I'm sure I'll find that out or at least if MacGrath's place affords ones to see my work, I may get more commissions like I had done for the Casino and Brogan," whom she had met.

"Do you have other interests, Diane, aside the horses? Or do they consume all your time and interests?" The questions were asked in all curiosity as he listened to the other conversation while awaiting her reply.

"Your work is already on display about town?" He was impressed and it subtly showed. "Where is this casino? I should like to visit," pausing as he realized that might be  misconstrued. He was not a gambling man and hastened to add, "To see your craft work, I mean."

"They take up a good portion of my time, though I also like to ride. I've gone fishing at the lake, and for walks. I read." She chuckled and shrugged. "Not a very exciting life."

Finna was uncharacteristically quiet... mainly because she had taken Adrian's advice, and ordered herself a second, and then a third pie. Now she was stuffed to the brim and wandered herself over to the hearth, her pack picked up along the way. There she'd curl up into one of the squashy armchairs, but rather than dozing off, she pulled out her small but gorgeously crafted harp to pluck a sleepy tune on its golden strings.

"It is located in the Commons, Falkirk Casino. There is a large balcony where ones can dine lightly or have a few drinks. The pane is in the center, of a few dogs made up like human personalities playing cards." So if he went in, he would notice it right off. "Brogan Frasier is the proprietor along with Charles Harwood." Giving a glance to Adrian for the main one was his cousin.

Which had Adrian chuckling as he watched her. "Heavenly good but a mite of a lass such as yourself would be dragging," catching himself before saying her ass. "Can you drink as well?" Not meaning lemonade either and the way said she would know that.  "Do you wish an exciting life, Diane?" Turning a curious glance there. "Or does the safe way of things suit you better?"

A smile hinted along his lips and slightly stubbled cheeks as he pictured that pane in his mind's eye. The smile more in his eyes as he watched her from around his tankard.  "What is your favorite subject, to depict with your glasswork?" His comrades would be so proud... he was actually venturing into the realm of making conversation! Or attempting it the best he could.

She lifted her head and glanced around the back of the chair, and even though she'd broken eye contact, her fingers kept playing that lullaby on the harp of their own accord. Chuckling at Adrian, "Depends on the drink..." And she'd leave it at that as the man turned towards Diane.

"Something that should be tested sometime." One of those right moments if it was to come about but certainly the seafaring man didn't lead a dull nor safe life.

"Aye, when the time is right, and it usually is." She winked, then rose, the harp cradled carefully in one arm while the other lifted her now-light pack. "Alas, the story I promised must be saved for another time, lest I fall asleep with my harp as a pillow." She would take a room here this evening and sleep off the fatigue of the last weeks.

"Never would you be left sleeping in a tavern with your instrument as your pillow while I am around." In short he would carry her up to a room had she fallen asleep on the couch or chair.

She smiled as she listened to the Bard then looked at Adrian. "There are times when I'm content with my life as is, but other times, I wouldn't mind something more exciting than training a horse."

"It is getting late, will you be taking a room here tonight, Diane?" There was much to show her and she was going to drag her down to the spar field to watch the half naked men. "I would love to hear your tale once you are ready, Finna. Sleep well, the rooms here are clean and comfortable." She would not have to worry about roaches or fleas in her mattress. A thoughtful look turned upon Thane with his question. "I love lines that don't bore the eye. Most of my work centers around flowers and birds."

Another laugh at that. "I wriggle a lot in my sleep, so be wary should that happen," she warned Adrian jokingly. A pause to get her key from Alex and she waved to the room in general. "Good night, all." A smile to Roseann, Thane, Diane then Adrian and she was on her way up to blissful slumber.

"Good night Finna, I hope to have the pleasure of your company again." Certainly if she was to offer some of her songs and tales.

"Good night, Finna and rest well." She smiled again. "I think it would be a good idea to stay the night. It's quite a distance to home." And they knew where she was.

Thane had fallen quiet as the conversation shifted around him, and indeed it seemed for a moment as if Roseann had not heard him or had been distracted by the others'  (likely much better) conversation. He shifted in his chair in slight discomfort but when Roseann's gaze returned to him, he sat up straight again. A thoughtful pause before inquiring, "Have you been to the Celtic Gardens? There are flowers and birds and other creatures there, far different and lovelier than you might find anywhere else." Another  pause to allow her to discuss plans with her sister. Had they been intent on venturing home he'd offer his escort.

"I've not been there but I've heard so much about them. I had hoped to bring my sister there while she is here visiting too. Have you been there Sir Thane? Your comments sound firsthand." Rather than being heard of like many that have talked but have not ventured there yet. Wait, with a thought, "have you been there Diane?"

"There's also the zoo," offered with a hint of a smile before she shook her head. "No, I've never been to the Gardens."  She was curious if Adrian found his own life exciting and looked at him. "So, is your life exciting?"

He had paused to allow Diane to answer first, before nodding along with his reply. "Aye, I visit there as often when I can, when I am in Heathfield." Which was not very often, but it was one of his usual haunts or perhaps the word was, his escape.

"Aye, it was for the most part in one way out at sea and as harbor master the many brawls that come with it and sending sailors and captains back out that cannot abide by rules. The Celtic gardens is a place you should visit at least once and the hot spas down behind the area of the mountain waterfall."  He was speaking to both Diane and Roseann and perhaps letting Thane know there was more to the gardens. There was also a cottage that was presently unoccupied but the greenhouses there were being tended, it was said by the Fae until one came to occupy the Cottage again. One that saw weather different than the rest of the lands in six feet or more of snow, the temperature might drop to upper fifties.

"Then we'll have to be sure to visit, won't we, Rose?" She wasn't sure about the hot springs but perhaps if they had time.

"Then it is a place we should visit, and perhaps find you there Sir Thane. If so you can show us around, or even yourself Adrian." One of those that didn't commit anyone and left things to fate. She was getting tired as it had been a long day, "I must retire or surely I'll be falling asleep in my chair or yawning in your faces. It's been a pleasure to meet you Adrian, give my regards to Brogan when you see him," for more likely his cousin would see him before she came across the nice man. "Sir Thane, always a pleasure and may our paths cross again before you are whisked away home."

"Aye... I would be pleased to show you around," he offered solemnly. As soon as she rose to retire he was quickly up to his feet, chair scraping backwards. Head dipping in a deep nodding bow. "A pleasure," he echoed her words, unable to come up with a better farewell, himself. Chin lifting again in time for fleeting eye contact only as he then nodded to Diane too, assuming she'd be departing with her sister.

"I think I should do the same. It was a pleasure to meet both you. Perhaps I'll see you at the races." She had kept up with Rose all day so she was tired also.

Rising and stepping away, eye contact was made in the parting and such a smile one could say beguiling before gone as she turned on a heel and headed for the stairs. Diane would come or not, as she could stay and certainly it was not like having to take a carriage home and both leaving at the same time. Seems by her words she would be adjourning too.

Beguiling was the word for it, yes! But before a smile could find its way to his own lips she was already gone. A quick mover, that one....he could only call after belatedly, "Good night."

"I do go to them when I can and never know where this sailor will turn up. If fate should deem then a little excitement for you to see, Lady Diane." Slight dip of his head and the smile reached dark eyes. "Good night," given the sisters. He had gained his feet this time around as he actually had some manners when he decided to use them. "I should be getting back to the port." He wasn't sure if Thane would want to go there, some of the knights did and some didn't. He would possibly end up in a brawl.

"Good night, Adrian, Sir Thane. Rest well." She hurried after her sister, linking arms with her as they headed up the stairs.  And yes, they'd be discussing the two very handsome men.

Thane was not the sort to frequent the harbor, it tended to be too busy and violent for his tastes. Eyes shifting to Adrian, he nodded again, "Good night, Mr Frasier, travel safely."

"Aye, a guid night Sir Thane, and a pleasant stay while here in the lands. If ever you be needing a trip by sea, I've a fine ship that sails up to Kildare at times." Tipping a salute before heading out the side door.



Date: 06-25-10
Poster: James Roy Callihan
Post # 46

Back from Montrose

A bard had little need for hard coin. Usually one could earn a meal and a bed in exchange for their song, though the quality of the meal and bed often depended upon the singer's talent.... and the generosity of the listener. Finna was lucky most of the time and the other times, she went hungry and slept outside without complaint.... such was the fate she'd chosen. She did however have a small stockpile of coins, tips from the richer sort who enjoyed her music, tossed at her feet on occasion. In larger towns like Heathfield she'd spent those earnings on whatever she needed, new shoes or harp strings. Today she'd gone shopping for the latter and now sat celebrating the new strings with an uproarious song. Sitting on the floor by the hearth with legs crossed beneath her, Finna's downy blonde head was bent down towards her instrument, fingers flying deftly from one end of the harp to the other in a madcap, wild tune. The sort one might want to get up and dance around to.

James was back, the Duke of Montrose of recent years but the mineset of one that still traveled. Perhaps there was some gypsy in his blood and certainly there was some sea salt in three of his siblings who also yearned for adventure. His father's health had returned, considering his age, and capable of running Montrose still, although there was a lot James did he could not for his years, not his health so much. Their cousin Caomine remained at his manor in these lands, Whispering Pines, as her mental health was slowly on the mend, no thanks to her father. It seemed she had accepted that part, always knew in her heart he was twisted with greed but what really unsettled her was the fact her brother had still not been found. This was something James needed to talk with the others on. He found that Regan, Morgan and Faelan had sailed off to Australia and so he would content himself with talking at least with Adam. Better actually, being they were the two oldest and he more in contact with their other siblings here. He sent word down to the port that he was in and could be found at the Thistle as he dismounted the black stallion he'd ridden. Leather reins ran through the leather clad palms before attaching them in a few loops to the hitching post. A hooded cloak worn was for the occasional rainstorms he had ridden in through, the hood down as the night settled to clear skies and a moon that promised to be full in another night or two. Booted feet left their mark in sound upon the steps and porch as he headed in to have some of the infamous potcheen and a tankard of a cold German ale he knew Alex carried."How pleasant," as he was greeted by soft music as he continued in, dark eyes shifting to find the source as he headed for the bar.

Soft music?! Hardly.... it was a jig she played and hardly soothing... though of course a harp could not produce the same strength of sound that say a fiddle could. She was too engrossed anyway in the music to note the new entrant.

What had been muffled outside proved to be a revelry inside as he chuckled by the time he reached the bar. His fare ordered as he removed the overcloak to hang over the back of a chair. One at an unoccupied table across from the stools. He knew Alex well so a short conversation ensured in a quick catch up as the draft was drawn then the tumbler and bottle of the pure set out. He indicated he would be in need of another draft and tumbler. Once all were filled he brought them over to the table where he left his cloak. Introductions would normally follow but the lass playing was engrossed in a way if he attempted it would probably fall on deaf ears or riled she'd been interrupted. So, there was only the slight scraping of wooden legs against wood as the chair was drawn out for him to occupy as he got seated.

With a flurry of notes and a flourish of fingers, the tune came to its jovial finish and she finally came back down to earth. Her hair was falling like a white-gold veil all over the place but there might be the glimpse of a grin as she ran a hand lovingly down the burnished wood of the harp. "Well done, Clairah, ye sound like your old self," this murmured to the instrument before she glanced up and noticed a man sitting nearby. If she was embarrassed to be caught talking to a harp, it didn't show for the easy grin she wore. "Hello, I didn't see you there."

Adam had a few things to take care of before he could make his way to the Thistle. He left one of his men in charge after sending the other to inform Adrian where he'd be. Because it was a pleasant night, he enjoyed the walk, and found himself at the Thistle far quicker than expected. Making his way up the steps, he went inside and lifted a hand to James. Noting the extra drinks there, he made his way to the table and pulled out a chair. A nod was given to the lass there. "Evening."

She was met with a knowing smile as he lifted his tumbler first to salute with his words, "slainte, you play superbly." They were quickly followed by kicking back the double shot before the glass was set back to the table and James to his feet. Adam would not be sitting until a proper welcome, shoulders clasped and a brotherly hug to follow before all was said and done. "I'm glad you could make it. I know how busy it can get down at the port." He also knew that Adrian Frasier was there along with a few trained to take over as needed.

"Good evening," she returned to Adam with a cheeky smile before beaming that smile to James. "I thank you, and compliment your ear, for you clearly have a knack for fine music," and she gave a wink.

He chuckled as he returned the greeting, stepping back to study the older brother. "You're looking well. I have two men there to watch over things. Usually have three on duty when I'm not there." He motioned toward the table.  "Time for a powwow?"

"Indeed you have," once the hug ended he turned to the lass again. "I am James Callihan and this is one of my brothers, Adam." Eyeing Adam a moment, "have you eaten? As I could use something to eat, rations on the way down here, does not fill a man's stomach." He was noticing the menu left on the table and only made him hungrier for Hazel's cooking. He might actually invade her kitchen later to give her a hug. "Broccoli soup along with a steak and Guinness pie, sounds far too tempting to pass up." Which he knew Alex would relate to the kitchen.

"James and Adam, brothers two, it is a pleasure to meet you." Rhyming seem to come as naturally to her lips as normal speech and she gave a blithe smile. "I'm called Finna."

"No, I haven't." Which he hadn't thought about until James brought it up. "Same for me, Alex." Then with a turn to the lass, he bowed slightly. "A pleasure to meet you, Finna."

"Have you eaten yet, Finna? If not, order something and please join us. Tell us about yourself and where you hail from. In return I will answer any questions you have that I am able." He remained standing for the moment.

"I've eaten plenty and then some. Besides, there was talk of a pow-wow..." They might hear the faint thrumming of a tribal beat on her harp as she plucked strings and arched a brow between them, "was there not? I shall not keep you  from it," rather she'd continued happily enough at the hearth, for now.

"Then, perhaps after our powwow concludes.." smile charmed his features as well golden brown eyes. Taking his seat only to notice the rather strange sound coming from outside  the tavern. Windows were open as well the front door for the cross breeze this rather hot and humid evening. Finally it wasn't so bad that he had found his appetite. Distracted when Flora came out with their tray of food to set on their table, made sure everything was as they ordered then was back to the kitchen with a flare of skirts.  "I see Hazel has gotten more help," under his breath as an aside to Adam.

"So she has." He watched the lass a moment, then looked at his brother. "Should be easier on her." The food smelled wonderful as always, and he set to eating the soup first.

"I stopped at the castle to give my salutations to King Leoric and heard the good news on King Karl and his men. I will have to meet with him as rumors still pour in on the Northeast Forest forest area. Shredded bodies savagely torn apart has at least kept others from venturing into that part of the woods. Now it has been sightings of strange shadows and beasts of a kind unknown to man. Whatever is in that sector, has not move from the area it is contained to but, there has been new development that sightings and mutilated bodies were found in the Wild Lands stretching along the border to that of Luneberg. It is possible it is connected to what King Karl and his men have witnessed. It doesn't happen, so far, along any of the main roads through there. They remain safe, it seems to stay in the thickest of woods. It is possible it is more than one." That was one of the things he wished to tell his brother. "I also learned that Morgan, Faelan and Regan have taken off on a business adventure. Do you have any idea when they may return?"

"Aye, all the realms have been celebrating, though quietly for now. Once the king is on his feet, the real celebrations will begin. I had heard rumors of the beasts but it was all second hand so I wasn't sure what to believe." He took a drink then continued. "They've gone to Australia to bring back animals for the zoo. Been gone for some time already, so hopefully soon but to be honest... your guess is as good as mine."

Meanwhile Finna was fiddling away with her harp, doodling really as an artist might on paper, the light notes adding a pleasant background ambiance for the men as they spoke. She wasn't eavesdropping, per say, but she did have sharp ears and if they did not keep their voices to a whisper... well, that was their own blame. Perking a bit at the mention of Australia, a land so far away it had called her name for some time.

"The dead bodies are real but as far as what killed them, could have been a renegade grizzly bear. They would do that kind of carnage." Nice topic to eat by as he worked alternatively on his soup and main meal. "The second thing is finding our cousin Gillean for I think if we did and his innocence proved, then Caoime will recover completely. She would have that connection we can't really seem to manage that her blood brother could. Also for his sake and safety, he needs to have his name cleared, to know it is cleared. I would like to make use of those three's tracking abilities along with you finding out what you can from the ships that come in and out, there has to be information out there on his whereabouts. I would wish to find him before his banished father does."

After a time the faint background music would cease, and she rose, calling out her farewells and goodnights as she headed up the stairs, harp under one arm.

"Good night, Finna." He nodded to the woman then looked at James. "You know I'll do whatever you need to help out. Haven't heard anything so far but that doesn't mean much." He'd start asking questions.

He stood as Finna took her leave. "Sleep well, perhaps another time to converse." Seated again he was certain to finish off the rest of his meal.  "Aye, never know what bit of news you might come across especially with a tuned ear to any. I have set ones in Kildare to finding out what they can. I hear the private investigators are away on a case. If they return, we may consider hiring them."

"Do you want me to send word when they return?" He'd ask Adrian to keep an eye out for them as well. Finishing his meal, he pushed back the plates. "I'm sure those you've sent will be careful."

"I will be here for a short duration, Da will send any news found in Kildare. I need to spend some time at Whispering Pines." He needed a break from court which he had to attend to a lot when in Montrose, Kildare. A time to let his hair down, go hunting, disappear and let his head clear.

"How is Da faring? And all is well in Montrose? He chuckled and shook his head. "I'm sure he's well if you're here." He had recovered nicely from his ordeal.

"Aye, all is quiet presently. Charles Ackerman and his sister are making up for lost time in spending time and her with his children. Swan Lakes is set up with a Stuart until one is chosen to take it over, at least it will not fall to ruin." Which King McLarkin would not allow. "Other than the rumors, all considering, things are fairly quiet and productive in Kildare. They are  looking for a shipwright to take over the dry docks that were abandoned." A sore topic for him or part of it anyway and so that was skipped over. Something in the past, dead now and best kept buried.

"I think there are a few apprentices at the dry docks here but it'll take some time for them to be ready." He leaned back in the chair, rubbing his neck. "It's good to hear the Ackerman family is thriving. Did anything ever come of their father's involvement or was that glossed over by England?"

"That was glossed over and I think the two care not to be involved with their father. It happens," hell, he went riding out of Montrose when younger with demons on his heels after a fight with his father and in time it all worked out. "Do you have room in that flat of yours for a brother to stay this night?" He was not going to ride out this late to Whispering Pines and give his staff a near heart attack.

"Aye, I do at that. Was about to ask you if you'd like to stay." He stood, picking up the tray with his dirty dishes. "Time for my shift to end at any rate."

"I think it is about that time. Rising from his seat as Nola came to clear their plates away. Alex could close up and all those working could get some sleep as well. "Then off we go and a few tales to tell over the rest of this bottle." For he was taking the potcheen with him.

Well then, he handed the tray off to Nola giving her a wink before saluting Alex. "How was the ride from Kildare?" He'd be glad for the time spent. It was rare of late.

So their voices would fade off as the two exited the tavern and off down towards the port. A lad given a coin to see to taking his stallion down to the stables behind the tavern.



Date: 07-06-10
Poster: Vincent Hamilton
Post # 47

Restless Night

Vincent was restless this night as he paced the room. Although he tried to make it look like he was just exercising his legs, moving about but he came off like a caged lion. Drink in hand was hardly touched. Hair rumpled and as little attire he could get away with in a public place at night. Poet's shirt not even laced up but left open to hang over light weight baggier pants, sandals on his feet.

Maggie had been watching Vincent's pacing for some minutes, out of the corner of her eye, amusement and concern mixing. She had been minding her own business, going about her chores but she finally broke the quiet with a gentle tease. "You'll wear a hole straight through the floor, if you keep that up much longer..."

Maeve had spent the day at the lake and then the Celtic Gardens. She was still wearing the cut-off pants from earlier, sandals and a lightweight blouse, laced up of course, and no longer damp. Long hair was pulled into a braid, and was still damp. The empowered sword had been left at the castle since she knew she'd be swimming but another hung at her hip. She hadn't wanted someone to attempt to pick it up and be hurt. As she entered the Thistle, she smiled at Alex, then saw Maggie and Vincent. "Good evening."

He stopped with a blink towards Maggie. Hadn't really realized she was there even if he knew subconsciously she was moving around while he paced. The conscious mind was far far away on some other plane of existence. Of course he'd have a smart remark right back, "I think I have a few more rounds before that happens." Kicking back the tumbler's worth before he was headed for the bar and a refill. Bottle was left there for him to see to himself as needed. "Good evening Maggie. Good evening Maeve. I was impressed with some of your moves on the king's field today." Having turned and into a lean so he would not be able to pace.

Maggie tilted her head at Vince, curious smile playing along her lips, but before she had a chance to ask what was weighing on his mind... in came a familiar face. "Good evening, Maeve," she turned to the lady knight with a smile of greeting, leaning on her broom.

"Thank you, Vincent." An impish smile appeared as she continued. "I have to keep on my toes with Mo, but I do try my best. I might be able to spar with the king's men some day." She knew they were concerned about using their strength against women but she had sparred with some of the younger men and surprised them. "I trust you are both well?"

"This is one king's man that would challenge you to the water gauntlet for these dog days of summer." They came early and he had the feeling they were going to last into September. The oh-gawdlet would be very popular this summer." Slow smile lifted in a charming way. "That includes you too Maggie. All can take the water gauntlet challenge."

"I'm well, thank you Maeve," turning then to Vincent. She returned his smile mischievously. "You best take care with such challenges, Sir, lest you are bested in that gauntlet by a girl." She was only jesting, for she had a feeling from what she'd heard of the water gauntlet that it was no easy task for anyone.

"Aye, I take care with my challenges and you can rule the day you best me on the gauntlet. I would acknowledge the honor but you'd have to meet that challenge first to ever earn such. They come with bets most often too." This time the smile flashed.

"It is a challenge." She chuckled at Maggie's words then looked at Vincent again after accepting her drink from Alex. "Have you tried the water gauntlet yet? I have not had the chance." It was usually being used.

"Bets? Even better." She was always up for such fun. "I have never tried it myself," she answered Maeve, "Though I have heard plenty of stories... and seen plenty of folk come in here sopping wet after attempting it."

"Aye, me and my comrades have and I'd like at it again. Bets make it more interesting. Might be wanting a kiss on me lips from a pretty lass or three if such a good night graces me on the gauntlet." Daring look spared each with a wicked sort of smile that went with the glint in dark eyes. Would they be appalled, shy, or giving back its worth in challenge?

"A kiss, is it?" Maggie arched a dark brow, blue eyes a-dancing. She could give as good as she got and barely batted an eye at the suggestion. "And what would I get if I were to win?"

"Aye, one on my lips that would make it worth the challenge, not some quick piss off thing.." grinning still with that wicked quality. "See if anyone taking the challenge knows how to really kiss." Baiting it too went with the territory. "Well, that you would need to come up with and agreed upon." At least they didn't force anyone into an uncomfortable situation for what fun was that?

A brow lifted and she crossed her arms though her eyes sparkled with merriment. "How well did you do when you attempted it before?" She was enjoying the quality of banter between the two.

Maggie snickered at that. "To take that survey, you'd first have to find a group of girls to agree to such a thing, me boy-o." She reminded the knight, smirking some to Maeve then back to Vince. "I shall have to give it some thought, to make it good."

"Not too bad, did better than my comrades so it might be good if I get them involved so you can be sure to beat at least them. If I do it, most likely they will too so I wont be one up on them for certainly I would be. I would not let them live it down so they would be certain to see that doesn't happen." Maggie had him stopping with a blink her way. "What survey? If you want to get a group of girls involved then all the more power to you and the more fun for us all. Aye, give it thought but don't take too long or one will feel it is an excuse to bow out because you're afraid of losing." There was the smirk this time but the same twinkle remained in dark eyes.

She laughed softly, then took a drink of the potcheen punch she had ordered. "And would your comrades want the same reward or would they make up one of their own?" She wasn't sure what a survey was but would ask Mo later.

