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Thistle Tavern

Date: 02-28-11
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 61

A Quiet Night
 
Some nights, a man just wanted to be in a quiet tavern, free from too much merry making with loud voices, bumping bodies, possible fighting.  Some nights, not too many, but some...and for Conor, tonight was one of those nights.  He sat at the bar, not at the hearth, and he had a glass of pure already poured.  The bottle he had poured from had gone down by half and the youngest of  Jaxon's boys would not be feeling much pain tonight.  Arms were crossed on the bar top and while he held that glass in his hand, his chin was propped on the top forearm, just staring off at the wall opposite him.


Some nights,  a man needed to be where there were other men, away from female influences and chattering, though he'd never call it that out loud.  Tonight was such a night for Eion and since tomorrow could be considered a free day for him, though he'd still go for training, he was making his way inside the tavern, in the hopes that one of his brothers would be there.  Lo and behold, there was Conor.   "Evening Conor. I'll be joining you in a moment."


He just lifted the glass in acknowledgement, his chin not moving off that spot.


And he crossed over to the bar after depositing his cloak on a hook, collecting a glass and bottle and joining Conor in a lean at the bar.


Then it hit him who was at the bar with him,  Conor sat up real quick, almost too quick, because he swayed backwards and had to clamp a hand down on the edge of the bar counter to keep from pitching off completely.  "Well...damn." He grinned, lifting his glass in greeting to his oldest sibling. "How'd you manage? Chew off the cuff?" He made a show of looking to Eion's leg for the tell-tale shackle.  That lean was chancy in and of itself, since he was already holding on to the bar to keep from spilling off of his stool.


Even without a horse, Myrina could find her ways around her brother's punishment. Sneaking out of the manor and coming here anyway. With a smile of one that was spoiled rotten, Myrina moved within the Thistle, stopping briefly to place her coat on the peg near the door.


Eion studied Conor for a moment then laughed. "How long have you been drinking, brother mine and I think Herself was getting tired of me sitting around the house. She practically used the broom to get me to leave."


Conor Quinn did a double take when the young lass entered the tavern, and slowly pulled his gaze back to Eion. "Long enough..." Grin. "Then I'm glad she has that broom, its about time you get your arse out besides on the training field."


"G'evening.." Called out cheerfully, with her hand to wave in greeting as well. Hair of blonde was tied back in a pony tail, and pants and shirt adorned her body, but demurely. "Hope all are well this grand evening" She was rather chirpy.


He held up a finger, as if he had to tell his brother to wait a minute for him to greet. "Miss Myrina. What a pleasant surprise." Okay, so Eion said practically used the broom, but Conor rather liked the image of Herself swatting his homebound brother out of the door.


"Oh! Mister Quinn.. How are you this fine and beautiful night!" She skipped into the Thistle, climbed upon a bar stool and whispered to Conor.."Is that man deaf.." Canting to Alex "He wouldn't talk to me the other night."


"Good evening, Miss." He wasn't surprised Conor knew the lass. He seemed to know everyone.


Huh? Oh...deaf! He shook his head to the young lass. "Not deaf...just busy. Place your order Myrina, then leave him be. Have you met my brother, Eion Quinn?" A jerk of head indicated said brother to the lass. "This is Miss Drakos' little sister, Eion. Myrina."


"But I looked him in the face" She moved to look into Conor's.." And he wouldn't answer me.." Then turning, with a graceful curtsey to Eion.."Grand to meet you, Sir."  Grumpy Conor! "One Cider Alex, with that tasty stick in it?" Wink.


Grumpy? She didn't know grumpy if she thought Conor Quinn was grumpy. Especially tonight. He had his brother in the place, a half bottle of whiskey left to drink, and not a reason in the world to be grumpy now that the other half of that bottle was flowing through his blood.
 

Wasn't long before Segan appeared. Last minute loads and unloading of his ship in short runs. Being the weather was agreeable enough. A grin split fast soon as he came in from outside, closing the door behind him. "Well," turning to face the others, "a balm for sore eyes seeing two of me brothers here for a pint. Missy," noting the young girl with them as he headed for the bar.


"A pleasure to meet you as well, Lady Myrina." He inclined his head slightly, then lifted a brow at the lass. "Maybe it was what you asked? And there was the third. "Segan. Good to see you back safe and sound." Not that there should be a problem but winter weather was changeable.


The teenager moved back to her stool. Blue eyes looking briefly to the door, she was hoping to see Rina again, perhaps another time. "Hi!" She waved to the newest arrival, and then with Alex clearing his throat, she turned. "Thank you!" She screamed to Alex ... just in case. "I was only making polite conversation.. His name.. his age.. ohhh and if he likes haggis?" Nod nod.


"Segan! Feet on solid ground..." Conor grinned to his brother and lifted his glass in greeting, but since it was lifted, he went ahead and had a drink. "You shouldn't interrupt a man when he's working." Well, there slipped out a bit of grumpy Conor. But just a bit. "Does your sister know you're out at this hour in a tavern?" Doubtful!


Alex grinned and said you're welcome which had Myrina smile bright. All was right in the world now. "Nope.. none know. They are all sleeping, well Anna isn't.. but all else are" Fingers pulled out the stick and bit into it.


He eased onto a stool, just listening though his gaze shifted from the lass to Conor. "You're well into your cups tonight."


"Cups?" He shook his head, reaching over to tilt the bottle to the side in order to take note of just how much was left in -this- bottle. "Been a long ass day...and I made the most of it." Myrina's comment caused him to chuckle though he wouldn't want her to know.


With Conor cursing, Myrina chose to sip her cider and leave the men to their words. Feeling safe now with Alex here. Holding the cup she chose now to gaze about to this room, was real nice.


Conor got the first good thud to his back. "Aye, that I am for a little while longer but not too long with some short runs." Eion got the second thud to his back. "Good to see you out and about, not that I expect you'd be chained to the bedpost... but then again.." followed by a laugh.


Oh yea, whoops, there was a young woman present!


"Sounds like you're working too hard, Conor." Not that it was always a bad thing but still... he blinked and looked at Segan, just a brow lifting. "Not quite."


"Yea...well." Whatever. He looked from Segan to Eion. "You're a fine one to talk, Segan." Conor grunted out a laugh, since the bottle was in hand, he went ahead and added more to his glass. Things just seemed to be flowing so well tonight, and as long as they kept on flowing...all would be well!


"Thank you Alex.." Mouthed to the tender before slipping off the stool with cider in hand. She thought it best to leave this trio to their conversation, and find a nice table to sit at.


It would be best if she trotted on home before someone started to worry about her.


She was too angry at her brother to be home.


It would probably be that very brother who was worried about her. "Get to drinking, Segan, you're at least one behind Eion."


He smiled slightly and refilled his own bottle. "You in for a few days, Segan? Or off again come morning?" Eion might catch up.


He can go to blazes. With a smile she took a long pull of her cider, turning slightly to see through the window, finding it interesting all of a sudden.

 

Been there. Done that. Wasn't so bad. Would probably go back. He lifted his glass, waiting for Segan's reply to Eion's inquiry.


"I wouldn't mind being chained to the ... " and he coughed back a laugh remembering there was a young lass here. He didn't really need to say more, his brothers would fill in the blanks. "So have you been overworking yourself Conor?" Which he kicked back a double tumbler to be followed by another. He might be breathing fire at the moment.


"Nah..." He shook his head in reply as well. "Just needed a drink." Or several, and glad he was that his brothers were here, didn't that make it all the better!


And Segan still hadn't answered so he just shook his head and took a drink. Marriage wasn't all fun unfortunately.


"Soooooo." He grinned looking at Eion then back to Segan. "You in for a few days, Segan? Or off again come morning?"


"How about I step over there by the hearth.. and plug my ears?" Giggle and she did just that, leaving cider on table, she moved to the hearth with ears plugged, and humming.


And Conor got a salute for that! And downed another drink!


"Hear we're to get a nasty storm. Old Jenkings' knee has him crippled up and that's a sure sign." Jenkings was one of the old timer sailors on his crew he trusted his methods, or his knee in this instance, to forecast the weather.


Did they not have a daycare in the back somewhere? He would have to remember to ask Alex about that...once he was able to form a coherent thought regarding that. Okay, Conor was beyond drunk, he was stinking drunk...but he still realized the answer was not forthcoming. What was up with that?


She is nineteen! Thankyouverymuch!


"Segan, are you avoiding the question?" He didn't get the connection between the storm and how long Segan was staying!


"Guess he answered it, he will be staying...bad storm coming in. We just don't know how long."


He kicked back another tumbler full as blue eyes turned on Eion, "what question." He had missed a question?


Missed it twice! Maybe Conor wasn't the only one well into his second bottle of pure.


He had been celebration his bachelorhood while he could, with his crew long before he got here.


Perhaps this wasn't such a good ideal. "G'night to you all.." With a wave she skipped out of the tavern, but not home.

 

Aye, here's to a short-ass-life...


Which had Eion stopping in his lift of the glass to stare, and then. "Are. You. Leeeaving. Right. Away? Or. Staying. A. While?" One word at a time.


"I'll be here for a few days for the storm, you have some plans?" Wondering why they hadn't realized his answer meant that.


"No. I was just wondering." He did grin though. "Gran will be glad to know she'll have you home for a few days."


"Aye, she can put me to work." Which he expected and he knew wedding plans would be expected of him with some input. Totally lost there but he'd do his best, nod, yes.. yes.. nod.. yes..


He had time to change his mind! Wait, that was Conor's line.


Okay, so Conor was drunk. That...is his excuse. "Do you really love her, Segan? Or did you just get tired of knowing she would want to get married, might as well do it?" Maybe Segan would miss that question too...it would probably be in Conor's best interest if he did.


He had to be drunk and Eion was doing a lot of staring in disbelief tonight. Just like he was right now!


"I love her, just not sure she will continue to be all right with the fact I sail and take off to the sea for periods of time even if I cut down some of the time out at sea."


"Then she doesn't love you?" Lift of glass, eyeing his brother as he drank.


"You playing devil's advocate tonight, Conor?" He decided that it might be a good time to refill his glass. Once more down the hatch!


"Well, she said yes and that she does," he shrugged it off as it was neither here nor there at the moment but something only time would tell.


Like hell if it wasn't here nor there...once it was done...time could tell all it wanted, but the friggin' deed was done! Segan could either trust her now, or he couldn't trust her at all! "Well there's a shrug of indecision." A soft snort of frustration escaped and he lowered his glass to the bar counter.


"I would not have asked her, she would not have said yes if we weren't sure." He was wondering why the hell Conor was so questioning him on it. Maybe his being single felt threatened because he and Eion would both be married. "You can stay single, never fall in love and never ask a lass to marry you if you wonder so much on it." He filled his glass which lifted as he pointed to him, "the shrug was for all your questioning me on it."


"Well, you sure as hell don't make it sound like a tempting prospect." He was just wanting what was best for Segan, not sure any lass was trustworthy enough to promise forever to.


Which had him throw his head back with a boisterous bursting laugh before done and he then kicked back what the tumbler held.


Conor blinked with the laugh, a smile twitching just because it was contagious...Segan's laughter. It was his turn to shrug. What the hell, might as well have another drink.


"Looks like you caught it now," noting the shrug as he filled all their glasses to the brim... make it a challenge to pick up without spilling a drop.


At this point, he just decided it was better to say nothing and drink! Though he did have to join in the laughter. Maybe it was the potcheen.


As drunk as Conor was, he brought up that drink without even threatening the rim with spillage. He even brought it higher, as if in a toast. "To my brothers, who have found, wed or will wed, the most lovely ladies of good intent...and taste...in the lands." He sucked at the rim to ease some the liquid down, then tipped it on back as Segan slipped in that trick question.


Although Conor was still single and not a bite in the pond, Eion had been the most stubborn of the three of them. Turning his way curiously, "how do you find married life to be?" Being he'd been married a few months now.


He took a drink, thought a moment, took another drink and finally. "Life changing."


He wasn't going to let that go so easily, "aye but so is being born. The first time you bedded a lass.." and so on as he put in the serious question. "are you happy?"


Well hell, the night was full of difficult questions...brows raised as he looked to Eion. "He has a wife and a baby, how could he not be?" Was Conor being sarcastic? Couldn't tell it in his tone. Maybe he was just stepping in for Eion as he had for Segan. The younger brother protecting the elders. "Are you tired, now there's the question. Can't imagine keeping a wife...and a new born ... happy. Has to make you tired."


"You make it sound like work Conor," hmmm.. maybe that was why he had no interests and kept himself single.


"It is work, Segan." Eion looked at the middle brother. "Look how many couples drift apart because they don't work at their marriage. And it has to be on both sides, not just one. Hardest thing is knowing what to say sometimes."


"Isn't it?" A man had enough work...to Conor's way of thinking. Yea, Conor was afraid of hard work. He had never done a day of it in his life. There now, straight from the horse's mouth. Conor tipped his empty glass toward Eion as proof.


"Well, then, may I follow in your footsteps." Lifting his glass as he would toast that ideal.


"I will tell you I think it's harder when there's a child too. You really don't know everything about one another, and it's a bit harder to learn when there's a baby around." He smiled slightly. "Though of course, we've plenty of sitters."


"And may your footsteps fade from the ground before I step a boot in any of them." He lifted his glass as well.


"I'll be sure to hire enough sitters if it comes to that," which he didn't mind and could afford.


He laughed out right and lifted his glass toward the youngest of the three. "Conor, if you never marry, I promise, I'll make sure we have a night out when we can."


"Screw that, Older brother...if I do marry, then we have to make sure to have that night out. I'll sure need it."


"Count me in either way." He didn't feel that would be a problem with Vanessa either.


"That too." He grinned. "Even our brothers-in-laws may join us." The Quinn women would be wanting time to themselves!

 

If she did, she could just get over it! "Aye to that!" He started to lift his glass again in order to include the inlaws and realized his glass was empty. Time for a refill. Conor rarely got to see his brothers except for breakfasts or the occasional dinner, if married life meant he'd never get to spend time with his brothers drinking, then they could just keep ring and shackle...he would do without.


The battle in Kildare was over. Duties weren't as heavy now. Eion could probably manage more time away. Maybe even visit Conor at work. Segan would be a bit hard to see once he was out at sea. "Have you talked to Vanessa about how she feels?"


"How she feels about what?" Kicking back another drink being he was not going to assume he knew what Eion was relating his question to.


"Feels about what?" As if the question had been addressed to Conor, even as Segan asked the same thing.

 

"Being out to sea so much." Hmmm. He wasn't finishing his sentences. Good! That meant the drink was kicking in.


"Yes, she is well aware I go out to sea. She has her birds and Ysa as well Karina there." She would be kept busy. "She might even come with me on some shorter runs."


"Awwww." You better drink Conor! Yup, he poured himself another glass.


Just so Conor didn't get maudlin.


He could never get with a Maud Lynn...didn't like the name, couldn't imagine sighing it in a moment of passion. Nope. No Maude Lynn.


Not even in passing?


And...that maudlin-type sound dripped with sarcasm. Conor's gaze drifted to the window, and lingered a moment, before he looked back to his brothers. "You two keep me out too late, and make me drink too much." And there spread that grin.


"Aye we do." He checked the level of the bottle then grinned at Conor. "I'll take the blame so you're not gettin' into trouble."


"I think it is time to go up to the manor and see what Grams has left in the kitchen for us." It might do them well to eat something.


"From whom?" He finished off his drink and slipped from the stool, holding the counter for a moment to gain his balance. "My wife?"

 

"Nah, the horses waiting for their saddles." Time to go already. He grabbed the bottle, even if just a little remained in it. They could hold one another up as they walked. "Maybe some pie."


"Now, there's an idea I can sink my teeth into." He started toward his coat on the peg, but took the long way around, weaving a path around tables and chairs.


"Aye, the invisible wife. She keeps you straight and narrow," like hell, more like crooked and drunk as he took the bottle that still had a bit in it to share on the way.


And not on purpose, but he attempted to make it look that way. He pushed in and straightened a few chairs on the way. He was just helpful that way.


It looked fine to Eion!


He got his coat on. Hat too, then took a drink from the bottle as he headed out. The cold air would do the three good!


"Night Alex!" He called to the tender, slipping an arm in his coat and turning in a circle to find the other arm hole. There it was! Tricky thing! With his coat on, he wrapped his scarf and was ready to ride.


He had worn a cloak so no trouble at all and then he was heading on out with his brothers.

 

-e-

Date: 03-05-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 62

Up Late
 

Her stockings were hung by the chimney with care... the thought rumbled through as she wiggled her stockings encased toes. Feet propped up on an ottoman as the snow had leaked through her boots. She needed new ones. Skirt was wrapped in a way it covered most of her legs, except were the colorful stockings showed through. Red with white stripes that one of her little cousins gave her for Yuletide. She was warm and comfortable and no one about other than those who were always about here such as Alex and Hazel.


Some nights it was easier to slip from the castle than others. At this hour, if you weren't already out and about, then it was noticed what time you left because it should be the time you were actually coming home instead. For the dark prince, slipping out was easier, a few secret passageways, and then to the roof and onward from the skies. Flying at night was as exhilarating as swimming at night, there was just something...well, forbidden...about it that made it all the more desired. He entered the Thistle from that side door, one hand making his way in, the other fingering through his hair to smooth it down from his journey over (literally). He noticed Ellyn immediately and smiled as his gaze touched on those rather impressive stockings. "Evening, Ellyn...candy canes never had it so good." He lifted a hand in greeting to her as well, but was on his way on his way to the bar.


A toddy was perfect this night and well enjoyed with the empty mug set aside. A tip of her head back cushioned in against the chair's pad as she closed her eyes and let her thoughts drift. Or so that was the intention but a voice startled her she jumped from her chair like a cat would, her heart soaring in that second to her throat as it pounded in her ears a moment. "Ty... kir" managed out with a laugh to follow, one with a touch of relief. "You are up late too." Curling back into the chair with her feet tucked under her being the stockings were dry at this point.


Bannon was restless tonight, which was why he was headed for the Thistle. He was in a decent mood and enjoyed the walk, but the thought of a drink before heading back to the castle was far too tempting to pass up. Up the steps and inside, and lo and behold, there were people here! And no need of the formality of the castle. "Tykir! Evening, m'lady." A slight bow given to the lass in the chair.


"Yes, I am...as are you." He laughed too, glancing then to the front door as it opened. "And Bannon! It must be a night for staying awake."


Molly saw the young man heading for the Thistle ahead of her and didn't feel so bad for going there this late. She knew Alex and Hazel didn't go to bed early very often but still, she didn't want to be the only one keeping them up. So, she hurried up the steps and inside, just seconds after the door closed. "Evening!" She grinned at Ellyn who looked very comfortable. "Tykir, welcome home!"


She eyed up Bannon in such a way one would when checking out an unknown. In this case an unknown male so it was the weighty look given. Slow smile curled her lips at the edges. "Hello, I'm Ellyn." Leaving him to talk to Tykir as she waved over Molly, "hey Molly come get warm." Night temperatures still dropped to the teens.


"I'm Bannon." Easy smile and he cut a glance toward Tykir, his smile growing into a grin.


"Thank you, Moll, it's good to be home...and good to see you." He watched her a moment, then glanced instead to Bannon as he introduced himself. "Sir Bannon Zimmer...Ladies.  Bannon...Molly Tremaine and Ellyn Royce."  He provided Alex with an uplift of chin in thanks as a filled glass was placed on the bar counter for him. "Do you mind if we join you as well, Ellyn?"


"Well met, Sir Bannon." She would have curtseyed but she was wearing nicely fitted wool pants and an oversized sweater of pale blue. "Gladly." To Ellyn about the fire while she collected a drink from Alex. Mulled cider had been her drink of late, instead of alcohol. "Good to see you too, and wanting to hear everything!" She headed for the hearth and settled in one of the chairs.


"You know you need to tell us all about it and if our favors brought you any luck, Tykir." Which she leaned up enough to pat the seat of the chair next to hers.  Easing back into position, "nice to meet you Bannon. Do you have a profession?" Something about him had her asking.


A quiet thank you to Alex and he looked toward Ellyn. "Aye, I'm a knight in the service of King Karl," the smile returned. "And was with Tykir and his sister in Kildare."


Tykir smiled to himself with Ellyn's question since Tykir had just introduced him as 'Sir'. With glass in hand, he joined the two ladies almost certain Bannon would follow. "And was also part of the victory for Kildare." Tykir offered as he lowered to the chair next to Ellyn as indicated. "And had it not been for the favors, who knows what could have transpired." He still had them too, tucked cedar box, within one of his dresser drawers.


"That's an honored position to have. Congratulations, Sir Bannon," twitching off a wink Tykir's way with a smile to Molly as she joined her before back to Tykir, "I'm expecting you to. Really?" Shooting a glance from Ty to Ban, "I would love to hear all the details. Certainly there are details... did you have to fight?"


"We were allowed that honor indeed." A smile played along his lips and he nodded to Bannon to proceed with the tale if the knight so desired. "Molly, here...sit close so you can hear."


Of course he would follow. Though he served the King, he also served the Prince. But the best part was that they were friends. "Thank you, Ellyn." He took a seat in one of the other chairs and looked a little surprised at Tykir but started once everyone was settled.


"Aye, everything, Sir Bannon." She pulled her chair closer, eyes bright. "And Tykir can throw details in there." She was sure he would.


Which she settled in to listen intently, hanging on every word while picturing it in how it was described.


"Just Bannon. Though I have to admit, I don't mind hearing the sir." And he didn't mind admitting that either. "We weren't certain we'd be allowed to go so Tykir very bravely led the way to see the King." There was a twitch to his lips as he glanced at Tykir then back.


Tykir chuckled softly, bringing his glass up to drink. He was going to enjoy Bannon's version, he could tell already.


He didn't mention Rina because he wasn't sure she'd like it to be told that she hadn't gone. "That was when he knighted me, saying a squire would never survive where they were going." How could he leave that out? It was something he'd never forget. "Then after a tour of the Keep, we went to the wagons and armed ourselves, then tried to sleep. I don't know if Tykir slept at all, but I found it nearly impossible, until I was awakened and told it was time to go. Then I was wishing I had another hour." He paused to take a long drink.


She was looking at Bannon in a whole new light, one that spoke of respect and a bit of awe. That was shared with Tykir when he was mentioned. "I can imagine it would be a sleepless night.." she was picturing it.


"I couldn't begin to imagine how either of you felt." She looked at Tykir and smiled. " Do you have special armor?"


"None." He added, not thinking that odd at all. "And I'll tell you how I felt. It was a mixture of excitement and eagerness and flat out fear. Being granted the permission to go made it a bit more real and knowing who we were going into battle with? My brothers...Peter and his force...Karl and the Horsemen...yeah, it was a bit intimidating as well, wouldn't you say, Bannon?"


"I am considering seeing Princess Noirin about training as a lady knight, Dame." The tale was only fueling her more with the idea .. and she let Bannon continue. Focus to switch there from Tykir.


"That's a grand idea, Ellyn. You'll do well, I think."He grinned as his friend answered the question and took that time to study the two lasses though he nodded with the question. "It was and sometimes, it didn't seem real. Like when we neared the forest where the creatures were. We had to dismount and walk the rest of the way and the whole feel of the forest changed."


"Agreed." Lids lowered as he looked into his glass. "It was creepy....like the life was just sucked out of the air. Gabriel took to the sky, the Horsemen spread out, Karl and Peter prepared back to back, Aiden and Cole...some freaky stuff to be sure. And then, the attack came and from there it was just survival, right? Taking out as many as we could before they did the same to us." Tykir's voice had lowered, his thoughts spiraling him right back to the scene, shadows shifting, creatures almost exploding from some unseen attack, the kings back to back sending many a demon dog to it's end, the Horsemen doing what they did best...shock the hell out of Tykir for one! He blinked, looking back to the girls with an awkward smile of apology... "Bannon and I took to a tree for a better view and angle for our arrows." He nodded to Bannon to continue, it was time for a drink.


Molly shifted in her seat, focus moving from one to the other. She looked at Ellyn, expression thoughtful. "Would you mind if I did the same?" Not wanting to copy her if Ellyn didn't like it. Then Tykir was speaking and she forgot about the training for the moment as he painted more the picture.


She was blinking only to go wide eyed. The lean forward to catch every single one of Tykir's words. He had an enthralled audience. When he was done, took her a moment or two to realize it, she straightened as she sucked in a breath. No words, she was still absorbing all he had to tell.  It took her a moment to realize Molly had asked her a question as her mind reeled back. "That is up to you. Why would I mind?"


"Aye, it was all that and amazing to see. And the creatures ... I hope never to see the like again. There were so many of them and they kept coming and we all kept killing. I didn't have time to watch, just shoot and make sure not to waste an arrow. And then, a shadow fell over all and the biggest flying creature you could imagine filled the sky. It's cry nearly deafened, and the beat of its wings shook the trees like a hurricane. And it was heading for the tree Tykir was in." He was hoping his memory was correct. It was, in fact, hard to remember everything.


"Don't want to be a copycat." She whispered the words, not looking away from Bannon.


He bit back a grin as he looked from the girls to Tykir and back. All girls were alike in some ways, weren't they?  Minds going a mile a minute, different thoughts and keeping track of them all.


She gave a nod, indicating she heard as she too was glued to watching Bannon. The striking of the clock pulled her from the visions his words produced with a sigh. "I need to get some sleep." She was feeling the weight of the day crash in on her.


It was survival, and with survival trivial matters such as details faded and flight or fight took over. Tykir started to open his mouth to speak some more, but clamped it back shut to nod to Ellyn. He stood since she would be taking her leave. "If you've never been to the field to watch training, you should, Ellyn. I wish you could stay longer tonight, but it was good to see you again. Perhaps another night?"


"Have a good night. I always enjoy seeing you Tykir as well you Molly. It was a pleasure to meet you Bannon. Sleep well when you get there. I shall be here for a while visiting.." so they could catch up again.


He stood quickly, and smiled at Ellyn. "It was a pleasure to meet you as well. Perhaps we'll save the rest of the tale for another night." He wouldn't want her to miss how Tykir handled himself!


"I will do that, provided I'm up early enough tomorrow." Smile whisked brightly as she smoothed her hand against Tykir's cheek in passing, "sleep sweet," there would be more time later as she headed for the stairs and her room above when here.


"Good night, Ellyn. Good to see you as well." She smiled as she watched her friend leave, though she was a little concerned.


First reaction was to flinch away, he did have Rina for a sister after all.  But he smiled, managing to suppress that impulse and winked to her in passing.  "See you soon."  Tykir looked to Molly, pressing his hand to the arm of the chair as he lowered back to the cushion.  "And what have you been up to?"


He sat again, stretching out his legs and he did.  And took another drink as he looked toward the lass who was left.


"I don't mind waiting to hear the rest.  I'm just glad you both survived without getting hurt and came home safe."  She smiled and shrugged slightly. "Not a whole lot.  There's been so much snow here.  I went to the lake and skated and explored a little more of the lands.  Saw Kynan one day but he didn't know anything other than you had gone.  And I heard you had returned with your sister, so I kept trying to come here when I could.  There's been all kinds of rumors, even saying this one died or that one.  Most folks just ignored those."


"We were lucky, I guess, with no more than cuts and bites and scrapes and scratches..." He looked to Bannon and grinned.  "A few bumps, we lost none and the victory was ours.  My brothers vanquished the witch and Kildare is, for now, a peaceful realm."


"Lucky indeed. Especially with me nearly falling out of the tree." He could laugh now. "Good wide branches saved my hide and luck."  He lifted his glass. "And here's to Kildare staying peaceful for a long time." Though it was still liable to have some problems, they'd likely not be dealing with the supernatural.


She lifted her mug in toast. "And to the brave warriors who made it so."  Including the two sitting here with her.


"To Kildare, Peace and Prosperity.  Long live the King."  He lifted his glass as well, toasting his brother and then swallowing down the rest of the liquid within it.


"Long live the King." And she finished the last of her cider.


He was smiling as he lowered it though, and that was because of Molly's addition to the toast.  "You should come to the field as well, Molly, if you plan to follow the path of Athena." He hadn't even settled well before he was standing again. "I need to head back to the castle before I'm missed." Yes, he wasn't supposed to be out!  "If either of you are going in that direction, I could use the walk."


"Long live the King."   And downed the last of his drink. "Tykir's right.  It's a good way to see if you truly wish to follow that path."  He stood when Tykir did and chuckled. "Walk?"  In disbelief, but teasing. "I should get back and get some sleep."


"If you're both leaving, I'll join you in the walk back until our paths part."  She would be heading home near the Bay. And when she stood, she gave Tykir an impulsive hug. "And again, welcome home."  She didn't hug Bannon because she just met him but she did smile at him as well. "Both of you."


Tykir wrapped an arm around her, holding her close for a moment while she spoke, then releasing her.  He didn't say anything to her words, just smiled down to her.  Instead, he spoke of departure.  "Then, yes, let's..." And he shot a wag of brow to Bannon.  "...walk."


He laughed as he lifted a hand in farewell to Alex and was over to the door to collect his cloak.  A walk would be just the thing before bed.  Just to drink in the feel of being home, something he'd be enjoying for some time.


Molly grabbed up her cloak and headed for the door too. Tomorrow she'd be at the field to watch.  Who knew where that might lead!

 

-e-

Date: 03-05-11
Poster: Leoric McLarkin
Post # 63

Visiting
 

The hearth, as always, held her attention this evening. Slender form, clad in gown of dark brown, sat with comfort upon the high back, holding a cup of tea, almost lost in the flames.


There was a touch of golden to the King of Kildare as he stepped in from the back hall. His transportation here of a new means he learned from his brother. Seeing where he landed he grumbled edged with a laugh as he continued into the main room. "It would seem that I am to stop here first Alex," which the tender was always glad to see the twin, any of the royal children as he was quick to set out a glass of the pure. There was a slight shift of Alex's eyes that had Leo turn to note the lady seated at the hearth. "Good evening m'lady," slight dip of his head as one would not mistake silver blue eyes that had a otherworldly look about them. There was a tranquil feel that seemed to surround the prince as well. Something else inherited. Pleasant smile, nothing overly, nor was his attire of well made clothes overly grand. A cape was all that was needed for one immune to the weather changes.


The laughter brought the woman out of her silent thoughts. Shaking her dark head slowly to clear her mind and turn in the direction of the voice. This was a face not seen before, but a face that seem kind to Anthea. "G'evening, my Lord.." She did not rise from her seat, not wishing to end the comfort, and feeling he would not mind. Silver hues brought a kindness in her own form, one that enjoyed friends and making them. "I am Anthea.. a pleasure.."


Alex was speaking to him low as only a minute dip of his head here and there indicated he was listening. With his glass set he collected it with a few words to be added, turning for a moment to Alex. He was back around crossing the distance to where the lady was seated. "Would you mind a bit of company?" Not that a king would normally have to ask but this was Leoric. "I am Leoric," not expecting her to know the name or perhaps make a connection for it was no secret to Honeee's children and their whereabouts in general. He paused just outside her personal space. Leo was a good size man, not overpowering but something else to anyone with perception. He gave off a strong aura in that department. Almost as much as Andrew at this point.


Smile was offered to Alex, nay looking away, but nay to listen to any private conversations. It was nice to have company, to enjoy the silence was pleasant, but grew to become tedious. With a shift of her slender form, Anthea move to give both their privacy, only having placed her feet upon the ground when the gentleman did speak. "Company is always welcome, Leoric.." His name rolled from her tongue, studying it almost, for she had never heard such a name before. With her cup still held within her grasp, she gave a nod of her dark head.


There was something about his eyes that sparked when his name rolled so easily from her tongue, a nice mixture of an accent. Noted but not remarked upon as he took a seat. Sleight of hand easing the empowered sword aside to accomplish the action. "Anthea, the land's new newspaper lady. Are you settling in well? Enjoying your time? Need anything?" He was a man that could see to anything she needed. Well, just about and who knew even from there. Leo could be full of surprises.


Though he did not remark on it, Greece was her blood, her love, her very dreams. She loved Heathfield, but Greece would always touch her soul like no other. Silver hues studied the sword, perhaps wondering if this was a knight? "I am the newspaper lady.." Quirk of a grin with the depths of her laughter to flow within her gaze.."And I am loving it here, very much so.. " Was she enjoying her time? With a hellion of a sister, and pain in the arse brothers.. "Yes, I love it here.. we are fine, Sir.. thank you so much for asking, and for your kindness that is very appreciated.." Soft were her words, as soft as the Aeagen Sea. "Well, need? Perhaps one thing." Wink offered kindness... "Warmer weather?"


