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Thistle Tavern

Date: 03-31-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 61


Spring was around the corner, though days seemed to switch back and forth from winter wishing to hang on and spring wanting to take over. A battle of sorts that caused many to get colds. Raises in temperature a false feeling of it being warmer than it really was, compared to summer. This night it was colder again with a brisk breeze that wished to cut through any layers of clothing. Collar was flipped up on his coat to keep the bite from his ears as Trevet headed for the Thistle. Thoughts of a hot bowl of stew and potcheen foremost on his mind. Possibly his brother would be done with whatever he had been doing and head here this night as well.

Kynan wasn't far behind his brother, in fact, he was right behind him and sped up a bit to catch him. "Bluidy cold tonight." He grumbled as he did, giving a slight shiver. He was dressed warmly but it still seemed to seep through his heavy cloak. "I know it's only the end of March but it'd be nice if winter would go away."

"Aye, or just compared to the balmier weather we've been having." A glance given his brother as he caught up with the comment. "I think you will get your wish, and probably everyone else for that matter. Though not tomorrow or the next but soon." Chuckling as he sped up his step in reaching the tavern, steps taking in a quick bound as he had the door open next, holding it long enough for his brother to proceed in then right behind him making sure it closed over completely.

"Aye, just not soon enough." He grinned then hurried after Treve. Once inside, he sighted and removed his cloak. "I'm thinking a bit of stew might be good tonight." He had been helping Kaylea at the zoo with some of the chores in the aviary.

"I got another saddle completed," that was what he'd been up to for the past week, working long hours to get it done and then start cutting the pieces out for the next one. "A few saddle bags to work on before I start another saddle," cloak removed and hung to a peg before he was headed for the bar and stew ordered as well the bottle of potcheen set out with two glasses. "What were you up to tonight?" They needed to start stocking their shelves.

"Helping Kaylea. I told her I'd be needing to get some work done at the shop." He grinned at Treve. "She said it would just be tonight and she'd not be a pest. Of course I told her I didn't mind her being a pest." He ordered stew as well. "She's making sure they have nesting places that won't have them fussing at any other birds."

"You should have asked, I could have taken a break from working the leather and helped out." Straddling a stool as he filled the two glasses from the bottle. "So, you were learning how to build a nest?" Amusement laced his words as he lifted his glass, "to spring, may she come swiftly and stay." Kicking it back before setting it back to the bar and filling it again. The stew was on its way as Hazel was out to set the tray then away again although she loitered with Alex for a few before heading back into the kitchen.

"I'll remember that next time she catches me. Aye, something like that. She had me setting out straw and twigs, bits of string as well. Worked in the evening so they weren't disturbed too much." He smiled warmly at Hazel before he dug in like one near starving.

"My brother, the nest maker." Rubbing at his chin before digging in, using the thick pieces of brown bread to sop up the thick broth in making fast work of his meal. Once he started eating, he realized just how hungry he was, also realized he had missed lunch being so engrossed in his work. Once he set his mind to something he was singularly focused. Nothing said while he was eating.

He made a face at the tease but really, it could have been worse. Nothing said on his part either as he ate, enjoying every bit of the stew and bread. Finally, there was nothing left but an empty bowl and the spoon.

He finished up about the same time Kynan had. "You're doing very well with the jousting. I got in some practice with Ruarc but I know it's not my calling. Though I hope to do better as I started out, rather than going downhill." Which had him chuckle.

"I don't intend to keep doing it the rest of my life." He grinned at Treve and shrugged. "It's just something to do for fun and to be honest, I'm surprised I am doing so well. I mean most of them are older and have been jousting a lot longer than I have." He chuckled. "I think it's just that the horse likes to run and knows when to lean or something."

"Takes more than your horse but a well trained horse helps as well." Which he would agree the horse played a big part but it was more the rider in the aim and leaning at the crucial moment. "Do you think it takes a bit of luck aside being good at it?"

"I think it plays a big part in it." He made a slight motion. "You have to be holding the lance right, go at the right speed, hit just in the right spot. It all works together." He made a slight motion. "Hit just right, the lance splinters, or maybe you move slightly and just clip your opponent. Hit just right and your opponent is on his arse. It's a big part luck." He nodded, sure of it now.

Kenneth was wandering around the commons, having stopped at the bakery to pick up a few pastries, favoring the eclairs as he had a sweet tooth on occasion. The water fountain had been turned on as he took a turn around its circumference before heading up to the Thistle.

Charlie was bound to be somewhere, and look, there she was ambling towards the Thistle in a round about way, whistling at the hot gypsy with his pastries ahead of her, "my my my the view is improving," she mused ..

"Hey Baby, want some sweets.." waggling his brows and certainly sounding lecherous while adding an extra swagger to his hips. Like a hound dog he picked up her scent and had averted his path to intercept hers.

"But of course," she laughed, watching his swagger with a grin. "What brings you out this evening?" She had been planning on stopping at the vardo after hitting the Thistle ...

"So if your horse shifts just a fraction in his gallop, that could be that precise second that makes the difference." So he didn't feel so bad about it all but he certainly would like to gain back the momentum he started out with. "I'll have to make some promises to Lady Luck, or maybe I need a lady cheering me on, wearing her silk like I had in the beginning." Nora hadn't been to the last few he realized.

"Treats and hoping to have some company. Keeping company with cattle is not all it's cracked to be." Like there was something about keeping company with cattle! He was quick, swooping in for a stolen kiss before holding open the bag that she could pick one of the pastries. Aside a few eclairs there were apple turn overs and some fancy doughnuts.

She savored that stolen kiss. "Hmm sounds like a romantic evening," she mused, looking into the bag, taking a fancy donut. "Gotta love the bakery, saves me baking all night," she chuckled, waggling her brows, not that she minded when she had time she loved to cook ....

"I like wearing Kay's favor." He shrugged again, smiling slightly. "Less likely to be teased about having a lass." Not that it would bother him if he did really have one.

"You've enough work of late in starting to prepare for spring and the vegetable garden. Which reminds me, I have a week off coming up so I'll help you get the ground ready." He enjoyed helping her work the soil and the breaks they took tumbling in the fresh overturned dirt for then they would need to go wash and a dip in the lake when warm enough, or the oversized bathtub filled with warm water in lieu of the other. Thoughts were wandering, obviously as the grin that was lifting attested to as they continued onward to the tavern. Arriving shortly thereafter.

She took a bite of the donut, "ahh that will be wonderful, I like when you can help," gave her time to romance him. He reminded her to enjoy every moment of life, even those moments covered in dirt, like two errant children. "Good thing I already tilled the manure in," or they would stink after a romp ...

"Well, there is that. Considering neither of us has a lass." He started grinning, "I decided to try flirting and the one I had with, who returned the smile, got engaged that very night. That's the kind of luck I have in that area."

"So in a week thereabout it should all be disintegrated into the soil." Opening the door for her before he was in right behind her. "Evening," greeting the two at the bar in conversation.

She nodded as she stepped into the tavern waving her donut at everyone, "should be .." she hummed. "Evening," to Kynan and Trevet ...

"I notice 'em but they seem to like the older ones." He stopped as the door opened and nodded at the two. "Evening to you as well."

"I don't think there are that many single, if any, other than our sister and Nora," words trailing off as he turned with a smile seeing Charlie and Kenneth, "evening to you both. How are you?"

"Doing great now," grinning like a loon as he flashed that smile Charlie's way then was over to hold the bag out to the brothers, "have a pastry, I got plenty." Figuring he might run into a few he could offer some to. Always get extra when it came to baked goods.

"Right as rain, and better," said as she snapped another bite of her donut, watching Kenneth offer up some baked goodies with a big grin ....

"Thanks." Kynan peeked into the bag and selected one of the turnovers. Smelled really good, and in spite of his having eaten earlier, he was quite happy to enjoy the pastry. "Really good." Said between bites.

Smile turned into a grin as he watched the two. Taking one of the eclairs as that seemed to be on top and he wasn't picky, he liked just about all baked goods. "Right as rain here too." Least he was settled in by this point, between the jousting circuit and their leather shop, he was kept busy.

He took one of the eclairs, now that everyone had a pastry and dug right into it while handing off the bag to Charlie for the rest, "this way I'll be coming by your place for coffee and a donut."

That made Charlie grin, "Or a late night snack," since they tended to talk till the wee hours in the morning, it was nice to have time to catch up ...

"In fact, I think I'll head back with you tonight, get up early, have breakfast and a donut before seeing to my duties." Most of the work he needed to do would be late afternoon so he had it all worked out.

He finished off the eclair, having enjoyed every bite. "I'll have to pay the pastry shop a visit. Bring some home for the clan." There were quite a few of them now, finally together.

"That sounds good, I wouldn't mind sleeping late myself," she tended to overdo the work part, when she was getting the fields started, but that made her a good farmer, attention to details meant a better crop ...

He slipped off the stool as he finished the pastry. "I should get going. Bed is calling me." He smiled at the two. "Good night and thank you for dessert."

Charlie chuckled, snagging the bag of donuts, then Kenneth 's arm, "take me home wild gypsy ..." she mused, tugging him to the door, "night fellas ...hope to see you again," she laughed ....

Kenneth was a very good worker for the cattle ranch, so if there was a time he took some time, it was fine. He always got done what was required of him and more. "I was just going to suggest," waggling his brows as he gave a salute to the MacKay brothers, "a good night to you both and if you're looking for romance, remember, spring is near here and cupid as well." Grinning as he hurried on out for the night was not getting any younger and there was a lady he wanted to spend some quality time with.

Charlie just laughed, Kenneth made cupid look like a pale boy, and she loved every minute of it ...

"I should get some sleep too. Good night to you both, Charlie, Kenneth." Grabbing his cloak to don as he would keep his brother company on the walk back. Well, they were staying over the shop as a home away from home and closer anyway..


Date: 04-02-09
Poster: Brogan Frasier
Post # 62

Surprise Arrival

Brogan was able to leave the casino earlier tonight as Charles would see to closing it up. He took his meal here but would have to wait to talk to Hazel about her kitchen once she was finished with her cooking and cleaning up. Or possibly while she did it, he was debating as he'd not mentioned it yet. Looking for an opportunity to talk to the well respected woman. So he took a glass of potcheen as well the bottle and headed for the hearth to claim one of the wing backs.

Hazel was nearly finished with the cleaning up for the night. Stew was on the stove of course, since that was left until the last in case anyone came in late. She didn't settle in for the nights until Alex was closing up but folks usually didn't want more than a slice of pie or cake and coffee this late at night, unless they had just come off a ship. She came out to speak to Alex, offering Brogan a smile as she did.

He was getting antsy, having this mission and not able to see about it. Shifting a few times in his seat like one that needed to be someplace else or a lot on his mind. When he saw Hazel come out, he seized the moment as he was up, smile coming readily with natural warmth as he headed back to the bar, glass of potcheen in hand because it had been. Which he realized so kicked it back before speaking up. "Evening Hazel, just the lady I wanted to see if you have a few minutes?" Really hoping she would be amicable about his request as he became a touch nervous.

Hazel was finished talking to Alex and had just been about to go back into the kitchen when Brogan spoke up. She smiled again, wiping her hands on the dish towel she had been carrying. "Of course I do, Brogan. What can I do for you?" There wasn't a patron of the tavern that she didn't know by name.

"Actually a lot. I've myself in a bit of a dilemma. I lost a bet in the hometown race and I've to bake a batch of cookies. First I would need a descent kitchen to bake them in and a sure fire recipe that I wont burn."

She looked at him, quite seriously before she nodded slightly. "I think we can find you an easy enough recipe. And if you don't mind me being in the kitchen, I promise not to interfere with your baking." She had different ovens so they'd not be getting in one another's way. "Maybe Springerle cookies. They take a bit of work in using the molds but they're tasty and really not all that hard. Come on, I'll show you the recipe."

David was glad to be off the ship after the long voyage. He had made the decision to meet the family of his father after the passing of his mother, but it had taken longer than he expected. Shifting the duffel over his shoulder, he looked up at the Thistle, hoping there'd be a room available for him.

"Molds?" He squinted an eye and if the man could look fearful, it was there. One who feared not much else. "Is there one you can make the dough and drop them on a sheet?"

She tsked, eyes sparkling with laughed. "Aye, we can find one of those for you as well. I thought maybe you'd like to impress the lass." Now she was just guessing it was a lass who won the bet. "Let's have a look." She'd let him pick from her recipes rather than have the man panic.

"I think I will impress her if I can actually make a batch that I don't burn and don't start a fire. Would there be an apron and chef hat I might use to at least look the part?" He would wait for her to retrieve the recipes she used. "If I can do anything for you in a favor back, you got it." Which he would gladly do for her anyway.

"It's no problem at all, dear." She patted his hand and laughed. "And yes, I think we have an apron and hat you can use." With that she went back into the kitchen.

Well, he'd not warm up standing here and he was a bit hungry as well. He hadn't wanted to stay at the docks for long. Making his way up the steps, he went on inside. "Evenin'." Said to the two men there. His duffel was placed to the side while he removed his cloak and hung it up. Trunks would arrive in the morning. He made his way to the bar then, asking Alex about a room and a bite of supper.

"Evening," hearing another as his mind reeled back around to the one coming in. "You look like you've been traveling a while and long?"

She was back out with a collection of recipes, all neatly bound. They were placed in front of Brogan while she listened to Alex. "Hot stew and brown bread, if that'll suit. Otherwise I can make you something else." She said then looked at Brogan. "Take your time. Once you decide, we can go from there." And off she bustled again, well, after she heard the man's order.

"That be fine, ma'am." Considering he expected a sandwich if he was lucky. "Aye, I have been. From Scotland actually." He offered his hand. "David Frasier."

He was distracted to the multitude of recipes which he started looking through when the man offered introductions. Leaving the quest go for the moment as he was around to offer his hand then stopped. Surprised look on his face. "David Frasier, your father wouldn't happen to be the late Allan Fox Frasier?" What were the chances?

He kept his hand in the air as the question was asked and caught him off guard. "Aye. He was." Eyes narrowed slightly but not in a hostile way. "Would you know him?" He had been educated but the brogue still hung heavy.

He might notice the French mixture in his accent, one blended with Scots. "Aye, I would be knowing him, he was my father. I'm Brogan Frasier, your older brother." Technically half brother as he took the man's hand in one while the other crossed over to grip his forearm, Scottish style of old clans. "You've come to the right place, almost the whole family is here." Releasing hand and arm with a wondering question to follow. "Did you know that?" Maybe coming here on purpose to catch up with his family.

That was a bit of a surprise. He did as Brogan, then stepped back. "Aye, I knew some were here. Wasn't expecting that you were." A grin appeared. "Bit of luck with that. I'm pleased to finally meet you, Brogan. Our father spoke often of you."

"You probably know more of me than I of you." Not saying his mother would not speak on another child of her former husband's. He didn't even know he had a younger brother for many years until he was old enough to travel back to Scotland and visit his father, by then David was old enough to be on his own so their paths had never crossed. He was grinning. "I have a lot of cousins but it is nice to have a brother like the others all do."

By then Hazel was out with the stew and bread. She had heard the last of their conversation but was sure Alex would fill her in after closing. "Brogan, if you need, I'll trust you with my recipes." She shook a finger at him. "Just remember I know where you live." Hazel knew just about every recipe by heart.

"Aye, I'm sure o' that." He chuckled as he straddled a stool, nodding his thanks to Hazel. "I knew the cousins that lived in Scotland. Though we didn't see much of one another." He inhaled deeply and sighed. "Been a while since I had anything that smelled as good as this." Or tasted that good as his expression would show when he took the first careful bite.

"Eat up, then we can talk." Much as he'd go right ahead for there were many questions. "Neale is the head of the family now," he could update him on information he doubted got back to him since most moved here other than they were here. "He's presently married to Kathleen Cleary, another family here of many. He has a son from his previous marriage and a daughter with Kathleen. Daniel is married with two, last I counted. Robert is married to Lisette with a son. Daniel married Shiloh, a very nice woman from the future or caught in a Nexus where he found her." Like he knew the whole of their story! "Patrick was married but no longer, he has  a son who is living with him. He and Daniel built a race track which has been doing very good business. I have a Casino which is also doing very well. Hannah married Lochlan Kearney and has a slew of children. I'm still single, never married. Same for Kyle, Graham, Fearghus and Abigail. Keriann is married and due to have a child. Adrian got married as well." Giving a scratch along his jaw in wonder if he missed anyone.

He listened while he ate, pausing at the mention of Daniel's wife. Future? That would take some explaining. He nodded though then chuckled after swallowing. "Larger family then I realized. What's Neale like? Will he mind me showing up?" He'd nearly finished the stew and bread, as quickly as he could and still show some manners!

"Neale is a good man. A bit stoic but then he has had to carry the weight of the family on his shoulders. He welcomes all family but if you need straightening out, he will be the first to let you know but also willing to help you if he can. The family has dealt with a few curses, though I think they have been resolved." Unless one still clung to those still missing like David had been. "You don't have any curses on you?"

He pushed the bowl aside as he finished the last bit of bread, frowning slightly, bemused. "No, none that I know of." Chuckling softly. "I'm thinking I might be staying since this seems to be where the family is now. But I won't say for certain until I see how things go. I have some money put aside." He looked at Brogan. "I have so many questions, I don't know where to begin."

"Well, if you do find out you're cursed, best family to deal with it. Lots of experience." Grinning as he clasped his shoulder. Half teasing, it was that kind of day anyway. "There is plenty of room at Falkirk Manor where many live, a few of us have our own places over the businesses we took up. I stay in a flat above the Casino. Fearghus is a bower and stays above his shop." Made it convenient getting to work during the winter.

"I'll have to get the full story on that then." He chuckled, giving a slight shake of his head. "Lot to take in. I didn't expect to find my brother right away but I'm glad I did. I thought to stay here for a few days at the least before springing a surprise on anyone. " He paused to glance at the door then looked at Brogan again. "If I do stay, is there a need for a Barrister here?"

Hazel stepped out to collect the dirty dishes and to bid the two young men good night. She wasn't going to bed yet but cleaning up would take some time.

"Aye, we had one some time ago but she left. Seemed she had wanderlust in her veins. There was a manor built too, out on the cliffs up from the ocean. Get some rest and we can talk more on it tomorrow. Maurice McDonough is the man you'll want to see about it all. A family that has been here a long time and well respected." He was up from the lean he had taken, marking one recipe that looked easy to make, drop type. He would talk more on it tomorrow as he was that kind of tired his brain was shutting down, an indication he needed sleep. "I'll come by early tomorrow. There is a lot to talk on and a lot to see. I do think we should take the trip to Falkirk soon as possible or it will be taken as a slight you didn't come right away."

"Then that's what we'll do. I don't want to spring a surprise on anyone, but you know them at least." He stood and this time he clapped a hand to Brogan's shoulder. "I'm glad I came here finally. And even more so to have met you." His trunks would come in the morning and could be stored. He was looking forward to the next few days and had a feeling he'd be staying. "Rest well, Brogan."

"Rest well as well," giving a clasp to both shoulders before released. "You'll be comfortable here, and the food is excellent as you have discovered. Oh, and there is no cost." Grin swept as Alex would explain how all that worked, "good night. I'll be by early but not too early." Figuring David would be sleeping in some at least if Hazel's cooking didn't wake him. Grabbing up his cloak he saluted Alex a good night before he was out the door.

No cost? He'd get the explanation before heading up to a room. And he was looking forward to sleeping in a soft bed that didn't move. Watching his brother leave, he turned and spoke to the tender.


Poster: Joseph McDonough
Post # 63

Home Sweet Home

The ship ported late in the evening as the four disembarked. Birdie and Jed went with Pierre for there was some entertainment to be found. Joe escorted Marina up to the Thistle as he stopped in a few of the stores still open. Luckily he found something for each of his children and for his brothers and sister. Christmas would be late but better late than never. The fact he was home, whole and hail, he knew his family would be most appreciative of that alone. The night still held a cold bite but winter was pretty much out the door and spring taking over. There were the early flowers already blooming that spoke more than a colder night. The people they passed gave warm greetings, Marina might notice. "You can explore the commons better in the daytime. There will be many vendors to fill the square, selling various goods from vardos and wagons. Plus more of the regular stores will be open." He had shown her where a number of the shops were and who owned them along with the Theater and Dance studio. The various gifts gotten were all stashed in a box he carried under his left arm. Gaining steps and porch he opened the door that she might enter.

She had wished the three men good luck if they were off to do some gambling. Her only bag was a small one and it would be waiting at the Thistle for her. She enjoyed walking with Joe as he shopped and of course, was interested in all of the shops. Especially in coming to a new place. "I will." She said with a smile. "All of them look like they have better goods than the shops in London." Or at least the ones her father allowed her to go to. She stepped through the door and to the side, the smile still in place as she looked around the room. One of the sailors had been taking some things home to his sisters and gallantly offered her two skirts and tops. She was wearing one of the skirts now, a dark blue one with a paler peasant type blouse of white trimmed with blue flowers beneath a plain gray cloak.

"Most of the merchandise is handmade by very skilled individuals. I am sure the seamstress will be open early if you are interested in seeing what she has in stock." There were many gowns made beforehand that were then fitted to the one looking for such. Trimmings added to personalize. Words flowed as they entered the Thistle. Alex at the bar made note and that extra notice seeing Joe coming in. Man showed a smile. "Alex, this the Lady Marina, who will be staying here for a bit." Being neither of them knew for how long that would suffice and not questioned. The key that was set out was for one of the larger rooms with a front view of the commons streets and ocean beyond. Even the port could be seen in the distance as it wasn't too far away. Setting the box to a table for he would need to wrap the presents before heading to the ranch later. Deciding that no matter the hour, it would be best he arrived home tonight than staying here or going tomorrow morning. "Would you like something to eat?" Late night respite for the food on the ship was good but not quite a meal like Hazel could make.

"I'll certainly go look." She smiled again, in spite of not being certain how she'd pay for anything, at least not until she could get word to Elizabeth and hopefully gain some of her own money. "Yes, I would." She placed a hand over her stomach and actually grinned. "I think all that sea air caused my appetite to increase." That and the fact she had no one watching over her like a hawk.

He could tell that look, and hesitated for putting it delicately. "Could you use a small loan until you have means of acquiring any of your money?" Pulling out a chair for her on the other side of the table from where he set the box. It would be more comfortable to sit there than at the bar on a stool. "I'll have some of the Irish stew and brown bread, Alex." Which was something he enjoyed when here. To appease the tender's curiosity he added, "all went well even if time away took longer than any of us expected. Birdie will be by later for a room as well a young man with him." Jed would probably end up coming to live at the ranch but the first night home, he would spend alone with his children than adding another. While waiting for the meal requested, he set about wrapping the presents, best he could, he was not the greatest at this task.

"I ... " She hesitated herself then smiled and nodded. "I would appreciate that very much, and I promise I'll keep track and pay you back." She didn't want him to think she was like many of the women he may have met in England. She asked Alex about the stew and when he explained what was in it, she decided to have the same. Tomorrow she could try something different. Watching him a moment, she bit back a laugh. "May I do that for you?" She was sure he  wouldn't mind!

Such thoughts would not occur to him for it was rare he was to England in particular. Birdie usually took care of things there but this mission was different, still it included him. "Please," stepping away from the one he attempted twice already to wrap right. It gave him the opportunity to set a small pouch on the table. "Keep track, pay me back," repeating her words, "but don't worry over it, spend what you need." She would find within, later as she would be that kind of discreet not to look presently, quite a few silver coins that would see to her needs efficiently and more.

Nodding, she set to work on the wrapping and by the time the food had arrived, they would be finished. She could do the rest after they had eaten. It was a relief not to have to worry about the money for now. There were some things that would need to be bought new. "Will you wake your children when you go home tonight?" She had asked him questions about the children during the voyage and knew they would be overjoyed with his return.

Andre had gone to see Alexander at this import business on a bit of cargo he brought back the man would most likely be interested in. He would give him first bids, reasonable offer they would both make out on the deal. How it should be. The time had him missing Pierre heading out with Birdie and Jed, deciding he was too tired for a rowdy night, he headed for the Thistle where it was said Joe had gone. Neither had seen each other in some time, years, and both had that in common, having been gone a while. He even longer. Door soon opened admitting him within as he caught sight of both Joe and the lady. The man he knew had not mentioned a lady. "I go away for a while and you have swept in with a beautiful lady, oui?" Teasing Joe mostly and certainly a compliment to the lady as he was over to greet Joe, hand clasp to his shoulder in more Joe's tradition. "We will have many  stories to trade over a drink soon." Though a statement it was an invitation as well.

"I will wake them, they would expect me to. It will be a good waking surprise," anything more was shifted as Andre came in, greeting him with a clasp to his shoulder in return. "Even the god of the sea could not keep you forever, Andre. You have been missed and now someone to keep a rein on that partner of yours." Like Pierre was running rampant but it would be fodder for some sparring of words later for Andre on Pierre. "This is the lady Marina," not needing to use surnames here and the fact some knew of the problems in Kildare, of certain family names. This late, easier to avoid questions or questioning looks.

"A pleasure to meet you, Andre." She smiled at the man, offering her hand. "I'm looking forward to seeing more of your lovely city." Well, she had seen some of it ... enough to know it looked lovely.  His compliment was recognized as one that was meant and not one that the fops and dandies would use just to show how good they were at flirting.

"Oui? It is my pleasure I assure you Lady Marina." It was not just the tone but his eyes that conveyed the truth of his words. Taking up her hand to meet a light chaste kiss to her knuckles before lowered again to release. "You will be staying here for a while. If you've need of assistance, I am at your service. If you meet Pierre, he will wish to be also." The last teasing but not far from the truth if he knew his comrade. They were French and being around a lovely lady was desirable. Especially one with intelligence to hold a good conversation than just fluttering like some.

Hearing Andre rise to the occasion, had a lazy smile to appear. "Andre has the Bovee shipping along with Pierre as his partner," to clarify in case she had not picked up on that. The meeting with Pierre had been brief and mostly Birdie seeking the man out.

"You're very kind to offer your assistance." She smiled again then looked at Joe and nodded. "Ah, I see. Another gentleman who keeps very busy then." Birdie had her laughing with how easily he had switched from one persona to another. It was quite amazing! "Will you join us, Andre ... that is if Joseph doesn't mind." She didn't want to step on toes but it seemed the two men were good friends.

"I do not mind at all. It will be good for you to meet as many of the citizens as you come across." Which would give her a better idea of what these lands were like she was in for a while. Hazel had the tray over with their food as it was set and a warm smile for Marina before she bustled back to her kitchen. The night wasn't done for her as she had baked goods in the over for tomorrow. Of course Joe thanked her before seeing to Marina's seat then taking up the adjoining one.

"Oui, I will join you. Company of friends and soon to become, is always welcome." Though he had not gotten a drink, "excuse me a moment," which he was over to get a glass of Chablis to enjoy with them. He had eaten already so passed on a meal, back within a few moments as he took up the seat to the other side of Marina. He would not be too nosey not knowing her well and the fact she was here in the company of Joseph, though that didn't necessarily mean anything more. Many here enjoyed the company of the opposite gender without any strings attached as the saying went. "Are there things you like to do, say riding? Gardening, sailing.. sparring?" The last with a gleam in his eye for there were many women here that trained as men with weapons.

The cook seemed a very nice woman and Marina smiled warmly and thank her as well. She was glad the woman was so friendly though she would impose as little as possible on her. When Andre joined them, she finished chewing and nodded. "Gardening is most definitely one of my favorite things to do. I enjoyed riding also when I was able to do so. Some painting though I'm not very good. It was mostly relaxing. As far as sparring ... I'm afraid I'd hurt myself rather than my opponent!" She looked a hint worried though it was all in fun. "Is that a requirement of living here?" She wasn't serious of course.