"Your survey. To see if any girls of the land know how to kiss." She reminded him with a smirk, then eyed him as he went on. Her eyes widened in mock offense. "Me? Afraid? Bite your tongue, Sir, I am no such thing. I shall take up your challenge whenever you please."

"Well, they might want their own idea but both could use the taste of sweet lips. It would do them a world of good I am thinking. Oh, sweetling, I would not need a survey or even query. I would enjoy each and every kiss won to the fullest and for as long as it lasted." He was barely keeping the laughter in. "I would challenge you to bite Simon's tongue..." was Simon's ears ringing? Thane was worse around women. All considering, he was probably the best but as good a warrior he was, that area he lacked or so he thought. Time would tell and opportunities. So, he was creating those opportunities. "I accept your challenge." Like she had thrown down the gauntlet!

Now that was interesting. Bite Sir Simon's tongue? Would Maggie actually do it? She grinned again, then took a drink while she waited for the retort from Maggie.

"Mmm. I am sure you would." She smirked as she regarded him, her lips widening as he went on. "Your comrade, Sir Simon? Is he the sort who might like that?" Lucky for the poor man that he was not present to hear himself spoken of in such a way!

"Aye," nodding his head in affirmation. Vincent was very willing to get Simon in a good kind of trouble. "He might resist, make it look good but he would savor having his tongue bit by such a pretty lass as yourself. I will warn you, he may want you to suckle it a while afterwards to make it all better and feel good.." like that was a normal way of it. "Of course..." leaving it hang like that as he filled the tumbler with more of the potcheen.

Maggie was pursing her lips as if in deep thought, but really she was holding back laughter... to no avail, giggles soon spilled free. "You are very wicked," she declared, fixing the knight with a dancing gaze that held its own streak of wickedness. "Very well, but if he should win that bet from me, and strike out against me in return, I shall hold you accountable."

Maggie's giggles had her laughing as well. "When will this challenge take place?" She wanted to be there, perhaps attempt the water beastie herself.

He wasn't sure what she meant by strike out against her in return but let it passed for certainly this had become a game of word and wit. "There is more," feeling the of course with that statement. "You see, if you see to Simon then Thane will get jealous and it is not good to have a comrade jealous of the other so you would then have to see to him or this group of women that you plan to rally, they could all see to Thane at the same time." He would referee.

Maggie's eyes widened and she started laughing again, though she was groaning in sympathy for poor Sir Thane. "From what I have seen of that man, I doubt he would be happy about that, even if all the girls were the prettiest in the world."

She was impressed that Maggie wasn't stammering or stuttering. Blue eyes still filled with mirth, she saluted the two with her glass, then downed the rest of her drink. She was growing tired after the long day and knew it was time to return to the castle. "Once a day is decided upon, please let me know.... I would like to at least watch. But now I bid you both good night, 'quel undome." Repeating her farewell in Elven.

He was a wicked man but all in good humor. "Aye? You know this of Thane? I think he is just shy and needs that to be broken. Maybe he'll turn into a toad if kissed?" Raising the speculation that even such was possible. "Maybe we should find an ugly one for him and that will make the difference?" That might be the biggest challenge of all but on that very thought so came the perfect one, "Matty, the Wharf Crone. She would be the perfect one for Thane. From my understand she would sit on him and he'd not be able to escape." Ah but Maeve was going and the hour was getting late. He would have to be on the practice field as well tomorrow. "Quel undome, if you are in no rush and heading for the castle, it is my beaten path," maybe much like the one he was doing here earlier in the tavern.

"I stopped at the castle earlier and left my horse there, so my walk will be a leisurely one. Your company would be most welcome." Perhaps she'd ask more about the gauntlet and his experience on it. Or perhaps if he had met Matty though she knew most at least knew of the woman.

Giving Maggie a wave as she had become quiet, probably contemplating if she could really come up with a good kiss should she lose, and what she would want should she win. The salute included Alex before he was out the door with Maeve and on his way before it got a minute later.



Date: 07-07-10
Poster: James Roy Callihan
Post # 48

Heat Wave

It was one of those sweltering hot days again, a few of them in a row with little relief other than sitting in a lake or finding a cool cave for that matter. James had entertained finding a cave preferably behind a waterfall. Instead he had spent time at the lake before coming to have a splendid meal here at the Thistle. Time after the meal found him standing near the front window as he watched those out and about. There was the scent of rain finally in the air and thunder finally rumbled with an electrical show along the horizon. It wouldn't be long for the leaves on the trees had already turned upside down in anticipation. It was one of the signs. Another was the breeze that was picking up. Certainly a refreshing one and those about seemed to wait out in the open for whatever would be brought. Be it sprinkles or a heavy downpour. James was guessing the latter as it was good to focus in on something so base it gave his overactive mind a rest.

Shere had been escorted to the Thistle by her guard whom she dismissed to go enjoy himself a bit. She'd be quite safe at the Thistle and Yusef had suggested that the women of the family be allowed more freedom though he insisted they not travel from Ballicastle alone. The guard would of course, also stay at the Thistle but he would be doing some errands for family as well. Once settled in her room, she made her way down the steps and into the commons. Though the air was more humid than she was used to, the heat didn't bother her much at all. She wore a gown of blue watered silk, sleeveless, and caught at the waist with a wide belt. It fell in pleats to her ankles, showing the light, woven sandals she wore. A necklace of gold, lapis and faience was worn as well as several bracelets at her wrists. Her hair was plaited into many tiny braids, some decorated with beads and of course, wide eyes were made even wider with kohl and a hint of blue powder on the lids. She made her way to the bar and quietly ordered iced tea, something she had come to enjoy since their arrival from Egypt. She noticed the man at the window but said nothing since he seemed to be in thought.

Maggie was amongst those waiting around to watch the storm roll in. She'd settled herself in one of the rocking chairs out on the porch, her dress a lightweight yellow with short capped sleeves that fluttered lightly in the breeze. Fiery-dark hair was allowed to fall in loose waves about her face though an impatient hand occasionally tucked a strand behind her ear. To keep busy while she waited, Maggie had been sewing up some dishcloths that had become ripped from age or wear-and-tear. But as the thunder began to rumble, and lightning to streak the horizon in the distance, her work was abandoned in her hands. Instead she watched the storm transfixed. There was a crackle of electricity in the air, an aura of immense power hanging over the land. A sense of something coming. It made her restless, almost as if the blood was moving too quickly through her veins.

In contrast, James was not so dressed up or what would seem to him when he caught the exotic woman's reflection in the window. The tumbler containing potcheen was lifted and stalled midway to his mouth. It was strange on one hand how things could go by so fast you could not recall more than a few things that happened compared to other times in the same span you could recall every detail. How silk laid over skin and moved with each graceful step. How the air changed in the room with the exotic scent and the storm rolling in only seemed to enhance it all. In the same moment there was the flash of lightning that had Maggie superimposed over the other, or interposed some might wonder. One then the other with the flashes. No wonder he stood transfixed to the spot until his mind retaliated in trying to bend around the light show to no avail. He blinked. That seemed to be what brought him back to reality and his glass making it up the rest of the way to be kicked back promptly. He might need a few! Usually his attire had a necktie which a hand was up to undo but none was there to undo. The shirt was already left open for the earlier swim and heat, although it no longer stuck to his chest. It did stick somewhat to the small of his back and that was the heat's doing. He turned finally to make sure he had seen the exotic one and that it was not a mere figment of his imagination or such a storm it was opening up a paranormal door. "Good evening Miss. A storm is coming if you'd like to view it from the porch as well?" The while he was over to collect another drink, hesitated, then took the whole bottle. Why not? It was going to be one of those nights and there had been in those flashes the recalling of a time when he'd been engaged, had taken steps that far that had gone array and no longer. Although it was best for the type of woman the one proved to be, there was the nostalgic part that still lingered as a demon to haunt him at times.

She accepted the drink from Alex with a smile and a soft thank you before she turned to see the man standing so still that he seemed to be bespelled. The flashes of lightning caused her to look toward the window and by then the man was moving again, and she wondered briefly if she had only imagined him being so still. She studied him briefly until he turned, lowering her eyes until he spoke. "Good evening, Sahib. I think I will join you. I like to watch them, smell them, even feel the rain from them." She offered a delicate hand. "I am Emuishere al-Dawla but most call me Shere."

The storm was drawing closer. A rush of wind lifted her hair from her cheeks and she caught her breath on it, inhaling deeply of that slightly metallic scent. An ethereal energy surged through her body as with a startling crack, lightning struck, blindingly bright. And on that crack a burst of pain nearly broke her skull in two. A muted cry passed her lips as one hand lifted, pressing hard against her brow and closed eyes. It was a few moments of agony then thankfully, it began to fade. Filling her lungs with the moist air, she suppressed the haunting images that had racked her mind in that moment too.

His smile was a winsome type when given as it was presently. One that enhanced an already handsome face. A face of noble born whether James had cursed that many years ago for what nobility had brought him. Switching the glass from his right hand to his left so he could take her delicate one in his. He wasn't sure of her customs so went by an old one of theirs. Lifting it, as fingers curled beneath, to the faint touch of his lips upon her knuckles. It was brief but smoothly executed. "A pleasure to meet you Emuishere," taking the time to at least pronounce
 her name in full before the shortened version was used. He could understand why. At least with his name there would be no such need. "I am James Callihan of Whispering Pines located in these lands and of Montrose Keep in Kildare." He did not feel the need to impress her with any title he bore. "Shall we then?" With a sweep of his freed hand to indicate the door as steps then were taken in that direction. Moments later bringing the two out onto the porch. "I see yet another vision has decided to watch the display nature will have us this night. One needed after the many hot days. You could almost hear the cries for water from the vegetation when I rode about the countryside." It was about that moment when a flash of lightning lit the sky like a full moon would with the clash of thunder to immediately follow and that ionic tint already filling the air, enhancing the scent. For a moment, he was back in time. Words shouted that never should have been said between a father and a son, clashed as surely as the thunder of this night and of that night so long ago. The rain came pouring down in sheets, one chasing the other as the relief was finally given. James stood there to the spot transfixed again.

They normally bowed but she had seen other women greeted in this way. "It is a pleasure, James Callihan." A smile appeared again, this time revealing a dimple. "Yes, please." She sniffed the air before they were outside, though as close as he was he would be able to smell the faint perfume she wore. The silk of her gown rustled softly as she walked and as he spoke of the other woman, she smiled at her as well. Any words she might have spoke were lost when the lightning struck so close. She let out a yelp of surprise, her eyes closed tightly against the brightness and when she opened them, she saw James unmoving again, and the red haired woman seemingly in pain. Though her skin still tingled, she did not run inside but instead touched James'  arm to try to bring him back. "James? Are you all right? And you, Mem-sahib, are you?" Concern lacing her voice.

Maggie gave a shiver though the night was yet warm; oppressively so. At the sound of footsteps and voices coming out onto the porch from the tavern behind her, Maggie dropped her hand from her head, offering a soft smile to both. "Good evening, James, and hello, I don't believe we've met. I'm Maggie. And aye.... just fine." Her large blue eyes reflected the flickering play of shadow and light as she looked back out at the rain. "Quite a storm, isn't it?"

The momentary vision passed that herald many years of him out on his own, running from the men his father sent to drag him back. He was quick to shake it off, so many stories he could tell someday, many of them when Wolf Paw found him. That was another side to the story that brought James Roy Callihan to this day. His life still with adventure before him but hopefully of a different kind. "Forgive my manners, storms and I go way back. Maggie, this is Shere," using the easier version. "It is good to see you again Maggie, I trust you have been well." He had missed the other look that caused Shere to worry for his own state for those few moments. What had been hot and a sticky kind of humid was being washed away as they spoke. Steam rose from the streets casting a ghostly look about them where lights from street lamps and buildings diffused and fractured even more. Hauntingly beautiful. Creative minds could have a field day with the now rolling mist that gathered along the ground and slightly up larger vegetation such as tree trunks.

Shere was a healer and there was much she saw. She did not press either however and smiled again. "It is a pleasure, Maggie." Dark eyes turned to regard the storm and her smile grew wider. "It is beautiful, is it not? It is as if the sky has burst, and now the flowers and plants will sing praises for the life giving water. See how it cools the earth? " In the arid land where she had grown up, such rains were rare and would be over quickly, with hardly a trace.

"Shere. Nice to meet you," Maggie dipped her head towards the exotic and gorgeously dressed woman. "I have been, aye James, how have you fared?" Conversation was good.... it helped to restore a sense of normalcy for her. Helped to shake the eerie sensations the storm had brought. "Beautiful," she echoed the Egyptian woman on a murmur as she watched the thunderheads broil darkly in the skies.

There was a great difference from what plagued James and what plagued Maggie if one were to compare. His was more to finally look at a future or the hoping to build one now that his life settled. Not that Kildare was settled and he would be there in battle at the King and Regent's side when needed. He battled all his life and this was the first he actually could think beyond the next day and many of those just staying alive until then. He was over to take up a half seated lean against the rail where the rain would mist over him in light sprays. It felt that good. "Aye, one of the many strange sights to remember. To wonder on." It was that type of scene that called on areas of the brain others didn't touch all that well. A smile spread to linger as sight was transfixed again at what was before them beyond the safety of the porch. "Aye, I've been well in spite of things afoot. There always seem to be things afoot but still," which had him shift as focus switched over the two in unison with the move. "I hope to finally find myself a wife." Such bold words, as he watched for any expression. The idea might shock his siblings.

She stepped closer to the railing, her hand out so she could feel the sting of the rain against her skin. Tilting her head slightly, she watched James a moment again, then glanced at Maggie with a practiced eye. Both seemed fine now. "That is a noble search. It is my hope for you that you find her, and find much love as well."

Well, that drew Maggie's attention back to the man. She blinked at him, and arched a dark brow, and of course was the one to have a smart comment. "Have you tried the markets?" Her tone utterly dry though amusement flickered in her big blue eyes. Lightning struck again, not as shockingly this time but enough to have her twitch with the briefest of winces.

Shere said nothing since marriages had been arranged in her homeland, and slaves could still be bought. She had lowered her hand but remained where she was, watching the lightning as it streaked and danced across the sky. The loud thunder startled her more than once, setting her to laughing softly at herself each time.

"Yes," going right along with her tease, "but they all seem so very young from the last time I've looked." Slight smirk but he was distracted when another bolt of lightning streaked the sky that caught him again transfixed. This time there was another reason. For a split second he saw his cousin running through a forest with something after him. Something that caused great fear.

There was a soft chuckle at James' reply, but she had nothing to parry with in return. Instead, like the others, she watched the storm. And after one more bolt of lightning, sizzling through her head when it struck ground, she stood from her chair. Her sewing nearly tumbled out of her lap but she grabbed it just in time. "I think I may retire early tonight. Goodnight James, Shere, it was lovely to meet you.... enjoy the show," that said with a soft smile before she turned to the door and headed in.

He had that double take, overlapping feel to his brain for a moment as he was drawn back in an instant but had captured the so very real scene in his head to decipher later. "Good night Maggie, I hope you are feeling better." Although why he said that after her saying she was fine, even he could not explain. Words were sincere.

"Good night, Maggie. Rest well." She inclined her head as she spoke, then watched the woman leave. Dark eyes shifted to James again, a slight frown appearing. "Is she afraid of storms, perhaps?"

At least the storm was in the process of passing, the lightning not so severe and the rain becoming lighter to a steady drizzle. It would prove a better night of sleeping for everyone. Problem with too many hot days, it made people even here cranky. He was watching as Maggie took her leave that finished with a blink Shere's way. "I don't think it is in Maggie to be afraid of much, she is a Callahan with an 'a' but still a Callihan. There is something there, just at the edge of giving it a word other than she is troubled. I'm not sure if it is physical or other. I can try to find out but as tonight has proven, she is not readily going to speak on what ails her." So he would be aware to watch and perhaps approach Alex on the matter. "Are you a healer perhaps?" Another question if asked how he came up with it, he'd not be able to answer.

"Sometimes it is easy to hide what troubles one, though there are usually hints." She looked out toward the storm until he asked his question, then looked back. "I am. I have trained to be such since I was a young girl." Studying him a moment, she smiled slightly. "Do you know that you have seemed to be looking elsewhere several times tonight?"

"I think those hints even I could read tonight. She also seems truly tired too. Not really a normal tired but one as a warrior has to be on the lookout with little sleep, on the move, alert and when it hits it hits hard, sleep will have its hour or more." So he had been right in asking the question. "Well, I knew once I drew back but not so much a conscious thought while I was there." Which had the sweep of a wry smile tease over his mouth a moment. "I do remember where I was."

She laughed and nodded. "It lasted only for a few seconds each time. With the lightning I was more concerned about its affects on you, and on Maggie. But you were both fine after a moment." She looked at the lighter rain again, "Memories can be so powerful and either pleasant or painful. The lightning would not cause such for me, but a fire might." Luckily none of the trees or buildings were on fire.

"Some seconds are as good as an eternity in the mental picture they leave you with while most seconds tick away like sand on the beach. Luckily the lightning didn't cause any this night. It is late and we should get some rest," which had him hesitate a heartbeat, "especially if I'm to go to market to find myself a wife." Giving a wink to show it had been a tease for earlier words. Although he knew it was possible she would not catch the humor of it. He was up from his half lean, bottle still in hand as he might drink a bit more before night actually found him in sleep.

Had he made the comment right after her arrival, she might have believed him. Instead she laughed then nodded. "It is late. Sleep will be comfortable tonight though." And her windows open. Her escort had yet to return from the docks but she had no doubt he'd be here soon. "Thank you for the conversation and company tonight, James." She was practicing using first names as it seemed most preferred it. She started for the door ahead of him, the scent of her perfume lingering.

He was right behind her, enjoying not only the sight but perfume. Something that would linger with him and hopefully bring some pleasant dreams with it. He would be staying here the night and collected a key from Alex once inside while leaving the tumbler with him. "It was a pleasure meeting you Shere," as he was back around and would head upstairs with her. "I can hope that we meet again. Staying here might make that possible. At least tomorrow morning for breaking fast."

"I am certain we will. I am staying for a few days to speak to Dr. Barrington and add to my supplies. And most certainly for breaking fast." As she came to her room, she unlocked the door with her key, then turned again and smiled at him. "Good night, James. May your dreams be pleasant ones."

He lingered a moment as she paused to turn at her door, perhaps it was the scent that had him momentarily fixated this time around. He was taking in her features while he filled his lungs and that wayward smile lingering the while. That was until he finally caught himself up, "good night Shere, sleep wonderfully well," like he figured he would be. Tearing such an exotic sight from his eyes as he turned and headed down to the next hall where a room corresponded to the number on his key.

She watched him as he made his way down the hall, finally entering her own room. The door closed behind her with a soft click, leaving only that elusive scent behind.



Date: 07-08-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 49

Garden Incident

Liam was still soaking wet but gradually drying as he ran his hand through his hair to ruff it up while heading for the tavern. He never got to go fishing so he was certainly hungry. The streets were quiet and with no one about so he tried spinning around on the grassy lawn outside the tavern. Wondering if that would help for the heat was still stifling. Only problem was he tripped over his own feet, which was a feat for Liam, and tumbled into the garden. Skimming a rose bush with pickers, "ow, ow, ow," as he tried to get up doing as little damage to the other flowers as he could. Of course there were a few now flat against the ground and looking the wear of having so many pounds pressing them into the ground. So he set to propping them up, over another flower or using any sticks like splinters, crouched down and thoughts of drying more gone like the breeze that was finally picking up.

Ciarán had made a detour when they left the lake, needed to take care of a debt. He wasn't that far behind his brother, and arrived on the scene just in time to see him go down into the roses. He was trying not to crack up but with little success. His hair was still wet, though drying slowly but he didn't mind. It did help some in keeping cool. "You can't put them back together, you know."

"What do you suggest?" Hearing his brother and hoping he could be a life safer as he paused, turning on the heel of his sandal. "Should I pick them and give them to Hazel?" Wouldn't she know they came from their own garden?

"No! I wouldn't give them to Hazel. She spends time out here I'm sure." He scratched his head, trying not to chuckle. "Maybe they'll perk back up or it'll rain and make it look better." Not a chance! He thought a minute, then looked at Liam. "It's not a crime to smash flowers, is it?"

He went with a compromise. Ones not broken he propped up between the others the few that would not survive, he picked off completely and made a small bouquet. He was up then, dusting himself off before giving Ciar one look then marched up the steps and into the tavern. "I tripped and fell in your garden. Don't worry, I'm all right but here are a few that didn't survive my crash so they will look good in here." Announced as he arrived at the bar with the half dozen or so that were then take and put into a vase. Alex had a wry smirk on his face as he served up a tumbler of potcheen.

He wasn't saying a thing but he was laughing as he followed Liam in. When he saw the look on Alex face, he laughed harder, then leaned a bit closer to his brother. "Heard you saying ow. Did you get thorns in your skin?" He could still show some concern, even if laughing!

"Aye," low and out of the side of his mouth. In fact there was still a prickly bugger sticking in his arm that he pulled out and tossed into the ash tray setting there. A little bubble of blood was left.

That might sting a bit later when he washed up. "I'm starving." He decided suddenly, and rather than make a choice. "Alex, is there some of the stew left?" Be unusual if there wasn't.

"I wouldn't mind that exotic coming around. Had she said she would be staying here in this tavern for a few days?" The other was so far out in left field it had actually left Liam confused. That's when his stomach rumbled, which had been neglected for the flower bed incident. "Aye, I'll have a bowl of that too with the buttered brown bread." That should sate him.

"Aye, the brown bread and a slice of pie after if I'm not too full." He grinned at Alex then looked at Liam. "I'm not certain but I would imagine so. I don't think she said she was staying with a friend, so it would stand to reason she's here." He took a drink from his glass of potcheen, lowering the glass before he looked at Alex. "Is the Egyptian lass staying here?" He asked even if he was just guessing on Shere's nationality.

Liam was looking at Alex expectantly with the question poised but then came the food to the kitchen window waiting to be taken up and brought over. He caught that nod which had him glance ceiling wise. "She could be in any of those rooms and so could her guard." Younger days he might see if he could find out which room she was in and as with younger years he'd probably land in the guard's room and that would be when the real fun began. It was how Liam got into boxing, or more, became so good at it.

"I'm sorry, I'm here," out she came from the back hallway that led to the staff quarters, pinning her hair back as she went. In the same smooth movement she was over to pick up the dish sitting at the kitchen window, turning then to the gentlemen, "Who was this for?"

There better be two dishes since they had ordered the same thing!

Oh - and there was a second dish! A soft laugh given and since they were identical... she just brought them over to the both of them. "That makes it easy."

"We're both starving." He grinned at Maggie, then reached over to pluck a thorn from Liam's shirt sleeve. After that, he was digging into the food, though he did pause to look at Maggie. "You don't look like the heat is bothering you at all."

He was enjoying the sight of the feisty tavern waitress. Slow grin grew a touch wicked. He seemed to be nudged into that area this day for just how it all unfolded. "Thank you, aye, we're starving. Long day at the lake and a lot of confusion or confuses, I'm not sure. Maybe it was the heat." He was babbling so promptly shut up and started in on his meal.

"Starving is it, then I shan't keep your food from you any longer," as she was over to set down the plates, one before each man. Handing out napkins and utensils as well, then her hands settled on the subtle swell of her hips, offering Ciaran a smile. "I like the heat. I would rather fry than freeze," though she knew there were plenty that felt the exact opposite. "Can I get you lads anything else right now?" She'd pinned her hair up hastily and so several crimson strands were falling into her face, and she flicked these out of her eyes with a light toss of the head.

He just leaned further, elbow touching down on the bartop as he watched her up close. Dark eyes held upon her tracing how her eyebrows lifted just so and even a hair that stuck out from the rest which was a trait of the Irish folk. It amused him, she missed one to pluck or maybe didn't pluck her brows at all. Eyes so blue in contrast to his so dark ones. "Are the red streaks of your hair an indication of the fire in your heart?" It was a goodly honest question that rose from curiosity.

He paused in his eating to glance at Liam, smirking as he went back to his meal. Liam's good mood had continued and likely would for a time.