Perhaps it would gradually dawn on her who he was. There was the incident where many from here headed to Kildare to help the King and Regent out. Sons of the Queen of these lands. She was a newspaper woman, she'd figure it out. "The warmer weather is on its way. The crocus are blooming and the snow melting into the soil to nourish the bulbs, beg them to bloom in another week or two." As if he had something to do with it. Smile tipped in a whimsical way giving way of a hint to what he might have looked like as a mischievous child. There and gone in a blink. "I hear you do well with the paper." Straying thought but then she'd not been around years past.


If she knew of this she would write of their gallantry, their courage. And if she had known he was their Queen's son, Anthea would still be in a curtsey. "You know of flowers, my Lord? Of how spring brings such beauty?" She softly spoke the words in awe, for this Greek loved nature.."I also wait for the wildlife to live again, and nay to sleep or hide." If she could find one person to speak of what had happen, she would press it so quickly, it would hit the stands now. But alas, none had told her.. pity that. "I love the paper, my Lord. I love writing of all, even how blessed a grandmother feels to have a great grandchild, all the way to a simple greeting to my family.." Then silence with a flush. She was told she spoke a lot, perhaps she did.


"Aye, even a man can enjoy the flowers." Implying it didn't make them less a man but not afraid to allow the more sensitive side instead of hiding it. "I've walked upon a path by a rainbow caused by the mist rising from the rush of a waterfall. One that came from the highest of mountains. Songbirds abound as well the flight of butterflies over a dotted field of wild flowers. The wind spoke to me that traversed such majesty and said all could be right with the world if hearts could only open up. To know the truth." He paused but a breath as he studied her. "Do you have a special man in your life to share such things with? Married? Beau?" Something that would be good to know.


"Sir, please forgive my confusing mouth. I did not refer.." The bright red painting along her flesh, gave proof of how embarrassed she was.."I have not known many that enjoy the blooms as I do.. " She turned her face away, looking to her lap where fingers played with imaginary lint. She often let her foot kick her in the arse, and needed to take advice from Achaz and speak slowly. "I have only seen a rainbow from afar.. where the skies meet the ocean.. and the dolphins sing." She smiled warmly with silver hues to study her fingers.. "I have never seen a waterfall, but am still young Sir.." She had to smile.."I am truly sorry.." She felt mortified about not speaking more clearly.." A man can enjoy beauty like a woman, I know.. So too can a woman wield a sword." Turning slowly, hoping he was not offended.


"You are young but perhaps old of heart." She probably wasn't much younger than him. "I am sure you will see many waterfalls. There are a few in these lands alone. Special places." Very special if he got to know someone and took them on an adventure like they never imagined to be possible. He too could walk the astral planes. Links to other places, other times, other worlds for that matter. "I am pleased you agree that a man can enjoy the beauty all around us if you choose to perceive and not be less a man. Indeed, some of the best warriors are women. I have such under me." Although he noticed she had not answered one of his questions as he sat studying her a moment in wonder of it.

"Old of heart? Perhaps, my Lord.." Was she? She never had thought of that before. Old of heart, she smiled at the description this man had given her. "I shall have to find those I am allowed to see.. for already the ocean shore upon these lands take my breathe away.." She brought the image of the ocean shore within her gaze, thinking of another time with a smile before shaking her head to view Leoric once again. "I meant no disrespect if you thought otherwise.. Honestly Leoric, I believe men and women are capable of loving and doing anything if they wish it. And am so sorry if you thought I would think anything differently" She was concerned about this, she never wished anyone to feel she was small minded. "To prove it..hmmm... what color roses should be planted near a pond of Lotus?" Grin!


"Cultured roses should be in cultured gardens. Wild tiger lilies should grow in bunches along the shore of a pond." Slow smile that touched silver blue eyes as she probably didn't expect that answer. He got back to the question she had missed, "are you married or at least have a beau, Lady Anthea?"


"How beautiful.." Tiger lilies, she never thought of that. And would gladly leave what roses had been left in the gardens, and find the Tiger lilies to place as Leoric had recommended. "Married? Oh no, I have only found out I have brother's and sisters to be married." She had to chuckle. For she did not think her sister would let her leave.."I am not engaged, have not been here long enough to be engaged already, or so I think.." Tapping of lips thinking of Beaus.. "Hmmm.. well there is one man, that carried me up to bed when I was drunk.. but beau, no he is my friend" Grin.."Oh and then there is Liam Quinn, he is going to let me watch him practice boxing.. for the paper of course.. but no again that is my friend..." Then leaned over and whispered... "Conor is another Quinn.. but I feel you know this.." She leaned into him with her hands on the arm of the chair, looking to those eyes like he was a God himself.. "I have never seen eyes like yours before."


She would know that wild tiger lilies were a deep orange with black speckles. They were very striking. "You might consider adding some wild iris as well." Which grew along the shoreline too. Smaller blooms in a light blue to purple. "Then your heart is not strung with another's that if I should find time while here and you are about, I shall take you to some places you would appreciate." At least one, but nothing was certain presently. Although more certain than it had been. "Then Conor is another friend?" Being she had added that to the others but had not with the last. "I know of him, and of Liam but I have not personally met them."


"Does Alex have quill and ink to write this all down.. I do wish my gardens to be beautiful.." Not only for her family, she wanted the beauty for herself. She needed it.. "Leoric, you can take me as a friend can you not? And whether I am with one or nay, I do believe you would be trusted to keep me safe for those that love me.. "Yes, Conor is my friend, and Liam.. and Fawn, Liam's sister whom I adore. I also met Segan and his soon to be wife.. lovely women who gave me two love birds.." She tilted her head and smiled.. "and I am glad to call you friend now too, ne..." She coughed.. "yes?"


A low chuckle rumbled, "of course I would take you in the light of a growing friendship." She hardly knew him, he hardly knew her per say, "but if there was one that your heart was strung with then it should be him that takes you to such places." That was the way he felt about it even if one was certainly allow friends of the opposite sex when with another. There was just something about it that went beyond explanation that would sate in an argument.


"Leoric, perhaps you could take myself and my sister? Why not let two enjoy? And between you and I, that young woman needs to be set free if it is only looking to a water fall. My brothers tend to be a bit strict.." He was right, and she knew this. And appreciated how much a gentleman he was with this. "My brothers are good men, and do believe would not judge one with such caring eyes." She lived with them after all, and knew how protective they were of her as well. But with this man, she felt he was trusted. And if she knew he was whom he was.. she would find a hole and bury herself in.


"I would make sure of their permission. Perhaps the fact I am one of the Queen's sons would pull some weight in that area." They had a good reputation so it wasn't just someone off the street they had no clue to.


She had chosen that moment to take a sip of her tea. Prince? Did she hear right? Prince?! She tried to swallow, but the tea tasted like wood in her mouth and she began to cough as she swallowed. Blood Hell! A prince!


"Leoric McLarkin, prince of Heathfield," giving a pause with a quizzical look. "King of Kildare, certainly you knew by my given name.. certainly with the paper..." his words fading off as what he thought a certain was not so.


"I... I..." Oh blood hell. She placed the cup quickly upon the side table, rose from the seat and lowered her slender form into a graceful curtsey. "A pleasure to meet you, your highness.." She did not know.. "I know now Sir.." God she felt like a complete idiot... "Shall I interview you, your Highness, so I never forget?" Whispered softly with a twitch of a smile to full lips as she kept her gaze lowered.


He was up near as quick to catch her up in his arms, lifting her from such a formal curtsey. Something about being this close that surrounded her in that calm of otherworldly for the moment that saw her to her feet before stepping back. "We were talking about this growing friendship.." implying she need not be going to bend of knee unless in some formal setup that required such due respect. "Please," slight of hand to indicate her seat, "if you would like to interview me, as long as it is brief for I will need to take my leave soon but not this very moment."


"I was this n..n..." She took a slow swallow.."this close to your mother." She was not use to royalty, having been raised far from it, and then within a tavern. "I am so sorry.. am not use to nobility, let alone royalty" Silver hues seem to sparkle at the kindness this man bestowed upon the small Greek.. kindness that would never be forgotten.. "Of course, your.." She shook her head, feeling tendrils of black glide along her temple.. "my friend.. a small interview, so you can leave when you must." She didn't have ink or paper, but would remember.. "Ummm.. well.. questions." Hmmm... "How do you like your job?" Flush came with ease.. but how else could she ask if he liked being King and Prince. "Oh, and any news you wish the people of Heathfield to know.." Warm smile.


"I am not diseased, m'lady. Royalty is as they behave. They do not put themselves above others here in the way those of England do," using such a country as an example. "I fight alongside my men, I fight for my men that they live another day." A chuckle followed one that filled the room with a touch of delight, "I was born into my job you might say. I grew to become a king one day. To clear our father's name and to rid Kildare of the scourge, a particular Witch, that wanted it to rule."


She did it again, something so innocent to her, was perhaps insulting him. "I am sorry again.. I didn't mean anything, only.. I wish not to dishonor myself." Trying to explain.."To show grace and lady like behavior.." She smiled and then silence as he spoke. Listening to it all with eyes to study him as he spoke. To fight with knights, with his men, he had to be loved, for the King of England sat fat with his food as his men died in France, in the colonies.. he was a fool. And Scotland being under England's rule, she had lost many friends. But this man, she smiled as his easy baritone spoke of his father. And she to whisper.." And your country has peace now?"


"You have not dishonored yourself, that is the point I am trying to make. Please, continue, think of me as only Leoric. Much as you had in the beginning before you found I was titled." Taking a breath before moving on, "aye, it finds more peace than it had. There is still a lot wild to be tamed," putting it in a nice way, "and a lot to rebuild but on the same note, a lot has been rebuilt and many families are coming home." He had a way of saying the word home that held all the comfort and security it should.


That was like meeting Zeus and him saying the same words. It was nice, but still made her nervous. But this was not ancient Greece, and she had learned so much living here she knew she could be professional. "Thank you, Leoric.. and with all coming home, do you wish anything from the citizens.. perhaps help with building, words, prayers.. " She questioned softly, knowing how much she would help any that needed it. "And to any that died.. do you wish to give a personal message, my Lord.. anything you wish to say it will be placed within the paper.. You should, Leoric.. let all know how much you love your citizens, as your mother does. I know we all know it, but if you wish me to scribe something special?" Softness came within her tone. The woman of kindness shown in the gentle manner of her smiles. She remembered war and how it could effect the innocent, and would help in anyway he wanted.


"It is more than what I wish but what they wish. They have to want to help, to be a part or they should find another place to make their home." Giving the impression that such weeded themselves out. "Prayers are always welcome, especially for the young that lost all, home and parents and had to survive on their own or died. To those that died giving their lives in the Trial Times of the Witch," which was before he and his brother got there. "I wish it could have been different." Obviously he wasn't the one that could alter what came to pass. "I hope they find the peace in the next life they were unable to have here."


And she knew, so would her loved ones help. The witch? Who was she? She spoke softly with her next question. "What was this witch like, if you wish to share?" She felt for this man. Of what his soul endured with the death of so many perhaps, but definitely not his fault. "But it is different now, ne.. yes? They are free, and all thanks to your leadership.. correct?" She pitied not this man, never that, but any King that had to endure such hardships.


"She was a disillusioned woman who wanted power. She was the cause of my father's death, she was the cause of the rift between my twin brother and I when young. When in our teens and she played us both against the other hoping one would cause the other's death and go with her. Then she would have what she wanted legitimately. The matter was handled a few years ago, she was killed in battle but she managed to come back. She was more powerful dead than she was alive. This matter, with the help of my brother and many others, was taken care of." He rose from his seat as a hand guided the special empowered sword at his hip. "I do not wish to cut us short but I must be on my way at this point." So the moment had come. "It has been a real pleasure and perhaps I'll have the pleasure again."


Attention held to this man as he spoke. To know the cause of ones father's death was bad enough, but then to have to endure this evil with his own twin. She smiled warmly, trying not to let it show within her gaze how deeply she felt for him, his twin, his father, even Lahoneee filled her mind with the evil they had to have endured thru this witch.. one she prayed would never return. "Be safe, my Lord.. and would enjoy another conversation with you soon" Another friend. And, another smile. "Thank you.. for everything."


"Thank you, Lady Anthea," giving a slight dip of his head before he was headed for the back hall and the offices down there before heading to the castle.
 
-e-

Date: 03-17-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 64

Teen Time
 

The papers had been delivered, and Myrina had not been allowed to aide the men that Erastos hired for just that job.  She was growing bored, and restless, and annoyed with a guard on her tail, but one she lost already. With a mischievous grin, she sat on the bar stool with blonde hair to flow loose, and Hessian boots to tap at the rung of the stool.   She was dressed for walking the lands, and do such any gown would be hazardous, or so she thought.  Dressed with brown, buckskin pants, which were tucked into the small boots, so too did her upper torso hide all signs she was a woman, the silk shirt she took from her brother, and the buckskin jacket she took as well.  But, hair of blonde would give her away, and she had to wonder if the brothers would notice if she cut it off?


It was yet another night.  Which meant, another night for possible adventure.  Boring was the life of any man who didn't face the days in this way.  Around every bend, down every alley, upon every rooftop, in every land...always an adventure.  Through this very door!  The Dark Prince entered from the side door, as he always did, but even with the familiar could come ... adventure.  He saw the young woman at the bar, the one who didn't really care that much for him, but that was okay.  That in itself could be yet another adventure so he walked on over, offering a nod to Alex for the drink Tykir knew would find its way to the bar for him.  "Good evening, Marina Valentina."   He liked the way that sounded, and would always say the two together, just because it had that fun sound to it and well, because he was Tykir, Prince of Heathfield, and he could do pretty much any damn thing he wanted.


"Thank you, Alex.." Salute of the cup of cider was given to the older man for his quick service.  She was lost in thought on how to procure a horse without her family knowing, or perhaps a fast carriage, the one she could not place a name to.  She knew what it was, she had been busted racing in one.  "Greetings, Tykir.. How are you?" Salute of her cup and then .."And your sister?"


"I'm quite well, as is my sister, thank you for asking."  He smiled to Alex, collecting his cup as he turned to take a lean against the edge of the bar counter.  "How about you?"


"Tired.." She whispered to him, hoping he could keep a secret.  "Walking the lands.  And thinking about cutting my hair.. can't look like a boy with annoying hair." She talked a lot sue her.  So, with that said she took another drink of the cider.


Bannon was running just for the sheer joy of it.  Having grown up in sewers, every day in outdoors was a pleasure.  Even if no one else remembered they had existed but a few.  He darted around  a cart, startling the donkey pulling it and causing him to back up into the owner of the cart who fell face forward into the display of fish he had.  Oops!  He kept going, hearing the curses and laughter behind, skidding to a stop at the Thistle steps.  Well, almost, he had to run up them to keep from falling flat on his face.  By the time he reached the door, he had slowed down and could enter normally.


Myrina turned slightly to view the cool breeze from the opening of the door, a smile as she waved to the familiar face.  "G'evening, Sir Bannon"  Called out cheerfully.


"Good thing it's long and pretty then, since you aren't one...a boy that is."  He cocked a half grin and brought his cup up to drink.  But not yet.   His gaze slid over her, dressed as she was, mimicking a boy's attire.  His brow puckered in thought, but he didn't say anything else, just tipping his glass back to drink.  His gaze drifted to the door and he brought his glass down.  "Sir Bannon!" Came his call almost at the same time Myrina Valentina said the same name.


"Pity that.  Boys seem to have all the fun, and it grows into more fun when they grow into men.  Perhaps it is different here, but not in Venice." She was not angry, only stating the fact of the lands she once lived in.  But for now she remained quiet, giving Bannon and Tykir time to speak and she enjoyment of her cider.


Listen, Solarina was his sister.  She never attempted to be something she wasn't!  And she had more fun than three males put together.  It was all how you went about it.  The teens, males and females, managed to have adventures one right after the other without ever having to pretend to be something they were not.


"Lady Myrina.  Tykir!"  He grinned at them both as he crossed the room to collect a drink and clap a hand to Tykir's shoulder. "Good to see you again." As if he hadn't earlier. "You know there are some rumors floating about." He grinned at the Dark Prince before he looked at Myrina, curiously. "You don't have any fun?"


Yes, I just heard one...that boys seem to have all the fun." Tykir would like to agree whole heartedly, but for all the 'fun' he had, he sure as fudge puckets he had to pay and pay big for any he got caught at.


And it was hard when she knew naught where to have adventures. But some things weren't understood, and Myrina did not have time to do the explaining. "Myrina, Sir Bannon, just Myrina.. but thank you for the title" Chuckle.. "Oh I do Sir Bannon, but I do not know your lands, so what fun I have is what I had in Italy, Spain, England, oh and Africa."


She was in good company for mischief...she had to just give it time. "My guess is that you had to get to know those lands as well, did  you not? It all comes with time."


"Yes, when one is given the chance to know a country before ripped away to another. And yes, your highness, it comes with time I do agree with that." Another sip of cider was taken, leaving the stick for now. She merely shook her head and responded in kind.. faint nod.


Molly had adventures all the time. It was an adventure just getting from Barrett's Bay to the Thistle, avoid any extra chores or having to work at the Mercantile, and then try to avoid a few of the women who liked to fuss over orphaned lasses, without realizing how much family they actually had. Bannon had helped there, sending everyone scattering to avoid the donkey who suddenly decided he didn't want to be attached to the cart. She was laughing as she entered the Thistle, after she had cheered the escaping donkey on. She didn't like the fishmonger anyway. He was a grouch!


It was his turn. "Tykir..." A faint nod to her.  "So, which rumors have you ... " He looked from Bannon to the door. "Molly!" Did anyone else see that chicken? "You made it from the store!" He waved her over with his free hand, not that they were so far away, they were all still lingering at the bar.


It had been a while since she was here, since she and her brother had words. Words that had her avoiding him for a few weeks until she got over them. Hair was done up interlaced with tiny pearls with a few tendrils to curl down along her neck pass her shoulders. She was in with gust of air that smelled of spring. Crocus were blooming everywhere and soon the daffodils and tulips would follow. The warmer cloak was discarded to a peg by the door and the gown she wore of a emerald green dipped in the front showing the 'weight' Tykir accused her of gaining in cleavage. Princess waistline dipped in the front as the gathering flattered her hips. Those not of a child anymore. Certainly not. Smile held a quality to it that might be considered smug, or amused, or triumph, hard to tell but there was a glint in leaf green eyes full of mischief. "Hello everyone." Dipping her head slightly as she near glided her way to the bar for some punch.


Myrina turned again with a smile to the face she did not know, but spoke not a word since Tykir was greeting her for now. But Rina she knew, and smiled brightly to the woman she had enjoyed meeting. "G'evening, Rina" Looking to gown and gorgeous hair of this woman, well, she pondered mere seconds if she should be more lady-like in manner and attire, but that thought filtered away, she was happy with whom she was.


So, she wasn't over them yet after all. When the princess stepped in looking for all the world like the title she bore, Tykir let out a whistle of appreciation. But considering this was Tykir and she ... Rina ... she'd probably take it wrong.


"And Bannon. Or I'll keep calling you Lady Myrina." He grinned over his glass at her then greeted Molly. "Evening Molly," and then, he lowered his glass to stare at Solarina, before clearing his throat. "Evening,  Solarina." And he was chuckling before he looked at Tykir. "You wanna guess?"


"Evening, everyone!" She laughed when she heard Tykir. "I escaped, yes. But I think they left me because it was so nice out." She was dressed as usual in doeskin pants, but this time tucked into low boots. A green poet's shirt under a vest and her hair in braids, and she was set for the evening. "Potcheen punch, Alex, any flavor." And she grinned at Tykir. "Tykir!" Waiting until she was right there to call his name. Looking at the Lady coming in, she suddenly felt shy.


She hid the chuckle of Bannon's response to Rina by taking another sip of her cider.


Like hells she was! She wanted to be a boy! Happy with who she was...his black feathered back! He grinned to Molly. "I, for one, am glad for the weather then." Tykir, no matter how intelligent he may be, had a tendency to get waylaid in his many thoughts. He blinked, looking to Bannon...a frown tugging tight as he tried to piece together the conversation that had to do with Tykir guessing something. What were they talking about before Rina floated in?


"About the rumors?" Giving his friend a gentle nudge but lowering his voice.


With conversations floating around her, Myrina opted to pull the cinnamon stick from the cider and enjoy it for awhile in silence.


With punch in hand she passed Bannon with a sultry look only he'd get to see. Discreet. One that lowered golden lashes over the tint of rose upon her cheeks then away as if it never had happened. "What mischief is my brother getting you all into?"


Oh! Yea! That! Sure! Wait! Rumors? He squinted, then his eyes started to widen, cutting a quick look to Rina then back to Bannon. "Er..." Crappolla Hole'ah! His sister's Fae hearing had often been Tykir's demise!


She chuckled warmly to Rina's words, but made no comment herself to it.


If it wouldn't draw attention, he would have wiped his brow...she wasn't aware, Rina was just talking randomly. "Nothing yet, Sis, but the night is young...and you'll need to change clothes if you plan to join us."


Which she was catching up on their conversation that bounced back and forth like a tennis match, "what rumors are being spread?" She wanted to know!


This was Tykir's sister? Finally. "Hello, I'm Molly. No trouble yet."


He actually tightened his empty hand into a fist...bloody blue blazes in a bucket of brew... "That boys have more fun than girls, Rina. So Myrina Valentina seems to think."


"Where I have lived they have." Defending herself once again.


Ahshhhh.... "Ja, that." He pointed to Myrina.


The dark prince looked from Molly to Rina then back to Molly. He would have introduced them, but thought they knew one another.


"I suppose that is all in one's perspective. Girls can have just as much fun. Most likely different but I suppose if one feels there is something lacking then the other sex must have more fun. Grass isn't greener though."


To Molly.. " I am Myrina Valentina Vassallo.." Spoken sweetly with a smile to boot! "A pleasure to meet you." She almost groaned. "Where I have lived.. to ride the countryside without a guard or chaperone is not done, hence why I wear the disguise, due to doing it anyway."


"And...she is in Heathfield now, not Italy or Spain or England or Africa." He smiled to Myrina then looked to Rina. "And I tried to explain to her that you, Dear Sister, were the Queen of adventures."

 

"It was a while ago and very brief that we met. Fleeting thing and I'm not sure if names were even given." Smile was warmly reassuring to Molly.


"Nice to meet you Myrina, and ugh ... that doesn't sound like fun at all." She had to agree on that one though she smiled brightly at both Myrina and Solarina. "I was probably too busy trying to not trip over my tongue."


Warm smile to Molly and her kindness, but silence reigned again. The cider and stick was to delicious to ignore.


Heh, heh. "Rina would know all about that. Guards."


...and she was on new ones of a kind she never dreamed of! The smile that settled was only a hint in reflection of her thoughts. "Of course I didn't go on most of them dressed like this."


He poked an elbow Bannon's way, but didn't make contact and didn't even mean to, since there was some distance between them.


"I have nothing like you or your sister might have. Only one, and so good at his job he is still out there looking for me." Shrug seen for Tykir and then a smile as Rina spoke of her clothing, bringing Myrina to feel out of place in a way, but shrugged that thought away as well.


He was quiet for the moment. Then he flashed a quick grin to Tykir. Whew! "You look like spring, Rina." See, he was being all knightly and stuff.


"Did you see the donkey running around in the square?" She couldn't help glancing at Bannon while she asked Rina.


There was a donkey running around in the square? That was better than a chicken!

 

"Thank you Bannon," graciously but there was a twinkle in her eyes and the touch of a smile that left one to wonder. There and gone again too.


Bannon should start whistling or something since that donkey was his fault but he was watching Rina. And wondering if maybe he should run?

 

Well, yes, it did have one to wonder. This particular one was sitting at the bar, his glass raised, and watching between the two from over the rim of his mug. His lips still resting there, he spoke. "I like pale purple, it brings luck." And that's all he said, forget the chicken, this distraction was mule sized! His gaze flickered over toward Molly, but that was about it. The lass had grown quiet, as had his sister. Didn't Rina usually have a half dozen things to say...all at once?


Don't ask him! He was confused at the change in Rina!


Surely it was a passing phase, Tykir had seen Rina dressed up before. One night. After tonight and all would return to normal.


She gave one of those 'sweet' looks Tykir's way that was usually a warning to him she was up to something but this time it was far different than anything before and not an area he'd even understand.


Did he look like he cared? Solarina may have done some 'growing up' but her younger brother had done some 'growing' too. And if it was an area he didn't understand, why give it any more thought? He did a double take her way then smiled to her.


If he got close, he'd discover she was wearing some passion perfume that was intoxicating, not too strong nor too weak. He would have smelled it on their mother and one their stepfather liked. "So, you're a periwinkle kind of lad, brother mine?"


She was just watching it all, though Tykir got a bright smile. "It is a good color." She looked at Rina and then at Tykir again. Sweet smiles usually meant trouble!


Usually? Sweet smiles couldn't mean anything but! Periwinkle? What the heck was that? Momentarily confused he just replied with an "Uh..." then a shrug.


Which had a peal of laughter bubble up. "It's a pale shade of purple. Orchid is also such a color."


Palm covered lips with a yawn threatening to escape. Strands of blonde held behind the shell of her small ear, and she remained quiet.


"Pale purple is pale purple..." Why did they have to have all these other names.  Heck, he was lucky to add the pale and not just call it ... purple.


She bit back a laugh and took a drink of the punch. You could sure tell they were brother and sister, even if you didn't notice the wings!


"So, guess I am then." He looked to Bannon. "A periwinkle kind of guy. How about you, Sir Bannon? Periwinkle or Orchid? Or ..." What was that color he had learned so long ago with Rina's gloves? "Mauve?"


He paused to look at Tykir, then laughed. "I think maybe more Magenta." He didn't even know what color magenta was. Just that it was a color!


"Mage who?" Tykir laughed too, shoulders shaking, sloshing his drink around in the glass with the movement.


"Mage Enta. You know, the guy who runs around in purple robes down by the docks, threatening to turn people into toads." He said it with utter seriousness but started laughing too.


Perfume carried on the movement of breath and he shot a look to Rina. Had she moved closer? He had an excellent sense of smell, thanks to his bloodline, but all of a sudden, he could really pick it up. And it smelled like his mother which had him cut a quick look over his shoulder.


There was only so much cider any one person could drink, and this person had reached her limits. With a negative shake of her blonde head, she handed the empty cup to Alex with a thank you.


"Goofwad, you mean robes of orchid, geez!" He brought his gaze back around to rest on Myrina Valentina. For a lass who seemed to want adventure, she sure was a quiet, subdued thing.


Nothing to talk about.


Conversation always flowed, she had two feet, she could jump in anytime!


"Oh, sorry. Robes of orchid, right." It seemed funny to him! And he kept laughing.


Oh, it was funny, at least to the guys. They were having a grand time of it.


Their laughter was contagious though the other two lasses didn't seem to be laughing.


"So you are a very outstanding bright pink kind of guy, Bannon?" Oh yes, that twinkle was back in her eyes.


But then, guys always had more fun. Perhaps this was why. They found almost everything amusing to some degree. And now THAT was funny! Bannon, a bright pink kind of guy.


He was trying to ignore the smell of perfume too. Though he paused when he heard Rina and cracked up again. "Shuddup, Tykir."
 
-c-

Date: 03-17-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir 
Post # 65

In honor of his friend, he attempted...unsuccessfully to shuddup. A cough, a snort, a sniff but his shoulders still shook. 

Rina smelled so heavenly, and Myrina, well she sniffed herself praying she did not smell like horse and sweat.

But he had not said anything? Not that she heard but she was well amused as she slipped on over closer to Bannon. A hand lifted to run along his cheek. Watch.. he might prove the words and turn a bright pink.

Holy Moly Shitoly! What was his sister about?


And that started him again. "And Kieran is the Mauve kind of guy." Tykir didn't need to say anything. He just knew what he was ... uh oh. He was watching Rina, and though he didn't exactly turn pink, his ears and neck were suddenly red. "Uhhh.... "


Oh, that was eloquent. She leaned forward slightly to watch Rina then reached over to tap Tykir's chin so he closed his mouth.


He hadn't even realized it was open, but it was! He snapped it shut not daring to look to Molly. Actually, not daring to take his gaze from his sister and her antics. Wait, did Myrina just clock her self? There may be some redeeming qualities about the lass after all! Any girl who can sniff herself while in the company of other people, is adventure worthy!


Especially if she lifted her arm and smelled her armpit.


Her gaze drifted to Rina and Sir Bannon, but then drifted quickly to Alex with a request for some water.


Well she'd have his undying devotion then!  "So...what comes next?" He just spoke what was on his mind, but then, Tykir often did.


"You're wearing your sister's perfume?" Twitch of a grin.


"What do you want to come next?" Shifting the slow perusal of Bannon back over upon her brother.


"Not what I want...you started it, Sis...what do you have to see it through?" He leaned back, turning his head from his look to Rina to cast a glance to Myrina. "That won't be happening...at least not in public." Wink, soft laugh and he sat back up fully, one never knew when they had to make a speedy retreat around Rina. Always best to be ready.


Ohhell! He had been teased about lasses often enough and given advice but it was very different than having one pay attention to you like this. Especially when ... yeah, Rina. When did his brain shut off?!


She merely shook her blonde head with a chuckle, looking to Rina then away. "Thank you Alex.. last drink then off I go." Leaving brother and sister alone and she to enjoy the cool liquid.


Chickenshit.


"I have everything needed to see anything through," slightly lifting her chin. "What do you have? You were asked first."


"Actually...I asked you first, Rina."


"Then what do you want?" They were back to square one.


Gonna spread chicken shit all over him. But, she was up for adventure, if it comes. And if it don't, go home and face a very angry family.


Did not. Did too. Did not. Did too.


Did too. Did too. Did TOO.

 
This was getting interesting! Myrina couldn't leave now. She grinned at Myrina then looked back to the siblings and the knight who looked like he was afraid to breath!


"I want whatever you want." Smug grin, a nod for her... Did NOT!


"I want you to lead the way in what you'd like to see happen tonight." Being he wanted whatever she wanted, she turned it into that.


She gave a wink to Molly. This conversation was growing interesting, and sort of funny in a .. kick your baby brother's arse.. kind of way.


Tykir laughed, glancing to Bannon. Dang but he could do his friend wrong in so many ways right now. But he wouldn't, they'd covered each other's arses too many times these past weeks to lead his sister on. "You always do this, Rina...start something...and then leave it up to me to finish." He shook his head. "You look lovely tonight, Sis. And you smell like a dream. Just wondering if you actually knew what you were doing..." Smile just for Rina. "Guess I have my answer."

 

She gave a wink Molly and Myrina's way because they would understand what she was doing in teasing her brother so. He was giving it back as usual.


She had to salute Rina with her actions, and would remember them when Erastos grew on her nerves.


She didn't really, did she? She could take it this far...but no farther. Just as well, Tykir didn't think Bannon had actually drawn in another breath since the initial frontal attack. Reluctantly he tugged his gaze from his sister and looked to Molly. "Did you find that cove, Molly?" Yes, he was changing the subject, just that quick, just like Tykir. "We'll get with the McAndrews and check the thing out."

 

"Whaaa.. Whaaa... Whaaa.. likely excuse. You started it but can't seem to finish it.." But then he was nice.... "Thank you Tykir. So what kind of mischief were you up to tonight, thought of doing before it got so late?"


Bannon was still feeling a bit confused but he was breathing now!


Another yawn covered by her slender palm, and a shake of her blonde head to ward off any further yawns. Perhaps working on the property all day had gotten to her more then she thought.


Did she just say ... whaa, whaa, whaaa in a conversation? His lips twitched but he didn't look back to his sister. She had resorted to sounds now...good thing the conversation had changed. "Hadn't really had anything in mind...I was looking to be inspired." Don't ever forget, Bannon! You owed Tykir BIG time!


"Aye, I did but I didn't get in close enough to see if there's any cave." She was trying hard not to laugh as she answered. Because if she did, she might not stop!