"Then you must take a trip to the castle to see the gardens there." Implying, rightfully so, there were a few. "There is also the one call the Celtic garden that is tended by the Fae and other such magical beings," so the saying went and came with the description when given by most. "Joseph's nephew owns a stable and I'm sure there are riding horses available to see more of the lands when you are ready. If you need an escort, aside myself,  I'm sure you will easily have one." Not trying to impose or make her feel like he was going to stalk her or such nonsense when only being polite. "The castle has an extensive library and museum. There is also a Zoo I'm told that has been constructed in my absence away. I shall like to see that soon."

"No, it is not required but not restricted," barely getting in a word edgewise over Andre. The lazy smile showed his amusement as certainly Andre had not changed in his absence. Taking the opportunity instead to work on his meal while Andre entertained Marina in conversation. Thoughts going to his children and the impending meeting. He was starting to get anxious and hoped they were not angry for him being away longer than expected. Birdie would be by tomorrow, bringing Jed to their home, later on in the evening to give him time alone with his family first. Birdie would be showering them with presents he was certain.

Oh never worry, Charlie had been around while he was gone, and she handled the worst things, like the handsome son wanting pointers on hot women, bouncing across the porch into the door, giggling as she pushed it open ...

She ate while she listened growing more and more pleased with what she was hearing. The freedom that was being offered was almost heady. "I'm sure to be able to be quite busy then with so much to offer. How long where you gone, Andre?" She asked then glanced at Joe and smiled to herself. Yes, it was time for him to retire and stay home! Attention went to the door and the woman entering when she heard the giggle.

Leaning to see who was inside, of course ever the nosy heifer, " HEY JOE " fingers waggling as she slipped inside ...

"It has been well over a year, a half or more extra." He had not really counted nor calculated. It was a while. "I've been to England, to Spain and France, Scotland, Ireland and Germany too. To Africa and to the Indies then swung around the newly developing colonies in the Americas." Though he paused with the shout of Joe's name. "I do believe Trouble has come, oui?" Grinning with a flash of a smile that lit up blue eyes.


Poster: Joseph McDonough
Post # 64

He nearly choked on the last piece of bread. Though a welcome voice as he was up from his seat, coughing to clear his throat. No words as he caught Charlie up into an affectionate hug of long time friends.

It was getting to where she had to come check out the tavern every once in a while to keep up with all the newcomers to the area, thankfully Joe was a familiar face, Charlie's eyes rounding as she entered, "moi trouble mon a me ...I am innocent," waggling those brows, that said she was not ... "EEEEeeeeeeeeep."  Never failed to get a squeak out of her, breathless groan, "Joe ..." hugging and giggling ...

"She says she's not." She chuckled as she watched the greeting between the two friends. It was good to see.

"You mean mama mia.." laughing as he had lifted her from her feet to swing around then back to the flooring. "You are innocent, yes, all things just happen in your wake. How are you Charlie, how is Ken and my children? They don't know I'm back yet but will soon as I am headed there once I had something to eat and their Christmas gifts wrapped." Which he smiled Marina's way, "thank you for helping. Charlie, this is Marina." Charlie could get Marina into a lot of fun trouble.

"Oui, you are innocent and I am innocent.." dashing smile with warmth in his eyes as he teased her back. Not saying more for a change as Joe greeted her properly for their friendship.

Charlie laughed as he swung her around, bobbling her head," tidal waves yeah .. I am fine, Kenneth is asleep, and they are growing like weeds." Smiling as she said it, "welcome Marina ..." Charlie got every one into mischief, she taught a lot of people how to laugh at themselves ....

"You're welcome and hello, Charlie. Nice to meet you." She was finishing up the last of her bread and yes, the meal had been every bit as delicious as Joe had said.

A wink to Andre .."you said it cheeky," that devil may get her grin flashing ...

"I am surprised you have allowed Ken to sleep." Teasing and Charlie came hand in hand. "Though he might find as he rolls over he falls from the hayloft of the stable?" Sobering up as she spoke on his children. "I have missed them greatly." Words low with the course of emotion beneath them. "You have kept them busy? They have not driven Garath insane?" He could imagine Garath saying he would never have children after the initiation. Or, hopefully, all went very well.

"Oui, I have said it," giving her a wink right back. He could imagine how she kept Kenneth busy in many different ways.

Anne hummed to herself as she half-walked, half-danced her way along the streets towards the Thistle, in need of a break from the work that came not only with teaching but with running a business. Pleased with the success of her students and with the business itself, she'd recently sprung for a new dress and wore it tonight, a pale aqua and white lace that made her feet hurt just a little less. Auburn hair was tied back with a ribbon to match as she pushed open the door and all but floated in with a smile for everyone present, even if she didn't know a soul. "Good evening!"

Kenneth was a gem of a gypsy, who could actually keep up with her, "they have missed you, they want to be children again ...not young people missing their da." She mused ... Patting Joe a few times on the chest to make sure that he was not a spirit, "evening Miss." Charlie said with a lean, looking past Joe and the others then back to Joe. "Poor Kenneth has not been in the hay loft ..see there was this wagon, and it was in the middle of the field, and well we got tired, and sat down," and nothing got done for the rest of the day, except well ..never mind that part ...

"Good evening." She was enjoying her tea as she listened, eyes filled with laughter. She glanced at Joe again and smiled. He was going to get so anxious that he'd be sweeping out of here soon.

"Good evening," addressing Anne with a smile. Laughing then as he was getting patted down, "you keep that up and I'll be telling Ken on you." Like it was a threat. Clearing his throat at the implication but trying really hard not to laugh. Manners were needed and a distraction back to the lady. "I am Joseph McDonough, the ladies, Charlie and Marina. The gentleman Andre Bovee."

"A good evening," though perfect English diction it held the flow of a French accent. A discreet study made of the woman and the air about her. He had gained his feet, the glass of Chablis in one hand held near to his chest.

Stopping in mid-glide to bob a little curtsy to the collected group, Anne's smile brightened. "I'm pleased to meet you all. I'm Anneliese Harper. I hope I'm not intruding on a private party...?" They seemed so cozy, she felt compelled to ask.

Kenneth would probably say better him then him, because Charlie always caught Kenneth, poor abused gypsy. Charlie looked at Joe with grin, shaking her head, "oh hell no ..jump in with both feet gonna need waders though," yep Charlie might lay it on thick, or Frenchie might ...

"It's a pleasure to meet you Anneliese." She smiled warmly, laughing as she looked at Charlie. "Is it going to get that deep in here?"

Charlie nodded her head and winked, "always does when I am around," which was putting it mildly, it was only safe when she was asleep, and then not for long ...

"You are the dance instructor." Recalling the name even if they had never met before. "You are welcome to join us." Which at this point he removed the box of presents to the nearby table so made more room at their table. "I might steal you away from Kenneth, Charlie," like that was another threat but it came with the diffusing wink to any such notion. Words lowered with a grin, "trouble," said it all.

Joe had a good memory, Charlie must have missed her, though she had heard the rumors. Couldn't remember the fellows talking about lessons, but she could see it happening ...

"Guilty as charged." She nodded, stopping by the bar long enough to ask Alex for a glass of punch before she headed in their direction, grinning at Charlie. "Oh, I can dance across the top of anything that piles up, never fear."

"Oui, a dance instructress? You teach many different kinds or focus on a few most popular, Anne?" Curious always and certainly it got him into trouble more often than not when abroad.

"Oh you sound like me." Charlie waltzed through a lot of things, and survived to torment many with it all ...  Just because he thought he could, she pinched Joe, Kenneth was special .. only one of him and she was happily blissfully in love with the wild gypsy ..

Sipping the punch, she chuckled as she heard Charlie, then turned to regard Andre over the rim of her glass. Lowering it, she swallowed to answer. "I teach as many kinds as I've been privileged to learn, and I'm always curious to learn more... Andre." At least, she hoped that was his name.

"Do you teach all age groups?" She placed the cup down on the saucer as she asked. This was a good way to come to know people here.

"Absolutely." Anne nodded at Marina, taking a better look at her. "Have you recently arrived, Marina?" She was trying to get all the names right!

She listened to the talk of lessons and such, smiling ruefully, Joe came back in just the time, the camps would start dancing again, and he needed to shimmy and shake with the rest of them ..

"Just this very night." She smiled again, "our ship docked a little over two hours ago I think it was. And I'm looking forward to exploring a bit tomorrow."

Which he knew but gave a loud, exaggerated.. "OW!" before laughing. "I will tell him you were abusing me on my first night back!" Laughing more as he took up his glass of potcheen finally to kick back.

"Curiosity is a good trait." Smile said as much in appreciation of that quality. It kept life interesting. Never dull if you had a lot of it. "I shall see about learning a new step or more. I may bring some  friends a night you are open." Then to Marina. "Maybe you would like the dance over sparring, oui?"

Charlie waggled her brows at the loud protest, leaning while he was sipping his drink, to kiss his cheek, "he would tell you SUFFER ..because he has too."

"Welcome to Heathfield, then." She smiled as she took a chair and sat, stretching her feet out before her. There were others around, else she might prop them up. Glad she'd thought to wear slippers instead of sandals, Anne nodded in agreement with Andre. "Please do. I enjoy having dance parties, as it were."

"Oh, indeed. Far safer and less painful unless you have a partner who keeps stepping on your feet, though, someone who is proficient in weapons is often no less graceful."

"You should bring Birdie, he will teach new steps!" Trying really hard not to keep laughing just visualizing it. Especially if Birdie got dressed up in those varying yellow silks. It didn't stop the swat to Charlie's backside all in good fun. "Trouble and Torturer!"

"You betcha," rubbing her swatted backside .. "that was his reaction too," almost a pout, except for that sly look, of laughing inside ...

"Oui, Birdie and Pierre in the least. Marina, you may wish to join us. A night of dancing." Which sounded good to him now that he was back. So much to catch up on. "It seems there have been many changes in my absence and all good ones."

"Birdie?" Intrigued, Anne leaned forward with an arched brow.

"Joe needs to have a party for new friends and old friends ... he has a great hay field," uh uh you betcha she checked that out too...

Which had him tweak her nose, before fingers slid down to tug on the pouted lip. "Save that one for Kenneth." Giving her a wink. Then back to the conversation on dancing. "If I have time, I will come and bring my two children. Tamara would love to dance and I think it would do Joshua good to learn. One day he will be wanting to attend a ball and not be embarrassed by not knowing how to dance."


Poster: Joseph McDonough
Post # 65

"Birdie is one of a kind, Anneliese." She laughed as she answered and stood. "He has to be seen to be truly appreciated."

"Burgeous Northam has returned with us. He is going to be staying here in the lands indefinitely." Having a good feeling he would not return to England with all that went down. "There is also Jed that has come with us to stay," all long stories that didn't need delving into presently or at all most likely. "It might do him well to get out and meet others."

"So many newcomers. I look forward to meeting them." Anne doubted she'd lack for students or others to dance with, by the sound of it.

Charlie did not say anything about Joshua, though she smirked, by the time Joe heard the tales told, she would be off in the wilderness for a while ...

"I'm sure he will, once he's settled in." She carried the empty dishes and the like to the bar then returned. "It truly has been a pleasure to meet you all, but I'm afraid the days of travel have caught up with me."

Maybe a good thing or he would have to chase her with a broom! Though he was Kenneth's nephew so kind of the same for her considering their relationship.

"Oui, it seems I will be meeting many new faces in the days to come. There is a Zoo too I have learned tonight." Wondering what other changes were in store to discover. It was getting late as he had a business meeting with Xander again tomorrow to show him certain merchandise he had brought back. "I would like to stay longer but if I do, I will not rise when needed tomorrow. It has been my pleasure in meeting you Marina and you as well Anne. I hope to see you both again." Friendships were built gradually and he looked forward to a few more. "It was good seeing you again Charlie," some things didn't change that shouldn't. "Joseph, I am pleased you have returned safely and will be seeing you soon enough. You may wish to come down to your brother's imports if you have time tomorrow." He might be interested in the merchandise as well.

No problem, the yarn she had spun confused the boy more then helped him, and see he was back, and his son was still innocent, guarded by fierce auntie by proxie, "it is a pleasure ..welcome again to Heathfield," said to Mariana ... Another wink to Andre, "indeed the pleasure was mine," smiling brightly...

"Thank you, Charlie. And good night everyone. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again." She had discreetly collected the pouch and was over to collect the key and her small bag as well. "Rest well, all of you when you find your bed and Joseph, thank you again. I'll never be able to repay you. Enjoy your reunion." She nodded at Anne. "I'm sure we will too." And with that, she headed up out and up to her room.

"Sleep well," smile followed that was warm and sincere as he was over to the bar to leave the empty wine glass there. A polite dip of his head to them all before he made use of the side door and a shortcut back down to his place.

"Good night, Marina, Andre. I'm sure we'll encounter each other again when you're more settled." She looked up, smiling at them both. "Sweet dreams."

"Good night to you both. Sleep well," knowing he would be up for a few more hours with the surprise return and waking his children. They had demanded that he did, least he had the gifts overdue them all ready. Thoughtful expression was soon replaced with a lazy smile turned Anne's way. "How is your studio doing?" He had pointed out a few places to Marina when escorting her up from the port.

Charlie shifted just a bit listening, not always a hoot, she was smart sometimes too ..

"It's doing very well, thank you. Sometimes I think a little too well - I lost my partner and there are days I'm certain it's too much work for one teacher. Maybe another will come looking for a job." Anne's smile turned rueful with that, before turning the questions back at him. "What is it you do, Joseph?"

That had her chuckling softly, what didn't he do would be a better question ..

"Then I shall see if there is anyone, qualified, interested in joining you." Which would also mean introductions and to see if they got along as well. He was getting right back into the swing of  things, which also reminded him he would need set up a meeting with his private investigators soon. Touch bases before, if, he was needed to travel to Kildare to get Marina in to see her brother. Joe always figured Charlie to be smart, just a love of life and being a Hoot helped that along nicely.

"Thank you, that's... very generous of you." She hadn't failed to notice he avoided the question and stored that bit of information in her mind for mulling over later.

He was getting tired as he got to answering her last question. One at a time this late. "I run a cattle ranch with my brother Maurice as well having a private investigator business. I'm kept busy," not adding about being an undercover agent for the Crown as he would be retiring from that position once this mission was completed or at least his participation in it. He would be training Jed, possibly his son as well if he showed an interest.

Charlie nodded her head listening, yep, he was that. Whenever he was ready Charlie would walk with him for part of the way, the vardo not far from the ranch house,Uncle Kenneth keeping watch over his charges ...

Uncle Kenneth tied to his bed that if he woke, he wouldn't be able to get away!

Well that might be possible, never know and she wasn't telling ...

"I imagine you are. It must be both dangerous, exciting and occasionally tedious work." Anne was intrigued, but didn't want to pry.

"I would say my life has never been dull," though there were hard times as anyone went through, he was no exception. All in all, he had much to be thankful for, including a good family and many good friends. Perhaps Anne would become one of those in time. "Have you met either of my brothers? Maurice and Alexander? My cousin Garath MacShire?"

"I have not met them. It was Sir Draven I met when I first arrived in answer to the need for a dance instructor, and I'm afraid I haven't been getting out as much as I'd like." Finally, she gave in and propped her feet on a recently vacated chair. "Do you have a large family? What about you, Charlie?"

"Draven is my cousin. Usually he, Maurice or myself take care of new citizens in getting them settled. Though I've been away for a few months, some of my duties call me away but I think it is time for me to not be traveling as I had been once, leave it to those younger while I concentrate on the things I have going here." The same question posed to Charlie was one that interested him as well, focus  shifting there.

Charlie blinked "Umm I have Kenneth ..and the kids ... farming pretty much takes my time," she replied. She did have cousins but they were off on some mad adventure somewhere ...

"Younger? Forgive me if I question that. You hardly appear of advanced age, sir." The blue eyes twinkled teasingly at him as she listened to Charlie. "Your farm is near here?"

"It is not far as the crow flies," she agreed, looking at Joe, "old man," she snorted grinning ...

"I feel as one advanced in age at times. Missions of certain intrigue take a lot out of you over the years accumulating. I am thirty and seven last I counted." Which actually had him stop to calculate how old he was, why the few minutes silence.

"A few scant years older than myself. So if you're advancing in age, I shudder to consider myself a crone." She said it with a grin, making it clear she was teasing.

Which had him laugh before the rich sound eased, "then I shall have to reconsider my position on advanced age, at least as a consideration for a lovely lady." Which had him giving a look Charlie's way and lowered words. "Old as dirt or some might say, old as god."

"Naw I know Gawd, he is older," she chuckled softly, amused by the whole conversation ...

"Personal relationship, Charlie?" Equally amused, she laughed, shaking her head as she finished off the glass, aware of the late hour.

"Kenneth is her Gawd," interjecting with a chuckle. Not looking Charlie's way either.

"One ...Kenneth my wild gypsy," she mused, "been together longer then some have been married," not that it was a record or something. "Amen to that one ..." quite amused by her gawd too ...

It was late and he needed to be back home, wake up two unsuspecting children, though one was not a child anymore and the other getting there. "I must get back though I've really enjoyed the evening," gave him time to settle once off the ship, get his land legs back and all that. The box was taken up and tucked under an arm. "I will keep in mind on another dance instructor. Charlie, I'll probably see you at the ranch. I know Ken and the others will want to celebrate Gypsy style." Which would mean music, dancing and lots of food.

"Well I will wander off with you in that direction, I am sure Kenneth will be pleased that you are back ..but of course .." there was no better way to feel at home then to have family throwing a big jig ...

"We can see you back to the dance studio?" Being it was not far either from the tavern and something he would do by his upbringing.

Charlie nodded her head agreeing..

"The company would be welcome if it's on your way." Anne rose to bring her glass back to Alex, glancing at both curiously.

Once both were ready, he escorted them out. The conversation would continue and probably a lively sparring of words with Charlie, something done by habit at this point.

She was quite safe with the two of them, probably more so, Charlie was loud enough to scare the old crones away...


Date: 04-23-09
Poster: Lazare Carno
Post # 66

Time Out for the Kingsman

What a beautiful day. The air was fresh. The wind, though forceful, brought the clean, crisp smell of spring. Lazare sat by one of the open windows, sipping occasionally from his tankard, but mostly just watching those passing on the outside of the building. The morning training had been a bit rough for this particular knight, both the Black Griffon and the Dragon taking a bit more out of Lazare than he would have preferred so early in the morning. But, the fact remained, the morning was over and now he sat in quiet solitude, with only the occasional thought as to what he might have done differently to avoid so much of that discomfort and momentary humiliation.

Lizabet had been shopping but only a small package or two were carried in a burlap stylish bag, the rest sent to the manor. Hair was pinned up and somewhere along her walk she had picked a few violets that were tucked in the thickness of a dark curl. In direct sunlight the highlights of red could be seen. Strands that had escaped their confinement, wisped down framing her face and tickling along her neck for the cut of the summery gown. Peach in color with rosebuds in accent along the lace trim. A V styling allow the skirt to flow without the need of petticoats. She only wore those if absolutely necessary, like a gown for a Ball. Needless to say she avoided them. Leisurely gait had her stopping here and there to admire a building or a small garden along the way. Greeting others as they passed, most unknown but in time that would change. She'd been out a few hours at this point as the sight of the tavern brought her thirst to mind. Deliberate gait set in place taking her there, up the steps, over the porch and in through the open door. Balmy warm breeze as her smile lifted first spying Alex. "Lemonade with a touch of potcheen," as she moved in further only to halt on a turn of the ball of her foot. "Lazare, how good to see you this wonderful spring day." Collecting her drink a moment later as she invited herself over. Some would say, bold as you please, but it was just a part of her personality. Not a conscious effort.

Not that Lazare would mind or even notice. As the woman approached, he pushed up from his seat, placing his glass on the table. "M'lady. The pleasure, I will admit, is mine." He gave of nod of head toward her packages. "Seems you are making the most of this fine weather." He remained standing and would, until the lady sat. To encourage her to do so, he pulled out a chair and rested his hand on the back.

She had the mind at least to give a respectful quick curtsey. Free hand falling to the folds of material for a split moment before she was setting her glass, then slipping the straps of the bag from her arm to set aside. All came in a quick smooth flow of motion that had her sitting in the proffered chair. "The pleasure is mine to have your company this bonnie day, Lazare." Being formalities were dispensed with, she skipped passed the Sir that had been on the tip of her tongue. Sliding a dark eyed glance up his way and the smile wasn't short of impish. Touch of a fae look at that angle hinted upon something more. "I have started to expand my walks, the meadows are in bloom past the commons. I shall see about acquiring a horse," meaning one of her own she could take any time. "I hear there are passages up the mountains that give a spectacular view, wild horses that run a certain territory. Multitude of colorful birds and the forest abundant of wildlife. On the otherhand, I will see if they will let me in to watch you and your kinsmen spar during your morning practice. I find watching such just as exciting." Not getting into details but there was probably a hint in those dark eyes in the way they shone of thoughts such brought.

Brows arched as the woman chattered, his smile couldn't be contained and spread the more she spoke. He actually took a silent, deep breath when she finished as if that would fill the woman's lungs once again with the air she deprived herself while speaking. Though he reclaimed his tankard, he didn't lift it. "Just mind your step and that of your horse if you do venture up the mountains. The paths there tend to be treacherous if a spring rain catches you unawares." He allowed himself a drink from the tankard before he continued. "And you, Miss, would be a most appreciated addition to any training. Although, it is without argument that you might also become a bit of a distraction to those of us who are easily pulled from sweating, grunting male competitors to that of a far fairer view." He saluted her with a tilt of his tankard and brought the rim once again to his lips.

"It was advised by my brother I go with a guide, one that knows the area. Also advised by my brother to not venture unknown places without the company of another or others. I may actually listen to his advice." Though the inkling she was headstrong might well be there in her tone. "All in time, I'm content to explore that which is practically under my nose first." A slow touch of the wicked smile as she lifted her glass, "to those sweaty beasts holding a sword or other weapon in grueling competition under the sun's heat. I commend them. A sight exhilarating to watch as it is grueling to them in contrast. One could almost hear the beat of their heart and the blood surging through their veins." Taking a sip then of the laced lemonade as she commented to Alex, "delicious as always." Dark eyes tipping first to Alex then back Lazare's way as if in silent visual of him out training, shirt off, sweating, as the blow of swords crashed under the beat of the sun.

A low chuckle followed her initial comment, but it was muffled slightly behind his glass. A glance escaped to the outside beyond the window then returned to the lady at his table. "I'm relieved to hear you will consider your brother's advice...this time." Alas, Lazare wasn't the best at reading a woman's glance and perhaps it was a good thing. One like Lazare may just comment on what she was envisioning.

That twinkle in dark eyes would remain as she studied him as he spoke. Such afforded the opportunity and she was one to grasp them. Setting her glass down after another drink as a finger trailed down along the condensation forming in a sheen. "There are times to listen to one's brother.." slow smile curling the edges of her lips before easing away as well her touch upon the glass. A touch serious tone compared to the lightness of her other comments. "What is it like to be wielding a sword, be it battle, training or competition?" The minute shift of her eyes in direct study of his as if more could be gleamed there if he sought to answer her question.

If she surprised him with that question, it only showed for a split second as he forced a swallow of ale then lowered his tankard to rest on the table. "Exhilarating, M'Lady McKnight, but each is different than the other. You see, dear Lady, the last two can be dangerous but for the most part, you can be assured you will leave the field with your life." A slow smile returned and he shrugged. He didn't mind answering, it was finding the right words to express the truth of it. Lazare Carno rarely shied away from any question, or request, or suggestion. He met them straight on whether he managed them well or fuddled it up. He'd forge forward, come what may. "Breathing, I can but compare wielding a sword to breathing. You don't pay attention to it really, when you're in the midst of it. You just do it...or you die." A twitch of a grin, a cut of eyes down to his hand which still rested on the table, then slowly lifting back to meet her gaze.

Elbow braced against the wood of the table enabled her to rest her chin atop the fold of her hand in a loose fist. Enthralled, though his words were few, she was quite capable of adding the details in her mind's eye. Visual kind that danced before dark brown. Then, there was more as her slight lean had her lifting from the perch of her chin, hand sliding down to rest on the table instead. "It becomes second nature, like breathing." Of course she would give a demonstration. Closing her eyes a moment as she drew in a deep breath like one taking in life itself from its very essence then let out slowly. The second was quicker, still deep but more abrupt, "or.. like this," which had them very quick like one in a run before ending with a splitting smile.

Dear Heavenly Father...what was the woman doing? Lazare found he was holding his breath as she tested hers, the final one causing the king's man to swallow hard. The smile broke him from his trance and he cleared his throat, making sure he returned her smile when she looked over at him. "Uhm....yes." What else could he say? Surely his mind hadn't returned fully from whatever wanderings her breathing had sent it off on. Breath, like the wind, the very air, centered dearly within this particular King's Man. His hand lifted from the table and he rubbed behind his ear, clearing his thoughts, bringing back his focus. "Are you presently pressed for time, M'lady? I'm not sure which flowering meadows you've visited but, there are a few that you may enjoy, which are close...practically under your nose...and I'd be honored to be the one to show them to you." Lazare was back, his genuine smile was proof of that. "And even if you've been to them, perhaps you could act like you had not?"

She watched his every nuance as her smile widened. "Then I am fairly close?" Fairly close to what one might wonder but they were talking on breathing and how a warrior felt behind the clash of his sword. With the lift of his hand to his ear, her lips slightly pursed though not really a frown. "I am not close? Can you show me then?" The fullness of lips easing back as she was ready to emulate any breathing techniques that might come closer to a warrior in full fight. Except the last brought about her brightened smile once more. "I am free all this day. Tonight I shall attend the races to familiarize myself with the race horses my brother checks upon. I'm hoping he will allow me to help him there. I would be honored to accept your honor in escorting me." Finishing off what was left in her glass before sliding from the seat to stand. The bag with her packages collected to slide over her forearm, the glass still in hand to be drop off at the bar for Alex. "Even if I have been to them, I've not been to them in your company," giving him a wink as certainly the company would make them all the more glorious.

Lazare stood as she did, walking a step behind her to the bar. He reached for the packages. "Leave those here, m'lady, Alex will keep care of them." He cast a look to Alex who, of course, nodded his agreement. "And if you have a box or basket, Alex, we'll make good use of it." With a finger lifted to indicate a momentary wait, Alex hurried off to the kitchen and returned with a low sided basket which he handed over to the warrior. Lazare accepted it with a smile and a 'thanks'. "Let's see to those meadows then, Lizbet." Yes, leaving off that 'a' as he always did.

"A very good idea," turn of dark eyes slanted up his way before sliding the bag from her arm and onto the bartop. "I prefer having both my hands, and arms, free." Turning with a smile lifted his way. Back touching against that very edge of the bar as she was obviously going to enjoy the short wait while looking upon him. Once he had the basket, she was up from her lean and in his escort back out this spring day.



Date: 04-25-09
Poster: Andre Bovee
Post # 67

An Unexpected Encounter

Andre was relaxed out in a chair at a corner table. Booted feet kicked up on the seat next to his which was tipped back enough it braced against the wall behind him. He was leafing through some papers while enjoying a glass of wine. Patrons had filtered in and out but presently it was only him within, other than Alex as well Hazel in the kitchen. A fire burned very low with more peat than wood in the fireplace as windows were still open partially to let the warmer night air filter through. Spring had finally taken a fuller hold on the lands.

