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Thistle Tavern

Date: 10-17-11
Poster: Shaun Shawnesey
Post # 81

Leisure Time

Hot Diggity. It was a night to be out. The air was fresh and crisp. The street was still busy with people enjoying the evening. The lights of the Thistle beckoned. And Tykir had answered that call, gaining a glass of whiskey for the effortless effort.

It wasn't long until Tykir would have company. Bannon was heading for the Thistle at a healthy clip. He waved at one of the vendors who was leaving for the night and headed up the steps. Once inside, he noticed the Dark Prince. "Tykir!" Alex was used to the McAndrews so Bannon shouldn't bother him one bit.

Tykir's gaze went straight to the mirror, then with a grin he spun around to face the approaching knight. "Bannon!" He called out his reply, throwing up a hand to further the greeting.

Shaun was getting use to the daily practice. Up before sunlight and done before mid afternoon. This gave him some time to do other activities, mostly bothering his older brother at the smithy. Well, actually, helping him out. Helped enough that he gave him extra throwing knives and short blades. Ones good for practicing with. They were bundled up in thick burlap as he carried his treasure within. Tipped grin and a sparkle in blue eyes under a wide brim hat. When he wore that, he looked even more like his brother. Rhett was more a blacksmith's build where he was wiry. A shoulder was used to ease the door open in the wake of Bannon. "Eve'in," carrying the bundle to one of the tables near the bar. Once set he took off the hat to run the back of his hand across his brow.

"Hey Shaun. What'cha got there?" Tykir leaned to see the bundle on the table better and nearly tipped from his perch. His foot dropped to the floor from the rung of the stool to keep his balance.

"Evening, Shaun." He saluted Shawnesey before he was over to the bar to join Tykir in drinking. Though they might head to see what Shaun had in his bundle.

"Eve'in Tykir, Bannon," wondering if he should bow or something as he stood there indecisive for a moment. Instead he opened up the burlap.. "come take a look and if you like any.. they're yours." Anything made by Rhett Shawnesey was covet, no matter one of the elaborate great swords down to practice swords, whose blades were just as sharp and enduring, the hilts just not fancy. "I hear there is a list of squires up for ransom," which the quirk of a smile came with the last word used confirming the tease. He knew there might be some of the older knights and so on that would take on a squire. Some were better than others but, unfortunately, they didn't have the choice.

Tykir slid from his stool, crossing to the table to take up one of the weapons. Niiiiiice. "Up for ransom, huh? Do you mean to use these to ransom them then?" He cut a half-grin Shaun's way. Word traveled through the castle when the knights spoke of practices and those that were of special notice among the young want-to-be's.

"I'd have to bribe the whole lot of veteran knigh
ts that are allowed to take on a squire." One in particular than use of the squires when needed and always changing. "It is said if you get someone good, you'll learn better." Shaun had already taken one of the swords for practicing with. "Do you have one of the swords your brother Andrew and my father forged?" This being addressed to Tykir as he was right there. With a look over his shoulder towards Bannon, "you can have one too if you wish." Encouraging him to come and pick what he might need.

He had his whiskey in hand and hadn't sat his rear on a stool yet so it was easy enough to follow Tykir across the room. "Aye, they are nice. Though if you ransom this batch you'd have to do the same for the next and the next." He nodded to the comment about a good teacher. In Bannon's opinion, he had one of the best and Vincent hadn't had a choice. "I might." Looking over the weapons carefully.

"Nah, not me." Tykir answered, setting that one dagger aside to take up another and study it. "I'd think any of the knights allowed to be assigned a squire would be worthy of teaching. I can't imagine Karl or Peter allowing anything less than perfection for their knights...even those aspiring to be."

"There is that," pressing his lips together as not to further his comment. Talk amongst the squires it seemed there were ones they hoped to get assigned to over others, even if all were good. Some would not even get assigned but at the ready for anyone that needed them whether they had a squire already or not. "Maybe you'll get one of those special swords one day," being he heard a few of Tykir's brothers had them. It would only stand to reason. "Unless you don't want one?" There was always that but such a notion had brows lifting in disbelief.

She hadn't changed so much since the last time she'd been in this area. A long time ago, that, and it was probably why she wasn't in such a rush to get inside. She admired the view of the quiet, night time streets, then the sky before she finally drifted indoors. Nora was wearing a deep blue dress tonight, trimmed in white ribbon and lace. Platinum hair was pinned up, as usual, but there were spirals of curls left free to trace her cheek. She placed her cloak on the wall, hanging it from the peg, then started for the bar. Ankle boots with small heels clicked out a quiet beat.

"Evening, Miss." Tykir allowed his attention to be diverted long enough to make the greeting, then he went back to inspecting the weapons. "Oh, I'd want one to be sure. Who wouldn't? Just ... being a prince doesn't mean one will be mine. No matter what strings I might be able to pull or names I could drop." He chuckled to himself. Yes...I know Andrew and the Queen. I am always in the company of the Four Horsemen. I am the brother of the King of Kildare. I have wings! Nope, none of that would even get the sword in his hand. That was an honor that had to be earned.

He just grinned as he listened then laughed. The swords were special and everyone he knew was hoping they could earn one. Even himself. "Your brother won't mind you giving these away?" He smiled over at the lass too, giving her a slight nod. "Evening."

He took a moment to address the lady, politely so, "even'in miss.." pressed smile that managed to reach his eyes before attention turned to Bannon, "aye, said they were mine to do what I wanted being I was a big help with his last large order."

"You should help your brother more often, Shaun." Tykir murmured with a grin, making his choice and tucking the well-crafted dagger into his waistband.

"Aye, you should. Or we should, if he needs help." He was trying to decide between a knife and short sword as he spoke. Too bad he wasn't like Tykir in making a fast decision.

"Aye, I like helping him and he even showed me how to make a sword," but it was not his calling even if he did a descent job of it. Rhett was his idol in many ways and not unusual for a younger brother. "You want to help sometime, just come over to his smithy."

"Me help?" Tykir laughed, waving away the thought of it. "That wouldn't be a good idea." Still grinning, he returned to his drink and reclaimed it.

"Sometimes it is helping to keep the fire going. Sometimes it is fetching water or the ores needed so he can concentrate on the actual making of the sword." There were a lot of odds and ends things to do. Whatever was left he would bring to the barracks tomorrow for some of his newfound buddies to pick from.

"That could be dangerous." Especially if there were two or more of them at the forge. He wasn't just talking about Tykir either. "Ah, so it's not playing with fire itself." Now that was good to know.

Heck, these teens played with fire everyday! Well, every chance they got! "Sounds like work to me." Tykir brought his glass up, hitching his hip to the stool to position himself back in his seat. Anyone who knew Tykir knew that he was made to work hard, very hard, and most times it was because he had been playing hard, very hard. So his statement was made in jest... sorta... kinda.

He studied Tykir with that comment to see if he was jesting or not. He didn't know him that well yet. Instead he kinda shrugged his shoulder. "So what else is there to do," sounding very much like this Shawnesey was looking for adventure.

"Nothing like good hard work to appreciated the off times." He laughed, then saluted Tykir with his glass before taking a long drink. And the fun hadn't stopped with his becoming a knight. If nothing else, he was able to get into more trouble though he still had to answer for it. What did they do for fun? "Anything we shouldn't." Not always but there were others who said that was true of the Dark Prince and his friends.

A good, bad reputation wasn't easy to obtain and harder to upkeep but the teens tried their damnedest to do so. "If you can think it up, Shaun, we can do it."

Which had his brows lifting, "here I thought you might show me the ropes." The Shawnesey boys are 'good' boys by standard and upbringing. Except Shaun had this streak that was begging to be explored. Let his brother be the 'good' son. He wanted more adventure, not necessarily to be bad, but to break some rules, to boldly go where no one has before. "Do you need to think up something or just go out there and seize such a moment?"

Black wool had to come from somewhere, and every family had to have a source for it.

Well, Shaun had two brothers but Bannon didn't know the oldest, and thought maybe there was one younger too. He laughed and shrugged. "We do both. Sometimes the opportunity just happens at the right time." And that was the truth!

"Exactly." He pointed with his glass toward Bannon. "And most times, we stumble head first into the thickest of it."

"So.. spur of the moment. Have you ever planned out an escapade?" He was curious as he collected a drink and a chair at the table to sit.

Tykir laughed low, dipping his gaze to the contents of his glass. "Well yes, but odd thing it never goes as planned." Up came his glance to Shaun again. "Which makes it all the more enjoyable...once we survive it."

"Aye," giving a thoughtful approving nod as he soaked in that information. "I would think if you go with the events as they happen, even if it steers away from the plan, you are apt to have a better adventure." Which had him thinking and managed to say his thought out loud, "have you ever visited the bars down at the port?" That would be asking possibly for some big time trouble.

"You'll learn to be ready for things to change on the training field, and battlefields so it's good practice." Especially around some of the knights and the Horsemen. "I think once or twice." They had been drinking pretty heavily if he remembered right.

"or thrice." Tykir added. "If the girls aren't with us, we tend to venture out further... Oh, is that why you do it, Bannon?" Tykir was chuckling in his glass as he drank, eyeing his friend over the length of it.

The grin that appeared had the devil behind it. "Oh, aye. That's my reason and I'm sticking to it." Hey, it could work!

The glass lowered and Tykir feigned a toast toward his good friend. "Ever the diligent knight, Sir Bannon."

"You have a girl?" Looking between the two as certainly that would change some things. He didn't and wondered how well he'd fit in.

"Several." Tykir laughed, then waved away his answer. "My sister, for one, and Ellyn Royce... have you heard of her? Molly Tremaine...from Barrett's Bay. They are as eager for adventure as the likes of us."

"And quick to lead us into it." How many times had that happened. "But it turns out to be fun. Of course, there's always payment for it."

To that, Tykir could only groan.

"I've not met them yet. Heard the names." Certainly. Girls got talked about even if not lewd kind in the barracks. If lewd comments were made, that one would get beaten down. "Aye?" Glancing from Tykir to Bannon and back. "So you don't have a girl in particular, just ones part of the group." Which he could handle. He would have been avoiding the situation of the lone single guy amongst couples.

Tykir understood that concern, and though he did have a certain lass he very much enjoyed spending time with they were all close friends ... very good friends ... above all else. "We have a good time, Shaun. That's the bottom line. And if you're ever available for that, then you're more than welcome to join. The more the better, when a large group scatters, the authorities don't know exactly who to chase." His shoulders shook slightly with his suppressed laughter.

Tykir usually got the worse of it though if Vincent was around to suggest punishment, Bannon took part. "And the number of us involved changes each time too." Hey, that was the truth! They could lead them in circles!

"When not needed for my duties, I've the time." Figuring his time schedule would be similar to Bannon's in the least. He kicked back the shot and managed not to cough. Not that he was any pro but he was getting a tolerance.

"Well, isn't that the way for all of us?" He shot back the last of his libation and placed his empty glass on the bar. "Thanks for the dagger, Shaun. And my thanks to your brother as well, when you can relay it."

"Aye," his voice sounding a little more gravely, "probably tomorrow." Which he saw Rhett often enough with his smithy just outside the commons.

Tykir grinned with that tell-tale sound. "Guess I better head back to the castle. Good seeing you again, Shaun, and I look forward to seeing you again soon." He lifted a hand in farewell. "Very soon." He nodded to Bannon. "Catch you later, Zimmer..."

"I should get back too," he had gotten up to set his tumbler back to the bar and collect the cache of weapons up stowed away in the burlap. "I'll join you in the walk," providing the prince walked.

He downed the last of his drink and grinned. "Aye, you will because I'm going to beat you on the field tomorrow when we try the beastie." Most of the time he tied with Tykir or just outright lost. But that was to be expected with the King watching over the Dark Prince and his training. "If he doesn't walk, you can join me."

"Heck, I'll be walking tonight. No telling what the three of us can stumble upon along the way, right?" He shot out both arms, one to each of the other teens and slapped them both on a shoulder. "Here's to the beginning of the end of the night, or the beginning of a beginning of it." From here to the castle, so much could be found.


Date: 10-20-11
Poster: Faelan Callihan
Post # 82

Colder Days

It was a crisp fall night, one of those that reminded one winter would soon be here. Leaves crunched underfoot, occasionally scurrying away in a small whirlwind when the breeze picked up. Morgan had walked from the docks to the Thistle in a leisurely way in spite of the chill. He knew there was potcheen and Irish Stew to be had once there. Belly full, he contently sat in front of the fire, watching the flames dance.

Faelan was antsy. They should have left but there were reports on a few hurricanes at sea. It was the season or end of the season for such and best to wait. He didn't want to jeopardize his crew and the reminder of what happened to Segan Quinn's ship a haunting reminder upon the jagged cliff near the lighthouse. A reminder that would be there for a few years he suspected. He heard tell there was a cargo somewhere in those depths and luckily sailors about were too superstitious to go near it. Fall was coming to an end as the glorious colors adorning the trees a week ago were now dead in a crunching brown beneath one's step. Hunger drove him from the piers and towards the Thistle for a good meal. Perhaps he and his brother were communicating on another level. Wind whisked through the opening before the door was closed over again. A few surviving leaves still with color, and much smaller, danced across the floor until the momentum was lost. "Brother mine, good to see you." Not that it had been all that long, he was still grinning as he ordered up some stew, brown bread and ale. Cloak was left on until he warmed up some.