So that was what it was all about, something to do with nothing at all. But then they usually had such matches over nothing. "I guess Bannon here can be our inspiration. Right Bannon?" Her hand resting on his chest as she continued to stand near. The perfume was probably what was intoxicating him or was it the view? She was shorter and the gown just a touch low cut but such was the style in England. The bodice kind of pushed things up. Head canted to the side as eyes lifted. There was an iridescent shade of gold that glimmered over her eyelids and tapered off to the temples to where the few feathers were that lifted with expression.


He wouldn't forget! But he was feeling a bit foolish! "Aye, but I won't wear bright pink." And looking over Rina's head!


"Bah." Tykir waved Rina's suggestion away. "Bannon is as inspiring as a slug..." He still looked to Molly, smile growing. "After you sprinkle salt on it."


...leaving a splatted slime spot.


...and nothing more.


Gee, thanks.


Not an insult, Friend. It was meant to save him!


Itwasn'thelping!!


Although, Rina's tactics had changed, and Tykir was off, way off, with thwarting her.


Well this was fun. "G'night everyone... and do have fun this evening" With a wave she jumped from the stool with strides to carry her out, and home.


Hand was falling in a slight circular motion down his chest to his ribs... "I think you could be inspiring."


Tykir glanced to Bannon with Rina's comment, and he did a double take. Had Rina been drinking? This was just .... well ... strange. Hello! Sis! This was Bannon! You know...Bannon? Zimmer?
 

Ack! That wasn't.... he twitched and grabbed her hand. Right, annoying Bannon who had followed her around like a lost puppy to keep her safe. Dull stubborn Bannon.


"Nah.." Tykir added to Rina's 'thinking'. "I've seen him on the field...he's not." High five, Bannon!


High five, but was that going to work?! "No, I'm not..." Hey!


There was the tiniest giggle from the other side of Tykir.


Tykir secretly slipped his hand around and under to give Molly a playful finger poke to her side.


Squeak!


Out of the blue. "Did you know you can ride a baby elephant in a joust?"


Blink. "No, I didn't know that." She giggled again. "That would look awful funny though."


"mmmm." He agreed with a laugh. "Especially if its rider can't stay on it as it is...and is facing off against a lance."


"Did the baby elephant have armor on?" She was still watching Rina and Bannon though.


Oh, so was he from his peripheral vision. "Nope, and neither did the man!"


"Or a bear, or anything that will let you get on its back.." that was what she heard.


Different conversation over there but he was watching Rina closely now, and hardly paying attention to the talk. And he still had hold of her hand.


"A bear too? Wouldn't it hurt to get hit with a lance without armor?" She was pretty sure it hurt to get hit with armor on!


"He didn't win, but it was amusing to say the least." He slanted a look Rina's way. How did she know? He had heard the conversation about the bear last eve, but how did Rina know?  "Like a motha..." Tykir offered to Molly's question. "He actually took a rather large splinter in the chest and had to be carried from the field."


She hadn't yanked it away either. "Well, not wearing armor in a joust is just plain stupid even if riding a bear."


Molly winced when she heard that. "Did he survive? Did the baby elephant get hurt?"


That was the common agreement, about the armor. But yes, Molly, he did survive and the elephant wasn't even stunned by it."


He leaned close, trying to ignore the smell of the perfume but how could he if not even the King could when the Queen wore it? "What are you up to, Solarina?" He kept his voice low because the other conversation was interesting!


"But if she knew the rider, then she might have been upset." There was an impish look in her eyes but she held off the question she wanted to ask.


"As I remember it, she lingered near, but that was about it. Followed him from the field too." He leaned in close, shooting a quick look to Bannon and his sister to see how distracted they were at present. "And I won third place, Molly...fifty gold coins." His voice lowered for just her, although his sister's hearing could be his downfall. Hopefully she was otherwise detained.


"That's wonderful! What are you going to do with the gold?" And even more important. "Are you going to try again?"


"Me?" Sounding very surprised as her hand slipped away from his. "Nothing at all. Seems like there will be no adventure tonight. Was there something about a cove and a cave though?" Then to Tykir, "fifty gold coins and what are you going to buy with those to celebrate your win. Congratulations."


Flicker of attention to his sister and he nodded. "Already gave it to the orphanage." What did he need with fifty gold? Blasted! That Fae hearing again! "I bought a clear conscience, Sister Mine."


"Well, that was cheap to clear your conscience then. Good choice." A slow smile grew.


He just .... argh! Eyes went heavenward briefly. He shifted uncomfortably and just ... looked at Tykir. "I heard something about a cove, yes and ... what win?" So the rumor was true. He toasted Tykir with his glass.  But the dark prince should take someone else as his squire!


"Not much to clear..." He chuckled, winking to Rina. "And since we have to drag the McAndrews along on our cove adventure, I'll send word to them...when next will you have off from the store, Molly? Do you know?"  If he had any idea Toby had blabbed, he would definitely already be considering it!  Snuck out last night, Bannon, to Solaris...and entered that jousting event." That's what win.


"And you'll both come too, right?" She looked at Rina and Bannon, then back to Tykir. "I can just talk to one of the women there and they'll give me time. They worry I don't get out enough as is." Oh! Another thought. "Is it true a lass entered that before?"


"Then it was true. Congratulations, Tykir." He'd tell him it was Toby who told James who told Rob who told.... etc, etc.


"There were all sorts of women in it...though I went up against the king." Smug, hell yeah! It was the first he had ever sat a horse with a lance in his hand!  Tykir would stuff wet peacock excrement under the boy's pillow for that!


"Did you knock him on his .... off his horse?" Yeck!  "And aye, if I'm off duty, I'll try to join in."


He nodded to Bannon with his thanks. "No, almost though, splintered two lances on his ars....shield.  By the third run, I was almost too tired to lift my lance tip...just skimmed him that last charge." So the yawns offered by Myrina Valentina were contagious, and he fought one down.


"I'd like to see a joust once, though I don't know if I'd ever participate in one. What about you Rina?" She was sure Ellyn would!


"I would and I didn't know you were going or I would have followed you, Tykir."


"I was supposed to meet up with Rory...he didn't show...when I asked after him, they said he had some sort of flu." He smiled to Rina with a wink. "The next time, Sis, sneaking the horse and the weapons and the 'squire' out were hard enough for me this time. Maybe the two of you can come together?" He motioned with his finger between Rina and Molly, then twisted to place his mug on the counter for Alex.  It was time to head back to the castle. Although he planned to head straight to bed, once he found out about Toby, he might have some gathering to do tonight before sleeping.


"Maybe you won't have to sneak out next time." The way that story was spreading, his mother might come looking for him to make sure he wasn't hurt. "And maybe I'll enter too." Oh, Bannon fully intended to tell Tykir before either of them went to bed.  Telling tales was not a good idea!


"Sounds like a good idea. I think I will head back up to the castle." Seemed her brother was too as she was over to gain her cloak and put it on.


He followed Rina, helping her with the cloak, and leaning to murmur something. "We can all walk back together unless you two are going to fly."


"No reason we can't all walk back together." Tykir wasn't one to fly when there were friends to share his time with.


Plus it was the first really nice night to enjoy the walk. "I am going to practice flying and carrying another. I hear Sir Gabriel can do it, pick up a man as big as himself and off he goes."


"I guess I better head back too." Somehow, Dorian would know she was returning and would be along the road waiting for her. She picked up her cloak then looked at Rina. "Would you like to go watch them together?" A few of them could go.


Since Bannon helped Rina with her cloak, Tykir assisted Molly to slip into hers.


"Watch, I think I will joust!" If Tykir could do it, then she could too. Besides, it was said there were plenty of women there doing it. Payback came in sweet pleasure that sent a shiver up her spine that had that fleeing moment.


"Thank you, Tykir."  She smiled at him then she chuckled and looked at the Princess in a new light. Pretty and not a helpless damsel in distress type. Now that was her idea of a princess. Thanking Tykir, she waited for Bannon and Solarina to head out. And maybe, just maybe, she'd try too. But after she watched once.


He held the door open for them and waved them all out, then waved to Alex. Still smelled good out, though there was a bit of chill in the air, and that might help to clear his head of that perfume!

 

-e-

Date: 03-28-11
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 66

Knights Out
 

Mo was on duty tonight so instead of having dinner at the knight's hall, Aiden had come to the Thistle. It had been some time, before their journey to Kildare, in fact. With his meal finished, he sat before the fire, dozing slightly. Feet were resting on a footstool and all in all, he was extremely comfortable.


Lancely was back in his element with spring having sprung. The water gauntlet especially was being prepared for the upcoming months. In fact a cold dousing didn't hurt any of the aspiring squires and  knights. Having put in a long day, he decided to take his meal at the Thistle, a place he had not visited in a while. Armor and mail were left behind as he favored a tunic of purple and gold over black pants and boots. The length of dark blond hair tied back at the nape of his neck as it was still slightly damp. Night was warm enough and a deep breath taken of the flower scented air. It had been missed. Breath released as he threw open the door with a booming voice, "good evening!" as he continued in.


Oh hell. Just what he needed. Aiden was up on his feet, hand on the hilt of his sword though he hadn't drawn it. He tried glaring but even he had to admit ... it was funny. And he had done it to others. Payback. "Evening yourself, Lancely."


He took one of those second glances looking to see if Mo was with him, "out all by yourself?" GRIN.. was huge as he teased. "Good night to be out," as he reached the bar, perused the menu and placed an order.


"Aye, her turn on evening duty." Most folks didn't realize how much the Order were on duty, watching over their charges in case they needed an escort a night.  When they allowed it of course.  He settled back into the chair and grinned at Lancely. "I'm surprised you're not hard at work on one of the beasties."


Most folks didn't know the hours guards put in. Knights. Even the squires to ensure their safety. Just because peace abound, didn't mean they could slack off. Such was the downfall of empires. "No news of a little shadow to run around yet?" Turning with a glass of the potcheen in hand.


Was Lancely trying to give the man a heart attack? "No, unless Mo is keeping it from me." A little shadow. Was Aiden ready for that?


"She may not know yet." Usually women didn't until almost two months along. Slow grin just seeing his reaction. "Seems like decades since you arrived," reflecting on going back with him to his homelands to help solve a problem. Big problem.

 

"Aye, it does." He gave a slow shake of his head. "Doesn't seem possible, does it? And now both Gabriel and I are married off." He eyed Lancely a moment. "And here you are, still footloose and fancy-free." Not that Aiden would change a thing. He was, surprisingly, happy to be where he was. In spite of another problem that had sprung up in his homeland.


Which he gave a shuffling of his feet to accent his words. "Aye, not by design but seems by fate. I wouldn't mind finding a lass that could put up with me, my devotion to my work, my late nights I'd make up to her." Which had him pause with a laugh, "end up with a dozen kids to keep her busy too." A whole bunch of Casters running around...


"You don't expect much at all." He laughed and lifted his glass in a salute. "I'm just glad Mo and I manage to be more than just catching sight of one another in passing." That wouldn't do at all. That's a bit of a scary thought.


And THAT is what he entered to? He actually held the door a minute and then spun as if to leave.


Now if that wouldn't make someone laugh... "We're not tossing curses around, Cole."


"Indeed not, it requires getting involved with a lass." He didn't see that happening to Cole by design. Sure there was the Flower Garden but they kept from making little ones.


"I would beg to differ." Although Cole really wasn't one to beg. Aiden's comment did have him rethinking his retreat to cross the way toward his brothers-in-arms.


"I was only commenting on the freedom the two of you enjoy." He grinned as he added, "though if one of the lasses here about hears him, there will be matchmaking going on."


"Hasn't worked yet," which he was sure there had been such talk on him in the past. Knew the interest some had in a knight, least how he figured it. "Aiden probably has one on the way.." nice way to start rumors. "There are pros and cons to being single, are you regretting already getting tied down?" Curiously asked of Aiden.


He shook his head, a smile appearing. "No, I'm not. I'm not sure about having children already but if it happens, it happens." He wasn't sure if Mo felt the same way or not.


Cole just curled a lip with the conversation, grumbling something about steering clear of the conversation just incase any of it splattered on him. He crossed to the bar and offered Alex a nod, requesting a tankard of ale.


Cole was like a couple other knights that had avoided such. And look what happened to them.


Like Aiden. Swore it would never happen. Why Lancely was enjoying this teasing conversation so much! "Are you ready for the O'Gawd Gauntlet, Cole?" Shifting the conversation to him.


Now that was conversation more to his liking. "As ready as any man can be when it comes to your contraptions."


"So, are you plotting something new for the beast, Lancely? Combining the two. Making up an addition to one?" Not that Lancely would reveal a thing.


"Then tomorrow as the young squires are anxious to see the knights perform on the beast." He gave a shake of his head Aiden's way, but that didn't mean some idea wasn't formulating to test their skills in a new way. "But if I do, you will be the first to know and to enlist in helping me build it along with Cole and Gabriel."


"Ever at your service." There was a grin in his voice even if it wasn't seen.


He enjoyed helping out, almost as much as he enjoyed watching others on the thing. He didn't mind trying it out either though it usually defeated him.


"Just let me know when, I could use the exercise." On the beast as well as working on it. He tilted back his tankard and drained a good portion of it before setting it back on the counter. "Now, I'll leave you gentleman to your previous conversation. Although, Lancely, I have yet to find a con ..." He chuckled low, almost too low to be heard, and offered his brothers in arm a nod of respect.


He laughed and saluted Cole. "I hope that you stay happy whichever road you go, Cole." And after that, he downed a good portion of his drink.


"The odds for happiness are presently in my favor." The other men wouldn't see, but he was smiling as he took his leave.


He just laughed again and downed more of his drink. Dark eyes shifted to Lancely. "You're very quiet tonight." For some reason, that made him nervous.


"Tomorrow after practice. Should have you both heated up enough that the cooling down will be appreciated." He collected his tray with the food ordered, along with a tankard of ale to wash it all down and headed for a table near his comrade to seat himself and dig in. Late meal and he was hungry.


Quiet and distracted. He watched Lancely then stood and made his way over to the bar, for a refill of ale. Once he was seated again, he watched the fire while Lancely ate.


Seemed like a good time for someone cheery and perky to come in! Fawn made her way through the door, humming quietly with a planter of little green sprouts in hand. A nod to the two men she didn't know, she made her way to the bar, requesting a mug of cider from Alex.


Once he was done he took the tray back over to Alex, "can you stay out a little longer? Come to the knight's hall?" Sliding it over in easy reach.  Dipping glance over the one to come in was followed by a smile, "hello there."


"Aye, I can." It could be late until Mo joined him. "Evening, lass." He smiled in her direction.


Setting the pot on the counter, she smiled to the greetings. "Evening, gentlemen."


"I'm Aiden, and that's Lancely. Nice night to come in for a drink." Out of the cold.


"A pleasure to meet you both. I'm Fawn. A very nice night for a drink." Rather quiet compared to her last visit to the Thistle, but that was alright. The pot was pushed to Alex, letting him know the sprouts were Forget Me Nots for Hazel, she took up her mug to get some warmth back in her fingers.


"A pleasure Fawn. Are you new to the lands or have I been remiss in coming here in so long a time?" Taking a drink of the pure which was a nice chaser for the ale he consumed, and meal.


"I've been around for a while." She smiled lightly and shrugged. "I suppose you've been hiding yourself away. Such a crime." Her quiet laugh hidden in the mug for a slow drink.


"He does that at times, hides himself away and forgets to come back out, especially in winter."


Lowering her mug, she looked at Aiden. "And what of you? I've not seen you out and about."


"Ah, well, normally when I'm out it's with my lady. And I'm usually the one carrying the boxes." Not that Mo really went shopping that much.


"Well, she shouldn't hide away either. The more friendly faces around, the merrier."


"Aye, you supposed correctly. I'll have to make an effort to become more social again." He was one that worked hard at what he did, aside the gauntlets, he helped trained the squires and served his King.


Work was always good. She worked, but had to have time to have fun, too! "You should. Especially now that spring is here."


He just smiled and took a drink. Training the squires was an enjoyable task most of the time. They'd all have to look into taking one on again. "Are you sure it is? It's been cold enough that I think winter refuses to go."


Smiling, she pointed to the pot of green sprouts. "My pots say otherwise. They enjoy the warmth of the sunny days as long as I bring them in when evening comes."


He was about to comment when it seemed the lass had to run. And off she went. He shook his head and looked at Lancely. "You were saying about the knight's hall?" He wasn't ready to go to his empty bed just yet.


"Aye, about now is a good time so you don't get back too late." Mo might clip his ear if he kept Aiden out too long. Just long enough to have time with his comrades. With a farewell to Alex, he was on his way.


Mo was a good lass that way, especially if she was on duty. He saluted Alex and followed Lancely on out. Just like old times. Kind of.

 

-e-

Date: 03-29-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 67

It was a nice walk back to the Thistle and nearly dark as they reached it.  Myrina had to hurry  away, hoping to return. There were still plenty of people out and most greeted the Dark Prince and the lass with him.  Impressive!  Molly darted up the steps as they reached the  Thistle and peeked in the window.  So far, only Alex was inside.  "Aha, all's clear!" With the 'alls clear', Tykir laughed, giving the young woman a nudge to get inside. It was getting dark, and she wasn't him, so she must be getting cold.

Guess who was inside, Shaun Shawnesey! He was over at the hearth all content trying to whittle a piece of wood into something and nicked his finger. So that was presently pressed against his lips to stop the bleeding, not that it was much.


Maybe a little bit. Laughing, she pulled open the door and for a moment paused as if she was going to bow and let him go first but instead she just held the door. Oh. It wasn't all clear after all! "Evening Shaun!"


Hearing Molly's call, Tykir looked in over her shoulder. "Shaun...esey!" She wasn't moving fast enough for him so he wrapped an arm around her middle and hiked her up. Tykir wasn't going to let her hold that door for long. He walked them both in those few feet that allowed the door to close behind them.


Eeep!


Hush.


Well, at least the door was shut now. She was in a good mood too so she just laughed and waited to retrieve the basket so she could take it to Hazel. "How are you, Shaun? How is training going?"


He dropped the piece of wood as he bolted up in a turn. Hand was lowered leaving a spot of blood on his lips but it seemed to have done the trick. "Hello Molly, Tykir, how are you both?"


"I'm grand but I asked you first." She grinned over her shoulder and then placed the basket onto the countertop and she asked for a glass of potcheen punch at the same time. "Either of you want anything?" Or had Tykir joined her at the bar.


"Well, yes, Molly." Of course he wanted something! He grinned to Shaun, waiting for him and Molly to finish their hellos before he piped up with how he was.


She would have stuck her tongue out at him but she was behaving. Oh, heck with that. She stuck her tongue out at Tykir but still got a glass of potcheen for him and waited to see if Shaun needed a refill.


In through the door like a breeze with the seemingly ever present smile, she glanced around to see a couple familiar faces and one not so much. "Good evening, everyone." Greeting all as she made her way to the bar counter to request some tea.


"Well, I'm just grand too. I'm off for a couple of days from my new career." He was going to help his father out. Then another joined them. "Hello."


Waggle of fingers to Shaun. "Hello." She thanked Alex for her tea and claimed a seat looking at the others. "Did I interrupt something?"


"Evening, Fawn." She smiled at the lass as she sat at the bar. "Have you met Shaun?" And she shook her head. "Not at all."


"Fawn!"


"How are you, Molly?" She looked to Shaun, shaking her head a bit. "No. Well, I have no..." She nearly fell off her stool thanks to Tykir. "Tykir!"


Lips pressed in a smile Fawn's way before he was taking note of Molly. So he liked girls even if he'd never been with one. Yet. How easily did one forget, "it has been some time and briefly.. that we met." And at least he didn't trip over his words.


They had been greeting everyone that way today. She laughed then motioned, "Oh, he knows you then."


Yep, Tykir had that affect on females.


Resettling herself on her stool with a grin to Tykir, she nodded to Shaun. "Then I suppose we have met. It's been quite some time." Time enough that faces she'd only met once briefly slipped her mind. "How is everyone this eve?"


"Good so far." Tyrkir was handing the glass and she found a place to sit near the hearth. "The day was good."  She took a sip of the punch then smiled. "It was real nice at the lake."


"And it continues to be good..."Tykir smiled, taking up his potcheen.


"That's good to hear." A light smile to Molly, she picked up her tea for a small drink. "Are things starting to green there?" She hadn't had a chance to get there yet.


It was a slight blow to his ego for he remembered her, had a slight crush on her but luckily that had faded over the time between. He collected the piece of wood he'd drop and tossed it into the fire.


"Aye, they are and we're waiting for the peepers. Myrina's never heard them." She tipped her head as she looked at Shaun. " How come you're taking time off?" Curious as always and hoping nothing was wrong.


It certainly wasn't intentional that she didn't remember. That first month or so she'd been overwhelmed with introductions. "Peepers?" She wasn't sure she knew what that was.


"Because you get some time off after going day in and out. It's only like a day." Lips pressed into agitated line being questioned on getting some time off. But, he put it aside as he was up and over to order a slice of apple crumble pie.


Well, getting to take time off and helping your father might not be much fun. "That's good then. I hope you're planning on having fun!" She watched him walk away then looked at Fawn. "They're little frogs that sing in early spring, though some folks call it noise." She liked it.


"Make that two, Alex." Tykir called to the tender hearing Shaun's request.


Looking between the three of them, she suddenly felt as though she'd interrupted something. She'd heard laughter on her approach and it seemed to stop. Attention turned to Molly as she explained. "Oh. This will be my first spring to hear them." Setting her mug down, she nodded to them all. "Have a good night."


It was warm and had a slab of vanilla ice cream that was starting to melt in. Collecting both his and Tykir's before heading back, setting the prince's on the table closest before taking up a seat near. Leaving the ladies to talk but then Fawn was leaving, up he was again, plate in hand. "Good night Fawn, it was nice seeing you again."


Myrina had been asking the same question and she hadn't asked to make Shaun mad. "Good night, Fawn."


She headed for the door with a small wave to everyone.


Ohboy. That was a bit ... odd. Tykir looked to the other two. Had he missed something?  He must have, but maybe it was a good thing he did.


If he had, so had Molly. She curled up in the chair and enjoyed her drink while the two young men enjoyed their dessert. But she kept glancing at the door as if wondering.


Okay, this was enough of the silence. "Shaun, how long are you taking off? I think I didn't hear that...cause we're planning a little...er...trip if you can make it."


Finally, she gave a shake of her head and watched the fire instead. Going over what they might need for their exploring, and then Tykir spoke up.


"I have two days from today. Got anything in mind we can do?" He already helped his father out after the workout. Don't mind him, he wasn't talking a whole lot for he was enjoying his pie and ice cream. See that look of heaven on his features? He could just float with the taste sensation.

 

Tykir was enjoying his too, but nothing stopped him from talking once he swallowed. "Do..." He glanced to Molly, motioning to her with his fork. "We need ropes."


She grinned and nodded. Did they hear the rattle? She knew there were some about, just didn't know if they could 'borrow' any from the stable or other places around the Thistle.  Lanterns were available too, so that wouldn't take much. Bit of flint for making a spark.


And potcheen! Don't forget the potcheen!


She had that in mind too! Just need to make sure it was secure. And of course, they'd need food. Just cheeses and bread should do it.


He paused in his consumption, which was not an easy task, looking between the two, "ropes for what?"


Tykir would have to answer because she didn't want to yell it out for everyone to hear. It was a secret operation.


"I don't know, scaling, lowering, climbing, hanging..." Did he realize he was being evasive? No. He really didn't mean to be. He was Tykir. Just answering the question, eating his dessert.


Just the feel between the two, and a slow grin to follow. "Something romantic between the two of you?"


"With rope?" Okay, if Tykir was more experienced, he might jump on that one, but as it was, he just shook his head. "Not if we're inviting you along, Shawnesey."


Molly just looked ... confused. And then, whew! Tykir had answered and she smiled again and got up to join them at the table.


"Well, that is what I wanted to find out," and he had asked in a round about way for certainly he didn't want to mess up someone's romance. Step on toes or assume. "I would love to join you. Who all is gong? I can get ropes, we got plenty of them on the ships."


"Excellent." That's why he wanted to ask a Shawnesey, now they just needed a McAndrews or two. "There's a cove that we've..." He motioned between Molly and himself although this was really Molly's cove. "wanted to explore."


"It's away from the rougher part of the coast but we don't know what's there, or if there's a place to explore. And there's the whole safety in numbers." And the fact they never knew if they'd get into trouble.


"Down caveman's point?" Being there had been prehistoric relics found there, "it's pretty rough. Dangerous. Why it hasn't been explored." Pressed grin was growing wider. "There is an old man down at the docks that tells stories about it but no one listens other than for a laugh and gives him a coin for he's good at story telling. Maybe he knows of a way to access it."  Which he recalled some of the story, "says the old man that only the pirates can access it and he only knows having served on a pirate ship once when he was young and captured by them." So Shaun had listened to the old man when a lad who was only older now years later.


He shot a look to Molly, then back to Shaun.

"So if pirates had access to it, then ... who knows what we'll find down there..."


"I had figured on climbing down, but if we can find another way, that'll work. And I'll get the lanterns." She would make sure there'd be enough for anyone who showed. "We could find skeletons." Or treasure. Or dinosaur bones.


HolyHoleyBoneHeads! He hadn't even thought of that!


"We should still take ropes. I hear there are craters in there too. Sunken in caves and the like. Of course the old man added monsters but that is what discredit his tales."


Monsters? Whoah now, Tykir wasn't about to discredit any tales of monsters! This was one guy who believed in them ... 150%. "Erm...what kind of monsters?" Plus what Rina had once shared with him about the dungeons of Heathfield? There wasn't much the dark prince wouldn't put stock in, at least, until proven to be false.


Tykir had seen monsters not that long ago!


Up close and personal!


"Things in the sand. You'd be standing there and get sucked down in. You'd come out pretty bruised up if you were lucky. Big sand crabs."


Big enough to yank a man under? Worms. Crabs...what next?  Rodents of Unusual Size?


Ty was reading his mind as he continued. "And they say the rodents in the caves are bigger than cats, they eat them for breakfast."


"Never really liked to be under the sand, much rather be on top of it."


"Aye, laying out on the beach down at the lake, naked in the grass letting the sun bake you dry."


Naked? Not with the opposite sex around! Dorian would tar and feather her. "You sure you want to go into there?"


"Aye, we'll have our ropes and pig stickers.." giving a firm nod but she might catch the mischievous look in blue eyes." Best bring some torches in case we need to scorch any big spiders and critters that click click click while skittering around in the dark."


"I'm taking my bow." Distance and all that but she'd have knives too.


Tykir studied Shaun a minute, not really sure where the whole naked concept came in when they were just discussing monsters of unusual size. Shawneseys were related to McDonoughs...


That was related to use of a sandy beach, different than what this area they wanted to explore had.


Ropes. Pig stickers. Bow. "I'll bring Rina." Heck, his sister could take care of any critter attack, he was sure of it.


In any case, they had a plan forming and a good one. And she gave Shaun a look. "We better find something or you're in for it." Teasing but then she heard Tykir and grinned!


"He's in for it...it was your idea, Moll." Tykir chuckled.


"Is that a threat or a promise?" Giving a quick waggle of his brows. He was more outgoing than his brothers and working on being a flirt.


"Threat!"  She tried to look fierce and failed.  "I know it was and I'm not going to back out." Even if she made the offer. It was too much of a temptation!


"We might find some real artifacts we can offer to the museum. If we find gold, we can share the loot."


"And monsters to the zoo?" Why not plan that? One never knew!


He was liking the sound of this more and more.


"Is there anything else we should take?" She caught herself wondering how many times Alex had seen something like this going on. Probably more than he could count!


Probably so much over the past several generations that he didn't even bother listening anymore. "Shovels, picks..."


"Some bandages and salve in case anyone gets hurt so we take care of it before an infection can set in."


They were bringing potcheen too.  Maybe a pony to carry everything, and they could call him Bill. "How are we going to get there? Horses?" Or their own two feet. She was trying to remember how far. Though if there were enough, they could all divide what needed carried.


Yikes! Tykir started looking around...where had he seen the time piece? What the heck time was it?  And look! There went another chicken!


There was a big ol' cuckoo clock on the wall!  But no chicken inside of it. They could decide the horses before they left then! "Everything all right, Tykir?"


"I'll tell Rina about our plans...just let me know what I need to bring, and when to be where we decide to meet. I better get..." Considering he had snuck out to begin with, and had missed dinner! Without a word to anyone! "Shhhhure." He waved away her concern, but deep down inside, the dark prince was a bit unnerved.


They might have to break him out for him to sneak out! "Okay. We'll get word to you." Shaun could do it or Bannon.


"Mules are better for the terrain to ride as far as we can." Leaving them would also give a red flag if they didn't return within a reasonable time.


"Perfect. And I guess I should start back too." She hadn't really noticed the time herself, and had been gone since early afternoon. "We'll have to try to get together to make sure we have everything figured out."


"Goodnight, you two..." He hated to leave, didn't want to miss out on any of the planning, but if he didn't sneak back in with as much success as he snuck out, and didn't come up with a good excuse for not being there if anyone was looking for him, then they'd may not see him until NEXT spring!


"I'll walk you back," probably Tykir too. He was up from seat to bring back the plate then ready to get going as he took up his cloak to don.


Oh! Looked like he wouldn't ! "Sure, Shaun..." He looked to Molly. "Shall we walk you home first?"


Wait. Where did she put her cloak? She looked around then picked it up and smiled at the two. "I'd like that, as long as it doesn't make either of you late." Like they weren't already?


Again Tykir was waving away her concern. "There's no worries on that." RIGHT! But Molly wouldn't know, and Tykir would feel better seeing her safely on her way.

Date: 03-31-11
Poster: Tykir Riktafir
Post # 68

All About Adventure

Tykir still had not seen some of the places like the hot springs, Innis, nor had he ever ventured down to the cove that they had talked about. So...all in good time...he had the rest of his whole life to get the others done. As was his custom, Tykir landed in the alley and entered through the side door of the tavern, tucking his wings tight to his back as he made his way in. "Hey, Alex." He called to the tender, turning to close the door.


With booted feet tucked under her frame, and she to remain in her comfort, her left foot begin to jiggle to a tune in her head. And praying Hermes was being good in the stable.


He started to the bar and then skidded to a halt. Not that he was hurrying but he stopped so quick the wet soles of his boots slid and inch or so with his halt. "Myrina Valentina!" She was getting good at this slipping away thing.


"Tykir!" Shouted back with a chuckle as one hand snapped a wave in his direction. "How are you doing?" Turning with a smile to the winged prince.


"Good." Always good. No matter if he was hip deep in trouble or in having to pay for that trouble. Always...good. "How're you?" She looked comfortable enough and that made him smile, continuing on to the bar as he waited for her reply. After all, Alex had set a glass out for him.


"I am doing well, thank you." She had enjoyed the afternoon with Hermes at the Lake, and now. "Just enjoying some juice before I venture home.." If she even ventured home that is.


He reached for the glass, looking over to her as his fingers curled around it. "Home?" He huffed out a laugh. "It's not time to be going home...it's time to be going out!"


"Going out sounds good? And where does one go out?" She lifted the cup to drink the rest of her juice, holding the empty cup as she waited. She didn't want to go home, and going out sounded like fun.


"Well, one starts here..." Sometimes, one ended here. Depended on the night and the activities that came along. "The best nights are those that you fly by the seat of your pants. And since you're wearing them, you're already well on your way." He took a drink, then started over to where she sat, taking a lean against the side of one of the high backed chairs.


She kicked out one leg, and shook it with a chuckle. "Sure do. Ready to run, climb, or just walk." She was just glad to be out of the house. Whatever happened tonight, it would definitely not end at the manor. "Have you been flying?" She asked. And didn't think she was being rude. She envied him for having wings, who could honestly say they held them. None she knew back in Italy that was for sure.


Molly would agree with that, if she had heard it. As it was, she was heading up the steps, stopping right outside the door. Off came her boot and she emptied it out, watching a small stone roll across the boards of the porch. She opened the door and kind of hopped in, trying to get the boot on. Finally, after the door closed, she got it back on and beamed a triumphant grin in the direction of the others. "Evening!"


Hearing the familiar voice brought Myrina to smile brightly. Waving madly with her free hand.."G'evening, Molly!" Leaning over slightly, she placed the empty cup on the table, only to turn again with her head to stick out from the side of the chair. Glad to see another new found friend.