Once upon a time Maggie had been very careful about her appearances; she'd had to be. Nowadays, she was often too busy to bother with things such as plucking, or else had other things she'd much rather do. That single brow of hers arched up higher when Liam fixed her with that solid look, her large blue eyes curious but not wavering from the near stare. His question evoked a light laugh, "I would like to think so aye... but the more logical explanation is that they become bleached by the sun. Especially this time of year." And likely by the end of summer she'd be nearly a full redhead.

His boxing ability was often said the luck of the Irish even if there was definite skill. Yet, there might well be something more to it all for the way he could move and thinking on his feet to remain on them when the final bell rang. Ever look into something dark that wasn't really dark at all but could leave you wondering on those multi layers of what laid there? Such was in a few, he saw that in her blues. If they continued to stare it would have another effect and far more than expected might start to hover like ghostly images. "So the fires are stoked or is it stroked, more in summer than in winter are yea saying?" Cue the devilish touch to the curl of his smile again.

The barmaid had experience enough with men to know when she was being flirted with.. to know when their words held something more beneath the surface. She sensed that suggestive edge in Liam's words now but her gaze didn't waver.. rather a smirk began to tease her lips. "Aye... but a fire may be started in even the harshest, or chilliest of conditions ... if the maker is skilled enough. Wouldn't you say?" She turned to Ciaran with that question to include him. Maggie had her wicked side as well and sometimes enjoyed teasing the quieter ones from their shells.

The glint only deepened in those dark eyes held to hers, "aye, and a mon might need to be careful in playing with fire and get burned or take the chance and find it has been worth his while?" The question at the end was to see her side to it. He nudged Ciar discreetly to see if he could get his brother to rise to the occasion too.

"Aye, it could be at that... and sounds like a challenge." He nodded toward Liam. "Careful though, if you make it into a dare, he might take you up on it." His food was finished and since he was full, he decided against the pie.

"Oh, he ought to always take the chance. Most burns heal... and if not, they become a souvenir of the risks taken. The experiences had." A smile teased her lips, holding that gaze of Liam's a moment longer before glancing back to Ciar with a fleeting wink. She'd met these lads only a few times before and wondered whether Ciaran's brother was always so... feisty!

"Scars on the heart?" Liam could be and it was worse before Evan had become so twitterpated.

"Ahh yes. Those are the hardest to heal."

"Not something I would know about." He chuckled and placed his now empty glass on the countertop shaking his head at the offer of a refill.

"Aye, what is life without risks, especially ones taken with a beautiful woman," and it wasn't said in a way most would but more the words being true even if there was nothing more than the truth at this point and may never be. "I would say that me brother here needs to take a plunge with both feet first."

"Aye well. You ought not to be put off by our discussion here tonight.. some scars are worth it." They were still teasing but it was a more genuine smile she gave the younger brother before turning back to the older and giving another light laugh. "That is certainly the most exciting way to take a plunge." And since Ciar had finished eating while they chatted she picked up his dish to whisk away back to the kitchen window to be washed.

"Footloose and fancy free, that's me." He chuckled as he stood, stretching his arms over his head. "And now, me bed is calling me so good night to you both."

"Now there is one wholesome lass, Ciaran." In a way pointing out how he saw and called it being Ciar didn't seem to notice women but he figured that was a ploy. He was really noticing them and Liam would say things to get him to admit it.. one way or another eventually.

"Wholesome!" That brought a bubble of mirth to her lips. "That's not one I hear every day... good night, Ciaran," she added, laughter becoming a smile his way as he took his leave, "Sleep well."

Oh, he noticed. But a man's life changed when he fell in love and even more so if he married. Ciar wasn't done doing what he wanted to do, though ... he wasn't sure what that was yet. "He means it as a compliment, Maggie. You're a fine lass and as refreshing as a spring morning." He clapped a hand to Liam's shoulder. "G'night, brother, mine. I'll be working down on the docks likely tomorrow." He had picked up some labor work to earn more coin. Couldn't gamble without money.

Well! Both brows arched in her surprise, to hear that coming from Ciaran, who at first glance didn't seem as effusive as his brothers. But it was certainly a nice thing to hear and her smile was like sunshine. "Thank you, Ciaran." Sometimes a genuine reply was just more suitable than a quip.

Liam wasn't either but hell, such flirting made his evening and he hoped those he flirted with felt the same. "It is late and I'm probably keeping you up." His meal was long devoured and plates set aside. Hearing Ciar, a hand slapped against the bar, "now that is a Quinn I can be proud of. He's right as rain too. You'll make a lucky man a fine wife one day, should that be what you want." Knowing if it wasn't the lass would not be coerced into it.

"And you shall both make fine husbands, with those flattering tongues of yours." An important skill for all men when dealing with women! A knowing grin flashed. "Goodnight then, to you as well Liam. Travel safe."

"You're welcome, Maggie." He grinned at his brother, then saluted Alex and called out to Hazel. "Good night, Hazel. Your Irish stew is the finest in the land." He didn't answer about the husband comment. Who knew what the future held. Whistling to himself, he headed for the stairs, disappearing through the doorway.

"Next time I might be devil enough to try and steal a kiss, any slap worth it." A thought to leave her with a wink, he was behaving presently as he took up his key and headed upstairs. He still hadn't brought himself to moving in on the cousins.

Which was the same reason she hadn't answered to the wife comment. She had no idea if that was what she wanted, someday. It would have to be with the right man and no mistake there. Liam's threat, or was it promise had her arching a brow and tossing out one last laugh. "We shall see about the slap... it would depend if the kiss is bad!" That called after the man as his own food for thought.

Looks like they went up together. "You should sniff as we walk. Might smell the lass' perfume." Teasing a bit before he was heading for his door and unlocking it. He grinned at Liam before heading inside.

She would hear the laughter tumble down the stairwell as he heard her remark. She was encouraging the devil! Oh yes, there was the scent of lotus flower as he stalked the first hall, then the second, pausing in front of one door and pointing. He didn't stay, didn't knock but the snooping was good practice.

Hey, that was part of her job! And if she caught Alex's eye she would offer the older man a lopsided smile and shrug. Alex was probably used to her behavior by now... and he also knew her well enough to know that despite all the flirting, she was far from a hussy.



Date: 07-13-10
Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 50

Touching Base

Michael came in from the back offices as he usually checked to see if anything was left. Notes, letters and whatnot in the McAndrews' office. The usual was there, things to send off to Ballicastle, or make the trip there which he was thinking of doing and taking Lei with him so she could see her cousins. The majority, or slew, of them lived there in the castle itself. He had a couple books tucked under his arm to leaf through at his leisure. Of which he brought to the nearest table across from the bar to leave them there. Back to the bar to greet Alex and assure him of some fine wines that would be supplied come fall. Blue eyes held the natural glow, the kind that seemingly left streaks when shifting focus. A tankard of ale in hand while he perused the menu. He was going to have the seafood stew and smoked haddock which was then ordered. He was never without his appetite.

It had been a long day at the library, and Abby just wanted to get out for a bit. She had been walking, enjoying the light rain that was falling but the call of the Thistle and the thought of a drink and maybe a slice of pie was far too tempting to ignore. She made her way inside, hanging up her oilskin cloak and smiled when she saw Michael. Fiery red hair was pulled back into a loose braid, with strands left loose to frame her face. A simple gown of dove gray cotton was worn with full sleeves that were gathered midway on her upper arm, the hem trimmed in white eyelet lace. The neckline was scooped, showing off a Celtic trinity necklace. Her expression brightened when she saw who was also in the commons.

Smile came with the usual dimples as he turned hearing another arrive. "Abigail! Good to see you away from the dusty shelves of the library," knowing full well none of her shelves were dusty. "Come join me. I'm about to have something to eat and look through a few books. We've still to pick out an ancient place to visit."

She couldn't hold in her laughter as she joined him at the bar. "Dusty, indeed. I'll have you know a spot of dust doesn't have a chance." Settling onto a stool, she looked over the menu as well, deciding on more than a slice of  pie. "Aye, we do. I can't believe time has passed so quickly."

Matthew arrived from the back halls with a list to hand over to Alex of the things accomplished, once he was ready. "Evening Michael, Abigail." It had been a while since he had seen them.

"I should send Lei over so you can teach her how to properly dust." There was always too much dust that came in off the dirt roads and from the vineyards when it got dry. Lately they had to water them for the little rain. He was thankful that streak was broken with the rain that came earlier this evening. "Evening Matthew." They would not be occupying Alex too long as the food was set to the serving window. He was over to set his tankard on the table and pull out a chair for Abigail. The books there, about three, were of what was known of certain ancient places.

She decided to order the clam chowder and Welsh rarebit as well as a glass of iced tea. "Good evening, Matthew, it's good to see you." Once her tea was handed over, she was up from the stool and over to join Michael, though she smiled at Matthew again. "I trust all's been well?" Sitting, she gave Michael an impish look. "And I'd be glad to have her company at the library."


As usual Maggie seemed to have an uncanny sense for when her services were needed. She had been organizing a few things in the back, sorting through boxes of linens. She did love salvaging things which would otherwise be thrown away, and planned to patch together a tablecloth or some such from a box of castoff linens. Her rooms could do with a bit more color, in her opinion. Out she came from the back with a bundle of linens beneath one arm, mixed and matched napkins of many hues from the looks of them, but set these down on a vacant table when she saw customers and food waiting at the serving window. "Good evening," she greeted the two with a bright smile, and then she saw Matthew as well, giving him a smile that dimpled her cheeks. Over she went to pick up the plates and carried them to where Michael and Abigail sat at the table.

"Evening Maggie," they had met some time ago and certainly she would be hard to forget. There was that otherworldly feel about her that not too many had, although many that did seem to come to these lands. A calling. Back to Abigail once she was seated and taking up the one next to hers. "All is well, the vines are growing well with little pestilence this year." Then again he tended his crops in unusual ways. "I have been given permission by the crown to do whatever is needed in the library to help out." Which she would know of what he spoke on. The door and wall section. "Thank you Maggie," as she set their food on the table. She got one of those infamous McAndrews dimpled smiles.

Matt did a double take as Maggie arrived from the back but Alex was over to talk a few, go over the list approvingly then added to it. Being he had been in the attic already to get the bat he knew just how dusty and cluttered it was. He knew what he would be needing. "Extra mop, broom, pan?" which Alex nodded indicating the storage room down the hall from the bar. Best to ask and not take Hazel's broom or pail or she'd be hunting him down. It happened before when he was cursed. Taking the new list to tuck away he was over to Maggie. "Things have been quiet?" Well, there hadn't been any screams at night lately!

"Good to see you again Michael, and Abigail," a smile moving from the man to the woman as she added, "I've been meaning to visit that library of yours, I hear there's a marvelous selection. Is there much poetry?" She would read nearly anything but poetry remained her lifelong favorite. Abigail's food was ready a moment later, and she was over in that gliding stride to pick it up and return it to their table. The smile returned as she replied, "No trouble at all." Then Matthew was suddenly at her side, and her turn to do a double-take as she turned to him. Her hair was pinned half-back this night, the mass of it loose about her shoulders or falling in crimson strands about her ears. "As quiet as ever," she replied with a light smile. She did wonder if he was talking about her dreams... but it was not something to discuss right here and now so close to others.

No, he wasn't expecting to discuss it, but more to touch bases. Both got busy with their daily chores that went from dawn to dusk at times. Most times. His hair was getting longer again and a trim beard and moustache in place. "Good," giving a thoughtful nod but he would not interfere with her work either. Eyes searched a moment before he was off to that storage room, first one reached and within to root through all the cleaning utilities, bucket was gotten that he put the mop, broom and pan in once he found those suitable. Burlap bags were stuff in there was well for trash. He wasn't sure what he would be finding.

"Eve, Maggie." She smiled at her and nodded. "We have a very large selection." She made sure to keep that one up to date since it was a popular genre. "And you're welcome anytime we're open." Eyes of blue-gray turned back to Michael and she smiled as she watched him eat, then her own food was delivered and she set to enjoying every bite.

Michael paused as something caught his attention but then he was back to do his food justice. Leaving Maggie to talk to Abigail as he ate. He was famished at the moment.

It was the usual that they only got to speak in passing; ironic, as they both lived and worked in the same building. Conversations would be started and then forced to be abandoned when duty called. Tonight was no different, at least for now. "Aye. I've been alright." That was added on a quieter note, just to reassure him when he searched her gaze in that moment. Then he was off and Abigail was replying. Maggie turned back to their table with a ready smile. "Is that so? Ahh, I really must find time to visit soon then. Let me know if either of you need anything else, aye?"

It would take him a little while, not overly long, to find any cleaning liquids, mix up a concoction and contain it in a bottle. The fumes were a little strong and he was in that small storage room.

"I'll be watching for you then." She smiled warmly before adding, "and thank you." For the offer of service of course. She looked at Michael then set back to enjoying that meal.

Michael continued to enjoy his meal and continued to enjoy the sound of the ladies' voices. There was something about a woman's voice, especially coming from two lovely ladies.  Luckily he didn't flatter. Michael was probably one of the very few McAndrews that did not but look out if he ever turned on the charm. He use to get women infuriated while remaining calm and telling them bluntly how it was, easily calling a spade a spade.

Maggie returned the smile then went back to her task, moving to the table where she'd piled those cast-off linens, picking them up to sort through thoughtfully. Then her nose wrinkled. From out here she could smell the noxious fumes that Matthew was cooking up. Over to the kitchen window, she leaned in to ask Hazel for a lemon, sliced in half (and added a pretty smile and 'please' for good measure). These in hand she ventured through the open doorway of the store room. "Matthew? Here, these'll cut that stench.."

There was a very strong pine smell and no chlorine thankfully. A touch of lemon perhaps and was that even mint? He was screwing on the top before up and around as Maggie came in. "I might start selling this stuff for the way it cuts through grease." Stuffing the bottle into the bucket before he took the lemons, squeezing them over his hands then wiped them down over his shirt. "That should do it. Shall we join Michael and Abigail in a drink? You two can talk books. Poetry is your favorite?" Real goofy smile, eyes a little brighter than usual and he laughed when he near tripped over his bucket, did a spin around that had it up in hand when it looked like he should be sprawled out on the floor instead.

"How is Lei doing? It's been a while since I've seen her." She knew the girl kept busy but she had at times visited the library and taken out books. Then again, she was coming to the age where she could start noticing boys and not be concerned with books at all!

"You must being reading my mind." Words low as the glow of blue eyes captured hers to keep hold. "She has been asking me to invite you for tea. I believe you mentioned about being interested in her customs and she would like to show off all that she knows and teach you if that is your wish." There was something else on his mind, and he knew it would be a wait on papa-san, wondering if Abigail could go the waiting on a man custom. "I need a woman to talk to her on woman things," really hoping he got his point across. "Her aunts are a distance away and busy with the manor filled with children already." Lei was taking that step to becoming a woman.

"Aye, it works quite well," she agreed for she'd seen him using the stuff before. Even if it did smell like a thousand pine forests all crammed into the tavern! A smile dimpled her cheek. "Aye, a drink sounds - " Any other comments cut off when Matthew stumbled and whirled gracelessly. At least he caught the bucket though. She had to laugh at his quick save, and that look on his face. "Perhaps we should get you out of this room." A strong hand took his arm, but gently, to lead him back out into the fresher air of the common room. "And aye, poetry is my favorite..." she added to answer his earlier query. "The classic tales, you know, such as bards might sing. Epic romances and fierce battles... I suppose you might think such things a bit silly," a wry smile as her gaze went down then back up through thick black lashes. All the while she was leading him to the others' table so he wouldn't keel over or anything.

Wrong move. When she took his arm, he became like the Chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, all limber legged, having her into his arms and dancing her out into the hall right into the main room. Bucket and all which he managed to slip away to butt up against the one wall where no one would trip over it, especially him. Then he really had her off, provided she could keep up with him. He was humming some merry tune that would alight the feet to compete.

She had almost finished her meal but paused and placed her fork on the plate. "I would love to come to tea, and even more, I'd be glad to speak to her. It can't be easy having her growing up so quickly." Blue-gray eyes were held to his until Matthew and Maggie came dancing out into the commons. She laughed softly as she watched. It seemed Matthew even provided the music.



Date: 07-13-10
Poster: Michael McAndrews
Post # 51

"I would greatly appreciate that." And he would find a unique way to reward her for such help for it was out of the ordinary call. He could talk to Lei but he felt it would be easier coming from another woman, especially a woman she respected. Although there was not more than friendship between he and Abigail presently, Lei favored Abigail and, he did too if he was honest with himself. Although a man like himself should not move too quickly but then, not too slowly either. He felt it would not be long before he knew if there could be more between them or not. He was good with time and patience.

Alright, so.... she was saying all those things as she was being danced around the room! After a peal of surprised laughter, of course. Maggie was not one to resist such thrills however and her hands settled easily into dancing position, one upon his shoulder and the other holding his hand. Feet moving lightly beneath her in whatever combination of jig and waltz he seemed to be leading. Laughing brightly as he whisked her about. "I do believe that cleaning solution of yours has gone to your head!" A wide smile as she looked up at him, his face much closer to hers than she was accustomed to. She had been about to say something but forgot it for a moment. "Ahh, what song is this?" Referring to the tune he hummed.

Matthew was having a grand ole time of it too, cue the grin. Arms up and down, swinging her around especially after the bucket was left behind. He even lifted her up and over chairs, edges of tables with nary a collision. "Then all the better if it does such wonders. I've got the lovely Maggie Callahan dancing with me." Singing it as the words fitted right along with the humming. "That is the song about the Thistle lass who works from dawn to dusk. An apron about her small waist, a twinkle in beautiful blue eyes and a sassy tongue for layman and sailor alike." Finally reaching the table where Michael and Abigail were seated  As she left the guidance of his arms, he pulled her out a chair. "Now, what would you be liking from the bar that I may fetch along with my own. This time to allow you being served."

"Then consider it done. Tell Lei that she only needs to let me know the date, and I'll come visit and then I'll talk to her." If she was honest with herself, Abby favored Michael but she understood that he might not feel the same or would be cautious, and she felt that wise. She was quite impressed with the acrobatic dance and applauded when the two finally arrived at the table. "Very nicely done."

He too applauded the two. "You dance very well together." Pleased too that they decided to join them as a hand slipped over to cover Abigail's a moment then gone again. The touch would say a thousand words in lieu of them instead. "I will let you know." That on Lei and he knew once she was told Abigail would, she'd would have wanted it yesterday but he would remind her that she had to buy special foods and have all done in Japanese tradition so it had to be perfect.

He would probably get the sense that she was quite a good dancer. She had that natural grace, and there had been times when she'd taken dancing lessons as well. And so she managed all of his lifts with ease, her long legs extended in straight lines and toes pointed. She laughed again at his lyrics, this time more softly. Her cheeks were flushing with deep pink color from all the dancing, and indeed there was a twinkle in her eye. Upon landing from a lift she let go his shoulder to twirl once, twice, beneath their joined hands and her skirts were still swirling as he sat her down. "I feel like a princess, songs being sung for me and somebody to fetch me drinks." Both of which were a switch from the everyday! Her smile beamed like the sun upon Matthew. "I'll have a sweet apple cider, if you would, please." At the others' words she turned to them with that bright smile. "Thank you, I do love to dance."

He stepped back, slow sweep of hand and arm as he bowed. "She dances so well like a princess," around on a heel he was over to collect a tankard of ale for himself, nothing too strong this late and the sweet apple cider. Didn't take him long (and a strong scent of lemon about him laced with pine) to return and set her drink near her hand then take up the next seat from her side. "Cheers as life should be happy more than not and we should grasp or even make those moments happen."

Her smile grew at the touch and she nodded. She was glad to be able to help out. It was sweet of Matthew to offer to get Maggie's drink. She couldn't help a slight sneeze at the scent of pine and that had her giggle. "And  hopefully, we'll never let the opportunity slip our fingers." Holding her drink up in a salute.

Michael was doing one of his zoning out things before back, yet remained aloft for something he was watching on another level. There were strange colors coming from the library part of the castle. A thread that twisted like a chord that wove up into the sky of such a great distance it was lost in the Milky Way. He lifted his tankard to drink what remained of his ale and followed it by shot of the potcheen. "Here, here, keep all dear and those we care for even more." In reply to Matthew's toast.

She thanked Matthew with a dimpled smile for the cider, taking it to hand, though she paused before sipping when he offered that toast. That was a perfectly lovely sentiment she could agree with whole-heartedly. She lifted her  glass, eyes meeting Matthew's with a warm smile, "Cheers." A flicker of memory surfaced. That night, after her nightmare... the moment when he had leaned in and she could have sworn... but just as she had that night, she dismissed it as a trick of her imagination. She sipped her cider to finalize the toast.

Life was good at the moment, one couldn't wipe the lingering smile from his face. A half lidded, hard to read look, lingered on Maggie as she took her drink. Four unique lives, four unique people he was reflecting on wondering how much each knew of the other or more, how much they wanted to know of the other and if time held those secrets to be discovered. Some bigger than others but then when it was your own, it was important no matter how big or small. "I suspect the dog days of summer are upon us and will remain until fall comes to make her claim." Grin was back as he ... yep... talked on the weather.

When Michael seemed to fall quiet, Abby glanced at him, studying for just a moment before she took a drink. She was feeling content, and yes, well-fed. Looking at Matthew, she laughed and nodded. "I believe you're right. Many more hot and humid days, with rain, along with cooler ones. Some days perfect to sit out in a field or lay in a hammock and enjoy a cold drink, a book and maybe a nap."

"Much is afoot," words low but he felt that Abigail would understand that which he didn't speak on in particular. Far more actually than she was aware although one part she was becoming to be. "I will walk you home tonight," knowing she stayed in the castle for her station as the library mistress. Then back to the conversation on the weather. "Aye, you've sensed it right. Although we'll get enough rain not to fall into a drought."

There was always more to learn about people, and such histories fascinated Maggie. Part of the reason why she enjoyed working in a busy tavern such as this; there was no shortage of new people to meet, new conversations to be had. Tonight she was content to be off her feet for once, sitting and enjoying the present company. Maggie rarely drank, for while she worked in a tavern, she was always working and would never drink on the job. Even if other barmaids might not be as scrutinizing of such things as she. Maggie would always be grateful to Alex for taking her on here and would never risk doing anything to jeopardize his trust in her. And so because she rarely drank that cider would quickly go to her head. A relaxed smile graced her lips as she sipped and for now quietly listened. "Do you think we will get more thunder storms?"

"Aye. I think even if the season wanted nothing but the heat, in these lands there will still be rain and thunderstorms. I hear they are great to watch over the lake and from the Tree House especially that Gabriel and Raphael built. If you really wanted to see one from that advantage, I think they would let me bring you."

She gave a nod to Michael's words, then another for walking her home. "I always enjoy your company." She looked at Matthew and Maggie and smiled. "I like to watch them roll in from the sea though, there aren't many places that one can watch and not get drenched." She had finished her drink and placed her glass down on the table. Whenever Michael was ready, so was she.

"I can bring you on such a flight during a storm," words low but then lifted, "there is always the lighthouse to view such a storm from too and its effect on both land and sea." A really strong force of nature's showing. "I'm sure Davin has seen many with a few that we've had." It would be best to get going if they were to have a leisurely walk back and so he rose. "I enjoyed the company tonight, may there be more of them. Good night Maggie, good night Matthew."

"Really?" Maggie perked at Matthew's words, her enthusiasm increased thanks to that cider. "I have seen that Tree House, and always wished to see it from the inside, do you really think you could take me there?" Bright blues bouncing back to Abigail and Michael. "Aye, there is nothing like a storm on the sea, such excitement, with the waves crashing. As if the gods of the ocean are testing us all." She was rambling on and bobbed a nod of farewell with a smile. "Good night, both of you, have a safe journey home. Abigail, I will be visiting the library soon, I hope!"