"I see you're seeking shelter tonight." Though it was warm enough on the ships. Or maybe he was referring to the crew. "I'm thinking the stew is exceptional tonight. And the potcheen chaser is perfect." He gave Faelan a lazy smile as he sat up straighter. "Me crew is getting restless. How's yours handling the wait?"

"Content as a cow, you've got that look!" Grinning with the tease before he was collecting his fare. Without further adieu, he was over to take up a seat next to his brother and dig in. Barely taking the time to sit. "So how has the day been treating you?" Taking a moment between soaking his bread in the stew and scoffing it down. Once that was swallowed. "They are getting as antsy as their captain and I'm thinking of doing some short runs until the danger out at sea," at least where they were headed, "has passed." He was back to his stew.

The cow comment made him laugh and he lifted his glass in a kind of salute. He did feel that content! "Content for now. There's only so much to do during a day when you're waiting to leave." Funny how that worked out. "It's not easy keeping some of them out of trouble."" A few had families here in Heathfield, so that kept those ones behaving. He watched Faelan shovel the food down, then gave a slight shake of his head. "You forget to eat earlier?"

Violet blue eyes held that certain glint as he took a moment to look up and over at his brother. "Aye, and yea bae try'in not ta t'ink o' it," sliding into the accent of the majority of sailors. "Hear anything on Regan yet?" It was getting to the point he wouldn't be surprised if their older brother went out looking for her. Giving a shake of his head, "didn't forget, had three square meals already, it's the brisk air I'm thinking."

"Ship from Bridgeport came in yesterday. You might have seen her, the Starfish? Their captain said he saw the Dream there before he left port. They were unloading cargo." He scratched at his chin, expression thoughtful. "Course, that was more then a few weeks ago."

She thought she was prepared for the onset of autumn and the cooler weather that the season brought. Tonight, to her at least, the air felt much cooler and she realized she wasn't quite as prepared as she had hoped to be! She swept into the tavern with a shiver, teeth chattering just a touch while she removed her cloak to hang on the wall. She wore a velvet dress tonight of deep green and soft boots. Smiling to the people she saw, she started for the bar, rubbing her hands to generate some heat!

He was a gentleman if nothing else and stood when the lass came in. Faelan had gone to the back for a few, so it was just him there. "Evenin' miss. Bit cold out there. A warning, I'm afraid." He hoped to be in warmer climes when winter swept down from the mountains though they'd all be back for Christmas hopefully.

"It is quite cold! And to think, this is only the beginning. Winter is not upon us yet." She twitched her nose playfully, offered a smile to the fellow as she neared the bar. A seat taken, she ordered cider for herself, then turned to speak to the man again. "Though it could be worse. It could be pouring down rain."

"The days haven't been so bad, but it does look like that's changing. The fire's warm if you've a mind to sit. Me brother should be back soon. I'm Morgan Callihan." He sat again, taking another drink of the potcheen then topping off his glass with the bottle sitting on small table beside his chair.

"I will be over there in just one moment!" She was only waiting for her cider, which wasn't a very long wait at all. When she had the mug, she slid away from the counter to approach the hearth. "Nice to meet you, Morgan. I'm Gaelle Thorpe." She offered an easy going smile as she claimed one of the chairs, nearly curling up in the thing.

He stood again, sitting after she had, then grinned as she settled in the chair. "Nice to meet you, Gaelle. You a resident or a visitor?" He hadn't met everyone here but knew names. If she had met any of his relatives, they certainly mentioned her so he was racking his brains trying to remember.

"I lived here in the past. Right now, I am simply visiting." She grinned a touch. "In fact, come to think of it, the very first time I stepped foot in these lands was during Autumn." So long ago! She laughed a little. "I remember, a friend had given me a ghost costume that she had been wearing. Only... it wasn't white. It was about every color you could think of, like a rainbow. I wore it around for days."

"A rainbow ghost?" He laughed shaking his head. "That would have been a sight to see. Did you manage to collect candy while you were wearing it?" Storm cloud gray eyes held a twinkle as he asked. All Hallow's Eve had always been one of his favorite holidays.

"No, I did not get any candy. A pity. I did not even scare anyone! Of course, a brightly colored ghost isn't quite so frightening." She wrinkled her nose, but grinned again, then lifted her mug for a quiet sip. "I still have the costume. Maybe I will have a little more luck this year."

"I think it has even gotten colder out," the hint of vanilla cigarillo still clung to him as he came in from the back. "I'm Faelan Callihan," grinning as he crossed the way to collect his empty plate and such and set them in easy reach of those behind the serving area of the kitchen. Once done he was back to his seat where his ale and potcheen still awaited him.

"It's quite a sight here. The stores stay open late and there's a bonfire in the square." He paused as Faelan returned, watching him a moment. "This is Gaelle Thorp, Faelan." Offering half an introduction. "The rainbow ghost." That might leave his brother a bit confused.

Not an unpleasant scent, either! She lifted her gaze to Faelan, offering a warm smile. "I'm Gaelle Thorpe. Nice to meet you." Parroting Morgan, nearly. She didn't add anything onto his comment about a rainbow ghost, either! Perhaps just to add into the confusion. She grinned though, and lifted her mug in a silent toast before sipping!

He paused before taking a seat, hand coming to rest over his midsection with a slight bow forward, "my pleasure Miss Gaelle. What exactly is a rainbow ghost?" Sandy blond brows slightly lifted over violet eyes as his hand eased away and down to grasp the handle of the stein, lifted and a good drink to quench his thirst before set again.

"A friend had given me a ghost costume.. or well, a sheet, that was quite colorful. Like a rainbow. I wore it one year close to All Hallow's Eve." She offered a tiny smile, lifted her shoulders a bit. "It was when I had first arrived here, in fact, though I cannot remember if I was living here yet or simply visiting."

He was going to let Gaelle explain that. The meal from earlier and now the potcheen was making him drowsy. He just might take a room here for the night.

"That's right, wont be long to Hallow's Eve. A time of spirits, ghosts, ghouls and stories of ilk involving such creatures to scare the children if not some adults too." Which had him chuckling before he took up a chaser of the potcheen.

"Not long at all," she replied. She glanced at Morgan, tipped her head. "You look tired. Don't fall asleep, no matter how tempting it might be." The heat from the hearth was getting to her! Making her rather cozy. "Do you like all Hallow's Eve, Faelan? Morgan? Or is there another holiday that you prefer?"

"Aye, I do. One of my favorite times of year." He grinned. "We used to cause all kinds of mischief at home." He chuckled softly. "And I won't fall asleep down here. Upstairs maybe."

"Aye, use to at least. Then life got busy being out at sea. Do you like it?" Easing off as Morgan piped in.

He was done!

"Sea?" She tipped her head, glancing from one brother to the next curiously. Then she nodded for Faelan's question. "I do like it. Of course, I love everything about Autumn, however. Fall harvests, yummy pies, cider, pumpkins, apples, the weather.." She sighed, dreamy like!

He yawned then blinked. He had very nearly fallen asleep. "I think I'll be staying here tonight, Faelan." There was only a skeleton crew on board tonight and they would know where he was if needed. He pushed to his feet and smiled at Gaelle. "It was a pleasure to meet you. I hope our paths cross again, Gaelle. Faelan, I'll see you in the morning."

"Aye, bae the captain of the Dragon's Tooth," which he hooked a finger around the chain about his neck to bring up a dragon's tooth. A real one. "I would say me favorite time is Yuletide when there is the kind of feeling for others that should be that way all year round." And now he was talking over his brother!

She leaned forward a bit to get a better look at the necklace, smiling as she settled back in her chair. Gaze fanned up to Morgan. "I will probably be turning in rather soon, myself. I hope you rest well. Sweet dreams." She peered back to Faelan, then, even as she slowly stood. "Another wonderful holiday, and I agree. It should be like that all year around."

He didn't mind. He just grinned at Faelan and bowed slightly to Gaelle. "Good night to you both." Then it was over to Alex to obtain a key before he was heading upstairs.

He was tired and would have to be up at dawn, "maybe I'll be seeing you about before we set sail." So he was on his brother's heels to get a key and head upstairs as he noted Gaelle on her way too.


Date: 10-25-11
Poster: Bryan McAndrews
Post # 83

Telling One from Another

Amazing what the weather could do. The early fall day was pleasantly warm, just enough to make it impossible to tell what to wear. Too much, not quite enough. Having spent the majority of the morning and the beginning of the afternoon outside, Bryan sought out the Thistle. Here, there would be no guessing, the atmosphere was always perfect. Still smelling of the fresh air, he had taken a seat at the bar, the light, fleece vest draped over the back of his chair. His white linen shirt had been loosed at the neck and the sleeves rolled up to mid forearms. Besides Alex, he was the only one within the common room which made for a rather quiet time which was most appreciated for now. The sounds of the town outside would leak in on occasion but not enough to mar the enjoyed solitude.

Ellyn was humming away, a little smile playing upon her lips that had anyone else seeing it wondering what caused such. She had been to a few places in town, shopping around and seemed pleased by whatever she had found. Hair was loose and bits of leaves found refuge in the curls of which she was unaware. Small colorful ones as if she had purposely adorned them there. She had on a multicolor wool jacket, fitted black pants and a rust color sweater. She had none of the packages with her except one that had some crisp McIntosh apples within. Four in all. She came in with the brisk autumn breeze before the door was closed over. The warmth and scent of peat welcoming as she slipped out of the woolen jacket. One that was basically a forest green with patches of yellow and oranges woven in. She caught sight of one at the bar and immediately recognized the McAndrews. Except, which one was it? "Hello, great day. Enjoy them while they last." Winter was on the heels of autumn and getting there fast. She was heading for the bar as she spoke and hoping she might be able to tell which McAndrews it was when he turned and greeted her.

Bryan's gaze lifted to the mirror and he smiled to himself, turning to look around at Ellyn as she continued forward. "Is that a direct order, Miss Royce?" He laughed softly, his gaze following her actions as she disrobed to better suit the interior. Was there something there in her eyes? A study that might tell her more? His smile remained, though only pulling at one side of his lips. He recognized that look, he had been witness to it his whole life. "Bryan." He dipped his head a fraction in the form of a pseudo bow. "The handsome one, remember?" Considering his brothers could claim the same was all the more reason for that twitch to pull at his lips.

She actually had concluded it was Bryan for Rory had the more flirting nature, Charles far too serious and Bryan, well, he fell somewhere between the two. Personality wise. "Good to see you again Bryan. Days pass so quickly." It had been a little while although not an enormous while. She was still smiling, the kind that caused a twinkle in green eyes as she claimed the stool next to his without asking a 'by-your-leave'. "How have you been?" Settling in as she ordered a cup of hot chocolate with whip cream on top.

He didn't take his study from her the entire time. Was he ... just ... between the two in manners and attitudes? "I've been well enough to get me from then to here. How about you, Ellyn? How have you been these quickly passing days?" Once again, questions that could be asked, responses that gave little by way of answers. "Are you in training now?" Is that what he had heard through the barrack's grapevine? Or was she petitioning to begin her training? Or...was it even Ellyn to begin with? His shoulder shifted, as if he shrugged away his indecision. Ellyn Royce wasn't the least bit shy, he'd have his answer in no time.

"I've been great. Training under the order of Athena has been exciting, exhilarating and exhausting at times but the good kind. Autumn, just makes you feel so alive with the brisk breeze so I'm enjoying it as much as I can before winter hits. Winter has a few things I enjoy but not the bitter cold. Although, that is not so bad if you have a place to keep warm." Quick was the smile before she thanked Alex as set her mug of hot chocolate. Taking a sip she ended up with a touch of cream at the tip of her nose and upper lip. The upper lip was quickly dispelled with a sweep from the tip of her tongue.

And...she was off. Bryan propped his arm to the counter, his elbow bent in order for him to rest his temple against the heel of his hand. He smiled as she chattered away, listening to every word no matter how run on she made those sentences sound with her enthusiasm. A flicker of notice touched on her lip and nose and when she took care of the one and not the other, his easy smile broke free, dimples and teeth exposed. "You missed a ..." He pushed up from his lazy stance, leaning toward her to swipe the pad of his thumb across the tip of her nose, wiping it clean of the foam. "" He finished, his thumb brushing across the thigh of his pants to dispose of it for good. "You will be in training, Ellyn, I doubt you'll even notice the cold once it gets here."

Setting the mug down again as she turned when he got up, facing him. Surprise etched in the glint of her eyes as they crossed as he took away the bit of cream there at the tip of her nose. A light musical laugh escaped considering she was not sure exactly what he was up to until that moment. She had not noticed which was not like her but life had been busy of late with little and bigger things to do. Eyes switched back to normal in the next instance as they lifted. "Thanks," sincerely said before giving a nod for his next statement on training. "Aye, but it is the hours not in training that the cold has its chance." Like it was an entity onto itself. "How do you keep warm in Winter?" Which her mind was in a few places at once as well, "I wonder if they will have any hay rides soon." Harvest was here and so was the day of the dead.