"Moll!" He called to his friend, lifting his drink in a modified wave. His other arm draped over the top of the chair, bent at the elbow, his hand dangling off the side. "You're just in time."


A man needed to socialize. Something Davin hadn't done in some time. What free time he had when not tending the fires in the Lighthouse, he was exploring the stretches of beach and sand. Caves and coves were plentiful too. The cottage at the lighthouse was filled with all kinds of artifacts and nature's treasures of the sea. He put on what some might call his Sunday clothes, first visiting his mother at the Quinn manor and the Quinns for that matter! There was enough of them these days and that was a good thing in his book. Door swung open as he took in all here. "Good evening," leaving it to shut behind him with the aid of a booted foot. Not too hard, just enough to get the latch to click in place. He was already on his way to the bar.


"In time for what? Trouble." She stomped to make sure the boot on fully and headed for the bar to collect a glass of potcheen punch. She was dressed comfortably in pants and an oversized shirt that she wore belted, like a tunic. Her hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck with a strip of rawhide. No bows today. "Evening," was called out cheerfully to the one entering as she headed to join the other two.


"And to you." Tykir called to the man in returned greeting. He'd wait for him to get his drink, and then introductions could be made. He looked to Molly. "Well, sure, if that is a possibility." This was Tykir. Trouble was always a possibility.


Caves and coves? Artifacts and treasures? This man was lucky, or so Myrina would have thought if she had known all this. And since her head was leaning over the side, with blonde tresses to caress the leather, she waved to the stranger.. "G'evening.." Turning to Molly with a grin. Trouble? Then she chuckled.


Of course trouble! Long as it wasn't harmful, it was fun.


Amen!


"Davin's the name, adventure the game." Grinning as he turned with a tumbler in hand. At least the ones here were more his age.


"Nice name.." She would have toasted the phrase, but she had drunk all her juice. "I am Myrina.. "She smiled to Molly.. "That is Molly.. and this here.." Prince? Nah, Tykir could do that.."Tykir."


Tykir's smile spread. Seemed Davin had wandered into the right tavern on the right night. And notice, he didn't, he just nodded to Davin with Myrina's introduction. "What sort of adventure are you gaming at tonight?" Always up for some good ideas from taverns up north to scaling castle rooftops.


Fingers held the glass with the forefinger to lift in a point Tykir's way. "You I recognize from the castle. Prince Tykir," finger easing back with the others. "I'm pleased to finally meet you. Great set of wings."


Myrina turned her attention, even turning her body to sit sideways in the chair. Attention was laid on the reply, after all she was game for anything. Molly too? She hoped!


Tykir looked over his shoulder, although he really wasn't looking at his wings. "Yea, they come in handy at times. Thanks."


Simile swept in a nod to the two ladies, "a pleasure to meet you both, Myrina and Molly."


"Thank you, Davin. A pleasure to meet you as well.." Spoken as one that was excited to do something fun tonight!


Of course Molly too. She wiggled her fingers in a greeting because she was taking a drink of the punch!


Taking a drink of the pure before he piped up, "adventure comes in many forms. Some physical and some mental. The best is when both are combined. Have you any notion already?" including them all in a look over for they had been here for some time before he arrived.


She gazed slowly to Molly, and then up to Tykir. Did they know what they were going to do? She had no clue, and would love any kind of adventure.. She was game for about anything.


Not really, they had all only just wandered into the tavern. Well, he wasn't exactly sure about Myrina...but for the most part. "Rina told me a while back that there were some interesting things in the dungeons of the castle, in those twisty turney catacombs and hidden passages... need to get down there to prove to her there's nothing to fear." He was thinking out loud because that really wasn't something he was up for tonight. "Ever been north, Davin? To that tavern? Always an adventure there." Two. And counting...


Dungeons? She listened to Tykir speak of his sister, and smiled. Perhaps she would finally see the inside of a castle? Who knew. And a tavern up north? Now that had her ears perked, but still she spoke not a word leaving both Davin and Tykir to speak up in this conversation.


"Well, we can go treasure hunting along the shores up by the lighthouse. Get buckets and collect crabs and have a little feast while we're at it or we can go see what the dungeons have here under the castle."


The castle had her perking but that would probably have to be planned on. Ooo! The Tavern! "Definitely one there." As long as you didn't drink too much.


Giving a nod to the question. "I have but it's been some time since I was up there. Strange place. Had talking spiders under the porch."


"What tavern is that?" Spoken to anyone in general. And then he had to mention spiders. Shiver!


"Yea...odd." He looked at his friends, those just made and those he was rather close to. "One of Rhydin's tavern." Would Myrina recognize the name of the place? "What do you think?" He was still looking from one to another to another. And then to Alex, who wasn't looking at any of them but Tykir knew he would keep their destination to himself unless this lot got into more trouble then they could handle.


Rhydin? She turned her gaze from the group. Knowing her family would have her hide if she went, but why not? She was with friends, she would be safe. "Sure. Why not."


No mules today, no tripping up the steps, not even a stumble. Bannon was too busy trying to remember the moves he had seen Sir Vincent and Sir Trevor use against one another. And without the fancy stuff! "Why not what?" He spoke up as he stepped inside and caught that little bit. "Eve, everyone."


"Zimmer!" Yes, he was shouting out again. It was the way to herald a friend in classic Tykir fashion. "Why not travel north, that's what."


"I'm game." She didn't hesitate and didn't look over at Alex. Instead it was her turn to jump when Tykir yelled, and that was followed by a giggle.


There was the tree climbing knight! "G'evening, Sir Bannon.." Smile to one she had met, and one that she had interviewed for the paper. Even waved her hand to one she called friend. Can you believe that? A real knight? Yeah, Heathfield was a lot better then Italy!


"Tykir!" Just as loud even though he was close now. "I'll go." He could sleep in tomorrow. Yay for a day off. A hand was offered to Davin. "Bannon. Or Zimmer." He'd answer to both.


"Davin, part of the Quinn family,' as he took the offered hand into a good griping shake before released again. "I run the Lighthouse," which might place him for some.


The Quinn's? That was an impressive family!


The lighthouse? She had heard of it, even was told to visit it, if that was the same one. Then the name Quinn was heard, she felt that family had to be huge.


"What are we waiting for then. Everyone in?" He looked to Alex. "If any of the McAndrews or Shawneseys show...direct them to the North." He offered a quick nod to the man. He would have added Ellyn but he really wouldn't want her traveling up by herself.


"And if any Drakos or Vassallo show, you never seen me." Piped up as she uncrossed her legs, and jumped up from the chair. "I'm in."


"I'll go." And he didn't have anyone to chide him for getting into trouble. Well, there were a couple of knights who might still take it upon themselves, but he wasn't thinking about that.


Besides, they'd probably slap him on the shoulder...to jostle his hungover head.


She knew Hermes would be ok in the stable here. She would pick him up on her way home.


"Sure as a shooting star, I'm in." Which he kicked back what was left of his drink and topped off his flask with the pure.


"Aye, definitely, I'm in." She hadn't removed her cloak so she was ready to go.


Fingers smoothed the green, cotton shirt she wore. Tugging at the hem that draped past her hips, and moved toward the bar with a smile of excitement.


"Have a good night, Alex." Tykir threw up his hand to the tender and started for the front door. He'd ride tonight. With the rest of them.


Ride? Ride? Well bloody hell, she wasn't allowed to ride Apollo. She was riderless, perhaps Hermes was big enough to take her. With a wave she moved with the group.


They'd realize she had no means of transport when they all got to the stables and they'd handle it from there.


On her way out the door, she grabbed her floppy hat from the peg, shoving the hat on her head and moving with a skip to her step.


If it came down to it, he would offer she rode with him. He had a big strong horse that could easily carry them both.


Exactly. No one was ever left behind.


And she would gladly except! She was just glad to be going on an adventure, and seeing the Rhydin all spoke about.

-continued in Other Lands Folder-

Date: 04-19-11
Poster: Bannon Zimmer
Post # 69

Talk

It was, without a doubt, an excellent thing to be able to sit in one of the wing back chairs before the fire after enjoying Hazel's cooking. And that's exactly what Bannon was doing, though for once he wasn't half asleep as he watched the dance of the flames.

There was solitude and there is ... not! Because Bannon's time of solitude was now at an end as the Dark Prince pressed his way into the Thistle's common room. Just get ready to not be doing that like what you've been doing! No sooner had he entered, he looked around, heading straight to the bar. "Sir Bannon Zimmer!" He announced to the otherwise empty room, throwing up a hand and then smiling to the ever attentive tender who was filling him a glass of whiskey.


He didn't mind the interruption at all, not when it was the Dark Prince. Of course, he still had been daydreaming and it made him jump to his feet, knocking the chair back on the back to legs where it hovered for a moment before coming back down with a bang. He laughed and saluted Tykir. "Prince Tykir Riktafir!" No one else was here other than Alex and he knew who Tykir was!


He took up his glass and glanced toward Bannon, then did a double-look. "You have a drink? "


"Finished it actually." He picked up his empty glass to show Tykir, a smile appearing. "You buying?"


Tykir laughed, nodding. "All night long." He looked to Alex and shot a thumb over his shoulder toward Bannon. "All his drinks...on me." When, in fact, he was 'Heathfield' so actually ... in a sense .... but he was enjoying the pseudo 'drinks on me' scenario.


"Very generous, Tykir." He was still laughing as he headed for the bar.


"Hey..." He reached over and took up the new glass that had been filled for Bannon and turned to hand it over to the knight. "What are friends for?"


One could wonder what Bannon was daydreaming about as Rory took up a lean against the hall entry into the main tap room. Smirk was already in place bringing about those infamous dimples. Not a word yet. Observing mode which wouldn't last long.


Rory better hurry! Tykir was buying the rounds!


"True." He accepted the glass and took a drink then looked at Tykir. "I entered the joust this time around." He didn't know if Tykir was still having to sneak or if it was all out in the open now. Best to find out before he accidentally blurted it out in the hall or on the field. And Rory would be surprised to find out that Bannon wasn't daydreaming about girls.


For once, he was not his rowdy self, no risque song being bellowed even if in tune. "A drink sounds good. Cures all ills. I put in for the joust as well and hopefully I will make it this time or I give up." Shoving up from his lean he was over to collect a drink.


"You did?" Bracing his back to the bar, he crossed an arm at his midsection and held his glass on his forearm. "Excellent! I'll see you there then." That really didn't give anything away now did it? He hadn't confessed to his mother, but please, she was the Queen of Heathfield, Tykir was not disillusioned enough to believe she didn't know! Off to the side came that familiar voice and Tykir grinned to Rory. "One for my McAndrews friend, Alex!" Rory was ordered a round as well! So generous this prince of Heathfield!


"Aye, I did." His lips twitched at the evasion but did it matter really? Bannon wouldn't say a thing so any slip up wouldn't come from him. "Evening, Rory. Are a group of us going/" It seemed lately they traveled in a pack of teens. Why should the joust be any different?


"Well..." Tykir looked between his accomplices in times well spent. "...looks like at least the three of us will be there to show them what the next generation of Heathfield has to offer. Haven't talked to Rina about it, but she may be joining us...and hopefully Molly at least will go with us, maybe even Ellyn if she's still here and not back in..." He nodded toward Rory. "...Frasier territory."


"I'll be happy if I stay on my horse." Bannon laughed as he settled into a lean against the bar. "But I want to give it a try. And ... see how the two of you do." Circumstances had kept Rory from the last one but there were plenty more from what he understood. "I thought Rina was going to try out too."


He was taking a drink, and another, as he was greeted and so responded once his glass was lowered. "Evening to you both. Anything worthwhile of news?" Had they gotten into any trouble in his absence?


Obviously the McAndrews had a few prior to these, they were talking about worthwhile news!


Oh, there was one in particular on his mind, "you haven't gone exploring those caves down the coast?"


"Not yet, Rory." Tykir brought his glass up, tilting it toward his friend just enough, but not enough to spill any of the liquid within it. "Been waiting for you to get back to Heathfield."


There came the dimples with a quick ready smile. "I'm back! Good as new." Hopefully but it took more than a flu to keep him down too long. "Who all is going again?"


"Aye, and the weather hasn't been cooperating much." He glanced at the windows to make sure the blasted rain hadn't started again.


"You, Bannon, Me...maybe Rina...possibly Molly if she can get away from the shop, Ellyn if she's in from Balli." And if any of the adults were going, he hadn't heard, not that he had even been listening.


Adults? That would be a damper on it being an adventure. "Maybe I can get me brothers to come too. I'd have to drag Charles out of the library for a real adventure."


There could be others after all, but he wasn't sure either. He chuckled when he heard Rory. "I saw him on the field earlier today. He was looking over one of the beasties." Maybe he had tried it. Bannon wasn't sure because he had been called away.


"Do what you can." Was Tykir's response to Rory's addition of his brothers to the crew set on traveling to the jousting field. He brought his drink up again.


"Who you taking as a squire this time, Tykir?" He barely hid his grin as he asked and took another drink. No one would be telling this time around.


"Depends ..." If he told his mother and Karl he planned to go, then he could make use of a proper aid. If not, then he'd have to drag his talks-too-much previous excuse for a squire along. Not that he'd be yammering as much this time after that ear full of peacock poo that was hiding in his pillow. "Who are you taking Bannon?" He was the knight after all.


"Charles was out on the field?" Maybe there was hope for the bookworm after all. Yeah, Rory was grinning! He set to listening as he had a few more drinks. He'd have to get himself a squire too. Mental note on that but it should not be any problem. He had another question but he'd wait for Bannon to answer Tykir first.


"I'm thinking Cai, since he's been wanting to go since he heard about it." Yes, from the peacock lad. "He's been doing pretty good with his training, and he doesn't talk a lot."


Tykir had his glass to his lips again but with his free hand, he pointed a finger at Bannon. Not talking...that was an important detail!


He had learned that from Tykir's experience!


"Not talking a lot is good quality." Giving a nod for there were times to talk and times not to. "Has either of you tried the water gauntlet? I hear it is up and running."


"Mmmmph." Tykir started with a nod, forcing down the potcheen that had been in that swallow. "Just the other night." His voice was strained, almost hoarse, from the effort.


"You did? How'd that go?" And why hadn't he heard anything? Someone was slacking!


Tykir chuckled, that nod changing almost instantly to a quick shake of head. "Not good. Went down in the first chamber ... Ellyn and Molly beat the bloodyblueblazes out of me." He lifted his glass in a modified salute. "Did get a kiss from Ellyn because of it though. Well worth the effort in my humble opinion." Molly, however, had only hid her head beneath the towel ... no kiss forthcoming from the tender of the shop.


"A kiss from a pretty lass is an excellent prize." His glass was lifted in salute before he down a good portion of the Pure.


Which had brows lifting. "I wouldn't mind a kiss for getting through the ordeal. Certainly would make it all worthwhile. We should get a rematch and team up. Us three against three of them, the most points win." Oh, he started grinning. "You could get Rina to fill in for a third person and maybe Bannon here could win a kiss from her.."


Tykir shot a look to Bannon with that. His words were sloooooooow. "Oooookay, shhhhure."


Oh, that was ... a subject best avoided. He brought his hand down over his face, pulling at his eyes then at the corners of his mouth, making a face in answer. "Rina hates me." Which was why she tormented him the way she did!


"Yea, everyone knows that the lasses prefer a kiss from a McAndrews if there is one to be had." Tykir chuckled, nodding to Bannon for the knight to offer over his agreement.


"There is that too." He chuckled as well. "Makes it hard for the rest of us." How did the lads live up to the reputation the elder McAndrews had?


From what Tykir had witnessed, the McAndrews brothers three didn't seem to have a problem at all! Even the bookworm had the McAndrew charm that all the lasses flocked to.


"Still, I wouldn't mind trying it out. I mean the water gauntlet." He laughed. "We could let Rory suggest the prize. They might not claw his eyes out."


"My lips are always ready and willing," oh the grin could blind them! "Well, if the lasses want kisses for their prize, I think that is a grand incentive for the gauntlet!"


"You'd have to win first." He laughed and waved a hand. "And be as lucky at Sir Cole in making it the whole way across." Now that he would have liked to seen.


"Hopefully, my luck will change before the joust, so I'm willing to set it into motion. But I don't know, the girls might just come up with something else, we'll have to wait and see."


Bannon winced as a thought occurred. "I hope it doesn't involve wearing certain colors." No, no, no. He'd never wear mauve or fuzzy pink or whatever odd name they had for purple.


"Did Sir Cole get a kiss from a Lady at least?" What he knew of the knight, that thought might be amusing.


Tykir didn't know so he shrugged a shoulder. "Hard for me to imagine any lass brave enough to offer a kiss to Sir Lachian, let alone give him one."


Which had him cracking up, near spit out his potcheen before coughing to regain his composure. "Aye, one could make bets on if any lass could get a second, appreciative, glance from that knight."


Tykir laughed out a grunt. "More, they'd bet who didn't have to kiss him if they won!" Oh man, it was a darn good thing they were the only ones in the tavern!


"Maybe not one they'd see." He thumped Rory on the back when he coughed then laughed. "I wonder if there are any lasses brave enough?" Had him thinking about that and yes, it was a good thing!


"Almost tempted to put up some reward and see if it could happen..." which he doubted but the idea was amusing.


Could you say dead men walking? "What kind of reward?"


Tykir's brows couldn't raise any more if someone tied a string to them and jerked up hard! "Not even funny..." Tykir had to feel pity for any lass who might try!


He gave a shrug of his shoulder. "I could probably come up with something but I feel that road would take me to a pounding either by the knight or, more likely, by my father.." which only made it all the more appealing.


Now, the dark prince was all about causing some trouble and being smack dab in the midst of it, but ... Cole Lachian was one of Peter's knights, and those guys? Well, Tykir really didn't know much about them. And because of that, they seemed all the more dangerous and ... not exactly the type to take to a prank, no matter the royalty behind it. "We probably better just stick to trying to get our own kisses and leave Peter's knights to winning their own as they are able."


"Aye, but it was a thought to entertain," lifting his glass to toast the idea and leave it at that, an idea only.


He chuckled then shook his head. He knew how Sir Vincent had been and still was except with a few besides his own ladies. He just nodded quietly and finished his drink after lifting his toward Rory. Besides, he liked his hide just as it was.


...or where it was. "How about we head down to the port and see who is about there?" Now there was a more plausible idea and one probably not half as dangerous as the other!


"I hear the dock masters are having a time keeping the crews of the French and English ships apart." Those two countries were at war again.


"That's what I heard too...so all the more reason to check it out!" Tykir tossed back the remainder of the liquid in his glass and set it on the counter.


Rory did the same with his in near unison but he got out his flask to fill up with the pure being the bottle was there and he could. Once done he stepped away from the bar, "I'm ready."


"I'm gone." Tykir laughed, dashing toward the door in order to be first out...and first on the way.


"Hey!" He laughed as he placed his glass on the bar and ran after Tykir. Probably near crashing into Rory!


He might send Bannon bouncing as they headed through the door at the same time after Tykir. "No flying..." as he was laughing.


Bullshit, all was fair in love and war and racing! But he kept to the ground...running for all he was worth!

-e-

Date: 05-07-11
Poster: Claire O'Reilly
Post # 70

At the present moment, Claire was enjoying the lovely afternoon at the Thistle. With the relatively warm weather, Claire opted for a glass of the homemade lemonade rather than her customary afternoon tea. "Alex," Claire took a sip. "I may need a pitcher! This is fantastic," she nodded her thanks and proceeded to a window that had an excellent view of the gardens. She loved to paint in general but she simply adored painting landscapes. Especially now with the flora in bloom, the sun out to add its color and the breeze to play with the flowers' petals. It was a magical scene, all natural beauty and hers for the taking! As she gazed out the window, emerald green eyes studied the scene, mesmerized, as her brain functioned to transcribe the image to memory.

Working at the press was enjoyable and she enjoyed it when she could get to the commons. This day, with the sun's light shining down upon the Greek, she opted to walk to the press and nay to work at home. The patients were recovering nicely,and she enjoyed time alone as any else would. With a smile to full lips, she had worked hard and enjoyed each hour that she could write, to learn, to print. But for now, she wanted some cool cider from the Thistle, and perhaps a familiar face or two. Silver hues took in the beauty of this land, mesmerized as she had been in winter. Almost hypnotized by all that happened to her life already. Almost skipping she waved to the children at play enjoying the weather, and mothers she had known since the day she and Evony had held a snow ball fight.


The bed of flowers spread all along the left side of the Thistle, pushing Claire to move slowly from window to window. Had Rosemary ever painted the Thistle? That certainly would be a fun project to undertake. She gave it some serious hought as she approached the front door and swung it open, making sure to bring her lemonade along. She made her way to the railing, peeking over and surveying those who walked the street. Spotting a familiar face, Claire threw her hand up in a wave, bursting out with a delighted smile. "Good afternoon, Anthea!" Claire had always possessed a bubbly personality and was unabashed to be overcome by such. Today's attire consisted of a lilac day dress with a high empire waist and short puffy sleeves. Delicate lace framed the conservative neckline and hem, and a white lily was tucked behind her ear, kept prisoner amongst a mass of mahogany curls.


Her name came to the woman's senses, the name heard over the children's voices and silver hues to soon find the source. With a smile to grace her lips, she lifted her hand to wave only then to turn as a little girl pulled on the side of her gown. Anthea crouched down with a smile as the child offered a wild flower, one of Anthea's favorite things nature could bring to this earth. With a whisper to the child, she stood up once again as the child rushed away. "Claire!" She had to smile as she held the wild flower with her own darken tresses to flow about her back, but her attire was not as fancy. A simple gown of wool covered her lithe form, the color of lavendar held some ink stains, but she cared not. She loved her work! "How are you?" She moved toward her friend with the flower offered. "A gift from that little girl." Kiss to her cheek and Anthea was moving inside to gather some cool cider from Alex.


Claire laughed softly as the girls showered Anthea with flowers. Such beautiful thing that Heathfield never lacked in friendliness or kindness. Her heart swelled at the sight, pleased to be a part of such an amazing place. She moved with Anthea as the woman entered for a refreshing drink, tipping her own glass back for a delightful sip. Exhaling a soft "ah" in enjoyment, green eyes flickered to Anthea. "I'm doing well. And yourself?"


Mother's day, Father's day, came with a pang and not even a grave site to leave some flowers in remembrance. So Liam created his own spot on his manor's lands. So a bouquet would be picked tomorrow from field flowers blooming and set on the stone that signified his mother's grave. She had been a good mother and the time spent on this earth would be remembered by him in the least. Having created the mock grave site, he decided to get away, mostly from Fiona who was in a garden frenzied and had the gardener near pulling out his hair but he followed all directions she set. He was just making sure he didn't get caught in the whirlwind and be consumed for hours on end. He washed up, donning a light shirt with the sleeves rolled up and left partially open down the front. Pants were of a lighter cotton and he wore moccasin shoes. Being the door was left open, he paused after stepping within. Dark brows on the rise and a smile to spread. "Well, look what the cat dragged in." Sight set upon Anthea as it had been a long time since he last saw her. The other was not recognized as focus shifted there. "Top 'o the afternoon tae yea." Yes, he had a nice flowing brogue still.


It was good to see Alex again, it had been too long. "Thank you so much.." Words spoken to the tender before the first sip was taken. "Perfection.. " Wink to the man and then turned with Claire's words heard. "Working.." Her words held no tone of regret or weariness, no. She was smiling brightly, for her work meant a lot to this small woman. The press was her home away from home. "Perhaps you can.." Words cut short as the familiar tone filled her senses and brought her to smile brightly. Liam. "Claire, this is Liam Quinn.. " Held up her fist with a wink to the familiar Quinn. "A boxer.." And then serious.. "A very good one.." Cat drug in? It had been awhile.


The pretty flower that Anthea had given Claire was intertwined with the lily already behind her ear to make a stunning floral duo in her wild curls. Claire witnessed the passion in Anthea's eyes as she spoke of work and could only smile--why, she felt the very same way about her own projects! Gaze shifted focus as another entered the Thistle, greeting the two of them. She glanced back and forth betwixt the two as introductions were made and then settled on Liam. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Liam Quinn." She dipped her head, a friendly smile to kick up the corners of her mouth. She offered a hand as well, for a shake. "A boxer? How fascinating," she murmured and bet that the ring would certainly pose a great challenge for a painter! All the faces and action to capture---oh, but how it would be worth it. Though she was certain that the ladies weren't allowed. Her father had never let her attend despite her tendencies to hunt and train on swords with the men. She gave a mental shrug and let that thought slide for the time being.


"It be me pleasure to meet another lovely lady of the lands, Claire," certainly charming words to come forth but they were meant sincerely too at the same time. He was to the bar by this time and a tankard of ale his choice this early in the day. The pure would be consumed later especially if they got into some card games down at the port. He didn't pick up the tankard, instead he stepped away to take the offered hand. A dark eye scrutiny of the woman came in a natural curiosity. Skin was calloused against smooth, strong, with a definite grip, yet gentle. He took hers to shake but with a quirk of a smile turned it to bring up to meet the slight bend of his head. A touch of his lips barely there but the warmth would be felt that fleeting second before her hand was lowered and he to step back. Just the smile to linger in watching her reaction.


Silver hues took in the meeting of another new face with Liam and could not help but smile. It was always nice to make new friends, to see more that would be familiar faces. Looking to Claire's fingers brought her own gaze to linger on the flesh of her own. She was happy, the ink was gone. With cider in hand, she left the two and their meeting wanting to smell the fresh air, and find comfort on the porch. And while the two spoke, Anthea would be offered another flower by the little girl. And this one the petite Greek would keep.


Claire met his gaze boldly, unable to hide her pleasure under the fan of long black lashes. He was certainly handsome and most definitely charming. However, it was all of them. Claire was amazed by the sheer number of wonderfully entrancing males that were ever present in Heathfield lands. She flashed a smile in reaction and too took a small step back, long slender fingers reaching for her glass of lemonade that was sadly, almost empty. She finished it off and with a few quick words to Alex, the glass was replenished with the addicting liquid and Claire was fast to pick it up. "Are you enjoying this weather, Anthea?" She called, making sure the door was wide open so that they could all interact, whether indoors or on the porch.


A rise of a brow came as Anthea took off on them. "It looks like we are to spend the time on the porch. In the fresh air. An excellent choice this bonnie day." Taking up his tankard with an indication of his other hand towards the open door and porch beyond. He listened more at this point being Claire directed the question upon Anthea. Then he had one of his own too, "Where have you been hiding all these weeks?" Taking up a lean against the porch railing in a way he could face both in being social.


With cider in hand, and the edge of the glass mere inches from her lips, she took a swallow and turned to Liam with his question. "Chasing a wayward sister.." To hell and back, brat that she was. "How have you been, Liam? Boxing lately?" The flower was not in her hair, it now lay in the pocket of her lavender woolen gown, one that held some smudge stains. But he knew her. She lived for her writing. "How is your brother? Fawn?" Spoken softly and then, with a fleeting smile, she was able to take a sip of her brew.


Claire silently concurred with Liam--it was indeed a beautiful day, too nice to be stuck inside, windows open or not. She followed the pair to the porch, content to sit and drink her lemonade while the two chatted. The children playing , the birds overhead, the dogs bouncing around, it was a pleasant sight, one she was eager to soak up.


"Aye?" brows were once more slightly rising. "Would this sister have the name of Myrina?" One he had met the other night. Late at night and out by herself. "How old is she?" Figuring she was in her teens. There was a slight smirk with a following thought he didn't elucidate upon. Some thoughts were better kept to oneself, many just turned up, wanted or not. Many unbidden. "Where exactly did she lead a merry chase?" Curiosity would always get the better of him and so asked. He gave a wink Claire's way, mostly to let her know she was not being ignored.


"Claire, Myrina is my sister. The one in which you speak, Liam. She was out late yes, but perhaps at nineteen she can be?" Could she? She did not know, she had been a sister only a few short months. "She went to Rhydin, Liam. Alone and with no guard.." She turned to Claire with a smile to show the kindness in her eyes. "Too much a free spirit I am afraid.." But one she would never curb.."I do hope she behaved herself.." And then sip came again, slowly and with silver hues to watch the children at play.


Claire smiled at them, sending a reassuring wink back to Liam. She was enjoying her time out there with them, in chatter or not. The view before them offered such inspiration. "Ah, I see," she murmured, listening on about Anthea's wayward sister. She winced inwardly as she called memories to mind---she too used to be a wild child, especially at Myrina's age. She didn't know the girl, however, and refrained from comment. She did not want to offend and after all, she knew what she did from personal experience and not all were as she was. "I'm sure she's lovely, as you are Anthea." Claire gave a bright smile, suddenly eager to meet Myrina. One day soon, she was convinced. After all, those in Heathfield were always about eventually!


He gave a shrug to the comment voice that reflected upon a thought he had. "I suppose that depends on the family." Still not saying on her being out late. "Nineteen?" She seemed younger so that came as a slight surprise. No matter, as it was not really a concern of his. At least at this point. She was safe in this tavern. Other places, might or should be a concern to those who took care of her. "So, what of you, Claire. What do you do with your time? Do you have a shop or particular skill?" Being he knew next to nothing about her. "To Rhydin, you say?" Catching that at the end. "That would be a concern." But possibly not something she wished to discuss here?


She smiled to Claire's compliment but let her speak with Liam when his questions came. She turned to the nature beyond watching it with a smile. "Yes, Rhydin can be filled with shadows if one does not know their way around." He was sweet to say so, and brought her smile to him before easing to find seating.


"I am an artiste, Liam" Claire said with a smile full of passion, the French r's rolling off her tongue with ease. "I mostly paint, landscapes and portraits, but I do some writing as well. I should hopefully be bringing some of my pieces to the library and with Rosemary's as well, it should be a stunning collection." Not said with arrogance but merely with confidence. Rosemary was a wonderful painter and Claire was confident in her own abilities as well. "And you are a boxer, I have gathered?" Twinkle set to her eyes as previous thoughts came flying back. Beware of Claire and her mischief!


"Aye, one never knows what might happen in that place. There are stories and yet it has been rather dead, a ghost of its former years. She was probably all right." It was a place to sneak off to especially if you were a teen looking for adventure and that dare the devil. Most didn't realize how deadly daring the devil could be but luckily most never paid the full price of it. He was back to Claire as dark eyes turned upon her again. "An artiste, and what.." he was going to ask medium she expressed herself in, but it came tumbling along with the answer. The smile quirked back in place taking with it a dimple this time. "I will be sure to stop by the gallery when you do." So he could get a better insight into this woman's mind's eye in how she perceived things via her painting. "Aye, street fighting since a wee lad. It was the way of things in the rough highlands, clans, you learned to fight early. I leaned I could fight very well naturally. So I honed it as I grew and managed nary a broken nose." Pretty face intact as his brother would put it and certainly teased him at times. "You're welcome to come by the warehouse at the edge of the road in the commons that takes one down to the port. One owned by Maurice McDonough who has given me an area to set up."


The wood came with comfort as she sat upon one of the small bench, holding the cider with one hand as the free one smoothed out the material of her gown and then to enjoy the cider and the pair to their conversation.


"Oh, well, I certainly hope you shall. Unabashedly, I love to show off my work." She chuckled and then polished off the last of the lemonade. As he spoke of his fighting, Claire leaned toward him slightly to study his face. She absently lifted a hand in the air, moving it around as if drawing. "Yes, your bone structure is remarkably untouched despite your hazardous occupation," she winked and then grinned with excitement. "Oh, I should love to come." Then Claire frowned. "Are you sure it's all right for me to come down there? My father was terribly strict about letting me near a boxing ring. Perhaps he feared I would jump in," Claire confided with a teasing smile. "Perhaps one day you could accompany me, Anthea? I daresay it would be an interesting field trip, so to speak." Brow to rise with the question.


"Aye? Y've the spirit of a fight in yea?" It was his turn to look her over being she came that close. She was daring a devil and didn't even know it if he acted on his first thought but he behaved as a hand lifted to tweak her nose a little. Certainly not done in a way to hurt with a fleeting glance upon her lips. Ah, dangerous thoughts but they had gotten that close. "Aye, drag Anthea there with ye.." turning the dark eyed perusal upon her. He was beginning to wonder if she preferred avoiding him? Moving out of the tavern earlier, an undercurrent there that had not been before and had him wondering silently what caused it. Not something he would voice or probe at presently.