"Aye, I know both men and the Tree House is not of the ordinary. Only way to get in is if one lets down the ladder or you fly in." He rose as Michael and Abigail did, "a good night to you both and aye, I would like more of these nights." Get Maggie and himself off their feet and working when they really were not required to. "If you want to see one from the lighthouse, that too can be easily arranged, even easier." It was getting late as he took up his tankard to finish what was left. At least the pine cleaner effect had eased off.

A flight during a storm? That would be exciting and she nodded, her eyes sparkling at the thought. "I'm sure he has as well. Good night Maggie, Matthew. Rest well this night." She hadn't bothered with a shawl for the air would still be warm. "I've enjoyed the evening as well." She waved a farewell to Alex as well as they started for the door.

She would stay warm in his company as a hand fell to the small of her back. Tall and blond, he too was a good height like the rest of his brothers. McAndrews were not missed even in a crowd. The walk would  be very pleasant for the relief of heat found outdoors, the fresh scent to the air and the moon up above lending its magic whether lovers or not were out this night.

"I would love to see both places. The Lighthouse, aye, I've met Davin. Well, once... and I've been meaning to visit the lighthouse for some time." A final wave to Abigail and Michael and she leaned back in her chair. The hour was growing later and she peered down into her near-empty cider. "This is making me a bit drowsy. Perhaps I'll be able to sleep tonight..." that thoughtless comment an indication that she had been sleeping poorly. Even if there had been no more screams in the night.

"I hope that you can, soundly. Such helps in dealing with things than not getting sleep." Which he knew firsthand. "Then both it shall be and we shall be humbled by the display. Now it is time for me to get some sleep as I need to be up early to start chopping wood for the winter." Yes, it started early so the wood would be dry, seasoned, and burned long and hot.

"Do you have to go?" It slipped out where it never would have usually been spoken, had she not been just a bit tipsy. She realized her slip a moment later, blinking slowly then giving a soft smile. "I'm sorry, aye, of course. Good night, Matthew... thank you for the drink and dancing." She made no sign of going to bed, herself. No.. she would linger in the commons a bit longer, perhaps over in front of the snapping flames of the hearth.

Which had him pause and a smile spreading. "Well, it's not like I'm going far far away, more like a dozen or so feet. "If you'd like some company I can linger longer but if I fall asleep on the couch, you'll have to carry me in to my bed and tuck me in." Amusement was there in hazel blue eyes as he half leaned against the table. "That would also mean adjourning to the couch here or the one in the back lounge."

"You don't mind?" She did not want to guilt him into staying up, but... company was something she truly wished for. At least until dreamless sleep took her as well. A soft giggle at his words, "I promise to tuck you in all nice and snug should that happen. Let's go to the back lounge, that way there is even less distance I shall have to drag you," she gave a little grin.

"Aye, then m'lady," offering his arm as a gentleman would do and she might notice how naturally it came and suited him too. Not the handyman of a tavern per say. "The back lounge it will be so that if I should snore I will not be taken as rude..." which the time spend would continue with that humorous edge so set by this night.

And likely his jokes would have her in fits of giggling that would have to be smothered, lest they woke Alex or incurred Hazel's wrath. His arm taken with a sweeping ladylike air of her own as they headed back.



Date: 07-20-10
Poster: Leoric McLarkin
Post # 52

Puppy Surprise

The hour was still relatively early, as far as taverns went. Stars were blinking into life in a twilight sky, the heat of the day dissipating into something more comfortable. Unlike past evenings, tonight brought an almost chilly breeze to rustle the trees. Maggie had finished her afternoon cleaning, making the place shine and smell lemon fresh, some time ago. That lull until business picked up was spent with her favorite volume of poetry, or so she had intended. After only a few minutes the words had begun to blur on the page and her temples to throb, and to ease the pain she leaned her head back against the wingback and closed her eyes. She ended up dozing right off and remained still in that chair near the hearth, face tilted against the plush fabric with several silky red-black strands falling about it as curtains.

Leo wandered the streets, ones he knew like the back of his hand having grown up here, born here. There were changes and these were the things he was making note of. He stood with the regular crowd watching the Valdez family perform outside. The balcony that jutted out and over the street was perfect for the Romeo and Juliet scene. It reminded him of the talk he had the evening prior with the Lady Lulu of Solarius. From there he wandered through the almost vacant marketplace as one or two vardos were still being packed before leaving. He spoke with ones he knew and was introduced to others that had recently joined the selling of goods. As a kingdom grew, so did its marketplace and one day he hoped to see that of Kildare so prosperous. A light cape was worn with the McLarkin crest embroidered on the back. Although he was a king, he walked amongst those here as one of them, like many years ago. A light tunic was worn over dark pants and boots in completing his attire although the chill didn't affect the druid like it did others. From there he wandered up to the Thistle as he realized he was hungry and knew he'd get a good meal here. Footfalls came in a steady cadence of sound as boots made contact with wood from the steps right on into the tavern itself. He noted Maggie with the slight tip of a smile as he was across the way to the bar. The low rumble of masculine voices tried not to disturb the hard working waitress asleep on the couch. A tumbler of potcheen was set along with the bottle to be left. He took up the menu then to see what had been the entrees for the day.

It was much too warm for the clothing of this land, so of late, Sachiko had been wearing the lighter summer kimono of her homeland. The one she wore tonight was a soft pink with delicate butterflies embroidered in white. Her long hair was pulled back into a simple ponytail with a pink ribbon and she wore sandals on her feet. She made her way silently into the tavern after greeting a few she knew here and there.

Light her sleep had begun, but eventually it deepened, and she dreamed again of the village. The ground shuddered, a slow rumble at first, and then the earth seemed to buckle beneath her feet, nearly throwing her down. Then the very earth split in two, like an enormous gash, except instead of blood, flames poured out. They leapt higher and higher, scorching everything, hungry, eager to consume... Maggie's sleeping frame jerked, she woke with a muffled yelp, and the fire which had been burning low as embers in the hearth suddenly blazed before settling down into a merry dance of flames.

Leo sensed the foreign one before she even entered the tavern although he was in a light conversation with Alex before ending. Their conversations were sporadic at this point but nonetheless interesting. Always with Alex. He felt tremors on another level that had him turning back towards Maggie, in the next moment he was over there to rest a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Dreams hold you until they are faced." Perhaps by the way her body spoke unconsciously while in her sleep. Hoping his voice would draw her back like a lifeline to the present.

A shy smile was given to Alex as the man with him went over to the young woman who had been sleeping. She spoke quietly, waiting for a drink to be handed over, then she perched on a chair. And managed not to watch the two too much since it was not consider polite.

Her blue eyes blazed too or perhaps it was merely reflection from the fire. They bounced almost wildly from the hearth, to Leoric, around the room and back again. Everything was safe, everything fine, it was just another dream. Her fingertips seemed to be tingling and she glanced down. The pads of her fingers were bright red, as red as a sword being forged. She clasped her hands together tightly and shoved them beneath her apron. Glancing back up to Leoric she  gave a faint smile, "Bad dream," though he had guessed that alright. Agh... maybe the demons were inside her head, it pounded furiously. One hand lifting to press against her brow. "Ahh.. I'm sorry, my lord, your Grace. Leoric I mean," as she recalled he had asked her to skip titles. "I didn't hear you come in."

He was that close to see what she saw. "This is not the first one," how did he know? Well a few reasons but he could explain that such a dream would have her far more upset the first time, instead she seemed to know what it was, even tried to hide her hands so he might not see. Maybe too much to see? "Would you like me to see to getting you some tea with special  herbs?" Perhaps it was the dilation of her eyes that spoke volumes and he knew if he were to delve there would be more there. Straightening as he would keep his manners. "Good evening Miss, I am Leoric and this lady here is Maggie, the tavern's new waitress." Although not new to some, she was for others.

"Good evening. I am Sachiko." Some habits took long to die, and she slid from her stool to bow. "It is an honor to meet you both, Leoric and Maggie." It was also hard not to add the honorific at the end but she managed.

Her eyes lifted to Leoric's when he said that first bit, holding there, and instead of laughing it off... she gave a tiny shake of her head. "No," she whispered simply in reply. It was far from the first time though each time, it was slightly different, with new details or new faces. But each time it was the same thing. Fires, death, destruction, till she ended up getting no sleep and dozing off in chairs. This dream tonight had been particularly vivid and while she was outwardly calm inside she was shaken. The hearth had burst into flame at the very moment she woke up, or had she imagined that? Her fingers burning as if they had sparked the fire themselves... it had been some time since she'd last lost control like that. She nodded her head gratefully to Leoric's offer for tea before glancing over to the Oriental woman. A faint smile produced at the greetings, "Hello Sachiko, lovely to meet you."

He gave a bow as was traditional for her in return. Honoring her. "It is a pleasure to meet you Sachiko, you are the one that has the tea house in these lands?" Although asked as a question it sounded more like a statement. He didn't miss the slight shake of Maggie's head but he also didn't say anything more to draw any attention. He would offer one bit, "if you ever need to talk on it with someone.." leaving it go there. There were a few within these lands that could help on that level.

"Yes, I am. " She answered with a hint of pride. She was considering expanding it and making a restaurant at the other end of the garden. Sensing something amiss, she settled on her stool again and picked up her drink to sip.

"Do not trouble yourself," she replied softly to Leoric, after nodding and smiling a bit to the woman once more. "You've matters of far greater importance to worry over, I'm sure." She gave a wisp of a smile, for certainly she'd heard the rumors about Kildare, which had only been re-kindled when the King of Heathfield returned from there in such terrible shape. She had also met several of Leoric's Kingsmen and knew there must be a reason they all were gathering.

"I would not offer if there was not a reason." Hint of a smile as much as saying the offer stood. Alex had steeped the tea as he was over to collect it, adding a certain mixture of herbs that would help her on a few levels, including the headache she obviously developed and was natural to follow certain kinds of dreams. "Are you schooled in medicinal teas as well, Sachiko?" Asking as the cup of tea was being handed over to Maggie.


"Yes, we have several kinds of teas used for medicines." She looked at Maggie, head tilting slightly like a small sparrow. "You are not well?"

For Alex she summoned a smile as she accepted the tea mug and cradled it gingerly between her hands. She appreciated Alex's discretion more than she could say... he had probably seen her at her worst of times but never said a word. Just made her the tea and didn't scold her for being lazy or a few minutes late for work, as others might. Taking a sip of the hot brew, eyes moved over to Sachiko at the question and she shook her head quickly. "No, I mean, aye - oops," her emphatic gesture had a couple droplets of tea spilling onto her hand, making her laugh a bit as she wiped it off. "Aye, I'm fine, it's nothing but a headache."

There was a commotion outside as a squealing golden retriever pup managed to wiggle free from Eddie's arms. "Just like a woman! Fussing and fighting and making me run.." but he was laughing as the pup managed up the steps, one of the more sprite ones, and all legs going not totally in unison, skittering into the tavern on a slide. Heavier steps followed as the tall McAndrews filled the door while he stood there trying to see where the pup went. She was hiding under the couch and peeking out.

"The headache will go soon," but not that which caused it. Except he didn't add that. Maggie probably knew easily what was unsaid for the way the other was said. He was about to say more when the tavern got two new visitors. One under the couch he stood by that which Maggie sat upon. "Good evening Eddie. I trust your family is doing well." Which included far too many to mention individually or taking up the next half hour doing so.

"Good evening, Eddie." She offered the McAndrews prince a warm and affectionate smile since it was thanks to him that she had come to these lands. "It is so good to see you. " A soft giggle escaped as she pointed toward the couch. "The puppy wants you to chase I think."

To that she only gave Leoric a halfhearted smile. If only the headaches did vanish as quickly as he said. Though the reassurance was appreciated. Distraction came in the form of a small yellow pup that nearly bounded straight into the side of the couch, instead skittering beneath. Curious eyes lifting to the man in the doorway, who had the look of all the McAndrews - and there always seemed to be one more to meet. Then she peered down towards where the pup crouched in ready-to-run pose next to her feet.

Dimples dipped with the quick ready smile as he was in heading for the couch. The pup dipped back under and the sliding of paws on the floor would be heard. "Aye, I do think you are right on that," as he was over only to have the pup get caught up around Maggie's legs and yelp helplessly as she sat there. "Oh, a new ploy you've learned," chiding the pup as blue eyes met blue for he'd not have his hands fumbling around the lady's legs, "we haven't met. I'm Eddie." Then a wink shot to Sachi. "Were you needing some puppies or full grown dogs for your teashop?"

She giggled again then looked at the puppy. "Not for the teahouse but for my own house." She had a lovely yard and though she had her own private garden, there was more than half open for a dog or puppy or both

The puppy's antics lured a true laugh from the barmaid. "No, we've not, though I think I've met a few of your siblings," if her guess of him being a McAndrews was right. "I'm Maggie." Setting her teacup aside, Maggie reached down to gently extricate the pup from her skirts, lifting it up in her hands. There was nothing quite like a puppy to bring warmth and comfort, and she snuggled her cheek against the retriever a moment before setting it down on her lap. It was much more difficult to feel shadowy and haunted with a pup on one's lap, and she petted it softly.  If it sat still long enough to be petted, of course!

"You must not have met Seamus yet or he would have swept you off your feet.. pretty lass as yourself with the fire in her hair." He paused a moment, "seems she has taken to you if you're interested. She piddled on the last woman's foot, I believe on purpose." Then again the woman had a stern unfriendly face so probably scared her when she made her son bring her over to take a look. He was over to Sachiko to promptly give her a kiss on her cheek. One then the other just to get her to giggle again. "You can either visit the kennels or tell me what you would like and I will bring such to you."

And of course, he was rewarded with one and a touch of blush to her cheeks, though she did hug him. "I will come visit. It has been a long time." She and her sister had tormented a few of the brothers when they first arrived but the family was like one to her now and she missed seeing them. She glanced over at Leoric and smiled again before finishing her drink.

Then to answer Leo, "aye, they are all doing well and I think there are more children appearing every few months from one married brother or another." Not all were married but most were or at least half.

Leo had collected his drink to kick back as he eased into a lean against the bar. He was at that point of mellowing out and gone quiet, giving a nod to Eddie's answer to his question.

"Seamus, no, though I shall have to keep an eye out for him..." a slight jest for the way Eddie described him. "Rick aye, and Treve and Michael..." A snicker passed her lips at the story of what the pup had done to the last woman... "Oh, I don't know... I'm not sure if Alex would like me having a dog here..." but didn't the pup just have the most irresistible face? It seemed completely docile now, no sign of wanting to piddle on her, plopping down on her lap and rolling on its side to invite scratching. Maggie obliged, lifting her tea for a sip with the other hand and going quiet to let the others converse.  Much like Leoric apparently...

Poor Sachi, for when she gave the hug he had her up into his arms, lifting her from her chair and feet not touching the ground for his height. Back down again a moment later as dimples accompanied his grin. "Aye, keep an eye out for him. Yea have met Jon then?" Wondering if the kissing bandit would ever strike again. There was the rumor of him and Joe getting with a lass from the old notorious tavern along with masks and capes.

"Oh, aye," there were so many she'd nearly forgotten... "Jon as well."

He could always make her laugh. She was quite content to be back on the chair though and set her empty glass on the table. "She is a very cute puppy. Seamus is not so bad." Of course he wasn't! "And he sings very well." And of course, they all had nice voices.

Even Eddie could sing but they'd have to get a lot of potcheen in him first. "Aye, he's the singer and has all the charm," right. "You'll have to come up with a name for the wee lass and now she has a home and someone to take care of. After she chews on your slippers and rips apart your pillow, but one day you'll remember it all fondly," said with a growing smile and dimples back. "You are welcome to come over any time you want to take a break from here, Sachi." One of the reasons he offered to bring a few over on his next trip between the kennels and the smelter.

The night was calling to him more than even his bed. It was late as well and he wanted to do a few more things before heading back to the castle. He finished off his drink but would take the bottle with him. "Enjoy the rest of your night. A pleasure meeting you Sachiko, of seeing you again both, Maggie, Eddie." He had already spoken his good nights to Alex after finishing his meal. Something that had him preoccupied and quiet for the duration.

She was growing fonder of the pup by the second... and Eddie was speaking as if she had already agreed to take her. Only one obstacle. Maggie turned towards Alex, lifting up the little yellow fuzz ball to show the tender. "Alex? May I keep her?" And if the man could say No to that little puppy face alongside Maggie's hopeful eyes, he had a heart of stone. A pause taken to glance over to Leoric and offer him a soft smile. "Good night, your Gr - Leoric."

They all knew Alex was a soft heart under the stern exterior. Had Leo chuckling under his breath, that and Maggie's near slip before heading back to the offices first then using one of the back exits.

She slid off the stool to offer a bow to Leoric. "Good night, Leoric. It was a great pleasure to meet you." When she straightened, it was only to bow to the others, including Alex. "And a good night to each of you. I go to find my rest." She had a new shipment of teas that she wanted to examine come morning. "It was a honor, Maggie."

It seemed to be the time to depart. "I will see you back if you do not mind?" That way they could catch up as it had been a long while since they talked. So he headed out with her.



Date: 07-22-10
Poster: Christopher McCormick
Post # 53

Long Time

David was back from one of his tours, finding his return went alone having lost Jonas along the way. He hid his bike as he went from driving down a street to a field as he passed through an ethereal doorway. Came out of a tree if anyone had been around to see. Probably think he was some kind of demon with his attire, the thing he was riding and flying like demons were on his heels. He changed into a tunic over black pants, the tunic black as well. So where the short boots. He was impressed at the changes to the tavern that was one of his homes away from home. Seemed fate wished him here most often than anywhere else. Quirky infectious smile brought out a dimple as he entered the establishment. "What's happening Alex?" With that hippy drawl as he made his way over, subtle swagger of one that had such self confidence. "Cool menu," taking it up as he looked it over to see what was appealing. He was hungry so just about anything on it would do.

It was a typical evening in the Tavern, the windows flung wide and the door kept open to admit the weak breeze that helped to break up summer's humidity. In this weather the plants sucked up moisture greedily, and Maggie had to tend to them as she would precocious children. A watering can in hand, the sleeves of her scoop-necked pale blue dress pushed back from her wrists, several crimson strands wilting about her face, and of course that apron about her waist. She glanced up when the door opened, and blinked when it admitted a stranger... in every sense of the word. He had a sense of.... otherness about him that had her giving him a long glance. A sense of not exactly belonging here, though he seemed to know Alex well enough. A strange accent he had too...

He noticed Alex looking over his shoulder which had him glance from the menu in that direction. A low whistle under his breath while taking in the comment from the elderly respected man that she was the new waitress, "groovy, awesome," followed with a low whistle for she was a beauty. Sometimes it took him a few to remember his slang didn't fit back in these times. So he quickly amended, "m'lady such a welcome addition to this infamous tavern." Smile would make up for any infraction with those dimples that accompanied it. All too quickly over as he could dress the part (having changed before coming into town) but sometimes forgot to act the part.

She realized she was caught in her staring when both Alex and the man glanced back at her, and she quickly dropped her eyes, though a sheepish smile curved her lips. She didn't quite understand what he said at first and raised her eyes again, puzzled, but then gave another smile when he went on. "Infamous, is it? Somehow that does not surprise me... We have not met yet, I believe." She had the proper but casual speech of the common people, with a slight lilting accent of her own to it, that of the land of Wales. "I'm Maggie." And she dipped a quick curtsy.

He set the menu aside as he was around to face her cordially. His manners donned with all the charm he naturally possessed. "I am David deRoiste, a resident of these fine lands," certainly he had an accent but it was Irish, one from Ireland would say not except for that bit that held true from decades past in spite of being influenced by Americanization. "This tavern is infamous, been around many years and still going strong unlike one further north from here." Even coming from many centuries in the future he hadn't fitted in with the futuristic group found there and no longer seemed to be at all. "It is my pleasure to meet you Maggie." Wait till Jonas got to hear about the tavern getting a pretty waitress!

Hot muggy night had Christopher wandering away from the ranch. His father was on his tail a lot lately about him not getting out socializing at his age. First it was Mariah and as she started getting out, now Ian was on his case. Christopher worked hard, from dawn to dusk and usually just wanted to get some sleep. His father reminded him of the pretty lass he favored to spend time with and that if he got lost in time, she might forget him completely. So he stayed up and when he reached the porch, he took up a lean against the rail to enjoy a cigarillo. One that had cinnamon to tint the air around him and if swept in through a window, at least it was a pleasant scent.

There were still many residents of Heathfield she had not yet met, though she was still a bit surprised when he named himself as such. She shook off that feeling of something being a... bit off about him, however. She dipped her head in a nod at the introduction, brief smile dimpling her cheeks before she turned to the sound of footsteps outside. Through the open door she could see the figure of someone else she did not recognize, taking up a lean against the porch "Would you like anything to eat this eve?" A polite query as she turned back to David.

"Yes!" Came rather quickly as he blinked, shifting back to grab up the menu to peruse again. "The chicken cutlets and a bowl of Hazel's infamous Irish stew, brown bread and a tankard of stout on the side." Stomach growled in anticipation.

AJ was visiting Ballicastle and Shiloh as was Jules. In fact, the girl had avoided going back to Chicago though she didn't want to talk about it. After Shiloh promised to try to find out, AJ went off to see if she could find a certain someone. It was a matter of missing one another by minutes and so, as she made her way through the streets, she could see him up ahead. She kept on track, heading straight for the Thistle. Comfortably dressed in a linen peasant shirt with doeskin pants and sandals. She had been letting her hair grow in and wore it pulled back. Forget him? Never!

She blinked too at his rather loud and quick response. "You must be hungry," said with a knowing smile as she went to lean in the kitchen window and pass the order along, sparing Alex from having to do so. Then she retrieved her watering can and went back to her thirsty plants.

Which left him in a lean at the bar and enjoying the view of her watering the plants. Plants were new here too so he noticed. Lingering smile the whole while with a dimple too.

He had noticed one walking towards the tavern but had not paid too much mind at first, that was until the one got closer and something.. yes.. he coughed out the last drag before dropping the cigarillo to the porch floor to crush out. He was down the steps in a flash as he dashed to intercept with taking her into a hug. One that lifted her from the ground as he spun her around twice or trice even before setting her back to her feet. "AJ, when did you get in," knowing well she was a vortex traveler. After all, he was the first probably in his time to learn dirty dancing! And boy o boy could he ever dance dirty once he got into it!

She grinned again as soon as he started down the steps, any doubt gone. Hugging him tightly as he spun her, she laughed , then tipped her head back. "Earlier today. The old rush and grind has gotten to be too much again. And as soon as I got settled, I knew I had to come see you." Yes, he was very, very good at that kind of dancing!

"How long are you staying?" Arm sliding around her back as his hand rested to the opposite hip, guiding her along back in the direction of the tavern. "Are you hungry? How is everything going back.. home..?" He knew she had her heartaches there, friends and family alike at times. Although he had gone to places with her in the future, the way they were still confused him. She was different in his view and he was attracted in spite of the centuries difference. He could understand better on Danny and Shiloh.

"They're all right I guess, though things have changed there again. I guess it shifts or something. The tavern is pretty much closed down. Jules isn't happy there anymore but she doesn't want to go back to our time." She sighed and leaned her head against his shoulder. "We both needed to be away so, we're going to stay for at least a month and see how Jules feels. She still has some school to finish." The smile returned though, warm as ever. "For Hazel's cooking? Of course!"

He was listening with concern giving a nod here and there for he understood. "Do you think she would like to come here, get a place of your own or stay with Shiloh in Falkirk? Nice country up there in Ballicastle." Which would also mean getting to see her more often if she did. "Can you teach her what she needs to learn?" Big grin spread as she confirmed staying at least a month, "so you are staying at Falkirk with Shiloh?" By this time they were up the steps and heading straight into the tavern. "There is a menu now." Which he heard about. "Cold tankard of ale for me Alex," his arm finally sliding away as they reached the bar.

"She might but some of what she wants to learn can't be learned here. We could probably keep the house up north so we don't suffer total shock." She winked at him, because they did spend time with Shi and her family. "Yes we are." She laughed softly. "It's different from the first couple of times, so many little ones now." A big grin was given to Alex in greeting. "Iced tea for me please. A menu? That'll make it easier."