"How do I...?" Bryan started to repeat her question and had an answer on the tip of his tongue. Good thing Alex cleared his throat softly, warning the McAndrews into a more neutral answer. At least, that's how Bryan took that sound. He flickered a look to Alex, then back to Ellyn. "I stay as close to the fire as I possibly can at all times and when I'm out in it, I make sure to hurry." His smile deepened into an easy laugh before that faded and he continued to speak. "Surely you do the same, Ellyn. Or am I mistaken?"

Which had the light laughter to follow as she pictured him rushing from one building to another as the cold wind blew full of snow most of the time. "Do you not sleigh ride, snowball fight, ice skate?" Adding in a few winter sports as focus was totally on him in an interested way about her in how he answered those questions.

"All ..." He squinted an eye as he studied her. "Is this a trick question, Ellyn?"

Which had her burst out laughing. "No, I was just making sure you were not one that secluded themselves indoors like the bear to hibernate through the winter. Means we can get a group together to enjoy what little winter offers. At least when the snow comes. Yuletide is held then and one of my favorite holidays. People are nicer to each other than usual." Which was a shame it didn't carry over throughout the whole year.

He spoke her thoughts out loud. "And that's a shame." He smiled with a nod and slapped a hand to his leg, never really having reclaimed his seat. "It's a nice day, guess I'll make the most of it since a lovely lass told me I should. It was good to see you, Ellyn. I'll be looking forward to the next time our paths cross." He reached to the side, taking up his glass and finishing the contents. The empty was placed back on the bar for Alex to collect.

"Exactly.." which had her pause to study him. Intense green eyes delving then pulled back as she didn't really know him all that well. "If they have a hay ride, will you go?" Awww.. he was leaving when she thought she might get to know him a little better. Maybe she chased him off by her prattling on but the day had brought her thus with the brisk feel to it and all. "It was good to see you too, Bryan." She might well recognize him even easier next time from his look alikes. Smile was sincere although not as bright as initially when she arrived. She still had her hot chocolate, which was warm still but best to finish it.

The warmth of his smile echoed in his voice. "If you go, I'll go, Ellyn. But only if you go..." He reached around to collect his vest, shrugging into it. His profile spoke of power and ageless strength, that which had been passed down from generation to generation. There really was no mistaking a McAndrews, there was only recognizing one from another. The look he slanted her way just before he faced her fully was further proof of his bloodline. Confident with his position in the scheme of life. Sure of what he liked. The McAndrews exuded masculinity ... this one was no different.

"That's a deal then," which had a more sweeping smile as she thoughtfully watched him take his leave. She didn't miss his profile and the sense of power there she picked up on, had her lashes lower a moment as he came that close. A touch of rose to her cheeks she couldn't prevent nor expected. Perhaps it surprised her more than she'd like to admit but there was a draw to such a one that would not be denied if she pursued it. That was something she didn't dwell on. "I look forward to when we next meet, stay well, Bryan." Figuring he would! Who knew, he might not even remember this meeting next time!

He touched his temple in a mock salute to her. "That's the plan, Ellyn. Until next." He lifted his gaze from her to look to Alex, offering the tender a nod of farewell, then looking at Ellyn one last time before he headed for the door. If she thought he wouldn't remember this or any meeting, she didn't know him very well. But then, he did his best to make sure that no one knew him very well. Only his womb brothers knew him beyond what he offered, which wasn't much in the offering, and really, now that they were older, wasn't much for them either.


Date: 10-26-11
Poster: Rhett Shawnesey Jr
Post # 84

Reunion of Friends

The hour was late but Rhett had been warm by the forge fire that was finally dampened down some for the night. It was never put out. He realized he hadn't eaten for the last order requiring quite a few practice swords as soon as possible. So it was to the Thistle he headed this brisk cool night with the stars up above and a moon rising. Sweeping winds would bring the leaves dancing about his feet as booted footfalls marked his passage. He had thrown on a cloak knowing that the wind could bite after a bit no matter how he wished to cool off. Once inside he ordered up some Irish stew and brown bread not wishing to eat a heavier meal this late. He took the platter which was quickly delivered along with a tankard of ale to the table across from the bar. Setting the tray as he nudged the seat out with his boot. Swift was the actions as he was soon seated and digging in. He noticed no one else was about this late but that didn't mean someone else might come in like he had for similar reasons.

Lia had been busy with her studies and attempting to locate a suitable cottage where she and Ger could stay and have more room. She had left her dog behind with her brother because she had planned to spend most of her time in the library when she wasn't working for Sarah Devonshire at her shop. Dr. Barrington had been so busy, she hated to bother him for an interview but she would in time. A room had been taken at the Thistle though she'd be giving it up to head back to the ranch and the vardo in a few days. She was dressed casually in pants and vest with a poet style blouse. Bangles jingled at her wrist and she wore chandelier style earrings of gold. A chain with an emerald pendant nestled in the hollow of her throat was the only other jewelry she wore. Her hair was pulled back and braided for convenience. She paused at the entrance into the common room then straightened her shoulders and headed for the bar to ask Alex for a mug of tea.

Perhaps it was that extra sense, or perhaps it was the light jangle of bracelets that had Rhett lift his head in that direction. Pressed smile went fully after a moment's recognition. "Look who it is. I can hardly believe my eyes. I thought you had disappeared?" He had realized she'd been gone but had not heard of her return. He was obviously pleased. "How are you Lia?" Rising respectfully from his seat as one step had a hand to the back of the one next to his, "would you like to join me?"

She turned as Rhett spoke, smiling as she studied him. "Evening, Rhett. I came home when war erupted in all parts of France. I'm well, thank you." By then Alex had set her tea down and she added sugar before nodding. "As long as it doesn't interfere with your meal." Eating this late likely meant he hadn't had time or just plain forgot.

"Not at all, I'm almost done." Which he had been wolfing it down. Pressed smile all but said so as he pulled out the chair as she approached then shifted it in as she sat. "Welcome home. I think you missed the hurricane?" He wasn't sure but certainly she had heard of it in the least. "Tell me how your stay was in France?" Taking up his seat again as he'd see to finishing off his stew and bread while she talked.

"Thank you. No, I was here for it though I had been on the ranch when it happened. I was helping with the patients during that time." She stirred her tea as she spoke, then placed the spoon aside. It was still too hot to drink but she took a careful sip. "I liked it there. Ger had some friends he had met before and we went to classes. If the English and French hadn't gone to war, I likely would be still be there." She smiled again as she added, "At least for another two years. Gerlach would have been done with school. We didn't have any plans beyond that. What about you?"

"It is a shame anyone goes to war." Muttered as he finished up his stew then wiped his face and hands. Everything was set on the tray which he would bring over later. Well, that was the idea before one of the barmaids came out to fetch it giving the two a smile. He had not learned their names he realized. Perhaps he would eventually. "Did you buy yourself some of those stylish French gowns?" He was full of questions but fair was fair, "I've been working as usual, up early and to bed late. Perhaps I need a vacation?" Which brought about that pressed smile again, one that reached blue eyes.

"Yes, it is and a shame that those who declare war have nothing to do with the fighting in many cases." She brushed a strand of hair back and shook her head. "I didn't really have the money for them though I had some nice gowns. I did have some bought for me." The thought of the Duchess brought another smile before she looked at him again. "No doubt though I'm surprised your parents wouldn't remind you to take some time for yourself."

He was studying her now that his meal was done. He caught the smile. "And what has you smiling so?" Obviously it seemed a good reason to share. "Perhaps you met a charming Frenchman?" Brows slightly lifted with the tease but in truth, she could very well have! The smile turned a little sheepish with the mention of his parents. "Oh, they do. Except my father understands, and my mother understands all too well for how hard my father worked at his craft."

She was playing with a strand of hair as they talked and she shipped her tea. Blue eyes held a twinkle as her answer came. "I met a few, mostly friends of my brothers, or classmates. I was smiling because there was a dear, sweet elderly woman who took a liking to me and it was she who bought me the gowns. She and her family left Paris when we did, and we stayed with them for a short while until we could find passage back to Heathfield." Lips twitched slightly as she added, "of course, not everyone found her so sweet."

Which had him chuckling, "aye, but I'm sure you were noticed." Appreciation was there in blue eyes for she certainly had the looks and the personality. "Where did they and you go before you came back here?" The last had brows lifting again, "so you charmed an old coot?" Teasing in the way it was presented but that certainly sounded like it.

"To the family estate near the Mediterranean Sea." She looked confused. "An old coot? None of the men were elderly. Only the Duchess. Her children were middle aged. Her grandchildren were younger of course. Unless you count the teachers at the school, though I didn't charm all." No, there had been one professor who felt women should not attend university and didn't hide the fact.

"It is a general expression for someone that is hard to get along with by most." Giving a slight shrug of his shoulder as he'd only been teasing. "What are your plans now that you are back?" He was getting tired as the day was finally catching up to him and the warmth of the stew, full belly, added to that too.

"I'm working for Sarah Devonshire at her herb shop and I want to talk to Dr. Barrington about him possibly teaching me since everything was interrupted. If he doesn't have the time, being so busy, I may have to continue as I am, with herbs and folk medicine. So long as I can help folks." It was getting late and her tea was gone. "Things can always change. And I always thought coot meant a man." That had her laugh at herself. "I should get some sleep though. I need to be at the shop early tomorrow." They took turns opening up

"Are you in need of any weapons, knives or the like?" He didn't picture her wielding a great sword or any large size sword for that matter. He rose as he spoke, hand coming to rest along the back of her chair to ease out when she stood. "Perhaps I'll see you again then.. it was good seeing you Lia, welcome home once more."

"I should probably carry one when I'm going to deliver a baby." She traveled at night sometimes, early mornings. "Thank you." For easing out the chair. "So maybe I'll come to the blacksmith soon. It was good to see you too, Rhett and thank you. Pleasant dreams."

"Pleasant dreams be yours as well." He would walk her the distance across the room to where she would turn down the hall as he would be taking the front door from there and heading to his smithy. Place was always warm and now he would appreciate it.

She paused to smile up at him as she stood. "And do take some time off for yourself. It wouldn't do you any good to be exhausted." She gave him a little wink before she was through the doorway and heading to the steps. Glad to be inside instead of heading out into the cold herself.


Date: 11-08-11
Poster: Fearghus Frasier
Post # 85

Too Long

The days had been pleasant in spite of the approaching winter. Leaves were mostly gone from the trees except for a few not so willing to give up their foliage. Perhaps a little overdress in a fur lined wool cloak, Mirre was meandering her way up from the marketplace to the tavern. She was in no hurry and stopped quite often to pick up a leaf that still held its color or one of the many varying size pine cones.

Gus was on the porch of the Thistle having gone there after a long day's work. It seemed this time of year was when bows needed repairing and arrows bought, for those who didn't have time to make their own. He had a meal and was enjoying a cigarillo, not wanting to smoke in the common room. Catching sight of a familiar figure, he watched as Mirre walked toward the building.

She had a satchel that hung from her shoulder by a long strap that she carefully put her findings in. Feeling that odd sensation up the back of her neck had her stop and look about. She was being watched but it was a familiar form and face. Her smile burst free as one hand was up to draw down the hood. "Hello sahib Gus," moving in his direction with a purpose. She was up the steps but kept some distance as there was smoke about him she didn't wish to stand in and start sneezing.

"Hello beautiful lady." He smiled as she did, watching her come up the steps. The smile made him feel warm inside, made his heart beat a little faster. He tossed the spent cig and waved the smoke away. It did make people sneeze after all. "How have you been, Mirre? It's been a while." He felt bad about that too but things had gotten hectic.

Luckily it was outside and the smoke easily swept away with the light breeze that came into play. "It has been some time," which she paused before drawing closer being the smoke dissipated. "I have missed you. I have been well. You have been busy?" Almond hued eyes were upon his features in a way he might realized she was studying him intently. Her smile softened down to linger.

"Aye, there were orders for bows for Kildare. They have a bowyer there but he asked for help since they're building up their army even more. " His smile grew with her words and he looked down at her, green eyes meeting brown ones. "I've missed you too. Why don't we go inside? It's warmer and I'm sure it will be more comfortable for both of us." He didn't say it but he was pleased that she had missed him though he didn't quite understand why it did.

"Yes, this is good idea." For standing outside had the cold penetrate easier no matter her woolen cloak. "I would like to learn how to help. You could teach me to string the bows?" Sliding a glance his way before stepping inside. It was good that she had for she wore sheer silks beneath in the traditional style. They were of whites and blues, silvers and a touch of gold threading.

"Aye, I could, though we ship them unstrung. Or perhaps, polish the wood. It takes a special touch to bring out the true beauty." He smiled as he held the door and watched her glide inside. An appreciative glance was quickly taken though he didn't want to stare. She was a vision, a delight that filled his dreams. "Of course, it would have to be alright with your brothers." Yes, he didn't want to step on toes even if they did seem to approve of him. "How is your family?"

