Poster: Keriann Frasier
Post # 73
Frogs and Men
It was quiet in the Thistle and Keriann was still staying in one of the
rooms as she tossed around her present situation and decisions to be
made. To find a cottage or house near the castle so they could walk if
needed during the winter months was the priority. She needed to
interview nannies too. The latter would afford them both more
independence and freedom in her mind. So she sat at a table idly,
absently, folding pieces of paper into origami frogs. There were already
six with number seven being added. Once made, a press of her forefinger
against the back and it leaped forward to join the others.
It wouldn't be quiet for long, not with Evan Hunt intent on a drink or
three. Even without his brothers he was adept at finding trouble, and
that coupled with his incendiary temper could spell trouble. And often
did. He'd gotten into a scuffle with another bloke over a game of cards;
the bloke had accused him of cheating, something he could not ignore,
and Evan had lunged right across the table at him, scattering cards and
winnings everywhere. Of course, big-shouldered Evan had cowed the bloke
after just a few punches exchanged, and that murderous look that
sometimes came into his eye. The bloke had apologized, whimpering, and
Evan himself had pulled the man up with a slap to his back and breezy
'No worries.' His temper had deflated the moment his pride was soothed.
And so it was that they came stumbling up to the tavern together, both
feeling good enough to be singing and laughing as they went, despite
their bruises and disarrayed clothing. Loudly enough to herald their
passage down the lane.
Singing and laughter brought Keri back with a blink as her hands stilled
on creasing a more colorful sheet into a swan shape. Dark brown eyes
seemed to round a touch larger that lifted to the door's entry and
waited, shifting momentarily to the window and back but she could hardly
see anything for the darkness beyond and her distance inside from the
She might not be able to see anything, but she'd certainly be able to
hear the clumping of four boots as the two men fumbled their way up onto
the porch. Singing was replaced with cursing as they tripped, then more
laughter. It seemed the bloke would not be joining Evan for a drink, but
wanted to get home to his wife and children. "Oh hell! I thought
you were a worthless bachelor like me," Evan's tongue slurred some.
He jokingly threatened to punch Jake (for that was the bloke's name)
again if he didn't come in just for one drink, but eventually relented,
and Jake went off back down the street with a shout and wave of
farewell. Evan shook his head, smirking, then turned towards the door.
Pushing the screen aside to step in, his foot caught on the threshold,
long arms flailing a moment before he found his balance. "Bloody
hell, who put that there..." he muttered to himself peevishly
before looking up. And saw a rather startled young woman looking
at him. Oops. "Uh, sorry, Miss, sorry." A sheepish grin
flashed. Even half drunk he still had that natural charm.
Keriann rose as she watched the one enter, though only one what had
seemed like a small crowd of people for all the singing and laughing as
well the stomps on the steps. She wore a pale yellow gown that
complimented her complexion, dark eyes and hair. Hair that was pulled up
but showed the signs of a long day in managing strands to escape. It
gave her a more natural, untamed look. A hand shot up to cover her mouth
to still the laughter which rose to dance in her eyes instead as her
hand lowered. A slight cough as she valiantly tried to keep a normal
voice but laughter stole into her words. "Nothing to be sorry about
Sir," glancing from him to the door and back. "Is there not
more in your group? The stampede of elephants perhaps?" He might
notice the twitch of her lips as she said it best straight forward as
she could muster.
He probably looked like an overgrown bumbling fool, with his height and
strong build, and the long strands of brown hair that flapped over his
face - though it was an admittedly handsome face, slightly stubble and
tanned. At least he was aware that he had stumbled in here like an idiot
and was humble enough to be grinning about it. Stepping gingerly over
the threshold, he let the screen door swing shut behind him and pushed
the shaggy hair from his eyes. Evan wore simple garb, dark brown slacks
and a deep blue shirt, half untucked from his pants and a crooked brown
vest worn unbuttoned atop that. A blink was offered at her question,
taking a moment to understand it, then he burst out laughing. the type
of laughter that shook the roof timbers. "Uh, no, no elephants
though I bet we sounded like one."