"It is enjoyable to watch, Claire.." She could only grin with the edge of her glass dancing inches above her lips. "You can also go alone, my friend, as I did.. none will think ill of you if you do." She had enjoyed watching this Quinn in the ring.."He is a dancer within the ring, Claire.. One that knows not only how to move his fist, but his feet. No dancer could do better, nor with the talent he holds." A salute was given to Liam.. "Aye, this lass would love to join you Claire.. perhaps watch the dance again." Silver hues trained on Liam, and then slowly did that wink come Claire's way.."But beware.. if you blush by the sight of a man's chest, well.." And she let the words end there as the liquid was consumed and the cup set aside.


Claire gasped and then laughed in surprise as her nose was tweaked. Not expecting that! "Oh, do I?" She chewed her lip, rising her brows mischievously. "A fear of my father's." A hint of sadness to pass through sparkling green eyes and disappearing as fast as it came. "Well, I could certainly go alone but I rather enjoy your company, mon amie, and I would be delighted to have you with me." She leaned over to squeeze Anthea's shoulder quickly, her affection for her Greek friend growing with every encounter. "And I will be sure to bring my paints along, especially to capture the sight of a bare chest! 'T' would be such a tragedy were I to miss such a dazzling show," Claire remarked, feigning perfect seriousness though she was laughing inside. Claire was a wild cat, however, she tried to curb most of it and be a proper lady as she was raised. It was a mite difficult sometimes....ok, well, often times!


She would find dark eyes steadfast and locked upon hers. Hard to read in some degrees for the thoughts going through his head. A tinge of curiosity mingled. That held his sight upon her longer than some might consider polite. Listening the while and laughed finally with the part upon seeing a man's chest. He noticed the hint of sadness after mentioning her father. Something he could relate to but didn't bring it up. Letting it pass being he hardly knew the woman. "There will be a crowd there. Usually at least small. Sometimes barely standing room." Especially when he was to fight but he didn't mention that. A rumble laugh followed the part on such a dazzling show. More like a slick sweaty one. Purely male exhibit. Perhaps that was why her family didn't wish her near a boxing ring?


Liam received a wink as well not knowing how Claire would react, but she remembered how shy she had been when she first arrived. All she called friends had helped her with this, and she did not see Claire having that problem. "Well then, Liam.. when is the next match so I can bring the lovely Claire?" Twitch of a grin with a swallow to hide her laughter threatening to bubble over. She had grown fond of Claire as well. She was already a dear friend to Anthea, and one she truly enjoyed listening to. Claire was a poet.


Claire was the polar opposite of shy. Boldness and audacity were two traits that her mother had fits over and resorted to her smelling salts to quell her anxiety. Her father, however, had given up, his only daughter being his Achilles' heel. After a while, he used her daring nature to teach her to ride, NO sidesaddle much to her mother's dismay, and then training with swords, bows and arrows, etc. It had become quite the adventure after her father stopped trying to make her boring and stuffy. "I will be sure to obtain seats directly in front so that I may capture your wonderful chest on my canvas." Claire smirked, studying his form without shame. "It is for the purpose of my art," she claimed though made no effort to hide the laughter in her eyes. Art, shmart, yes, it was for her artwork but also for herself. How could one not admire, especially at such a close proximity? "Yes, do tell, Liam. When is the next match so that we may attend?" Arching a dark brow with genuine interest.


Unfortunately, Anthea's lovely mother had died years ago. Her raising had been within a tavern in Scotland, and then a book store in France. Here she had come alive. Here she had finally felt safe, and here was where she met her brothers and sister for the first time. All have past of one thing or another, all have their demons, but Heathfield chased all Anthea's away. Anthea made no comment to Claire's words, only to smile. She would enjoy the fight, Anthea felt sure of this, and not just due to Liam's chest, but the fights were fascinating. They were to the woman and why she printed an article about it.."Perhaps you can write with words that you speak so beautifully, on Liam and his talent?" She had, but it would not hurt to let another write about it as well? The choice would be her own, as well as Liam.. "Liam taught me how to take a hair pin and use it for self defense.. " That added she peered over the railing to see the children playing tag.


"There are matches just about every day, more practicing than a full out match in the ring. Claire would get her expressions to capture no matter. Those that come regularly to watch will give her the feel of the crowd. Just follow yea ears when out and about." The quirk of a smile was quickly resumed then gone. A rumbling laugh came from deep within to roll on out into a full bloom one. He had a nice hearty laugh. "You'll get to see quite a few bare chests as well me own, just don't get too close when the punches are thrown." Last thing she needed was being scooped up against a sweaty chest she'd miss for being knocked out. The thought had that glint to spark in dark eyes. "Perhaps she can share a drawing to be printed in the paper?" There was an idea for them both.


"That sounds like the perfect idea, Anthea. I will paint and write about it." Claire smiled, pleased with the plans that they were creating. How positively exciting. "Liam, I think you have hit upon an idea as well. How about this, I will draw the scene and then add a small paragraph?" Looking back to Anthea for approval. They could tweak out the details later on. "A few bare chests? Not just one or two? My, my, how titillating," she winked and then rose slowly, shaking out the folds of her skirt. "Unfortunately, I must be off. I have a few errands to take care of before dark. It has been a pleasure, Liam. I look forward to seeing you again." She dipped into a quick curtsy, offering a smile."Anthea, my dear friend, I suggest we get together sometime soon to discuss the details of our project. Does that sound good to you, my dear?"


Musical laughter slipped past full lips, the tips of her fingers danced along those lips as each word Claire spoke was taken in. Silver hues seem to sparkle with the idea, and her smile that bloomed gave all the answers needed. "Soon my friend, and be safe.." She could not wait to discuss all of it.


He straightened from his lean, the empty tankard of ale left on the rail presently. "A good day be yours, Claire. A pleasure in the meet and I'm sure in the future as well. A good day to enjoy." Smile was there, one that reached dark eyes as she was to depart.


Silver hues took in the brightness of the sun, and its location. It was growing late, and soon she would have to leave as well to eat dinner with her family, or perhaps a sandwich at the press. She would decide that when she left, which was not yet. She was enjoying the comfort too much.


"Thank you both. Enjoy the rest of your evening!" With a wide smile, she darted into the Thistle to return her empty glass to Alex and then departed, waving to her friends as she went.


He noticed her noticing the position of the sun. A means in which he gauged the time. "Can I entice you to a walk by the residential homes to see their gardens in bloom and perhaps what the vendors have to sell in the commons?" He had taken the empty tankard up as he would bring that back inside before he departed.


"Of course Liam." She rose from her own seat, the cup taken up as she did so. "I do owe my brother new boots?" Softly uttered words came from lips still fresh from cider. "Let me return this to Alex.." Then she was off with cup given to Alex, and smile of how wonder the cider did taste this afternoon.

Date: 05-15-11
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 71

A Peek into the Future

"Believe it or not, most young women go through what you are going through now." She inhaled and smiled. "You should not be in a rush to grow up so fast. Time flies quickly. Especially when one is having fun. So make sure that you have fun, but safe fun." Claire made a face as if trying to work out the difference. "Does that make sense?"


"I am nineteen, Claire... most countries that is considered the age to come out, to find a husband that will suite your family." Sigh.. "But I don't want that, Claire.. I don't want marriage until I find that adventure that will make me remember always. To sit with gray hair and remember it always.. perhaps find me a sultan to escape from." Twitch of a grin, to bring Claire to smile as well to her own memory of such an ordeal. "It will come to me, as it did my brothers.. perhaps I shall be a professional rider." Lower voice with a wink.. "I can stand on my horse with no saddle and aim my arrow to the target each time." Safe fun? Myrina almost cringed to that phrase!


It wasn't fun if it was safe! Thus stated, in from the side entrance entered the dark prince of Heathfield. Indeed, the prince of adventure seeking, the prince of retributions because of it. He made sure the door closed behind him and then started for the bar. He smiled when he saw the girls there, lifting a hand in greeting. "Good evening to you both!" And look at that, a glass already added to the counter for Tykir by Alex. What a good guy!


"G'evening, Tykir.. have you met Claire?" Questioned softly with a smile to linger for Tykir, then to Claire a new found friend.


"Yes, that is true. But because it has been true for others, it does not mean that it has to be true for you. Marriage is a union of love and trust, not a business matter, though many would consider it so." Claire shrugged her shoulder. "A professional rider? That's exciting. I don't see any reason why you should not aspire to do so!" Claire grinned and then looked at the newest arrival. "Why, hello there."


Rick was in the back pouring over a few maps. Those that were being made of Kildare as he personally went around with a troop in surveying the lands. Hills indicated in a topo way for it was the means to build strategies in case of war. Certainly Kildare had seen quite a few in the past many years and Rick had that kind of tactical mind that amazed even Mikhail MacKay at this point. The two became not just comrades, in spite of the age difference, but friends. They were learning a lot from each other and now Rick had a deck of Tarot Cards, compliment of Mikhail. Something quite different for the Crown Prince of Ballicastle. Voices nagged at the edge of conscious thought as his was set on developing a new strategy would put the troops in test of eventually. He finally wrapped it up and headed out to the main room. He had a thirst worked up and an appetite. Smile came easily seeing others here as he lifted to dash fingers through blond hair. An unconscious motion as his hand was back down as he spoke up, "good evening. Hello Tykir." Of course he knew the Heathfield prince.


Myrina did not care about love at the present time of her life, she only cared to enjoy life with no attachments. Whether it be eating fish, swimming, or stowing away on a ship, she wanted that grand adventure if only once in her life. With the greeting made, she brought both to end the introductions at that. Riding? For show? Could be a possibility and she couldn't help but kiss Claire's cheek with that idea. Ordering another cider from Alex, she could not help licking lips in anticipation to the tasty treat. The other she did not know, and smiled warmly to him before green eyes sparkled to the cider freshly delivered.


"Rick." He nodded to the Ballicastle prince as he entered the room. "And yes, I have, thank you Myrina. And I'm pleased to see you both."


Bannon was whistling as he made his way through the commons. He had gone a-wandering after training was finished, and the chores a younger knight had to tend to were taken care of. And where he must have wandered, had a bar. The young knight was weaving as he headed around the fountain which had been turned on again. Pausing there, he leaned over and dunked his head into the water. Cold enough it would help sober him up some.


"Have you both met Rick McAndrews?" He motioned with his glass to Chadrick III. "Rick, MyrinaValentina ..." Because he loved saying it together. "And Claire."


She could only shake her head with a giggle, moving with ease due to the pants that adored her long legs. "A pleasure to meet you Rick.." She lifted her mug of cider in greeting, bringing her smile to coil into a bright smile for this man freshly met. Myrina Valentina! Gah!


It had a singsong way about it as he too ended up letting the vowels rhyme in an Irish accent, "My.. rina.. valen... tina. Grand to meet you as well Claire." Dimples dipped with the quick smile and certainly there was a twinkle in his eyes that spoke of mischief in spite of the more tactile mind. Which reminded him as the girls seemed to want to talk girl talk, he had heard something about marriage and all that. Focus turned back on Tykir. "I am sure my brothers have been entertaining you and others?" Slight smirk there, "although I wonder on Bryan." Giving a motion of hand to dismiss it for his next thought. "I was wondering if you would be interested in seeing Kildare?"


"A pleasure to meet everyone." Claire rose to curtsy. Unfortunately, she just remembered that she had something important to attend to. "Would you all excuse me please? Beg pardon." Claire paused to bid everyone a good night and was on her way.


This man had her blushing with the way he said her name, and she turned her green eyes to the Prince with a scowl. Myrina Valentina? Her mother had to be mad to name her such. And marriage, oh no .. no marriage minded girl here and then blink as Claire dashed away. "Is it the men's attire I wonder?" She had to smile, Claire was sweet and knew it was needed if she left in such haste.


Dang! She was quick, that one!


He shook his head, sending water every which way and headed up the steps of the Thistle, stumbling at the top. Well, that hadn't helped much, had it? A moment later, he was stepping inside the door just as another stepped out.


She sure was as even Rick blinked with the blur that was Claire. "Whew," was all he said on that.


With Myrina's comment, he looked down at his attire, thinking she meant him or Rick, then slid a look the McAndrews' way. "I've seen it." He started to smile..."But what exactly do you mean when you..." But his words died down as Bannon entered. Hoboy, what had we here? Tykir blinked, slanting a look to Alex, then back to Rick. "What do you mean when you say interested in seeing it?"


"She is an artist, Rick.. and was helping my sister deliver papers today." Making excuses she was not, wishing the men not to think badly of her she was indeed. Kildare? She remembered what she was told about Kildare and turned her head to leave the men to speak. Wave to Sir Bannon, the knight that she credited for climbing trees of late!


"She's an artist? Oh...that would explain it." Like Claire's dashing off could be completely explained by that chosen profession. Tykir laughed to himself and brought his glass up, looking once again to Bannon as he waited for the reply from Rick.


"I see," smile never wavered but he didn't see the connection between her course of chores during the day and her quick exit. It was none of his business. "I hope all is well with her."


"Thank you, so do I." Spoken sincerely and then to forget the subject as she sipped from the mug and the enjoyment of the cider.


"Tykir! Rick! Myrina Valentina." And he was using Tykir's nickname for the lass because it amused him, at least tonight. He headed for the bar in a not so straight path. Time for another drink. "Why'd the lass leave like the devil himself was on her tail?" Just a question. He'd forget he'd asked if they waited a moment.


"A wet Bannon Zimmer," for certainly Bannon was wet, soaked even. "Did you leave any water in the trough?" Being he was dripping so the water source had to be close.


Well Spit! Bannon too? Good gracious and God's bones. She could only grin as the mug was placed on the surface of the bar, turning with the cotton shirt owned by her brother to hold wrinkles .. "Perhaps Davy Jones has left the ocean.. and now stalks her as his prey for the locker?" Her voice held that of a story teller, even holding her arms out like a zombie with a grin.


"You came in, Zimmer, she dashed out." Tykir shrugged, chuckling still, knowing he could say anything tonight to Bannon and all would be forgotten tomorrow. "That pretty much explains it." Tykir, laughing at her antics, swatted at her arms. "Don't ever hold out your arms like that around a McAndrews, Myrinavalentina."


"Seeing the battlegrounds, the areas that are still in question and a place that makes the port here look like a child's playground in many parts." Those words were low for certainly seeing Kildare was not a Sunday picnic. Not yet anyway. There were many working on that.


"Hmmmm." He lifted his arm and sniffed. "Can't be me and the fountain, Rick, the fountain. Cleaner water." He snickered at both Myrina and Tykir and promptly tripped over a stool, then leaned against the bar. He meant to do that!


Attention grabbed first by Rick, then by Bannon. "Dang, Bannon..." Was all he said, though he was grinning. He tipped his own glass to look within and then drank some more. Zimmer had a goodly amount up on them already!


"Why is that?" She questioned with green gaze to linger on man in question, whom was speaking now and she to feel the heat of a blush appearing. "Forgive my interruption, Rick." Now Bannon was going to make her giggle too! Gah!


"You mean if any of my brothers were here." Rick was not so interested in charming as some of his brothers seemed to pick it up like some kind of reputation. Well, a few of their uncles had reputations with the ladies.


Had he heard the word battleground? And he perked as he listened. Apparently he hadn't!


A few? There was no such thing as a few McAndrews! Quite a few, maybe, but never just a few. "Best she not do it around any, then she won't have to worry about which ones." He was still grinning as he looked from Rick to Myrina.


"Ahhh, then not you?" With her playful smile, she held out her arms, jumped from the stool and booo'd the lot of them.."I am the ghost of Davy Jones,... booooo"


"She would be thinking the lock ness monster had come in with your bedraggled soaked self, Bannon." He was attempting to tease. "Congratulations on your knighthood. How is on the other side of the arena?"


But even as his gaze drifted to the boooing girl, he spoke to Rick. "And I'd very much be interested in that. Just name the day."


And she was doing the zombie walk toward Rick even now. "I neeeeed... booo..." Boo'ing and giggling did not make a good ghost. "Sorry.." She did it again, and turned from whence she came. Not wishing to intrude again, but she was having fun if that matters? Grin!


"Are you aiming to hug someone, My...rina.. Valen.. tina?" He had taken up a lean and looking the lass over as if for the first time really. Probably was for he hadn't given either of them that kind of scrutiny at first.


Squeak like a mouse! And then.."Well yes I am.. Zombies always need hugs, that is if our arms don't fall off?" Wink to this McAndrews.


"Who would?" He was confused easily tonight. "Ah, thank you. It's just as hard though there's less chores to do since I'm only taking care of m'own horse and armor and whatever." Lonelier too but he didn't mention that.


"Well, you should have just said so then walking around like you were hunting for water but without the stick." He was up and next she was up. Probably a foot from the floor, Rick was at least 6 feet and six inches already. He was strong too, lifted her like a rag doll with little to no weight at all. "You're a feather Miss Valen... tina. Tiny would be a good nickname for you." So he held her, smelled good too before he set her back to the floor. "Tykir, Bannon, your turn, make sure she is hugged good tonight."


Heck, Bannon could have told her where the water was!


Squeak came again, and perhaps now you know why her brothers call her mouse. "My, what long legs you have.." Looking down to the ground as this strong man was holding her up. She may be dressed in buckskin pants, and a green cotton shirt, but her scent brought images of rose gardens and nature. "I..." What can she say to that. "You.." For the first time Myrina Valentina Vassalo was speechless! Her brothers would love him for that!


He still was confused who would think he was the loch ness monster. "Where you getting to go?" An escape? Then he chuckled. "If she doesn't mind soaked."


Tykir set aside his drink and while she was stuttering he caught her up next, and while Rick was tall, Tykir could take her to new heights. But ... he didn't. Just gave her a tight squeeze, and a wink for good measure before he released her and motioned for the final round...the wet one. Tiny...Tina. There was another fun sounding name for the lass.


This ought to be good as he watched from Tykir to awaiting the soaked Bannon. He was grinning again as he took up a lazy lean against the bar.


Two princes and a knight...what girl could boast more? And one of those princes...would one day be King! Hello!


He even managed not to stumble as he straightened from his lean and scooped the lass up into a hug. Nice and weeeeet. And then she was released again. "Courtesy of the foun-tain." And up went the drink he had received from Alex. "Now, where you going? Or is it something secretive." He wasn't worrying about them not telling him if it was.


Maybe that wet press of Bannon's body smoothed away the wrinkles of her shirt. Sure as heck left it a bit more revealing than it had been dry! Nothing secretive when it came to Tykir and Bannon. "Kildare." Tykir didn't even hesitate, thing was, would Bannon remember tomorrow?


Tiny? The smile came bright for the names yes, but also the friendship she was making with another. And now, Bannon too. "I am so blessed.." Batting her lashes with a grin to be seen by all three. And, cool air brought her to look down and seen the white camisole barely seen. She moved to the stool quickly and gave a pleading look to Alex, perhaps the man had a blanket?


"You're invited to come. Have you wanted to see Kildare before seeing it in a battle?" This addressed to Bannon as certainly the young Knight should see the impressive place. You know which two places would show the wet marks on that wrinkled shirt first? The two that pressed against Bannon first.


Gah!


Uh...well..yes! Thank you Bannon!


Rick noticed that!


His attention was drawn from Myrina to Rick. "Aye, I would have. You sure it's alright?" Tykir could remind him! Welcome!


"Thank you so much.." She took the offered blanket and quickly wrapped it about her body, perhaps she should start wearing gowns. Blonde hair and green eyes were ignored, for now her flesh was beet red.


He gave him that look, "of course," like he really needed to confirm that?


And would! Darn right he would! It would be another adventure, and lately, Tykir didn't go on those without his backup.


Adventure? She smiled, and yes, silently envied Tykir. With the smile to end, she took another sip of the delicious cider.


He was drunk! Of course he needed to confirm it.


If she envied Tykir his adventures, she also had to envy him the retribution for many of those as well.


"You both have met the esteem Mikhail MacKay?" Looking between the two and possibly Myrina but perhaps not either. Mikhail was elusive as Rick most of the time. "He taught me to read the tarot." Tykir lived for the retribution!


At times, punishment was worth a grand adventure. "I have not .." Another name, perhaps another friend and smiled as Rick spoke of him. "Tarot?" She had naught heard of this word.


Tykir nodded, there were few that hadn't come to the castle at some point. "Tarot?" Now that was interesting. Tykir lived for the adventure, he accepted the retribution!


Some might think he took on the adventure for the other! There was another rumor too that will probably floor the drunk Bannon. "Is it true you are sweet on the Princess Rina?" Rick was a different kind of trouble .. but trouble and mischief nonetheless.


It seemed he and Myrina said the word at the same time, although Tykir knew well about the reading of the cards. He looked to the female and smiled since they had spoken in unison.


"Aye, I have." He finally took a drink of the potcheen then squinted a look at Rick. "What?!"


Floor Bannon! How about floor Tykir! The dark prince blinked, snapping his gaze from Myrina over to Rick. "Where did you hear that?" There went the interest in the cards, there was a more serious matter to discuss.


Smile came warmly to the Prince, and then her green eyes touched on each person in the room. Perhaps with them, and the others she could find that adventure.


"Up on the practice grounds. A few squires. I think I heard the one addressed as Toby, seemed to have served you and this was the grounds he based it on."


Myrina kept her back to the men, leaving them to speak in what she would guess had turned serious. She was even silent as the cider was sipped.

-c-

Date: 05-15-11
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 72

"He based that tale on serving me?" He gave a nod of head toward Bannon. "Or Zimmer?" Because he'd have no reason to be spreading tales about Bannon or Rina by simply serving under Tykir when they went that once to the jousts. He looked to Bannon. "I'll let you handle that one, Bannon." The squire had a way of blabbing just a bit too much, and now he was flapping his lip about things that were none of his business whatsoever.

"I'm not quite sure. Seems there was a joust too mixed in the tale. Only that he said that Bannon here had eyes for the lovely Princess Rina." Which was understandable and believable.


He grumbled and shook his head. "How could ... what would make ... Half the time I think she hates me." The other half.. well, he'd keep quiet about that. He didn't need the trouble. "Thank you, Tykir." He was feeling a bit more sober then he had been. "Lad needs to learn to keep his mouth shut."


Joust? Blink. This was Prince Rick McAndrews that tied the joust with Rina? Gah!


Tiny Tina would find out that Rick was not Rory.


She had a lot to learn it would seem.


Bannon served under de Beauvais, surely he could teach the lad a thing or two about just that.


Oh, he could, he could.


"My sister is the princess of Heathfield, and a beauty at that...I'm sure there are quite a few that have eyes for her." And he'd deny saying that if EVER it came up again! He slanted a look Bannon's way. Whether or not the rumor was true, Toby needed to shut the heck up about anything that could get them each or all in trouble! If Rina found out, and didn't feel the same, there would be HELL to pay! And there was no way in that hell that Bannon had the funds to make that necessary payment!


If that be the case, that Tykir's sister didn't like the rumor and blamed Bannon, Tykir's next excursion into the dungeons would be to try and find his friend. There would be songs about how many disappeared in the effort.


She felt she was a bit too close for a conversation better left off for her not to hear. She really liked the princess and hoped she would not be hurt by this. "Alex.. one more?" Came the whisper in question to another mug.


No kidding! Point exactly!


Oh, he knew of a few himself but there was not only Rina to worry about! There was Andrew and the Twins and hell, the King and Queen. And don't mention that to Bannon. He was plotting as it was. Intimidation was a lovely thing. And no, he didn't want Rina hurt either. "Do you think she'll blame me?" That trip to Kildare was looking very good.


No, he never return, no he never returned and his fate is still unlearned as he went into the dungeons of Heathfield to never return.
"Does she really hate you like you mentioned?" He was watching Bannon closely as well Tykir. There were many kinds of battles.


With a smile given to Alex in thanks, she pulled the paper over to read with the cider enjoyed. Should she move? And Green eyes then studied the paper, enjoying the texture of the paper itself.


"I think we're scaring the lass..." words low but then when was a McAndrews voice ever low? Even low it carried.


"I don't think she does, since I don't have to follow her around any more but, she doesn't hesitate to smack me one if she thinks I need it."


She was fine. Enjoying the cider and paper. Plus, not speaking meant she could study the cider and how to drink this with rum!


She'd be better off going with hard cider than adding rum to it. Then they would have a loopy tiny tina.


Good idea!


Or a tipsy tiny tina.


Say that five times fast.


Because it was better to get off of the subject of Rina and the possibilities of her anger, he looked to Myrina. "So, you never had your cards read, Myrinavalentina?"


Tipsy tiny tina tripping through the tulips.


Would Alex give her hard cider? She held one finger up after she asked him. "Only one?" Apollo knew the way home, she only had to climb on the stallions back. One mug would not halt that from happening. "Oh no, Tykir... never. What is that? To have one's cards read?" She had never met a gypsy, had her fortune told. "Is it hard to do?"


"I can't do it...but..." He looked to Rick. "Did you say you had cards with you?"


She could always crawl into a bed here at the tavern. With the question he looked from Tykir to Myrina. "Aye, Mikhail taught me how to read them. He's a bit of a gypsy. Fantastic warrior."


She gazed to Rick and then slowly to Tykir, only to look to Rick once more. Now that is a plan, sleep here! "Does it hurt?" Tykir sounded like it did! Warm smile as the words were spoken of Rick's friend.


He laughed, looking back at Myrina. "It can at times, depending on what they show."


Show? That did not sound so bad. "Sounds interesting."


"I thought Mikhail was Irish?" He pushed the drink aside. Better to return to the barracks with a clear head.


"Taught you how, Rick? But do you have some? Or can you use a regular deck, I'm sure there are some in the back."


"..or if one took the deck and whopped you upside the head with it." Giving a nod, "these cards don't spell out gloom and doom, they are about the journey we all take through life and different learning points we are at. I'm not sure how I will do but the cards never lie so I'm thinking it is more the cards than the person to read them."


Soft laughter came from this woman, waiting for what they were talking about .Silence came to her lips, listening to Rick as he spoke.


"I'm thinking it takes both. I can look at them and see absolutely nothing but a weird picture."


Eyeing Tykir the while as he drew the Tarot deck from a pouch attached to his belt. "The real ones.." which he set out. "Now all you have to do is shuffle them, cut the deck three times to the left then put them back to a whole in whatever manner you see fit."


He shrugged at that and leaned toward Myrina. "Journey cards...just what you need!"


Nod excitedly. Yes, she wanted to see journey cards. "Do that now, Rick?"


Tykir nodded to the cards and the instructions that Rick offered over to her.


He was ignored but he just chuckled and watched.


"Aye, unless you want to stare at the deck for a while," teasing her with a wink.


Fingers picked up the deck carefully, looking to all three as she shuffled the deck slowly. She cut the deck once, twice, three times to the left before offering the cards back.


"Aye," this back to Bannon as he was addressing a few things. "Irish, Druid, gypsy.. there are Irish gypsies."


Wink was returned as she waited with excitement to what would happen next.


He turned over the top card which showed the Page of Wands, "I do a one card reading so far," which was the one he was taught but if the card was confusing, up to two more could be drawn to help explain it better. The picture on the card portrays a boy of around twelve years of age, with curling auburn hair and wearing a pale orange tunic. He rides on the back of a golden - fleeced ram which flies over the yellow and green fields and streams, holding a flaming wand whose fire streams out into the wind behind him. Ahead of him is a rising sun which casts a vivid orange glow over the landscape. Leaving her to study the picture a few moments before he explained. "When the Page of Wands appears it is time for the individual to discover some new stirring of creative potential within himself or herself. This may often manifest as a restlessness at work, a vague feeling of dissatisfaction not yet strong enough to motivate a change and a hint or glimpse that one might be able to expand one's life in some way. The initial fantasies which accompany such restlessness do not have the up rushing power of the Ace of Wands and may ultimately turn out to be impractical or impossible. Yet it is important to take them seriously for they are the harbingers of a stronger source of inspiration and need to be nurtured rather than stamped upon as though such restlessness were merely a bad phase rather than a herald."


"Ah." Made more sense to him now. He didn't say anything more. Just watched and listened.


Myrina watched closely as the card turned over. Attention to lay upon Rick as he spoke, and interest to be seen in the depths of green eyes watching the card even now. Words spoken by Rick had Myrina gaze into his eyes, almost in question to the words that he just spoke. But she did not ask, she only smiled in silence.


"You understand the meaning?" Wondering if he had lost her or if the card came near to this part of her life.


"Perhaps of my free spirit, and what I desire in my life? That I do what I dream, and not what others wish me to do? " She bowed her head to study the wooden flooring, not wishing to look to him if she was wrong.


Tykir smiled, looking from the lass to the McAndrews. There was so much more there than just that but he didn't say a word, bringing up his glass as he finished off the contents.


"Aye. It is saying you have new stirrings and that they are the first steps to bigger ones that will come later. That they should not be squashed but understand they are a legitimate part of growing up." That was it basically but more could be read into it if one were perceptive like that. Not everyone could look that deep and not be lost.


"Thank you, Rick.. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that." And the stirring was felt within the pit of her stomach each minute, of each day.. to have adventures and fun. To worry about other things another day. The teen smiled warmly to Rick before attention was given to the cider, and to his words still lingering within her mind.


"Then the card suits you and is a confirmation of sorts by your words." Which satisfied him as he slipped the card back into the center. "What of you Tykir?"


The smile remained in her agreement, but did not speak as attention was turned to the prince.


"Me?"


He looked from Rick to Tykir and laughed. That would have been his reaction too.


"No, the squire up in the castle doing the extra labor of washing dishes for being late on the practice field." Giving Tykir a look before a dashing grin followed.


He glanced to the cards, drew in a deep breath, then nodded...the teen could scale rooftops, fight giant birds in the air, meet all manner of strange beasts and yet, the thought of those cards was rather daunting. "Ah, well, since that Tykir isn't here..." He reached for the cards and cut, stacked and returned them to Rick.


Nibble to lip as a giggle threatened to escape.


He reached to turn over the top card revealing the Wheel of Fortune. The picture portrays three women seated within a dark cave. The first is young and spins thread from a golden spindle. The second is handsome and mature, and measures a length of the thread between her hands. The third is old and holds a pair of shears. In the center between them is a golden wheel, around which four small human figures can be seen in different positions. Through the mouth of the cave a rich green landscape is visible. He gave him a moment to study the picture before speaking up. "This card, the Wheel of Fortune augurs a sudden change of fortune. This may be good or bad, but whichever way the Wheel turns it brings growth and a new phase of life. We cannot predict what will come to meet us -- or rather, what we will turn to meet. But behind these changes stand the Moirai, an image of the center within. Thus the One is thrown from his complacency and begins the descent to his own source." And Rick didn't know if such a card fitted or not of the prince. It was getting late but he could do one more as he motioned to the cards while looking directly at Bannon.


Wow! Myrina could only gaze briefly to both gentleman as the card was read. And then to lower green eyes to view the color of the cider.


Complacency? Dang, if Tykir was any more 'not' complacent, Heathfield was in for a shitstorm of trouble! He nodded his thanks to Rick then with one last look at his card, turned to look toward Bannon. "How about Zimmer?"


She gave a nod of her blonde head, she wanted to hear about Sir Bannon as well.


Tykir just had to remind everyone he was here, didn't he? "Ja, what about me?" Drinking made one stupidly brave.


"I want to hear it from the cards how Rina is going to kickyoursorryass once she hears the rumors!" Oh what a grin.


Blink. Mouth shut. GodlordyouranassTykir!


"Might not be my ass if the truth is admitted." That squire might get another beating!


With mug given back to Alex, and blanket with her brother's shirt dry, she turned to listen. And this would be the last, for she would have to return home soon.


"What truth needs to be admitted?" This was better than the card.


"That the squire started the rumors." Of course.


On that note. "I wish you all a lovely evening. And Rick, thank you for the fortune, and words not understand, but one day they will be." With kisses blown to each man, the woman was soon out the door to collect her stallion and rush home.


"Are you saying they are made up or based on some kind of truth?" He was curious as he waited for Bannon to cut the cards. Which had him blink as Tiny Tina did a Claire move. "Not understood," that was why she was staring into his eyes with that blank look!