"I would like that. Learn a new skill and be useful at the same time." Plus it would help him have more time but she didn't add that. She could not be sure he would wish to spend that time with her. She liked the whole idea and it kept the smile alive. "I will ask them but I am sure it will be alright. Anhur or Yusuf may wish to speak with you on it." Although she didn't see a problem with it. "They are all very good. They wish to see spring already." Which had a light laugh to follow the thought. She moved to bar to get a glass of Chablis which she would take over to stand before the fire. The silks gave a hint of what was beneath.

"I'm sure you're useful anywhere you are." He followed her to the bar to pick up the refill that was waiting there. "And it will be nice to have the company... your company that is." He had apprentices but they were young and prone to be a bit tongue-tied until they got older. "And there are little ones around now too, aren't there? Or at least one?" He nearly tripped over a chair as he watched her again but didn't and gave Alex a sheepish look before he turned toward the hearth. Of course, he waited for her and ignored what might have been a low chuckle from the area of the bar.

"Yes there are. Life continues." Which she turned with a smile looking up. "What would be best for me to wear?" Somehow she felt the silks would not do very well working with wood and all.

"Well, comfortable clothes of course. You might want to wear ... " He paused more a moment. "Can you wear trousers? You'll want to wear something you don't mind getting dusty. I use special oils on the woods to bring out the luster of it. And you're likely to get some on you. So nothing good of course. And you might want to wear boots. We clean up but there could be splinters on the floor."

"Do you have old clothes?" She was trying to think of where she could get such as he described. Then she remembered she could probably find what was needed her in that spare room with all the extra clothes. "When can I start?"

"They'd be a bit large. As soon as you'd like." He grinned at her. "Just promise you won't be disgusted with the mess the workshop usually is and we'll be set to go." He chuckled again and gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. "The lad who does the sweeping has been sick. We're keeping up with it for the most part but today we were all there later because a new shipment of wood came in and I wanted it to start them drying."

"Then I shall start tomorrow. I will see about getting a room here. What time would you like me there? I will help to clean it up." That would be something to start as she learned the ropes. She had been enjoying her wine the whole while as she stepped closer, leaning in against him as her arm snaked around the back of his waist. "It is good to see you again." Hopefully he didn't mind the closeness. She was feeling mellow as she melted in against him, he might be able to tell.

"I'm usually up before dawn." He made breakfast for himself and the one lad who stayed there since he was from Ballicastle. "And I ... " He paused when she hugged him then slid his arms around her, holding her close. "It's good to see you again as well. I've truly missed you, Mirre." He tipped his head to look closer, then kissed her, not holding her so tightly that she couldn't move away.

She didn't move away and nearly forgot what he just said for the kiss. One she melted into, sliding into his hold as her other hand slid up to curl in a hold at the back of his neck. Fingers woven into his hair there as if to say, you're not getting away.

Gus had been wanting to kiss Mirre for a long time and not seeing her hadn't lessened that feeling. The kiss deepened when she didn't move away and he savored the sweetness, the softness of her lips. He would have continued if not for Alex clearing his throat but when he pulled away, he rested his forehead against hers. "I waited too long to kiss you, Mirre." Murmured so only she could hear. "It should have happened before this."

She found his lips firm but giving, a sensuality that was totally masculine. She had to catch her breath and didn't it get even warmer in here? Maybe the closeness? Nah, she knew for her heart was racing too. "I have hoped for a long time you would kiss me like this." She obviously wasn't disappointed in however she thought his kiss would be like and the end result. "I should get some sleep, although I wish to kiss you longer again." But if she were to get to his place early, she would need to get some sleep very soon for the hour.

"I wish it was longer too but, aye, we both should get some sleep. I promise though, I won't wait so long to kiss you again." He reluctantly released her and stepped back, winking as he did. If he stayed, he knew he'd be lost in those eyes. "Good night, lovely Mirre. And may your dreams be sweet ones.

"Good night my handsome sahib Gus." She stepped away to hand off her glass with a last glance over her shoulder that took in the whole of him from head to toe before she was off with her key to find her room upstairs. She would have a busy day tomorrow, getting back to the manor and talking to her brothers, getting clothes and getting to his shop as early as she could.

He gulped down the last of his potcheen and placed the glass on the bar for Alex. After watching her leave, he saluted the tender and heading for the door, grabbing his cloak on the way out. He'd need to cool down a bit before he put it on. Maybe he'd not need it until he reached the shop.

He may hear the light footsteps and the comment, "my dreams will be about you..." before he got out the door.

Date: 11-12-11
Poster: Caiome Callihan
Post # 86

Spending Spree

Cai had the feeling she was being followed the whole evening. Glimpses of someone ducking around a corner, inside a door, melting into the crowd but when she quickly moved there, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. No one recognized. Yet the sensation persisted as she went over fabrics for drapes and even a new dress. It was the first she had been here and was not disappointed in the variety of products or the quality. She didn't carry anything with her, instead having them sent to the manor she shared with her brother. It was probably the first time in their adult lives that things were calm. No deep dark dreaded secrets and wondering if this day would be your last for them. She had gotten a new cloak that was fur lined, discarding her old one to a box that was there for those who could not afford something new but had a need and her old cloak had a couple years left in it. Just she splurged a little on herself as her brother had insisted she do. She had earned it. Once done, more that it was late so she was forced to be done, she headed for the tavern it was insisted she stay at while here in Heathfield. Certainly she would get in a few days if not a week or two of shopping before winter set in. She was welcomed by not only warmth but the scent of peat as she opened the door and slipped inside. "It smells wonderful in here." Smiling upon the man she knew to be Alex as she headed in his direction at the bar.

The Lady Cai was being followed by a man not in a good mood at the moment though Michael Dewar was not one to take it out on the good people of Heathfield. He had thought that the newly made Callihan lord would have sent one of the younger, less experienced soldiers with his sister, but that had not been the case. Not that he was surprised. Gillean Callihan was in charge after all, and made sure Dewar never forgot. He had been sent after Cai had left the manor and was playing catch up. When it grew late, he watched her head for the Thistle and sighed as he followed. She might as well learn now that she had an escort after all. A few moments after she stepped inside, he followed, saying nothing as he moved to the bar where he nodded at Alex and waited...

In the middle of introducing herself, she glanced over her shoulder as the door reopened. The glance had her forget where she was at and stare a moment. Eyes narrowed in the next instance before she turned back to the older gentleman to pick up where she left off. Pleasantries done she collected the glass of burgundy, taking her time of course, before turning to address Dewar. "When did you arrive?" Without missing a beat adding, "what brings you all the way here?" Her tone even, almost sweet sounding as she moved away from the bar as if nothing was amiss. Her destination was the distance to the hearth were a cozy fire burn. It also would take her out of earshot of the tender, or so she hoped.

He waited patiently for her to take care of business, looking forward until Alex took care of the drink order. Ordering ale, he finally turned to watch her walk away. "About a half hour after you." The ale was handed over before he followed and answered the second part. "You. His Lordship didn't want to trust your safety to one of the new guards, so he sent me after my return." He had gone to Montrose on personal business. He stood by the hearth instead of sitting, not certain she'd want him even standing near.

So there it was as she dipped her head away towards the fire. Possibly he may have seen the edge of her lips that hinted at a smile. A kind that would be hard to discern from the angle. "How long have you been following me?" No longer a question if he had been but certainly he was sent or came on his own? That would be an interesting question but it didn't get pass the brief purse of her lips as it was answered. It had been her brother. Turning now to study him to see if she could tell if he resented being sent.

He watched her a moment before lifting the ale for a drink. Following had been his choice as soon as he found her rather then enter each shop and wait inside. It would have been warmer but why press his luck? "About forty-five minutes after you arrived here. Took me that long to find you." And stable his horse and see to his belongings. "I thought you might prefer not to have me standing there ... while you shopped." He had been about to say like some great twit but that would be a mistake.

She still held back the smile but the touch of such light was in her eyes, "you're slipping.." watching him like a cat to see any nuances her words might render. She lifted her glass casually and took a small drink. All the while her eyes stayed steadfast upon him. The glass lowered as she asked another questions. "Did my brother send you?" Asking directly. If he had it was an afterthought or he would have told her. Or, Dewar discovered she was coming here and offered his services.

"As I said, His Lordship sent me after I returned from visiting my family." More then likely, it was a way to not have to deal with Dewar for a bit longer. He wondered sometimes if Gillean thought James had sent him there as a spy but that wasn't the case. Not that he'd clarify that if questioned.

She stepped away from the fire having warmed up initially from the chill the night left with her. A slight wave of her free hand to a chair not far from the one she chose to occupy then settled in with a guide of her dress' material. "Tell me of your family? I know nothing of them." Realizing it or not, her tone held the quality of genuine interest. Not the usual game she played with at least him.

He wasn't surprised that she told him to sit. Caiome had always been polite if nothing else but her question surprised him. "My family has served Montrose since its founding and my father given lands and titles by Duke Ultan after he was injured in the Duke's service. My mother and he are still alive, though elderly. I have three brothers and a sister. My eldest brother is married as is my sister and they both have children. The younger brothers were born to my parents late in life. One is a scholar and the other wishes to be a soldier." He smiled slightly, "and that's all, really." Not much of a storyteller but he spoke of his family fondly and with pride. "I'm not sure what else you'd wish to know, m'Lady."

"I do not pry into family secrets or wish to know them.." alleviating any such notion if he had any. "Did you serve under my father?" She didn't even wince asking the question but if his father had served her uncle, then it was possibly he was one that begrudgingly served under her father or eluded the whole situation. She really didn't know much of those that had served as the force of Montrose for most wore helmets and all looked pretty much the same the small glimpses she got, she had been secluded away most of the time. Then when all blew up, she chose to remain secluded for some time.

"My family has no secrets." At least none that he knew. "Yes, I did. I wouldn't leave my post unless dismissed and your father had no cause to dismiss me." Though Michael had felt his days were numbered had James not returned. Dismissal or worse.

"That is commendable, Captain Dewar. I hope you continue to serve my brother with such dedication." She wasn't sure how they viewed her brother, but she knew in her heart the good man he was and would continue to be now that he was no longer living under threats. "Do you wish to follow in your father's footsteps?"

He considered the question for a moment, looking down into the mug as he did. "I'm not certain I'm suited to having a manor and lands, or refined enough to be a knight. I'll serve as long as I'm able, perhaps until I'm too old and forced to retire and become a teacher of would be soldiers." He paused then smiled. "Even if I'm injured to the point I can't fight probably." He would have added that he was too stubborn to retire until forced but she knew he was stubborn.

Perhaps it was one of the qualities she liked in him. Made one a good warrior. "Will you be staying the duration that I'm here? That could be a good week or more." All depending on how long she spent shopping. Yuletide gifts would be gotten as well so that once winter stormed its way over the lands she need not have to be out in it.

"Those are my orders, Lady Caiome." His smile remained a brief moment more before fading. "And I understand that." He might even realize it would be a good idea for him to do some shopping of his own here, especially for his nieces and nephews. "But it will be up to you if I'm to follow you, or just know your plans." There were plenty of guards here if she didn't want him to tag along. "As long as you stay away from the docks."

"Then you may as well join me for breaking fast tomorrow here. I hear the food is excellent. You will need your strength for I intend to make use of it on my shopping spree." The edges of her lips slightly twitched as she suppressed the smile while trying to appear stern. It was in her eyes however that such could not be camouflaged. She rose then to take her glass over to the tender and collect a key for the duration. She turned then to see if Dewar followed her lead.

The journey had been a long one and he had ridden on horseback, not in a carriage. Neither had he stayed at any inn, but camped over night. Therefore, he stood when she did, (and would have whether he was done drinking or not). As she walked away, he downed the last of the ale and followed to the bar. Alex was thanked for the key before he turned again to face her. "Shall I escort you to your room, m'Lady?" He would be following her upstairs shortly if she turned him down.

"It is why I waited." There, for a brief second, her smile showed before she quickly turned away and started for the hall and stairs beyond. Far be it for her to not act proper being her brother had sent him to escort her about in these lands. Not that she felt she needed an escort here but so be it. Still the tug to cause some mishap, mischief, entertained her thoughts.

He bowed his head, in respect and bade Alex good-night then turned to follow her to the hall. On the stairs, he moved up beside her until she reached her room. "Good night, Lady Caiome. Rest well." Mischief he expected and perhaps that was why he had been sent -- a more inexperienced man might not be able to handle it.

She turned only to come face to face with his chest before peering up. "Good night Captain Dewar, sleep well." She was tempted to pluck the piece of lent from shirt and after that second, did so. Flicking it away before she was around with the key in the lock with a click to follow. She didn't turn back but slipped inside and closed the door. Taking a moment to rest her back against it as she let the smile fully bloom. Ah yes, the next number of days should prove interesting if not entertaining.