Henna was enjoying the night as it seemed spring was finally here, though she knew even this late in April not to count on the weather staying so pleasant. She wore a gown of pale green printed with tiny roses on the bodice and trimmed with lace at the sweetheart neckline and along the hems of the sleeves. Her hair was down, though some of the strands that framed her face were pinned back with a gold clip. She stepped inside, looked around and noticed the one patron there. "Good evening." A warm smile was given as she made her way to the bar, hoping Alex would soon return. She wanted a cool drink before returning to the castle.

The voice of a woman had blue eyes lifting from the paper he was going over. It took a split second for him to realize just who that particular lady was, princess in fact. He was up so fast one might wonder there for a moment if the chair would fall and he with it. Legs came down with a thud and he managed to keep it from toppling over with a quick grab of his hand, not losing the paper he'd been reading which he smoothly slipped atop the few others resting on the table. Hand now free came to rest against his chest, bowing his head for lack of room where he stood between table and wall. "Princess," came automatically in lieu of the relaxed atmosphere here in this tavern. Then again, she was a princess and he figured he should have her consent to call her by her given name. "I'm am Andre," hesitating a fraction of a moment before adding, "Bovee. A beautiful night it is finally."

Dark eyes went wide as he stood, her expression a mix of surprise and amusement. "I'm sorry if I startled you." She smiled again, inclining her head. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Andre and please, call me Henna. There's no reason to be formal here, is there? " By then Alex had returned and she quietly asked him for a glass of iced tea before turning back to the gentleman. "May I join you once I have my drink?"

"There is no need of formalities here and oui, I would be honored if you joined me." Taking up the papers to slip back into the leather binder and set aside before he stepped around to draw out a chair for her, deciding to take up the one adjacent. He would remain standing until she was seated, hand resting to the back of the chair as he waited on her in procuring her drink. "I have seen you about a few years back but never to meet. I'm pleased that I have finally the opportunity." Discreet study as he had heard much about the princesses' beauty but far better to see for oneself.

"Thank you." She also thanked Alex before she moved from bar to table to join him. "I can say the same, both about seeing you and now having the pleasure to meet you." She sat then nodded for his help. "I hope I wasn't interrupting something important. I was out walking and couldn't resist stopping in." She lowered her voice slightly. "And I wanted to make sure my guard had a chance to have a drink also." The guard had gone through the back to talk to the others there.

"Oui?" Sounding a bit surprised but pleasantly so that she would have seen him, notice him and know who he was. He would have thought it insignificant but the ladies of class here were different than other places. Once she was seated he took up the one adjacent. "Non, you have made a pleasant diversion. I was only going over a list of merchandise I have and that which Garath MacShire and Xander McDonough wish of it, what is left." Business decisions in where to next approach other merchants that would be interested. "I was going to inquire if you had an escort," having taken note of the guard initially when he passed through. One who had the pleasure as he glanced towards the hall where he had gone then back. "Do you spend much of your time taking walks or do you spend your time doing other things too?" He was clueless in what filled a princess' day.

"Well, not as much as I wish. I am learning from my brother, Andrew, and I help mother with things that need done. I had been in charge of the orphanage but did some traveling, so of course it was given to another. There are always duties to tend to but I like to walk as much as I can, and go riding." She laughed softly. "Some days it doesn't seem like I do much at all."

"Castle matters demand a lot of attention but if you are finding days with nothing to do, perhaps you need a hobby or some enterprise all your own to attend to that you'd enjoy, oui?" It was more a suggestion for her statement. His life was so busy there was rarely a day with nothing to do, though he could come and go as he pleased and have a day of nothing to do if he so wished. "I can't say I  have explored the lands extensively, riding," as it would take riding to explore the lands fuller. "I've not been here in near two years for traveling. Where did you travel to and did you enjoy it?"

"I'm trying to decide what I'd like to do but there's no rush I suppose." Dark eyes held a sparkle as the subject turned to travel. I visited England and Ireland, Egypt, South America and even China. Two years away and I have to say I was happy to come home. The places I visited were beautiful but home is the best place to be. I'm hoping to travel to Kildare soon, though of course we'll all go for my brothers' weddings."

"Oui, they are exciting places to visit. I am surprised we did not come across each other in foreign lands for I have traveled to each of them and more in my pursuit of establishing trading contacts. I am pleased to be home, as these lands have become my home. I will let Pierre take the next long trip," smile spreading wide with that comment before easing back to normal. "I have enough contacts we should keep very busy for many years. I am considering finding a manor to live in." A place away from the busy port and some privacy.

"That is surprising though we were probably at each place at a different time." She laughed softly. "We could have shared tea in China had we met there." She nodded at mention of a manor. "You stay at your place of business now?" She picked up her tea and sipped it after asking the question, dark eyes watching over the rim of her glass.

"Oui, more than likely. Some of those cities have thousands of people," they could be in the same town and not come across each other or pass without even knowing for the multitudes. "There is a tea house I hear, if you would like to have tea sometime and pretend we are in China or Japan." Not being sure which this particular tea house was established from other than Oriental. "I stay over the Bovee Shipping as does Pierre, we each have our own flat. It suited for many years not being there all the time but if I am to settle, finally, I should see about gaining a real house."

"I would like that very much. I believe it's Japanese but we'll have to check to make certain." Again, she nodded. "Yes, that would be important and I know there are some lovely ones still empty." She finished her drink then made a slight face. "I should make my way back to the castle. My sisters like to come in and wake me sometimes if I stay in bed too late." And she loved when they did. "We'll have to see about a day and time to go to the tea house."

"Which one would you suggest? I am single still so do not need one too large but large enough if I should find a wife in time." The idea use to give him a rash, figuratively, in years past but of recent such thoughts he found himself not so opposed to. There was something to be said on a settled life once one has had their fill of adventure and being on their own. No one to mourn him if he had perished the many times he came into battle. No one to miss while away, no one waiting for him or little ones to carry on his name in the generations to come.

"Well, there are several between the McDonough lands and Dunshire I believe. They have a couple acres of land and are a decent size for a single man. Or woman, and of course, they're in good shape. You should take a ride one day just to have a look around."

"Perhaps you will be my guide on one of those days you have nothing to do?" Being she knew exactly where these homes were and in the meantime he would think upon what he would like in a house and lands. It was getting late as he rose from his seat, "may I escort you back to the castle if that is your destination from here? Or would the guard be expecting to escort you back?" He would not impose but he would offer.

"Of course I'll be your guide.  We can make a day of it perhaps. I can tell him that he can remain a little longer." A dimple showed when she smiled. "I would much enjoy your company and I'm sure he'd like to finish his conversation. Excuse me just a moment." She made her way to the hall and spoke to the guard then returned. "If it had been daylight, I probably would have walked alone but even I know it's safe here, I felt it was proper to have a guard tonight." She had also placed her empty glass on the bar for Alex to collect.

He noticed the dimple, she was every bit as pretty a the rumors had that she was. Catching himself with a spreading smile as he saw to her seat as she got up, then slid it back under the table as she went to see about the guard. He collected his leather binder and glass which he took over to leave on the bar in those few minutes; ready when she returned as he offered her the bend of his arm. "It is good you have the sense to keep the company of a guard in the evening, during the day would not be out of line for your station. The port is not far from here to have a wanderer.." leaving it go there as he felt that was enough in saying. With the door open for the pleasant evening, he could escort her right on out. Perhaps the walk would not be long enough as he engaged her in conversation. He had brought about circumstances that they could spend some time together, tea house and looking for a manor, if she should wish. Nothing made solid in case she was only being agreeable to the conversation. Time would tell.



Date: 06-06-09
Poster: Vincent deBeauvais
Post # 68

Rare Times Out

Guess who was at the Thistle. Rare was the day that this particular King's Man ventured to the tavern anymore, but today was the exception and here he was. He hadn't taken a place by the hearth, though. He was at the bar, the occasional comment to Alex if the man spoke to him. He had a tankard of what it was that Vincent preferred. Who even knew? Only Alex and Vincent.

It would seem his comrade and friend had a day off from the females in his life. He also heard a rumor that the puppy Lazare won was going to be a female donated to Vincent. That was the thought that filtered through his mind as he stepped within the Thistle. As per usual he was neatly dressed but sans the jacket for the warm day. A lightweight dark brocade vest over a pristine shirt tucked into black pants. Dress boots beneath. A tankard of cold ale was his choice as he joined his comrade at the bar. "Life is a conscious continuity," pleased actually to have Vincent here like old times even if times were different.

Vincent felt the approach, dipped his head, and as the door opened, he looked around his arm to follow Trevor to the bar with that dark gaze. "Within the movement of change." He finished with a nod, a slight smile touching the weathered features. He didn't actually have the day off from the females in his life. He was still under the command of The Black Griffon. As was Trevor. As was Lazare but Vincent didn't feel that one close. Carno must be at the training field preparing himself. Since the Laird McDonough approached Karl with a request, the Black Griffon had approached each of them at practice that morning. And now, they had an assignment. "What do you know of this man?" He asked of his comrade, turning fully back to the bar to continue his drink. If anyone had any information, it would be Trevor. Karl seemed to prefer for them to find out on their own or come in blind, taking the blows as they were delivered.

"On the normal physical plane." Not a question but a start to answer the question. "He is from a good family. One that had roots here that were ripped out and now generations later, to take root again. On another level," which was more than what was seen or known in the physical world, "he had been trained well but is not real confident in himself which could be his downfall if not corrected. There is actually more to him as well his brothers than they realize. These lands will eventually bring them out. The question will be how they respond to something foreign to the usual way of thinking." Taking up his tankard to take a drink of the cold liquid and smooth his throat.

The entire time Trevor explained, Vincent kept his gaze on the liquid in his tankard. "Confidence is more difficult to address than skill. No wonder Karl made a special effort to mention weapons and hand to hand only." A cant of head had him looking over to Trevor, one dark brow twitching upward. "I'll leave it up to you to make sure Carno behaves."

"I agree but it can be learned and we should gear our testing for him to find that quality, yet not become overly confident. As the Black Griffin reminds us to be humble in spite of our gifts." The last had a deep chuckle. "Do you think anyone can become Carno's keeper in making him behave? Although if Dana were here, the two balance each other out with their focus upon each other." Which also brought up that topic. "When is Dana to return? Have you heard any new news in that corner of the world?"

It was high time to be seeking some food, and Karina left her room with just that in mind. She'd been doing a lot of sleeping and eating since she'd arrived here, but hey, she hadn't had a lot of either lately, so it was only fair. She had that patched, puffy hat pulled snug over her head again, though in name of comfort had forsaken her boots. Her bare feet were thus nearly silent as she padded down the hall from her room, pausing at the top of the stairs and for an inexplicable reason, she crouched down in the shadows, gripping the railing as she tuned an ear to the happenings below. It was an old habit, one difficult to break, and a useful one at that. And so, settling herself into a crouch, for now she just listened unseen.

Gabriel hovered high above the Thistle. Bird's eye view of the lands as he'd come from the lake and tree house where Raphael remained. All was still quiet on that end but that could change any time. Hopefully after they returned from Innis. A trip to come soon as it had been pushed off for reasons unknown to him and not needed to be known. Wings lifted near perpendicular to the ground as he dropped down into the garden, immediately disappearing beneath the special paneled shirt as soon as booted feet touched the ground beneath. Casual looking attire, poet's type shirt with those panels near invisible to the eye. Black pants with a wide belt from which the empowered sword hung. Always. Since he was knighted.

"Only brief. And from Lyons. de Vimeure is elusive and secretive with his return." He snorted, a soft sound of frustration. "As if we do not know why."


Trevor glanced towards the door leading out to the Garden, aware of another knight that had arrived. Amusement actually touched upon dark eyes for the incident of Lazare testing this particular one. Who would have known Lazare had a thing about heights? Ear attuned to Vincent as well picking up on something else, had dark eyes lifted towards the ceiling then back as another drink was taken from his tankard. Lean acquired against the edge of the bar in an almost relaxed way. Something about him one could wonder if he was ever really 'relaxed', like a tiger waiting only to be up just as quick. "So, Dana could return at any moment, wishing to surprise us or more, Lazare?" Or maybe another reason as the last would imply, having a brow lift in what thoughts surfaced.

He picked up on both the arrival in the garden and a lurking presence upon the stairs. Neither were threatening. He brought up his drink and touched it to his lips. He did, however, slant a momentary look to Trevor.


Karina held her breath and her body still as one of the men below glanced upward briefly, in her direction. But they did not seem to see her, and so she shifted position quietly, bony knees starting to ache from the crouching.

Vincent grunted out what might be a laugh if he was one prone to amusement. "I have never known Dana to be predictable, nor have you."

She had no idea who this 'Dana' person was, nor what they were discussing at all, but then, she rarely did. The trick was to remember the details for sorting later, when they might make more sense.

"I've not known Lazare to be predictable either." The two of them were probably more predictable but in that was one's mistake. "You are welcome to come down, we don't bite. Well," glancing to Vincent, "I cannot assure you on my comrade here."

Gabriel made use of the side door after having taken in the scents of the garden though he didn't bring in any of the flowers with him. "Good afternoon Sir Vincent, Sir Trevor. I hear Eion Quinn is to be tested by your skills." Knowing well of those tests as he had gone through them near a year ago. "I would like to be there if that is not a problem." He had an interest in the Quinn family.

Good that Trevor handled that for the growl was building for the spying, cowering female. He didn't allow it to surface though...yet. "Afternoon, Vaughn." An uplift of chin also greeted the knight. It was no surprise to him that word traveled fast.

Blink. What had that man said, in the midst of his conversation? Was he talking to her? He hadn't so much as looked upstairs. Baffled, Karina just glanced around for a moment. Didn't seem like he could've been talking to anybody else. And so Karina popped up suddenly to standing position. "Oh aye, there it is! Dropped somethin'," she explained, as she slid one hand into the pocket of her baggy pants.

"Would you not really wish to socialize Miss, instead of hidden away at the top of the stairs?" As it seemed she hadn't realize he was talking to her though who else would he have been with those words? Distracted to the knight they had come to know as friend and comrade. "Sir Gabriel," being he had chosen to use titles. "I personally don't see why not." Being he knew the knight would not interfere. "In fact, if approved, you may wish to show him some of your skills."

"You are welcome to join in." Vincent added turning the intensity of his gaze to the woman at the top of the stairs.

"I dunno, what sort of men are ye? Interesting enough ta warrent good socializin'?" Karina quipped in return, bare feet bringing her down the stairs at a jog. "Why, thankya," she added to the one who's invited her to join them.

She may even misinterpret his offer to join in as being directed to her, when in truth, it was to the knight and the day's training to come. Vincent actually cringed internally realizing what he had said and then...she accepted! There was a low, slow growl.

A sharp glance of aqua-colored eyes between the lot of them. Knights, although she'd known that for several minutes now. Knights didn't always sit well with her, in fact, they made her downright uncomfortable. Though she'd never show it. Okay, well... maybe she would show it just a TAD when that one seemed to growl at her. She gave that one a long stare and then turned away, measuring steps to the bar.

Which had Trevor laugh. Like old times, Vincent growling at the women. "Do not mind the beast within, he is actually harmless, possibly just hasn't eaten. Though if his wife were here, he'd be more cordial." Maybe.

Smart girl. But did she really think she could make it there before the Dragon could reach her? He noted how she patted down the stairs barefoot, her enthusiastic arrival. Harmless? Vincent's eyes narrowed, almost into a smile, as he glanced to Trevor.

"I am Trevor," not using the titles as it was a relaxed atmosphere within these walls. "Vincent and Gabriel," indicating each so there was no mistake who was who. "You are new here, what name do you go by?"

And they were still talking to her. The one naming himself Trevor, at least. A few paces still from the bar, the ragamuffin spun again to face them, lifting her chin with a tight smile upon her face. "Pleasure, gen'lemen. I be Karina."

Tankard of ale would be his choice this early in the afternoon and something to quench his thirst. Dark eyes held a brief trace of blue and gone, not fully turning at all. A nod given the woman before taking up a stool near the two horsemen. "Karina, welcome to the lands." Cordial greeting with a slight dip of his head.

"Karina," trying it out in the way it rolled off his tongue, brogue was there of a Scotsman. The grin almost insufferable that turned on Vincent for his look. There then back, "nice to meet you and welcome."

All Vincent offered was a nod of agreement. Whether he did agree or not, didn't really matter.

"Aye, thankya," replied the girl, who in fact appeared too young to yet be called a 'woman'. Perhaps sixteen or seventeen summers, roundabouts. At least these blokes had recognized her as female, a mistake easy to make, considering her boyish manner of dress and beanpole frame. She eyed the silent one, Vincent, a second longer, then turned again to resume her trek to the bar. Where was that tender?

Sixteen or seventeen was old enough to take the responsibility of a woman. Regardless of her looks, she was definitely old enough to be considered a woman, but was she mature enough?

Alex was there and over to see to what the lass needed. Trevor studied her discreetly but said nothing. Hard to tell what he was thinking for the otherwise stoic expression worn. There was something ... off.

"Hoy Alex," yes, she already knew the tender by name, "Have anathing to fill the stomach? And I'll take an ale too if ye will," Which in only moments had procured her a brimming tankard of the brew, as Alex vanished briefly to the back to fetch some breakfast leftovers. Meanwhile Karina turned, leaning her back against the bar relaxing, whilst taking a bracing gulp. Whistling lightly to herself she looked anywhere but at the Knights who seemed to be eyeing her. And as the silence grew, so did an inescapable sense of paranoia. Perhaps they were here for her. Surely they wouldn't send the city guard after her for such a trinket.. but then.. the Captain wasn't the most forgiving sort.

Not Gabriel. He was interested in his tankard of ale and own thoughts about the nexus that would have them back in time, a prehistoric time by what glimpses he got. A battle that would keep the future as they knew it presently.

A hint of concern finally filtered through, barely discernable over the other. "You are traveling alone, no parents, guardians, family?" She was young, there was no mistaking that. There were others here her age.

Hoy? Dark brows were slowly on the rise with the girl's sass. Unlike the others, he didn't look to the female, instead, he lifted his gaze to the timepiece to check the hour.

She took another hasty sip of ale, beginning to think she ought to have spied on them longer first. Wrapped up in her concerns she was a little startled by Trevor's sudden question, and her sip turned into a brief choked cough. "Aherm! Uh, aye. I mean nae. Traveling all on my lonesome."

One word to her. "Why?" The shift from timepiece to girl was slow, but soon that dark gaze centered on her.

He was about to ask another question for her reply but Vincent was quick on the draw, near had him laughing as he'd not overwhelm the skittish lass.

Turquoise hues slid instantly over to Vincent, the growling one, who'd suddenly transformed his animal noises into real speech. Wasn't often she got the question asked that directly, but her answer came easy enough after all this time. "Me folks wanted tae send me off to some sort of finishing school or some nonsense. So's I skipped town and went tae sea instead."

His appraisal slid over her, head to toe then back up. "Nonsense? You didn't feel you needed that." His real speech wouldn't continue long, he shook his head, looking away from her.

"So, eventually they are going to find this out and do you think they care about you enough to track you down? You are safe here luckily."

"No, I didn't," she replied emphatically to Vincent, raising her chin proudly, along with a frown as if daring him to disagree. Another sip of ale and back to Trevor. "Nah," she shrugged carelessly, "And if they do I'll jus' skip town again, so."

Finishing off his tankard, setting it aside while taking a swipe over his lips by the back of his free hand. "I will see you on the king's field." Deciding to get in some practice while waiting. "Nice to meet you Karina, stay safe," slight touch of a smile before he headed out the side door taking him to the alleyway. From there he would walk for a change, walking was good for exercise.

As if de Beauvais would enter into an argument with a lass about whether she was lacking in the social graces a Lady should hold dear. Vincent glanced to Gabriel with a nod.

"Aye, we'll see you there shortly, Gabriel." Most likely the others would be waiting on them but then it was good for them to wait a bit of time.

Phew! Looked like they were leaving soon. Surely if they'd been here to arrest her, she'd already been clamped in irons. Karina relaxed then, though these stoic men weren't exactly comforting company. A nod of farewell to Gabriel as he departed.

"So, that will be the way of your life? Skipping town, always on the run looking over your shoulder? Or will you take a stand, face them down and tell them how you feel, agreeable or not to them?"

The look Karina directed at Trevor then was somewhat quizzical. In truth, exasperation mingled with amusement at his words though for reasons kept private. "Listen mate. The likelihood they'll ever show up here is slim tae none. B'sides, what's the use worryin' about something before it's even happened?"

Did she just call Trevor Cairns mate? "Seems she'll be sporting that coward's stripe, Cairns." He added, with almost a tinge of amusement to his tone. Almost. Vincent de Beauvais was rarely, very rarely, amused.

A glance back to Vincent, and she just shrugged in a devil-may-care sort of fashion, chasing it with another longer sip of ale.

"Some ladies look good in yellow." His features softening ever so slightly with those words. "Others can't wear it at all." A lingering gaze marked her, then he pushed up from where he sat at the bar. "Don't get too comfortable in doesn't become you." He looked to Trevor then. "Sir Cairns..." He spoke, making sure the girl knew mate was far from this man's respectable title. "See you on the field."

"Then you need not skip town. Although," pausing here with a hint of a smile, "I will never be your mate." Though a nautical term he played on it anyway. "There is such a thing as hindsight," though he could wonder if she ever exercised that idea.

Karina gazed evenly back at Vincent, the frown clear upon her features. Oh she was biting her tongue to dissuade a sharp retort, something she usually wouldn't practice. But again, these men clearly had power in this town, no need to burn bridges just yet.

So she did have a little bit of smarts about her afterall. de Beauvais was not the kind to speak back to. "Young miss." He offered to her with that single nod.


When the Traugott cuckoo chimed on the half hour, it was time to get to the king's field. His ale done and enjoyed he left the empty there for Alex with a short message, "if anyone is looking for us, you know where to send them if worth sending." Slightly cryptic but Alex understood. "Have a good day Miss," directed to Karina before he was heading out the same side door Gabriel had taken.

She just lifted her brows towards them in farewell, though the expression faded to a scowl after they departed. Turning back to the bar with a shake of the head and muttered, "Knights."

Date: 06-07-09
Poster: Alex Flaherty (Thistle Tender)
Post # 69

An Informative Discussion

Alex hadn't said anything about how Hazel responded with the Quinn family members here that morning before they moved to their Manor. Both had gotten busy as was the way of it but it was eating at him to at least find out exactly why. If there was suspicions to even tempt breaking through conscious thought, he suppressed them. The lunch crew had left and by the looks of it, there would be a couple hours before others started coming in. Nice day as this, most were out at the lake or other such suitable outdoor activities. The bar wiped down he carefully, possibly procrastination, folded the cloth over the rack where kept then headed into the kitchen. With the small open window between kitchen and bar, he would be alerted if anyone came in.

Hazel had just finished up the last of the dishes and was checking on some pies that were in the oven. She had put anything about her behavior out of her thoughts, in part because she was embarrassed by it. They were coming along nicely. Catching Alex coming into the kitchen, she smiled at him. "All quiet out there?" Not that she was surprise. Summer days tended to be so.

"Aye," his brogue was rough like hewed from the very hills in Ireland. He was over to the ovens taking a whiff, "smells real good as always," Hazel already heard his compliments over and over as well others that came in and got to taste her cooking or baking. He was procrastinating again. For as well as they knew each other there was an area, personal, that was never ventured. Perhaps it had something to do with the rumors if they paid each other any mind. Perhaps it hit too close to home and an image that needed to be kept, or if he was honest, fear of rejection. They were good friends, as good as it got. Why ruin that at this stage in their life? She could probably tell he was stalling on something as he stood there with all these thoughts going through his head and nothing more said.

It didn't matter how many times he said it, she was always pleased. "They'll be ready soon though I have some left from yesterday if you're needing a bit of a break." She eyed him for a moment, hands on her hips, her head tipping
as if she were some wee bird. "You've something on your mind, Alex. Out with it." Maybe she had an idea what it was, but after speaking out, she set to cutting a piece of the pie and even pouring coffee. Hot it might be, but sometimes there was nothing better than apple pie and coffee on a summer afternoon. "Or would you prefer iced tea?"

His hand came over hers as he eased the knife from it. "It can wait," tone roughen as this was something important, concern for her in a reaction he only saw around people she really didn't like and they were few, for such ones were usually evacuated from the tavern before ever finding Hazel in her castle. "The other day, something was bothering you more than the usual," hand easing from hers as if he just realized he held it to stall her being busy. "I've a good ear..." not knowing what else to say or more the feel he should not say anything more until she had spoken. Brush him off or tell him what rose her ire.

She felt her cheeks growing hot as she looked up at him then she waved her hand. "Oh, it was naught more than me being foolish. You'd think I was a lass of eighteen for it." She looked at him for a long moment, and let out a bit of a sigh. "It was Mary Quinn. There she was after all these years, still a fine looking woman, still so nicely mannered. And ... " she made a face. "Still thin."

"Now why would you be jealous of Mary Quinn?" Moving closer as thumb and forefinger caught her chin. "You've a fine figure you'll not be blowing away in the wind." There was such a thing as too thin. "Aye, Mary Quinn had a few beaus set her way, including my brother Allan. Though Allan never dared to tell her of his attraction. I told him he should and when he finally worked up the nerve, Jaxon Quinn swooped in to sweep her off her feet. There would be no convincing him after she started seeing Jaxon, though not courting, of his feelings. He got over them in time," or so Alex assumed. "Jaxon Quinn was a good man, not like she ended up with one that was less than she deserved. I think Allan felt he wasn't good enough." Obviously Alex only saw Mary as a good friend. Realizing he still held her chin thus there was a brush of his thumb against her cheek before releasing the light hold and clearing his throat.

She was watching him as he talked then smiled when he stepped back. "Because the two of you were sitting and talking like you were and it just ... made me jealous. Mary Quinn was always a lovely lass and aye, it's all left over from when I was a girl." She made a motion of her hand. "Aye, she was older than me but there's always one who stands out. Not saying it was rational, Alex, but there it was. And I'm not proud that it happened." Best to be honest with the man. She hadn't been proud of her reactions at all.

It took a while for the implications to sink in. "Hazel MacKay am I just an old man and gone senile or are you saying you were jealous that I might have such a rapport with Mary?" Realizing it was more than something from her girlhood days, to be jealous Mary looked so good or that she was talking to him in a cozy rapport. Soon as the question was out, he had doubts that he was wrong and would look the fool. No matter his advice to his brother long ago, it was the pot calling the kettle black. Though they could for they were brothers.

"You're not so old or senile." She retorted, "just thick-skulled at times. Aye, I was. I told you it was silly." She tried to dismiss it again with a wave of her hand. "And I have no right to feel that way, I know." She was so tempted to stick her tongue out but she refrained. Barely!

"Hazel MacKay," arms drawing her into his embrace though loosely held as he dipped his chin, dark eyes delving for the truth of her words though he knew she'd not lie. Not to him. "Here I thought you'd only see me an old man than a lover but I'm only old on the outside." That he couldn't help, that, no one could help though he felt the same on the inside as he did when in his twenties, just he knew a lot more than he did when he was younger. "I don't find it silly, I find it a relief that I can finally speak to you on such a matter as possibly more between us."

"You're not old to me, Alex. Never old to me." She wrapped her arms around him as she tipped her head back, brown eyes meeting blue, hers holding a spark. "And I'm no spring chicken meself. If you've been waiting to speak to me, on such, then you've been waiting long enough. We're not getting any younger." Words held laughter but yes, there was truth there. Always truth there.

"Aye," having to laugh with her words of not getting any younger. "But I can show a woman such as yourself that I'm not dead yet." Hence he leaned in, eyes closing as he burned a kiss over her lips that had been long overdue, long wondered upon but never acted upon until this moment. She felt good in his arms, no skinny woman for him though not the other extreme either.