"I'll have the steak and kidney pie." Giving a nod to the other man there leaning against the bar down a ways. "If it is too much, too many little ones, I'm sure a place nearby can be found. Cottage type and you can easily come and go."

"Evening folks," giving a nod in return before he had his meal in hand and headed for a table down the other end, giving them privacy as well himself to eat his meal. Maggie had gone someplace after his meal arrived and before the two newcomers were inside. When he was done, he quietly removed himself to upstairs and his room for the nights he'd be staying.

"Evening." She smiled at David then looked at the menu. "I'll have the chicken cutlets and fried potatoes, please." Looking back at Chris, she nodded. "It's been offered. In all seriousness, I could stay here and work as needed elsewhere. If Jules goes back to the school, she'll stay there during the week." It was something to consider.


"You know, I feel really bad about this but I don't think we ever talked about what you do for a living. I'm a Shepherd," which might seem clean cut if not a humble job. There was a lot involved however for he was being trained to take over the very prosperous ranch one day. Not too soon though, although his father was already turning over certain aspect of it to him and letting him earn more money as he did the job well.  When his food arrived, he dug right in for he was that kind of hungry.

The food smelled great but she could talk and eat. Carefully... "You remember those pictures I took using that funny box? Of you and me?" She motioned in what she thought was the direction of north. "I take those and sell them to different places. Sometimes I tell a story with them and sometimes they just buy the pictures, and tell their own. Or I get sent to places to take pictures. I've even taken pictures of Shepherds, though in lands like Egypt."

"I remember," vaguely but when she brought it up he remembered. "You sold the pictures of you and me? Did you get a lot of money for them?" He even stopped eating a moment to look at her curiously.

"No, I wouldn't sell those. They're special. I've sold others though." The smile grew and she nodded. "I get a decent amount. They seem to like my work."

"You could get a lot of unique photos here but you'd not be able to expose the camera or be asked many questions if not regarded as some kind of witch. At least here they don't burn ones at the stake like they do in other places." He finished up his meal and because it was getting late. "Want to take a walk then take a room here for the night?" This way they could talk a bit more privately and it was too late for her to go all the way back to Falkirk. His father all but threw him out for a few days, so here he was, here she was, he was going to take advantage of it. Grin was showing with his thoughts as he collected a key from Alex.

"I don't think I'd like to be burned at the stake." She chuckled then grinned. "That sounds like a plan." She was going to take a room here in any case, but with him here if was even nicer. A key collected and she stood. "We have a lot of catching up to do after all."

"Me either, then I would have to rescue you no matter what it took." Giving her a wink before bidding Alex a good night. They would not keep him up as the rooms could be accessed by a back door which the key opened too. "Yes, we do," reaching over as he took her hand in his, fingers interlacing with a dipping look her way then he started them off using the side door that would take them to the gardens first.


Date: 07-23-10
Poster: David Frasier
Post # 54

On the Prowl

Brogan finished up early, leaving the rest of the night to Charles to take over the casino. He was going on vacation. Some of that time would be spent at Falkirk and tonight, in the least, would spent here in the tavern. He needed to get away even from his flat in the casino. Too much of a good thing was not good. He was attired in black, silk shirt under a black vest, pants and boots. Even away from work he still dressed up some, this being dressed down for him. It wasn't until booted feet touched down on the boards of the porch that he realized, although not far away, he had not been here in many months. He could have just as well been on the other side of the globe. He lingered there taking in the gentle breeze, the clear sky of stars and trying to empty his mind of duty and sounds.

Brogan had company there on the porch, though she might have been easy to miss. Maggie was seated in one of the rocking chairs, currently on the far side of the porch and tucked beneath the roof's shadow. She was rocking at an easy rate, enjoying the last few fiery rays of sunset. There was some sewing in her hands but it had been abandoned as it became too dim to work without hurting her eyes. Instead she had been daydreaming, that is until a man walked up onto the porch. He did not appear to notice her, and her mischievous side kept her quiet for nearly a minute, watching him curiously. When she would finally speak it would be as if she had appeared out of nowhere for him. A cheery, "Good evening."

He was watching the sky from near the railing and so had not really noticed the one in shadow far down the other side. A set of forest green eyes shifted as he turned to take up a lean when he heard the voice. Female. Focus shifting there immediately as the lean was accomplished. "Good evening to you. Is there a reason you hide in the shadows? A face so disfigured that it would chase away the light of day?" The tone set was teasing and laced with the curious as to why she was so hidden. "I am Brogan," introducing himself and on a second thought adding, "Frasier, you may have heard of the name or even met some of my relatives."

David was walking down the street toward the Thistle, in his usual state. Hair a touch messy, and since he was done for the day, jacket open and tie undone. Patting down his pockets, he seemed to be searching for something and grumbling to himself. When he found the item, he paused beneath a street lamp to check it, then satisfied, continued on toward the tavern.

She leaned forward in the chair so he might see her better, looking decidedly impish as sun-streaked strands of ink tumbled about her very blue eyes. "I was not in shadow till the sun set, and then I simply neglected to move. Another Frasier is it? Aye, I've met a few of your brothers and your sister, Abigail." Her fairly recently too. "I'm Maggie, it's nice to meet you. I'm sorry if I startled you at all," now having the decency to look a bit sheepish.

"Ahhhh, now.. not a mar upon your beautiful face. I shall not have to hide away in fear.." a deep chuckle rolling up as he need not continue the farce. "Cousins actually, the closest sibling is almost here." Quite aware of his half brother making his way up the street. "You should always be where you can be seen so that your beauty is appreciated by those around you." Charm of words flowed easily from him for it was based in the truth. Otherwise he'd have nothing to say at all. "A pleasure, Maggie. It would take more than a beautiful woman in the shadows to startle me." Giving a quick wink that might be seen being his face faced the window, his back half to the street as he was somewhat sideways in his lean against the rail.

That had her chuckling now, a low throaty one. Fixing him with a smile that was knowing but not immune to his charms, enough to dimple a cheek. "Cousin, aye. You are the Brogan who owns the casino? I can see how a man such as you would do well in such a profession... you've a flattering tongue."

That familiar voice had him grinning and of course there was a pretty lass talking to him. "Good evening, Brogan., Miss. Lovely night for a stroll, isn't it?" And he was actually doing just that!

"Thank you," taking it as a compliment, "I am part French and so lay the blame there," but obviously he had the bit of blarney about him too but certainly in a charming way. "Aye, I am the very one and have finally escaped for a vacation." With only a pause to catch his breath and continue, "this is my brother David, he manages my money in a way. You must be the lovely waitress I've heard about that compliments the elder prestigious Alex." He was enjoying that throaty sound too and such the smile to follow.

"Good evening," she said again, with another smile as David walked onto the porch... he did have a similar look to Brogan. Whom she looked back to, brow arching curiously. "Oh? And what exactly have you heard about me?"

"That you're a hard worker for one thing, and easy to talk to." He answered for Brogan as he removed his tie completely, and stuffed it into the pocket of his jacket, then removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He looked at Brogan and grinned. "What have you heard?"

"....and quite the looker which is obviously true." Adding to what his brother offered up and on the mark. "Seems the same as you, all good things. Although we could add some to the circulation that we found she had two horns and a devilish grin.."

Maggie had perched on the edge of the rocking chair to better speak with them, and to get herself out of the building shadows. Giving that inquisitive look to both gentlemen as she glanced between them, a smile starting with David's words, growing when Brogan spoke until she burst out laughing at the last. Not the throaty chuckle of before, this was a more girlish sound. "Two horns, is it? And do you see so much as one horn on my head, hmm?"

"Go take a look," if one had an imagination, the humidity had some curls that flipped up like two horns albeit a bit lopsided. Crossing his arms in that comfortable lean and the smile was back that dared.

"Aye, and comely." David stepped forward, hands behind his back and studied Maggie's head, leaning close but not so close that he'd lose his balance and knock the poor lass over. He could be absent-minded, but he did try to not be clumsy. "Hmmm, I can see curls and more curls, though perhaps that one right there." Straightening he shook his head. "Afraid if she had horns, they're gone now."

She had thought he was only jesting, and so was a bit taken aback by that challenge. Narrowing her eyes at first Brogan and then David, eyeing him though she didn't flinch when he came up a bit closer. A hand lifted in exploration to feel about her temples, and when she found that indeed some curls stuck up and out of place, she laughed again. She endeavored to smooth them down. "Very clever. Besides... most devils are better at hiding their horns than that. They do not show them for all to see."

"I don't know of another that can wear them so well," seriously teasing her still. He paused any thoughts as the motion of smoothing them down brought one of combing a woman's length of hair and how good that felt for both. He mentally shook away the thought or he'd be visiting the Flower Garden, which wasn't a bad idea either if he landed in Ballicastle or purposely went there! "I think I need a drink." Shifting up from the lean as arms fell away to naturally be at his sides. Too much talk on beauty, witnessing it and other thoughts it herald needed to be stomped out. "Would you be wanting one David, and you Maggie?" Pausing at the tavern door, one foot within and one out still.

" Aye, I do. Will you be delivering them or shall I join you in collecting? And are we returning out here?"

Unaware of Brogan's train of thought, her hand went around to stroke through her ponytail absently, pulling it over one shoulder. She rose when a movement was made for inside, a wise idea, for the insects would be out soon too. "I won't take a drink myself, but I shall bring them to you, wherever you wish to be. I'd be happy to bring them out here to you." She was all brisk polite efficiency now, tucking her sewing beneath one arm as she too stepped toward the door.

"Ale for me then, if you would, Maggie." Since he had heard her name from Brogan, he went ahead and used it. She'd have to shoo Brogan out of the way if he was blocking the door.

"Well, then, we shall adjourn inside." The buzzing of mosquitoes would have them itching later if they did not. He would not keep the screen door open either to let them inside. Holding it for both Maggie and David to pass through as well himself completely before he headed for the table across from the bar. "Certainly a cider to join us with?" As he turned out two chairs before taking the next.

And so she would duck inside beneath Brogan's arm, bouncy but graceful strides bringing her quickly across the room towards the bar. "Mmm.." she considered, but a glance about the place told her it was otherwise empty. "Very well." She agreed, then smiled brightly again. "An ale for David then, a cider for me, and for you Brogan?"

He had first said an ale but this late he'd feel it would weigh him down when trying to sleep. "A tumbler of the pure," which was the other reference to potcheen. "So, how long have you been working here, Maggie? And, does all suit you?"

A nod given to his order, and she went over to pass it on to Alex, waiting there for the drinks with a lean against the bar. Blues moving back to Brogan. "Oh, it'll be a little over half a year now.." A softer smile now. "It suits me quite well. I enjoy the people here, the lands..." A shrug as she felt no need to further explain, and smiled instead. The drinks were ready and she carried them over to the table, the ale in one hand, the shot glass and cider balanced in the other. Each drink set down before their prospective recipient before she pulled out a chair to seat herself.

Settling into one of the other chairs, one that would put Maggie between them, he listened as he fiddled with a piece of scrap paper. His hands were rarely still, so he was folding and unfolding it as he listened.

David's motions distracted Brogan! Slight smirk as he was getting to know this brother of his better all the time. "How is that Quinn lass working out for you, David?" Wondering if he realized he had one working for him or had fired her by now. Distracted from the view of his brother to a far better one as Maggie sat between them. "One can't complain of a job they like." Wondering if she had a beau by now too. Except he didn't ask. Yet.

"It is a good place." He took a drink of the ale then looked at Brogan. "Concessa? She's working out very well, though I'm surprised I haven't driven her to distraction by now. I should have warned her how I am I supposed." He was trying to straighten up a bit when he met clients but that didn't always happen.

"You are very right there. I'm a lucky girl to have such a job and a roof over my head." A warm smile offered before she leaned back in her chair, sipping her cider and allowing the brothers to converse.

"Ah, but that would take out the quality of adventure for her. Is she a pretty lass too like Maggie here?" Wondering if his brother even noticed the lass had a face. Yes, he was amused with the visual of a woman walking about naked and David not noticing, until maybe he bumped into her, knocked her down and then it would be oh, sorry, pardon, and still not notice.

"Yes, she's a very pretty lass." He looked at Brogan a long moment. "Why? Are you looking for a wife?" His smile was hidden as he lifted his tankard again though he didn't take his eyes off Brogan.

Maggie rolled her eyes lightly as Brogan once again praised her beauty, but it was clear it was all in good fun, she wasn't at all displeased. To be given compliments by a handsome man, what was there to complain about? David's comment piqued her curiosity and amusement for its directness as she glanced back to the casino owner.

Nothing like shock value back. "Now that you brought it up. Yes, I am." Didn't mean he'd find one but a slow smile surfaced and a wink to Maggie between them. "Have you thought of a wife to help clean up after your messes?" Trying really hard not to laugh so ended up a muffled choke type cough.   This was a good moment to kick back his drink complete before setting the empty tumbler back to the table.

"Well, I hope you find one then." He chuckled then shook his head. "No, I'd never do that to a woman. I'd be complaining because I couldn't find anything and she'd never have a moment's rest trying to pick up after me." He seemed quite serious, but his eyes said otherwise.

"Maybe it's something that can be cured," almost saying like getting laid might do it but he was in the presence of a woman. A charming one and respectable.

She might have giggled at that, but it was under her breath and soon followed by a long sip of cider... refreshing on a warm summer evening like this.

"I'd love to continue this conversation but I know I am not going to last." In short, ten more minutes and he'd be asleep sitting up, possibly snoring. "I'd like to get together if you can take some time off, David. Attend a race or such. Or just sit here and talk with Maggie like tonight." Although they had not talked a lot with Maggie. Yet. Another night could do it.

"That's been attempted but alas, here I am." Actually it was his own office at work and at the manor that were messy. His bedroom and the rest of the house were fine. "We will and soon." He stood as well, wincing slightly as he stretched out the kinks in his back. "I should catch up on my sleep as well." He wasn't going to attempt to make it back to the manor tonight. The flat over the office would do fine.

Maggie was getting tired herself. Finishing off her cider, she sat up straight again with a ready smile. "Aye, I enjoyed the chat and would again, I'm sure. I hope you both find rest and sweet dreams."

"Perhaps I will see you at breaking fast. I'm sure Hazel's cooking continues to be excellent." And a good hearty breakfast to look forward to. "I bid you both good night with the idea of seeing you both soon." He was over to collect the key from Alex with a few words exchanged before heading for the hall where the stairs led up. Brogan wasn't one for long delayed farewells.

"Good night, Brogan, Maggie and may the angels guide you swiftly to sleep." He smiled at Maggie and bowed slightly then with a wave to Alex, headed for the door.

That was a rather nice-sounding farewell from David, poetic almost, and she returned the smile as both men departed. "Aye, perhaps in the morn. Sleep well."



Date: 07-27-10
Poster: Patrick Frasier
Post # 55

After the Races
(Continued from Falkirk Races)


They arrive safe and sound a number of hours later. He didn't have the horses paced fast but an even pace being they had Ysa with them. Once there he was out, handing the surrey over to one of the stable lads to take it down the back. Around first to offer a hand to Karina or take the child as she got out.

Once arrived he was out near the same time as Rhett to see to Vanessa.

Karina gave Ysa over to Rhett, knowing he was good with the babe, before hopping down to head in with the others. "So Segan, that was nice of you to sit out the race with Vanessa. Or were you afraid I would beat you too?" Okay, so maybe she would gloat juuuust a little.

Which he grinned, "you're lucky I didn't race or you would not have won that pretty purse." Certainly implying he would have won. "You should ride Thunder Thighs next time Rhett and you are certain to win."

While Segan and Karina locked horns he headed into the Thistle with Ysa in his arms. She was a slobbering one! Which made him laugh and in turn she laughed.

She snickered quietly to what Karina had to say and looped her arm with hers. "I have something I wish speak to you about." And whisked her away, leaving Rhett with Ysa for the moment. He'd be okay.

The ride between Ballicastle and Heathfield was something she always enjoyed. Having company always made it better. Cer was taken to the stable to be tended to. She'd take her to the castle when she headed there.

"Oh-HO! Certain to win, he says," she scoffed. Giving Segan a broad smirk. "Nothing in life is certain, laddy, especially you beating me in a race." Up she went into the tavern, waving to Alex and Maggie. Then her arm was taken by Van and off she was whisked. "Oh, o...kay." Karina always got a bad feeling when someone said that to her, call it paranoia.

It was nothing bad. She just smiled sweetly and whisked her friend off to some quiet corner to sit at a table.

They took their time enjoying each other's company and not far behind the surrey. "Have you been keeping yourself busy since last I've seen you?" Dismounting and handing the horse over to be taken back with Gemma's. Then he would see her inside the tavern.

"Feisty words but proof is always in the pudding!" Called after her not giving an inch as he then was joining Rhett as Vanessa took hold of Karina to talk privately, "there they go off whispering again.. if they start to giggle you know we're in trouble," this to Rhett as he would take Ysa from him once he was ready.

"Aye, I have. Duties to the crown as well as spending time with me family." She smiled again. "Our cousins have returned safely and brought another, a sister. And of course, I'm sure you know about the King and his men returning. It's made for a busy time, as well as a joyful one."

Karina sat down at that table and looked across at her friend warily, waiting for her to speak her mind.


Vanessa looked at Karina, trying not to smile. She managed for a moment or three, but then the battle was lost. "You know I love you and think of you as a sister. I was hoping perhaps you would adopt my family's surname. Not that a name makes you family, but it would mean a lot to me."

Some of her concerns were alleviated when Vanessa smiled but she continued to eye her friend uncertainly. Even after Van had spoken. Stare. Blink. Yes... completely shocked and she looked it. There were several long moments of staring before she blinked rapidly as the idea absorbed. "I. Um.." She had no idea what to say. She didn't have a surname of her own, never had, and never had expected to. She already thought of Vanessa and Ysa as her dearest friends and the closest to family she'd ever get, but this.... this would be like making the tie official and she was speechless.

"Yes, word travels quickly on such matters as the King. I hear he has not quite come out in public?" Unless that has changed and so asked. "There is a lot of speculation on how they were wounded so badly but I figure in time that all will be made clear. Those in these lands are rarely left in the dark on such important matters. I figure there are things to sort out first." Giving a nod to the others with a warm smile as he saw Gemma to the bar and made his request for some potcheen. Alex would leave the bottle. "Would you like to remain here or sit at a table or the couch in front of the hearth?" She had options.

Now that looked interesting. She grinned at Segan and Rhett, then smiled at Alex. Cessa had talked about the watermelon punch and that would be what she'd have. "The couch would be nice. And no, the King hasn't come out yet though he's expected to soon and to meet with King Leoric. People were worried but have been assured that the wards still hold."

He and Rhett were in a light.. low.. conversation about a new hunting knife. An upnod given Gemma and Patrick as they arrived.

Vanessa just watched quietly. It wasn't something she would push for, but there was no doubt that Karina was as much a part of her family as her own blood sister had been. She hoped Karina would adopt her surname as sort of an official welcoming to her family.

"I uh.." It wasn't often that her tongue was so flabbergasted, but lucky Vanessa got to witness one of those rare times as she struggled for words. She blinked again quickly, and maybe what spoke more than words, was the faint glimmer of tears that came to her eyes. "Yeah, that would be, I would," swallow. "I'd like that." Karina was touched to the deepest corner of her heart and for once it showed.

Vanessa got up with a smile and went around to Karina's side of the table. "Then I will petition for it tonight if you like. You can take time to think about it if you want, Karina. You know I would never push for something you're not comfortable with."

"No.. no, I don't gotta think about it. It's.." Words failing again, speech a worthless thing. Instead when Vanessa came around to her side of the table, Karina reached to give her friend a fierce hug. Squeezing tight then just as quickly, she was up and moving for the side door that led to the garden. "Scuse me," she called back as gaily as she could manage before ducking out into the garden. Big girls don't cry... at least not in public. Make no mistake, she was thrilled but it came along with a truckload of other emotions too.

"So, tell me how your training has come along?" As he escorted her over to the couch, waited for her to be seated then taking up the spot near, but not too close as they were not that familiar.

The fierce hug was returned with a genuine smile, happy that Karina accepted the idea, and she just held onto the other until she broke away and excused herself. Watching her go, she wondered if maybe she should follow, but decided to give Karina a moment, so instead would go to ... where ever Segan and Ysa were.

Seeing Karina leave, as he had no idea what they were talking about, he was up and heading for the garden door. Excusing himself from the conversation with Segan.

He sat back with brows lifting. Wondering what was going on that had Karina leaving. He was at the table that Rhett had vacated. Glass of potcheen, both had, and a bottle left. Ysa on his lap. "Everything all right?"

She made herself comfortable and turned slightly so she could face him, one arm resting on the back of the couch. "Very well. It's hard at times but worth it. And I'm glad to be working with the Crown Princess, and Mo and the others." She paused to look up, watching as Karina took off.

She smiled to Segan as she reached to take Ysa and nodded. "I...think so. I think she just needed a moment." Ysa got raspberries blown against her neck for the giggles and then Segan received a kiss on the cheek.

Rhett would find her pacing around in circles outside, arms folded tight and her steps almost bouncing as she fought back a full-on invasion of emotions. Breaths came short as she kept herself moving, and one circle had her back facing the door to see Rhett standing there, but she didn't say anything yet. Couldn't. Just kept bouncing from foot to foot with each pace.

Brows rose higher with a pressed line of his mouth in concern as he stepped out. He was over to draw her up into his arms. "What is wrong?" Words hoarsely in a whisper.

"Congratulations on being knighted. News travels but not opportunities to say so.." lifting his glass in salute before kicking back the shot. "That is a great honor. I should come and watch you on the field," giving a quick wink as a dimple pressed aside the growing smile.

He relinquished the infant as she was beginning to smell. Although he wasn't sure if it was her bottom or the bubbled up milk. Whichever, it was better that Van took care of it.

She was way too agitated to stand still at the moment, arms remaining crossed as she kept moving from foot to foot even in his embrace. "Vanessa asked me to take her last name." Her voice came tightly through a constricted throat.

Ooo...she did smell. Ysa was held up so Van could look at her. "Ysa...." Then looked at Segan with a smile. "I shall return." Then she went to the bar to ask Alex for the bag she kept there and went off to get rid of the smell.

Her smile showed a dimple and she laughed. "Thank you.. With things the way they were, it was done quietly. I think Grandmother would like to have a big celebration, not just for me, but for the return of our cousins as well as Conor coming back from Ireland. Combine anything that needs celebrating into one grand party."

"That is an honor, do you wish to do so?" He still held her but his embrace was loosened being she kept moving like a cat on a hot tin roof. He was concerned and wondering how she felt about it.

Which had him chuckling and thankful Ysa had waited long enough for Van's return. Once more he was left alone.

"That would be a wonderful idea, a sort of in home thanks giving for all the fortune your family has seen. I imagine a feast in your home would be as large as ours.."

"Yeah, of course. I mean, I don't know." It was hard to explain herself when she hadn't shared her whole story with Rhett before. Harder still when she didn't know exactly how she felt about it, herself. A deep breath drawn as she tried to stop her twitching. "She said she loves me like a sister. And I feel the same about her, and Ysa, I do. I guess I just never actually thought about it with that word before, sister." She finally unfolded her arms enough to lift a hand and start wiping at her cheeks. Karina knew that she was acting ridiculous and Rhett probably couldn't understand her, any better than she could understand herself. Letting out a short laugh as she mopped her eyes. "Just took me by surprise..."

It wouldn't take Van long to get Ysa changed. When she came out, the bag was brought with her so she could wash the soiled stuff, which was wrapped in a potpourri scented pouch. A seat claimed next to Segan, she glanced towards where Karina and Rhett had disappeared and frowned some. "I hope I didn't say something wrong to her."

"Almost, though we don't have the spouses or children. But it's still lively." She glanced toward Segan and grinned. "Of course, my brothers make up for that."

"Much better," more mumbled as Vanessa returned with a much better smelling Ysa. "I haven't heard anything that would indicate something bad. What did you say to her if you don't mind my asking?"