Date: 11-20-11
Poster: Ellyn Royce
Post # 87


Ellyn was humming a happy tune as she went over a list of things she wanted to get. Yuletide was coming soon and best to start preparing gifts or buying what she could afford. She had eaten a good meal prepared by Hazel (was it ever any different? Always good). A glass of wine was at hand barely touched. Her attire comfortable in leather, slacks, vest, boots and a billowy fancy blouse that lent the only feminine touch aside her hair which was pinned up. Mostly. Quite a few strands had escaped their confines with practice earlier. She tucked such behind one ear in an unconscious act as it started to get in her face.

The evening was proving to be a pleasant enough one. The streets of the city had changed its colors from the bustling of shopping and trading, the bright sun and cooling breeze, to that of a calmer, inviting shade of shadows, those out seeking entertainment in the taverns and restaurants, and for some, the gaming and ladies that often accompanied those games. For Bryan, it was to the Thistle he strolled, stepping in and out of the street lamp lights and the greys between until he made his chosen destination and made his way within.

The gust of cooler air ruffled the pages of her notebook having her look up. It took a moment as her thoughts were reeled back followed by a brilliant smile. She had met Bryan enough to actually distinguish him from his duplicates. "Bryan, how nice to see you. Wonderful night," which had been followed by a wonderful day. Sun had graced the lands even if the temperatures had been cold, or chilly as some might put it. "Have you eaten?" Glancing to Alex who was at the bar across from the table nearest it where she presently sat. There and back to the McAndrews prince.

Bryan stopped long enough to see the door closed, unwrapping the light weight scarf from around his neck and tossing it to a peg by the door. His jacket he left on for now as he started toward the bar. "Evening to you, Ellyn." He glanced to Alex and made a motion of hand to dismiss any need for food. "Not yet, but I'm not yet hungry. A glass of sustenance would do me though, Alex, when you are able. Thank you." He smiled briefly to the tender and then
looked to Ellyn as he hooked a hip to a bar stool and claimed that seat as his. "You have been well, M'Lady Royce?"

"You're welcome to join me your highness..." teasing tone as her eyes lit up as well she rose to give a curt curtsey. "I am doing right as rain and I hope the same.. of you, Bryan." She waited to see if he would join her at her table and then commence with conversation.

Once again only the corners of his lips twitched in what would eventually be a full smile, but for now, as he stalled at the bar counter, only that proved his amusement with her invitation. She might think him declining, as he remained where he was. Alex soon enough had the glass on the counter though and that glass was soon enough in hand, the prince easing from his perch. "I am as well, right as rain." His amusement tinged his tone as he started toward the lady seated at the table. He didn't sit as yet, just stood where he was, his hand resting on the back of the chair he stopped behind and tilted his glass to her. "To the continuation of being so..." The toast of sorts offered, he bought his glass up and, just before it touched his lips, he smiled, revealing the creases in his cheeks that the McAndrews were known for.

One of Bryan's mirror images was making his way down the street toward the Thistle. Charles was whistling as he walked, lifting a hand to greet folks here and there. The colder weather suited him and he didn't mind it in the least. Making his way up the steps, he peered inside the window, a brow lifting. Now there was a sight to see. His brother and the lovely Ellyn. He kept whistling as he headed inside, saluting his brother and Ellyn as he headed for the bar.

This kind of sparring of words in such a pleasant way, had her burst into a smile again as he joined her. "I'm tempted to hold your chair for you," but she didn't! Amusement definitely in the tone that flowed smooth as silk. The whistling saved him as attention was shifted there along with the gust of colder air. She also recognized Charles at this point too so that left the last to be Rory. Which had her looking just beyond before the door was closed off. "Hello Charles. You're welcome to join us. You look as crisp as the air outside." There was something to be said for that crisp scent too.

Bryan's gaze lifted from the lady to the brother entering. He offered an uplift of chin in greeting that ended in a cant and a slight shrug of shoulder. "Crisp." He chuckled low, watching his older brother make his way to the bar.

The brow that had smoothed out rose again but he wasn't ready to interrupt the song, until... "Crisp? Crisp." A soft chuckle followed as he continued to the bar. "That's something I've not been called before." And he gave Bryan a look as if daring him to make a comment. "I'll join you as soon as I have a drink in hand."

She looked between the two and barely managed to keep a straight face. "Crisp is a good word, wouldn't you say Bryan?" Fueling it to go further if possible. They could take the teasing and she was sure she would be teased back. That is when it became a fun game, not anything vicious, there was a line not to cross.

"Aye, indeed, if one is a pastry, crispy on the outside as my dear brother appears to be and all soft on the inside." His free hand lifted and he made a pinching action toward his brother at the bar, shooting that sibling a twitch of a wink in jest before he brought up his glass again, eyeing his brother down the length of it.

Had he been drinking he would have sputtered but he just laughed. "Soft on the inside? Just because I prefer books to bashing heads." He sighed dramatically then grinned. Whatever he was going to add was cut off by the need for a drink right then.

"Almost has me tempted to poke a finger to his stomach to see if you are right." Which was amusing as well. "How have you been Charles?" Waiting to see if he joined them too at the table. She was still standing.

Bryan chuckled to himself, watching his brother's every twitch, just in case. "No, Charles, not because you prefer books to bashing. Just ... because." He fell silent from that point since Ellyn had asked her question. They were all still standing. So much for the chairs in this place.

"I've been very well. And you, Lady Ellyn?" And he was inching very, very slowly toward the youngest.

"Please. Gentlemen," with a flowing gesture of her hand to the chairs where they could sit, "please have a seat." Which she then promptly sat in hers in case they were standing on formality. "I've been well as well. Getting ready for the upcoming season. First we stuff our faces then we empty our pockets.." amusing little curl at the corners of her lips followed the comment.

As Charles inched closer, Bryan inched around the table. Each step was matched with a step. They had progressed too far in years for the younger not to know to do so. Though his retreat might not be noted by the lady, Charles would, without doubt, recognize it "M'Lady, I have every intention to stuff my face the entire season as my pockets are already empty." The first was a truth, the last could be argued considering the status of the teen.

His lips twitched and though he took one more step, it was to reach for a chair and sit after Ellyn had. There would be time to deal with Bryan later. "Aye, we'll be traveling home soon." He would be first to admit he missed their rather large family though he had hoped to not be under so much scrutiny here. Alas, Rick was here and took his role as older brother seriously. "And back and forth I think." He wasn't sure about that though.

She had missed the subtle goings on between the brothers. At least in this. For now. Perhaps in time she would recognize them. "What is your favorite food, Bryan." Then sliding a glance to Charles in the next breath, "and yours, Charles?" Keeping the conversation flowing as her glass of Chablis was lifted for a sip. She was watching them both over the rim for as long as it was up then lowered back to the table. "I imagine your place is as congested as Falkirk gets." Both were from very large families. Families that were only growing.

"From which meal?" Bryan remained standing a moment more until Charles was fully seated, then he eased out the nearest chair and lowered to it. "For I truly have many favorites as with many things. Why should we ever limit ourselves to merely one?" The McAndrews resided in a castle, and even that could seem to burst at the seams with holiday festivities. He stretched his legs out under the chair, finishing up the contents of his glass.

"Do you have a favorite amongst all your favorites or do you give favorites equal justice? Say, perhaps, you like lemon meringue pie over pumpkin. Or perhaps it is crumble apple.." chin dipped with a peek Charles' way. Perhaps he was the quiet one.

It depended on his mood and today, yes, he was quiet. Perhaps plotting. He looked at Bryan, then Ellyn and chuckled. "I think an appropriate answer would be uh... since I'm not sure who is being addressed!" He was teasing though he shrugged. "Like Bryan I have many favorites and a few dislikes."

"Hold that thought," big, sweeping smile that added a dimple. Rising with her words before she escaped to the back hall that led to one of the privies.

Bryan turned as Ellyn took her quick leave then looked back to Charles. "Or dismiss that thought, Brother. For I know what you are thinking, and I sincerely do not wish to be lapping up the floorboards of this tavern."

The cold night had turned her cheeks a touch rosy, and even the blush crept across the tip of her nose. Bundled up for warmth, she had the thick cloak tightly around her as she pushed through the door. Once inside, the cloak, along with her gloves were removed. Cloak was left to hang on the wall, gloves somewhere tucked within, she started for the bar with a bright eyed smile. Hair in a long braid tonight, she wore dark shades of grey and blue; pants and a sweater, black boots. Casual enough. "Good evening," she greeted those inside.

"What thought? I have nothing on my mind but the feasts ahead." Suuuuureee, he did. He used the entrance of the woman to look her way and hide the laugh that was close to surfacing. "And evening to you as well."

There was hesitance as Bryan's eyes averted from Charles to look to the woman entering. Only after she had taken off her layers and layers did he smile to himself. "That it is, a good evening indeed."

She glanced from one to the other, still holding onto the friendly smile. They looked a touch familiar, but then again, she wasn't sure if she'd met either of them. She pursed her lips, then turned to order cider for herself. When that was done, she spoke to the two gentlemen. "You two seem to be in a pleasant mood. Which is a good thing, of course. I am Gaelle Thorpe, by the way." Her name tossed out casually as she claimed a seat. Hands lowered to fold against her lap.

"Bryan and Charles McAndrews." He motioned to his brother then himself, trying to remember if he had met her too. Sometimes it seemed like they had met everyone but he couldn't always remember. Then again, being they were mirror images, she might have met the missing third.

She arrived back from the back just in time to catch Charles' words and note the addition of another female. One she had not met. "Hello there," cheery tone as well the smile that accompanied it. "Now, food." Seemed to be a good topic with the McAndrews brothers. Settling back into her chair with a smile to linger as well the sparkle to green eyes. "Food for the palate. Food for thought. Food fights perhaps?"

"The holidays approach, Gaelle, who can not be in a pleasant mood?" Ellyn's return brought his gaze around to rest on her. "No food fights, please. No fights at ..." And then his gaze locked on Charles. "...all." A nod, a smile, and he crossed his arms over his chest since he was still lounging where he sat, legs outstretched under the table. Yes he should stand since both ladies had entered, but maybe they wouldn't notice and also wouldn't take it as a slight.

"It is nice to meet you both. McAndrews, such a well known name." She grinned to the both of them, then offered that same grin to Ellyn when she returned. "Good evening, Miss. I think you missed the introductions. I'm Gaelle." She liked to get those introductions out of the way quickly! The talk of food had her quieting for a moment. Simply to listen. This gave her a chance to sip some of her cider.

No fights? They were McAndrews. Of course there'd be fights though he'd save it for on the field tomorrow. Of course, it could go either way since they were evenly matched, these brothers. "Food... " He nodded at Ellyn. "It's a good thing, right?" In any form.

Oh, so close was he to mentioning pastries when food continued to be the topic of conversation. For his own well being, at present, he refrained and, instead, tapped his fingers where they rested on his arm.

"Nice to meet you Gaelle, I am Ellyn Royce of the Frasier family." Being the name Royce was less likely to ring a bell by anyone that knew others in these lands. "I hear they might let us spar with some men," or younger men, squires probably but she didn't add that, "on the king's field tomorrow." Was that a warning to Charles? The last had her laugh, "I'd say it is. There are some that enjoy eating more than others too."

"Nice to meet you, Ellyn." Easily. "Frasier, also a name that is well known." She smiled, nodding, then tilted her head at the mention of the spar. Sounded quite interesting, and no doubt, it would probably be an interesting sight to see. Her smile turned into a grin, her gaze panning back to the men to see their reactions.

Now that announcement had brows raising, at least on one McAndrews. He hadn't heard that. But maybe it was because it would be after the men had taken their leave and left the field to the females and squires following. "The best of luck to you then, Ellyn." Bryan offered her a dip of head after he spoke and his gaze flickered over to Charles as his brother mentioned the two families.

"I hadn't heard that." He pushed back on the chair, leaning on the back legs. He knew it wouldn't be the knights or King's Men. "There are nearly as many Frasiers are there are McAndrews."

The reactions had her chuckling. And she stood after one last sip of her cider. "It was nice to meet you all, but there is something I must attend to." With that, she strolled out, after gathering her items from the wall.

Bryan started to rise as Gaelle prepared to leave, but the woman was fast and so, he just kept his place.

She certainly was. He blinked and looked at Bryan then laughed. "Couldn't even lift from the seat, could we?"

Bryan grunted out a laugh. "Just as well, I'm comfortable."

The door opened with a gust of wind, and a small sound of an oooof! from the equally small thing of a woman, yes, woman standing there. Her wide brimmed hat tipped forward over pig tails that barely reached her shoulders. Freckles dotted the bridge of her nose and cheeks, and a pair of wide blue eyes squinted up from beneath the brim. She shuffled forward, closed the door and shuddered beneath her cloak. She wore shades of green, from light to dark, and there was a bodhran attached to her hip. The three and a half tall, pint sized thing started for the bar, beaming. "I hope there is stew here. And bread. I'd love some bread. And stew. And a pint of ale even!" The halfling was rather chatty, yes.

He was about to agree but then .... the door opened and he thought that was a child coming in. At first, then she began chattering and... ale. "Uh... there's all that here, ma'am, miss, uh.... talk to Alex." Point!