Luckily she was immune to handsome. Her brothers, her cousins, a man she
married that only abandoned her. Looks no longer meant much but the
person. She would do well to be wiser in her future choices. He was cute
in a sense in spite of being obviously drunk enough to stumble and
stagger. She also realized he was not one she had ever met before and
probably came during her year plus absence. At least he had a sense
of humor so that was in his favor. "It had sounded like a horde was
coming in but alas it was but one. We?" So there was another as
'we' would imply but with a glance again, there was not another at his
side, nor hiding behind him. "Your invisible friend?" Was he
to that state of intoxication? This seemed to amuse her even more.
Another blink and he cast a bewildered glance over his shoulder.
"No, my mate Jake, he was just..." And he realized she was
pulling his leg. Hazel orbs eyed Keriann, slightly narrowed as a smile
slowly spread. Overflowing into another burst of laughter.
"Alright, I deserved that, not giving enough details. Haven't even
named myself like a gentleman should. I'm Evan, Evan Hunt."His
sleeves had come unrolled some and he worked on pushing them back up.
"And that other bloke was Jake, and I don't know his last name, but
we got into a bit of a row over cards. Settled soon enough though. He
gave me this," a gesture towards his split lip, "but I gave
him a black eye so we called it even." Another grin offered as he
made his way to the bar, intent on a meal before getting another drink.
She stepped away from her origami frog covered table with only one half
made swan and dipped a curtsy. She was a slip of a lass as some might
say but had a natural elegant grace in the way she moved. "A
pleasure to meet you Evan Hunt. It seems you have had the adventure
already this night at the price of a split lip but leaving the other
much worse. A tough way to make a new friend and I'm duly advised in
advanced." The amusement still there to linger in dark eyes that
she should imply they got into a fist fight. Instead, she lifted a hand
his way in a much more tame way, "Keriann Frasier, the humble
proprietor of the castle Museum."
"I don't always make friends that way." A pause just long
enough to make her wonder before he finished, "Sometimes I kick 'em
in the stomach instead." He was very clearly kidding.... or was he?
Might have been hard to tell actually, but it was all good natured. He
might be a temperamental man but didn't seem a violent one. He flashed
her a grin and then stepped forward when she gave her hand. Lifting it
in his thick calloused fingers to brush a kiss to her knuckles, a touch
surprisingly gentle. "Keriann Frasier, nice to meet you. I haven't
had the pleasure of visiting the museum yet but I've been meaning
to." Her hand released, he lifted a menu instead, eyes running over
it hungrily. Maybe he'd just get one of everything? Instead he had the
sense to order just the roast pork with potatoes on the side, and some
bread to go with it.
"At least you didn't make them eat worms..." leaving the
thought to linger as a young boy's initiation in making friends. And
that was implied to be worse than a kick in the stomach. It was quickly
noticed that he brush a kiss over her knuckles than a manly shake,
"a gentleman bred too, Mister Hunt. You're an honor to your
family." Although she had not heard of any Hunt family so far.
"You've the appetite of a man after a long day of making
friends," humorously still as he stepped away and she to take up
her seat again. She would finish the swan as nimble fingers worked their
magic over the special paper. She almost mentioned on her identical twin
sister but decided more would be the fun not to and if she were there
instead when he showed. Two with one stone's throw.
It had been a long day but one that was worth it. Training was something
Darragh enjoyed, whether it was with the others of the Force of Five, or
with the knights on the field. He had been practicing alone in that
certain meadow and just now was making his way into the Thistle for a
late supper. Of course, if there were any around for conversation, he'd
be happy for that as well. And there were two inside. "Good evenin'
to you both."
"No, not in a couple years anyway," he answered to the comment
of eating worms, with a broad smirk. One which faded when she went on to
mention family, a shadow passing his features so briefly she probably
didn't even notice. Then the smile was back. "Aye, I've had friends
say I could eat a horse, all the way down to the hooves if I could chew
'em." Now he just had to wait for his meal. A sound at the door had
him turning to the stranger with a nod of greeting and amiable smile.
"Evenin'." He was in a friendly sort of mood tonight, lucky
for them all!
She rose once again as another male with a sense of authority about him
entered. "Good eve Sir." Although Darragh was probably here
when she was last, she had never met him. Amused smile gifted upon Evan
the moment for his appetite comment then back to the other. "I am
Keriann Frasier," it honestly felt good to use her maiden name
again, a step away from the past. With each step she moved into the future.