It was long overdue and something she had wondered on herself. She felt that kiss right down to her toes and it was a welcomed feeling. It seemed folks had been right, seeing what the two didn't want to admit or hope for. And nothing else mattered at that moment. Not even if anyone walked in on them.

There were other noises in the tavern but for once, he was not aware if anyone had come in or not, could just be the handyman. He kissed her long and hard before softened upon completion. Lips lifting as his voice was a few octaves deeper. "I think that tells far more than words. Later tonight we will talk more. When we go to visit Mary, would you like to come with me and Allan? If you feel you need to say anything for I think she noticed but I don't think she knew why. Though there too, you might not have to say a word to appease your conscience if general talk makes all right and the bit washed under the bridge."

She was going to have to take a few moments to allow her heart to slow. "Aye, tonight and I think I should." She gave him that impish smile he'd know well. "And if I need to apologize, I'll do so graciously." She'd be singing while she worked the rest of the evening, and maybe even dancing too.


He would have a zip in his step he didn't have for some time. He might wipe down the bar least twenty more times than usual. Faster in serving that the hours would go by quicker and their talk be upon them. As it were, it was customers coming in as he came through the door from the kitchen, grin on his face that reached his eyes for a change, "what can I get you?"



Date: 06-15-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 70

Pleasant Company

Trevor was at the bar in a leisurely comfortable lean as he held conversation with Alex. Usual kind, noting too serious and even some comments that had him laugh. Deep rich tone that was not often heard except by those that knew him better. Otherwise he was fairly stoic, distant, though one should not be fooled he wasn't listening, wasn't taking everything in whether letting on or not.

After a long day in the fields of exploration Amaranth decided now would be a good time to skip out of the dying sun and deliver herself into the Thistle for a drink..The tavern had become quite popular in her heart and so, with a sigh she moved up the steps and issued the old wood a soft shove to allow her passage. Instantly as she made her arrival a burst of wind blew up her heavy dark locks into a smoke formation around her angelic face. Chocolate eyes sparkled in the dim lighting while she cast her gaze about the room.. And onto the man she had yet to meet. There was a soft smile ready for him but it was cautious as she made her way to the bar.

It was rare to not find Trevor in a dress shirt, boots, vest and tailored pants for the norm. He was attired of the usual today, shades of charcoal, gray and black. The vest with green inlaid over black satin. Hair was combed back and tied off in a tail. Neat. Upstanding. Clean. Dashing, some might say. Though words continued between he and Alex the while someone was coming, dark eyes were upon the entry of the door and further reaching than sight would accomplish. This would not be known for all intents and purposes as well anything given off in facial expression or body language. He was a well discipline man. That was earned for the many years under the King of these lands and before he was King of these lands. Words faded once the woman was within and Alex moved away to see to any requests on her part, being it food or drink. "Good evening Miss." Cordial and precise, as this side of his personality was presented.

Once seated she placed a wood carving on the table top.. Before her hand moved to reveal what it was there was no telling.. But as her left hand fell to her sides it was made obvious that the carving was that of a lion. " Hello, Alex.. I will have a cup of tea" Gentle words were almost whispered while a kind smile was there to greet him. But then the voice of the other man earned her attention and, with the genuine smile still evident she gave him a nod. "Thank you.. It is a beautiful night."

He straightened from his lean, glass of the Pure cradled in his hand. "Aye, it is a beautiful night if one enjoys the cast of stars and the wonder such a sight brings. I am Trevor," going really minimal to keep things relaxed. "Unfading.." came to mind and spoken at the end.

Henna was humming as she made her way toward the Thistle. It was a rare treat these days for her to be out that she fully intended to enjoy it. Dark, dark eyes lifted to the stars, their light reflected in their depths. She smiled and continued on up the steps and inside. Though she was dressed in a simple gown of pale green gingham, the quality of the gown was unmistakable. Two braids had been created from the hair that framed her face and had been pulled back and caught with a ribbon that matched the gown. She saw Trevor and smile warmly. "Good evening, Sir Trevor. How are you this fine eve? Evening, Miss."

Trevor's words brought a slow grin to the edges of her mouth while she thought for a moment of its deeper meaning. "Yes" With a nod she continued. "I do enjoy the stars.. They are our souls." Some might think it odd of her to say. "I'm Amaranth" Pausing she noticed the door opening and, with a bow of her head she offered the other woman a wave.. She sensed this woman was of high class and thus she offered to her respect. " Good eve to you, my lady" Lifting the fragile cup to her lips she gently blew on the liquid then took a sip.

Though the Princess was dressed simply it didn't mean any less as he gave a polite touch of his hand to his chest with the bow of his head. "Lady Henna, a welcome sight to have us graced with your presence," words said in all sincerity and not sarcasm. Henna, from the few times their paths crossed, had a upbeat personality. "Things are very well this evening, I find myself in the company of two ladies, please meet Amaranth who is visiting us." Yes, he knew, knew much which he didn't let on. "Amaranth, the unfading flower," as by the meaning of that particular name.

So there was a meaning to her name! She would have to let Conor know the next she saw him.. "Unfading flower?" A chuckle then as she repeated his own words. "What a title to live up to" A soft crimson blush swept upon her cheeks then as she looked then to the woman called Henna. "Its an honor to meet you. I am a guest but I have found myself bewitched my Heathfield's splendor." Spoken out of sincere honesty.

Most names had a meaning, some meanings one would not want others to know. There was almost a smile, touch to one corner in more a quirk as he lifted his glass in toast of the meaning. "Perhaps it is the blush that graces your cheeks that will lend to never fading a sight from those who witness the beauty of your soul." She had spoken on soul and how the stars call to one. Taking his drink as he would leave the women to talk being some found such conversation far easier.

"Thank you, Sir Trevor." She laughed as she moved closer to the bar. "I hope you enjoy our company." Dark eyes turned then to Amaranth and she inclined her head. "Heathfield has that affect on people." She then turned to Alex to order the blackberry punch. Once the glass was in hand she turned back. "Have you been visiting Heathfield long?"

"No" there was regret in her tone "But I would like to stay here as long as I am welcomed" She had grown used to traveling in various nations and meeting wonderful people.. But none were quite like these people.. This place was.. . Well what she would think of Heaven as. Then she turned to face Trevor. "I am true to my heart.. That I can never change nor do I want to. If I can assist and be the cause for just one smile from another's face.. I will sleep easy and know I have done my part in shedding light onto this world."

"Life is ever changing but one can hope that their life continues to improve for nothing is perfect, though, perfection is always sought." Which was not a bad thing and perhaps some would say could never  be achieved here. One could at least strive for such a goal. It was to dream the impossible dream then allow to falter into the depths of chaos and doom. "One should be true to themselves first and foremost for they cannot be true to anyone else until that is met."

"Indeed, that is very important." She spoke easily, her expression serious. "And luckily, it isn't easy to hide a false heart." At least where some are concerned. "Or an extremely noble one, no matter how modest one might be."

Peter had finished up a meeting with Karl. His comrade having other obligations (and certainly worthwhile ones), he headed out not wishing to seek his bed this early. Night was young and he was not that old to be enjoying it. The weight of responsibility often had him feel that way and something, that came up in their discussion, he needed to move away from. Find a balance. The poet's shirt worn was finely sewn, billow sleeves with tucks at the shoulders and cuffs. The stays of leather left partially open down the front for the warmth of the night. Shirt tucked into tailored brown pants and for a change, sandals on his feet made of the finest leather. Sun streaked hair was left unbound, cut in a way it kept mostly from his face. He made his way into the tavern by use of the side door. Golden brown eyes lit up seeing one of the four horsemen here as well one of the lovely princesses. Another, lady, unknown as all received the ghost of a smile, one quick that chased across his features before gone. "Good evening, it is nicely warm for a change." he found it comfortably so as he headed for the bar to acquire a drink of the potcheen made in these lands.

Trevor was quick to respond, as he had for the princess, hand came fisted over his heart as Peter entered. "Peter," adhering to the informality of this tavern and leaving titles aside though not necessarily hidden in that sense. "A good evening to you. Please meet Amaranth, a guest here presently. Amaranth, this is Peter." Knowing well Peter knew Henna and vice versa.

"A pleasure, Amaranth. I trust your stay here has been comfortable." Not expecting otherwise for well knowing Alex and Hazel. For having stayed here long ago as a visitor and unknown during the tournament of Champions. Of which he and Karl ranked highest.

In seeing Peter enter she knew instantly that he was a high majesty of these lands and, with out the desire to look at him she fell upon bended knee and placed her right first over her chest. "Its an honor, my liege"  She smiled softly when he asked of her stay. Certainly it was a relief to know the nobility cared about the citizen's. "Of course. I feel as though this place is heaven on earth. Her people are just as beautiful as the land."

He was a little surprised she fell to her knees, "please do rise and be comfortable." They were not like the usual of lands and titles though a respect shown for all.  Being close enough he offered his hand that she might rise with ease.


"Peter." Her smile was warm for a good friend of the family. "This is a delightful surprise." She looked at Amaranth, a brow lifting. She glanced at Trevor to see his reaction.

Trevor was always hard to read but there was a trace of dark eyes to touch upon Henna's as if he knew she looked his way the very instant she had. There then back as he lifted his glass for a drink.

"Princess," as he could break the rules being it seemed Amaranth knew he was of some royalty bearing. Assisting her rise before his hand lowered away as he spoke up again. "These lands are unique and a far cry from the outside world that breaks many a soul. Not to be mistaken for my comrade and King here of these lands, I am of the O'Neills, King of Innis Daingneach. An island fortress that is one of the sister castles to these lands of Heathfield and of Ballicastle, Tyremoor and Kildare."

A glance to Trevor might have spoken volumes to the man as to her sudden emotion of awkwardness. To be within the audience of the King and the Princess.. She felt unworthy. But nevertheless she looked back at Peter and offered a nod. "I am honored to meet the King of Innis Daingneach." What was she? A cake baker.. Big deal huh?

That was exactly why he only introduced the King as Peter. Why he only introduced himself as Trevor and not Duke or Sir, or of the highest order of Knights, one of the Four Horsemen. So the woman brought it upon herself but sort of amusing to him in seeing how some responded, got all flustered. Peter was a man, although of great accomplishments. He only offered a slight reassuring smile, breaking away only a tad from the more stoic.

"Perhaps all of you would one day be so kind as to visit my small shop just outside of town? I cannot offer much other than friendship and a delicious cake but.." Bottom lip folded inward while her teeth sank into the pink skin.

Peter was eyeing Trevor, man was impeccable. Had it been Vincent for how he'd respond, he'd be seeing the man on the king's field tomorrow. "Here, I am Peter as the Princess is Henna, a very fine and lovely woman titled or not." Her offer brought a smile. "A baker is an artist of food that it becomes more delicious than what would be otherwise an ordinary meal." Though he wondered, "outside of town, approximately where would it be found?"

She took a sip of the punch and smiled to herself. She'd have to talk to Sean about it. And if Peter wasn't talking to Amaranth, she would have swatted him for calling her princess.

Peter's words allowed for that smile to grow.. Excuse her perhaps of not holding a noble title. It was comforting and for his fortitude she would always hold him in high regard. "I did not want to assume my place here and purchase a shop within town.. So I turned my caravan into my shop." In thinking of it she could almost smell the yeast and the icing.

"Ah, a traveling baker, cake on wheels." Which had him chuckle before indicating their drinks. "Please continue in that I had not wished to interrupt." Though he would address the princess a bit more. "How is everything going for you?" He had almost asked about the orphanage but that had exchanged hands and now wonder where her abilities had turned.

"They're going well. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do but that will come in time." She turned her star touched gaze on Amaranth. "Lands here are not purchased but are given by the Crown. In return, a tithe is given so that things like the free drinks and such can be given. There's also a bakery in the commons, so don't be discouraged if business isn't as brisk as you hoped."

She transformed her caravan into her shop for one soul reason.. If she was not wanted she could always leave. With an open mind she listened to Henna and issued to the woman a nod of understanding. "I'm just happy to be here, your majesty. This is unlike any place I have ever known." Cake on wheels? Now that she could not resist laughing from. Left hand rose to cup her mouth and issue a buffer from an otherwise fit of laughter.

"Please call me Henna. Titles are used in more formal settings. The Thistle is not." She laughed lightly. "Or I'd refuse to come here when I need to get away."

He took it as being informative in what Henna had to say but then Trevor wasn't fazed by much compared to his counter part in Vincent. "Do you bake more than cakes?" Some specialized in one item.

She held out her wrist to show Peter though. "Lydia is growing so quickly." The youngest Princess had made her sister a bracelet.

"Exactly or for my part, I'd be helping all the ladies from their knees when that time could be used in enjoying a glass of the pure." He was a warrior first so dealing with being a King in those areas didn't come easy. He shifted closer as he took her hand in his to view the bracelet, gently turning it as he noted the design. Smoothly releasing her hand when done as golden brown eyes lifted, "she is becoming quite the artist. How old is she now?" She was little last he saw her though he got to see her parents often enough.

"All of four and so wise already." With the background they had, was it any wonder? "And everything delights her from the smallest flower to the thunder. She's afraid of very little." Her voice sounded a touch wistful.

"Now that I remember, laughing and smiling, a very happy child if ever I met one. Are you schooling her then," knowing well her mother was a busy lady though made time for all her children he was sure, what he knew of anyway. He noted that wistfulness and almost asked or commented but he managed not to and avoid putting his foot in his mouth when he realized the reason.

"She is. More so than I remember any of us being. And yes, I am when Mother isn't able. I enjoy it very much too and she catches on so quickly." She was obviously delighted with the youngest of her siblings. The wistfulness would be hard to explain. Henna wasn't aware it had sounded in her voice.

It was probably a complicated reason but to Peter it seemed it was she had not a child of her own, not that it took away from Lydia in any way. He could be wrong and hence putting his foot in his mouth grandly if he said anything and was wrong, said anything and was right for that matter. No win scenario to say anything at all. "When you are not helping out with your sister, how do you spend your time? Hobbies, special interests?" Kicking back what was left of his drink before pouring another as he waited on her reply.

Trevor had fallen quiet but that wasn't unusual for the King's man. Or for Peter for that matter! She looked at him a moment, then smiled. "Well, I train some with Andrew. I like to putter around in the garden and ... I'm writing a children's book." That last was said softly, She wasn't sure how anyone would feel about it.

Not unusual at all, he'd speak if he had something to say or conversation directed his way. Presently he was enjoying listening while he partook of his drink.

At least he didn't grunt like Vincent.

"Are you going to illustrate it as well? I imagine it would be one they could use at the Orphanage?" He thought it a very industrious idea and something that would take a talent he marveled at for those who possessed such.

If Trevor grunted it would be for a far different reason than Vincent had grunted. Dark eyes shifted from one to the other as they talked. Drink refreshed and lifted to partake of again.

"Yes, I am."  The impish look returned to her eyes. "It's about two brave little mice.  A sister and brother and their adventures.  I'm just hoping I make it fun enough."  With a lesson of course, but done in a way that children wouldn't mind learning it.

It would appear that Amaranth had quietly taken her leave. As he continued to listen to the conversation he also asked Alex if Hazel had any of her apple pie left and if so, a piece of it.

"They wouldn't happen to have wings, like your brother and sister, Solarina and Tykir?" There was probably a lot of mishaps in those two lives in particular, amusing ones though probably not to the children at the time and the challenges they would need to face in being different could lend to moral issues and showing how everyone had something they needed to face and deal with.

"No, but they have two friends who are birds.  And they'll tell some of their stories too."  She laughed. "I had to make sure they weren't the main characters or I'm sure Solarina and Tykir would protest."  She chuckled. "They still might if they read the book."

"Would they, or maybe give you more insight and a way of them taking a another view of their circumstances, painting it in a new light. Did you ask them?" Maybe all he said was for naught if she had asked them and they were mortified with the idea. "Do you have any written that you could give me an example?"

"No, I haven't asked them yet." A dimple showed this time when she smiled. "Though I will.  Maybe I'll write two books."  She settled onto a stool, then nodded. "I've named them Musette and Maks."

With a slight smile to show, Trevor kicked back some more of the potcheen. A brew that didn't have the effect on him as it did on many, unless he consumed an exuberant amount.

Giving a nod that she would try in the least. "They sound like names that would become dear to their hearts in time." There was something in a name that had it latch on or not.

Just a ghost of a smile was there and gone as Peter then spoke up, he didn't need to. Relaxed in a lean he was more content to continue enjoying his drink and a lazy night than interrupt.

She watched the man a moment before turning back to Peter.  "Lydia helped me with the names.  Their very first adventure is when the all the cheese in their village disappears."  She laughed suddenly. "I just realized, each adventure could very well be a book in itself."

"I need to be back up to the castle, perhaps you can tell me one of the stories on the way as I escort you? Unless, of course, you wish to remain here." Maybe Peter was very observant on other levels that have been awakening in a slow due process.

"I should get back as well."  She finished the last of her drink, thanking Alex quietly.  Sliding off the stool, she smiled up at him. "And it's a lovely night for walking." She was glad for the company, even if it was safe to walk to the castle from the tavern.

Trevor would seem very amused over something. "I will see you on the king's field tomorrow at dawn Peter. A pleasure seeing you, Henna. Always. I hope I get the pleasure soon again. Maybe even share a conversation next time." Giving her a wink and a smile to actually show for her.

"Indeed and perhaps we shall see our newest recruit there." Which he look forward to as he offered the bend of his arm to Henna.

"I'll look forward to it, Trevor."  She rarely had a chance to do just sit and talk and would enjoy doing so.

"Bring your son around then Trevor, perhaps Henna would tell him one of her stories and see how well it went over." Knowing well Trevor's son was precocious, probably like the father had been at his age.

Slipping her arm through Peter's, her hand resting on the crook of his elbow, she laughed. "You should, Trevor.  I'd enjoy telling him the tales."  She bid Alex farewell also and then she was ready to leave.

"I will do that." Giving a thoughtful nod as more of a smile showed. Saluting them with his drink as they headed out.

Once outside he would continue the conversation as they took their time heading up to the castle. A very nice way to end his evening.

And hers as well.

As they left, he took out a letter that needed to be read and thus set to the correspondence.



Date: 06-23-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 71

From Dancing at the Port to the Thistle

Asleep.  Seated in one of the highback chairs, his head resting to the side.  Luckily, his cup of coffee, long gone cold, was sitting neglected on a side table.  His arms hung from the sides of the chair, his legs stretched out... and he was, yes, out of it.  He hadn't made it home last night.  Obviously.  He had managed to wake just long enough to break his fast.  Coffee, his usual breakfast, but that even now was left unfinished on that table.

Karina still had a rhythmic bounce in her step as she strolled her way up to the Thistle, after a pleasantly long walk back from the Docks. It had been an unexpectedly festive morning indeed, what with the impromptu dance-and-music shenanigans down portside. Curls a-bouncing and eyes bright, she hummed to herself as she pushed the door open, stopping briefly there to stomp the muck from her boots. "Put him in th' longboat til he's sober, put him in the longboat til he's sober, put him in the - " and her jovial singing was cut off, by herself, as she caught sight of Conor snoring there in a chair. A devilish smirk curled her lips as she made her footfalls silent, and crept in that direction. She waited until she was leaning over, directly in front of his face before finishing her ditty at crescendo volume... "Earl-ay in the morning!!"

Conor's immediate family consisted of three sisters, each as mischievous as the next and two older brothers, each of them quick to see to Conor's discomfort.  She wasn't sneaking up on a novice.  Granted, the only thing his experience gained him was that he didn't jolt to his feet.  Karina's song did, however, have his gut tightening and his eyelids springing open, coming eye to eye with the devil-lass that scared the bloody-blue-blazes out of him! He drew in a breath, a smile tugged at one corner of his lips and he spoke.  "Earl-ay?  Then leave me be to sleep some more."  He knew good and well it was no longer earl-ay, but it was worth the try to sleep some more, no?  "Care to join me?"  A bit more of a twitch of lips with that invitation.

Karina greeted him with a wide smirk, though she was a tad disappointed that he didn't jump to his feet or scream like a girl. Awww. Oh well, she'd seen that moment of confused startlement in his eyes and that was still satisfying. "Far from earl-ay, ya lazy arse..." A pause as that invitation came from him, along with that suspect smile of his. Ew. Was he trying to be... suggestive? A preliminary scowl as she eyed him.

He tapped his forefinger once to the deep mark caused by her frown then dropped his hand away knowing she didn't care for his touch.  "Get out of my face, Nessa, so I can get up."  He muttered, sliding his gaze from her to look toward where he remembered he had placed his cup.  Needed to get another one of those.


"Don't give me orders," she scoffed, but pulled away anyway when he tapped her face, retreating back a step. Her own eyes fell to his cup and she leaned over to peer inside and announce, "this is sludge." And she grabbed it up and bore it off towards the kitchen herself to wash off.

Sia had been debating walking all the way back home and eating, but there was a possibility she could weasel her way some food or drink form a local watering hole and that is precisely the reasoning for her entrance when she slowly creaked open the front entrance and let it swing closed behind her. Her palms flattened out the squares of her flowing gypsy skirt, a constant jingle being heard as either her wrist or hips, or feet moved. With each padded step from her slipper feet, there proceeded a few ascending jingles.

He had started pressing up as Karina moved away with his cup, his gaze lowered but still following her  movements until another entered.  Good thing she had woke him when she had.   A glance in the newcomers general direction and he offered her a nod of greeting before looking to where Alex waited to see to the woman's needs. Because of that soft tinkling sound, Conor's gaze slipped over the stranger then returned to the door that led to the kitchen.  "Black, Nessa!"  He called, lest she add something to his cup.  Heck, she may anyway.  Conor could only
hope that Alex had the rat poison out of view from her.

"A black eye's wha' ye'll get if'n ye keep barkin orders!" Came her sharp reply, though muffled it was by the wooden doorway.


She glanced towards the nodding man, offering him the same silent gesture before glancing towards the other behind the bar. She hoped for a good encounter with him, eyes meeting his when she took residence in one of the bar stools. Her stomach and arms were bare, only a matching top of stretched aqua fabric hugged her chest and up to her collar bone before disappearing again. It was obvious what she did, or had been doing just minutes ago. Dance. the bells had stopped and her hands laid out, one over the other, on the bartop. She steadied herself, exceeding into a smile towards Alex before speaking, "H-hi. A cup of water?" Her tone was quiet, a bit reserved considering the tender hadn't spoken first. She wasn't sure if she was intruding upon the hollow establishment and its occupants. Her lips folded down on one another as she waited for a response. Then came the rather rude holler from out of view and Sia had a strange familiar feeling but couldn't place it.

Conor stood and started to the bar.  "That would require she touch me, no need to take her seriously."  He spoke to the stranger, smiling to Alex with a shrug.  Alex explained the policies of the kingdom, and that if she would like something other than water, she need but ask, all was covered by the crown for those who visited and resided here.  But he turned to see to the woman's request for water until she wished something else.  He took up a similar lean, arms to the barcounter, one resting atop the other, and he claimed a stool a seat down from her.  "Conor Quinn."  He offered.

Despite that though it was indeed black coffee she carried out from the kitchen a moment later, piping hot and filled to its brim. A careful balance ensured it didn't spill until it was set before Conor on the counter. A friendly smile was her greeting to Alex and then it was turned upon the gypsy woman, the very same dancer from the docks. "Oh, hullo!"


His gratitude came softly spoken, barely more than a mumble.  "Thanks." And yes, as he brought it up carefully, he paused just long enough to sniff the aroma.  Because he enjoyed the smell of a fresh cup of coffee? Or other reasons?

"I didn't poison it." Sharp one, she! Watching Conor with a wry smirk of amusement on her face.

The dancer looked fairly tired, and attempted a polite response when the tender began to explain about the kingdom itself. The offer of free food though had the woman fully enticed and she grew a more eager expression. She kept her list of desires enclosed til' her water was brought, and before she could request more, there was the familiar girl from the crowd, greeting her, and another unknown with more polite introductions. "Hi there," she quipped back before the two began to banter and she softly giggled, then turned to Conor and pushed in her own name, "Conor, I'm Sia," the fire of her hair surrounded the kind orbs of her emerald hues as she turned in his direction, hand out stretched like a gentleman for Conor to shake.

"But don't ever let my guard down?" Wise one, he!  He pulled his attention from Karina before he caught another one of her ill-tempered looks.  "Sia..."  He smiled as she offered her hand in a most gallant way.  He shifted, placing his cup down in order to accept and return that gesture.  A gentle but firm shake provided.  "A pleasure."

"And I'm Karina," the sixteen-year-old piped in, leaning forward to offer a paw to shake as well before directing her speech back to Conor. "She was dancin' up a storm down at the docks. There was a bunch of sailor folk struck up song. Saw your brother there, too. Maybe a bite of supper, Alex?" That last was directed to the tender, though her speech was so bubbly and quick that it tended to be difficult to follow.

"Likewise," her voice prompt but light with femininity. She has a surprisingly formal shake, and released him appropriately before returning her hand to the bartop. Though with Karina's hand offered, Sia shook hers as well. The smile on her face was evidence of her admission to what Karina said, her breath still heavy with slight exhaustion. She took up a deep gulp from her glass, then her eyes light up at the suggestion of food. Yes! Her excitement was kept quiet as she continued to drink of her water, glancing between the three new acquaintances.

"If there must be a storm near the sea, I can't think of a nicer way of creating it."  There was only sincerity in his tone, a smile and dip of head toward Sia before looking once more to Karina.  "I'm sure Segan was one of the ones singing her on.  Or was he dancing with her?"  Or was he dancing with Karina?  Aye, Segan was the only one allowed to touch the quick-to-anger lass and leave with his hide unscathed.

Oh look at him, laying on the charm so thick for the pretty lady. Karina resisted the urge to roll her eyes, for she was still in a fine mood from all her musical escapades. Instead she answered Conor with a quick grin, "Aye, he was singin' and dancin' with the rest o' us." Well that didn't quite answer his real question, but then, he hadn't asked aloud what he really wanted to know! She nodded in thanks as Alex delivered her a cider, taking a long gulp to slake her thirst.

Modesty was a virtue, and Sia possessed it, simply shrugging her shoulders and bobbing her head in agreeing, though her grin grew ever more to his words. Segan? She flipped through her memories like a book, thinking of which one of the men he could've been. There was a man Karina joined in dance with, perhaps that was the one. But with uncertainty, she didn't move to speak on it, instead, commenting something more general, "yes, it was quite the crowd of entertainment." Her tongue salivated for food but she wasn't sure if another request should be enforced to Alex.

Karina answered his question without even having to utter the words.  A frown ghosted over his features, there and gone, and an uplift of chin acknowledged his understanding.   "I'm sure it was, Sia."  He began, pulling his gaze from Karina to look to the dancer.  "I, personally, am not particularly fond of that area, but I still regret having missed the chance to see you dance."  Was the word 'you' emphasized ever so slightly?  Indeed it was.  Genuine was his statement, but it did serve two purposes.

As observant as she was - for Karina had built an entire survival system on such observational skills - she couldn't help but notice the brief frown on Conor's face. What, was he grumpy that somebody had had a good time without him? Clearly, as he went on to shmooze the dancer. Now it was Karina's turn to frown though it was hidden quickly by a sip of her cider. And she turned her attention to Alex as he went about preparing the platter of supper, large enough for all to share if they wished. Yep. Just gonna ignore it, she was.