"I don't think she expects an immediate answer. What is your surname?" Realizing she never told him and the question was out. He just had always accepted her as she was.. Karina. The one he cared about.

"I asked if she'd adopt the Baltimore name. She's like my sister and I would like to share my maiden name with her." She bounced Ysa on her knee and smiled over to Segan.

"None of you married but a couple engaged.." glancing Segan and Vanessa's way a moment then back. "No little ones yet. I'm sure within a decade there will be a few."

That shut her up. She went very quiet and turned her eyes up to Rhett when he asked that. They had never really spoken of the details of Karina's life before she came to Heathfield. She loved to hear all about Rhett's history, but steered clear of particulars when it came to herself. It seemed as if that moment had come and she spoke softly. "I don't have one. Never did. Never had a family to give me one. I was born in an orphanage and spent most the rest of my life on the streets."

Which had him go thoughtful. In way it would make up for the loss of not only her sister but her twin. "I know you really care for her as a sister, as well I do. I'm sure asking her this, is not saying something wrong. In a year's time you'll be taking on the surname of Quinn." Which was an even bigger step but changing or getting a surname was a big step.

"I have no doubt of that either." Her expression softened slightly as she looked at her brother and Vanessa briefly then looked back. Her drink was nearly finished and she made quick work of it. "It's getting late and I should be on the field bright and early. And you are more than welcome to come watch."

"I do care for her. She's part of my family regardless her last name, but I'd like to share mine with her." She paused for thought and looked at Segan with a tilt of her head, then smiled. "I will be hyphenating  my name to Baltimore-Quinn." Which she hoped he didn't mind.

"Well, look at it this way. You can choose your surname and your family now. Not many can do that although I've no complaints about my family." Not to give the wrong impression. He would not press her at the moment but certainly it gave fodder for future conversations. Maybe when feeding her a feast and have her in a good mood.. all stuffed up like on strawberry truffles. "Baltimore is not too bad of a surname. Karina Baltimore. Hmmm." Which had him pausing a moment, "of course if you eventually got married then it would change again."

"I will walk you up to the castle then with your permission." She may be a warrior, she may even be a knight, but he was a gentleman and would see her properly there. Luckily he was a good fighter or he might be intimidated by being with a woman so trained if he was not. He rose from his seat, "good night," given the others and he'd collect a key from Alex so he didn't need to disturb him later upon his return. He could gain entry through the back way and stairs.

"If that is your wish," at least Quinn would be in there as some didn't like to even change their names at all but that rose other questions too. He imagine they would wait for the two to return. He was watching the door thoughtfully before kicking back the last of his drink.

"I always welcome your company, Patrick." She smiled as she stood, then was over to hug her brother, Vanessa and even the little one. "Will you give my good nights to Rhett and Karina?" Asking her brother.

The hug was returned with a smile to Gemma. "Good night, Gemma. It was nice to see you again." She probably got drooled on a little between giggles from Ysa.

He was up to give Gemma a hug then a clasp to Patrick's shoulder. He didn't say anything about noticing he was around more which he had nothing against. Made his sister happy, he was happy she was aside the man being well respected. "I will," in reply to Gemma's request.

She hadn't thought about it that way... choosing a family rather than having it thrust upon her. Not that it was unwelcome thrust, it had just been a surprise. But if she had to choose anyone for family.. certainly it would have been Vanessa. And Ysa, of course. And Rhett, and Segan, and Eion, Concessa... all those people who she cared for as much as she imagined a real family would. His calmness even in the face of her deep dark past helped to calm her in turn, and she nodded. She wasn't bouncing around either like she had been before. His marriage comment lured a soft laugh and she stepped forward, more into his arms. Her head laid against his chest and she blinked again but these tears were of a different kind. She murmured against his shirt, "I'm happy."

Arms went even more protectively around her. "I'm pleased to hear that." He figured there were a few times she was really happy, when he was with her but this was the first she ever said it. "I think we should go back in so they don't wonder what we are doing out here," easing back a tad as he waggled his brows.

Segan got a clasp to his shoulder in return and Vanessa a smile as Gemma gave her hugs. He didn't know them that well but he like them. "You have a very pretty and very lively daughter there." Though he was aware of the circumstances, Vanessa was the girl's mother as far as he saw it.

A smile given to Patrick. "Thank you." It was strange to think of Ysa as her daughter when Ysa had first come to live with her, but she accepted the idea now with pride.

She didn't usually say when she felt things.... it was more in the subtleties of her mannerisms (though her temper was never subtle). She chuckled again at his comment, nodding and sniffing some through her nose as she leaned back. But before they went inside she would stand on her toes to give Rhett a grateful kiss. Lingering there just a moment with her hand resting against his neck, calloused pads gentle.

He was always up for a kiss, and so it would linger as if making up for all the time spent outside in this garden and not doing so. Long enough but finally broken before he was ushering her inside, otherwise he would keep kissing her all night.

Seeing Rhett and Karina return, "good night," cordially before ushering Gemma out with him and on their way. He felt the two couples might have something to discuss they were not really a part of.

"Good night." A wave was given as they were on out the door. It was a lovely night for a walk. Not too warm, the moon still bright and stars filling the sky.

That was good enough, more than enough. Everything she needed. Fingers squeezed Rhett's before they stepped in, just in time to see Patrick and Gemma departing. A smile was produced as she waved her farewell. "G'night." Then it was over to the others. She wondered if Vanessa had told Segan about their conversation, and thought she probably had. Which made Karina feel a little sheepish for running off as she had. "Hiya, sorry about that.."


"Good night," he had that look about him with a pressed smile and all, like a lad that stole from the cookie jar and got away with his treasure. He was right over with Karina to where Segan and Van still lingered.

She looked at Karina and smiled. "No need to apologize." Assuredly spoken. She realized it must have been something very big to Karina.

"Nothing to be sorry for," least in his book and seemed Van agreed. "Shall we see you both home," as he figured Rhett would be along too to see Karina, being they both stayed at Vanessa's cottage.

At least they weren't asking for explanations or anything.... and hopefully her more relaxed manner and smile would be enough to assure them that she was alright, now. Still something to be absorbed but it was bite-sized now rather than overwhelming. "Sure.." Turquoise hues flicked to Rhett at Segan's offer, wondering if he had wanted to linger here or head out.

She nodded lightly to Segan's offer and smiled. "That would be nice." Ysa was scooped up in one arm, her bag taken in the other.

"It seems time to go," as it was getting very late and he had to be up early. "You will need to let me know what you wish for your dinner?" If he remembered correctly that was part of the bet.

He would at least take the bag as the walk would be pleasant this evening and no need of the surrey. The Avian gardens were not that far. "There is still a full moon out that lights up the lands like twilight." Or more.

"Oh, yeah." In all the excitement she'd almost forgotten about the bet. A dinner with Rhett, that gave her something to look forward to. "I'll have to think about it." And didn't she look ever so mischievous, as if she was plotting to come up with some impossible menu. In the end she wouldn't torture him with anything crazy though, probably just some sort of pork and potatoes, two of her favorite foods. Her hand slipped down to take Rhett's as they walked.

Ysa was propped on her hip, she nodded to Segan. "It's very nice. I've been watching it coming for a couple of nights now."

"Aye, so have I upon the deck of my ship out at sea." Where he tended doing a lot of thinking. He was prone to that at times. With everyone ready, he headed out setting a leisurely pace.

Here he thought she might go for some seafood. "Well, you can think it over and just let me know so I can get the ingredients needed. You have a favorite dessert too?"

Heck, she'd eat almost anything with gusto. "Mmm, sure. I like cobblers, and fruit pies. Oh and chocolate cake, I love chocolate cake.." And so on and so forth. She would have a hard time deciding!

Which had him dipping a wary glance over her as they headed out, arm about her waist as he kept her close.


Free arm wrapped around Segan's with a thoughtful smile to him. Ysa laid her head on Van's shoulder and yawned. "It's a nice night out." Quite happy to be walking rather than riding and enjoying the time.



Date: 07-28-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 56

Place to Meet, Place to Eat
(Continued from Avian Gardens)


Liam was sitting near the hearth tossing peanuts into the derby hat which would move, sometimes around in a circle sometimes along the table. Sleeves of his shirt were rolled up, brown vest left open, tailored pants of the same color and tan short boots. He had taken his meal here and was debating a lot of different things in his head, his way of thinking over their new situation and plans to be made, not just his personal ones with the boxing ring.

Shere had once again journeyed to Heathfield to see to silks and other materials from the export shop. After seeing to the shipment, she allowed her guard to escort her to the Thistle, then dismissed him to allow him some time to himself. He had spent the day with her while shopping and carrying the items bought. The few things she had kept with her had been delivered earlier. She was dressed in a linen gown, in a pale melon color, one that teased the senses in wondering if they were seeing a glimpse of skin beneath. A slit in the side of the skirt revealed her leg as she walked. Because they had been walking, she had not worn much jewelry except for a wide cuff of gold and lapis on both wrists and hoops in her ears. Her hair had been pulled back at the nape of her neck and was caught along its length with several large painted wooden beads. Dark eyes were made to look larger with expertly applied kohl. As she entered, the faint hint of Black Lotus could be detected in the air.

Perhaps it was the scent that rouse him from his thoughts or that stir he was so instinctively trained to discern even if asleep. One to jump to his feet half awake if necessary, usually startling the other giving him that advantage of the few seconds it took to wake up fuller. A peanut poised in aim stalled as eyes shot to the corners to see, his head then around fully as he was to his feet. Hand down as the peanut was dropped into the bowl that went toppling onto the couch to spill the few left as he half caught it to set on the table. Fumbling, he felt like he was all hands and feet for some reason in the presence of this exotic woman. Yes, it was the exotic one he had seen a the lake. "Good evening." Straightening as if the fiasco with the peanut bowl hadn't happened.

She turned, startled, when the man jumped up, her eyes going wide as she watched him. A slender hand lifted to her mouth to hide her laughter since she didn't wish to appear rude. "Good evening, Sahib." She brought her hands together and bowed gracefully. "I am Emuishere of the house of al-Dawla. Please to call me Shere as most find that easier." Dark eyes held a hint of laughter still though she managed to cover it well.

He stepped around the couch giving a modified bow much as she did in mirror respect. Something quick yet flowing as he continued across the short distance to within a few feet. He could get a better look up closer. "It's my pleasure, Emuishere," using her full name first and carefully pronouncing it. "Shere, I am Liam," (pronouncing it Lee-am), "Quinn. I am new to the lands but have family here."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Liam Quinn. I know of your family." She smiled as she added. "I have seen the horses they raise." She hadn't been to the races but had gone to the stables once. And she had bet on them! "Do you help raise them?"

"No." Said quickly before an apologetic smile followed. "I don't have that kind of knowledge or more, time. My cousin, Melantha, raises them. I have bought a descent racehorse from her recently but he didn't do so good last race."

"Ah, well, I am sure he'll do better. I know very little about horses. I picked them by their names." She glanced at where he had been seated then looked back. "I am going to have something to drink. Would you care to join me?"

"Now that we're back and starting to settle in," although he had only recently moved into the Quinn manor than staying here and earning the wrath of Mary, Herself. Besides Mary wanted to fuss over the long lost Fawn. "I should get to the races, maybe that will make the difference." And get him to see more of the lands. "Have you been to the races?"

Segan was jostling Ysa in his arms, getting her to laugh in an infectious way a child of her age only could. Got him to bouncing more of his steps and dancing up the front ones to the porch before dipping inside.

Vanessa was right there with Segan and Karina and everyone else they were with, laughing because Ysa was laughing and looking like a rag-a-muffin!"She's going to be Segan's princess." Spoken to Karina.

Karina had jogged ahead and then fallen behind as they walked, giving Segan and Van a bit more space, and romping with her husky pup. Now as they approached the tavern she and Amergin ran to catch up, and Karina laughed when Amer charged up the porch steps like he owned the place. "She sure is," answered Vanessa with a grin as she glanced up towards Segan and Ysa. "He's crazy about that lil girl. She's gonna be spoiled rotten by him if you're not careful."

"No, I have not. I had wanted to but last night I was here instead of there." She laughed softly. "We used to watch races in the desert when we lived in Egypt. Such a beautiful sight."

It was heads up as he was facing Shere which had him in sight of the door. "Hello cousin, Vanessa," with a glance over the other lady with him. Slight smirk naturally lifted. "This is Shere," introducing the lady he was talking to. "Shere, this is my cousin Segan and his fiancee, Vanessa. I'm afraid I do not know the other lady." Yet. He was listening. "I didn't know they raced horses in the sands."

"I heard that, and I can't spoil her with love," retort given low with a grin before around. "Evening Liam, this is the trouble maker, Karina and her partner in crime, Ysa," being he probably had not met the little one. He was over to the bar by this time so Ysa could pick out a cookie from the platter of them. Of course she needed one for each hand. "Nice to meet you Shere," giving a quick glance her way, smile and all. "I have met some of your family."

Karina for one looked like she'd just rolled off the farm. Canvas work pants and a plaid shirt rolled up to the elbows, and once she took off her straw hat at the door, her amber curls were squashed and sweaty. But clearly she wasn't self-conscious about it at all. A lopsided grin offered to the strangers. "Don't listen to him, I don't cause trouble. Just get into it sometimes. And this is Amergin." Indicating the half-grown husky that was busy making his introductions with a round of sniffing.

She turned to Alex and asked for a glass of potcheen punch as others came in, then turned to bow, hands together as she had for Liam. "It is a pleasure to meet each of you." As she straightened, she nodded. "Oh yes. It is a like a festival and horses are brought from all over Egypt. They're Arabians."

A lopsided grin was given. "Yaya already spoils her. Of course, Yaya's allowed to spoil her." That's what grandparents and almost grandparents were for! Brown dress under a dirty apron. "Good eve, Liam." She smiled to him then to Shere. "A pleasure to meet you, Shere." En route to the bar, she picked up a cookie for herself when she got there, then offered to take Ysa.

Karina got a smile with Segan's remark as he eyed her in that way, believing his cousin. She looked like she would be a handful as well the little one but there it was expected. "Pretty little girl," although he didn't get any closer. He wasn't sure about ones that looked like you could accidentally break them or step on them. "It is good to see you again, Vanessa." They looked like they had been out working in the fields.

His arms were getting tired by this time as he easily transferred the infant into Van's arms. Now he could have the potcheen set out for him, filled tumbler and the bottle left. Tumbler was kicked back, a second to follow before filling it a third time but leaving it untouched, picking up the menu to go over instead.

Vanessa took Ysa with a smile to Liam. "Thank you." And kissed the top of her dandelion fuzzy head as she slid onto a seat and settled the babe and her cookie in each hand on her lap. "How are you this evening?" Asking Liam and Shere.

"Which of my family have you met?" She leaned down to greet Amer then smiled at Vanessa. "I am well. She is a pretty child."

"Thank you." She tipped her head down to look at Ysa. "Can you wave hello, Ysabeau?" Ysa was just kind of looking around, chewing cookies with what couple of teeth she had.

"Nice to meetcha all." She left Amergin to his own devices and went over to the bar, leaning in to chat with Alex and then order herself a meal, a big one, an ale to quench her thirst and a potcheen for a bit of fun.

"Anhur and the other exotic lass," he couldn't think of her name offhand. Looking up from the menu as it was getting him even more hungry. "This late I should just go with the Irish stew, big bowl and a few chunks of the brown bread."

"I am doing well. Back now for good and we found our sister who we set out to find, hoping she was still alive. She is alive and well. I am going to seek getting a manor of our own than crowding in on our cousins for too long," giving a glance Segan's way as he said it and hoping he understood.

She smiled to Segan, then to Alex. "I'll have the same please, no bread. And some mush bananas for Ysa, please." Her attention returned to Liam with a nod. "That's fantastic. I can't wait to meet her. And wonderful to see you all back and safe." And a late, "Thank you." To Shere.

"Thank you, I am sure she will be out soon to meet others. She is a bit overwhelmed presently and has not venture here to the tavern." He figured that would all change. "She has a lady friend with her, Fiona. Fifi for short." Which Fifi might be overwhelmed staying at the Quinn manor, so he was sure getting a small manor home if possible would ease her hyper personality.

"You are most welcome. She wiggled her fingers at the child as she listened to the others talk.

"Rahmirre," the name finally coming to him as it might seem out of place at the moment. Luckily their food had arrived and Maggie saw to it from the serving window to set on the table across from where they gathered. Too much for them to eat at the bar anyway. He was over to thank the waitress and draw out chairs for Vanessa and Karina before taking his, which would be on the other side of Van from Karina so the two could talk as needed. They chattered far more than he.

A nod was given to Liam. "Sounds like quite the houseful." Ysa waved her cookies back at Shere as Van slid from her stool. "Would you two care to sit with us?" Motioning to the table before heading that way herself to take the seat offered by Segan. An adoring smile given to him, she settled and settled Ysa on her lap once more.

Karina trailed Maggie over to the table, and Amergin trailed Karina, the husky settling beneath the table in the hopes of catching scraps. Flopping down into a chair she would make quick work of tucking into her meal. She wondered idly if Rhett was working late tonight again, as he had been during the summer, since nights were cooler. Maybe she'd have some food packed up and bring it over to him.

"It is quite the household, and wonderful family .. our relatives." Which he sincerely said and meant it but... it was just too many to live under the same roof. "I will endeavor to find a manor not far from our cousins." Which was a consolation in presenting the move.


Rhett was working late, there was an order for more swords. This batch for Ballicastle which he was helping Brian out. He also was working on the new knife for Segan but it wasn't finished yet. It was time for a break and so he headed for the usual spot, the Thistle. He was pleasantly surprised to see so many here. A pressed smile widened, "evening everyone." Think of the devil, and there he was.

"Ah, Anhur's sister. " She nodded and sipped her drink then smiled at the offer. "Thank you, no. I shall be retiring soon."

Blink! Eyes danced over to Rhett as an amused smile tickled her lips. "Think of the devil.... I was just wondering what you were up to."

"Have you seen much of the lands, Shere?" Wondering if there was a particular reason she was here, staying here, and not in Ballicastle as he found out they had a manor there.

Vanessa had settled and started with feeding Ysa first. Small spoonfuls of mushy bananas spooned carefully into her mouth while listening to the others. A small wave to Rhett. "Evening, Rhett."

"Evening Segan, Liam, Vanessa, Karina," coming up upon the three at the table a moment then was over to get a tumbler of potcheen and the bottle, "Miss," to the exotic looking lass. Pressed smile and all as he collected his drink.

"I travel quite a bit back and forth. I am a healer so I come sometimes to see Dr. Barrington, and Sara. Today I came to pick up an order from the Imports shop. My guard went to the docks for a bit." She bowed to Rhett as she had to the others. "Good evening, Sahib."

"This is Shere, Rhett," introducing them as it seemed they had not met. "I have been to the port but have not seen many of the stores nor places of interest in these lands. I figure I will eventually."

He had been quiet for he'd been eating. Soaking the bread into the soup and not getting it all over him was a skill. "Evening Rhett," in between bites before he was back into his meal. He was starved.



Date: 07-28-10
Poster: Liam David Quinn
Post # 57

Karina's eyes followed Rhett as he went over to the bar, but she still had food on her plate and it smelled too good to ignore, so she went back to stuffing her face. Amer recognized a friend though and frolicked over to rear up and put his big paws on Rhett's leg, giving a little yelp to demand attention.

Vanessa was listening but focused on trying to get Ysa fed so she could feed herself. "Segan, who did you plan to ask to help with felling the trees?"

"A pleasure, Rhett. Oh, there are many lovely places, several gardens, the zoo is wonderful, the lighthouse. We are creating our own garden at our manor and I believe Yusuf is planning to open it as the gardens are here."

"Nice to meet you Shere," pressed smile was back as he dipped his head then headed over to the table to set the drink and bottle. Not to be rude as they were still in talking distance too. And then there was Amer leaping up on him. "Whoa there," once the tumbler and bottle was set, he petted him up good. He needed his share of attention too. He also bumped into Karina, purposely!

"You have been to all these places then? These gardens, you will open to the public like that?" He wondered if such was a good idea as it meant many trampling through and possibly destroying all their hard work inadvertently. They might not have the privacy they now enjoyed either. People would be needing to enter their home to use the privy and so on. Although the idea was a wonderful one. That he would not argue and obviously would not argue anyway on the matter. He was more taken by surprise.

She looked to Liam with a light smile. "People here are very respectful of the gardens. I've never had any trouble at mine."

There was that, he was basing it all on experiences in other lands. Which had dark eyes turn Vanessa's way. "That says a lot about the lands then."

"Hey," Smirking as she reached up to give a shove to his shoulder in return, though it was a light one. She nudged the chair next to her out for him to sit. "I have lots of food. If you ask real nice I might even share it with you." Devilish grin.

"Aye, it does. They are very kind to the gardens here." She looked to Shere with a smile. "I always end up growing more than I can keep in the gardens. Next spring if you'd like some, I'd be happy to deliver them."

"Really," leaning in a way he blocked her plate as his other hand shot in and grabbed up a piece of bread as he took the seat offered.

"Yes, I have. And a portion of them, to show how our homelands looked." She smiled brightly at Vanessa. "Thank you, that is very kind."

"You're very welcome. Just let me know if you'd like them. I'd like to see them put to use."

The conversation was flowing so quickly and with his eating, he had to wait to answer Van's question. "Aye, I will alert Jon and he will come with some of his men and some of my crew will be up to help out too." They should have plenty of help to do the bigger projects and in good time with two crews.

"HEY!" She leaned over to grab at his hand, trying to snatch the piece of bread back. Likely it would turn into a small wrestling match with Karina's elbow nearly knocking the whole plate off the table.

As Karina struggled to get the piece of bread, Amer was up to snatch some food from her plate too when she was not paying attention. Rhett saw it and started laughing.

A nod was given to Segan. "Sounds wonderful. Karina should be well settled into her home by the time fall chill comes. I shall miss her so." It'd be strange not having her in the cottage with her, but at least she would be close.

Nope, Karina didn't see her pesky pup sneak the food until Rhett started laughing. "What?" She demanded breathlessly, then glanced over her shoulder. "Oy, you!" Now her shouting directed at Amergin, who quickly danced out of range with a chicken leg hanging out of his mouth. Karina shook her head, fixing Rhett with a smirk. "That was your fault you know."

"I'm sure she will be up or you down to her place to snuggle up under a big comforter when the cold wind brings in the snow. Hot cups of tea with a little added to stay the colds. I should see about the lesser trees being chopped up into firewood for both houses."

"I'm sure we will be." She nodded to mention of the fire wood, again something she and Karina had discussed. Her attention went to Karina. "Once they start building the cottage, we shall have to begin gathering things for it."

"I swear, I didn't put him up to it but by golly he has great timing!" He was still laughing as pointed at Amer, "your master needs to train you with better manners.."

"Then I would like to see them, see how your homelands had looked." Amused then as he watched Rhett with Karina.

"He knows he can't get away with that at home," a broad smirk over towards Amergin, who was looking pleased as punch with his trick. A grin flashed to Rhett before she glanced to Vanessa. "What sorts of things?" As she spoke her fingers were inching towards Rhett's bottle of potcheen.

Which he was fast to grab, putting the chunk of bread in his mouth so he had both hands to fend with.

"Furnishings, dishware, cookware, food and such things. Decorations to make it comfortable. If you want to keep your bed, you're welcome to take that with you." The bed she'd been sleeping in for some eight or so months.

She was starting to feel overwhelmed about the endeavor again, with Vanessa naming all that. "I dunno, I don't really need that much stuff..." Distracted by Rhett when he pulled the potcheen away. Her hand stealing under the table to tickle him. Maybe it would loosen his grip so she could snatch the bottle away?

Vanessa shrugged and started on her own stew. "Well, we'll get what you're comfortable with." She wasn't trying to overwhelm her. Vaness had very little when she first moved into the cottage and acquired more as she needed it.

"Whoa," she was blindly tickling around! Brows shot up and the devil's own glint was in blue eyes. "For that I will give you the bottle," after he poured himself another drink.