She collected up the frogs and swan to bring over to Alex, setting them
at the end of the table. They would be given to any of the children that
came in with their parents.
"Pleasure in the meet, Keriann. I'm Darragh O'Connor." He
grinned at the appetite of the man then picked up the menu. Of course,
he was paying attention too. "You worked in the castle when I first
came here, I believe."
"And I'm Evan Hunt." He rose from his bar stool and offered
his hand to shake, a good strong jovial sort of handshake. "A
pleasure. Those are pretty," he commented to the assortment of
origami creatures that Keriann set on the bar. He reached out to tap one
of the frogs, and grinned when it hopped a few inches. "I remember
those. Used to try to make 'em as a kid. Are they hard to
make?" As a carpenter of sorts Evan was interested in how things
worked, and how things were put together, though he worked with the wood
before it was made into paper, himself.
"O'Connor, was given the honor of working with the esteem Druid
Prince, I believe." Her smile swept fuller. "That is whom I
am, proprietor of the Museum that has returned from an ill path
taken." Quickly moving on from that thought, "you probably
have met my cousin Abigail Frasier who runs the library," one had
to pass the library to get to the museum above. The brilliance of her
smile turned back upon Evan, "thank you. Something to keep my hands
busy and myself out of trouble." Implying that she had that kind of
spirit that needed to be rein in at times or .. who knew what might
happen. "Easy enough to learn for one with deft fingers." Dark
eyes almost a challenge that he had, in the least, deft fingers.
"Pleased to meet you, Evan." He shook the man's hand, then
nodded agreement. "Interesting too." Eyes held a twinkle as he
watched Keriann and Evan a moment before he was back to the menu.
He saw that challenge and met it with a lift of his eyebrows. Shifting
on the barstool, one elbow on the bar to look at her more fully.
"I'll have you know I'm a woodworker, Miss, I'm pretty sure I could
rig a paper frog. If I had a good teacher." Throwing that challenge
right back in her face! Going back to her earlier comment, "You
need to keep yourself out of trouble? Hmm... guess I can see that,
actually." A wink tipped, he nodded to Darragh with a quick grin
and then his food arrived.
He chuckled then ordered the roast duck along with the mashed potatoes,
gravy and noodles. "Aye, I've met Abigail. Welcome back then."
He looked at her thoughtfully. "It's your work that graces the zoo,
"Mmmm," to the comment of keeping out of trouble as with a
twinkle in her eye and a foot on the runner of a stool, she was up to
lean over, quick as a wink to retrieve three sheets of paper kept
beneath the bartop. She set one in front of each of them the third to
have them follow. There was the sly catch of her eyes beneath the length
of dark lashes off to the side in passing each as the paper was set,
challenge there. "Watch and learn, try as you can. Proof is in the
pudding as well the crease of paper." She started by folding the
paper in half diagonally. Then to Darragh's last, "aye, it is my
work that graces the zoo, an honor given me and something I can now
continue that I'm back."
He did love a challenge! And that sly look of hers was amusing to say
the least. At first glance she had seemed quiet and sweet, even shy, and
while she might be all those things... clearly she was something more
too. He liked that in a person. So he wiped his hands on a napkin then
grabbed up his paper with enthusiasm, carefully folding it in half so
both edges kissed perfectly. "You were gone for a time?" He
asked Keriann curiously, hazel eyes flicking to hers in passing.
"They're excellent, very realistic and I've noticed the children
love them." He looked at the paper, then grinned. "Ah, a
lesson." And he neatly folded the paper in half as Evan did the
same. Now, what man could resist a challenge from a pretty lass, even if
the thing they were making turned out to look a little odd? He waited
for her answer and for the next fold.
This was a perfect square she had given them and that first fold was
diagonally. She then opened it up and folded it backwards across the
intersection of the two diagonal lines. She opened the paper up again
and pushed in the sides.
Evan was a clever man and good with his hands, but he HAD been drinking
tonight.... even if the food was slowly absorbing some of the alcohol.