She on the other hand didn't understand. Having witnessed Conor's momentary frown and considered it something she had inflicted. But he was talking again, so maybe he wasn't so upset. She was receiving his message loud and clear. Afterall, it wasn't the first time she'd heard it. "Well, there's always next time. Ifn' you're wantin' ta pay, I could dance right now." Followed by a sultry laughter, that neither revealed if she was serious or not. Up to him. Tipped her water into her mouth again, emeralds moving from Conor to glance at the girl who was taking a neutral stance, then she returned her eyes to Conor.

Clank. Her cider mug was set down just a little loudly as she swallowed a verbal, Blech! And up she got from her stool, stalking around the bar and back into the kitchen.

The rather forceful placement of mug on the counter had Conor leaning forward a bit to see past Sia to the lass huffing away. "Enjoy your ... water." Conor chuckled. "You know, there's plenty on that tray that Karina has to share, if you want. I'll temper my desire to see your skill at dancing until you've finished your..." His smile grew. "drink...and your meal."

There were sounds at the side street door. Sort of scuffling before Segan stepped within. Boots were off, left out on the stoop as the wrung out shirt was being donned again. Least his skin was bronzed by the sun what only might be a glimpse. He was soaked from head to toe, well the boots were outside now, the shirt only a wrinkly damp as well his pants. Not a word said as he was over to hail Alex once he was done with any of the others for a cold tankard.

She set down her glass, eyes moving to the loud clank herself, seeing the girl obviously displeased. With her hands free, she ran her ivory digits through the matted fro of strawberry hair and glanced bashfully towards Conor,"Well, if you're sure..." She glanced eagerly to the plate full of food and her hand reached forward to grab something to her liking and pop it into her mouth. It disappeared after a few bites down her throat and to the sound of the door opening, Sia glanced over her bare shoulder to the familiar face. She didn't have a name for him though. Oh! Maybe he was Segan. Eh, surely it would be revealed. With another piece in hand, she met her eyes to Conor's again and murmured with one cheek stuffed full, "I dun know how 'ou can manage to give this stuff away but it saves me some coin." She chewed and swallowed again, then glanced towards the kitchen door with a look of slight concern for the girl that had disappeared.



Date: 06-23-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 72

Conor followed her gaze to the door and the man entering there. Speak of the devil and he'll come on through the door! "Saves mine as well, Sia, to be spent on more ... enjoyable ... things." He held her gaze while he spoke, but when she looked to the kitchen door, he shifted his gaze to his brother. "Look what the sea spewed out." All wet and wrinkly! "You look as if you have cooled yourself down considerably, Segan."

Ugh! The whole scene was aggravating and infuriating. She hated men that threw themselves at women like that. It was disgusting! And much as Karina wanted to like the gypsy lass, she just coyly played along with it. Ugh. Karina banged a couple pots and pans around, ostensibly cleaning up the dishes in the sink but really it was an exercise in anger release.

Enjoyable things of which he had a ticket for, or call it a personal pass to a certain place. Three in fact, just in case two could be used by certain brothers. Of which, he only had two. "Aye, spewed out but certainly cooled down from the heat," could be day or something else that transpired down at the piers after the dancing. He lifted his tankard in salute before downing a good portion to quench his thirst. He took up a lean, not caring to sit in damp clothes though it wouldn't take them long to dry in this heat. Hazel would be chasing Karina out of the kitchen pretty fast.

...Oops. She'd thought she'd been safe, but ought to have known Hazel was always lurking. "--I was jus' tryin to help," she protested sulkily as she was shooed out of the kitchen at broom-point.


"Heh," she let out in a sudden breath, the kind of awkward laugh that said she understood what he meant. To keep from answering him, she filled her mouth with more food. Segan! She was right. In her own little party she grinned before swallowing down her food with another sip of water. Her emeralds took a look at Segan and she dipped her head in a silent hello, hoping he'd return the gesture considering they sort of knew one another already. With the plate nearly bare in front of her, she was starting to feel a little like a pig. So, to keep her hands occupied, she cupped the now empty glass and slid out of her stool, jingles beginning again with every step of her feet around Conor, and then the end of the bar towards the kitchen door. Now she understood she was encroaching on the tender's territory, but she didn't have to go far till' Karina was pushed out of the kitchen and nearly met Sia's stomach with a thud. Sia laughed, her hands coming down to the girl's shoulders to settle her and smile in her direction. "I was lookin' for ya. Wanted to warn ya I was a little hungrier than usual." Her finger motioned shyly to the empty platter.

"So..." Conor watched the dancer start toward the kitchen, shooting a look to Alex, knowing that Hazel would definitely not take kindly to one, much less two, women entering her domain. He forced back a grin as those two nearly collided.  "I hear you had quite a time at sea-side earlier."

Blue eyed focus turned on the dancing lass as a slow smile lifted. Casual lean afforded him as much a casual perusal of her fully now. Nice outfit, nice contents in that outfit. About to say something, introduce himself but she moved away and so his tankard was lifted instead for another drink.

"Ack!" That expelled as she nearly collided into the gypsy woman. The smaller lass looked up at Sia, pulling back quickly from the grip she'd settled on her shoulders. Slight frown as she brushed herself off, then glanced over to the empty platter. "Oh." She swallowed the antagonism that bubbled up in her, something she was quite good at (despite popular thought). A shrug and she replied, "Not much hungry anymore." Crossing back to the bar, she picked up her mug, passing Segan with a "Hullo" before going to settle herself, cross-legged, in a seat by the window.

"'ello," drawn out in a brogue as Karina passed him by. Was she steaming just a little bit? Had a slight smirk as focus shifted to his brother, most likely the cause of it.

All bubbly-bouncy when she arrived, now her balloon of happiness was deflated? A squint of eye studied Karina's retreat, a soft snort following. He looked to Sia. "If you'd like more, there's more to be had." Another glance to where Karina planted herself. "Seems she's a bit worn out from the festivities earlier.  And cranky because of it." Lips tightened to hold that grin at bay.


Her touch quickly retracted much as the girl did, noticing she was not welcome. Sia gave a bashful smile, noticing the girl's recluse answer and obvious lack of enjoyment. So, letting Karina drift away, Sia reclaimed her seat with slow movements, her hands knotted between her thighs against the silk of her skirt before her eyes turned to Conor quickly, "Oh, thank ya, but that was all I needed." Her head bobbed a bit, causing strands of her messy hair to trickle into view before her eyes turned to Karina as well, with much concern dropping her muscles. It wasn't entirely clear why the girl was upset, but Sia had a good feeling she was close to being blamed. She tucked herself in on that stool, glancing between now Conor, Segan, and Karina.

Good thing Karina couldn't hear them at the distance she now sat. Otherwise Conor's talking about her as if she weren't there wouldn't have improved her mood. As it was, she just sipped from her mug and allowed herself to steam. It was the only vent for her often-volatile emotions and she was having a time of shaking it this time.

Well drat, he'd have to speak a bit louder. Because, come on now, Conor was an excellent source for releasing her ill-moods. She never hesitated taking them out on him before. "Crank...eee." He repeated, just a little louder this time.

He debated remaining inside for the vibes that floated about, he headed for the side door which was left open, Conor could take care of himself and juggle the two while he took up a lean there against the frame in sunlight that would help his cause in drying off.

Segan never did respond to his comment so all Conor could do was ... juggle.

She huffed slightly, loudly, showing her sheer annoyance to Conor's need to antagonize the poor girl. But a huff was all she did. The movement of the soggy Segan had her eyes drifting towards him but with his new lean, she simply returned her observation to her hands, rearranging the bracelets around her wrist.

Twitch. Over at the window she turned her head back towards Conor, gleaning that comment of his was directed at her. She lifted her voice to reply tartly, "If I am it's because of ye, Conor Quinn!" Her huff could have been twin to Sia's, and she then rose again, pacing across the establishment to go join Segan at the side door. The kitchen was off limits as an escape now, but at least she could be with more amiable company.

And so now Sia could diffuse her worry that she would be blamed for any problems. That was Conor's responsibility, always.

It wasn't a comment he needed to respond to, he'd heard right, least in what was referred to. The outburst from Karina, had a sharp glance thrown in her direction then his brother as he remained in his lean. Ah. No. He moved back in, he didn't need to be caught between the two. He was smarter than that and partially a reason he ended up in the brink after they had left the port. Guzzling down the last of the tankard as his reason for heading for the bar and a refill needed.

She too wanted to stay out of the line of fire, knowing little to the true nature of hostility. She glanced at Segan upon his return, and threw him a smile, hopefully signaling his attention,"Segan right?" She had only heard it from the mouths of the others in the room, so she wanted to confirm it. And ask him where he learned to dance.

Hooked, all he had to do was reel her in now. Karina had only one button where Conor was concerned, and that was the annoyance button. He could find it with his eyes closed. Conor picked up on Sia's discomfort and rather than have it continue, he smiled to her and left her to speak with Segan who had come back. "Excuse me." He offered, leaving his cup there on the counter and started to Karina. Death wish? He was a Quinn...that was their nature.

He thanked Alex for the refill as a wary glance shifted to his side before turning enough in the woman's direction. "Aye, ye've a bit o' an advantage as nae bae know'in yea name." Brogue really rolling with his words at the moment. Sometimes it did when he was irritated with certain things or excited, hard to really put a finger on what sparked it. Good, bad or indifferent.

Karina watched with resentful eyes as Conor excused himself so politely to Sia; she knew that she, Karina wasn't likely to receive such solicitous attention. "Stay away from me." She warned as Conor advanced, shifting her weight like a caged bird ready to hop its perch. "I don't wanna talk to ye's!"

Okay, so he wasn't completely insane, and heeded that warning by staying at least an arm's distance from her. "Then you don't have to talk, you ornery little thing, I will. I won't be tossing you over my shoulder to toss you in any troughs, I won't touch you at all." Would that keep her from darting away like some wharf rat caught snout deep in grain?

"Oh, I'm Sia," she giggled quickly after, her hand emerging from the cabinet of her thighs and outstretched to him in a proper shake. She waited for his participation in the greeting, her lips stretched back in a wide grin, eyes turned up politely to meet his own. Though behind her she heard the already unfortunate collision of Conor and Karina.


Karina was just staring him down (from her much shorter height, an amazing feat), and her eyes narrowed slightly as he spoke. She followed his reference to Segan dunking her in the trough, yes, but wasn't really sure what to make of  it. Why was he so adamant about saying he wouldn't touch her. Was he that repelled by her? "Well.... good." She simply said, sarcastically, in a what-the-hell-are-you-on-about sort of tone.

"It bae mae pleasu'r tae be meet'in yea, Sia." Accent still thick that came with a winning smile, one just as quick before gone. He hesitated a second as he took her hand in his, deciding not to shock her with any gentlemen skills he actually possessed. He was a sea captain so decided to hold that image instead. Large calloused hand swallowed up her softer, smaller one as the squeeze was gentle with a passing of his thumb against the skin before released.

"Same here Segan. You're quite tha dancer, and captain." Having seen him on the docks before the parade of locals began. The feel of his hand was hardly surprising. Her shake though was quite different then other women who attempt such a masculine gesture. She was proud in her grip, shaking his hand before releasing it and replacing her hand in the warmth of her lap. Her brackets twinkled the whole way down, till' her hand finally got comfortable.  "Yur welcome." She nodded quickly, then allowed him to speak again.

"It is nice of you to say so." Accepting the compliment in the gesture it was given but not something he really thought on overly, and only some that it was mentioned. One of those fleeting thoughts. "What brings you to the lands?" Being fairly new here of a month and already his brother Conor was capturing hearts which had a glance there with a twitch of a smirk before concentration turned to his tankard and another long drink to follow.

Her eyes drifted in a slow circle before returning back to him a slightly coy manner,"Oh, just had ta get outta the house, you could say. But this was a great
  place ta do so. Had lots of fun and lots of food." The light-hearted nature of her laughter came upon him once again, her hand lifting to muffle it softly before it dissipated. Her attention was loosing its grip on Conor and Karina, instead being polite and keeping her thoughts on Segan.
He wouldn't touch her because she had made it quite clear to him, early on, while they may spar via words, only Segan could lay hands on her. The way she bristled with even this distance caused him to shake his head, cutting his gaze toward Segan and Sia before returning it to Karina. His voice lowered. "You can be as vicious as you want to me, Karina, but you were just rude to that woman. I know you don't give a rat's arse, it's just that ... " He shrugged then. "well, you really shouldn't take out your frustration at me.." He drew in a deep breath, held it, then released it slowly. "Forget it." Another look his brother's way, and he turned to the side, easing past her without touching her to exit at that door.

She made her way up the dirt road, her knapsack was tucked tightly under her arm as she came upon the tavern, she wasn't quite sure what sort of place it was, but without entering she might never know, and at this point in time she was in need of something to eat and drink, the mulberries she gathered earlier did little to ease her cravings for something more solid to fill her stomach with. Her feet were hurting from all the walking and as she stepped in she immediately took in those gathered with her eyes and their attires, they all seemed moderately dressed which wouldn't make her stand out too much.

It wasn't only Segan so much as Only not Conor. Though her reasons for that distinction were unclear even to her at this point. Her jaw actually dropped at that unfair accusation he then levied at her, and she was hard put to keep her own voice to a whisper that wouldn't be overheard. "Rude to her! I let her eat my whole bloody meal didn't I?" A scowl as he went on, though truly its source was confusion. But before she had a chance to retort he was out the door. But if he thought he could get away that easily he had another think coming. And Karina coming after him as well. She trotted outside after him, and now in the open air allowed her voice to raise, just a little. "Take out my frustration on ye? What d'ye expect? You're always teasin' me, always baitin' me aren't ya?" She crossed her arms and frowned at him, daring him to challenge that statement. In truth, the way he painstakingly teased her without relent had been a source of confusion for Karina, though invariably she played it off with either anger or laughing.

As the gentleman came towards her ,obviously taking his leave she gave a gentle bow of her head and stepped aside from the door so she didn't get bumped out of the way.

"A good distance to get out of the house." Tipping a smile with only a look given his brother's way. Seems he and Karina were having another tiff, something that was becoming common between them.



Date: 06-23-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 73

He noted another woman coming in. Maybe it was the long day but he found some humor in the chain of events as he muffled a laugh. Possibly it was the look. If Conor heard him he might recognize it and  possibly fists would be exchanged outside having them both feeling better when all said and done, possibly Conor more than himself.

She would stand there blinking as the woman took off after the man she had stepped out of the way of...oh yes she was a bold wench which seemed to also be a common thing as of late, some women just didn't seem to know their place. She then looked over the others gathered as she lapped at her parched lips and spoke softly. "Might anyone know if there is a owner present?"

She was smiling in Segan's direction, but lost it the second she heard Karina exclaim obviously about Sia herself. The dancer cringed, feeling the heat of her embarrassment lick at the back of her head as she managed to glance at duo storming outdoors where voices continued to shout. The digits of her hand came to her bare forehead and held it with an obvious expression of guilt, feeling a knot in her stomach. Perhaps this would've happened without her presence here, but now she was pretty much involved. After a moment, she managed to look back up to Segan and reveal her regret, "Maybe I should go before I start anymore trouble..." Though she saw both Conor and Karina as endearing folks, she hated to see anyone bite each other's heads off.

"Dangit, Karina." Conor practically hissed at her, back stepping to reach in and shut the door so none inside would have to listen to her wicked tongue.

Concern edged blue eyes as they hardened in the retreat of his brother. "It is not you at all Sia. Trouble is between those two." Not adding his suspicions as to why or at least on one's half. The newest arrival looked a bit confused as well. "Pay no attention to that outburst, has nothing to do with anyone present." Half reassuring smile offered. "Alex will see to anything you need. Food. Drink. Room to stay, all without cost. Way the monarchy has it set up here. Who is to argue? It was explained, it works, all paid for," so not really 'free' but like a kingdom club of a sort.

Her lips parted to release the soft murmur, "yeah..." though she obviously didn't looked convince. The heavy feeling of guilt was still upon her as her emeralds met with the closed door that the two had disappeared through. Her hand rubbed more at her forehead before curling around her chin, supporting her weight with her elbow on the countertop. Her mind was a little preoccupied, so Segan and the newcomer were free to exchange words.

She couldn't help but glance about before looking back to the one who was addressing her, "I wouldn't feel quite right perhaps we could make a trade of sorts.. 
  I happened to have noticed you had a shed outback....perhaps I could work here for staying in the shed and meals.."

"I am not the owner of the tavern," though he was curious. "What kind of trade would you have in the offering if I were?" There seemed to be no convincing the other lass as a frown touched with the thought perhaps she had her own vested interest in Conor then too.

"Well..I don't mind scrubbing floors and serving up meals...mind you..I'm not the greatest with drinks...but I can keep a clean tavern..."

"There is a shed out back?" Not that he had noticed. "Ah, that would be up to the Crown as they own this tavern." Alex just served in it.

Interest? Heaven's no! She wouldn't contemplate the thought. She'd only just met him. But he was quite generous, and being without coin herself, kept good customers close to the hip for security sake. And Karina was quite the girl, and seeing her so upset, and possibly having caused it, was less than pleasing. So Sia sat sulking, glancing to the somewhat odd woman and Segan before asking Alex for another glass of water to settle her stomach.

"Ahhh very well then...perhaps you might know someone in need of a house keeper or grounds keeper.."

"Personally, I don't but who knows?" He was getting antsy with the feel in the room. He had no answers for the new lass and the other one sulking. "Excuse me, have a good day." He was going to collect his boots out on the stoop and be on his way. Find himself a fight or something.


Wicked tongue? For once she was actually speaking honestly. Almost plaintively, for there was a tad bit of hurt nearly invisible behind the shields of accusation that were her eyes.

"Have you no thought as to how someone might take what you say?"  He waved a hand toward the Thistle in general but made sure his gesture came nowhere near her.

A glance over her shoulder and she scowled, though she wouldn't meet his eyes for a second. "I didn't' mean for her tae hear but it was the truth, weren't it." A little petulantly.

"I offered it to her, but you wouldn't know it, because you had stormed off to the kitchen.  I thought you'd have plenty to share.  Hell, there was plenty to share and more to replace it."  He paused a moment, his jaw tensing. "Take out your anger on me, aye?  Which you are quite good at after all!" His own voice had started to get a tad bit louder unable to control the emotions that had boiled and brewed for some time for the way this spitfire of a young woman always responded to him.

"I don't mind sharing, I jus' like tae be asked first!" She scowled right back, before realizing that she was getting sucked into a false argument. It wasn't the food she was upset about, not at all. Though it seemed to be the best scapegoat at the moment. Fists balling at her sides she just regarded Conor furiously. "I only take it out on ye when ye cause it!"

He leaned in quick, his voice strained with what control he was managing to hold on to.  "Bullshit."  He growled, pulling back before he found her fist against his jaw and him unable to retaliate.  "I cause 'it' just by breathing in the same room as you!"

"Aye, sometimes ye do!" She snapped off, the cadence of her breathing picking up a bit through sheer irritation. Her cheeks were becoming stained with color too, and in a sharp gesture she tugged off that cap of hers and jammed it under one armpit, crossing her arms again to hold it in place. "You're always comin' after me. Always teasin' me. You're as bad as the boys down at the docks. Ye won't just let me be! Ye can't seem tae just say somethin nice ta me and leave it at that!" She took a breath, really gathering steam now. Could he tell that this had been bothering her? "And ye treat me like a little girl, like I'm just your wee sister ta be bossed 'round. Well I'm not!" One hand lifted, scraping through the tight rings of her curls in an aggravated gesture. "I like tae tease and play 'round just as much as anyone, but sometimes..." She set her jaw, not sure where her own thoughts had been leading there.

With that quick movement to remove her hat, Conor tensed ever so slightly, never knowing what to expect from this lass.  He listened to all she had to say, listened without even trying to think how to respond, but when she finished and he opened his mouth to retort, she added that last.  "Well finish railing at me, Karina...hell, don't hold back now."

She frowned at him for a long moment, then finished in a burst. "Sometimes I want ta talk to somebody without having tae always be on the defense! And I am with ye!" She added, perhaps unnecessarily but there you have it.

Segan was working on a headache. That Sia sulking for feeling she caused the yelling between Conor and Karina no matter him telling her it was not so. Then the newest one offering her services for the free food and drink. Willing to live in a shed he didn't know existed in the back. He tried to explain to her that wasn't needed but seems his words always fell on deft ears where women were concern. "Bah! Only good for one.."  halting mid sentence as he came upon the sight of Karina and Conor. His stomach tuning in that instant as well his steps to cease.

"The way I see it, you have Segan for that, no? Someone to take to without having to be on the defense?" He started to pace away, but stopped himself, meeting her eyes. "If you want me to let you be, Karina. I can do it. Not with ease, but it will be done."

Karina just looked at him with confusion invading on her anger and in fact eclipsing it, for that latter emotion had begun to lose much of its fire. Why was he bringing Segan up? She couldn't understand what he meant by that. But before she could comment on that, Segan himself appeared on the porch. Her glance cut that way, then returned to Conor though this time, her aqua orbs had a hard time meeting his. "That's not what I meant," she replied a little lamely through tight teeth.

Conor caught her shift of attention and turned to look in the direction of her gaze, noticing his brother. He nodded slowly, looking back to Karina. "How am I supposed to know what you mean then?" A growled out "bah" and he waved Segan over. Might as well have someone near she could speak to without having her be on the defense.

How indeed... because whatever she might have said then, was discouraged by Segan's arrival. The words died in her mouth. Instead, she blinked twice rapidly and released one last burst of anger born of sheer frustration, "Why should I bother ta speak when ye always tear apart my words like wolves on a carcass?" She spun around and jogged up the porch steps, getting as far as a hand on the doorknob, there, since the door was closed.

He didn't like the looks of the conversation and what he suspected anyway.  Something not to touch with a ten foot pole. Ah, what the hell, he was a sailor and blurted out quite clearly. "Conor, the lass shows all the signs of having a crush on you." Then mumbled, "if not something more." She was only sixteen, what would she know about love though a crush might feel like one. Notice, he didn't come any closer with that suggestion. Conor might well get to see him attacked by the feisty lass. He still had his tankard in hand so quickly finished the contents in preparation for a possible confrontation. Wait, she was behind him now! Down the steps he went to turn facing both, like a triangle.

Whatever her intentions, Conor Quinn, no matter what had just transpired, couldn't follow after her. He stood his ground where he had been. His fists tightened at his side and he pulled his gaze from her departing form to his brother. Aye, she could very likely dive at Segan. It was as it was...not only Segan then, just not Conor. "Aye." He spoke low, neither of them would probably even hear. To what, only he knew, but he didn't say any more. He'd no longer be tearing apart her words to him like a hungry beast. He knew when he was bested and once Segan came out and she ceased to finish what she was saying to him, Conor realized he was bested.

Karina had been so close to making her escape without Segan bursting out that little piece of information, but alas... peace was not to be. She froze with one hand on the doorknob, turning slowly to look first at Segan. And her features were a mask of... betrayal. Why had he said that?! How could he do that?! It wasn't as if Karina had ever breathed a word along those lines to the other brother, but still...she'd considered Segan a friend but this... and her gaze was dragged slowly to Conor. And his lackluster reaction. That did it. She gathered air into her lungs to proclaim, "I wouldn't so much as comb my hair for ye, either of ye's, not as long as I live!" Her voice shook a little towards the end and to avoid mortifying herself even more than she had been already, she turned and ran inside and up the stairs toward her room above.

It was the truth as he saw it and had hoped that maybe bringing it out in the open to solid ground this tension would stop even if such feelings were not mutual or if they were. That he didn't know. Which had him shoot a glance to Karina and linger there. "I would not think you'd ever put a comb to your hair for me."

Conor stood there. What else could he possibly do? To see Karina's mortification at Segan's shout settled a lot in his mind. Her shout back...took care of anything left. He just nodded, watching her run away from them, from him. "You sure have a way with words, Segan." He muttered, starting over to his brother. He drew in a deep breath and reached out to thump his kin on the upper arm. "I better go and clean up."

And upstairs in her room, Karina did the only thing a heartsick, mortified teenage girl could do - even as tough a street rat as she. She flung herself across the bed and burst into tears.

He started to walk away, cutting a glance up to the upper windows of the Thistle, before lowering his gaze and continuing on.

"I would avoid going through the main tap room as there are two more waiting for you, one to offer her services, the dancer to need reassurance. OH," stopping him to show him something, might be the worse of times but it might be the best of times too.

Conor smiled, looking from the passes up to his brother. "A sword...and now this? And I thought you didn't love me." There was amusement in his tone, although not as much as might have been otherwise.

"It was either that or crack your head open to some sense. If you want to talk about it. I've an ear to listen, might even provide some advice." Better his brother than himself as such a situation was hard no matter which way you turned it. Any other thoughts would not leak through. "We've that dance to go to, and our little sister with some admirers that need looking into."

"Aye, well..." He shrugged, forcing himself not to look again to the Thistle. "Better than Gran I suppose." He half-grinned when he mentioned Concessa's suitors. "There is that."

"Aye," grin starting to form as they best turn thoughts there and this ball coming up. She was only what, eighteen? to have suitors or such complications.

"Let's go get ready for that ... ball ... then." He actually laughed, anticipating a grand time of it after all.

Throwing an arm about his brother's shoulders as they headed for the manor. Grandmama would want to see them all before they left as certainly she knew about this dance taking place. Then there was another place to visit soon, get Eion to go as well. He could use such getting out. "At least from the invitation we don't need to dress up much."



Date: 06-25-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 74

Exotic Silks

Segan headed for the Thistle, feeling a whole lot better this day. He smelled of the sea as getting the Anaconda out and down along the coast to Ballicastle had taken the sting out of the last number of days. He had raspberry picking to do yet but he would wait for Eion!

Shere had escaped her guards though it wasn't a hard thing to accomplish as late. She suspected it was allowed to a point because of the way things were here in Heathfield. There had been no sign of spies that she knew of but then she wasn't privy to all that went on. The warmer days allowed the wearing of the lighter garb of her homeland, the clothing that was worn in the privacy of their homes back in Egypt since the Caliph had begun to insist on  women covering up. The silks she wore were pale pink, the first layer translucent, the second a little less so. They emphasized her graceful movements, swirling about long legs as she walked, teasing with what could have been a glimpse of skin here and there but leaving one unsure. She was walking the white mare that she had ridden so she could visit a few of the street vendors. As she neared the Thistle, one of the stable boys took her horse. After giving him a coin, and saying something that made the teen blush, she made her way up the steps and inside.

Still yawning over her mid-day meal the little night owl was settled at a table near the window with her plate and mug. The scrappy sixteen-year-old had her legs up on an opposite chair, those limbs clad in many-patched baggy pants. Her top was similarly loose, the ties of the poet's shirt left loose at the neck, revealing only a bony clavicle. The crazy curls of her short hair had been tied up and out of the way, well as much as such a feat was possible, for several escaped to fall in her eyes. Karina pushed them away impatiently.

A sailor's tune whistled under his breath as a swagger came naturally to his step. He'd been gone too long from the sea under him and it was a needed fix. His crew had been getting to the point of mutiny and taking the ship on their own had he not gotten the business from Bovee recently. All was ironing out though there were still things to sort out. Wasn't that the way of life? You sorted out challenges and problems that came up from small to large only to have more come your way with each passing day. The hope that the negative was not too often nor too big. Though he heard it said nothing was ever sent one's way they couldn't handle even if difficult. He could argue that one at times. The tune disappeared as his steps slowed for the vision of silks ahead of him. Thrown back to Cyprus a moment and one of his adventures there. Such a sight could be indulged as he continued but kept the distance and hopefully unobserved until she disappeared inside. A hand lifted to swipe the back of it across his brow. Wow. Visions here kept on coming. He was liking this place more and more as his steps picked up. A quick skip and a hop to the porch before heading in not far behind the silken clad lass.