Segan snickered at that.

Vanessa smirked and looked over to Segan. Was he finished eating?

A Cheshire grin of triumph flashed. Once he was done pouring, she would take the bottle and poured a helping into her own glass, then sat back with the beverage, looking smug.

He .. was not.. saying a word. He was watching as Shere got quiet, taking the time to drink down some of the potcheen in his glass.

He was done, his stomach finally sated. He sat back in his chair with a smirk given Karina's way and a mouthed .. hussy.

Oh good. Ysa was offered to him with a flash of a brilliant smile while she finished her two cookies, that way Van could finish her meal.

He gladly took Ysa to place on his knee, bouncing her there.

She caught that from Segan, and tugged the cork out of the potcheen bottle, throwing it right in Segan's face. Good thing she had good aim, for Ysa's sake. Then again it was just a soft little cork.

He was a sailor, use to ducking when things came flying and so it sailed beyond and had Amer off chasing it.

Vanessa watched the two and shook her head. "You two are something else. There will be no food fights at the gathering picnic." Smirking though, she could see it now!

"Are you flirting with another man.." trying to sound serious when he was hard pressed not to laugh. Like throwing things at someone was flirting.

"What, are you jealous?" She looked for something else to throw at Rhett..... aha... a napkin was balled up and thrown in Rhett's face now. You know, just so he wouldn't be jealous. And of course was grinning right after.

She had grown quiet because she was tired and the potcheen punch was making her more so. "Then when it is ready, you should come. It will be finished soon I believe." Placing the glass on the bar, she bowed to the group in general. "It is time to seek my rest. It was a pleasure to meet each of you. May Amun Ra watch over you."

Which had it bounce and caught as he shot it back. "No, I think it is funny..." and he mouthed .. hussy. She was being picked on because she was fun to do so and was loved.

Laughing at the exchanges between Rhett and Karina, she smiled then to Shere. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Shere. I hope to see you again soon."

"May the gods above watch over you too." He was tired and decided to stay here the night, getting the key for the room he had been occupying before. "I will see you upstairs." See if she had the same room he and Ciar figured was hers. "Good night everyone." Stifling a yawn, there was a lot to do tomorrow, decisions made and there was the boxing ring to set up.


"Good night, Liam." A waggle of fingers and smile to him, she finished off her stew and settled back on her seat, smiling to Segan.

"Thank you." She collected her key from Alex and waited for him to accompany her up the steps. Likely it was the same room as she tended to pick the same one if it was available.

"Good night Liam, Shere, sleep well." Giving his farewell.

"That's not nice," she told him but she was laughing as she caught the napkin. Whipping it towards his arm before turning to wave to Shere and Liam as they departed. "G'night."

"Good night, see you soon Liam. If you need any help, you need only to ask."

He wasn't sure of her custom as he offered his arm for her to take. If she didn't it would just be lowered and an easy pace set at her side for the distance. "I will," in reply to Segan. Which he wouldn't unless really needed. They all had busy lives and he was not one to impose if he could help it.

She had become accustomed to the customs of the land and she slid her arm through his. Another smile was given to the others as they left the room.


Ysa had fallen asleep on his lap, cuddled up against his chest. "I think we should get back, get this little one to bed." Which had him carefully rising to do just that.

He kicked back his drink and would take the bottle with him for the trip. "I'll walk you back," and then back to his place from there. Wouldn't be too far out of his way.


Vanessa nodded with a deep breath and a smile. "I agree." Slowly rising from her chair, she took Ysa's bag to the bar for Alex to keep for her, then joined Segan with a look to Karina and Rhett.

"I'm not real tired yet," she said it casually as she eyed Rhett. "Want some company while you work?" She was a night owl anyway and he had been in the middle of working, she could tell. Of course... there might be things that would distract them. "Vanessa, mind taking Amergin home for me?"

He was sure they would follow as they all looked the wear of the night. Heading out, he would keep an moderate stride. Well, maybe not the two, so he would have Vanessa to himself for a little while.

"Of course not." She smiled and patting her leg for Amer to follow. "Come on beastie." She and Amergin walked with Segan. "Good night, Rhett. Ill see you at home, Karina."

"Aye, bring some food as we didn't really get to eat," slow pressed grin there as that was not her fault .. alone. "You can stay at my place if it gets real late," which it was already so that would be a given. "Good night Van, Segan, see you both soon." But not real soon. He was up, and over to get some food for later into a basket then headed out, no time like the present!

She had been planning to stay over at his place anyway, the glint in her eyes said so, but that look was for Rhett alone. "Thanks Vanessa. Night, Segan," she called out. Once they were gone she would flash Rhett a grin and skip on out to join him for a walk.



Date: 08-07-10
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 58

Kept Secrets

Karina was in a bright mood as they strolled from the Gardens and up to the Tavern. She and Vanessa had decided to take the afternoon off to celebrate Karina's new name and spend time with their boys. Ysa and Amergin were along for the ride too, the husky scampering around Karina's heels. She wore a light summer dress of crisp linen, pale red, the color contrasting her sunkissed curls and the blue-green of her eyes. As they passed through town, she broke from the group to skip on over (not literally) to the smithy, popping her head in to call out. "Rhett? I'm dragging you away from your work to come with us for a drink." Of course... she also wore her new pendant proudly around her neck.

Vanessa walked along with her, having sent word to Segan to meet her at the tavern, along with Eion if he'd like to come celebrate with them as well. Ysa was on her hip, she watched Karina go skipping (not literally) off to the smithy and snickered quietly. "I'll meet you at the Thistle." Vanessa was in high spirits knowing Ysa's place was secure in her care and Karina was joyed with her adoption to the Baltimore name. Van was dressed in a lilac summer dress with her hair pulled up in a loose bun at the back of her head and Ysa was in a minty green shirt and little short like pants.

Segan caught up having come up from the port and in step as their little group started growing. He would take Ysa from Van every so often so her arms didn't fall off. Wouldn't do to have her armless! A chuckle came as Kar took off to the smithy and stuck her head in to see if Rhett was about. "Just hit him over the head with a club and drag him by his foot.." called out in the usual teasing between them.

Rhett was in the back of the smithy washing up as he was finished as the day was only getting hotter. A thousand fold hotter in front of the forge. The newly made swords laid on the rock wall down from the anvil where he would later pound them into shape and work on any design for the more personalized ones. Hearing Karina, he quickly donned a clean shirt, hair dripping into the material as he came out to join her. "Good. I was getting hungry and was thinking of heading there anyway." So fingers found hers to entwine as he was out and starting them in that direction.

"Segan told me I should club you if you put up a fight.." Karina added that to convince Rhett as she moved into the smithy! There was no need though as Rhett came out, willing and ready. She flashed a grin and took his hand, but before they stepped out, she stopped him with a sudden and passionate kiss, as fiery as it was short-lived. Pulling back with another grin as she then allowed them to walk out and join the others. "Turns out I didn't need the club," she told Segan as they all headed together up to the Tavern. A cold drink would indeed be perfection on a hot summer day like this. Amergin followed at their heels, panting in his thick coat.

Oh yeah, like it wasn't bad enough the day was hot, the forge even moreso but now leave him dazed and confused, blood boiling. That kiss was met in the same kind of fiery passion as he wrapped her up in the strength of iron bands. Letting go when he sensed her move from the kiss and let out a low whistle under his breath. Grin was infectious that shot wide for the moment. "That's a fine club you got there Miss Baltimore..." giving a wink as certainly he knew they had their meeting last night. Cold ale it would be for him after that.

She smiled to Segan as he took Ysa from her, and wrapped her arm around his for the remaining walk to the Tavern with a look back to Karina and Rhett as they joined. She'd been looking forward to this all night and morning!

"How did everything go?" Already jouncing Ysa in his arms. He suspected all went well but it was a good protocol to ask. Grin shot over his shoulder upon both Karina and Rhett as they were catching up. "I did my last run for the week and have contacted Jon McAndrews to start building the cottage for Karina now that all is cleared. We're going to give it a nice solid foundation, one that is not just a crawl space but fully functional where she can store stuff as it will be cooler down below the cottage itself. I figure with Jon's men and mine it will go up in record time under his direction."

Just as had happened last night with the barrister, it took her a second to realize that Rhett was referring to her with that moniker. A blink followed quickly by a smile. "Still can't get used to that. Miss Baltimore. It sounds so..." She waved her hand, not sure what the right word was, "proper." Catching up to the other couple just in time to overhear Segan talking about her new cottage. "You're not making it too big, are you? I really don't need that much space." In fact too much space might overwhelm her. And she didn't want anyone to go to any trouble for the project. Adding after a pause, "And thanks for doing that Segan.." Giving him a broad crooked smile.

"It sound so formal, proper, and implies a lady? I like it but then I like Karina even without a surname." Although he was all for her having a surname. Of which their steps quickened as they caught up and heard of the cottage constructing. "You can count me in, just let me know ahead of time, least a couple and I'll be there to help too."

It was strange to hear another by the name Baltimore, but she was really happy it was Karina and couldn't help but smile every time she heard it. She nodded to what Segan said about Karina's cottage and smiled to him. "I'm sure it would be done in no time at all with everyone working it."

"Small and big enough for you Karina. Two bedrooms one small the other sizeable. Privy, kitchen with pantry and mud room, living room. Cellar to keep things stored, loft that you can do whatever you want with." Eyeing her in that way an older brother would. "Never know if you might have company stay over." Heading up the steps to the porch of the tavern at this point as he would hand over Ysa and get the screen door for them. "It wont be as big as Vanessa's place if that helps? Shooting a daring look her way, "and as soon as Jon can get all the lumber ready, it will take about a week with the work force we have."

She considered it all with a tilt of her head and eventually gave an approving nod. "Aye, that sounds about right. Not too big and not too small." An impish glance was stolen to Rhett when Segan mentioned having company, a quick secret grin just for him, and then they were heading up into the tavern. "Only a week? Really? I'll help build it too of course." She wanted to be involved with the building of her own house. And not just because she wanted everything done right! Amergin followed them in and went to greet Alex, then immediately flopped down by the bar where the floor was nice and cool. "I'll have a cold cider, Alex," she called out with a wave of greeting.


Releasing Segan's arm once they reached the porch, she took Ysa, planting a kiss on the babe's cheek while listening. "That's not long at all. I think next spring we're going to need two new flight cages, as well. You should see all hatchlings this year." Quite a few of them. She greeted Alex with a smile. "Lemonade for me, please and cider for Ysa."

A pressed smile was all that showed for that comment of guests staying over. Otherwise he would be chuckling. Especially after the look Karina stole his way. "One thing that would be of great help, would be food and refreshment for all the men working and of course doing what you can." As he was sure there would be plenty she could help with in the building of her cottage but he didn't see her digging the ditches or laying the stones into mortar for the cellar walls. He was up the steps behind Van and Segan and only then finally leaving his fingers slip from Karina's as the door was reached. "I'll have a tall cold tankard of ale." Giving his request right after the ladies.

"You have anywhere from twenty to thirty men, then a few ladies, helping. It is going to go up fast provided we don't get underfoot of each other but I'm sure Jon knows how to manage everyone so it all goes smoothly." In after them all as he closed the screen door behind him to keep out the bugs. "I'll have a cold tankard of ale too," following with his request as he reached the bar. Of course a plate of cookies was set out of which he snatched one to fit complete into his mouth and another snatched to offer to Ysa.

"Food and drink will be ready for all who help." She smiled to Rhett as she settled on her seat, settling Ysa on her lap. "It'll be strange not having Karina in the house with us. But I'm glad she'll be close." Ysa took the cookie all too happily and started munching on it.

"I'm sure we can provide some grub for everyone." Not that she could cook to save her life, but Vanessa could, and she was a decent sous-chef. Perching herself on a stool at the bar, she too reached for a cookie to munch on, then smiled over to Van at that comment. The former ragamuffin was a happy young lady these days. And was starting to wonder why she'd spent so much time worrying over the little things that prevented this happiness. Thanking Alex when her cider was brought over, she took a gulp to wash down the cookie. "It'll be strange living by myself. I'm gonna be needing lots of company." She said that to the room in general but her glance flicked to Rhett for just a moment.

He took up a seat next to Karina. Van would get a smile back whenever she smiled his way. "So what are your plans for furnishing it, decorating? Fixing up the inside?" He ordered up a plate of glazed corn beef and ham-cabbage soup. He was hungry.

"Sounds good to me." Looked like everything would go smoothly, each will have their part to do and all were important. He took a long drink from his tankard once seated and would help with Ysa as needed.

She smiled to Karina at the mention of company. "Well, you can have Ysa to spend the night any time you want." A bright smile given to the other, she thanked Alex, handing Ysa her drink and looked to Segan. "It will be fun. Once Karina's cottage is up and she's settled, we can have the Quinn and kin picnic."

Her steps were quiet as she descended the stairs from above and down the short distance of the corridor. She could hear others talking within the room as she paused only a moment before continuing onward. She was seven months along and hid her condition well under the pleated gown. She was carrying small but she certainly felt the weight as if she had been big. A modest dress, of which styles she could finally wear again. Red hair drawn back in a bun to keep it off her neck with it being so hot. As of late she had been sleeping more. Tired a lot she found, especially when it was so hot and muggy. Afternoon naps did well. "Good afternoon," quietly as she gained a glass of water from Alex. She almost faltered when she saw Segan but the man had been discreet and she knew Eion trusted him not just as a brother.

She ordered one of the same for herself, Rhett's meal choice sounding good to her rumbling stomach. His questions earned him a quizzical look. "Um... furniture and decorations?" A grin. "I have no idea. I guess I'll have to go shopping," not her favorite pastime, "to find some things. Will you help me with that?" She had a feeling Rhett had a good eye where such things were involved. A smile flashed to Vanessa at her suggestion of the picnic. Then somebody was coming down the stairs, a stranger to Karina, and she nodded her own greeting to the woman. "Hiya."

"Vanessa, Karina, Rhett, this is Dairann." He didn't know her surname but he had been told her real name and figured that would be what she went by now. Hopefully. She was up here and not down at the port anymore. He didn't mentioned anything else, that he felt was not for him to say. Eion or herself as only the immediate family knew and he knew Grandmama wanted to meet her. Yesterday.

She smiled to the topic of Karina decorating her house. She was going to get her a new house gift, but wasn't saying anything about it. It was a surprise. Smiling over to the new woman, she dipped her head. "Good afternoon."

She had disappeared from the port last winter and gone in hiding to make it look like she had fled the lands or had disappeared like many of her kind, well... supposed kind, did far too often. Next move was here to the tavern while she waited on the Crown to assign her a cottage. She worked for them and in this they had been very supportive. "It is very nice to meet you all." Giving them a sincere smile before taking her drink off to one of the smaller tables were she could sit comfortably. Not to be rude at all and close enough to talk if any wished. She just couldn't be on her feet too long and stools were uncomfortable for her presently.

"Nice to meet you ma'am Dairann." Pressed smile her way before answering Karina, "I'll go with you if you want?" He had to decorate his place but then his place was decorated with swords and weapons.

He ordered the shepherd's pie and was occupied with eating it as their food was delivered. He was that kind of hungry and it went well with the cold ale. Besides, he had to eat quickly so he could take Ysa so Van could then eat using both her hands and not two little ones grabbing everything.

"Nice to meet you," she echoed the others with a quick smile to Dairann before looking back to Rhett. "That would be good. Otherwise the whole place is just going to be a mish-mash of whatever I happen to see at the market."

Once Ysa was taken, she dug into her own stew meal, being hungry herself. "Nice to meet you as well, Dairann. And congratulations." On the baby bump!

"It might end up a double mish mash," as he added to her pickings.. but they would have fun and it would get decorated.

She had the one glass nearly drained already and decided that maybe she should get a pitcher of water. She'd not been very hungry as with the heat it made her nauseated. Her smile brightened as she heard Vanessa. "Thank you, I hope it is not too much longer," deciding not to talk too much as conversations would end up coming around to who the father was which had a quick glance flicker Segan's way then back to her near empty glass.

"It might," she agreed, but she didn't seem to mind that idea too much, in fact it had her grinning. Then she was busy digging into her meal like a starving thing. Amergin perked up at the smell of food and came to beg at her feet, and she fed him little nibbles of food beneath the bar. A funny face was made at the infant to get her to giggle.

She smiled to the woman with a nod. "I'm sure it won't be much longer. Are you hoping one way or the other?" For a boy or girl, that is.

Eion had to finish up his duties before he could make his way to the Thistle. He had cleaned up and was wearing a poet's shirt of pale blue tucked into black pants. Black knee high riding boots were also worn. As he made his way inside the tavern, he paused at the doorway. A slight smile appeared and he continued inside. "Afternoon, everyone."

"I know it will be a..." and here her words were cut off abruptly as Eion came in. Her heart raced as if it would beat up right out of her chest. She had risen to bring her glass over for more water but didn't trust her footing. "Good afternoon, Lord Eion." Hand resting to the back of her chair kept in a steady grip.

Now that she was done eating, she offered to take Ysa back, giggling and laughing at Karina's funny face. A wave given to Eion. "Good afternoon, Eion!"

"Afternoon Eion." Chiming in before he was back to eating his meal.

"Eion, afternoon," rising from his seat as he dared not to look Dairann's way but then couldn't help it when she spoke up.


A snicker at Ysa before looking to the door. "Hey Eion," she chimed in. A passing glance around the others noted something strange. Dairann was staring at Eion, Segan was looking at Dairann and Eion looked... odd. Watching them all her eyes narrowed shrewdly.

Karina was always the suspicious sort.

"How are you all?" He didn't hesitate but went over to Dairann and put his arm around her waist. "You've gone pale." He leaned over to brush a kiss to her lips. "Come and sit down." And he was guiding her to a chair.

Noticing Karina, he clapped his hands together as if that would put everyone back on track with no funny looks about them. Including Karina! "How has everything been going with the king back?" Or was he back on the field? Well, it was a diversion conversation if needed.

He couldn't help giving Karina a nudge, one of those looked like it was by accident.

Suspicious says you, astute says I... And she continued to watch them all sharply, until that moment when Eion went over and kissed Dairann. And then she smiled broadly, satisfied her hunch had been right, passing that grin on to Rhett when he nudged her. An 'I told you so' sort of look! But to her credit she didn't say anything just yet, going back to her meal.

He wanted her to pass out? Lord but she melted into his kiss and could have passed out right there. Her heart beating even faster as that was that moment she knew would come sooner or later. Her voice was small and soft when she finally found it, leaving him to help ease her into the chair she was more than willing to sit. "Would you mind bringing over that pitcher of water?" There was one out on the bartop that the first glass had been drawn from. She knew she would never make it across the room now. She had so much to tell him as it had been a while since she saw him last and certainly their child had grown to where he would notice the difference.

So, Eion knew the woman enough to give her a kiss. That's as far as Rhett's mind processed the scene and it was a kind of distant thought too. "This beef is great. Think Hazel would tell me how to make it?"

Segan's demeanor eased as Eion took the bull by the horns, as the saying went. He took up his seat again and finished up his ale. The thirst was still there.

Van was just watching from the corner of her eye, but the kiss was somewhat curious. Wow...uh...yeah. She just smirked and looked at Segan with a curious expression.

Karina would hopefully continue to hold her tongue too, or there could be problems. "Aye, I'll get it for you. Have you met everyone?" He straightened and looked at Segan. "They've eased some but my duties haven't. And likely won't until both he and the horsemen are back on the field. Well, except for Trevor who has been here."

Nope, she wasn't going to say a word, at least not to everyone. She planned to jibe Eion later in private though. Attention turned back to Rhett when he spoke. "I bet, if you ask her nicely and flash that handsome smile of yours."

"I think if I flashed anything at Hazel she would chase me with a broom but maybe if I ask nicely and offer a trade.."

"Yes, I have." A smile settled warmly as she glanced over the two couples. Segan she already knew and at least he knew the truth now too. Going quiet then as she folded her hands one over the other gently to the table top. Made her look less nervous than she was.

A snicker at his flashing comment before he looked at him curiously. "What sort of a trade?" She was finishing up her meal by now and gave Amergin a few more scraps. The husky gulped them up eagerly before going over to nuzzle Ysa's hanging foot gently. The overgrown pup had a special fondness for the infant.

He was making his way to the bar as he spoke, grabbing both the pitcher and a glass of potcheen for himself. He filled her glass again before seating himself. "How have you been feeling?" He glanced at Segan and almost chuckled. But not quite. Yes, he had noticed his reaction.

He considered telling Vanessa later in confidence being they were engaged and Eion would be her brother in law. She would be an aunt to this child as he would be an uncle. He wasn't sure where the relationship stood but it was something he would be careful around and hope for the best.

"A set of kitchen knives or a really good butcher knife that will not dull like most that the tinkers sell in town." Then to Eion, "How is Mouse doing and Kieran? Rick still working with Mikhail?" So he would get his updates and realized he needed to join them on the king's field some morning soon or hit the knight's hall. He was knighted.

"Thank you," quietly spoken as he was being asked a few questions. "I am doing good all considering," swift little smile before dark eyes were upon the younger man named Rhett with his questions.

He gave Dairann a full smile before looking at Rhett. "They're doing well. Knighted soon, I believe. Rick and Mikhail are still working together, aye. He joins us each morning on the field."


"I will join you soon on the king's field then. Once this order is done as I work through the night for the heat during the day." It was a good thing his smithy was on the outskirts of town so he didn't keep the citizens awake. He had finished up his meal and knew he should get back to finish up some of the swords. "I need to be on my way," rising as he spoke. "If you care to join me Karina or come by later?" They could probably go for a swim or such.

"I'll come by later," she decided when Rhett rose to leave. She still had some things she wanted to talk to him about, namely her new horse and plans for his training. She'd finally named the chestnut too. She rose up on her stool to give him a quick kiss before he departed.

"How about we take Ysa down for a quick swim in the lake?" This idea run by Vanessa so maybe get some privacy for Eion and Dairann.

Giving a nod along with a pressed smile as he headed out, taking the side door, "have a good evening," to all in general before disappearing outside.


She nodded to Segan and smile. "That sounds like a fantastic idea." She gathered a few things from Ysa's bag, and was ready to go.

"We'll watch for you then. Good evening, everyone." And as everyone prepared to leave, he turned his attention to Dairann. It was time for a walk, and some serious talking.   And some badly needed time together.

"I'll see you later, Eion. Good evening Rhett, Karina, Dairann," linking his arm with Vanessa he would take the bag for her being she was carrying Ysa for now. Guiding her out by way of the garden door.


Date: 08-08-10
Poster: Anhur al-Azhar
Post # 59

Egyptian Night Out

"My true love went riding out, in white and green and grey..." Maggie was singing softly to herself in the quiet of the tavern, for now only Alex behind the bar and Hazel off in the kitchen her only company. She was poised standing on a chair, duster in hand as she reached upwards to dust along the upper corners of the building. "Past the pale of Offan's wall, where she was wont to stray. And then she came upon.. a white and wounded fawn. Singing.. ooooooh,"   She stretched some to reach a corner with the feather duster, "The hazards of love..."

Anhur's skin was bronzed deep and with the white kilt worn, the contrast had it seeming to glow. Especially moving through the park across the way where the lights were diffused by the trees and shrubs. The glint of gold above white would be seen and his steps silent as the night's breeze. He paused on his way for he thought he heard singing. Yes, it was singing and by the words some love song. Someone was in love and singing it to the world. A few more steps and he could see the one through the window. He wondered if she was going to try and fly much like her heart had taken flight. She wouldn't get far for he didn't see any wings. So he continued across the way, up the steps and soon making his way inside. Eyes as blue as the sky reflected on water were steadfast on the waitress. Yes, he had above normal hearing not that he was aware it was above normal when he tuned in. "Fair of night, one of flight." Realizing they had met before now that he could see her face.