So he had to concentrate as Keri did those folds in quick succession. He
followed along well enough with his own paper. She was given a curious
look when she didn't answer his question, but having a past of his own,
he certainly wouldn't push. Instead he made a joke, pulling a skeptical
face. "This looks nothing like a frog to me..."
He hadn't been drinking and found it difficult! The folding wasn't so
bad but pushing the sides in had to be redone. He laughed and looked at
Evan. "Nor to me, but I supposed we have to be patient." Or
It formed a triangle (with two folded sides between the bottom
triangle). She then folded the outside corner up to the top point. It
was followed by the other corner being folded up. She then folded the
new corner in, towards the center line. A slip of a look was given the
two with the natural curl to the corners of her lips. She only confirmed
his words, "aye, I was gone for a time, over a year to be precise,
now I am back." He might catch the quick shadow that passed
behind dark eyes for that split second of eye contact. Pain he might
recognize even if of another kind. "It wont until it is done, pay
attention." Teasing in the way given their way and moving past
the other talk. The other new corner followed the other in opposite. She
then folded the top corners back out, until the edge was even with
the edge underneath. Same was done for the other side. The paper then
over into the center. The outer corners back out so that they were even
with the outside edges. She folded the frog in half then turned the frog
over so the legs were facing away then folded those in half and tucked
under to be done.
He heard her words and did note that quick shadow that passed through
her eyes. He had his own demons too, which she might sense in that
briefest moment of eye contact, and so he didn't ask any more details.
Merely offered a quick smile and a nod, and then he was kept busy trying
to follow and mimic her work. Folding, unfolding, scratching his head,
then trying again. Eyes flicking back and forth from her perfect frog to
his slightly more sloppy work. The last few steps were tricky, but a few
seconds later, he got them and gave it an experimental tap. He let out a
triumphant laugh as his paper amphibian went hopping across the table.
"Not the handsomest frog in the world, but he's got legs!"
Darragh would be practicing this if he could remember the folds. He
pretended not to see anything else but the paper as he worked on the
folds. His looked a bit more lopsided than Evan's but it did do a bit of
a hop, and he chuckled. "Well, not too bad for a beginner I
"I'm impressed with both of you. Agile fingers and minds."
Watching the end results of their two frogs, "each unique as those
in the world are unique. From one hop to a few," giving a wink. She
took the moment to finish off her drink as she was getting tired.
Tomorrow she would choose one of the available cottages then they would
have to get it ready, get furniture and move in. It would take time and
probably their brothers would help along with a few of the cousins. The
whole ordeal held a weary look as one traveling a long path, constantly
pushing forward and looking to when they might be able to take a needed
"Like I said, it's all about the teacher, and you're a good one.
You'd be a good mam." Inadvertently sticking his foot in it! But he
just assumed that she was childless, considering her young age and the
lack of a wedding ring. Luckily he was busy again polishing off his big
meal, and ordered a potcheen to wash it down with after.
"You might have people requesting lessons." He grinned at her
and then his meal was brought out. He'd enjoy it, finish his drink and
finally head back to the castle and bed.
She would let the remark slide with only a smile. "Perhaps I will
consider giving such lessons in the museum." It would be
a way to draw people in and a showing off of this art of paper folding.
The frog was simple compared to some of them but they were attractive to
the eye. A challenge in their own right. "It has been my pleasure
to meet both of you. I hope that our paths will cross again and another
pleasant night spent." It had been pleasurable to her but that
could be tempered by one that appreciated the more simpler things in
life, a smile or a sparring of words in challenge.
Evan woke up again when Keriann rose to make her farewells, resurfacing
from his empty plate with a ready grin. Chewing and swallowing hastily
so as not to speak rudely through a full mouth. "Goodnight, miss
Frasier, it was a pleasure. I bet lots of people would like those
lessons, kids and parents and grannies alike." A lot of folk liked
crafts such as origami, helped to keep their hands busy. Speaking of
which... Evan really needed to find a steady job. He'd been taking odd
jobs around town, doing repairs on several buildings and homes, but his
real passion was carving. His bobbing nod had his overgrown hair
flopping every which way. "Would you like an escort wherever you
call home? I'd be happy to take you." It wouldn't do to let a lady
walk home alone in the dark.