He picked up the cards, did as expected and placed them back on the table. "We all mess around, all tease. I barely remember the joust it was so busy."


These women, here one minute, gone the next! Houdini could learn a lesson from them when it came to disappearing!


He turned over the card showing the Queen of Cups. The picture portrays a pale, mysteriously beautiful woman with long, rich black hair wearing a blue green gown and a golden crown. She is seated on a golden throne whose arms are engraved with golden snakes. Her robes trail into a deep blue pool at her feet. In one hand she holds a golden apple, in the other a golden cup into which she peers with a look of profound concentration. Behind her, beyond rich green fields can be glimpsed a blue sea beneath a vivid sky.


Thank GOD that woman didn't have golden tresses!


He studied the card then looked up at Rick and waited. And yes, that was a good thing!


Especially since Bannon was the Knight of Cups tonight!


"It is time for the individual to encounter the deep, unknowable, paradoxical world of feeling in himself or herself. The Queen of Cups may enter one's life as a mysterious, hypnotic woman, not necessarily overly seductive yet strangely disturbing, and a catalyst for the emergence of deep feelings and fantasies which have previously been hidden from awareness. She may appear as a beloved or as a rival, but either way such an encounter is not mere chance.


There was only a gasped. "Holycrap." From Tykir's side of the counter.


It is rather an augur for the emergence of these soul qualities within the individual. For the woman who is unaware of the Helen in herself and identifies with the maternal or practical sides of femininity, the Queen of Cups implies that it is time to meet her, even if the catalyst is the other woman. For the man who is unaware of the depths of his own soul, and bases his reality on rational thought and concrete facts, the Queen of Cups heralds a deepening and development of the inner life, whether or not the catalyst is an actual woman." Slow grin was rising as he watched Bannon's reaction to all of that.


It was the last part that got his attention. The first part had him worried yes, but he was unsure of so much, and it didn't seem like it really connected to the rumors. Or did it. The last though, the last meant something to Bannon. He looked at Tykir and then back to Rick. "That's ... interesting." Well, it might not mean now, and that wouldn't change Bannon's tagging along as Tykir's back up.


Yes? Well, Tykir's was a softly spoken repeat of his initial reaction from seeing that card. "Holy...crap." Any deepening or developing of one's soul could be a rough thing and sounded way too serious to Tykir's carefree lifestyle of late.


Serious and a touch, scary if one wasn't ready for a change like that.


Noshidallalooski!


"Something to think about," for all he read a card for as he packed them back up into the pouch on his belt. "Now, would you two be interested in heading up to the knight's hall in the castle?"


"Yes...and...talking more about taking a trip up to Kildare."


"Aye, that is the idea behind it and our beds far closer to crawl into after a few more special imported German brews to sample." He was already up and heading towards the door as if there was no time like the present to waste. There was the Pure for a chaser too.


"Aye, sounds good to me." He might need to wait a night before tackling that squire and reminding him a knight doesn't tell tales.

-e-

Date: 05-23-11
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 73

Wartime Maneuvers

She was laughing and running, the pup barking with Myrena as they rushed from the lake to the tavern. It was hard enough for her to run itself, but to laugh and run, the girl was running a dangerous path!


Rick was in the back office pouring over one of the maps that he'd been getting ready. He was asked, as part of his training, to see how well Tykir did on maneuvers. A box contained small warriors, some on horses, some with bow and arrow, most on foot. There were a few catapults too. He kept an ear to the door, as the expression went, so he'd know if anyone came in. Tykir usually came this way as well Bannon, who would also be tested.


The blonde did not enter right away, but sat on the porch to pet Hermes and make up for hiding in a tree and he to bark and claw at the mighty tree. With a pat to his head, she jumped up and the woman walked within the Thistle, she was thirsty and moved straight to the bar with a smile and request for cider. A drink, a rest, and then homeward bound.


If Tykir had known that Rick was set up to test him after a long day of training and studies and babysitting...the last was the kicker!, he would have never come to the Thistle. Thing was, he had not received Andrew's sense of 'knowing', nope, hadn't perfected that one yet, so he entered from the side door, just as he always did. And lookie! Myrena! "Hello there, Myrenavalentina." He smiled as he continued to the bar where she stood. But, really, part of his journey was due to the fact that Alex placed a glass on the bar counter for him.


She heard Tykir and almost groaned with the knowledge what would come next. "Hello Tykir.." And he didn't disappoint her. Myrenavalentina. Gah! "How are you tonight?" Offered before she drank of the cider.


"Doing well, thanks." He collected his glass. "Nice to see you. It's been a little while."


"A week?" Next would they talk of the weather? With a grin she drank more.


Where the Dark Prince was, Bannon would soon follow. Most of the time. And today was one of those times. He came in through the front, limping slightly, and with a black eye. All because three of the squires decided they should be brave and go three on one. Blasted kids.


And the state of the roads, oh so proper and civilized. Wait, this was Tykir. "Too long." He added, bringing his glass up to drink, but it stopped when Bannon entered. "Holysockittome! What happened to you?"


There were three tables pushed together down one end from the bar. Hearing voices, especially two in particular, he quickly rolled up the large long map and tucked the box under his arm. Dimpled grin was already in place as he came through the door, "good evening," slight dip of his head to the lass in a proper form but the glint that danced in his eyes was for both Tykir and Bannon. He was over to the tables to start rolling out the map before he set the box down on one end where there was room left to place objects.


Tykir glanced around his shoulder to Rick. "Evening, Rick." He offered, then looked back to Bannon.


Features turned as the entrance was heard, lids to widen but words nay to comment on Bannon's appearance. Tykir took care of that one! Myrena took seat upon a bar stool, the smile of friendship given to Rick. "Good evening." And then green eyes glassed to her cup, before taking another sip knowing she should get Hermes some water. Rick seemed busy, and Bannon seemed beat up.. and she was going to be quiet
.

"Rick, Tykir, Myrena." He was trying to be grumpy but there went Tykir. "Toby and two other squires decided to see how I did with three on one. I forgot how wooden weapons hurt." Those three wouldn't forget it however. Bannon was not Mouse anymore.


"Aye, we've met," finally glancing up from the opened box as he made sure it had all the pieces. Rick could get meticulous like that. To a fault. It was also why he was good at what he did. "How have you been Myrena?" Although focus soon shifted to the other two. "I have been asked by Mikhail who has been asked by King Karl, to see how you would do in certain scenarios." It wasn't going to be a physical exercise but a mental one. That's how concentrated he was, he thought Bannon was introducing them. Concentrated on the map and upcoming play instead of socially.


Slender shoulders moved in a cringed as she heard the reason. Smile given to Alex as the cup was taken to grant her a refill. Wooden weapons? She had to grin, perhaps she could borrow one to clunk her brother in the head with. But then Rick spoke, and she waited until there was a pause in their conversation to answer with a smile. "I have been well, Rick.. and you.. no zombies to get you?" Twitch of a grin then silence so they could speak.


Karl asked him? Tykir didn't seem to be phased on the outside, but on the inside, his stomach clenched. "Good luck with that Bannon." He grinned to his friend, passing off Rick's invitation as if it was meant for him. "Probably because you got your ass kicked by the likes of Toby and his minions." Tykir also knew that Bannon wouldn't let those three off easy and he couldn't wait to see what bruises, bumps, bandages they were sporting.


"No Zombies, well, I don't think you could really call them that. A small crowd of lasses hanging around the castle morning, noon and night since my brothers came and are staying there." Not realizing he had come down from Kildare at the same time. He never associated such on himself. "I figure in a day or two the problem will cease when then collapse from no sleep."


"They didn't beat my ass." He growled, doing a pretty good imitation of a certain Horseman. Hey, that was kind of fun. Maybe he'd do it more often, that gravely growling voice. Of course he couldn't do the serious for long. No one could do serious like Sir Vincent except maybe the King. "Toby was mad because I can make him do extra laps now and I did for his gossiping like an fishwife."


Dang! That sounded prit'near'exact like the Dragon! Although, Tykir couldn't think those words had ever been spoken from the likes of de Beauvais. No one would ever question him getting his ass kicked.


Myrena couldn't help the smile. Poor men, the lot of them. 'I am sorry to hear this, your majesty.. do hope it will end and all can have peace again." Yes, she found out who he was, but would speak those words only once. "Excuse please, Rick.. Tykir and Sir Bannon.. I must give my dog some water" With a smile gifted to all, she took the small bowl of water offered to her by Alex and jumped from the stool to take care of Hermes.


"Tykir, you're the Commander and Bannon is your Lieutenant." So they would work together but Tykir would make the ultimate decision if they disagreed. "I'd save that for the ladies, they seem to like males that growl." Oh he was grinning as he started to set out the army while waiting on them. The map was of Kildare with an enemy encampment outside Montrose. It went right over his head that she used his title, knew that he was a prince in the least if not the Crown Prince of Ballicastle. He looked a lot like his father had at his age too and he was still growing. Tonight he was all in black. Silk shirt with sleeves rolled up not caring if he 'ruined the shirt', pants a heavier quality but airy in that Aladdin style. Blond hair had grown enough to have it tied off at the nape of his neck.


What? Crap! He hadn't gotten out of it. He thought Myrena had helped Rick forget all about this damper on Tykir's extracurricular activities. He muttered under his breath, something about whiskey and war and the two not blending, but if Karl had requested it, there was no way around. it.


"Of course, Myrena." He looked at the map and ooo, toy soldiers. Yeah, there was work to be done but he couldn't help himself. He picked up one that looked like an archer and made a ping! noise toward Tykir. Rick could smack him upside the head if he wanted.


She hadn't known who he was, but to Myrena he was Rick. Being new sucked at times, but now her thoughts were on Hermes as he drank the water then ran off in the direction of their home. Returning within, she moved silently across the floor to return to her seat.


"Information has come to you that there may be an invasion. What do you do first?" Blue eyes shifted first to Tykir then to Bannon before back on Tykir.


Tykir had picked up one of the mace men, stomping it across the map. "Move...we are the mace men." But he shut right up when Rick started talking again. "I fly my scrawny arse straight to Leoric and let him know!" Mace men. Mace men. He was lining them up.


He fisted his hand with a THUD to the table making all the men jump, some toppling over. "Wrong!"


Bowl was offered back to Alex with a soft thank you, and then her cup accepted to enjoy the cider. Well that stopped with the noise. Holy Moses!


Darn right. As fast as his wings could carry him, straight to Leoric and if he wasn't available, Tykir would be pounding down Gaidan's door...or...Crap! All the mace men tumble over.


Then he grinned, dimples showing. "First thing you do is send your spies to find out where this enemy is, how many there are of them. Who is leading them and as much other information as you can. You find out that they are four hundred strong. With a lot of riders having to come the distance. You have three hundred at your disposal." He was setting out the enemy who wore read and their men from Kildare who were in silver and blue. "You also find out, because you have good spies," which was true for Kildare, "that they are stationed between here," which he moved a finger on Montrose first. "You know that Montrose's walls are strong and they have protection but not against that many. Not without help. The enemy is camped between there and Cottonwood which tells you they probably plan to take the bigger keep first then take down the smaller ones if they succeed. Where and how will you stop them?" Giving them some help as this was new to them. "Montrose, Cottonwood, Swan Lake Estates," where he paused to see if they picked up on it.


"I have spies?" Dang! He looked to Bannon, brows wagging. "I...have spies."


"You killed the army." Mournfully but then he looked at Rick and became serious and listened until he heard Tykir. And then he put his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing.


"Thank you again, Alex.." Moving from the stool, she stepped almost with tip toes to enjoy the comfort near the hearth.


How would he stop them? He had spies and mace men and archers at his disposal. "They are set on Montrose? Four Hundred strong? Now, I fly my arse to Leoric and tell him."


"This is a battle you have to fight for your King who is away to other lands on diplomacy as well Gaidan on another matter." Tykir wasn't going to get out of this! "Have your lieutenant help you out."


The paper was left folded on the table near her chair, easy enough reach for Myrena to take hold of it as she found comfort on the leather. Cider placed on the table, she quietly opened the paper to read it again.


Okay, it was his battle. "For my brother." He cut a look to Rick, grinned, because he was Tykir, then looked back to the map and the men at his disposal.


"This is a serious matter. If you can't get serious in this scenario, I'm told Sir Vincent and possibly any or all of the other four are going to take you there with a mock army and if you get defeated, they have a punishment program in the making."


"Myrenavalentina, come on over here and help save Kildare." He didn't look to her, he was studying the map.


She knew this was a lesson for Tykir, so she turned in their direction with the paper held up and shook it. "I am fine, but thank you Tykir" Soft smile to all three.


He got on the serious McAndrews look, one that had a lesser man taking at least one step back.


He glanced Rick's way again, trying to decide if he was serious. Really? Crappit. Thanks for the aid, Myrena, a good leader knew when to call in reinforcements, and that's all he was doing. "Alright." He muttered low, seriously looking over the map now.


Rick was going to cheat being Tykir was goofing around with it and said a few words as he moved around and first made sure Bannon wasn't asleep on his feet.


He leaned over the map and studied it. "We could use the river, fortify it on Montrose side so when they cross, they come into our line of fire. Good archers would take care of most."


With legs crossed, Indian style, beneath her skirts, Myrena opened the news paper slowly to one article, remaining very quiet as green eyes were cast down to the words.

-c-

Date: 05-23-11
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 74

Myrena's sitting style had him distracted there. Blue eyes darkened a moment as they slowly dipped down before he was distracted back to the two, luckily catching Bannon's reply. "A good start."

Tykir slid a look Bannon's way. "It's wide open there though, the woods along Cottonwood and Montrose might draw their attention and they'd take to the trees for cover. We'd need men already there to cut that route off to their retreat or further advancement." Tykir reached out, taking some of the men to place on the hilled forests either side of the keeps. He didn't want to thin the army too much, but the possibility of retreat and the ability to hide had to be thwarted. Tykir again looked to Bannon. No mace men, archers still, that could wage the attack from the trees.


"What does the Lieutenant do with the information he has just gained?" Being Bannon had said nothing since he gave him the extra information not mentioned. "Very good, there are small platforms built in a lot of those trees already that you would know. You would wait until the bulk of the army passes through. Like Bannon suggested, have them think they will be meeting the army wide open to their advantage. Archers there." Which he was moving the warriors around as needed. "The cavalry will be hiding as well and come in from behind. The extra help will be putting the catapults on the ramparts of Montrose, there are ramps to get them up there. On the ground they would only shoot so far but on the ramparts they will get near twice the distance." There was a lot of info put out there for them to now put into a concise plan of execution and timing.


As she read the page about myths and legends, she had to smile. Paper was laid flat on her lap pondering the idea of a page dedicated to humor? She would ask Anthea just that when next she seen her. With a lick of a finger tip she turned the page to the Sports. Now this looked like fun. Words she could barely hear, but what she could hear, she listened to.


Information. Right. "Spies report that they plan to swing around the mountains after the hits and attack Kildare castle coming down from above.. with that cover, if they take the other places. So we need to stop them at Montrose."


"Then there will be oil available, and the catapults can also launch fire. Cool." He brought over an archer as if he'd have the ability to light the oil before launching.


"If we can keep them in this area here, with the fire from one side, the archers picking them off and send the calvary in so they have no retreat, they'll only have one way to go and that's to cross the river."


"And with pikes set there in the water, and along the banks of Kildare, their horses will be downed. " He quieted a moment to listen to Rick, then narrowed his gaze on the map. These men, can swing around behind Montrose and Cottonwood, outflanking them, coming around to press them toward Kildare...where the bulk of the forces will be waiting. We take them out in the trees, in the water, in the open field."


"Aye but remember the strength of the army behind them and to the sides is a temporary surprise advantage. You will need to have your warrior bulk cut them down before they can escape or make holes in the thinner defense. You will want to have them think your army is small and mostly on foot with a few archers that will shoot first before the infantry comes from behind to move forward."


Tykir nodded, having said pretty much the same thing he pushed away from where he had braced both his hands on the table, studying the map. "Then...I send word to Leoric, that the enemy has been vanquished and Kildare is secured." He grinned, looking to Bannon. "Thanks to the expert counsel of Sir Bannon Zimmer."


And that had him laughing. "And your leadership, my liege." He even bowed to that.


"Aye," placing out the tablet for him to write down his first moves. "Now the scenario is that they manage to get through where the archers are in the trees, although taking causalities they are only a hundred down. You have taken losses but one quarter for your fine offense gained with the surprise factor. "They are headed for the mountains to lose you there and regroup with the intent to carry out the last of their plan. Figuring if they can take down Kildare with its army out chasing them they could put down the other keeps another time."


What? He already sent word to Leoric! He started to write, but had to stop to listen to what was happening now.


With her neck in a kink from reading, Myrena lifted her blonde head up to slowly moving it from side to side, and then picking up the paper she read about Shakespeare.


Molly was making a delivery. New brooms for the Thistle. She carried them over her shoulder, though she had used them to chase away some lads that were teasing her. She headed inside, pausing then slowing down so she wouldn't disturb the powwow going on with the three young men.


Myrena turned at the sound of the newest arrival, and with a smile she waved to Molly without speaking so she would not interrupt.


"We have to cut them off here, then. Maybe with the men from Montrose, after we're certain they don't have any surprises for us." He looked up at Rick since he was running the scenario.


Tykir grunted, so caught up in the war games now that he didn't even notice Molly's entrance. "Thing is, we don't want to find out what their surprises are by being taken down by them."


He figured Myrena had no interest in military maneuvers and that was fine and well. She had refused Tykir's invitation to at least come and watched, instead, read her newspaper. Now another had arrived. "I think that will be enough. Fill out the questionnaire that I can give them on how you maneuver your armies and why. To the point," they didn't have to do a huge explanation. "Sign your names. Then go see to some social life."


Nope, didn't even realize, and that was saying something, considering who it was! "We send out the scouts, send in the spies...then move from the information they provide."


Myrena got a smile and wave before she was heading over to Alex. The brooms were handed over and then the bill. It could be delivered later of course.


"Aye, the spies and informants are important."


She had never been part of such, no. And thought it was a lesson she should not be part of. Being new sucked. With a fleeting smile given to Molly, she turned to look to a hearth not blazing with a fire, and if there was a fire,she must be blind too.


Huh? They were done? But the troops were still advancing on Kildare!


He would put that down in the written part! He looked between them. Wherein first they didn't want to start, now they didn't want to stop. "So.. how would you not just contain but stop them Commander?"


After a few moments, she asked for a drink then headed over to the hearth. "That looks serious." She whispered, eyes wide.


"I think it's a lesson, and in my experience with lessons, listen or get the evil eye." Playfully she gave Molly that same stare. Well she hoped. "How are you?" softly spoken.


Myrena had been witness to the evil eye, and Rick had perfected it!


Yes she had! Scary! And don't forget pound of fist. Holy smokes!


Yeah, that was an attention getter!


Amen!


Even downed the mace men! That...is no easy task!


Amen x 2!


Rick was going to be a King one day, he needed an evil eye. He needed a serious look to offset the dimples and he needed a commanding force about him. He was perfecting it.


Wait, who was the commander? Bannon? No...Tykir? Holystormingcrusaders, he was struggling here!


And why Myrena kept her arse where it was! Sip. Enjoy. Now cider was gone. But she would wait a little longer before returning home.


Seems he scared off the women too. He'd be leading a single life for a long time!


"I'm doing good." She gave Myrena a easy smile as she settled in. "I've been told that I'm not going to work my summer away so I'm quite happy." She'd work some days and be free others. Perfect.


Nah, Myrena was already being groomed for her place on the throne via Rick's brothers.


Molly wasn't scared of Rick. Even if he was a lot taller then her. She knew his brothers!


Which embarrassed her, even though all knew they were a joking bunch of butt heads! "Oh really, may I ask where you are going?" Working away? She was lucky.



"Rick, you're talking to Heathfield here..." Tykir smiled at the future King of Ballicastle. "You want to know what I would do? I would set these men up here..." With a swipe of hand he arranged the men to take on the force coming at Kildare. "I'd call in reinforcements from Innis, and I'd bring in at least Four from Heathfield. And if the enemy didn't have a god to pray to for mercy, they'd be crossing over to an afterlife of emptiness."


"Oh, I'm not going anywhere. I'm just going to enjoy the summer." Her brother teased her about sending her off to school but that wasn't going to happen. Molly would never put up with it!


Bannon was SIC. He was waiting for orders. Look at that. Tykir had it all in hand.


Sure did, he had arranged his mace men waiting for the attack and if he had little figures of the Horsemen and Peter's men, they'd be coming up to end the whole blasted thing.


"Well good, because I would hate to see a friend leave. Especially when that enjoyed Rhydin with us all." Soft smile with back to ease back in comfort. "I already took a swim at the lake." And could not wait to do it again.


Pleased with himself, he stood up, still looking down to the map. A good leader knew when to send out for help from allies. So pleased he looked toward his glass on the counter, then over to Myrina to find ... "Molly!"


With Tykir's shout she had to chuckle. Turning to him only then to turn to Molly. "That would be a good bellow. I give him, what?" Wink.. "8?"


"They used to have a fishing contest here. See if anyone can catch Ol' One Eye. And a canoe contest." She jumped when she heard Tykir and laughed. "Tykir!" and paused to think. "That's a good number. Eight it is."


Bannon was still studying the map and he liked Tykir's strategy.


That had Myrena laugh. Now Bannon and Rick's turn. Fishing, now that had Myrena smile, but the other. "Canoe?"


"Have those catapults brought up too as they are no longer needed on the ramparts of Montrose. Those in Kildare can be activated. Word has been sent," and he brought out the fleet of King Peter's ships that were never too far from the port into the port and landed having a smaller, very efficient army disembark. "Now you have two hundred more."


When Rick started talking, Tykir dragged his gaze from the girls back to the map. What? Peter's men! Where did they come from? Oh yeah, Tykir had sent for them. He reached over to take up one of the ships to study it.

-c-

Date: 05-23-11
Poster: Rick McAndrews
Post # 75

"There would also be my uncle Liam's ships too.." which he brought out another fleet. "Some can shoot inland from the shore."

"So we would send them to make sure the enemy couldn't retreat back into the mountains and the ships would keep any of theirs away, cutting off the enemy completely. With the extra firepower from Liam's ships, they would surrender or die." Half questioning.


"They would surrender, they are English." Which said it all in his opinion and using what they had already encountered in Kildare.


"We'd need to raise a target, so Liam's ships would have something to point to, to know where the enemy was on the land. Then ... yes, surrender or die." And he laughed when Rick made that comment.


"A canoe is a little boat that just glides over the water. I can draw you a picture of one. I think they're usually hide or bark. And you use one paddle." She thought for a moment. "The front and back are the same, kind of pointed like the shoes the genies wear in stories."



Or die? Myrena briefly shut her eyes with a shiver. War always brought on casualties, and that brought the blonde to keep her attention glued to Molly. "Like a gondola from Venice? Or smaller?" She was honestly curious. So much she had learned on these lands, and she craved to learn more.


"I'm not sure what a gondola to be honest. But they can carry one person or many. I think they could even transport goods in them, but I'm not positive."


"Venice holds much water around the city, most buildings to sit on the walled shores. They are maneuvered by a pilot of sorts, and hold almost same description as you have given for the ca-new." Another smile offered, glad to speak of the land she was raised. "I would love a picture, Molly.. another subject to learn from."


Tykir was chuckling as he turned from the table and started to the bar to collect his neglected glass. "So now I can send word to Leoric."


He snickered, shaking his head. "I hear the English soldiers wear bright red. Isn't that dangerous in the colonies?" He wasn't making fun but was truly curious.


"I guess it's to hide the blood." With his glass in hand he crossed over to join the girls. He'd write up his assignment eventually. Procrastination was Tykir's second best friend.


That brought on Myrena's own snicker. But it could be true.


Rick took the time to roll up the map and collect the small toy armies. The paper was left for them to fill out as he'd have to return it .. if they hadn't filled it out and signed it. He would not be judging them. It would be going to the Four and Karl with Mikhail's opinion at their hand.



Aw, there went the mace men. He helped pick up what he could then was over to get his own drink. "We'll get that done soon, Rick." Bannon would make sure of it!


"Let me see if I can do this." She was up and reaching into her back pocket. Molly always carried paper somewhere on her person. And a bit of graphite. By the time Tykir joined them, she was sketching.


"Thank you so much, Molly.." She watched Molly as she sketched the canoe only to give Tykir a brief nod before attention laid on the artist once again. Paper was left forgotten on her lap, and empty mug of cider was held within her grasp. She didn't wish to stare too long and make Molly uncomfortable, so she looked away briefly.


He took a seat on the arm of Molly's chair, looking over to Rick. "Thanks, Rick." And he meant it. At first, he hadn't wanted to have to do that. But once Rick had them engaged, it was difficult to give it up. Like a bath. A boy and his bath, bloody hell don't want to get in and then ... sure as the devil don't want to get out, no matter how cold the water gets.


"Aye, thanks Rick." Who knew. Tykir may have to command an army sometime in the future. He used his glass to give the McAndrews heir a toast of sorts then downed a good portion. And that's true!


Molly didn't mind if anyone watched. She grinned up at Tykir then handed the sketch over to Myrena.


She took the sketch and brought it to her own gaze. It was smaller then a gondola, and seemed much better for moving about in the water. "Thank you, Molly.." Smile to her friend, and sketch she would keep.


"I see once you got the idea you got into it." Which was his way of complimenting the Heathfield Prince in a sincere way. He disappeared down the hall to put the things away and because he wasn't sure how to interact with the women there. He might not return.


Rick was a McAndrews. It was in his blood!


"Myrena..." He started, forgetting to add his Valentina. "There's a jousting tournament three nights from now, if you're interested in joining us there."


He was not a part of the normal cast.


No Valentina? thankyoutykir! "I would love to go, Tykir.." She would definitely go to this one, hoping to see more good wins as the last one held.


He didn't need to be, his wife was already pre-planned for him.


But he was a friend, who deserved to laugh with all of them. Gah! How does one pluck feathers from a prince?


"Well, good, we usually meet here and then go together." They don't, not and keep their heads on their necks.


One at a time!


"Then I shall be here.." The smile came bright, and her green eyes to sparkle as well. This Vassallo was excited to join the group in their adventure to a joust.


"Is Rina coming too, Tykir?" She leaned her head back to look up at Tykir.


There was a question that would be interesting in hearing the answer to. And he watched Rick leave with a slight frown before he joined the others.


"Don't know, she hasn't said. But if she doesn't, we'll all have a better chance at winning."


Good question. "Perhaps Rory.. and both can win again" Fingers crossed. She smiled and turned to fold the sketch and carefully place it in the pocket of her gown.


"She'll enter and I'll get put against her." And end up arse over teakettle and on the ground.


He laughed, looking to Myrena. "I see where your bets are being placed."


She smiled to Bannon, wishing she could see that, and then to look to Tykir with a wink.. "You would be correct."


"You placed the first time. We just need Bannon to win and then all four of you will have had a win. How long does this tournament go on?"


Okay, now he really laughed, taking a lean to the back of Molly's chair, his arm across the top of it. "Better you than me, My Friend."


Upon hearing Molly's question, she waited for an answer as well.


"I did...and I'm not really sure. As long as I get an invitation, I'll be going though. Heathfield should be represented in some way, even if all we do is watch in support."


"I think until fall. I still want to see the Bull man and his bear, and tree trunk lance." Not go against him but see him. And if it was Rina, Rory and Tykir that won, he'd be there cheering them on.


Bannon would go up against Rina...Tykir's luck would have him up against THAT!


Bull man? Bear? Tree trunk lance? Good Lord, not another Rhydin? "We are going to a place like Rhydin?" Honest enough question.


"We...are leaving Heathfield." That should say enough. Beyond these walls, there be dragons.


"I understand." And she was still going. "What time do I need to be here?" Question to anyone that wished to answer.


"Thing starts at ... is it seven?" He looked from Bannon down to Molly. He really couldn't remember.


He looked toward the back hall for Rick then looked at Tykir again. "No place is like here. But it's not Rhydin." Stop scaring the lass, Tykir. " It starts at 8:00."


"Eight." He repeated it as if he knew all along. Just another reason Bannon was a good man to have around.


"Thank you Sir Bannon.." Smile to both men.." Thank you both." For now, she knew it was time to return home, and enjoy the walk there. "Unfortunately I must depart.. it was so good to see you all" Wiggle of fingers to Tykir.."Pay attention to your lessons" With a wink she was jumping from the chair to take her cup to Alex. "Bye Rick!" Called out before departing for the night.


"We usually meet here at 7 since it's a way to travel." And then she was gone.


She was quicksilver, that one!


He finally made his way back out, noticing they were minus one. He was over to the bar to get a tumbler of the pure which would go down nicely.


"Join us, Rick? Do you know Molly?" Too many people around to know who knew who all the time.


With Rick's return, Tykir brought up the glass so he could drink from where he had rested it on his knee.


"Aye," before he was across the way and settling into a chair. It felt good to sit down finally.


"So far so good, aye." He answered for them all and, finishing off the liquid in his glass, he shifted off the arm of Molly's chair. "Guess I better get back home." As he spoke, he was crossing to the bar to hand over his empty glass to Alex.


"Leaving us already?" Brows were up as he made a joke. "Honestly, I washed after practice this morning."


"I'll bring the tablet, Tykir. We can go over it after training." Sometime.


"You may have, Rick." Tykir grinned, shooting a glance over his shoulder to the future king of Ballicastle. "but you just waged a war, and that bath didn't stand that test."


He was back up, kicking back his drink as he headed for the bar. On another thought, it was late. "If you're heading up to the castle, I'll join you."


To his way of thinking, if he didn't stay out too late tonight, he could add up some hours for tomorrow night.


Well, darn. She stood and carried her glass to the bar. "I guess I'll head out too." She didn't want to sit here alone!


Didn't always work that way but it was a good thought.


Yea, drats, but it was a good plan, just a faulty one.


"Then we can escort you back." Before they hit the sack.


Bannon scooped up the tablet after placing his glass on the bartop. They could all walk together.


-e-

Date: 05-28-11
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 76

Good Times

Good times. They should never be taken for granted. As most things in life, every single good time should be savored and appreciated, long after the fact. Carno leaned with both arms crossed on the bar counter, chatting with Alex, about the morning's training, certain young knights that had caught the experienced eyes of the older knights and King. And everything in between. There was the occasional laugh from Alex as he saw to his duties, that joined in by Lazare, but it would not be this particular One of Four not to keep that smile in place even when the conversation died down. It would also not be like this One, not to have food before him, and a good stout ale to accompany it. Alex had seen to both, so yes, Lazare Carno was quite content for the now.


Having finally made it back to Heathfield proper, the furrier had put her horses up, stowed her gear in the stables, and then made her way to the tavern. Up the steps she went, her feet making hardly any sound, and the floorboards surely not squealing much, if any, beneath her light weight. She blew in the door as a rush of wind behind her aided her ingress, the soft scent of rose and heather sweeping in before her to the bar. She was dressed in buckskin pants, a light blue cotton shirt, men's style, and a loose suede vest of her own making. The blue of the shirt made the black opal bluegreen fusion of her eyes more on the blue side at the moment. Her hair was in a thick braid dangling down past her backside, the color of it more blonde than it had been in the winter, shimmering highlights of gold and bronze vying with the deeper tones of honey brown. A saddle bag hung over one slim shoulder, as the little Frenchwoman aimed little feet for the bar. She graced a pleasant smile at the man leaning there, and then waved a hand to Alex with a charming smile. Only the French could be so charming with just a smile. "Bonjour, Alex! I am returned, oui? Did you think perhaps I had gotten lost, nevair to return, hmm?"


At first it was the breeze that caught this particular Horseman's notice, and because of it, he drew in a deep breath and turned to watch the lady's approach. His smiled never faltered and he offered her a nod of greeting since she spoke for the now to the familiar, kind man behind the bar. Her accent, ah yes, the accent, could not be denied. That made it all the more reason for Karl's man to smile as he turned back to his food while the two greeted one another. It was, without doubt, a good thing that de Vimeure was not at the moment within.