Her thoughts had wandered for a few moments. Hopefully only a few moments but it was something that happened now and then. Luckily it had not happened on the practice field or she would be called to task. "Hello there," almost saying little one but the one was not a child and she managed to still her tongue before such dropped off. She was tempted to stand to get a better look as she disappeared behind the high backs of the chairs in her effort to get to the bar. "I'm Ellyn.." with a blinking glance given the brothers.

She swayed around one chair, then another, in an attempt to get a better look at the people offering their hellos. In the end, she climbed up a chair, almost like a monkey, to settle down on her knees (she needed that extra height to better see over the bar). "Then I would like some stew, bread, and ale, if you please!" Spoken to Alex in a cheerful tone. She unlatched the bodhran, set it to the bar top then twisted a bit to smile at the others. "My name's Poppy. Poppy Wilde. It is rather nice to meet you!"

Bryan watched the female enter, squinted a passing gaze over her, then smiled pushing up to stand even as the newly arrived claimed a chair. "Welcome to you." He offered with a nod her way then looked to his brother. "Catch you later." Then his attention slid to Ellyn. "Lady Royce...until next." The introduction allowed no more and he looked once more to Poppy. "I hope your evening is as pleasant as mine, Poppy Wilde." He modified a salute, that dip of chin, a touch of fingers to his temple and he started toward the door and his scarf that hung on a peg by it. He slid the length of it free and wrapped it around his neck, glanced only once back to the gathering and made use of the door.

"Aye, later, Bryan." He would have time to plot a touch of revenge. "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Poppy." It just seemed the right title for her.

She had to blink again as Bryan got away with barely a hello to the newcomer and a goodbye to all. "See you..." to his back as the door closed. Most likely she would see him again. "He was in a hurry," an off comment to Charles. "I have yet to meet Rory." Another comment on the side. "We need another adventure," anything to hopefully dispel the cobwebs of her mind as of late. "Nice to meet you Poppy Wilde," quick smile there for the introduction. "Welcome to the lands."

"Did you see that salute? That was a mighty fine salute....." She trailed off into silence, rather suddenly. Food was in front of her. It was like she's nearly fallen into a trance, but her name mentioned from the others broke that trance and she peeked over to each of them. A dimpled grin broke free. "Why thank you. Seems like a friendly place. I wasn't quite so sure about coming into the lands. I lingered outside for a long time, trying to decide if it was safe or not. Sometimes you just got to take a chance, though, so that chance I took. So here I am." Ramble ramble. At least she shut up when she took a bite from the stew.

"Likely he remembered something." He could tease Bryan and Rory and threaten them, just as they did to him, but they took their responsibilities seriously. "Maybe to meet Rick, and aye, we do need another adventure." He blinked and looked at Poppy and grinned. "Well, welcome from me too."

Oh, they knew about taking chances as she glanced to Charles then back. "One needs to take chances or they will never have adventure. Isn't that right, Charles?" Although she didn't look directly at him, he would note the curl to the edges of her lips. "It's a friendly place here, unless you're not friendly but I can tell you are friendly...." she trailed off or she would be talking as much as the little one.

"I love adventures. I have been on quite a few. And I survived them!" She.. did a fist pump, as if surviving each adventure was her greatest accomplishments. Victory is hers! ..or something. "And yes, I am friendly, of course." She nodded, sharply, then sent them both a curious glance. "Are there others like me here?" It was always nice to meet up with other Halflings in other places. Especially when they got into trouble--eh, found some. She ate more of her stew then took a swig of the ale.

He nearly laughed out loud, listening to Ellyn. She was very close to sounding like Poppy. "Oh, aye, that's right. Friendly place, friendly people." Oh good lord. He took another drink to keep himself quiet.

"There were at least. I don't know if they have come back. They were looking for a wife, these," should she say short? "ones. They tried to woo a woman here as another had put up signs that she was looking for a mate that was under four feet..." well that was instead of short! She cleared her throat that had a funny sound to it like a swallowed laugh. As the story went, the woman was madder than hornet.

"Halflings looking for love, eh? I suppose that is not all surprising. I hope they found what they were looking for! Perhaps one day, I will settle down myself. I am in no rush though. Why hurry such a thing?" She waved a hand in the air, wrinkled her nose then finished off her stew, and her bread. She ate that pretty quickly! Taking a swig of ale, she turned a little more in her seat; twisting around a touch on her knees.

"I think the story was that they needed a wife to take care of them." He chuckled softly, trying to picture that. He wasn't totally sure. Just heard bits and pieces of the tale. "So, you're not looking for love but adventure. What kind of adventure?" He watched her finish her meal and laughed. "Been a while since you ate?"

"Two hours." Answering without missing a beat. What? She ate a lot! To the food question, at least.

Now there was one that enjoyed her food. Which brought back an earlier discussion which both of the McAndrews men avoided. "That long?" Teasing but it might well be the truth! It was getting late as she glanced to the Traugott cuckoo clock hanging over the mantle. She finished up her drink but lingered a few more minutes.

"And yes, I am looking for adventure. I was sent off in search of this dragon. I was supposed to bring it down. So off I went, so very sure of myself. After I arrived at the location that housed the dragon, I took one look at its ... big-ness and decided that perhaps a dragon slayer I was not. So I said to myself, I said, Self? You are a darned fool if you think you can take something that big down with a club. So I walked away, and decided to try less..dangerous adventures. I just don't know what I want to do yet. And yes, that long!!! If I would have waited longer, I would have starved!" Wide eyed look to Ellyn.

"That was a very wise choice, I'd say." He shook his head, barely holding back his laughter. He didn't want to be rude. "And you should involve food in your adventures. It might be safer." He was serious too. Food should be much safer then a dragon!

"Aye, that was good reasoning and a good choice." Rising from her seat with a smile to both. "You're welcome to stay here, there is no cost. Food is great.." but she needed to go, "catch you tomorrow Charles." Such a grin with a wink added before she was heading out the door.

"Food is safer. I like that. I might stick with it! Have a good night, Ellyn. I should be off too. I have some planning to do!" With that, she picked up her bodhran, climbed down from the chair and strode out humming some random melody.

And now that he was alone, he picked up his empty mug and headed for the bar, telling Alex good night. He wasn't ready to go back to the castle, but a good walk might help to clear his mind before he headed for his bed.


Date: 11-28-11
Poster: Concessa Quinn
Post # 88

Christmas is Coming...

Douglas had spent a good portion of the day at the warehouse, even though it was normally a day of rest and time with family. He spent more time alone then he should and knew his parents worried. Still, it was no worse then Rhett being constantly at work and they fussed about him too. Maybe a bit more since he was younger. He was hoping that word would get back to his Da via Alex that he was at least at the Thistle, or that he had gone and done a little shopping for the holidays. At least for the younger siblings. Those would be delivered to the warehouse so neither got nosey. At the moment, he was finishing up a slice of Hazel's delicious apple crumb pie after a good, hot meal.

Thanksgiving was over, two days hence and already there were many out shopping so they were not running around at the last minute trying to get that perfect gift. Concessa was amongst them until she could take the crowds no more and headed for the Thistle for something to drink. Packages were sent to the Quinn manor instead of her trying to lug all she got around with her. Many a lad had approach offering their services, most at a reduce price to entice, one even offered for free but she shooed them all away and continued on her own. She was still attired in the pretty rust gown made of crush velvet as well the black cloak lined in fur that kept her warm. It had been a clear but chilly day and as the sun went down, so plummet the temperature with it. Winter was here, just not as bitter as it could get. The brisk air accompany her as she whisked her way within, closing it off with a solid shutting of the door. Turning as hands lifted to turn the hood down from neatly coifed hair with only a few wisps that had escaped the braided bun. "Hello," dark eyes turned on the one with a sparkle. There was something familiar but she didn't think she had met him. Nonetheless she was to the bar by that time and ordered up an Irish coffee.

He had just finished taking a drink of coffee to wash down the last bite when the lass came in. He watched her until she turned, then stood when she spoke. "Evening." Once she reached the bar, he collected his empty dishes onto the tray and returned them to the bar. Coffee gone, he waited for her drink to be made and given to her before asking for a glass of potcheen. "I'm Douglas Shawnesey." He smiled as he spoke, ready to leave her alone if she didn't want to be bothered, but his mother had raised her boys well.

The cup was still hot and so she let it cool as she turned offering her hand. Her smile winsome and true. "Shawnesey, I know your brother Rhett from the smithy. I thought there was something familiar but felt I had not met you. I'm Concessa Quinn, very nice to make your acquaintance."

"There's very few folks that don't know Rhett." He chuckled then inclined his head slightly. "Nice to meet you as well, Miss Quinn. I've heard of your family." He leaned against the bar and motioned to her drink. "Warming up? It is cold outside."

She hadn't taken her cloak off as she studied him in open curiosity. The Shawnesey family was well known and respected. Would this son uphold the family honor too? She suspected he would and would be rather shocked if he didn't she realized in a fleeting thought. "Aye, the temperatures are dropping and even a few snowflakes drifted by as I made my way here," in a rather quick pace but she didn't add that. "Shall we adjourn to the hearth?" The fire was inviting that she stole a glance towards then back as she finally took up her mug to wrap in gloved hands.

"It was cold when I arrived but I hadn't seen any snow." He stood with her question and smiled again. "I think that's an excellent idea. After you." Oh, he'd do exactly what was expected of him here. Elsewhere might be another matter.

Dark eyes slid down along him as she passed, lashes near touching the rosy pink of her cheeks before lifting again as she headed for the hearth. "What is your profession, Douglas," the question coming appropriately in small talk once her destination was made. Taking a sip of her spiked coffee before turning to face him in a polite way. All proper. She was on her best behavior.

"I work with my father, importing goods, and keeping an eye on inventory." He smiled again, though it wasn't quite as large as before. "It's steady work. There's always a need for good quality goods." He finally lifted the glass for a sip of the potcheen, eyes glinting with a thought.

"Do you ever sail with your ships? Ever have an adventure in foreign countries or even in our own? Do you enjoy your work?" That last was actually the most important of all. She noticed the glint in his eyes as she cocked her head slightly to the side as if that way she might be able to better read what had brought such on.

"Just short trips so far. This time of year, the weather is iffy." He laughed and shook his head with her next question. "I haven't had an adventure since I finished school, and it's ... easy work. I really don't think much about it, I'm so used to it. I'm going to go more come spring. What about you?" His smile turned to a grin. "From what I've heard of the Quinns, every one of you tend to keep busy."

"Busy is good and it seems you are overdue for an adventure. Perhaps this spring will see to that as you mentioned." For the reasons he mentioned. Going out to sea usually have an adventure or two each trip. "I work for Mister David Frasier, attorney at law. I am his assistant and learning all the time the longer I work for him." Which she was sure he had heard much on the Frasier family too. "Perhaps he will take me on an extended trip as he sometimes goes oversea." Although he hadn't so far but his profession could have him going to conventions in other countries.

"Maybe, though I'm not sure I'd know what to do if I had an adventure." He was kidding of course, though it was a bit of an inside joke on himself. "I've heard of him. I think my father has dealt with him. It's always possible. Good assistants are valuable to a lawyer, I'm sure." He couldn't imagine a Frasier being a dull, stodgy type.

"Well, you could hope you survived it first off and just go along with it to where it brings you." Teasing him right back with a wink before taking a longer drink of her coffee. It was warming her up. The last held a serious tone, "I hope that I do the job he expects of me." She certainly was doing her best. "You are your own boss then or does your father overlook all that you do?"

"Not anymore. He gave me three ships of my own. Made me more of a partner." He couldn't help smiling though as he added, "Of course, I'm sure he keeps an eye on me." And his mother as well!

"It is good to have your parents still and that they care enough to keep an eye on you. So are you married with children too and that keeps you from adventures?" Although she had not noticed a ring on his finger, that didn't mean he wasn't married. She was enjoying the light conversation as she was also enjoying her enhanced coffee.

He had just taken a drink when she asked her question. Choking on potcheen was never a good thing but it couldn't be helped. He shook his head emphatically as he tried to catch his breath. Not married! No children!

Which had her laugh outright. A musical sound that usually had others laughing with her if long enough it became contagious. "I feel I hit a nerve. you don't like women then?" Such implications but certainly amusing too just to watch his reaction.

"I'm only twenty!" Protesting with a hoarse voice, though he was laughing. "And yes, I like women. I just haven't dated much." He shrugged as he took another drink to clear his throat. "I think they all know me too well." That made him sound even worse so he tried to explain. "See, we all grew up together and it seems the lasses like the ones who aren't too quiet. If there are others about, I don't talk very much." He gave a shrug, feeling like he was trying to explain too much.

She was trying not to laugh more but little giggles couldn't be helped. "Have you dated at all?" Having stepped closer she ran a hand down along his shirt before dropping away. Of course she was testing him in her own way and in a way trying to get him out of a shell or so it seemed he was in one. "Or only ones that are not too quiet?" Which made other implications to be certain.

"I did when I was away at school." He laughed then watched her hand before looking up. The glint had returned as he caught her hand, though he didn't have a tight hold and she could pull away easily enough. "And some weren't too quiet. Just none were special." He grinned as he looked at her. "Miss Quinn, are you trying to embarrass me? And might I call you Concessa?" Formality was troublesome at times.