"I'm sure we will being you'll be working at the museum
again." He stood as he spoke. "Goodnight, Keriann, Evan. It
was good to meet you both. Rest well this night." He would wait
until they left to eat, glad Evan had made the offer so Keriann would
not have to walk alone. Heathfield was safe enough, but it was a matter
of what was right!
"Gallantry lives in the hearts of men still, such is refreshing
to know." Which she truly meant, "I have but the steps to make
as I stay here these past nights until a cottage is chosen. I do thank
you, Evan." Which she would remember the gesture. There was an
elegant curtsey to follow, sliding one foot behind the other in the dip
and back up just as easily. Her head to lower a moment in all due
respect of the two before lifted. Each held her gaze for the moment in
passing then she was on her way to the hall that would bring her to the
stairs leading up.
"Then I shall trust you can make it up the stairs without
encountering any hooligans along the way. We'll watch just to be sure,
though." Evan grinned as he sat back down on his stool, and he
would do just that, watching Keriann as she made her way up then
vanished from sight down the hall. His plate was pushed away, his
potcheen picked up to linger over a few moments longer. Attention
turning now to Darragh. "You look like you could be a fighting
man," he guessed. Not that the man was in full armor, but he had
that soldierly look and build about him.
He smiled at Keri as she left then set to eating. He'd have to wait a
moment to answer Evan because his mouth was full but answer he would.
"I am. I serve under the Crown Prince as one of his special forces.
And train with those who use the king's field. You look like you might
be handy with a blade yourself."
Well she was back for a visit! Mostly to shop! She liked the crafts she
found here for her Inn. The Fae, took a breath as she landed on the roof
top. The moment her feet touched the roof, she had changed to her human
form. A hand covered her lip as bubble of giggle spilled from her lips.
Turning to the side to make a finger press to her lips. "Shhhh.
Vadlin." The owl floated over her head, circling. "Must not wake
others up. Go hunt." And she turned. Bare feet thumping softly
before she jumped and landed to the ground. A fix of her brown strands,
she hurried to the other side of the tavern. Up the stairs and inside.
Biting her lower lip from having a giggle fit. The barefoot creature
made her way over to the bar. Rocking back and forth on her heels while
she spoke to Alex about a room for the night. "Thank you."
Sliver-blue hues looked to the two men. "Good eve..." Toes of
her left foot came to itch her bare calf under the simple white dress.
"Good evening," he called out cheerfully when another woman
walked in, but got distracted by Darragh's words. He offered a grin that
was half sheepish and half mischievous. "Aye, I know which end is
the pointy end, at least. Thought of going for a solider myself, at one
time," Evan added between sips, "but I wanted to be more of a
free agent, y'know."
"Evening, Miss. I'm Darragh O'Connor and this is Evan Hunt."
He turned back to Evan and laughed. "Better than some then. I
understand that. I was until I came here, then I finally settled in for
the duration." He liked working with Andrew and the others.
"Water." She needed a drink before heading up to the room. Why
not stick around for a while longer? She seemed to frigidity with her
dress till her water came over. Grabbing it up, she stopped and looked
over to Evan and Darragh. "I'm Roselyn." A small bow of
her head. Straighten and took a big drink of water! Flying was a lot of
"Well, it's a worthy cause, and you're a better man than I am, I'm
sure." He said it cheerfully enough, and raised his glass towards
Darragh in salute. "Roselyn, a pleasure."
"Well met, Roselyn." He finished up the meal and his drink and
stood reluctantly. "I should be off though. Need to be up at
"It is nice to meet you both." A grin sent to Evan and then
Darragh. She gave a small giggle. Then covered her mouth. She really
need to control that giggle.
"And you." He spoke to Roselyn, then pushed back from the bar
as well. "And I better make my way home while I can still walk
sorta straight." Crooked grin. His brothers would probably be
wondering where he was, too, if they weren't off making trouble
She looked around. Then shook her head. Always the late one. A nod to
Alex. Who was even given a goodnight. And she made her way to the
stairs. "Till we meet again, sirs." And off she was to bed.
"I'll walk with you until our paths part then." He bowed
slightly to the lass as she left. Then motioned to the door.
And off they would go, Evan lighting a cigarillo along the way to the