Bluegreens flicked over to the man smiling over his food, before Alex supplied her with a nice, hot mulled wine. It was almost as if the man knew she was coming, she would swear! "Merci, Alex. As always, you anticipate my need, oui?" Settling the heavy saddlebags on the bartop, though down at the end, out of the way, she put a foot on a stool rung and then hoisted herself upwards to land on a stool.  "Whatever Hazel is cooking, I would love to have this, oui. I am starving!" Indeed, the furrier looked even more lean than she had on her departure to trap furs. It had been a hard spring for her. "I got trapped behind a landslide in a little valley, Alex. The sides were so sheer I could not climb out. A canyon, more like." Shaking her head, she sipped her wine.


Lazare slanted a look in her direction with a cant of head. "But here you are, Lass. Did you take flight?" With those words, he leaned back, to check behind her for wings. The bread he had torn from his loaf still in hand and on the way to his mouth as he grinned and shook his head, no, not wings to be seen.


She gave him a sideways look through her lashes, long and lush as they were, just as he turned to look at her. She flushed just a tad at having been caught looking at him, her skin, now more bronze than the cream of the winter, barely showed it. He reminded her of the night here, in early winter, when she had seen a man fly off from here, having been looking at her window at just that time. Or thought she had, anyway! A bemused look flickered in her eyes, before she answered. "Oh, non...monsieur..? I had to wait until the heavy snow and ice melted from the landslide, before I could dig out a path. I should perhaps have said "we", for I was not alone. I had my Trésor, my stallion, and my pack horse. I could not climb out an leave them to starve, oui? I must to wait for spring, before I could attempt it, for them. As it was, we nearly ran out of food. I think I hunted that valley clear of anything to feed us."


He had tugged off a bite of that crusty bread, chewing the while it took her to comprehend and explain, the flash of enjoyment for the food and the company evident in his eyes. "Especially, since last I recall, a horse is not often fond of hunted game." He reached out and took up his tankard, clearing away the swallowed food before continuing. "So it must have been quite the task to keep them hale enough to make the journey home once the pass had cleared." His gaze swept over her, not in the way of some men, but more to take in her well being considering her plight. "Aye, Alex, have Hazel fix her a plate heaping with her finest. The lass could use some plumping up." A soft wink followed his tease, knowing that the French suffered when it came to a sense of humor.


The girl's head tipped in purely gallic fashion, her lithe little form turning to an angle to more face him, as her lips, that funny little upside down mouth, pursed in consideration at him. A light little laugh finally left her and her hands fluttered before her." Monsieur..." And so he would remain, as he had not given her his name at her slight questioning tone during her explanation..... "A mash of wild oats, berries, and ground nuts will feed a horse nicely, but one must still to *hunt* for it, though one does not use any bullets or bolts to garner said items. I scavenged all over that little valley for foodstuffs for all of us, both carnivore and herbivore." Thank you very much, her tone said. Yes, she was French, and could use a little humor injection! Then he hit her in her vanity! A disconcerted look crossed her face and she looked down at herself in dismay. "Have I gone scrawny, then...?" Tones of horror in her voice.


Smiling still as her bravado took over, he listened as she explained the definition of the word that he had early misquoted. He tipped his tankard to her in a salute, then looked to Alex with her question. The bread in hand motioned to the lass for Alex to answer. Carno didn't know how thin she was to begin with to know if she had 'gone scrawny'. Alex, however, would have no part of their discussion. He just continued to do what he did, even if he had a suppressed smile with his eavesdropping. Since Lazare could garner no help there, he looked back to the woman. "By no means, scrawny, Miss." While she waited for her food to arrive, he scooted his plate closer to her. "But anyone could use the extra rations to return what body weight they had lost after such an ordeal, at least, in my humble opinion." He dipped his head to her, motioning to the vittles on his plate for her to share during the anticipation of her own arriving. "Carno, by the way."


She gave a little squint to Alex for not answering, though she could appreciate his desire to stay out of it. Her feminine side appreciated the answer from the stranger, who was so kind as to push his plate towards her. Normally, she would never have even thought of doing such, with a stranger's plate...but...oh, Heavens above. That was *bread*. Real, fresh, yeasty...bread. Something the French could not resist, or rarely so. Her eyes positively fondled it as she spoke. "...My last meal...oui, eet was zee last of my root vegetables...and the last, very withered apple." Eyes on that bread as if hypnotized, she quite forgot her attempts to lessen her accent, and so the last part came out heavily tainted with it. Slim fingers dared to reach out for a hunk of that lovely looking bread. "Ees there buerre to go with eet?" Butter, if he knew that word.


With the palm of his hand, he twisted the plate around, exposing the soft, white butter on the other side of the mound of bread, potatoes, roasted beef. There was a shallow valley in the middle of it where he had scooped his own bread through, but she was welcome to it. Being the warrior, it never occurred to him that a lady may not wish to share a plate with a stranger. He had extra, it was just the thing to do. "So, am I to be graced with your name as well, Miss? Or do I just get to refer to you as the Once-lost-now-found Miss-o'-the-Valley?"


"Oh....oh! Je suis *tres* desolais....! It is lovely to meet you, Monsieur Carno. I am Evony Jolie. I do apologize...." It was the bread...soft, succulent, yeasty bread..the thought of tasting it once more that had cost her the proper manners. She gave the man a truly penitent look, and smiled more warmly. She took up the bread, tore off a chunk, and then pulled a dagger from her boot to take up some butter. Spreading it on the bread, she took her first bite, and her eyes closed in near orgasmic delight...at least to look at her, anyway. Her mouth smiled, her shoulders rose up in voluptuous expression of delight, as she began to chew. A little moan of enjoyment left her, entirely unaware of this.


Was there any wonder why Lazare enjoyed his meals? To see her so enraptured with just a bite of butter slicked bread, now this was a woman. "Quite the pleasure, Miss Jolie." Now, that pleasure could come from many aspects of making her acquaintance, considering.... It was perhaps a disappointment when Alex placed Evony's own plate upon the counter for her further consumption.


She opened her eyes as the man spoke, her smile full of gratitude for giving her the bread, and then she looked to Alex at the sound of the plate sliding across the bartop. "Ah, bon! Merci, Alex! Please to tell Hazel the same, oui? Mmmm...this looks so very good." She took up a fork and smiled at Lazare. "Merci, to you as well, Monsieur Carno, for sharing such excellent fare."


"It is one of my many delights in this life, Miss." He nodded to her, allowing her to start her meal even though he was riddled with questions he wished to ask. Nourishment first, casual conversation ... in the midst of it.


She ate with the manners of a lady, but there must be admitted, it was with rather a ravenous bent, in this case, at this time. She truly had been on the verge of starving, though had carefully husbanded herself and her animals to make it home. Though she was not yet home, as it were. This was a rest stop on the way to her cottage. It did not take her long, though, to reach fullness, and so she pushed her plate away, wiped her lips, and gave a replete sigh of content. "Oh, le bon dieu, mais that was gooood." She topped it off with another sip of her cooling mulled wine and then smiled at both men. "La, it is good to eat when one is truly hungery, oui?" This directed at Lazare.


"Especially then." He chuckled, nodding off his agreement to that fact. Although, it seemed Lazare was always eating, and so, it was without question, he was always hungry. But then, he enjoyed every aspect of his existence. Life was too short, given his profession, not to.


There were a number of things to see to after the morning's practice. Trevor made sure to wash up good and although casually attired, he looked impeccable as usual. This was the side presented, immaculate, but there were a lot of surprises to this particular Kingsman, one of the four horsemen, as one got to know him better. He appeared there within the door frame cutting off the light from outside for a moment as he surveyed the room in a quick eye sweep, pausing on Lazare. "Your counterpart didn't come?" Was there just a twitch at the corner of his mouth as he continued to the bar. A cordial nod given the woman. "Top o' the Morn."


She smiled at his understanding, before signaling to Alex with a languid, and purely gallic, wave of her hand, though there was not even one iota of arrogance about it, simply a very hungry woman relieved of hunger, and having a very pleasant time of it, compared, certainly to her hard, difficult journey home. The hollows of her cheeks were more intense than they had been, it was sure, and she was weary looking, though not sleepy. Her buckskin pants showed a lot of wear and tear, along with the dust of a long road trip, or in this case, more offroad....and her blue cotton shirt and suede vest were nearly as worn, looking. The braid was not neat and tidy, though long and lush, glinting with liquid gold highlights from the sun. Bluegreen eyes turned to the man suddenly there, and a quiet one he was, in his movements! She smiled graciously at him, with a tip of her head, before speaking to Alex. "A bottle wine would be delightful, sir. Something light, crisp, and somewhat sweet, if you have it, sil vous plait."


Lazare had just opened his mouth to speak, to start his questions, when he heard none other than Trevor Cairns! With a slap of hand on the counter, which caused his plate to dance, he pulled his eyes from the lady over to the man entering. "Aye, he has but only just now!" Carno waved Trevor over to join them. In truth, each of the Four was Lazare's counterpart.


Casually attired meant he went without the surcoat, leaving the finely tailored vest of black satin with a minute black on black design over a pristine dressshirt. Pants of black as well the polished tooled boots. Hair had grown a little longer and only curled more that was tied off at the nape of his neck. "Had I known my comrade to keep such pleasant company, I would have arrived sooner." Slight dip of his head and a smile to hint that touched more in dark eyes than upon his lips. He was taking in her features in a leisurely thorough way before lifting from the more pleasant sight to .. Lazare. At the bar by this time as well. Yes, they were all counterparts but Dana and Lazare shared a continual verbal one to the amusement of all. "Sir Trevor Cairns at your service and if I may have the Lady's name?" Slight lift of brows though surely it would be forthcoming.


"Evony Jolie." Lazare offered it for her.


She opened her funnily shaped mouth to answer, but there Lazare had it given her name for her. She smiled, then, nodding her head. "It is a great plaisir to meet you, Monsieur Cairns. I have been sadly detained away from here, else I may have met you before now. I emigrated here in ..Oh, I think it was late fall."


Lazare stripped off a slice of meat, looking between Trevor and Evony as it made its way to his mouth. She offered far more information for Trevor, and so, that answered one of Lazare's questions.


"I have not been out and about as in former years so I would not have known. I am sorry to hear your detainment was possibly not to your liking?" He was going on what he picked up from her. Call it vibes, call it something else. "I have the plaisir now, Evony," the smile touched a bit more before gone, a fleeting thing at times that one sometimes wonder if they saw it at all. Then again, there were other times it was fully there without question at all.


It was somehow easier to offer more when there were more people present, somehow, than when it was a single man she did not know, Alex notwithstanding. Easier to be less shy and elusive. Her smile included both men as she answered the one, careful not to show preferences for one or the other. And how *was* Conor doing, she wondered? He had quite likely forgotten her, by now, not that there had been anything between them other than what she like to think of as a spark of attraction. But surely that was long forgotten now, with her near six month absence. "I am a furrier by trade, monsieurs. I was out trapping for certain animals better furred in colder weather, and before I knew it, an landslide..or I suppose I should call it an avalanche...blocked me into a small canyon. I was trapped there until the weather turned enough to melt the snow and ice. I had to dig out a path for my horses and myself. We got a bit hungery (again mispronouncing the word) before we got out."


"A woman that fits in the wild as well she does socially," one would not be able to tell as he could see her in a courtroom in full bloom of gown and yet in leather trappings out seeking her prey. Such a visual held Trevor a moment for good reasons of his own. There and gone with the slight hint of a smile again. It was even possible she could have caught the slight French flow when he spoke the one French word. "I hope, that if it was within these lands, it was a canyon that had one of the emergency cabins, fully stocked." Not knowing for sure where she had been trapping other than she was a citizen of these lands. Taking one of the utensils left there, he stabbed one of Lazare's small potatoes when he was distracted to the lovely lady, lovely features, and consumed it without aplomb.


Question number four ... answered. Lazare popped a small wedge of potato in his mouth, grinning as he chewed as Trevor said just the right things. Not unlike his offer to the lady, he caught Trevor's sneak attack, and he poked his eating dagger at the thief's hand, missing it on purpose but none-the-less making the attempt. "So now, the lass is scrawny-ish." He added the last as he looked to her with a grin, then in popped another potato.


"Indeed, it did, Monsieur Cairns, alas, it was crushed by the weight of the avalanche. I could not get into it. Indeed, I did not even realize its existence until the late spring thaw, and only discovered it as I was digging out that path. I suppose I should let someone in authority know this, so that it can be repaired and resupplied...perhaps moved a bit south of the mouth of that canyon." A grin curled her upside down mouth as she saw the stabbing of the potato and the attempted stab of the dagger by Lazare. "....Scrawnyish...but...but you said I was not..!" A faint look of dismay again tainted her features. Such a vain thing, is the female! Another look down at her body, which had lost some of its finer curves at hip and thigh, yet was still lush at breast, at least.


"Miss, I said you were not scrawny...only ish."


Blonde brows rose up at the distinction.

-c-

Date: 05-28-11
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 77

"You have let ones in authority know, so rest assure that it will be looked into promptly." One could almost wonder if he suppressed a bout of laughter while not looking at Lazare at all. At the moment.

He shrugged a shoulder with a quick laugh, then offered her another soft wink of amusement. "But that will be remedied if you continue to eat as you just now displayed that you could." So unlike de Vimeure and Cairns, Carno did not have the way with words.


"I am sure if you stay here in the Thistle a few days, any loss will be adjusted properly through Hazel's cooking." It was only the talk of her depraved or possibly depraved form that had the drift of dark eyes south to see for himself. Hard to tell what thoughts such evoked but there was a linger more than twice before lifting again. "I cannot say the sight is unpleasant."


She was not sure if he just said she would get fat if she continued to eat as she had...but she let it slide, chuckling softly. She was trying, after all, to have a sense of humor! A flush stained her cheeks as Trevor let his eyes drift, the lingering noted, causing that stain. Her chin lifted a little, and she smiled her thanks to Alex for bringing that bottle of wine she had asked for, and even pouring a glass of it for her. She took a sip to cool her cheeks. "Ahem. And so, I thought I would stay here a few days, for there are no fresh provisions at my cottage, and I need to check on Soft Touch Furs, my shoppe, as well. Then I shall make my way to the cottage."


Not that she would know, but she was safe enough in the company of these two. "Nor would I say so." Lazare added to Trevor's assessment of the lass.


"Thank you, gentlemen, you are most kind."


She had just received her wine, so it was safe to assume she wasn't leaving to do those things just yet. What? Oh, she meant their comments one to the other. "We were, Miss, just stating the obvious." Trevor better step in before Lazare just upended this whole conversation and it was lost to his 'obvious' comments.


Unlike most, Trevor was served a cold Chablis which he took up with a slight swirl to the contents. Ever subtle the motions as he took in the scent then the first taste that would linger on the tip of his tongue before a more moderate amount was taken and the glass set again to the counter. Thoughts had been distracted again as well once more back. "I commend you in being able to survive such a trial as few women are so capable. It says a lot of your character, Lady Evony." Which his words held the admiration intended by them.


The girl watched him sip his wine, before her eyes flicked over to Lazare and his ...way with words. A low, amused chuckle rippled from her for his willingness to stumble upon his own compliments. "Taking up her own glass, she sipped again at the light reisling that Alex had brought her. "Hmm...I must say, this is a fine place. I am really loving Heathfield." Then curiosity got to her, from what Trevor had said, back a few minutes ago. "I have already alerted those in authority? Who might that be? I ...do you mean Alex?" Surely not.


"Alex, myself, Lazare..." smile touched again as he partially answered her question but she'd find dark eyes intent upon hers, held to them as he awaited possibly more questions to clarify.


"Miss, I believe he misunderstood and thought you had already done so, but since you have not, indeed you should." He swiped his bread through the last of the butter and then pushed his plate toward Alex's side of the counter.


She looked from Trevor, with his dark, mysterious eyes, to Lazare, who countered what Trevor just said, a smile of amusement and some confusion on her face "Alor....it cannot be both ways, non. You three are in authority...or you are not." Bluegreens moved back to Trevor. "Do explain, sil vous plait, hmm?"


And there was that, but really, Lazare had not thought to pass on the information beyond sharing with his comrades that he had met her, and what she had been through, and in that it could be figured the information would be shared. But it would not be intentional. He thumbed the reply toward Trevor, then realized he had butter on his thumb and sucked it off.


Which finally had him laugh. A low deep rumbling that found freedom in a contagious quality. Which he caught and composed in the next second. "We are the King's men. Some know us as the Four Horsemen. What we know, the king will know, what the king will know so will the Queen. I will probably ride out later today and survey the damage."


Once Trevor finished his laughter, which did have Lazare chuckling along with him while he chewed, he might explain it better to her. He swallowed, taking up his napkin to dab at the corner of his mouth, then wipe his hand, adding that to the plate that Alex was collecting. "And I may ride out later ... and do something else entirely."


Blonde brows again rose up, as she realized she was in the company of those she had heard of in only the briefest of passing, by Sadie, if she recalled correctly. It made her feel a bit on edge, though one could not tell that from the serenity of the gaze she then studied both men with. "It took me a few days to make that journey, Monsieur Cairns, but then, I was hampered by weakened horses and my own lack of energy." She smiled at him, and then turned her eyes to Lazare, at his comment. A little laugh followed, for he was very different from Trevor. This surprised her, as she rather had thought that the vaunted Four would be very much alike...stiff, regal, perhaps arrogant, and maybe even officious. These gentlemen did not seem that way, particularly Lazare. "It is an honor to meet you, then, both of you."


Oh but wouldn't she be so very surprised to find out how expansive was the differences between each of them. It was what made them such a close knit brotherhood. They were four corners of every angle. The only likeness they had was to the loyalty shared for their King, country and each other.


"It will not take me so long." There were other means but nothing said to elucidate on that thought. Leaving it a thought as dark eyes held once more. Something to linger before fleeting. Something that would not be quite caught. Trevor had been the more brash youth when he met the other three. It had been an interesting experience for them all. They were all close in a way the tie went deeper than if they were siblings even with their differences they poked at each other in a way expected and kept each on their toes. Trevor had spent more time with Vincent until he got married. His marriage ended and Vincent got tied down. The least expected of them all. "You have friends here in the lands to help ease your recovery?"


"He can't fly though." Lazare referred back to an earlier comment although he didn't offer any other information regarding Trevor's means of travel. "She has Hazel to feed her, what other recovery would she need?" At least, in Lazare's book.


In time, she would perhaps come to realize these things about the Four. For now, that journey was already begun, with this exposure to two of them. Her smile returned to Cairns as he spoke, her brows furrowing a bit at the mention made by Trevor as to shortening his travel time. Her eyes flicked to Lazare and his denial of flying. Oh, but there were mysteries she had yet to uncover about this place called Heathfield! Magic being unknown to her, for the most part, though noted in some of her travels on the way here, but only marginally. Ever leaving her unsure of what she had seen. A chuckle at the mention of Hazel, and then she nodded to Trevor. "I know Anthea, and I am eager to continue our friendship. Also one called Sadie. A doctor, she is. I had met one named Conor Quinn, and several other gentlemen, though I cannot claim any closeness with any of them. Though, to be sure, merely stocking up my cottage and getting back to normal things will do much of the restoring. I will stay here for a few days and let Hazel "plump" me up, as Monsieur Carno put it, oui?"


"Exactly, friends you have made before the winter set in and your disappearance. I am sure they have wondered if not worried on you." There was something to be said for friends in helping one recover from anything that life sent their way that was negative. It was a positive antidote.


"I look forward to remaking their acquaintance and enjoying time with them. We had a lovely Christmas here." She smiled, recalling that day. "Oh, and Charlie...." Making it sound like Sharlee...the accent on the last syllable. "Have you heard how she may be?"


"You should ask Lazare on flying and one Sir Gabriel Vaughn.." which left it wide open and more to see how Lazare responded to that remark being he knew the story, or more the encounter.


With the mention of Sharlee, Lazare smiled, turning so that one elbow remained on the bar and he faced away from it. "I have not seen the woman in some time, you, Trevor? But knowing of her nature, I could only surmise she is well and ..." Trevor's comment slipped into his and Lazare grunted out a laugh. "I prefer my feet on the ground, Miss Jolie, we will keep it at that."


He gave a slight shake of his head, "although I know Charlie, in fact there are few here that would not know the lass, I have not seen her in a while but last I heard she was doing well. She and her gypsy."


She raised those delicate brows again at the mention of asking Lazare about flying, but he put paid to that idea, for now at least, by his own comment. Feet on the ground. Hmm. Her eyes flashed back from Lazare to Trevor. "Sir Gabriel? I ...is he a doctor? I may have met him. Or not. I can't think what that gentleman docteur's name was. He knows Sadie." She pondered that and also the mention of Charlie and her gypsy. "Ah, bon,bon...the good Kenneth. I heard a story or two that had me thinking she is a very lucky woman...as is the gypsy."


"Sir Gabriel? He is a knight stationed here under King Peter. As all such knights under kings, there is a certain challenge.." in a good way and leaving it at that. He didn't look upon Lazare but there was a glint in dark eyes.


"Ah, then he must not be le bon docteur, n'est pas? I have not, then, met him." Smiling at both men and then sipping her wine.


Her comment about Charlie and Kenneth ... was the pleasant French woman referring to ... ? Surely not.


Adventures!! And a good, solid relationship! All she had referred to!


"A challenge?" So Trevor may not have hooked Evony, but it snagged Lazare.


Then she was wondering what that glint in Cairns' eyes meant. And what the certain challenge was! "It...sounds....difficult. To be a chevalier...em...Knight."


"You have no idea." Lazare chuckled, slipping from his stool, rubbing his stomach in the process. All the better for digestion. "I guess I'm off to ... somewhere else." It was his afternoon to spend about, and he was about to be about it.


"It was a delight to meet you, Monsieur Lazare..! And merci beaucoup for le pain...the bread." Smiling at him, she tipped her head to him.


"Life is a challenge, is it not Lazare? A conscious continuity.." It was that time to be doing some of the things set to do, and now another added to it. "Shall we ride out to see about that Cabin and what we can do to help the situation?" Which meant that Dana and Vincent might join them, between the four there was little that could not be accomplished.


If she met de Beavauis, she might get a better understanding of difficult, and then...there was de Vimeure. Trevor and Lazare were the only sane ones. "Indeed, my Brother, indeed, within the movement of change." He nodded to Trevor then looked to Evony. "And I am in agreement, the delight, I am sure, is mostly mine. I assure you. And if ever I have that which you need, it is yours, you need not even ask." She should take that for what it was, since the man had no intrigue about him. But then, since all comments could be laced with double meanings, she would have no way of knowing Lazare was not that brand of rogue. He grumbled under his breath with the suggestion they ... work. But his smile gave away his true feelings to the suggestion. "I know I said I was going to be riding elsewhere." But he gave a motion of head, they would start out in that direction, no doubt the other two would catch up soon enough.


She smiled at his answer, much gratified by the man's kindness. "You are tres gentil, Monsieur Carno." Then her eyes turned to Cairns. "It was also la plaisir to meet you, Monsieur Cairns. Please to ride out safely, non? Both of you." She smiled graciously at them both, and then finished up her wine. "For myself, I will start to get things back to normal. And I think a long soak in the tub is called for." She had not had an actual *bath* in months! Though this is not to say she was not clean enough for company!


"Le a été mon volonté , Dame Evony , J'espère que non notre trajet traverser à nouveau et plus de volonté à être eu." Given with a slight nod of his head and the ever elusive smile to soften his features.


Whatthebloodyhell, where did that come from? Since when did Trevor spout out French?


French and Scots mixed well or so he would claim! Just a sliding look Carno's way with that slight twitch to his lips.


The Frenchwoman bloomed a soft smile at hearing her native tongue, her eyes lighting in surprise at Trevor. "Oh, la, how lovely to hear the civilized tongue..!" Then realizing she may have put her foot in it, and insulted English she tried to backpedal. "..Em..not that English is not so.....truly!"


"The French language is considered the more Romantic of all. The way the words flow.." and perhaps more behind it but that was left to one's imagination.


Lazare...just laughed. Trevor's look and Evony's ... comment. Oh, but if she had been Dana. "Besides the Italians." Lazare chuckled to himself, pulling open the door and heading out with a wave Alex's way.


A cordial dip of his head was given and the amusement still shining in dark eyes before he too was out the door and on the heels of his comrade.


She smiled gratefully at Trevor's covering of her gaffe, and then rose up from her seat. "Ah, bien. Romantic, indeed." She chuckled as the two left, and then with a wave to Alex, she moved for the stairs and her room.

-e-

Date: 09-20-11
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 78

Knights Out

Back on the mainland of Heathfield, the evenings called out to wandering. And wander this particular knight of The Island did, right into the Thistle tavern. He found a place at the bar and settled in with a tankard of some sort of spirit in hand. Little did he care, tonight, what it was, just that he could consume it.

And not far behind, came Aiden. His wife was on duty, though those days would grow less and less as her pregnancy advanced, and he had decided to see who was out and about. The one that was had him smile. "I see you've decided to enjoy the hospitality of the Thistle this fine night." He joined him at the bar as he spoke.

Cole's head dipped and he looked around his arm to the entering knight. "Had I known you had the same idea, I may have second guessed the wisdom in that." His head lifted and he nodded off a greeting to his brother-in-arms, for all his comment, Aiden knew he didn't mean a damn word of it.

She hadn't been in the area long at all. Though she did linger a bit outside of the tavern, taking in fresh air as she eyed the building. She sat atop her mare, reins loose in the curl of her hands. With a smile, she slid from Shasta's back, led her to the stables before she scooted in through the door of the tavern. In a dress tonight, of rich golds and greens, the matching cloak was left to hang on the wall near the door.

Cole had a reputation to keep up after all. He accepted a glass of ale and nodded. "Being we are constantly training together, that's understandable but I'm sure you'll make the best of it." A half smile appeared before he took a drink. The tankard was lowered though when he saw the lass in the mirror. "Well met... Gaelle, isn't it?" It had been some time since he had seen her.

Cole raised his gaze to that reflective surface, lifting his tankard at the same time, and watched the woman take care of her outer wear. When she turned to start to the bar, both eyes and glass lowered. Aiden's polite greeting would have to suffice for the both of them.

Indeed bar-bound, in a light, airy step that rustled the long skirting of her dress around her ankles. She offered a dimpled smile to Aiden, and paused to curtsey to both men. Some habits would never really go away! "Well met. Yes, it is Gaelle. You are.. " She paused, running over a list of names and it took her a second to finally reach the right one. "..Aiden? Yes!" Cole, however, she wasn't so sure about. She tipped her head as she studied him. "...I am not sure if we have met." She eased up to the counter, standing for now, rather than dropping onto a seat.

Slowly his gaze drifted over to the lively lass. Just as slowly it passed over her features, down along the slender neck and slid further down to take in the figure she presented in those golds and greens before just as thoroughly returning up to meet her gaze again. "We ... have not." Was his reply and he turned back to drinking from his tankard again. There, now she could be sure, they had not met. Done and done.

Oh, a lively one! One could almost see her deflate. Like a balloon. Just wooosh. Right when she exhaled too. But, determined little thing that she was, she pepped back up again. "Oh. Right." She bit her lower lip and squinted at Aiden.

"Aye, Aiden." Had he been drinking, he might have choked on the ale but instead he just cleared his throat. "Gaelle, this is Cole Lachian, a knight of King Peter's." Who made Aiden's grumpy days look downright pleasant!

A flicker of gaze shot to Aiden and a swift narrowing of eyes but it was there and gone fast enough none would probably even notice. "Enchanted, I'm sure." He muttered under his breath, the liquid in his glass passing his lips just as soon as he spoke the words, more than likely lost in the confines of the tankard.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Sir." Always so polite. She beamed a smile right at the grumpy fellow and even took a moment to curtsey for him. Not a quick thing either, she made a show of it. All slow and perfect. Was it an attempt to get under his skin or an attempt to at least make him *think* about a smile? Hard to say! She straightened slowly, cleared her throat and finally sat on a stool. Her legs crossed at the ankles. "I hope both of you have had a pleasant night so far."

Now how could he not turn his attention and watch that? At least, from the corner of his eyes. What was that he was saying about wisdom and second guessing? Looked like she was here to stay, thanks to Aiden's hospitality, or Alex's kind nature, or just because it was the Thistle in Heathfield. No matter, it couldn't be helped now.

Aiden might but there was a reason he introduced Cole and it had to do with a King. Gaelle's attempt would likely not bring a smile but it did cause Aiden to hide his. "Aye, I am so far." He would be returning to his wife after a few drinks shared with a friend. What could be better?

One would think it was still summer for the shirt left open, wet hair curling down and soaking into its collar. Smokey green eyes still held the laughter he shared moments ago with a few others. Black pants and boots finished his ensemble as he made his way into the Thistle. Word was out that two of his comrades were here.

Knitting needles stuffed under the fingernails, perhaps?

Of course, she wondered why he was in such a grumpy mood. Bad day, perhaps. Gaelle never fully believed that there were people that were just.. grumpy every day. That was impossible! Wasn't it? She grinned at Aiden again, then peeked over her shoulder to the door when it opened. Another smile beamed right towards Lancely. "Good evening!" Sing song!

The King was not home but in Innis with a certain Princess. Oh, the speculation there! Although there was word the same princess had also spent time with a certain king's horseman. If the Crones were still about, they would be having a field day. "Evening everyone." With a cheery sound to the tone too as he ordered up some potcheen from Alex.

Cole was not grumpy, he was just plain foul and that songish greeting crawled all over his skin like the swarm of piss ants. He looked up and over to Lancely. "Caster." He offered his usual greeting for the knight, along with the nod that would indicate his respect for the man.

Nah, just watching Cole was part of the reason the night was going so nicely. "Evening, Lancely. Have you met Gaelle?" Yes, Peter was but Karl was still here. Things could get interesting there as well.

He might wonder if Lancely knew it would! Just like his two gauntlets to torture and test at the same time. He might well be testing Cole at the moment. Check his limits. "Lachian.." slight smirk there as he turned into a lean against the bar. "Aiden," realizing then the lovely lady present as he shoved up with a half bow, raising his hand holding the tumbler of potcheen. "MiLady." Back into his lean the next moment.

"Sir," she replied politely to Lancely, offering him another smile. Though eventually, her attention roamed back to Cole. She was checking for a smile and nearly frowned when she didn't even see a shadow of one. She hummed a quiet note, then placed an order for a drink. Nothing too strong tonight. The strong stuff was 'watered' down with a bit of juice.

"Lancely," adding his name to the Sir. Which in this case was appropriate being one of King Peter's knights. "I have not the favor of your name..." leaving it open for her to fill in as he had missed Aiden adding the name.

See, it was nice to have a quiet room, especially appreciated when there was a woman in the room. Something about having a female enter, and the place started buzzing.

"Lancely," she repeated sheepishly. "I am Gaelle, Gaelle Thorpe." She didn't mind giving her name. She tipped her head as she studied him. "It is a pleasure to meet you." She did hope though, that he wasn't quite as grumpy as Cole there! There was a moment of silence from her, then she spoke through another smile while she slightly leaned towards Cole. "It is a lovely night, don't you think?" She was determined to see a smile! She peeked Aiden's way, then towards Lancely. Maybe looking for warning signs? Something.

Except, dammit, so much for that. His tankard rested on the bartop and his forefinger tapped lightly along the curve, turning his attention to the trivial conversation underway between knight and Lady.

Gaelle would be lucky if she ever caught a glimpse of a smile. It was a very rare thing. Lancely on the other hand, was rarely without one. Especially if the Gauntlet was involved. It seemed the lass wasn't going to give up though.

"A pleasure to meet you Gaelle.." He obviously had not met her before. "You are new here then?" He would not know that either being he rarely gave the Thistle any time. So much time spent on his creations and a good reason he was still single.

"I lived here before. For a short time. I thought I would pay a visit this evening.." She smiled at Lancely, hand lifting to tuck strands of brown behind her ears.

She was leaning toward him, so he leaned ever so slightly toward her. He didn't answer the question that must not have been for him, and good thing, since she started back into chitter-chatter with Lancely.

Like the slight shake of his head that Aiden gave her? This might also be a good time to have a refill.

"And such is our luck that tonight was the night." Brows lifted, and yes, almost...he almost made himself grin with his comment, but...nah. "Alex?" He lifted his tankard to indicate a much needed refill.

She caught that, too. The headshake from Aiden. She bit her lower lip again and sort of slid a slow glance back in Cole's direction. She only smiled in response, then looked back to Lancely. She was all quiet mouse now. Like she was scared or something! Hah!