"Not embarrass.." no, it wasn't that although she'd be hard put to explain exactly what it was she was doing. "Then you are waiting for a special girl to come along," leaving her hand in his where he had stalled it. She had small hands, delicate like the rest of her features and overall build. "Of course if you hide yourself away then you'll never meet that special someone.." he had mentioned about not getting out and working too much. She was guilty of the same. "Please do call me Concessa or Cessa, if I may call you Douglas or Doug?" Wondering if he shortened his name at all. Once again there was a slight tip of her head to the side in study.

"Either is fine with me." As long as it wasn't Dougie. "I know but it's also important to have a nest egg so if that special girl does come along, I'm ready." He gave her a half smile, the same he gave his mother when he was doing his best to stay out of trouble. It worked a good part of the time. "And I do get out more then I did. I see to a lot of the deliveries myself." Even had to track a few down on rare occasions. He lowered his voice as if he were divulging a secret. "I've even been north to that infamous city." Lips twitching, he released her hand and leaned back.

"Well, just don't end up sitting in a nest full of eggs all alone.." just the imagery had her eyes dancing with amusement. She didn't know the difference in his various smiles at this point. Perhaps in time she would if a friendship in the least grew between them. "Are all the deliveries local or do you get to the neighboring sister castles?" She was getting the itch to possibly embark upon an adventure herself.

"If there is a lass somewhere for me, it'll happen. If not, I'm sure one of me brothers will carry on the Shawnesey name." He shook his head. "Not all local, no. I travel to the other realms though I haven't gone to Innis Daingneach yet." He placed his empty glass on the counter, shaking his head to Alex's inquiry before continuing. "I'm developing my own customer base too." He smiled. "Adding to our business."

"I would love to see Innis, especially in the next couple months when snow piles high and you can see your breath freeze in the air.." the thought made her shiver! Lips pursed making tiny ripples with the sound of brrrrrrrrrr. It was getting late as she finished off her coffee. The whiskey in it making her drowsy in spite of any caffeine it might contain. "It is time for me to retire but I certainly enjoyed not only meeting you but our conversation." Even if there had been the light teasing added. For her it made it more fun, less stuffy and formal.

"I should get moving as well." He would return to the warehouse and stay there tonight. Tomorrow he'd leave to be home in time for supper. "It was my pleasure, Concessa. I'd enjoyed our conversation as well, and I hope to run into you again." Which was always possible though it had taken this long for them to meet. "Good night and rest well." He straightened from his lean and nodded his thanks and farewell to Alex.

"I plan to," although there was a look in dark eyes that could make him wonder what she was thinking for a fleeting moment. She returned the empty mug to the counter with a polite thank you to Alex before she was making her way to the hall and stairs to take her up to her room.

Yes, it could and did make him wonder. He watched her leave the room, then collected his cloak. Steeling himself, he stepped into the cold night but he was whistling as he walked away from the Thistle. It had turned out to be a very pleasant evening.


Date: 12-08-11
Poster: Maurice McDonough
Post # 89

Taking Steps Forward

For most of the lands it was a quiet evening. Snow blanket the earth as big fatten flakes drifted down in a continuous spiral with hardly a breeze. At times it was heavy enough one could not see far in front of them. The earth seemed to pick up light for so much white that even without sun nor moon one could see once the snowfall lightened up. Hills and mountains rolled into one all the way down to the commons. Lights from the street lamps made the flakes sparkle in the spectrum of colors. It was here on the outskirts the quiet was broken with children's shouts and snowballs flying. Many of the stores stayed open as shoppers were getting a head start on their shopping. Many of them could stay open for the owners lived above the store itself. If they weren't in the open, one just shouted out to have them come down from upstairs or out from the back. The Snow Rollers, invented by Eion Quinn, were out as the snow deepened at a escalated rate. The guards had to pull a few daredevils from in front of it as they tried to tempt fate.

Chandra was one of those out shopping for her very large family. She and her mother, the formidable Mary Quinn, had been talking about celebrating Christmas and Yule with some concern. Finally, they decided to celebrate twice if Eion, Segan and Conor weren't back and at this point it was unlikely. Once they received word they were returning, they could set up another tree and decorate the house all over again. What she had purchased was sent to the Manor where her mother would put them in her room. She was standing in front of the candy store watching as a Roller went by and caught herself looking to see if Eion was driving. Chuckling softly to herself, she waited for it to pass so she could continue to the Thistle. She was considering staying there the night because of the snow.

While she was distracted, one large form stepped around under the cover of not only the giant roller machine but the snow that was falling. "Want some candy little girl?" The low rolling sound of a baritone voice came from just behind as he stepped closer. Once he had seen and recognized Chandra, it was just like him to sneak up on her but not so much to startle in the way it was done. She'd see the flash of ice blue eyes full of merriment when she turned upon hearing his voice. He looked like one of the snow covered mountains for his size, the knitted cap that Autumn had made him a long time ago with a light layer of snow. Snow that dusted upon his shoulders and even the thickness of his beard.

She laughed as she turned, lifting her dark eyes to meet his blue ones. "Why, Laird McDonough, that sounds positively wicked," she teased. Her smile was bright and warm for him as she slid an arm through his. "And I like it." Chandra dropped her eyes and lifted again, meeting his gaze, her eyes sparkling. With the snow coating her hood and cloak, she could have been a Snow Queen. "Would you care to join me at the Thistle for some refreshment and talk." She tilted her head slightly as she added, "it's been a while, hasn't it?" For a moment, his eyes held hers and she quite forgot herself.

"...of course it does." Which was exactly how he meant it to sound. There was also that twinkle that attested that Maurice McDonough could live up to anything wicked in such a delightful way. She might be getting to the point in knowing him well enough to read those various twinkles held in ice blue eyes. Certainly distinguished in color. Next she was in his arms as a few snowballs went flying by that certainly would have hit her square in the chest or head. She would feel his strength and warmth held this close as he took advantage of the moment too. It would be unlike him not to! "I was going to suggest the very idea, or some spot out of the cold where we can talk without getting a snowball in our face." Not that he let go of her but eased to the side as he headed in that very direction and keeping her protected at his side.

She laughed softly, eyes going wide when he suddenly pulled her closer and another laugh sounded again. "Well, this is certainly cozy but yes, out of the cold and snowball range would be wonderful." She peeked at the youngsters who were enjoying themselves immensely and smiled as she thought how much they enjoyed life. Then she looked up at him as they walked. He was certainly a handsome man, and so tall she felt as small as a child beside him. Still it was very cozy and, if she were honest, quite enjoyable to be held so close.

At one point where there were a few of the lads contemplating pelting them, he let out a ROAR that had them scatter in squealing screams, mixed with laughter. They would not tempt the McDonough laird too far or probably be grabbed up by the scuff of their neck and dumped in the nearest pile of snow. He was soon ducking inside the tavern greeted by its warmth and scent of peat which burned in the hearth along with the regular logs. It lent a homey quality to it. Someone had been in to decorate some but the tree wasn't in yet nor most of the decorations. It was early. "Some coffee with the pure in it for me, Alex." Already getting in what he wished before they even reached the bar. Once there, he finally released Chandra so he could shrug out of the heavy overcloak. One he would be hanging in front of the hearth to dry off as well as Chandra's once he helped her take it off.

"And Irish coffee for me, please Alex." She was wearing a cloak of red velvet, lined with fur to keep her warm. She turned to smile up at Ice after he helped her and hung it up. Beneath she wore a gown of deep blue, also velvet and trimmed with a paler blue lace at the neckline and sleeves. Around her neck she wore a thin chain of gold and a gold and silver pendent, depicting a harp. Gold drop earrings shined in contract against her dark hair. The hem of her gown was heavy with snow and she shook it out in front of the hearth. The snow would melt quickly there.

A rack had been placed off to the side of the hearth where the heat would dry any outerwear particularly wet either from snow or rain. Rain had not been seen in some weeks here in these lands, all snow. Ice was attired warmly, heavy cotton shirt with a vest over and tailored pants. Boots that would withstand the harshest of winters. A hand ran over his beard to dispel the wet droplets there, then fell away to cup at her elbow in guiding her across to the nearest couch. Two seater with a table each side. Once she was seated, he was over to collect the coffees which were ready and back again. "So tell me how you've been and your family.." spoken as he set her tray then his to the other side where he finally took a seat. Long legs stretched out enough to collect the heat radiating from the hearth.

She smoothed down the skirt of her gown after sitting, lifting her legs to study the hem of the gown. When he returned with the coffees, she lowered her legs again, crossing her ankles. "Thank you and I've been quite well. Busy, with my nephews gone. Gabriel's been working hard, and so have our cousins, so we're ready for winter. Worried of course, about the lads, but things will work out." Her smile had faded briefly but it returned. "And I'm helping with the horses a bit more for now while Mel takes care of her and Gabriel's newborn son. What about you? How have you been, and your family?" She didn't mind being busy, in fact, she enjoyed it and was glad to be useful.

"Always busy which I regret for I feel neglecting in seeing you. If you would like the same of course." Giving one of those quick flashing winks. "I was wondering if I can invite myself out to your manor soon, at your convenience and those there of course." So he was one to change things around even if it meant boldly stepping. If she didn't wish to see him, he was sure she had the backbone to tell him so. They were friends and possibly there could be more.

Her smile changed subtly, became warmer and more intimate. "Of course, Ice. You're welcome there any time and even Mother has said the same. She enjoys the devilment you bring." She was not adverse to there being more if things should turn that way. She took a careful sip of her coffee and found it had cooled enough so that she wouldn't scald her mouth but would still warm up.

That would be something left to time and how it rolled out naturally or not. "Then I shall be coming tomorrow evening, before or after dinner?" As he would not invite himself to dine there if that was not convenient. Considering she had not mentioned that, one way or another.

"Before and you'll stay of course. You know Herself would never have it any other way." A dimple showed as she added, "and neither would I. Gabriel will probably enjoy hearing a male voice amongst all the female ones." There was rarely an evening they didn't have company but she felt bad for Gabriel sometimes though he never complained. She would tell her mother as soon as she arrived home. Knowing her mother, there would be a grand Irish feast to share and plenty of food.

"Then I shall be sure to bring my appetite." Which he had a good one as one could tell by his build. One without an ounce of fat. A good hearty laugh came with the comment on Gabriel. "Aye, what of those nephews of yours?" He was pretty sure they stayed at the manor too, most of them when they were around. Eion at least was there with his wife and child. Either that he was losing it!

"Eion, Segan and Conor are in Ireland. My brother, Brady, lives there still and he needed their help. There's trouble with a man from England who inherited a title and my niece's husband. It doesn't look like they'll be home in time for the holidays." She sighed without realizing she did. "Eion's dear wife, Daireann is pregnant again too. He hated to leave but there was little choice." They had heard from them that they arrived safely but receiving mail was slow. She had a feeling there was more going on there then even they realized.

"I'm sorry to hear that. If needed, you know you have my help." Which he had connections and his brother had even more from his line of work. "I can hope they are back for the holidays and the matter cleared up." A slight solemn nod was given to the last. He knew well about few choices or, more in that one had certain priorities they didn't neglect and so put their own desires aside. "Are you staying here tonight or heading home. If the latter, I can offer you a ride if you have not."

"Thank you, Ice. I appreciate that more then you can know." She leaned toward him and placed her hand briefly on his then sat back again. "I brought the surrey but with the snow falling heavier then I expected, I was planning on staying the night." She studied him a moment before continuing. "I must say though I'm very glad I decided to come into the city today. Otherwise I might have missed you."

"I must say, I'm very glad you came into the city today or I would have been hunting you down.." there was that quick flashing wink and the dimple tucked into the russet beard with his smile. "I think I may stay the night here as well and break fast with you tomorrow morn."

"Ice, I can't think of a better way to start the morning." And she meant every word of that. Her coffee was finished and she was ready to retire. "And I think on that note, it's time for me to retire." She was feeling the whiskey and the affects of a long day finally but it was a good feeling and welcomed.

He rose at that point and collected her empty mug along with his, these he would bring over to Alex. "Then I shall see you to your door." Taking one of the keys to the usual room he kept when here before he was around to offer her the bend of his arm in escort.

She stood and followed him to collect her own key and to bid Alex good night. Ice was rewarded with another dimpled smile before she slid her arm through his, her hand resting on the crook of his arm. As he left her at her door, she tugged at his shirt to have him leaned down so she could place a kiss to the corner of his mouth. Then with an impish glint in her eyes, Chandra went inside her room. She would sleep well tonight and tomorrow would most definitely be another enjoyable day.


Date: 12-29-11
Poster: Broch Cunningham
Post # 90

To Be Married or Not?

With all the hubbub that came along with Christmas, it was a good night to get out or get his sister out being she did most of the work. All of the cooking and most of the decorating, cleaning, there was probably a long list of things she did if she should list them. No matter, he convinced her to take a night out at the Thistle, eat there, no work and excellent food too. The meal was over as they sat relaxing, something not enjoyed often enough by Laura, in front of the hearth. He was enjoying warmed up enhanced eggnog.