Karina had been absorbed in the task at hand... which, since the plate in front of her was empty did not involve stuffing her face (anymore!). Rather she hunched over the table in an almost studious posture, quill in hand and paper spread before her. The markings she made upon it were decipherable only to her, and for good reason: lacking the ability to read or write, those notations were entirely of her own invention. The place was empty so she had liberty to hum to herself as she worked, the tune flowing beneath her breath, pausing occasionally as she jotted onto the paper.

Sandals were worn on her feet and around her neck she wore a simple collar of faience beads. Gold hoops hung in her ears and on either wrist she wore wide bands of gold and beads that made her bronze skin seem to glow. Her hair was braided with many small braids, each decorated with the same type of bead. Around one ankle she wore bells that made a soft, merry sound. She smiled at Alex and bowed slightly, her hands together. "Sahib Alex, punch with the
nectar of peach if you would be so kind." The girl noted but she seemed lost in her work, so Shere would not interrupt.

A brief glance up to the door and, whether Shere meant to or not the simple presence of somebody else there was already an interruption. But no matter, she was used to it. Her humming ceased or at least, quieted, except for moments when she just couldn't help it. A friendly enough nod to the newcomer was offered before she turned her head back down to paper.

He stood there, just inside the open door with the light behind framing his body in silhouette a moment. White buccaneer shirt was light and airy, sleeves rolled up and the front left mostly open contrasting against tanned skin. There was some hair on his chest but for being blond it went near invisible. Blue eyes were bright having just come from the sea as he took in the others within. Alex at the bar as he made a motion for a cold ale this hot afternoon. The teen girl recognized by him immediately as he continue further in, making his way to the bar. "Afternoon Karina." Polite as usual although a little distracted to the newcomer. "Miss. I am Segan, the little lady there at the table is Karina."

That is till Buccaneer Bill himself made his appearance. Karina glanced up to the door, a smile creasing her features as she waved to Segan. Then nodded again to the lady as she was introduced. "Hiya."


She turned dark eyes to the newcomer and smiled, bowing to him as she had Alex and then to the girl. "It is well in the meet. I am Emuishere of the House of al-Dawla, but most call me Shere." Eyes were lined with kohl and a touch blue had been place on her lids, making her eyes seem impossibly wide. She tipped her head as she openly studied the man. "You are of the sea." Stating it rather than asking.

At least Buccaneer Bill was a happy camper, especially at this very moment. He felt thrown back to younger years, though that would only be about seven to ten to put him back to the appropriate teen years. "The pleasure is mine. I heard there were two families from Egypt. Where about? Have you been in these lands long?" Oh, he was full of questions that sparked his interest and times he spent  in those lands. Though he didn't leave out Karina either. "Writing your memoirs?"

Karina glanced between the two of them, eyes lingering on Segan briefly as a knowing smirk curved her lips. Unnoticed, she shook her head to herself in wry amusement and turned back down to her parchment. Making another scribble of ink as cocked her head in thought. "Eh?" And back up to Segan. "Not hardly," she answered with another smirk and a chuckle too. Good-natured enough though she evaded actually mentioning what she WAS writing.

Eyes narrowed a moment in reflection, recalling that pit hole she had gone to one evening at the port. Also not far from another pit hole tavern he ended up in after the dance. Brothers knew of it and luckily she didn't. He found that out by asking the proprietor. At least that much was a relief. "Making notes on buried treasures.." as if that explained it as he collected his ale and proceeded to quench a parched throat. Boy did that feel good. First cold draught was the best just as the first burn from potcheen would be later on.

She had taken a drink of the punch after it was delivered and waited a moment while the two spoke. "We are originally from Alexandria. And have been here for several years. Now we live in Ballicastle but come here often. The shops are the draw I'm afraid." She laughed softly. "Though such is true of most females, yes?" She knew there were some that loathed that pastime.

Karina eyed him in return as he stared at her a moment, wrapped up in his own thoughts. About to ask why he was looking at her that way, he spoke up instead and she tilted her head, her own eyes narrowing. Then the other lady spoke up, distracting her and drawing out a 'hmph' from her lips. "Not me." She didn't say it in a challenging sort of way, though there was definite pride there as she lifted her chin. Raggedy clothes and all.

"Ah, a love note then," oh, such a smile that bordered on wicked before addressing the exotic beauty named Shere. Shere Beauty he mentally nicknamed her and of course would never voice it for being too corny. He knew about corny but at least in his own thoughts he could laugh about them and not get laughed at. "You have held on to your traditions or incorporate some of those here, as in the saying when in Rome be as the Romans. Though I must admit, there is a lot to be said about silk. The shops here, from what I have noticed carry many goods of all kinds and from many places."

"Not hardly!" She repeated her retort from earlier though with a bit more chutzpah this time, as she grabbed a piece of paper, balled it up and threw it at Segan's head. Ha, just try to be all smooth with the ladies with paper in your face, Buc Bill!

"You are young yet." She dismissed that with a wave of her hand then nodded. "I am here to visit the shop at the Hospital. Sara has much in the way of herbs and medicines." She smiled but the paper distracted her.

The paper bounced off his head but a swift hand caught it on the downfall. He opened it up to find it held nothing as he turned it as if showing Alex and Shere, "see, it's not for me but another." Affecting a sigh like 'alas' before balling it up then lopped it into a waste bin at the end of the bar, banking it in from the wall in a clear successful shot. "There is a place near the port, situated between the Commons and there. Benzaiten Imports, I do believe he carries fine oils from Egypt and Orient. Though I can't be certain as it was just a glimpse I got in passing." He recognized certain urn type vessels.

Well, it didn't exactly hold nothing for she'd accidentally grabbed one of her notations. Upon the paper were lines and lines configured in some sort of vertical pattern - short and long lines, dashes and dots running up and down  the columns. She rolled her eyes at his comment, standing up and crossing the room to fish the paper out of the bin, having realized it wasn't one of her blank sheets. Crap!

"Yes! I have been there. Sahib Xander has been able to buy much from our homeland." She laughed and moved closer, looking up at him through her lashes. "It is a shame for you are a very handsome man. " The notations meant nothing to her of course. "And yes, there is much to be said for silks and linens. You would find them comfortable, though the men here do not dress like those in our lands." Or more, in the old ways though the men of the two families did.

Just as she was looking at it after retrieving it from the waste bin, he was over. Swift like as she may have noticed before to pluck it out of her hands. "That's mine, you threw it to me which is giving it." Noting the vertical lines, dashes and dots, hell, looked like some kind of code. "You know he wont be able to read this.." like it was part of her love note and still teasing her on that fact. Not malicious but to get her goat. He was around to find Shere there and did he go blank for a moment just staring. It was a sin for a woman to have such eyes.

She was too busy pawing around in the waste bin for it, that she only dimly noticed the exotic woman's comment to Segan. But then just as quick he'd snatched it from her hand. She straightened and put her hands on her hips, pulling  an offended face to Segan. "When you can figure it out, then you can have it." Aha! Opportunity knocks! And while he was hypnotized by Shere's gaze, she snatched the paper from Segan's hand and trotted back over to her table!

"What is a shame?" And didn't it registered she thought him handsome? HolyMoley, his deflated ego of late just got a boost. A very nice one. "You are very beautiful," never even noticing the scrap of paper snatched from his hand but he had a photography memory so it was stored before distracted. "Yes," having lost the trend of conversation and that came out automatically.

Karina just made a barf face and appropriate gesture with her finger in her mouth, behind their turned backs of course. And plopped back into her chair, smoothing out the crumpled parchment on the table.

This was a new one for him. He's seen many a pretty face and his prettier than many of those! That had proved a problem for some, being with a man prettier than they were. Luckily as he got older some of those smooth features rugged out. Maybe he was barfable presently but he'd not be the first and not the first of the Quinn brothers to respond this way.

"A shame the note isn't for you." Cheeks held a touch of rose as she lowered her eyes briefly. "Thank you." She met his gaze again and laughed softly, a sound much like chimes. "Yes you would find such comfortable?" There was a hint of laughter in dark eyes. This close he would be able to detect the hint of the blue lotus scent she wore.

Maybe that was a lot of it, the scent. Intoxicating and freezing his mind in a delectable way. She could get him to commit to anything at the moment. Luckily she didn't know that. Took him a moment, took him stepping back from the heady scent making his blood run hot in his veins. Drawn back to a room in black silks hung and a mixture of herbs, opium and lotus wafting through the place. Another adventure to be written down, narrow escapes some of them with his men. They had lost quite a few, half by the time all was said and done and headed home, picking up others along the way to their little clan. "Maybe a day will come when a woman will want to write me a note," not just drop dead type!

Karina rolled her eyes but otherwise, sought to ignore the two of them for now. A new, fresh sheet of paper was spread before her, that quill dipped into the inkpot then tapped against the side to release any dangling drops. But she didn't scribble anything just yet, clear sea-green eyes turning instead to the window and world beyond.

"You have never had such a note?" She was truly surprised! "Women here are blind here." She tipped her head slightly, suddenly curious herself. "You are a sailor. Do you have the ... marks on the skin? I know the word in my tongue but not in yours."

"It might well be that I've never been in a place long enough one could send me a note." Other than the other kind of notes too. Rendezvous. Not the kind he was speaking on that had actual meaning. "Maybe in time there is hope?" The idea appealing in a way. Luckily the topic switched to another. "I don't have marks on my skin other than some scars from fights I've been in." Never had the time nor inclination. "Tattoos don't make the sailor or man but certainly scars do."

"In time, yes. If you are to stay here longer." Her eyes went wide. "You have been in many fights? Have had many adventures? Will you show me the scars?" She loved a good story.

"Jus' don't show her the scar from that one thing." Karina spoke from the corner without even glancing up. Of course it was utter malarkey, she didn't know what sort of scars Segan had nor what fights he'd been in, but Shere didn't know that!

"Aye, I've been in many adventures. If you don't mind me taking off my shirt Karina," being he knew the Egyptians all bathed together, been there. Devil's grin Karina's way as he took off his shirt, no rush in doing so, he had an excellent physique. There was pride in that, normal kind as well for women when they got to that maturity. "Close your eyes, you might see a scar." Teasing her for it couldn't be helped in the way she was. Masculine muscular tone, skin of bronze as muscles rippled in the ease of the effort. There was a thin one along his right side of about three inches. Another on his back cutting across the shoulder blade down to the angel bone. One down near his kidney that had just missed that vital organ. Thin lines that had healed well, they had a good physician in their crew. One of the men they had not lost. "There are some others but that would require me taking down my pants and that would not be proper here." Shirtless was fine, shoeless but not naked in that way. Focus turning on Shere as she wanted to see those scars. Certainly a story behind each one and far more than those that left such scars. "I left the ones in worse shape. Dead."

"I'll try not ta lose my lunch," she replied dryly, deliberately shifting in her chair and turning away as if about to see something grotesque. Though when his full torso was exposed she couldn't help but peek just a little from around her quill. Hey... there was no fine for just looking at a nice man-body, was there? Though as Segan went on she averted her face with an Ugh. "Just let me know if it's gonna go that far so I can go elsewhere."

"No, Sahib Alex would certainly object, as young as the young Miss Karina." She laughed then pursed her lips slightly. "Some would have caused near death, Seegan." She was circling around him. Being a healer, this was of much interest. She ran her fingertip over one and nodded approval. "They healed well and it is good to know those you fought are no more. They were evil men?"

"Most and in the least they were trying to kill me." Giving her a wink as he slipped the shirt back on, words upped a few octaves. "It's fine to look now Karina. Wasn't too long or too painful." Flashing a white tooth smile her way as he somewhat tucked the tails of his shirt into the band of his pants. Parts half in and out but it didn't matter. Blue eyed glance tripping from there back to Shere. "You can tell the difference, are you a healer?"

"Thanks the gods," She replied heartily, with a teasing smirk sent his way before looking back down to quill and paper.

"It is the path I choose, yes." She wrinkled her nose and laughed. "Too many clothes are worn here. Makes one hot to see it." That to Karina before she looked back to Segan. "We each have a chosen path. In the old days, it was always so though of late, women are no longer considered the equal of men. We are no longer allowed to hold property of our own ... many things changed but our families are proud to follow the old ways though we have come to learn much here."

"Then, I shall have to spend more time down at the lake with you about." Certainly less clothes and when he could, he swam o'natural. "Unfortunately I need to do some raspberry picking for my grandmother." Pausing on her not being equal. "You are equal in my eyes in most things, respect being at the top unless giving a reason not but same for a woman as it would be for a man. Perhaps I can catch you at the lake later for I will be needing a swim by the time the picking is done. Might find a few there by that time." Though he knew he needed to go for Grandmama was really the head of the clan, the Matriarch.

Try living outside in a British winter, then talk about too much clothing, Karina thought but kept to herself as Shere engaged Segan in conversation again.

"We spend much time at the lake." She smiled as she glanced toward the window and noted the angle of the sun. "I should go to the hospital before Sara leaves. It was good to meet and talk to you, Seegan. And with you as well, Karina. I hope you both enjoy your evening."

Glancing up, Karina bobbed her head and waved a hand in farewell to them both. "Walk easy."

He had picking to do, Karina had writing to continue and Shere had people to meet. "Stay safe at least, Karina." Maybe an insightful remark as he gave a very courteous jester to Shere next. He folded his hands with a slight bend forward as he learned years ago. Straightened as they flared out at his side before relaxed. "Until we meet again, may Ra watch over you and yours." Being the Sun god he was pretty safe using him in the blessing. The one above the others.

"Where's the fun in that?" She replied in her own customary way, watching with a little grin as he made that exotic gesture. Ah, it was true, sometime she'd like to hear all of his stories, too.

She was delighted and it showed in her smile. "And may He guide your path in your day's journey." Returning the bow, her eyes never leaving his face.  Then she was moving for the side door where she could retrieve her horse and continue on to the hospital.

A sailor's quick salute Karina's way before he was around on a heel and heading out the side door. Grams was waiting, he could picture it, her expression and all the buckets at her tapping foot.



Date: 06-26-09
Poster: Riley McAndrews
Post # 75

When Emotions Run Amuck

Riley was back from an extended trip to the old world and other such places, mostly Eire as he explored more of the ancient grounds than socializing. He had his reasons and brought home gifts for his sisters. They always benefited from his times away and not hard to please ones their age or perhaps it was that they adored their older, and only, brother. He was at the bar having drinks of potcheen and shooting the breeze with Alex. The man was a fountain of information in catching up before he headed to Ballicastle. Attire consisted of the norm, poet's shirt of a pale blue, black pants and boots.

Eion's day had been busy. He had eaten dirt a few times during practice on the King's field, mostly with the King's men who didn't even need to use their special abilities. Following that, he had spent the remainder of the day picking raspberries for Gran. He had lost count of the buckets filled but it was worth it. There'd be extra pies and jelly made.

Vibrant blue eyes turned first to the mirror behind Alex as there seemed to be one lingering just outside the door. Hard to tell for the angle he was at on his stool. Alex moved away, seemed his instincts were the better judge as Riley refilled his glass. Like the rest of his clan, he could hold his drink. Took many and then some to take one of them down. Though the taller one was the harder they fell. Height was a challenge.

He had cleaned up, cussed at all the scratches, and then headed out and away from all the females tonight, though Mel had gone off with her knight. Entering the tavern, he headed for the bar, giving a nod to the one already there. "Evenin'." Cordial enough.

"Evening," watching the man the while and something about him likeable. He held out his hand. "Riley McAndrews," possibly he had heard the surname by this time if he'd been around a while. "I'm just back in and told there are some new faces to meet."

A slow night thus far made for a somewhat discouraging evening, but the night was still young... and would be made a little better with a little drink. To that end she let herself into the Tavern, scraping off her boots on the threshold along the way. The evening air was muggy and she was only too happy to tug the cap off her head and shake out those short, springy copper curls. The lanky teen was attired in her usual, a baggy pair of pants riddled with patches, a similarly worn poet's blouse rolled up to the elbows, that hung loosely on her lean and petite frame. Glancing up as she stepped in, the place seemed fairly empty but there was one Quinn there. A genuine bright smile was given to Eion. Good ole Eion. At least a person knew where they stood with that brother... something that she couldn't rely upon with the other two boys lately. "Evenin' Eion." And a nod offered to the stranger at the bar as well.

"Eion Quinn." He took his hand in a firm but not overly so grip and shook, then released. "You're the first of your clan I've met here. Been away then?" He nodded his thanks as Alex set a glass of the pure on the counter before he looked at Karina. "Evening, lass."

He shook Eion's hand with the same zest done. "Well met Eion," he moved from the stool to his full height of six and five as his hand was released. Hair was braided mingled in with loose locks somewhat tamed back from his face. The sleeveless tunic was of a very fine silk like material in midnight blue. Double stitching gave way to the quality as well the black pants and leather sandals. "Evening Miss." Dimples were there with his smile, a curse upon the McAndrews family. That and a few other attributes like devilish gleams in blue eyes. His didn't lack.

He took a drink then spoke again. "Riley McAndrews, this is Karina. Karina, Riley."

"Karina, my pleasure in meeting you." She seemed young though it might be the boyish clothing she wore. He couldn't say they did much for her other than have her look more like a boy. If that was her purpose, she succeeded well with it.

Karina had to look up... UP in order to fully see the Mc Andrews' face, for he stood a full foot taller than herself (and then some!). Still she offered an undaunted grin in greeting. "Aye, well met," she responded in turn.

One thing Eion liked about this land was the fact that most of the men here matched or exceeded himself and his brothers in height. Though the younger man might still have some growing to do.

Which only had dimples deepen with the tuck of his chin. The lot of them were devilish if given the chance. Up again as another entered. "Evening Miss." Easing back to sit the stool he had vacated. Made it easier than having the lass put a crick in her neck. He snatched up his drink in toast. "As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters point the opposite way."

Tossing her cap onto a vacant stool, Karina perched herself on the stool adjoining, parting her lips to order a drink - then turning back to Riley when he offered that...unique toast. It teased a grin to her lips. Her own cider arrived just in time, and she hefted it towards Riley. "An' may ye get ta heaven ten minutes before the Devil knows yer dead."

"Aye, there is that as well." The Irish had their own brand of humor as he kicked back the drink. More to come as he topped off his glass and Eion's if he was having the same.

"Evenin' Miss." He glanced at her and nodded then turned his attention to Riley again, nodding his thanks.  Nothing but the Pure for this Quinn.

He raised his glass to another, good possibility Riley had been drinking for a few hours here. "May the saddest day of the future be no worse than the happiest day of the past!" Which he kicked back the next only to refill again.

It seemed so. Though he didn't add to the toast, he did lift his glass and downed the potcheen in one long drink.

So it seemed, indeed. Karina smirked to herself and raised her glass again, taking another sip of cider. Yes.. she'd learned to stay away from the potcheen! At least for a little while longer.

Seems it was left up to him, "may you live as long as you want and never want as long as you life. Slainte!" The toast followed by another drink before setting his tumbler in wait. He eyed the newcomer making sure she was being served as she should be. Of course she was, so back to the others. Eion first. "How long have you been in the lands? As long as the one lass that has been running the Royal Stables? Melantha angel.."

"Slainte," Karina echoed laughingly. She couldn't help it; the man's effusive good humor, drunken as it was, was infective.

He refilled his glass then answered that one. "She's been here about a year I'm thinking.  I've only been here for a month or so." He couldn't be sure with all that happened. A twitch of his lips at the calling Mel an angel. "She's good with the horses."

"A year? I've been away that long? I need another drink!" Like that was the cure all for lack of a better reason and certainly a good reason could be found every turn. "Do not resist growing old, many are denied the privilege!" Kicking back the next shot as more was poured. Eion's glass topped off. "May the Good Lord take a liking to you Eion, but not too soon!" Another drink to follow.

Riley had plenty of toasts ready, didn't he? He raised his glass again. "Aye to that! Slainte!" And down went the drink.

Which just made Karina chuckle again, and dutifully lift her own tankard, echoing once more, "Slainte."

"And where is it you've been, Riley?" He asked as he added more potcheen to both their glasses.

This one was put out there next. He was in a good mood. If any of them ever wanted to know what a devil he could be, they just needed to meet Charlie One Time. "Here's to being single, drinking doubles and seeing triples." Which he heartily drank to before the tumbler was set and he paused. He'd been asked a question. "I sail the ocean blue in a ship called the Sea Serpent. One I stole from my uncle's shipyard to rescue two lasses that needed to get to Germany. I got them there and they left me high and dry without even a thank you. Lest me da bought the ship for me eighteen birthday but I was to work for me uncle for two years. It had been a good experience."

A raise of her glass, another sip. Wow, this was faster than she usually drank cider and that's saying something. She perked up in interest as Riley went on. Another sailor eh? She wondered if he'd met Segan yet. "Where else have ya sailed to?"

"I've sailed to Europe. The Orient. Africa. Colonies and other such places. The trips have been short for home calls as well duties but I shall return to the sea soon enough." Which had him lift his glass again. "To the Lady that moves so smoothly beneath me." Wicked grin to follow but was covered up by the lift of his glass in kicking back his drink. Ahhhhhhhh... "Slainte."

"Slainte!" He'd be singing on his way back to the manor tonight!

"Slainte!" Just as jovially, for Riley's catalogue of places visited tickled her imagination something fierce. She all but wriggled on her barstool, leaning unconsciously closer to the huge man. "What were the people like there? The towns? Which was your favorite?" All but bubbling over with questions... hey, had to live vicariously through someone!

"The hills o' Eire will forever call to me soul. The green like no other nor the people that live there. From bramble to fairy forts, the cliffs of Moher or those of the Cedi fields." So that was his favorite. "The Orient holds men in silk gowns, glamorous brocades and golden threads against black. The trees are even shaped differently and houses made like wide U's. They do a lot of bowing and fighting with curved swords." Taking another drink before adding, "those of Africa is a jungle, most live in nothing at all and the bugs, well they swarm there in the thickness of heat. Lush place for plants and unfriendly with so many dangerous animals and snakes."

He leaned against the bar as he listened, the thought occurring to him that Riley had been to many of the same places as Segan. "Have yae seen t'e Amazon? M'brot'er visited t'ere." Accent becoming heavier as the more he drank.

Karina was just absolutely rapt, soaking in all his words like a thirsty sponge. Leaning forward so much she seemed perilously close to toppling her stool. The Orient, Africa... how she'd love to see those places with her own eyes. Lost in the music of her own imagination for a moment, she sipped her cider dreamily.

"That I've not been, yet. I hear it is quite wild. Places where women are the warriors and use their men as sex slaves. Only the finest picked for reproduction purposes, the others discarded." One could imagine how they were discarded. "Many have sacrificial rituals to appease a blood lust and their gods." Which had Riley teasing her. Leaning in as she was leaning so close his way. "You lean any closer lass, I'll be kissing.." and here he purposely paused for effect. "That pert nose of yours," which he tapped with a finger instead before leaning back.

Holy cow, what was with threats of kissing lately?! Riley had the advantage on her for just a moment, since she was off in another land but that threat brought her straight back in a hurry! She pulled back a little, eyeing Riley warily but she relaxed when he just tapped her nose instead. It still made her blink, but afterwards she smirked. "Smart man, ye. If ye'd have tried any o' that it'd be your death we'd be toastin' to."

Anhur was looking for someone in particular. A member of the al' Dawla family that had not returned to the manor. It was a distance and perhaps he had not been fully informed of the circumstance. He stepped within attired in the norm of his people. Short white kilt about his hips, sandals on his feet. Nothing else other than the golden Ra pectoral resting on an otherwise bare chest. Bronze in hue and muscular. Hair as dark as the night but it was his eyes that were unusual. Water blue, that of a kind that reflected a summer's sky. "Fair of eve," addressing those there with a slight forward bow of his upper torso and head. Hands touching briefly before he continued his trek to bar and Alex setting out the favorite here. Potcheen.

"Don't mind her. She bae all talk and naught else." He said lazily before turning to address the man there. "Evenin' tae yae."

"Aye? Yea bae challeng'in mae lassie? That sounds more like you be wanting the kiss o' a mon. Though you be young for it. Maybe not ready?" Tossing in a wink before distracted to Eion, letting out a laugh. "Truth be told I would prefer to kiss a lass that knows how to kiss and wants it as much as I do." He recognized Anhur as he hailed him. "Anhur, it's good to see you again. Come meet Eion Quinn, brother of Melantha Angel." Poor Melantha, she had no idea he nicknamed her that and would probably be swatting him for it. Let alone the fact she was seeing the winged Gabriel! He could end up in mischief there. Certainly. "The lass be Karina of the no kiss-ums."

Karina just dropped her jaw in mock awe as the two men teasingly belittled her. "Both of ye's are gonna get what's comin' tae ye, if ye don't take care." Was that a hint of her own brogue creeping into her own tone? Must've been the excessive drink, consumed exceedingly fast. She already was hailing for another full tankard. A wry set of the lips at her 'special' introduction and she lifted a hand to Anhur.



Date: 06-26-09
Poster: Riley McAndrews
Post # 76

His mention of Mel's nickname had him snickering as he stood. The way the man was dressed was unusual only in that his kilt was white. Still, he did know something of the Egyptians. "A pleasure, Anhur."

"This is clan?" Anhur had no idea for differences in customs. It had taken him an interesting time to learn the language. Bluuuuiiiiiddddy hell time. "Fair meet Karina of no-kissums." He was over to offer his hand to Eion as learned of their customs. "Fair met, Eion."

Don't mind him, shoulders shaking, was that snickering too under his breath?

"See what ye've started," she reflected aloud, directing her speech to Riley. Fixing him with a stare as he snickered, though she was hard-put to restrain her own smirk. "Last thing I needed 'round here was another reason for this lot ta tease."


Had he been drinking at that very moment, he would have choked. Instead he shook Anhur's hand. The other lass seemed to have disappeared before offering her name so he said nothing about her!

Wait until she met the lot of McAndrews. Ten sons born to Chadrick, whose eldest Chadrick had ten sons. Riley was the oldest son of second born Prince, Seamus, regent of Ballicastle. "Aye, this is a good  example of how rumors get started and become fact." Well, not really but more taken as fact by those who had no minds of their own to find out the truth.

"Aye. Which doesn't give one a whole lotta faith in 'fact'," she commented, the drink adding wisdom to her speech. Or at least, so it sounded to her!

He hadn't really noticed the too quiet one that slipped away. Hand met in a good grip before released. Now he could take up the drink that was set for him as he listened. "Has Egyptian lady been here today?" Asking in general as he looked between the three others before he was bothering Alex on any details.

He just eyed Karina before Anhur's question had his focus changing. "I've only been here for a short time."

He shook his head with a glance between the other two. "Same here. Just got back in tonight."

"Aye." Karina spoke up to answer Anhur. "Name of... ah..." Her nose scrunched up, trying to think but she couldn't recall the name. "Tall lady, silk robes, lots o' black smudge 'round her eyes. She was in earlier." And flirting outrageously with Segan, but she didn't mention that part.... yet. "Shere." She remembered suddenly. "Name o' Shere. Is tha' the one you're lookin for?"

"She is called Shere. Yes. She was in fight?" How else would she have dark areas round her eyes unless bruises for the way described. Now he was worried. Her brothers would not be happy at all.

"In a fight? Not that I know of.." Karina's turn to look confused. Until her face cleared and she let out a cackle of amusement, understanding. "Nah. Not bruises. I meant dark makeup 'round her eyes."

"Yes, it is call kohl. All the women wear it of higher standing in our culture and family. It is traditional." Along with a few other things like that. "It is good to know she is not harmed."