She was a mouse in the box then. All soft music and soothing sounds and then *POP*, she just couldn't be contained anymore!

"And I missed you being here?" Giving with the lift of dark blond brows and a twinkle in green eyes. It was common to miss that which was in your own backyard far too often. "You have friends here then?" Perhaps ones they knew.

"Friends? Charlie, Tykir, Rory, Bannon, Broch and his family, ah..I know Aiden of course, and I remember Gabriel, Melantha.. quite a few." She grinned wide. "It is possible we have met once, and just don't recall? Oh, I hope the Queen is well. I have not seen her in so very long. Lahoneee, I mean. I have not seen the King, either. Nor King Peter." Quiet what? There she went again. Jabber-jabber-jabber. She hushed long enough to sip her drink!

Was it POP or SNAP.. the trap being triggered? "I serve King Peter with Aiden as well Gabriel and Cole here.." sweeping grin Cole's way just to aggravate him with his good mood.

Really, Lancely? Brows pulled together in a frown when he heard the question, and when she started spouting off the names, Cole shook his head. She had a pretty impressive list of some rather important names there. Just listen to them drop and tinkle on the wood flooring.

"Cole is quite charming." She said over the rim of her glass. It kinda slipped?!

"You were too busy with your beasties." He had met her during the time, at least once. He looked at Cole when Lancely spoke to the lass again. "You did well at jousting practice today." Aiden hated that jousting dummy almost as much as .... and there went that thought right out of his head when he heard Gaelle. Quick! Drink!

And that comment, caused the man to do a double-take in her direction. "It is quite easily accomplished, in such fine company." A slight cant of head toward her, then a touch of a look to each of his comrades before he was torn, right torn, to look to Alex returning with his refill.

That did it. He was laughing now.

He didn't quite bite her head off. So all was well! She didn't' say anything else though, especially with the way Aiden was downing his drink. Then laughing. She grinned a touch.

Bite me, Aiden.

"I'm so glad you took that well. You sort of remind me of someone else that doesn't live here. Someone I don't get along with, see. And if I had said that to him? He probably would've lopped my head off and used it as a lamp in his bedroom." A hundred miles a second, that.

"Why the hell would he want to have to look at you every night, in his bedroom?" A snorted grunt followed, and up went the tankard to his mouth.

"Because I'm pretty." Without missing a beat, and with a sassy head toss!

He was too busy laughing to do any biting, though at least he had turned away from Cole. Of course, his shoulders were shaking.

"But then again, he really wouldn't. He tends to walk on the other side of the fence, if you get my meaning. Play for the other team. Bat with the other hand." Er.

He was trying hard not to laugh but then it came. Loud and clear.

-c-

Date: 09-20-11
Poster: Lancely Caster
Post # 79

A brow twitched and he glanced to Gaelle.

"He's a sparkle fairy. A glitter biscuit." She's... totally making that stuff up because she didn't know how to outright say the dude was gay?! Or, well, she didn't want to offend anyone by saying that. She has a weird way of thinking!

Don't look to Aiden for help. He couldn't even drink right now!

And Cole just kept looking at her as she rambled on.

"He likes men, Cole. He likes men." Wait. "...but he's dating a woman right now..."

"Yes, Gaelle, I believe we got that picture several descriptions back." Did the woman even need to breathe? One could wonder, considering how she failed to draw a breath while yammering.

"So, he ... doesn't exactly hate women?" Why was he encouraging her?

Good...flippin'....question!

She cleared her throat. She realized she had gotten extremely carried away. "Not all women. Most. Which is fine. I do not care for him anyway." And he knew it too. She turned her nose up like she was suddenly better than everyone. So not the case. And Gaelle tries to get along with everyone too!

"Ah, I see." He reached over and tapped her on the nose, laughing.

Was Cole still just staring at her? Yes, yes he was.

"I do apologize for .. I went too far, I believe." She realized. She turned a touch red, smiled. "That quite isn't like me. But.. people .. They are not quite as friendly like we are. Yes, including you, Cole." Even if he was staring at her. She checked to see if Lancely was still breathing. Aiden too. She didn't mean to shock them! "I am truly sorry." Now she felt bad!

He was amused. Extremely. Watching the match between Cole and Gaelle as he drank. It was time for drinking as he glanced to Aiden next who was doing the same.

"No, no, it's fine. We're well aware there are men and women who take a different path." Way different. He was trying to not laugh anymore!

He shook his head. "I don't see anything wrong in anything you have said." In fact it had been entertaining. Watching Cole all but swallow his tongue.

"Imagine that, a chatty lass going too far. Who would have ever thought it possible." He shook his head, his gaze lingering a moment more, then he, like the other Innis knights, lifted his tankard to drink.

She smiled faintly and winced just slightly when she heard Cole. "Ah, well.. I.. got carried away." Her throat cleared.

It was well worth it to see Cole somewhat bested. Especially by a lass. "I've heard worse."

And probably to Cole's delight, it did appear that Gaelle ran out of steam. She wasn't quite so chatty anymore! She tilted her head, looking towards Aiden. "Oh? That's a relief. For me, I mean." She lifted her mixed-up drink to her mouth for a few swallows.

Ohhell, was she refueling?

Yep!

He turned to Aiden, "how's the Missus?”

"She's doing well enough. Still on duty though I think she'll be taking time off soon." Or at least going on light duty until their child was born.

Their luck wasn't such that she was carried away, but maybe if she kept drinking like that, their luck could change. The conversation turned to Aiden and his forthcoming family.

But, with Lancely starting a conversation with Aiden, she wouldn't be so chatty. She was, in fact, still quiet. She finished off her drink, set down the empty, then rested her hands in her lap. 1-2-3-go. "I do miss it here. So many friendly people. Warm atmosphere.."

The comment had smokey green eyes turn on Gaelle. Smile touched just the corners of his lips and even eyes. "Then you should visit as much as you like." Especially since she had friends here.

She sent a grin in return to Lancely. "I plan on it. Hopefully I will not drive too many insane.." Sliding glance to Cole there!

"I've seen no warning posters put up. Beware of Gaelle she will drive you insane," flaunting a hand as if over the such lettering on these imaginary signs.

Might not be any up now, but Cole might have just gotten an idea from Lancely!

Cole wasn't that creative.

No, there are not any of those.." She noted the lack of signs, all wide eyed like she was going on with Lancely's act.

Or that inclined to waste the energy. She was passing through, why bother?

"So, it has been said that Aiden has a family.. or is starting one? What about the other two of you? Have wives? Children?" A friendly conversation starter, that was really all. Though if Cole were married.. She tried to imagine what the wife might be like.

He just grinned at Gaelle over the rim of the tankard. He'd stay quiet now.

Yes, he was going to waste the energy on that answer. "I have four wives, three with two children, one with five." Let her chew on that morsel for a while.

"Cole's working on his fourth wife and fourteen children.." giving a nod like it was all true. Who could believe that? "I'm still single." Nearly wasn't but that was a time in the past. Well, maybe she would believe it now!

Cole shifted a look Lancely's way and damn if he didn't almost smile to that!

He was!

"You are aware of some skirt-clingers I'm not, Caster?"

"Oh. That.. Oh. Well." Speechless at the answers. She blinked at the men rapidly.

"My hands are clean," which he held up for emphasis!

How the hell was Cole keeping a straight face? Aiden managed to but barely!

"I'll be studying each face to make sure they resemble you in no manner."

"He comes from a land that allows many wives." Informing Gaelle. Even though Cole was from the same land as Aiden!

"Four wives, some get lonely. But not I..." like he might look for other resemblances too! He gave a glance to poor innocent Aiden.

Her eyes widened as she glanced back and forth between Lancely and Cole. When she heard Aiden, she nodded. "Oooh! I have heard of them! Indigyptianese or something!"

And didn't have four wives...he didn't even want one! What the hell did she just call him?

Indian giver...

Something like?! At least she didn’t call him Japanese.

And what did his knees have to do with it...well, okay, maybe, but what? Or chimpanzees!

"I have heard of them having as many as 20 wives," she whispered loudly to Aiden. Still surprised. Cole didn't appear as if he was from those lands. ...Wherever those lands were.

Cole didn't say more, straight faced, it was a given...he lifted his tankard, looking between his comrades and the woman.

"Are you going to marry more?" She was worried that there weren't enough women in Heathfield now, at least, won't be when Cole got done.

"Only if he can't help himself. Do you want to put in an application?"

"Not a single one." He muttered.

"No!" Quickly answered to Lancely. Her head shook quickly.

He gave a snap to his fingers. "Sorry Cole.." like he had botched it up for him. Which came around to, "are you married then?" Being she was passing up the chance to be in Cole's harem.

"I'll lament my ill luck for years to come." Was the return, spoken just as low, just as guttural as the previous comment.

She almost said yes to that question. If only to keep her safe from any sort of harem at all. But.. she was a rather honest woman, or tried to be. "I am not married." She blinked at Cole, frowned. "I am sure you can find someone to easily replace me."

"H
e should be so lucky," giving Gaelle a wink and the ideal she was worth her weight in gold.

A grunt, maybe his form of a laugh, followed her attempt to ease his mind.

"I am quite sure of it, Lancely. There are so many beautiful ladies here. And I am sure quite a few have their eyes on Cole." She smiled suddenly. Brightly.

With his tankard still in hand, he eased up and out of his chair. He had enough ... amusement ... for one night.

He rubbed at his eyes, finally over the laughing for the most part. Instead he just blinked and looked from Gaelle to Cole and back. Nope, not a word!

"Caster, Collins...Gaelle." He nodded to each of them and that was the extent of his farewell. He brought his tankard to Alex and started for the door.

"It was a pleasure to meet you, Cole. Have a wonderful night!" So cheerfully delivered!

Her goodbye was as grating on the nerves as her greeting had been earlier. What a way to end the evening.

"Wait, Cole. I'll join you in returning." He had a wife waiting. Just one. The drink was finished and he pushed off the bar. "Night Gaelle. It was good to see you. Lancely, I'll see you come morning."

It was getting late and all three of them needed to be up early. "Shall we call it a night then?" Kicking back the last of his drink as he shifted up from his lean. "It was a pleasure to meet you Gaelle, one I hope is repeated." Smile turned her way as he was heading out as well.

"I do hope he has a better day tomorrow." She was still quite sure he just had a horrible day. Nothing more! "Oh, have a good evening, Aiden!" Since he was leaving too. She peeked towards Lancely, offered a warm smile as he prepared to depart. "Have a wonderful night, Lancely. I hope to see you soon."

-e-

Date: 10-03-11
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 80

Three of the Four

So silent the night. Such quiet could almost make a man self conscious about even chewing. Almost. And especially not if the man was Lazare Carno. There was little the man was self conscious about, and definitely not anything that had to do with his meals.


Lazare was not the only one to have had a good meal. Feast. Trevor was quite full, not that he looked an ounce overweight. It called for a nice walk which took him to the commons of the lands and further to the Thistle. He paused on the porch to enjoy a vanilla cigarillo before entering to see who might be within. He might get to see who was about the lands first, as the porch had a good view of the street.


The scent of a particular fragrant evening smoke drifted on the 'air' as Lazare brought up his last bite and smiled while he chewed it. Life was a constant continuity ...


...within the movement of change. The thought flitted across his mind and he then knew who was within.


It seemed to be the place for at least three of the horsemen tonight. Those who were footloose and fancy free at least. Dana knew where those two would be tonight. It seemed to be a perfect night to be at the Thistle, and here he was, making his way up the steps and offering a smile to Trevor. "You wander tonight as well, I see."


The cig pressed between his lips was pinched away between forefinger and thumb as well tapped to release any ashes. The dust of which floated away upon the chilled breeze. "Autumn has come and the bears have not hibernated yet." Which he paused only a heartbeat as dark eyes shifted in the direction of the castle. A slight grin twitched, "except maybe one." Trevor's attire of black on black was meticulous as ever. Yet, he looked comfortable at the same time instead of a stiff monkey-suit look. Tailored waistcoat over a vest, pristine slightly ruffled shirt. Pants with a subtle black satin stripe down the side. Polished black tooled dress boots.


This wasn't the first time she walked along a road, beside her mare rather than riding it. She could have been giving the horse a break, or she might have simply preferred to walk the rest of the way. She was wearing an ivy green dress with an empire waist, the material a soft, crushed velvet. Above, a dark cloak settled over her shoulders. She obviously hadn't been doing much exploring today, from the looks of things. Hair was down in loose curls, and there wasn't a single leaf or twig stuck within. With the mare being led to the stables, she continued on for the tavern.


"One dragon." He corrected with a laugh. He started for the door, pushing it open, though he paused when he saw the woman approaching. He was letting in a nice cool breeze while he waited.


Hair was neatly combed back as much as it would allow for the thick curling way. Perhaps a hint of the more wild tamed and controlled. As if it really could be. He took a double take from Dana to Lazare then upon the lass drawing near. "Good evening to you." Hard to tell at this distance and the darkness that surrounded exactly who it was other than a feel of familiarity.


Oh, a door was being held open for her! It took her a moment to realize that the man was apparently waiting for her to hurry up and get her butt inside. She quickened her pace, smiling wide. The greeting from the other fellow was heard, but with darkness casting shadows along features, she didn't recognize him just yet. "Good evening. And thank you! Isn't it such a lovely night?" The air was so perfect. The chill just right--just enough to make you feel - really- alive. She swept right by the men, and inside, where she stopped her forward motion to turn and stare back at them with a squint of amber.


The breeze caused the fire in the hearth to dance, or was it the mention of one particular King's Man that would be making the most of the evening in his quarters? No telling. As Dana continued to hold the door open though, Lazare swiveled on his stool to watch the entrance. Far more lovely the sight than he had expected, which also caused his smile to spread. "Quick, Lass, seal the door lest the slight chill in the air bring on who knows what sorts of creatures from the outdoors." With that, he motioned to the opening behind her. "And see? Already..." Since his hand was in motion, he raised it in greeting to his comrades. "Trevor! Dana!"


Ah, but if only the dragon could hear and raise itself from the comfort of home and wife. Not that he was shackled and any one of the other three would be doing the same under similar circumstances. "It is as fair as the gentle lady who graces our presence. Fair Gaelle." Recognizing her as she drew into what light filtered from the tavern windows upon the porch. "Please," with a sweep of his hand as she swept by and they all could go within the warmth the tavern beckoned.


"You are most welcome. It would be wrong for me to not hold the door for such a lovely lady." He glanced at Trevor, waiting for him to follow said lovely lady into the Thistle where she was waiting. "Lazare! Have you left anything for any other patron or are there only crumbs?" He grinned and glanced at the woman. "You need not fear any creature of the dark with the three of us here." Teasing yes, but he was telling the truth!


So much going on! She turned her attention towards Lazare when she heard him, then she turned back to the door, blinking owlishly at Trevor. The comments that came from all directions had her blushing. "Trevor?" It had taken her a moment to recall his name. She smiled though, and another smile lifted to Dana, then Lazare as she got out of the door's way to hang her cloak along the wall. "Such compliments." She giggled. Which only made the blushing
worse.


"What makes you believe there would be even crumbs, Frenchie." Lazare grinned, making a show of turning, licking his forefinger and actually pressing up the last of his crumbs to suck from his fingertip. "Waste not, want not, and all such as that."


Ah, so easily forgotten. He was crushed. Not really. See the smile that hinted reaching dark eyes, "none other." Enjoying the blush that now graced her cheeks for the moment. Next he was greeting his comrade. "Another makes three, Lazare." He was in following Gaelle and a pleasant view of her from behind. He enjoyed all such views.


His gaze rested on the woman a moment as she approached the bar with his brothers-in-arms, passing a slow, thorough, and depending on the constitution of the lass, far from hungry but very much appreciative gaze over her. If any warrior would enter with a pretty as pickled plums princess in their company, it would be Dana and Trevor to be sure.


"Indeed. I forgot who I was talking to." He looked at Trevor and Gaelle. "I hope you've both eaten or you'll surely starve tonight." The door was shut behind him and he was making for the bar, and stepping to the side of Trevor so he too could enjoy the view. She would likely be blushing more tonight with the three of them here.


Not just that, let the verbal barbs begin. Trevor enjoyed the exchange between these two especially. "I had a feast but I always have room for Hazel's apple pie." Reaching the bar as he took up a lean. Alex would see to his glass of Chablis and that warm apple pie with a slab of vanilla icing half melting into it.


She did a double-take with Lazare. A glance that shifted away bounced quickly back at him. She nearly stumbled, nearly, as she took her last steps to the bar. "Ah, Lazare. We have met before, I do believe." She offered a dimpled smile then turned slightly to face Trevor, then Dana. "But I have not met you, Sir." Spoken to Dana. "At least, I do not believe I have. My name is Gaelle Thorpe." She tried to ignore the way the men positioned themselves. But it had to be humorous how she was suddenly rather self conscious about her appearance! She tugged up the collar of her dress, as if she might have been showing too much.


"Hey! Where did that come from?" Lazare was chuckling, nodding toward the apple pie, which completely ruined his attempt at appearing surprised. Pulling his attention from the dessert, he rested it back on the woman. "I do believe you are believing correctly." He swept a hand in a dismissive way toward de Vimeure. "That, Dear Woman, is Dana de Vimeure. He is a little more than a festering pimple on the cheek of a donkey's ar...." He cleared his throat, swiping his hand over his mouth and off his chin, leaving that smile remaining. "arsenal of ill tempered behavior." Whatever the hell that means. He leaned toward Gaelle. "He's a Frenchman, de Vimeure. That should explain it all." A quick, firm, that-is-all-needs-to-be-said nod.


"It was saved from the Lazare avalanche that came through here.." grinning Lazare's way as he took up the fare. One sniff followed a most heavenly look with his eyes briefly closing. Being that Gaelle saw to her own introduction, he started in on his dessert. Heaven in a slice of pie could only be outdone with a woman worthy of such competition. It almost sounded like he called Dana a Dear Woman! Which had him chuckling to himself. "......arsenal of ill tempered behavior, sounds like a description of our dear dragon." That was a visual.. Dana, a pimple on the dragon's derriere.


Anything he might have said about Hazel hiding the pie for others to enjoy was stalled when Gaelle introduced herself. "Dana de Vimeure," offering what his friends called him as he bowed slightly, "and do not listen to Lazare. He leaves his manners behind when he is sated with food." He paused and glanced at Lazare then back. "Which is often."


Lazare had paused in the right places, Gaelle would not mistake the comment. To that, Dana received a lift of tankard.


She listened intently to Lazare, her eyes widening at such the right times. She blossomed out another smile, then peeked back to Dana. "A Frenchman. Is this true? You know, I have always heard the French have the most romantic language, Lazare. Can you speak French?" With the question, she peeked back at Lazare. A grin tipped to Trevor, then she laughed brightly before looking right back at Dana. "It is nice to meet you, Dana." She spoke very pleasantly. Then.. the woman was distracted, by that apple pie in front of Trevor. She stared!


Ah, he noticed the stare and with a few words with Alex, another was being brought out just for her. "A slice of heaven is deserving an angel." He said it matter of fact as he took up the plate being set down in the next few minutes to offer her.


These were the King's Men, they spoke several languages as fluently as those who called the countries home. Trevor's statement caused Lazare to do a double take in the man's direction. Doubtful the woman would even care now about the answer to her question, or would she need the sweetness of pie with the sugary sentiments coming from Cairns.


Considering he was half French and half Scots. Interesting combination. "Or should I say, une tranche de paradis c'est méritoire une ange."


Ah..Oooh. She didn't quite forget about the question until she heard Trevor speaking French. She widened her eyes and for a moment, grew stark still. "Ooh, that was soo pretty.." Really, he could have called her a crooked nosed twat-waffle and she would not have cared in the least!


"Ah, we do, we do." He agreed then laughed as her attention was stolen away by, of all things, pie! He leaned against the bar beside Lazare and nodded his thanks to Alex for the glass of his favorite burgundy. "Forgotten so quickly." Murmured in an aside to Lazare.


There was a slight glance given Lazare considering it was usually forgotten he was part French. Just a twitch at the corner of his lips would hint on any such thoughts. Lazare could appreciate it. Food stole his attention away often!


"The poison of the french." Lazare muttered back from the corner of his mouth, as if Dana wasn't the one he was usually kidding about that heritage.


She forced herself to remember the pie in front of her, and took a bite. She had not forgotten about the other men! She glanced their way as she chewed, then swallowed the bite of food. "So...." She wasn't quite sure of a topic to bring up. The word that she murmured trailed. Oh! And look at that. She had Trevor holding the plate while she ate her pie. Hah! She was flustered?! "Oh! Right. So sorry." Plate taken, she set it before her, blushing like crazy.


He was still holding the plate of pie offered to Gaelle. Hopefully she would take it and enjoy. Her response of his speech earned a fuller smile. And there it went..


"Oui, le poison." As if he were agreeing with Lazare, but he made sure to answer him in the language of his homeland.


"So!" Lazare added to the original offering, slapping a hand lightly on the bar counter and coming to his feet. He nodded slightly to Gaelle and strode toward the hearth, taking up a poker and squatting before it to do a bit of that very thing...poke.


"He's good at poking." Deadpanned.


He had to move away before French started spewing from his mouth! God forbid! It was bad enough that Trevor had regressed so. "There is an art to it, after all." His words were laced with humor as he shifted the logs just so. And if anyone could poke, and well, it was Carno.


He was trying not to laugh. It wouldn't do to snort apple pie or spew. Keeping one's composure was an art. Trevor did it well. He finished the pie and took up the glass of Chablis. The hearth was his destination and one of the comfortable chairs there. "Would you care to join us, Gaelle?" He would not sit until she did if she joined them there.


"Yes, very good at making the fire flare." And just to the point of being ready to flare before he stepped out of the flames. Oh, there were many ways to take that after all but he choose to be careful of his words.


It didn't take her all that long to finish off the apple pie. She sparked a smile towards Trevor, and indeed, moved for the hearth with him. She settled down in a chair, hands resting against her lap. "Are you men married? Have families?" She was always curious to the families of Heathfield. There were so very many that she hadn't met, after all!


He had one fault, he was honest if he related anything at all that was personal. "I was many years ago. I have a young son that stayed with me." Settling into a chair near hers before his glass was lifted and followed by a taste. Always the taste before a more hearty drink was taken. Perhaps there was a storm cloud to pass over dark eyes with his revelation but if so, it was actually something else he recently learned. The wine glass was lowered and set to a side table.


"Not I." He put his hand over his heart as he spoke. "There are so many beautiful women in the world, it is nearly impossible to pick a wife." He winked at Gaelle as he joined them at the hearth though he didn't sit just yet.


Lazare didn't say a word while the other two answered. Surely, if he had a wife, he wouldn't be here, he'd be tucked away like the Dragon, enjoying her cooking and ... what she served up.


She smiled warmly at Trevor. While she was curious to what had happened with the relationship, she felt she didn't know him well enough to really ask. Too personal! "How old is your son?" Dana got a grin next. "I have heard of many that never get married, and live out wonderful, happy lives that way. It isn't for everyone." She noticed that Lazare didn't answer! She didn't push him to, either.


He rocked back on his heels, using the poker to push himself up and then set it aside.


"He is three going on thirty," which was true. Trevor Jr, nickname Trev was a little man than him being a child. There was something there that lit up dark eyes when he spoke on his son. "Lazare is married to food," teasing his comrade being he didn't' answer. The thought, lamb chops, entertained as there once was a girl...


"He will be the next line of defense for Luneberg and our Liege." He offered Trevor a respectful nod and then chuckled, hearing his comment. "And it is, for the most part, true. To my pledge and to my gut." He patted that said portion of his anatomy, as if it warranted attention. "I have much better luck with choosing food that agrees with me ... than a female that does so."


"Children are blessings," she said to Trevor, then laughed for his comment about Lazare. "Ah, to a long, prosperous marriage then, Lazare," she teased the man. She leaned back in her chair, allowing herself to relax. Her posture wasn't quite so rigid. "Maybe I should try that tactic," she responded to Lazare.


Trev took after his father and already was learning to wield a wooden sword. It brought back memories, even if painful ones. Thumb traced along the edge of the wine glass in an unconscious tick.


In truth, they, all Four, were 'married' in a sense to the pledge they took those many, many years ago. "The heart is too frail an organ...I prefer to allow my palate to rule my decisions instead."


"He had a date with Lasagna only to pass her up for lamb chops the following evening... but we all know he liked the rack of lamb best of all.."


She watched Trevor for a moment, furrowing her brows, but smiling when he seemed to ease out of whatever thought that seemed to distract him. She even laughed, but nodded to Lazare in agreement. "It is frail. And it can be so very difficult to heal when a relationship doesn't work out." She trailed off, her gaze bouncing from Lazare to Trevor.


The tankard he had placed on the mantle was reclaimed and he tipped it in toast to Trevor. "Call me fickle."


"...or pickle?' He toasted him as the words were all in jest betwixt and the comradery they shared.


"Bah..." He grunted out a laugh. "Call me anything, just call me, eh?"


That had her laughing!


The last of Gaelle's words caught him like being sideswiped unexpected. Although they were true, perhaps that is why. "It is always a shame when a relationship ends no matter who is at fault and who is not. Little Trev never knew his mother, in that is a blessing." Although he didn't have a mother at all he had those that mothered him. Trevor did his best in being both for his child. He was a happy one luckily. Not wishing to give the wrong impression he added. "She left a long time ago, right after he was born."


That pledge meant much and always would. He toasted both Trevor and Lazare, laughing then fell silent. Perhaps it was the change in the weather, but he was extra thoughtful tonight. One season gone, another taking it's place.


"In this I will disagree, Brother. Some relationships are best ... ended. No shame in it at all." Shoulders dipped toward his comrade, that slight cant of head and he moved to take a chair. Karl's. Vincent's. Trevor's. Was it not from experience that Lazare preferred the Lamb chop?


She might notice he didn't speak ill of his son's mother although he knew what Lazare meant too as he gave a slight dip of his head.


She nodded thoughtfully as she listened. And again when Trevor answered her silent question of how long ago the relationship ended. "I have to agree with Lazare. The last relationship I was in, only my second one, was.. " She trailed off, drew in a breath, held it then exhaled. "... rocky, at best. Nothing like the first one I was in."


Would he settle for a chop or take the whole rack?


Excuse me. Lazare Carno never ... settled.


"I hate to admit it, but I agree with Lazare in that as well." He shrugged slightly. "But that is in the past, no?" Best not to dwell on it.


"You only hate to admit it, because you are agreeing with me, not with the fact of the matter." Lazare laughed softly, his words just as softly spoken and full of mirth.


"Perhaps it was this first that wasn't rocky that had you not accepting one that was?" Curious thought although he didn't ask any particulars.


"That is true." Agreeing again but he too was laughing.


"I believe so, Trevor. The men were like daylight and dark, so vastly different. And I always prefer shining light over constant darkness." She smiled a touch.


"There is enough darkness in this world not to have it found in your relationship too. I see a relationship as one working together against what life throws than being the problem of unhappiness."


He looked between Gaelle and Trevor. The conversation had become rather weighty for so light and airy an evening. "There is someone for everyone, so I've heard tell. Even de Beauvais. And my choice is Betty. Brown Betty. Crepe Suzette, and a delightfully tempting Victoria sponge."


This conversation was depressing! She exhaled again, and nodded. "As they say, learn from your past, even if the lessons can be so very tough. I--" She trailed off to glance at Lazare, then immediately started laughing.


"Three, now who is the glutton! I say share, Lazare."


"I say, nay, Cairns, seek out your own!" And he had joined in with Gaelle's musical laughter.


"You should ask Broch Cunningham about the extremely huge feast I prepared for him so long ago." Just to tease Lazare!


Which his own hearty laugh was added in the next moment. It was an ease, a relief, from the more hefty conversation.


"
So that I could be jealous of the man's good fortune? I think not, Gaelle. Ignorance, at times, is bliss."

"Ah, see, he claims dislike of the French but what does he name and second in his wants?" He joined in the laughter as well, shaking his head.


"I have never condemned the sweet French lass...or their expertise in pastry..." A firm nod of affirmation.


"Aye, I would agree with Lazare on that point in being envious of a woman that will cook for a man." He was curious if Broch was the better or the worse relationship she spoke on earlier.


Did the poor man have to be either? Could he not just be a dinner companion? Such would be the perfect evening.


She snickered as she listened to the men, sneaking a grin towards Dana. "Ah, you have a good point. Wait, you only dislike French men, Lazare? That isn't quite fair!" Oh, Broch was the better! She didn't say that though!


Some thoughts were better not asked. "Especially when the French don't dislike men over women..." shooting a grin Frenchie's way.


"My Dear Gaelle, you have no idea how fair it actually is." Still chuckling he wiped his palms on the length of strong thighs and pushed up to stand.


"And I do love to cook. I just.. do not do it often, or at least, I do not prepare such large meals." She wrinkled her nose at Lazare. "How so?"


"You, Trevor, are not speaking about this Frenchman. Under, over. Whichever the women prefer." He pointed a finger in Trevor's direction. "And remember, you are half-French."


"Of course not.." chuckling as it ruffled a few feathers. What he had hoped for. That was what they did.


As he crossed near her, he leaned in slightly, placing a hand on the arm of her chair. "Do you remember the phrase spoken just moments ago?" He twitched off a playful wink and straightened. "Ignorance is bliss."


She stared up at Lazare. Something Trevor said, though, finally caught up to her. She suddenly grinned as if she completely understood. She certainly hoped she did. "Ah, yes, I believe you are right. Ignorance is bliss." She repeated that little phrase, as if it might help her store it into memory. Then, not quite so randomly, but spoken quickly, "Broch was the first relationship. I'm saying this only because you may know him. So you can probably easily guess the better of the two."


"Aye, indeed we do know Broch. Of course we don't know how his relationships go. Still, it is comforting to know such speaks well of him."


She shared after all! He was on his way to hand Alex the tankard and turned to look around his shoulder to her. They really didn't need to know who was the first, her life was her life and so was Broch's. There was a tug at the corner of his lips as Trevor spoke then he continued on to the bar, handing the kindly tender the empty.


"I have nothing but admiration of him. I do hope he settles down one day, with a woman that makes him quite happy. He deserves that." She nodded, then grinned at the men. "I think everyone deserves that. Or at the very least, to be very happy. I hope the same for you three, too." What the what? She was turning all mushy now. Maybe she needed a drink!!


"To anything that makes us happy." He toasted, but with an uplifted empty hand, since he had handed over his tankard. "Whatever, and whomever, it may be."


He raised his glass toward Gaelle for her words, drinking the last of his wine. "And for you as well, lovely Gaelle. Be patient and it will come." He grinned at Lazare. "For you, it should be a pleasingly plump woman who cooks well and has a pleasant demeanor and a heavy skillet for when you get out of line."


He offered Gaelle a dip of head, he would wish the same for her. "Now, unlike these two daring warriors, my arse spends too much time in the dirt of the practice field not to get some sleep for tomorrow's training."


She didn't have anything in her hand either! She laughed as she watched Lazare though, and even toasted the air with him! "Here, here!"


"Aye, and a cottage with a back exit devoid of a door, so I can scoot out quick when she starts swinging it."


"And thank you very much, Dana." She murmured to him, then looked back to Lazare. "Ah, then if you are leaving to catch up on your rest, I wish you well. And it was lovely to see you again."


"There are many kinds of happiness to dwell on one you may not have." He lifted his glass to toast to words given before he drained his glass.


"I completely agree, Trevor." She nodded softly for that.


"It is always a night well spent when our paths chance to cross, Gaelle. Safe journey to you. Brothers." One nod, then another, to each of them and he started for the door to head back to the barracks.


It was getting late as he rose from his chair. "I hear they are bringing out a late night feast up at the knight's hall for the lads that did well today on the field."


So much for sleeping!


"I will join you on the walk back, Lazare." He was over to the bar to return his glass. He might not sleep yet but he would return.


She rose too. It was time to rest. Though she was staying here. "I wish you all a wonderful night. It was so wonderful to see you! And so nice to meet you, Dana."


"If you are not spending the night here, Gaelle, we will escort you where it is needed." That they would see to before heading to the castle.


She went up stairs soon enough to do the sleeping thing!


"A pleasure seeing you again, perhaps it will be so in the future. Sleep sweet." Obviously the escort was not needed as he headed out to catch up with his comrades.

-e-

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