"Singing oh, oh.... the hazards of love. You'll learn soon enough... the prettiest whistles won't rustle the thistles, undone... Undone..." She was lost in her own world, absorbed in her task with the song an absent way to pass the time. But the singing tapered off when a sound came from the door, and she looked over to see who it was. A smile of greeting appeared when she recognized the one who stepped inside. She'd been standing upon her toes on the chair, but now climbed down with feather duster in hand. "Fair eve, Anhur, it has been some time. How have you been?" That ready smile was there with her question. Her hair was swept back in its usual haphazard bun, with the sun bleached strands escaping about blue eyes that sometimes almost glowed. Her gown a simple one of cranberry, the sleeves short and fluttering, with an empire waistline.

The glance that traveled down her as she stepped down, taking in her attire and form in one appreciative glide. Down and just as pursuing in the lifting until he met her eyes and that is where blue met blue in a flashing crash. Water her nemesis to fire. Whether both realized it or not what was buried deep in the other. "You look healthy." When he first met her she was rather weak and pale. "The lands have suited you." But then they suited and nourished those different from the norm.

Why did she feel a strange jolt in that briefest of moments, when their eyes met? She blinked at him then shrugged it off as some sort of vertigo, brought about when she stepped down from above. The smile was back along with a soft laugh, "Thank you. I do feel as if I belong here now." She moved the chair back over to the table she had snagged it from. "You still have not said how you have been," with a glance slanted his way.

Maybe it was the black lotus scent that surrounded him to linger around her when he had gotten that close. "It did not take too long to know this." Just as he and the others that came with him knew in a very short time they were meant to be here. "I am healthy, I am good." Smile of white flashed within bronze. "This is the weather we like most."

A strong scent and an exotic one, and rather intoxicating if lingered too long, she suspected. "No, it didn't," she agreed with an easy smile. "Ah, then you are one of the few. Everybody who comes in here complains of melting in the summer heat. I do believe the lake is getting more business than the tavern these days!" She began straightening out the chairs at this table.

Heru was not far behind Anhur, taking his time as he walked through the commons. On nights such as this, there were still people about. He wore pants where Anhur wore a kilt, in a dark blue. No shirt was worn, though he did wear a vest, also dark blue, shot through with metallic threads. A pendant of the Eye of Ra was worn, as well as a thick, gold bracelet on his left upper arm and leather bracers embossed with symbols. As he headed inside, he paused to bow to Anhur in respect. "Good evening." A hint of laughter was in dark eyes as he straightened.

The scent was only the start of what Anhur could do, especially since it was his task to train the Qaina to be perfect in all ways. He was going to have Isaac take over the task but he went and fell in love, got married and little Desh expecting. There was the serpent and band on each of a muscular upper arm and the breast plate of Amun-Ra over his chest. "Fair of eve, Heru. It is good to have you join us." And he meant it for Heru had not been out much. Like he could talk!

Gaze moved again to the door when another came in, and this one she did not recognize. He looked to be of Anhur's homelands though, and she offered a natural smile, the kind that always set her eyes a-sparking. "Good evening, and well met. I'm Maggie," her name coupled with a quick little curtsy.

"It is a great honor to meet you, Maggie." He bowed in return. "You are new to these lands? Or is it that I have not been here in so long?" Staying in Ballicastle most of the time.

He was slightly remorse that he'd forgot his social manners. It had been that long since he'd been out socially. "It is that you have not been here so long and I only a shorter time in being unsocial." Which held the tone of amusement as he was over to gain a bottle of potcheen from Alex. "This is the drink we need to get more of." Pouring two small glasses as he was back over to offer Heru one.

She gave a light laugh at both their words. "Perhaps you have not been here in some time, but I have not been here long myself, a bit over six months." A smile offered to put him at ease. Then she went back to her chair-straightening endeavor while Anhur went to the bar.

Time went by far too quickly.  Heru had not moved toward the bar but rather leaned against a table. He nodded then accepted one of the glasses from Anhur. "For the manor?" He downed half the liquid, closing his eyes as he enjoyed that first burn.

"It is so, I plan to buy a few cases for the winter months." The brew put a fire within and would help stay the cold those long winter months for those who didn't have a woman to warm their bed. Then again, they had only to ask for a woman and there would be one of the willing Qaina or they could marry. "So you have gotten the job here with Alex and Hazel." Of course there were others but he looked at them too as getting a job with Alex and Hazel. "This suits you?" As he was over to trail a hand over the color of her hair. "There is a hint of fire in the hair, it is in the spirit it is said." And the red in her hair was not of the norm, like being nestled in coal.  "You see this too, Heru?" As his respected friend had a good eye being a warrior.

Her attention gained when Anhur spoke up again towards her. "Aye, it suits me grand," she said with a bright smile. Which became quizzical as he went on, eyes moving between the two men as they discussed her hair. She only laughed and reached up to finger a loose strand. "It is the summer sun. I ought to wear a hat when outdoors."

"That is an excellent idea." He held up the glass to study the liquid, eyes moving from that to Anhur and Maggie. A hint of a smile appeared as he watched briefly, then the glass was lowered. "Aye, and the light of the torches brings it out even more."

Anhur was use to doing things such as what he did next. He had stepped behind her as with quick fingers, he released her hair from its bounds. Fingers deftly slid down to comb them out, the graze against her neck was light and swift but of a kind that would leave a ghosted trail to linger as he stepped back. "It is far better a sight now."

"What-?" Her question began when he stepped behind her, but cut off when he pulled her hair loose from its bun. A surprised glance darted over her shoulder as he was suddenly quite close in her personal space, but she refrained from pulling away. Instead narrowing her eyes at him a moment then smirking when he stepped back, her hair now a cascade of charcoal and fire down her back. "Aren't you bold," she commented but didn't seem offended per say. "Mayhap  better to your eyes, but it gets in my eyes while I work." Why she so often wore it back.

"What is this bold?" If it was a man who appreciated a woman and knew how to please and be pleased by initiating the first, then he was bold as she called it. "Ah," so he stepped back as she would be surrounded by the black lotus scent as fingers deftly wound her hair in such a way not a pin would be needed and it would stay in place. She would feel his words in a feathered breath against the shell of her ear, "but far better the other," that moment to take in her scent before he stepped away again. "Do you wish more?" This to Heru as he was over to get the bottle and bring back to fill their glasses again.

"Bold. You do as you please, unafraid of what others might say or think." Which in many cases was something to be admired. Quieting when he again stepped behind her and raked his fingers through her hair. Who didn't love that feeling? A shiver ran unbidden down her spine as his fingers brushed her hair and scalp, face turning slightly towards him when he whispered in her ear. She wasn't immune to that scent of his, nor the arousing way he worked his charms; she was highly aware of it in fact. Releasing a breath she hadn't known she was holding as he stepped away. Eyeing him in his departure, that was a dangerous one there and no mistake!

That was why he was amused. He said nothing until he held out the glass as Anhur approached again. "Aye, if you would."

Dangerous perhaps but what a way to go. Bold pleasure of a kind few could even imagine. He was born and trained to it but it came naturally too. Especially when the woman was not only beautiful but sensual too. He poured Heru a hefty one as well his in turn. "Have you trained with the warriors here yet, Heru?"

"I have." He settled into a chair, stretching out long legs. "I am friends with some of the younger ones though I don't see them as much as I'd like." It was a far distance to travel.

And she was back to letting the two of them chat. A hand lifting to curiously touch whatever Anhur had done to her hair to keep it back, tracing along the whorls then briefly along the skin of her neck. She still had a feather duster in her hand so decided to go over and dust the mantle above the fireplace.

He took up a seat and would not keep Maggie from her chores she was intent upon doing this evening. "I think it may do you well to take a month here to train with them. I should finally see to the riddle puzzle of the map that Evening Star left me to do some time ago. It would be done in the right time but I would have it in the meantime. Desh was helping me but I think it is time to have another. She cannot get around. There is Rahmirre who is trained to take notes and there is Shere who may be needed if wounded when in this other world." He could not assume it would be all friendly where the map took them once the key to it was figured out.

"I will not accompany you then?" He had been lifting the glass to take a drink but waited for the answer.

"I would like you to help but this has to come from you. There could be danger." Which both were use to. He picked up a menu to look over while talking. "I will have this lobster bisque." Which he turned the menu around for Heru to see.

He lifted his hand, palm out, shaking his head. A meal had been earlier and he still wasn't hungry. "Of course I will help. It is my duty. And if you think I should stay, I will."  He took a long drink before continuing. "But not tonight. I will need to speak to Yusuf and see to another taking up my duties."

Their words were low over at the bar, but a few bits of conversation stood out here and there, enough to pique her curiosity. She wouldn't think of invading uninvited. But when Anhur's order came up, she was over to the kitchen window to fetch it and bring it over to their table. Delivering it along with a quick smile.

Anhur forgot to eat at times, his mind would get caught up on something and food was far far away from the mental process. "Thank you Maggie. You have had this lobster?" As he didn't have it as bisque before and once a spoonful was taken, cooled by a breath, and the taste exploded in his mouth. He decided then and there he liked lobster bisque.

"Aye I have," she confirmed, then let out a laugh when she could all but see the pleasure that swept his features at the taste. "It's good, isn't it? Do you like lobster, Heru?" Turning to include the other.

"I have not tried it." He smiled at Maggie then shrugged. "Another time perhaps." He put down his empty glass, done with drinking for the night. If he drank any more, he'd not make it home but would be sleeping to the side of the road. "I think I should start back. Will you be returning tonight, Anhur?"

That kind of pleasure look that came close to another. He ate it hungrily too using the bread that was sliced up on the side. Heru would have to wait until he was done. "He knows not what he misses." Sparing one of those flashing smiles. "I will be staying here tonight but I am tired so will retire. You can stay tonight and we can set up time to be spent in these lands training. Then you can bring back what you have learned to teach the others at home."

He would defer to Anhur tonight. "Very well. Rest well this night." He bowed slightly then smiled at Maggie. "And you also, Maggie, when you find your bed." As he obtained a key from Alex, he also wished him a good night.

"You ought to try it sometime, it's to die for." Then she smiled as Heru took his leave, nodding towards him. "Thank you, and you as well." Eyes moved back to Anhur, she watched with some amusement as he gulped up the remainder of his bisque in record time. Clearly he had discovered that he liked it.

He would be getting a bucket of this to bring back and feed to certain ladies. He knew it would please them. "I should retire." Being Heru was already and both would need to be up in the morning at a early hour. "Fair of night, Maggie." Rising as hands came together in a slight bow forward only to sweep back down by his sides. He was over to collect a key next from Alex.

"Fair night." She echoed, eyes flicking his to meet one more time as a smile teased her lips in farewell.

There was that clash of blues that he even noticed this time. Smile brought about fully as he would think on that clashing later as he laid in bed and unable to sleep at first. That was when he did most of his thinking or allowed ideas to fill his mind. He was on his way in Heru's wake and possibly even see him before he opened his door.

She too would think about it, and wonder while she lay awake. Something strange and without explanation, it wouldn't linger long in her thoughts.

He wasn't walking that fast. More than likely, he'd wait for Anhur at the top of the stairs.  And he'd be wondering why someone would eat something that could make them die for it!



Date: 08-09-10
Poster: Bradley Harrington
Post # 60

Bradley's Arrival

The hour was getting late but it seemed even later for one bedraggled Englishman getting off the ship recently ported. So this was where he'd find Fawn and Fiona again. Top hat was slightly askew, trench coat a little wrinkled from the few weeks at sea. Carpetbag in one hand and the last newspaper from England tucked under his arm. He got odd looks as he started up the road that he was assured would take him to a friendly tavern. One that didn't require a dime. That made him suspicious if anything, not comforting as it might be to some. He had the coin to pay for his lodgings but this place was also were anyone of descent breeding hung out. Night was dark without any moon and the air heavy with the promise of rain. The ground fog at least reminded him of home in that ghostly sort of way the evenings brought. The earth was rich here as he drank in the air, heavy with the scent of grass, flowers and that growing tint hard to put a word to. The lights from the tavern were welcoming indeed for one bone weary tired. Each step taken as the weight of each week fell upon them in a slow thud, his feet more a shuffling as one exhausted as he cross the porch to make his way inside.

With the fog laying over the land like a wet blanket, there seemed to be a calm and even sluggish feel to folk this evening. Luckily for the fatigued Brad, there was no crowd at the tavern tonight, just enough to fill a couple of tables. They were talking in low voices and some eating a late supper. The smell of Hazel's cooking filled the air, a fire smoldering low in the hearth against the damp air's chill. Maggie moved around the place as usual, apron over a sage green dress with elbow length sleeves, the top half of her hair piled back with pins. She delivered a plate to one of the tables, smiling to the recipient before glancing up at the sound of the door. "Good evening and welcome," she offered the warm greeting to the man she did not recognize.

The captain of the ship had been right, it had a homey feel to it and so that wary feeling was quickly subsiding. A nod given to any of the others there that looked his way. He had almost forgotten what good cooking smelled like until he got inside. Brows were up and almost a boyish pleading look captured his features with his immediate question. "Is there still food available?" Followed with, "good evening to you too." Reaching the bar as the carpet bag was dropped by the stool he claimed. "You have German ale here," which he quickly recognized the keg's markings. "I'll have some of that and any food still available."

Ciarán was one of those who was having a late supper. He had been busy most of the day, first visiting the cousins and Herself, then off to work for a time at the docks. He had pushed the empty dishes aside and was enjoying a bit of potcheen when the familiar man entered. Well, wouldn't that be a surprise for Fawn. Standing he made his way to the bar. "Lord Harrington, welcome to Heathfield." He offered his hand as he reached the man.

She had to laugh at that look on his face. "Aye, so there is. How does some Irish roast pork with stuffing sound, to go along with that ale?" A brow quirked when the one named Ciaran recognized the man by name, and off she went with a light swish of skirts to put in his order. After leaning in the kitchen window to talk to Hazel, she learned that there were some parsley potatoes left over too, and she added a helping of those as well to the order. The man  looked hungry.

It was a bit o' a surprise for him as he turned to a familiar face. He had not recognized him at one of the other tables but then he had only glanced. Taking his hand in a strong grip as he shook it well before releasing it. "Lord Quinn, a good man to find here." Obviously for the connection. "Right-O," turning a smile on the fetching waitress. "That will be perfect for a starving man." Watching her a second or few longer with that swish of skirts and sassy walk before he shook it off, even slightly with his head, not just figuratively. "How are Fawn and Fiona?" That was one of the first things he was required to find out.

"Doing very well. Making some adjustments of course. We're seeing to a permanent place to live, and in the meantime, we're all staying at the family manor. I'm sure both will be quite happy to see you." He stepped back to give the man some space. "I take it you just arrived. How was your journey?" As exhausted as the man looked, it might have been a rough one.

"After a couple storms, one of such severity that three crewmen were washed away to be taken by the ocean depths along with one passenger that panicked and went up on deck." So there was a reason he looked the wear of a few weeks of such. "I'll be hesitant to go back unless on a larger ship than the one that I could book in time that was coming to these lands."

It wouldn't be long before she was coming back over with a fully laden plate in hand, piled with pork and stuffing and potatoes, all steaming and smelling like heaven. Picking up Bradley's tankard of German ale in her other hand, she brought both over to the table where Ciaran sat, assuming that's where Lord Harrington would be sitting as well. Setting the items down before an empty chair with a quickly tipped smile. "Let me know if you need anything else."

He turned on a heel and followed Maggie like a love sick puppy, "I would follow this lass anywhere she took me at this moment." Provided she had the plate of food in hand too! Smile was boyishly beguiling. "All I need is the name of this lovely lady before me. I am Bradley or Brad," Presently she could call him anything as long as he was called for dinner, which he was!

"I'm not a very good traveler when it comes to sea voyages." He sympathized, then laughed as he pushed off the bar. "Bradley, this is Maggie, the lovely and efficient." He winked at Maggie before taking his seat again. "And if there's a slice of apple pie left, I would appreciate it." He managed to look sheepish. "I was so surprised to see Brad, I forgot to ask when he ordered his meal." Formalities were dropped once introduction were completed!

Her laugh came light as a summer breeze. "You men are all the same, your stomach a quick and easy way to your heart." A quick wink. Then an even quicker curtsy when Ciaran made the introductions. "Just Maggie." Another smile flashed before nodding to Ciaran, "Coming right up."

"It is a man's dream to eat well, drink well and.." well, he didn't need to fill all that in. Just a grin. Top hat was removed with a sweeping bow before it was placed on the table as he had manners. They called for not wearing his hat at the table. Pulling a chair out and seating himself he dug right into his meal. Eyes closed a few times as he mumbled praises on the chef. He ate quickly for not having such a descent meal in weeks but he had the typical manners of the upper crust of England's bon ton society. Meat was sliced into small pieces and each savored in turn.  He paused long enough, finally, appetite a little sated, "my pleasure to meet you Maggie," as she was in the process of getting Ciaran his pie.

He chuckled as he sat again, not saying much so the man could enjoy his supper. "The cook here is Hazel, probably one of the finest there is. The gentleman at the bar is Alex." He took a drink of the potcheen figuring once Brad was finished, he would explain why he was here though he was sure he was seeing how Fawn and Fifi were doing.

His words were a bit belated but gracious, and she glanced over her shoulder to smile back. "And the same to you." A pause as she leaned by the kitchen window, waiting for Hazel to plate the pie, and she regarded Bradley curiously. "Are you from England?" She recognized the accent easily from the years she'd lived in that country... now she wondered what area he hailed from.

"Is this Hazel old or young?" That feel he might consider whisking her away if she was the right age for the way she could cook. Giving an upnod to Alex as he was given his name. "That
 pie smells like a bit o' heaven. Think Hazel has enough to spare another slice?" The question heard but his appetite overruled presently. "Right-O, England and I can hope that is not a problem here?" A slight tick as he gave a tug on his right earlobe before finishing up his plate so it could be set aside. There was more than one reason he was here but only one reason he would give. It had been suggested he go into hiding after a rather big ruckus was brought down against the English rule in Boston, a city that was becoming a hot spot fast. "I would suspect you are curious as to my appearance here in these lands, Ciaran.." nice lead in, "I herald the arrival of John and Martha, of which the latter has been fretting too long and waiting weeks, even months for word is no longer good enough so she convinced John to bring her here to see Fawn and Fiona for herself."

"Uh ... let's see she's a lady of middle years." Hopefully that wouldn't offend Hazel! He leaned toward him, lowering his voice. "And it's said Alex is sweet on her." He leaned back again, hand curling around his glass, though he didn't lift it yet. "No, it's not a problem. There's are some English folk who live here as a matter of fact." He smiled as he listened. "I know Fawn's been writing to her but of course, having been her mother for a good portion of Fawn's life, that's understandable. " He was concerned, of course. But maybe they'd be lucky and into a place of their own before they arrived. "Hopefully they'll have better weather. When will they reach Heathfield?"

"Not by me. I lived for a time in Northampton," he probably would recognize the name of that district, situated nearly in the center of England and a generally wealthy area. Maggie was always perfectly polite but she didn't exactly seem noble-born. She came over with a plate of pie in each hand, setting one down before Ciaran and then Bradley, then whisking herself off again to let the gentlemen talk.

"A lady of mature charm that is extremely gifted in the culinary arts." And a glance Alex's way gave him a feeling the man was connected. The lowered words affirming that suspicion as he didn't look back the tender's way when given the information. There was a good amount of relief that there were other Englishmen here and that he wasn't going to be hung by his toes, tar and feathered or anything of that like. He rather liked wearing his skin. Maggie got a flashing smile as he well knew Northampton. Blue eyes lifted her way as she approached. "Thank you lovely lady Maggie." She might not be noble born but she had a way of carrying herself. "I believe my aunt decided that England has grown too dull without her little Fawn there and the antics of Fifi," using the nickname for Fiona for certainly Fifi made her mark on the world. Martha was indebted to her for taking care of her adopted daughter. "I don't think John minded too much but I am to write them before they make the trip, that Fawn wishes to see them still." He tried to convince them that he was certain she would but Martha fretted over that too and wanted to be sure.

"Thank you, Maggie." He smiled again, then laughed. "Yes, well, they certainly keep things lively still." Herself kept things in check but since Ciar worked odd hours, he wasn't always there when everyone was up and moving. A frown appeared though with the last bit of concern. "Of course she'd want to see them. I've no doubt she misses them, and might even be a touch homesick. But, you can ask her tomorrow. After you've had a good night's sleep." He set to enjoying the pie now that he had answered that!

She dipped a nod and smile to their thanks, then went about the room, collecting the empty plates that had accumulated on the tables. By now some of the others had departed, some out the door and others heading upstairs, many finding their beds at this late hour. She hummed softly to herself as she piled the plates and silver wear up and took trips back and forth to the kitchen window, where the kitchen maids would collect them for washing.

"Well, when I hear it from the horse's mouth then I can convince Martha. I think she had doubts that once she found her brothers she would forget them. If you had met Martha, you'd find a very insecure middle age woman that only a little reassuring will go a long way. Once I see Fawn and get that all squared away, they can be sent for immediately if not sooner." Which the whimsical phrasing had a quick smile following. Eyes would follow Maggie at times, back and forth then finally back to Ciaran. "So what are the lands like here being I'll be staying a bit."

"The truth is, I think that a visit was being planned in the near future but this will work well enough." He had the last piece of his pie before pushing the plate away and laughing. "Well, we'll do our best to assure her." He looked at Brad thoughtfully then decided that certain parts he'd have to discover for himself. "Heathfield and her sister realms are exceptional. The people are open and friendly for the most part. The royals are well loved and rule well and fairly. They're the reason the Thistle is free. A portion of the money made is given to the government and in turn, food, drink and board are free to all. Works out well."

"Well, that explains it all, jolly good too. I am wary from where I come from as nothing is ever free there or that I have become a case for charity." Then a quick smile with the next, "and are all the ladies as pretty as the Thistle's Maggie?" He wasn't blind and certainly had an eye for beauty.

The plates were all collected and she had dampened a rag to wipe the crumbs and small spills from the tables, flicking her long hair over one shoulder and out of her way for the chore. Pausing long enough to glance up, for indeed she overheard Bradley's comment, and gave a smirking smile their way. She would thus leave them to their own conversation but join in, friendly if included. Once they had left she would finish cleaning up the commons and head to bed herself.

"They've had travelers come through who have little coin, and they're determined none shall go hungry." He glanced at Maggie and grinned, then looked back. "Aye, the ladies here are quite pretty. Brad, there are things here not seen elsewhere for the most part. Elves and Fae for one thing."

"Not just not go hungry but this is the best food I've had in some time. Fit for royalty. If the ladies are that pretty, I may never leave." Although his tone held the teasing edge to it. "It is getting late and I should probably see about a key. Get my things up to a room." As his trunk would be following and the lad to take it up to his room. So, it would be best to get one. "Are you going to be around tomorrow? Or is the manor far from here that I may visit once I'm settled in?"

Well, he either had heard this before or he thought Ciar was crazy and choose to ignore it. "You'll find they are. I'll come back here in the early morning and maybe break fast with you, then take you to the manor myself if that suits?" He stood as he spoke. No card game for him tonight. He was tired.

He thought he was joshing him on mention of the Fae. The man was Irish after all and had that bit of blarney about them. He wasn't going to fall for it. So yes, he chose to ignore it as just  talk. "That is right good of you Ciaran," rising to shake the man's hand again. "I would like that. Not too early as you may have to send up a brigade to get me up after the weeks on the ship." He didn't usually sleep in late but he may not be able to avoid it tonight, a different kind of crashing without moving with the waves.

"Not too early," he promised with a laugh as he shook the man's hand. "I'll still bid you rest well and good night, Bradley." If Herself were up, he'd tell her at least. The others would wait until morning. Then again, Mary Quinn might insist he bring Brad to the manor for breakfast. "Good night, Alex, Maggie." Giving them a wave, he made for the door. It was a nice walk to the manor and he didn't mind the fog at all.

"A good night to you and thanks," for quite a bit for Ciar had eased his mind on a few accounts. He would rest well this night without that excess worry. A key was collected from Alex and a good night given to the busy Maggie whom he hoped would wind down now that the last, himself, was taking his leave upstairs.

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