"Aye well." She waved her hand in a vague gesture. "She said she was gonna go see someone by name o' Sara at th' hospital. But that was hours ago.Not, fer treatment or nothin," she hastened to assure the Egyptian this time. "She said she was lookin for new sorts o' medicines ta try." Riley over there was being oddly quiet. Had he passed out cold in his potcheen?


That was the kind of information he was looking for. Had him smiling of a sudden. Swept away the more serious stoic side into dashing. "Thank you much. I am in debt." Which had him take a solid gold plate from a smaller broach of Ra on the side of his kilt. Curving, about an inch long. It was symbolic. He set in front of her where she sat. He was one that didn't really know about personal boundaries and was right into hers for that moment. Unique water blue eyes one could get lost in like looking into a deep pool with the sunny blue sky behind. The intoxicating scent  of blue lotus could be picked up on before he was gone out of her personal space and on his way. "Fair of night," with a wave before out the side door. He knew Sara at the hospital and would go there.

Whaaaaat? A shiny giftie?! It had her eyes growing as big as saucers. She'd thought the whole being in her debt thing was just an expression, but... Wow. She reached for it but her hand paused as he leaned over so close. Her own aqua eyes swiveled upward to meet his most forceful gaze. Nostrils flared slightly with that scent but just as quickly, he was gone. Her eyes followed his departure before she snatched up the bit of gold, then held it up to the other men. "How 'bout that?"

"He is a generous man.The High Priest of Amun Ra. They reside in Ballicastle." Slow grin bringing out the dimples again. "My lands." He was surprised she didn't bolt with a half naked man, all bronze muscle that close to her when bristling over a threat of a kiss!

"Night." He lifted a hand as the man left though there was a definite glint of amusement in his own eyes. "Nice, lass."

"Aye.... generous." Her eyes trailed up to the side door again. Generous... and a few other choice things that would go unmentioned. Welp, that gold disc would be tucked securely away into her pocket before glancing back up to Riley. "Ballicastle?"

"Yes. A sister castle to these lands. Chadrick McAndrews is King. There are three more sister castles. Tyremoor of the Douglas family. Kildare of the twin sons of the Queen here, McLarkin and King Peter O'Neill of Innis Daingneach. A fortress isle. Now, talk about sea faring lands. Peter has a couple fleets of warships. So does me uncle Liam McAndrews."

Karina was soaking it in again, names and places. She parked her elbow on the bar top, using her hand to prop up her chin pertly. "Warships? Have they ever seen battle?"

He needed to sit and, with drink in hand, made his way to a table. Booted feet were propped on a chair as he once again fell to listening.

"I'm sure they have, though it's been a while. There was a great war that raged over a decade amongst the lands here long ago, when Andrew Barrett was King. When Chadrick the first was King. You may have met me cousin around the same age? Rick, for Chadrick, McAndrews? Riley was twenty now where Rick was nineteen." Though Rick was Crown Prince and better he than Riley! Rick was the son of the King. That being the reason. Seamus just got to having children before the eldest brother.

"I've heard o' that Barrett fella," though she couldn't place how or where. Then a shake of her head, causing those curls to bob in that mop upon her head. "I've not met him, I dun think." Though a glance over to Eion, because she'd met so many new folk lately, it was hard to keep track.

"Ah, you'd remember him if you did. He's probably doing his war games being he became head of war tactics for Kildare under the twins."

"You all have such big families," she commented and was that just a hint of something beneath her casual tone? Something akin to envy or even longing... either way, it was covered up behind a gulp of cider before she set her tankard on the bar again. "So where does that leave ye then? Bound ta inherit some fancy title, lots of land?" A little grin.

He gave a slight shrug when she looked his way. Riley was the first of the family he had met though he did point when he mentioned the war games. "I think I've seen him on the Field? Or at least heard his name mentioned."

"Most likely. A couple inches taller than me with blond hair and blue eyes. All his nine brothers have blond hair and blue eyes like all my uncles and father." He had the darker hair for his mother but he had the McAndrews build, looks and dimples! "You would see him around Mikhail MacKay a lot. Now there is a seasoned warrior."

"Aye, I've seen 'em bot', t'ough not met t'em formally." He made a slight face. "I bae in trainin' and up until a few day ago, was considered tae bae healin'." And now he was getting the full treatment!

Weary, worn, sunburned and sporting a lot of scratches over arms and chest, what was exposed for he left his shirt open with the salve on his skin, Segan stood in the doorway to the side entry. Leaning a moment as if the walk here was having him need to catch his breath. It was. After the raspberry picking, only to find grandmama had a few buckets from Eion and now had the same plus two, he and his men went to finish the northern wall. They got done late, just before the sun went down and he'd fallen asleep until now.

"Glad ye decided ta stick 'round and train, Eion." Karina spoke up, perhaps unexpectedly... but the gal was observant. She remembered that big blow-out between brothers when Eion had threatened to leave the lands. A genuine little grin sent the elder brother's way before a movement caught the corner of her eye. And there was Segan, looking like he'd been through the ringer. "God's balls! Wha' happened ta ye?" Weaving a little on her barstool, yes, the three already present were in their cups.

"And Riley here bae a prince, lass. Wit' all t'at comes along wit' t'at title." Since he didn't think Riley had heard her question. He made a slight face. "Gran woul' have hunted me down if I had left." He leaned his head back to  look at Segan.

"Some would say Prince of Rascals." Grinning smugly before eyeing the man at the door. He gave a low whistle under his breath.

He was too worn to be in his cups or anything else for that matter but he came being he found out his brother had wandered here and Conor but Conor had his gig and bucket which meant only one thing. Slight frown there. They were all suppose to go! Though too tired to really care. "I have a slave driving Grandmama." Slow smile there as he shoved up from his lean to head over to the bar and some potcheen. "Have you seen Conor tonight, Eion?" Idly. Curiously. Taking up his drink to kick back and refill following. Karina was weaving? Curious, hand lifted as a forefinger pushed against her shoulder to see if she toppled. That was the test of how many sheets to the wind she was.

Gran had known Eion was out picking. He chuckled. "Now didn't Herself tell yae tae bae wearing a hat from the sun?" She had been right beside Eion when he started picking too. He had his share of scratches, and a few bug bites too. One of which was starting to itch. "Nae. I t'ink he was hidin; from Gran. Segan, this bae Riley McAndrews."


She wasn't utterly shlammered. Just happily tipsy, thanks to Riley and his multitude of toasts. And not drunk enough to miss it when Segan asked Eion, just Eion if Conor had been 'round here tonight. When Segan poked her shoulder she batted his hand away.  "I'm not a steak wha's roastin' so stop pokin' me ta see if I'm done."

"You must be Segan," though to be honest he'd seen him earlier down at the docks. Real early as he'd been pointed out to him by Adrian. "You've got a sleek ship, the Anaconda." Certainly that was noticed even more!

"You're fine, Karina." Grinning before shifting his attention to Riley. "That I am and she is a fine sleek Lady. Thank you, Riley." Yes, the name was ringing a bell. Why would he ask Karina where his brother was? Dipping a glance to the boy-lass for her usual attire. "Have you seen him Karina?" Being Eion had not, he'd chance she might have.

Yep, usual attire tonight. Seemed she only had one pair of pants and the same number of shirts, so her attire was quite familiar by now. "Eh?" She feigned disinterest. "Who? Oh. Nope. Not seen him a'tall." She took another sip of cider, fingers drumming along its rim. "Why, did ye lose him in the brambles?" Little smirk.

"Riley bae a capt'n tae." He decided to make the glass he held last, or he'd miss a day of training.

"Then I know where he is," mumbling under his breath about a dirtynogoodratsmellingcarcassrottingandstinkinginthesun. Yeah, figure that one out mumbled!

"What?" Karina frowned, sitting up a little straighter and eyeing Segan as he loosed that low-toned string of obscenity. "Where?"

"Ribbit." And that was the only comment he'd be making.



Date: 06-26-09
Poster: Riley McAndrews
Post # 77

He took a couple drinks in a row but then remembered on Shere before he started laughing hearing Eion. "You do that too well you know.."

A glance between the brothers as they seemed to speak their own language, understood only by each other. But her curiosity would not be denied. "Where?"

"Aye, I kin that. A fine ship you have as well. The Sea Serpent?" Posed as a question just in case he was wrong. Those drinks hit and was he purposely avoiding that question by Karina.

He actually chuckled. "Used tae drive yae bo'h crazy when I'd do t'at." And in spite of being drunk, he looked at Karina.  "And why are yae wonderin' t'at, eh?"

He was going to like these Quinn brothers! Men of ilk. Amused. "Aye that she is, we can talk down the port sometime." Which would not hinder anything to be said in mixed company.

She frowned at Segan, about to ask again when Eion beat her to it with that very pointed question. She closed her mouth, arched her brows and gave a careless shrug. "Ye lot are just bein' so mysterious 'bout it, is all."

"Aye, why are you wonder'in?" Flip the tables with a smug grin. He already knew! "I'll take you up on that Riley." Saluting him with his glass before kicking its contents back.

"Why don't ya just tell me and save yourself a headache?" She asked Segan in the exact same tone he'd just used on her.

"Because I'm not sure and it best I don't say where if he didn't go there. But he did go somewhere tonight." Especially if he had company.

"See w'at I mean. All talk an' t'reats."

"Won't be just threats if yer not careful," spoken darkly to Eion before she turned that sea green stare onto Segan. Her eyes narrowed as she just scrutinized him for a second. Finally, she shrugged again. "Fine. Don't tell me then, I dun care." Swig of cider to wash down the bad taste in her mouth.

"If she ever decides to act on one of her Threats, Eion. There is the knee or the water trough."

And Eion's eyes narrowed, giving him a dangerous look as he turned his gaze on Segan. "Aye, t'ere is t'at."

Almost seriously but not his business really. "Aye, best you don't care." Which had him grinning at his brother, he was a few sheets sailing in the wind. "I would hold off on it tonight you might fall off the stool in administering good measure."

"Just try it," she replied to them both wholeheartedly, even added a sticking of the tongue out for good measure! Another deep gulp of cider, though her tankard was lowered slowly as she absorbed Segan's words. Yes, she was tipsy but she could still register a grave statement when she heard one. Even if it was disguised in lightness. "Wha' d'yer mean by that?"

"Exactly what was said by you and repeated by me." Blue eyes held a dangerous intensity that met hers a moment then eased off as he went back to drinking.

He looked at Segan and snorted. "Nae t'at drunk." But he didn't get up and he gave Riley a quick grin.

There seemed to be a bit of drama over the one brother and this lass. Oh, he was watching. Listening. Why he stayed away from women after being used. Coy, sweet little snakes too many of them were.

And she met that gaze with confusion in her own greenish eyes. "Why don't ya say exactly what ya mean, Segan, and say it plain 'stead of dancin' round it like a bloody Highlander."

"Why don't you say it plain what you meant by that and then you'll have your answer. Did you not say, you bluidy don't care then turn on me for saying the same that you shouldn't?" He took another drink before he slammed down the glass with a good thud to the bar. "That is the only answer you are getting from me so don't bother pushing or I will take you over my knee or throw you in the trough." And it was a real threat.

Was she trying to call Segan a Scotsman? Had Eion known what Riley was thinking, he would have agreed.

"Me sayin' I don't and ya agreeing that I shouldn't are two different things, as ya very well ought ta know." Her voice had risen just slightly in her frustration, cider forgotten. "One is me statin' me own mind while the other is you passin' some sort of judgement. And I'm not afraid of ya," she added with an uplift of chin as he slammed his glass down. "So will ya just quit treatin' me like a halfpint girl and tell me what ya meant already?"

He was up so fast it was a blur. She should know he moved that fast when she was up and over a shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Putting her over his knee would be less kind than throwing her in the trough as he headed outside. One arm around the back of her legs in a way she couldn't kick him but she could pound on his back, little hard to reach his head for he had her over further upside down this time around.

"AGH! Segan! Put me down, I mean it!" This time, she wasn't giggling like times past. This time she was actually angry. And so pound at him she did, battering him with her fists which were her only weapons at the moment. "Ya can't just throw me round at your whim, damn you, put me down!"

He opened his mouth to say something, but Segan was already moving. He pushed to his feet and made his way to the door a bit unsteadily.

Brows had lifted but the lass had the kind of sass that needed cooling. He was up for he was curious if Segan would go through with it.

"All right, as you wish," having her to the trough by the time she demanded put me down. He put her down with a splash. Water would be cool, refreshing at least and maybe cool her down as he stepped back. No, he wasn't going to remain in reach. "If you must know, Conor went butterfly catching for Grandmama, for as much as I know." So there!

"I bae thinkin' she pushed him tae t'e limits of his patience." He announced, sagely.

Not cool enough for that temper, though. She stood there in the knee deep water, chest heaving with the quickened breathing of anger. Fists balled at her sides, she was not amused. All sorts of vile comments rose in her throat but then.. Segan loosed that info. She just stared at him furiously. "Butterfly catching. That's it?"

"Aye, bit of a wildcat in that one." Words low as he watched the scene. Lean taken against the doorframe.

Who knew what kind of a butterfly! With the way Conor has been since they came here and certainly not just one that he observed. "Good possibility." He had said he didn't really know. Any suspicions he would keep to himself.

All of that... for butterfly catching. That took the wind from her sails though she wasn't about to forgive Segan that easily. "I'm not your toy ye can just toss 'round whenever you feel like it." She spoke more lowly, through gritted teeth. Not just angry... humiliated by the way he'd treated her, and wasn't that just a twist of the knife?

"No, you are not my toy and I don't consider you one but you are an underage, unruly brat that demands things of others with no respect at all but expects respect."

"Seems tae have cooled her off a bit." Muttered low so he didn't miss anything.

"Aye, I expect respect though apparently that's FAR too much ta ask of ye!" Truly incensed now, she sloshed free of the trough.

"Not when I answered you that I didn't really know and said so, you demanded more. Perhaps he wasn't butterfly collecting but at a high class Courtesan House, is that what you want to hear? None of these are so, well, not that I know. I could do a lucky guess." Not knowing how close he was but not something she'd figure out. Not something he would know.

If Segan was striking to injure, well, he'd find success when hurt crept into the anger already strong in her eyes. All his name-calling and now that reference to Conor, it struck so strong to actually render her lacking a comeback for once. What happened then was an amazing transformation, red-hot to icy cold in seconds. "My mistake."

"And you know what Karina, it is none of your business where he is and when you said you didn't care to know, that is best agreed with."

"Yae get what you deserve, lass, and when you deserve respect, yae'll get it. Segan's right. Yae've done nothin' but given m' brothers disrespect, even while you're panting after Conor like some puppy."

Maybe she would hate him after tonight but maybe it was the best for any future hurt that might be more. Least what he was seeing and maybe he cared just a little bit still. Lips formed into a thin line as he was around moving away. "I'll see you up at the manor Eion. Riley, I'll see you at the port early tomorrow if you're there." Stride was sure and easy kind as he continued on his way.

He shook his head. "Yae bae nothin' more than a wee lass, tryin' to prove tae everyone yae bae more. Yae need bae yuirself first, and stop tryin' tae hurt t'ose that care about yae." He watched Segan as he walked away. "Even if yae bae tryin' tae hurt t'em before t'ey hurt yae. It doesn't work."

Eion's turn to get the full force of her eyes then, with that comment of his. Oh how she hated all Quinns at that moment. Her lips pressed tight, cheeks flushing bright red. She watched Segan walk away til Eion spoke up again, words she hadn't really expected to hear. Also unexpected was the up welling of swirling thought and emotion his words evoked, rendering her again, infuriatingly speechless.

"Aye, see you there Segan." Not saying anything else and actually moving back into the tavern to claim his drink. There seemed to be a lot more to all this and between the girl and the brothers.

Of course Karina would not know of that night his brothers found him in the Snake Pit and the conversation that ensured from there.

It would take it awhile to sink in... but what else could she do at that very moment, but to push past them all and walk quickly back into the tavern, up the stairs and to her room. No, she couldn't know and apparently that ignorance was costing them all.

Eion didn't care what she felt for him but his brothers were another story. He watched her push by then looked at Riley. "I'm sorry yae were caught seein' t'at but it bae buildin' up fer some time."  He probably should have said something sooner before this all came to a head.

"Don't be sorry for me but for the incident to happen at all. I could say the same otherwise. I don't know what just happened but it was intense. Seemed something that was building up and came to the usual explosion if gone unchecked. Have a drink," indicating his glass he'd refilled as he lifted his. "To storms that pass by in all their fury, may they calm to see the rainbow promised after each."

"Aye it has an' all I can say is it's too bad it had to happen with Segan. If I would have been less drunk, she coul' have been mad at me instead of m'brother." He picked up his glass and nodded. "And may t'e calm spread tae all." And down went his final drink of the night. "I shoul' probably head back, make sure bo'h m'bro'hers made it home all right." Wait. Conor lived at the McDonough ranch now.  Ah well. He could at least check on Segan.

"I'll head out with you until our paths part." He was going to hit the sack and be asleep soon as head met pillow. Taking the bottle with him as there was some left to share. He started singing some old romantic song.

The company was welcome and he'd join in the singing as they walked.

Date: 06-28-09
Poster: Calhoun Quinlan
Post # 78

Summer Evening

The plans to visit Innis had been put off, though Cal wasn't sure on the reason. He also felt it was one it was best not to ask. He was als sure he would find out when the time came and probably not too far in the future considering the marriage plans of Elaina and Connor. Though he still hadn't heard of any definite date. That he wondered on as he decided to get out for a change and socialize. About time that he did and headed for the Thistle. Nice night, warm with a light breeze and the tint of moisture still clinging in the air from an earlier shower. He took his time, making his way round about the square and generally putzing around by the time his steps had him to the tavern. Up the steps and lingering on the porch as he drew out a cigarillo to enjoy.

It had been some time since Amory had been to the Tavern. His duties were no heavier than anyone else's but it seemed that he never had the time. Being the barracks were quiet tonight, he wasn't in the mood to sit alone, Amory made his way to the Thistle. Spotting a familiar face, he headed up the steps and took a lean near Cal. "Nice night, isn't it?"

"Yes it is. Kind of night that almost has you forgetting all the troubles that come in life. Hopes and disappointments but also too the triumphs and days forever to be remembered fondly." He offered him one of the cigarillos. Vanilla by flavor.

"Thank you." He accepted one then smiled slightly. "Disappointments can be harsh But I've had fewer than most so I can't complain." Took him a minute to light it but when he did, he inhaled deeply.

"Less disappointments if you don't get involved." Which could cover a few areas, not just one. "Then again, you'd not be living or taking those chances to have more. A roulette of the emotions." Easing the smoke out to form a ring as the breeze was gentle enough it didn't dash it away. Instead, it floated. As it grew larger he tapped his cheek with the next draw of smoke from the cigarillo and rapid fired little ones through the larger one.

As if summer wasn't warm enough, a breeze gently billowed along the path that lead to the tavern, scented of warm flowers which probably could have come from anywhere. Bare feet carried her quietly along with plenty of time in the casual gait to allow her to look around and see the sights. Lost in a sense of awe to see the world for what it was, molten golden hue drifted over various people she passed, their horses, families, friends. Whatever they moved
along with. Simple dress was white and Grecian style with a high waist line and soft material,fair featured with fire red hair that hung in long curls down the length of her back. Must have been the smell of a pipe smoke that she followed since there wasn't much else to catch the senses attention at the moment.

"Sometimes it's near impossible to not get involved." He chuckled as he watched Calhoun make smoke rings. "I've never manage to do that." He gave a slight shrug of his shoulders. This was his favorite time of year, whether here or in Luneburg, though each of the seasons held their own beauty.

It was actually vanilla flavored cigarillos of which both were having one as they took their ease outside on such a summery night. Though white stood out in the glow from lanterns that lit parts of the streets. Such had him pause as the cig was lowered from his lips to absently tap the ashes away in a flick over the railing. Dragging that perusal back to Amory. "I hear there are new ones in town and some that have left as well. Only proves life is like the flow of a river which at some parts it becomes slow, some parts it is rough and rapid and for some, it is ever consistent in that it will flow until it reaches the mouth opening to the sea."

Cigarillos. Still, an unusual smell. To her at least. Sweeter than the smell of burning cedar and rather than follow her eyes curiosity, she followed her nose. Nose rose to the air to take in the sweet scent as she approached the tavern. Pale gold eyes fell to the two gents outside enjoying the warm evening, which was a nice relief from the last place she'd been. Cool weather she did not fare well in. Silent steps carried her cautiously closer with a curious expression as she watched the two men while in slow approach.

"Aye, there are. Melantha Quinn's family, brothers, sisters and grandmother, among those who have come here. I'm not sure who else but the one brother is that new man who has been coming to the field each morning. He was recovering from some injury, but it seems his training has been moved up a step." He paused to watch the woman a moment then looked back. "Haven't had a chance to introduce myself yet. As far as those gone, I'm not sure but that'll
come around in time." Which brought a slight smile to his face. Sometimes the men talked as much as women.

He had been accused, upon a time, of having Fae eyes. Perhaps they were for the coloring and just over all appeal they held. Curiosity mixed with an ancient wisdom of much yet for him to discover. Once he learned his true parentage. Presently, there were only hints. "Good evening Miss. Are you visiting?" Figuring if she was one of the new ones to come, she would correct him. So he had not been out socially in a while. There had been reasons and those reasons no longer existed. Tipping that perusal from her to Amory. "I'm pleased that her family has come home to her." He knew some about that situation. "Speaking of introductions," turning Fae eyes back to the woman. "I am Calhoun and this is my comrade, Amory."

She stopped a short distance from the two men. Not really listening much to their conversation. She was trying to figure out what that scent was. Realizing that she was being addressed, pupil lacking eyes turned solely to  Calhoun. "Visiting?" She had no idea where she was. Oblivious to say the least. "Mm yes. I am visiting." Soft spoken, her voice held a lyrical croon, not quite human. Introductions were offered, she looked to each in turn. "Calhoun.  Amory. Nagiel." she motioned to herself. Lower lip bitten lightly she looked them both over thoughtfully.

The woman seemed disoriented as his focus became more intense her way. Silence to linger but not overly. "You are at the Thistle tavern on Heathfield lands." She would not be the first to wander here and have no clue to where her feet had taken her. She seemed hale though he noticed her eyes were quite different. A little disconcerting without pupils. Though it didn't have her lacking. Just not the usual. "A pleasure, Nagiel," he actually smiled. Quick it was with only giving a glimpse to another side of the more stoic man. Warrior written all over him.

"Evening, Nagiel and welcome to Heathfield." His voice held a Germanic accent which might explain why he was so stoic. He bowed slightly as he acknowledged her.

Most seemed put off by the pupil lacking eyes. Though she either seemed to not care or not notice. Her attention flitted between the two men. She gathered Heathfield was a place, which saved her from asking who Heathfield was. "There is a smell.." An odd thing to say, but she couldn't get past it and she couldn't find the source. "Sweet smell." Daringly she moved closer to whomever was nearest and leaned a hint closer to take in his scent. Since they were  smoking outside, it probably wouldn't help much.

Which the sweet vanilla tinted smoke would be clinging to the loose fitting poet's shirt he wore. Empowered sword at his hip he was knighted with. One of alloys of this world and others gathered by the Druid Prince and forged by Rhett the senior many years ago. One hundred of them and a master's sword that governed them all. He lifted the cigarillo as she seemed to be sniffing so close. "I believe this is what you are smelling then. Or possibly the peat in the hearth within the tavern that burns low." Though not for heat but the dampness for the earlier showers.

He was amused that the woman was sniffing his friend and watched closely. He had seen many strange things since he had come into the service of first the Traugott family and then King Karl. Somehow, he didn't feel surprised by much anymore.

Ooooh..Calhoun did smell of the sweet scented tobacco. She looked at the cigarillo he provided and wrinkled her nose some. She leaned closer for a better look at it and shook her head. "Cannot be." She'd seen other men smoke those things and they reeked. But Calhoun smelled like the sweet smelling smoke. Needless to say, she looked rather confused. Possibly frustrated. "No no." An avian trill, she turned to walk into the tavern to check the hearth for the smell that drew her here.

At least he washed unlike some warriors that felt being a man meant smelling like one weeks' worth of sweat and grime. He wasn't sure why it confused her as he could smell the sweet scented smoke it gave off. Watching her walk off into the tavern as once she stepped through, brows lifted with a look back to his comrade. Nothing said, didn't need to be. It was strange. The cigarillo lifted for a last drag before he flicked the last of it out into the street. Puddle to be exact as it gave a last sizzle.

His expression changed slightly but by the time Calhoun looked his way, his face showed nothing again but slight amusement. He gave another slight shrug then chucked the last small bit of his own cigarillo. "Shall we have drink, Cal?" Wasn't much else to say at this point.

Upon entering the hearth wasn't hard to find. Quietly padding steps carried her to it, she crouched down close enough to feel the immediate warmth, but the scent that wafted from there wasn't it either. Eyes drifted over the interior of the tavern and spotted Alex behind the bar. Wandering to the bar, she leaned closer to him. He didn't smell like Calhoun with that vanilla scent so he was no longer an interest. She turned just enough to lower down onto the seat of the stool, puzzled and slightly frustrated.

"Best potcheen in the lands is calling our names." Knowing well Alex would put out two glasses of the pure once they stepped through that door. They passed through the open door but moments later. The woman at least seemed settled at the bar and Alex would see to any drink she might request or food. Within reason. They didn't offer oddities like blood wine or the like. He headed directly to the bar as Alex set out the glasses.

He nodded his thanks to Alex as he picked up his glass and after saluting the tender, he downed a good portion. Nothing like the pure after a hot and long day. bloodwyne for her. Ew. Not many birds liked blood! When Alex offered her a drink she asked for something made of fruit. When he obliged the request, she was quite happy. When the mug was delivered she picked it up,  looked down into it, sniffed at it before finally taking a drink. Delighted it really tasted like fruit and not fruit flavored liquor. She looked at the two men then back down to her drink. The smell thing still puzzled her.

Which was something he would be completely clueless to or that it did. He had taken up a lean, comfortable lazy kind that belied his skills as a warrior and quick reflexes when needed. "Have you traveled far, Nagiel? The lands you come from are where?" Maybe that would help to explain her different ways.

Another drink from the cup before turning her attention to Calhoun. Possibly hard to tell without the pupils. "Lands I come from are Renenutet. From the sands of Egypt."

"Ah," like that explained it to him. "There are two families in these lands from Egypt." So one he knew, the high priest who had eyes like water that was his element. "You have come a great distance, I can hope there are not enemies chasing you from your homelands."

Even if there were, she was safe here. He leaned back against the bar and drank his potcheen as he listened, gaze shifted from Cal to Nagiel.

"Enemies...?" She shook her head, fire red curls moved with the motion. "No. No one chases me. I have been granted time to see the world as others see it."

"Hopefully better than most others see it. You're welcome to stay here without cost as this tavern is set up." Which Alex would give her a key if she decided to. "Unfortunately I must take my leave as I'm to be on the king's field come dawn. It has been a pleasure, Nagiel," giving a slight bow of his head as a hand splayed a moment to his chest before lowered. He kicked back the rest of his drink before setting the glass to the bar for Alex to take away. A few words with the older gentleman before he was ready to go.

"As should I." He added after finishing his drink and placed the glass on the counter. "Enjoy your visit, Nagiel." He bowed, then waited for Cal. They might as well walk back together.

She smiled some. "Thank you..Calooon." That's what she remembered. Such strange names people here had. Well, not just here, but most everywhere. "And you..A-..." Oi.

A touch of a smile ghosted with her last, Amory to A and her accent on his name was .. different. Amused him actually. Touched a glint to Fae eyes before he was heading out the side door and up to the castle.

"Amory." He corrected with a smile before he was joining Cal for the walk back to the castle.



Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Eion Quinn
Post # 79

Pups in the Thistle

Segan had ported about an hour ago as all goods were delivered and an exchange of cargo brought back. Once everything was unloaded and Pierre to meet this night with the inventory listed and handed over, he headed up to the Thistle. He finally felt a lot better about things and hoped it continued to improve. That was what he had been striving for even when everything seemed to fall short. A thick old log book was tucked under his arm, something he picked up feeling this was better to use for writing down his adventures than a plain old ledger. Thick leather cover and binding, pages having an ancient touch that had never had a drop of ink to them yet. It was a true find. The carvings into the leather an interesting bit of artwork in and of itself. Looked Druid, nymphs and fairies, satyrs and other odd creatures. Steps were quick once reaching the building as he was up and into the place without much adieu, heading for the bar and greeting Alex. Realizing in that moment it had been almost a week or so since he was here.

Now that he had a taste of hunting, Eion was on a mission. He wanted a hunting dog and a hunting dog he would have. Of course, he'd likely start with a pup and from Alex, knew that the best place would be the kennels in Ballicastle. That's where he had gone after the training had ended on the field. Unfortunately, there were a few dogs there and he wound up with four! Thankfully, Eddie McAndrews had carriers and all four had fallen asleep on the ride back. As soon as he stopped his horse, they were awake and whining to be let out. Wisely, he let them out one at a time, and put them back in the carriers. Then he eyed the tavern. Now, how was he going to get the carriers in there? He couldn't leave them outside. After a moment's thought, he carried two in, telling his horse to keep an eye on the other two, as if the beast could understand him!

He set the old log book on a table before he was over to collect a bottle and glass, taking extra glasses in case his brothers showed up. He had let them know before he left this day about when he would back. Did he hear whining? That had him pause as he turned around and focus on the door. Brows lifting as it seemed to end and yet nothing to follow, he started in that direction. Nice breeze was coming in through the open door and stop midway there as his brother stepped through. "Eion, what in blazes do you have there? Pet rabbits?" He recognized carriers and with all the recent rabbit hunting went with that tease.

Eion looked up and grinned. Just the man he wanted to see. "Since when do you carry rabbits in these. Come help me." He held up two of the carriers for Segan to take so he could be down to retrieve the other two. "I went looking for a hunting dog to train but ended up with a pup and three more. I'll probably be taking another trip to Ballicastle." He kept the one carrier back on purpose, almost hiding it, though he hadn't expected to find Segan back so soon. "How was your trip?"

He was quick to set the bottle of potcheen and glasses to the table next to the leather bound and back just as quick to take up the two carries. "Where do you want them?" Bringing them over to the table where his things were to set on two of the chairs. That's when he crouched down to take a look. Smile rising and turning into a grin. "Well, would you look at that, was there a sale buy one get three more?" Eion had two more carriers he suspected each held a wiggling body. The one he was letting lick his fingers was a husky he noted. "Trip went well. Weather perfect and brought back other cargo in exchange which Bovee had set up and me and my crew paid for the job. They're a fair hand with their jobs and more to come. Right booming business. Though I'm thinking it might be fun to explore the Balli port with my brothers." Looking up over his shoulder to spy Eion as he spoke the last.

"That sounds like a good idea." He grinned in agreement then chuckled as he placed the other two on two more chairs. "And no, no sale. I'm a bluidy idjit who can't resist a pup it seems." He paused and looked at the carrier he had just placed down then picked it up again. "Though, I'm thinking this one might be a bit o' trouble." He was barely hiding his smile as he offered it to Segan. "What do you think?"

It was something of a subdued Karina that came in through the tavern door, even the clunking of her boots against the doorframe a bit duller than usual. A slow business night combined with certain recent events put her in a funk. And she hated being in a funk. The solution was clear. Rather than staying on the streets and becoming sloppy from frustration, risking being caught or worse she decided to call it an early night. A drink, and bed was her  prescription thereafter. Things didn't seem so... tragic as they had days ago. Already she'd come to see herself as a fool for ever falling for any of it. Some bitterness remained, how couldn't it, but the heat of her anger had faded enough at least to allow her to stop slinking around for fear of meeting any of the brothers. And so after days, it seemed, she resurfaced. Stepping right into the Tavern, though when she saw Segan and Eion there she hesitated. Where there were two there was usually a third... but a glance around didn't find the youngest brother. Well, that was fine then, and she lifted a hand towards them a bit tentatively as she moved toward the bar.

He was scratching the husky's head for he was as much a sucker for puppies as his brother. The beagle too, though he didn't particularly like that breed they were good hunting dogs. "This one will scare you up some possum and raccoon." Rising from the crouched position as he turned to spy that not only was his brother there with a carrier in hand with a trouble dog but another who entered? "Is it sickly?" Not seeing what the carrier contained yet as he was distracted in seeing Karina. "Evening Karina," not being really sure how she would respond to him after the last time he saw her and threw her in the trough. He would find out soon he was sure. Dragging his attention from there to Eion's outstretched hand with the carrier as he came closer. Eyes shot wide, it was the very kind he had always wanted. "They have Irish setters here?" Taking the carrier in a coveted way as he was over to set it on a chair and open it up to take out the wiggling reddish body of the very healthy pup. He was thrilled, one could see it in his eyes. "Does he have more?"

"Evening, lass." He nodded then looked at Segan and laughed. "Aye, but you'll not be needing to make a trip there unless you want a second one. And Eddie wouldn't sell a sickly pup." He chuckled. "My gift to you, Segan. I saw the parents and they're beauties, so he comes from a good line. Have the papers too." He opened the fourth carrier and brought out a golden retriever pup. "You think Conor will like this lad?" The other two were whining to be let out as well and he glanced at Alex to be certain it was all right. He'd clean up any mess.

"Hiya," she replied to both but it lacked its usual punch. Already leaning on the bar she ordered a cider from Alex, but her glance was quickly stolen back over her shoulder. Puppies?! Her interest was immediately perked and she half-turned to watch, longingly. But she was hesitant to go over, to approach them. After all the words that had been exchanged the other night she wasn't so certain anymore that they were open to her company.

"Mine?" Took a few moments to sink in as he set down the pup so he could stretch his legs. He went immediately running about exploring, sniffing, barking at the leg of a chair. Back legs going too fast for the front legs as he tumbled and skid. Segan in the meantime was over to give his brother a hug. This was the better kind of emotion to have than what he'd been going through. "Thank you," words almost caught in his throat for he was that moved by the gesture. Though now he had to go rescue the pup before he tumbled outside being the door was left open and he picked up some scent. Scooping him up with an hand around his belly before he got anywhere he could get lost. The pup wiggled around to lick him in the face at that point as he brought him over for Karina to see, if she liked puppies at all. Most found them hard to resist. "Now I will need a name for him, train him and see if he will be a mascot for my ship."

And she wasn't going to push herself upon them. Not anymore. Instead she watched the reddish pup tumble about the room and she couldn't help it, she let out a giggle. Taken a little by surprise at Segan's approach her eyes jumped up to him, uncertainly. But no... she was amongst the majority that couldn't resist a cute little puppy-face. The cider had been placed on the bar behind her but it was  long forgotten as she rumpled the Irish Setter's ears. "Oh, sweet thing," she murmured with a little grin to herself. Alright, so when it came to puppies she was still a girl. Despite the clothes and all.

He decided to block the bottom half of the doors before letting the others out. The beagle pup was already proving to be a noisy little fellow but as soon as he was placed on the floor, he quieted, his nose to the ground as he began to sniff about. The retriever and husky did the same though the husky seemed more interested in the pup that Segan had. "There's smaller dogs too, and a wolfhound pup that isn't quite ready to leave his mother but .... well I bought him already." There was going to be a pack at the estate!

He almost forgot to answer Eion in all the excitement of having an Irish Setter after all this time. "I think a golden retriever will be perfect for Conor."  When it came to puppies, didn't have to be a girl or even a lad, full grown men liked them as much. "If you'd like to hold him, I can go get some scraps from Hazel in the kitchen." Knowing he would be allowed back there for such a mission. Probably a bowl of water as well.

"Really?" A little disbelieving, nonetheless her eyes lit up. But not about to let the opportunity slide she nodded, curls a-bobbing about her ears and held out her arms to carefully receive the pup.

One big bowl if you please. The husky was jumping up and down in front of Karina, not quite touching. Almost a dance on those back legs until the retriever came charging in and the two pups were tumbling about. The husky was all white except for dark around his left eye and ear. Both eyes were blue. The beagle pup was trying to jump over the chair that Eion had placed as an obstacle and not succeeding. "Think Gran will make them stay in the barn?" With their poor milk cow.

Which he had to do a double step after handing off the setter to Karina to watch. Near tripped up on the husky. "These two must be buddies," definitely one large bowl of water and table scraps. "Puppies?  I'm not sure, never know with Grams, she might give them the royal carpet and run of the house." He was off into the kitchen to get the water and bits of ham that were left over and placed on a plate. He was back out about ten minutes later, setting the bowl down on the floor up against the bar so it couldn't be as easily pushed around and sloshed or tipped over. The plate of ham bits on the table as he took one to hold out to the setter.

Karina held the setter carefully even when it wriggled, letting out another little laugh when it reared its head back to slobber all over her face. "Ach.. look, that is much tastier," as she turned the pup to face Segan and the scraps he was offering. Another soft grin at the antics of the beautiful husky and the retriever.

The pup ate the bit greedily from his finger, licking them at the last. Next he gave the husky one of the pieces and soon found the other two were headed his way for a hand out. So the retriever and beagle each got their share.

"Come here, you silly git." He chuckled softly as he picked up the beagle pup who had somehow managed to get stuck in between the chair legs. He set him down so he could make his way over for a treat then looked at Segan. "I think he'll make a good sea dog." Near wincing at his own pun.

Karina gave the setter a little bounce then, realizing how long she'd been holding him (and how long the pup had been wriggling for freedom) she set it down carefully on the ground to run free. A little smile as she stepped back, reaching for her cider and reverting into just-observing mode.

"Maybe I'll call him Bones." Laughing as the setter and husky went at it, growling like fierce predators as they attacked. If one bit too hard or grabbed something sensitive the other yelped. It was a way they learned how to defend themselves in this rough play. Looked like two alpha males too. There seemed to be something different about Karina as he was over to collect his glass of potcheen and hand one off to Eion as he made his way back. A lean taken up against the bar just down from where Karina was. He watched her a moment as he tried to put his finger on it. Was it a bit of maturity there that wasn't before? A calmness, though one could wonder if she was sick perhaps then? He was sure it would show eventually, whatever it was. "So, how have you been Karina? Spending your time here or at the port?" Though he hadn't seen her down there when he was there.

"Bones, huh?" He chuckled then watched the pups, relaxing after Segan handed him the drink. So far he hadn't had to clean up any puddles but that probably wouldn't last. Blue eyes shifted from them to Karina, watching her a moment.

Bones, now there was a good name for a dog if ever there was one. Karina just watched the pups romp about in play, smiling if in a distant sort of way, cider held forgotten in hand. But Segan's voice brought her back. "Neither really. Been keepin' busy, you know, and all." A vague response hidden by several words, clever! But it was all she had. Her gaze went a little too quickly between brothers, feeling their eyes on her. Last time they'd spoken it hadn't exactly been friendly after all. She held no grudge, had even taken some of what they said to heart though they couldn't know that.

He couldn't apologize for saying what he felt was true that night, but, he didn't hate her in the least. In fact he was a bit concerned. "Actually I don't know exactly how you keep busy but you do seem different. Not sure if it is a good or bad kind, maybe both?" There was such a thing. "Are you all right?" Question was sincere as was the tone of the words. The setter and husky were one ball of fur at this point rolling around under the couch as they had worked their way there. Growling, yipping and acting fierce.

"I think those two will be constantly at it." He reached down and picked up the beagle pup, scratching behind his ears. The wee dog yawned and started to fall asleep.

Well there was a question she didn't get very often. Even so it was her instinct to not answer true. Not to lie, but to just... divert a little. She gave a little shrug and answered "Yeah. I'm alright." She offered a slight upturn of the lips, then glanced between the both of them. Something needed to be said, might as well be said now. She took a breath. "I've.. been thinkin' about what ya both said." A slightly hesitant glance between them, did she really need to mention what she was referring to? And was that Karina actually looking contrite? Turquoise hues even dropped away as she almost mumbled, "Ya were both right. About some of it anyway."

The two rolled out from under the couch, exhausted, bodies parting as they laid there panting. Focus had shifted there after Karina saying she was all right. He would take her words at face value. Then, there was more. Blue eyes turned back her way as he took pause to listen. He tried to recall all that was said for there was a bit that night. None of it the best of things that could be. "Sometimes, I'd rather not be right. I am sorry it all came out a bit harshly on you that night." But then, could it have been any other way?

Where was the retriever? He looked around, spotted him sleeping under a chair, then looked back toward Karina. "Just about some?" Was that a hint of teasing in his voice. "Aye, I'm sorry too if I sounded harsh. But sometimes a bit of a shock is needed."

Another shrug as their apologies came, she hadn't been looking for an apology, just trying to express herself. In this arena she wasn't very experienced with expression at all. "Aye, some," she answered Eion first with the hint of a little smirk in return, catching that tease. "It's alright, ya don't need to apologize or nothin'. I just... I didn't see it before, but I know there was reason ya both said what you did. Guess I have been a little ah, difficult."  She watched the pups loll about for a second, and her eyes were still there, away from the lads as she went on. "I'm just not... used ta not havin' to fight all the time. I guess." Fight, not even in just the physical sense. It was true. Anything she ever wanted out of life she couldn't just have, she had to take it. So now when anybody even made the slightest sign of threat or attack that's what she did... fight back. But she'd come to see the recipient didn't always deserve it.

Maybe it was more needed on their part for neither of them were usually so harsh. He didn't say anything to the last but she'd see the slow grin and a wink added to maybe lighten things. He kicked back his drink before heading over to the couch area to retrieve the now sleeping setter. He easily fit into the crock of his arm at this stage of his growth where one day he would be a good size dog. He was over, fingers delving gently into silken fur before easing the pup back into his carrier. "Grams is going to feel like she's been invaded tonight."


"Aye, she is." He put the beagle pup into another of the carriers. "You've taken a big step in admitting that, Karina. A big step in maturity. Folks here are good hearted and you don't need to be fighting against them. Not counting m'self in that." He looked at her directly. "But m'brothers moreso." He was over to collect the husky and then the retriever.

"Aye well." She squirmed a little bit, uncomfortably. Eion was sounding downright... brotherly, wasn't he? It wasn't a bad thing, in fact, deep down she was pretty pleased by what he said. But at the same time that wasn't something she knew how to react to. "I uh.. I'm sorry that I didn't see that before." Mumble, mumble. she shuffled her foot along the floor.

He let Eion handle this one without adding any comment to it, one was more than enough it seemed. He was back over to pour another glass of the brew and inquire some information of Alex in low words for a thought. Alex retorted something back with a light shake of his head before Segan was back to drinking his potcheen. Smooth burn and the tranquility that seemed to prevail like a balm for things of late.


"It seems you've had a rough time of it but at least you can admit you're wrong and learn from it, aye?" He pointed. "And no mumbling." That last was definitely a tease.



Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Eion Quinn
Post # 80

She glanced back up at that with a light frown, but when she saw Eion was teasing, her face relaxed into a smirk as well. "I didn't say that I was wrong. Just that you were right." And a grin started creeping back onto her face. She glanced to Segan, who had been strangely silent before looking back to Eion and the dogs.

More he didn't want her to feel like she was being picked on, one against two, so it was one on one between her and Eion instead. Another question posed to Alex has a coin slip to the counter as a pen and bottle of ink were passed to him. The tavern had some smaller items like that for sale, more in that he didn't feel it was right not to pay for this that was extra. The ink jar had a tight lid on it too, small enough to fit in a pocket if he wanted. The two items he brought over to the table where the old empty log book rested. Fingers ran over the etched design in leather before he slipped the pen down inside the binding. Seemed there was a place just to accommodate. Deciding not to bring it back to the manor considering Grandmama would appear to stand over his shoulder whenever he went to set pen to paper of logging his adventures. That would not do. He brought both over so Alex could store them under the bar for him.

"Ahh, then you don't learn from your mistakes." He nodded, sagely. "Just know that there's no anger left. What's done is done and we can continue, aye?" Eion was starting to feel ... old.

She just smirked a little, for she'd only been kidding but she offered a nod anyway. "Aye, here's to that." She lifted her cider towards Eion then took a sip. Glancing curiously to Segan as he conversed with Alex back and forth, then back to the puppies with a more genuine smile. "Ya bought all these pups for you and your brothers? All at once?" Difficult concept to this money-saver who was dirt-poor more often than not. Good dogs like that were expensive.

"I hear Meadowland Kennels has a bartering or working off the cost of a puppy." Finally speaking up as he was filling his glass again. Probably no more expensive than what he paid for those two swords fashioned by Rhett. The glass tipped as he eased the next drink down as one relishing it.

Having crouched down to hold out her fingers for the husky to sniff, she glanced over to Segan, eyes lighting up for a moment before she shook her head. "Nah. What would I do with a pup." It would be nice though, she thought as she rumpled the husky's ears.

"Aye, I did." He looked at Segan and nodded. "Eddie did say that though I couldn't be givin' one of the foals for a pup." He neared grinned at the thought. Mel would strangle him! He was watching her a moment. "You'd have to train it, make sure it doesn't get into trouble." He hadn't put the husky in for a reason. "He's got a collar, and some toys in the carrier. A blanket too." A look toward Segan had his lips twitching slightly then he looked back to Karina as the pup snuggled up to her.

He gave a slight nod as blue eyes met blue. It was a good thing to do and as the pup got older, one to protect the lass as she got older too. One day she would not be the lanky teen.

"Aye, and what do I know about that?" She shrugged off his comment about training though her eyes had wandered down to the husky again. Then she realized it had gone silent after Eion had spoken to Segan about the collar and toys. Curious why the other hadn't responded, she glanced up, and caught the brothers exchanging glances before looking at her. "...What?" Now, the girl wasn't dense. But such a gift wasn't exactly in her normal experience and not at the top of her assumptions.

"I think you're going to have to tell her out straight, Eion."

"Looks like it." He looked back to Karina. "He's yours, Karina." And he used her name for the first time since he had met her.

"...." Her first thought was to reply automatically with a No he's not. Second thought was to laugh at the joke. Third thought, was that this was a terrible joke to play on a person. Even after all she'd learned here it was  difficult to trust such generosity. In the end all she got out, stupidly, was, "Mine?"

"Provided you want him. Will take care of him like his mother would have if he remained with the litter?"

"Aye, yours." He was about to add more but Segan did. "And he'll need a name."

Jaw was officially dropped, hanging open as her eyes moved between both brothers. Just waiting for one of them to yell, Psych! or the equivalent. But neither did. They were serious. And to her everlasting shame she all but burst into tears. Couldn't help it, after what had happened with Conor and now this, her emotions had been tossed around in a storm indeed. No sobbing was included but the tears were flowing fast, so she buried her face in the husky's fur, arms flung around it as she just nodded to their words. Never had she been so touched because well, nobody had ever really done such a thing for her before!

He hadn't been sure what her reaction would be but he'd not embarrass her. Truth was, he wasn't sure what to do since she wasn't one of his sisters. He looked at Segan, a brow lifting. Were the tears a good thing or bad?

He couldn't help but lean to touch the mop of hair, giving them a little toss of his fingers before he straightened again. It was a way of saying it was all right, even to have such emotions.

She hugged the dog... HER dog tight, wiping her face in his fur till that rumpling of her hair brought her back. A sniff as she finally looked up to the two brothers. "Sorry - " Sniff. "Its just - " sniff. A deep breath and she mastered herself, scrubbing at her face with the back of her sleeve. A laugh was loosed along with her shuddering exhale. "Just didn't expect that!"

Made him wonder when was the last time she was with her family, if she ever had a family to even remember. "I think you'll make a fine mother for the husky." Which set a twinkle to blue eyes before he kicked back the rest of his drink. It was getting to that late kind of hour and his day had already been long for the trip. "Think Grams will still be up waiting on us?"

Bounce, Bounce, jingle, jingle, Charlie had been down at the camp, shaking a leg with Kenneth, her skirt and the leather bodice, definitely marked as gypsy, even if she looked slightly like a native, look out world she was thirsty...  pushing the door open.

"Best part of getting a gift is that it's unexpected." He finished his drink as well. "If you need to leave him somewhere if you go off again for a few days, you can bring him to the estate." Being she had gone away once before. He looked at Segan and nodded. "It's likely." And they might be getting her a pup too. He glanced at the door as it opened. "Evenin'"

One never knew for sure what she was going to do, much less say, one arm glistened white, the other as tanned as her face, "well Evening all ..." the ruffled skirt animating her walk as she headed to the bar ...

Karina nodded, sniffing hard to ensure that she wasn't about to dissolve again. With one more pet to the husky she rose from the floor and well, Eion would seconds later be attacked by a five-foot-two bundle of gratitude. Yep, arms thrown around the eldest brother in a hug as she said the only thing there was to say. "Thank you! I'll take good care of him, really..."

Ordering a cold cider, she twisted to watch the sudden hug, studying the two men, familiar in some way, she had met a Quinn recently, but dang her if she could remember which one...

Holy... ! Now he was the one surprised, his eyes going wide as he was suddenly hug attacked. He stiffened but only briefly and gave her a careful hug in return. "You're welcome, Karina. If you have any questions, be sure to ask and you can take him to the vet if ever needed. Just have him charge me, and if that bothers you, you can work it off somehow, aye?" He was patting her back as he spoke.

They better get Grams a pup! Grinning as Eion got hug! Now that was a fine sight.

"Somebody must have placed at the races," she mused, glancing to the pup, then back to the scene, her fingers curling around the tankard of cider ...

Nodnodnod. She leaned back enough to grin, no beam up at Eion as she just squeezed. "I will. And I'm going to name him tonight." Oblivious to Eion's discomfort she finally released the man, turning that radiant glance over to Segan before she crossed back to the puppy and plopped on the ground before it. "Right, boy? Hm... what sorta name fits for ya..." Holding the pup playfully by its scruff, she tilted her head to look into his blue eyes. The husky did the  same to her.

"Aye, something like that." He answered Charlie. The pups were his gifts to his family, to make up for the years away, so of course Gram would get one. They had cats at the stables already. "I'm Eion Quinn, that's me brother, Segan, and the lass is Karina."

He enjoyed seeing that smile, made his brother's gesture all the worth while. Eion was going to be just fine after all that happened to him. "Evening," turning Charlie's way.

Oh, and the stranger wasn't ignored either! Even if her attention was mostly on her new treasure. A brief glance of aqua orbs up to Charlie, and the diminutive teen waved her hello.

Remember though, Karina was still a lass. Had she been any older, he might have reacted differently!

Charlie did a curtsey, of course, never minding her decoutage, the leather slightly hot from her evening, "I am Charlie One Time, resident erm ... wander," she was not quite a resident, but not exactly a stranger, hard to define, but she was just Charlie ...  A Wink to the girl on the floor with the pup. "I got a shepherd pup ... goes great with Hiccup," she mused ...

"Resident wanderer... now there's a confusion o' terms," she commented with a good-natured grin, running her fingers down the pup's back.

"Indeed ... my man is gypsy, while he stays still I wander," she was known in many places ...

Where had he heard that name? Ah .... "Charlie's Angel."

" A horse by any other name is still a horse," she mused, waggling her brows, "I prefer mules myself."

He had a feeling she'd have him confused in no time. Still ... "But that's your horse?"

She propped her self on a stool watching, politely tucking her skirting. "That is Kenneth's horse ... he chose one that resembled me I suppose," which was confusing to be sure ....

Charlie was an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms. Segan was grinning and having another drink even if he was suppose to have left an hour ago.

Meanwhile Karina was in raptures over her new pup, putting her forehead against the dog's and just breathing in that New Puppy Smell.. till the husky took the opportunity to lick her face, making her giggle. "Any ideas for a name, Segan?" She asked the seafaring brother, since Eion was currently conversing (or was that confuddling) with Charlie.

Charlie was a walking contradiction, talked the same way, "I guess he liked what he found under that pony tail," she mused, another waggle of brows, she was learning to be comfortable, hence the sleeveless vest, and showing the burn scars she detested, but wore proudly ..

At this point, another drink was going to be needed. "So, Kenneth is your angel?" He might retreat into silence in a moment.

"I think a name is something the animal lets you know by his personality. Sometimes it shows right away, sometimes it doesn't. Depends on the gender too. Wouldn't want to call a male dog, Fluff."

Charlie grinned. "Of course he is ... I doubt there is another man like him," though if asked she could name off a list as long as her arm, of honorable, nice men ...  And a few freight trains ..but no one asked ...

"Unless he were a certain sort of male," she returned with a daring little grin Segan's way. "Hm...tell me then, boy.. what sorta name do ya want?" That last directed at the pup, of course! The husky just looked at her eagerly, tongue lolling from his mouth as his tail flapped against the floor. There was intelligence in his blue eyes, Karina could see, but a certain puckishness too. Like he was ever warring between the smart choice and the fun choice.

"Well, let's not help him to be that way," returning the grin right back. He was also listening to the conversation between Charlie' and Eion and trying very hard not to laugh.

Poor Eion, sooner then later he might hear, of her barge escapades, and then there was the thing on the Dragon head, cold, but oh so lovely, and then there was the swing at the swimming hole, and the barn loft, and falling out of the vardo, it was infamous rumors, and every damn one of them true ...

The pup had been a good choice. He'd protect her once he was big enough, just as Segan thought too. He just cut Segan a look as if daring him to laugh then looked back. "I think he'd have to be." Actually, he had heard of Charlie from one of the lads hereabout.

That was how the Dragon's head got melted before the winter was over?

"Yes well I am good when I am good, but Kenneth is better when he is bad," who led her into those places anyway, if it melted they would never admit it, never mind the snow angels and all that .. and skid marks that went coasting down the snowy area ...

"Don't worry, I will love ya even if you decide to be... Fluffy," she reassured the pup though she was still grinning. "Aye.. I see a certain look in yer eye, ya little imp." She ruffled the husky's scruff again, then glanced up curiously toward Charlie, just now tuning into her... roundabout conversations...

He wouldn't be standing much longer as knew it was time to get back before he collapsed on the couch here and some woman to come in and take advantage of him. Pause that thought. Couch was looking inviting.
  Except it was kind of ruined when it became Grams yanking him up by his ear to get him back to the manor.

Not one but a few of the lads actually. He'd have to tell Segan those on the way back since he wasn't sure he had heard them. "We should get back or Gran will be scolding us for keeping her up."

He cleared his throat. "It's been fun but I've got to run. I like keeping my ears where they are."

Charlie was one of those pills that were hard to swallow, but over the years her reputation was earned, as a friend, and something of a mischief maker, though her humor was usually pointed at herself. A sip of her cider ... "Indeed Gentlemen pleasure to meet you," she mused, poor fellows, this was a mild meeting, they were so lucky ...

"As it has been to meet you Charlie. I hope we meet again." He liked watching her confuse his brother. "Good night Karina, sleep sweet." She would have a warm furry body next to hers! He took up the carrier as he started off, the side door would be his means of escape.

"G'night!" Karina sang out from her cross-legged position on the floor, turning attention from the dog briefly as the lads prepared to leave. "Eion... thanks again." And the smile she gave that brother was a most genuine one, dimpling one of her cheeks even.

"To be sure ...I am usually around when least expected," which amused the hell out of her, and worried some poor souls ...

"A pleasure, Charlie. Good night to you and to you, Karina and you're welcome." Two carriers in hand as he caught up to Segan.



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