She had been in a debate for days. Days! She didn't know if she should tell a certain someone about a certain stunt that she'd pulled in other lands, or simply let it go and pray he never finds out. Such a difficult decision! She decided to make a visit, to see if anyone mentions anything about the Laird being wed off. That first, then she'll decide what to do from that point on. She was freezing as she shuffled inside; wrapped up in a fur trimmed, thick cloak that draped over a velvet dress of blue. Pausing near the door, she removed the cloak, her scarf, and the mittens, the smaller items tucked within the cloak itself before she left the cloak hanging on the wall. She squinted around the room, grinned as she spotted brother and sister near the hearth, apparently enjoying its warmth. "Good evening!" She chimed a greeting for the pair.

It was rare that Laura would agree to taking a day off but with school vacation, and no lessons to be planned, at least for a few more days, she agreed readily. She was sipping tea as they sat before the fire, enjoying the warmth and the company. When the door opened, she looked toward it and smiled. "Now there's a familiar face. Good evening, Gaelle."

The brisk cold that swept through herald a voice they both knew. He was up from his seat as a grin tucked within the thicker beard. Thicker for the winter and kept his face warm without the need of wrapping it up in a scarf. A twinkle sparked in burnished green eyes, "aye and a guid Yule'tide ta yea, Gaelle.." a hand sweeping to an adjacent chair near his sister and he. "W'at winds sweeps yea in t'is eve? A guid one, aye?"

A bright smile was given to Laura, then to Broch. She offered a quiet laugh, eyes bright. "Quite a good one," she replied. She joined them at the hearth, picking out a chair to ease into. "Happy Yule, to you both. I hope it has been a wonderful holiday for you." Gaze passed from brother to sister and back again. "I imagine you are probably stuffed from all of the food you have eaten," she teased them both, grinning suddenly--a grin that flashed a set of dimples.

She would notice he was wearing the clan kilt when he stood. Boots laced up beneath the hem which hung below the knee. "Aye, stuff ta t'e gills," which had a rumble of a laugh. "Would yea be lik'in some o' Alex's homemade eggnog?" Which it was spiked with potcheen and sprinkled with nutmeg on top as well heated up. Warm one inside and out even when out on such a cold night as this one proved to be.

"Right now it's left-overs, or it was. I'll be cooking again tomorrow but it's always fun." Their cook had some time off and Laura enjoyed cooking when she could. Of course it was for Broch and Logan right now with Michael away. She gave a little shudder as the wind rattled the windows. "You're probably chilled through."

"Oh yes, I would love that, thank you!" Her answer for the offer of eggnog. She tipped a glance towards the bar, just to see if she could get a peek at Alex. Her gaze turned back to the two near the hearth, another smile blooming. And she took a moment to admire the kilt. She had to! The boots were rather nice, too. Her throat cleared. "So uhm.. Heard any interesting news to share?" She questioned them, eyes faintly squinting as she studied Broch, then Laura.

"No, nothing here." She really had been staying around the manor and without the students about, was cut off from any news or gossip.

It was a good excuse to get the box from his fur cloak that hung on the rack not far from the door. He'd let Laura answer the question as he set to seeing to the mug, which was of a Christmas design, after Alex filled it up. "T'ar bae news t'en, Gaelle?" As if she was really offering to tell them some bits and pieces.

She nodded faintly to Laura's answer, and when Broch questioned, she winced inwardly. She cleared her throat again, debated some more and realized that.. this might go a lot smoother if the news came from her rather than the rumor mill. Wouldn't it? "Kind of. I um... did something.. kinda bad. Well, not really bad. Well.. I don't know... Lying is bad, but the lie itself wasn't quite so bad.. because if I had lied about something else, like how horrible a good person is, then that would be a bad li--" She trailed off when she realized she was rambling. Then, with a quick breath drawn, she just let it all out. "Two men visited the Hills, from Heathfield. I was in nice conversation with them when a few questions came from one of the men. One was if I was married.. I said no. Then as conversation continued, I realized more men were.. approaching; one of which has.. been rather flirty with me in the past and.. I just got really uncomfortable. So I ran to the ladies room, came back, and told the man that I had lied.. that I was really married." Gulp. Breathe. "The two visitors were curious if they knew the person and I kinda-said-it-was-you." She suuuuuuuuuuuuuuunk in her chair.

Brows were lifting until they could lift no more as Gaelle rambled on.. and on .. .and on.. and on. Wait. Stop. Pause. Luckily he was back over and had set the mug of the seasonal drink to her side table. Alongside it he had set the neatly wrapped up box with a silky satin silvery bow. No, he had not wrapped it but the woman from the jewelry shop. The shiny paper had silver, green and red in a muted Christmas pattern. "Yea bae... married?" But then it sunk in that very last tidbit and he stood there a few moments as it sunk in. "Aye? I bae married and miss me own wedd'in?" So the teasing would start, "missed mae wedd'in nig't tae..." taking his seat as he sunk in much as this tidbit had. He almost laughed as he added, "I bae tak'in yea upstairs then.." see if she ran!

"My reasoning; if I picked someone that wasn't from the Hills, then no one from the Hills would ever find out. But I felt bad for pulling you into this.. lie so I wanted to te--" She had watched him set the gift down, but sucked in a breath for that last bit he had to say. She looked up at him wide eyed. "Not here!" What?! She coughed, then peeked towards Laura, to see if she was upset.

Laura just stared at Gaelle over her mug, her mouth open but then Broch started teasing and she laughed. "Don't tease. She's obviously mortified." As if that would stop him. Then she looked at Gaelle again. "Oh my."

Laura was a grown up woman and certainly knew her brother well. And well he had added to her mortification. Why? Because he could. Because they had always teased each other. Bantered. "Aye, yea bae mortified married tae me?" He was only adding to it wasn't he!

"No, I'm not mortified to be married to you! Who in their right mind would be?!" Banter, indeed. She sputtered out a laugh and plucked up the gift. She was curious about it, but she didn't want to let the topic fade so quickly. "You're not mad?" She asked Broch, quite surprised by this. "I couldn't think of another name to say, not one that people would believe at any rate. But at least it has kept the men away." She had to grin at that. It was so nice to have her personal space all to herself when she went out in public and there weren't men breathing down her neck.

"Well, t'at bae guid tae kin." Settling back with keen green eyes watching her. He knew her pretty well although he learned never to say he knew a female for they would turn around and make a goose out of you. He shook his head, "I bae flattered yea pick mae but t'e real question bae the w'y o' it." But she had added about keeping men away. "T'ar bae a reason tae keep any away?" And here came the added teasing, "t'es multitudes o' mons? Maybe yea kin send some o' t'em Laura's way." Not looking her way as he added her into his teasing. Knowing well, as he stiffened, she might swat him!

"Well, most men. Men from there, I suppose. Some are far too pushy for my tastes. A couple have an interest in only one thing, anyway." She didn't think she needed to explain that 'one' thing. She peeked at Laura, expecting her to swat Broch as well. As she watched, she started opening the gift.

She didn't swat him. She punched him in the shoulder. Hard. "I don't understand why you think I should be married. I'm very happy not to be." She eyed Broch a long moment. "And don't you dare say anything else. You're not courting anyone either." Humph.

Was that Gaelle doing all that giggling?! Yes! "Ah, he doesn't need to, he's already married." Through the giggle-fit. She was kidding, of course, and ducked in case she was the one that was to be swatted next.

Which had him burst out into a laugh as she didn't just swat him but punched. "I bae hitt'in a sore spot. W'y? Because ye would make a lucky mon a terrific wife an yea need babies to lull.." He had a retort on the tip of his tongue except Gaelle's addition countered her remark. "Aye, seems t'at I bae so t'ere bae no matchmak'in from yea." As if she was going to play matchmaker for him.. or his brothers.

The gift, she finally opened, and for a split second she was stunned. Her mouth opened wide. "Oh my. Broch this is gorgeous!" She held the box up for Laura to see; the necklace with the floral green pendant and matching earrings. "I love the color!" She bounced up out of her seat to give Broch a tight hug.

"There is that." She laughed as she looked at Gaelle, then she gave Broch a look and leaned over to pinch his side. "I deal with children nearly every day, Broch. Plus the three of you." She smiled at Gaelle, then laughed when she hugged Broch. "He does pick out lovely jewelry. I'll give him that much."

"Aye, bout it bae not t'e same." When Gaelle was over to give him a hug, he pulled her down onto his lap as he encompassed her into a burly bear hug. He was one that a person could get lost within his arms. "See, I got mae wife on mae lap.." that twinkle in his eyes only brightened as he in all seriousness said in a lower tone, "ye bae welcome. I bae wearing t'e medallion yea sent mae."

"Oh, Broch, she'll find someone somedaaaay!" The last word squeaked out, mouse like, when she was pulled down. She didn't seem to mind it all that much, though! She settled right in his arms, snickering, but twisted around to see the medallion she sent him. "I like. It looks really nice on you." She nodded, then lifted the necklace from the box to try to put the jewelry on. Her gaze flickered to Laura. "Someone's out there for you. I'm sure of that much. Just don't rush. If you don't feel right now is the right time, then don't, because then you may feel that whatever person you're with, that the entire relationship is forced." Oh wow, she felt so smart! "Buuuuuuuuuuuut, the man that I talked to that's from here, he is Scottish, I do believe. And handsome. I just.. I can't recall his name." Had to add that on for Laura's sake. Cough.

Gaelle had her laughing again. "There isn't anyone, honestly, so don't you start." And she snickered. "I'm sure it'll come to you." And she took a sip of her tea as she gave them both a look.

"I remember the name of the ship he's on? Though I don't know how helpful that will be. The Dream." She laughed. "I will stop. Stopping now! I've stopped."

"Aye, t'ar bae a candidate fir mae sister?" Hopeful sounding and teasing as he didn't mind her being on his lap. If she stayed or not. Arm settled loosely around her at this point, hand curving over the bend of his knee, kept his kilt from riding up. That was a blessing or Gaelle would be turning into a tomato. He was enjoying this as he felt they were enjoying it too, no matter the teasing.

A sailor? Not likely, though there was nothing wrong with them, they were too full of wanderlust. She just smiled as she stood and carried her cup and saucer over to Alex. When she returned, she sat again, smoothing the skirt of her gown as she sat.

She didn't want to move, in all honesty. She seemed rather comfortable right where she was settled. She had the necklace on in no time, and peeked down in an attempt to see how it looked on her. She answered Broch though, with a grin. "Yes, but I cannot recall his name, to be honest. It will come to me, I am sure. I was too distracted by the .. lie that I told that I kind of forgot the names of both men." She cleared her throat. And left his lap momentarily. She had to get her drink that was still by her chair! It didn't take long before she was back in his lap though, and sipping on eggnog.

Which had his arms ease back as she left and a chuckle when she returned with her drink. "It bae guid? Aye?" Which he knew it was. "I am please yea bae lik'in the jewelry.." as he had help in picking it out but he had specified the colors, just as he had described what he had gotten his sister. "Yea bae comfortable t'en, Gaelle?" Quite amused but didn't mind one bit obviously.

She slid a grin over to the quiet Laura as she got quite comfortable on Broch's lap. "I do like the jewelry. Love it, and the eggnog is delicious." She took another sip before setting the mug aside. A small twist, and turn, then she was still--nearly snuggling up against his chest. "Very comfortable. I think I might sleep here." She snickered.

The name of the ship wasn't familiar to Laura so she looked at Broch. But then he was talking about the jewelry, which was a good thing. It took his mind off her.

He smelled good too as he had washed up just before they left the manor for the evening. Something like Brute was worn, thick and masculine yet not overpowering. He was considering the name when it finally caught up. "Aye, that bae t'e lass Callihan s'ip. A few o' t'em take tae t'e sea." So now he could find out who her crew was. That had a wicked glance given his sister. HA.. not for long in taking his teasing away from her. Snuggle was good and if she fell asleep, he'd carry her up to one of the rooms to settle her there for the night.

"I think ..Samuel might have been the name of one of the men, but I could be mistaken." A first name probably wasn't all that helpful, either. She turned her head faintly, nearly nuzzling into his shoulder. It was so that she could get a good whiff of his cologne! She loved smelly stuff. Well, -good- smelly stuff. And apparently she hadn't been kidding, because she was becoming rather still and.. quite boneless. Gaelle was falling asleep!!! "Tell Laura her hair is pretty." Zonked out already, and talking in her sleep, that.

The name wouldn't make any difference at all to Laura. She had two brothers to worry about, though once Michael finally married, there's be another female in the manor at least. She chuckled and looked at Broch. "I think she's going to be staying here tonight."

"Aye," looking up from her to Laura that when he could tell Gaelle had fallen asleep, he rose slowly as to not wake her. Alex gave him a key as he gave a motion of hand for his sister to help him out here! He'd find out who this Samuel was and probably whoever had accompanied him too!

She chuckled as she stood, moving toward the doorway to the steps, after she offered to take the key from Broch. After all he was carrying the lass, then it was on up the steps and to the room given to Gaelle. Once she was settled in, they could head back, or stay here if Broch wished!


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