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Thistle Tavern

Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 81


What a bloody week! And it was only a few days into it. Conor lounged in a chair near the hearth, which of course wasn't lit, but it was in the direct path of a breeze that came in from the window. He had a drink at his side, resting in his grip on the arm of the chair, and for the most part, he was just breathing. The sounds of the outside filtered inside, more of a comfortable lull of sound than an intrusion.

Kuwan's steps were quiet that had her down from above, the only noise the light click of her door to lock shut behind her when leaving her room. She had a lot to think on over the past number of days to figure out but all in all she had no complaints as her life had taken on some new adventures she had not had the experiences of before. Life's path was a learning process and sometimes those lessons were more pleasant than not. A few seconds later she was emerging from the hall and heading for the bar. Her steps as light as her mood. This night her hair was braided in a single one down her back. Except the length curled over her one shoulder to flow down the front of the leather shift she wore. Another outfit but much the same as the others with beaded work in patterns done by her hand. A few words with Alex as he set out a glass of the raspberry punch. Perhaps something he said had her looking over a shoulder to spy the lounging lizard in what looked like his claimed domain. A smile curled before shifting back to the tender, giving her thanks and collecting her glass. Steps silent carrying her across the way and to take up a chair adjacent but angled that she would face him as she got seated.

It was a very lazy gaze that drifted to the one coming his way. It was not so lazy a straightening of posture that followed. He shoved up, nearly spilling his drink. Close call, that. He managed to keep the contents in the glass, however. "Hello, Kuwan. You look no worse for the wear from a day spent at the Quinn household." He started to rise, but she was already lowering to a chair, so he eased himself back down.

Dark eyes lifted as he rose, almost rising from her seat to not have to look up so far. She stayed put, hands curled around the glass, her drink untouched presently. "Hello," having picked that particular word up for greetings by some. "Conor. You have a good tribe. Strong. Spiritual in heart. Loyal in love. Your sisters were wonderful to me, they treated me as sister." Which she had to pause as it stuck in her throat with the emotion that welled up. It had been a long time to be amongst so many warm hearted people.

Conor nodded as she spoke, taking a drink from his glass. As he lowered it, he spoke. "Aye, my Gran always says the doors to a Quinn home are never closed to a guest. My mother instilled that in my sisters as well. I'm sure they were thrilled with your company and your contribution to the dinner."

"I am hoping it was so and that I might come again." Though she didn't ask for when or any angle to get a solid invitation. It was not right to come too often on ones generosity though some took advantage of it. She would come visit again when it was right to. Her instincts would tell her so. "All is well with you?" He seemed tired, although she studied his face openly she didn't comment directly on what she saw.

A bird's call this time of the evening was not unusual, nor the stirrings a breeze would have of leaves rustling amongst bushes and smaller trees that surrounded the Thistle Tavern. Mat crouched not far from a window under a great oak. Minute movement of hand making a certain gesture as dark blue eyes stayed steadfast on the window. He wore no shirt though straps of leather crossed a well toned bronze chest ending in a flat pouch at his side and others for the quiver of arrows angled against his back. The bow as well fitted over a shoulder angled to his back. Quick as the wind he moved, low and fast before leaping up on the porch to land silently where he could see through the window and still keep to the shadows. He waited for his brother.

He nodded in response to her question. "Quite well, aye, thank you." He was tired, but the days had been long, the nights just as much so. "Kuwan, I just said that the doors are always open. Someone is always about there." He smiled to her. He knew his grandmother had very much enjoyed the Indian lass. She had told him quite a few times, giving her the credit for the frogs! And he thought he would be the favorite for having brought her what she had been craving. Ohno! A dark-skinned Indian lass had stolen that distinction.

"Then if it is desired by Mother Quinn, I shall make it a point to come soon." She would bring small things she felt the woman would enjoy from their customs. She had given so much to Kuwan without even knowing she had. Her nose tickled with a twitch, something was in the air. It had her tilting her head to the side as dark eyes shifted to the nearest window that was open these warmer nights. She strained to listen but heard nothing then shook it off as such, turning back to Conor and their conversation with a smile to follow. "There is probably a rabbit pie left in the kitchen for you." She had Hazel set it aside in case he came.

Yas wasn't far behind his brother, though he paused a moment more before joining him on the porch where he lowered to one knee. He was dressed in similar fashion to Mat, though the only strap across his chest was from the quiver of  arrows. Loin cloth and buckskin leggings were worn as well, the leggings fringed up the side. He cut a look toward Mat and nodded slightly. There was a familiar voice to be heard inside the Thistle.

Here? He glanced to the kitchen, then back to Kuwan. No one knew that he had actually stolen a pie from the kitchen at home and hid it away for himself. "Aren't you the considerate one." He grinned. Would he ever get his fill of those pies? The way it looked now...not likely.

"It is favorite of yours?" That was why. Though the braves of her tribe loved rabbit pies, she never notice one relish them as much as Conor had. She was so use to making them, why not? Besides, it pleased her to see him so enjoy the wild delicacy.

He only lifted his chin to the scene beyond the window with a look to his brother. Blue eyes black in the night and only if got close could they tell they were actually blue. They finally found out where Kuwan had been going, her coming up missing a few times to alert them all. There was a grunt under his breath as he headed for the door and within. There was a policy about weapons so he removed the bow and quiver on the way in, setting them to the end of the bar in view of all and Alex. No one would bother them there as he'd not chance leaving them outside. He was not that trusting. He would get potcheen from Alex, enough for him and his brother.

"It has become so, aye." He nodded, bringing up his glass again to drink.

She wondered there for a moment if she was boring him. An odd thought but the conversation seemed to hang. Distraction came at a good time if that were so as she stood, untouched glass of punch still in her hands. "Good evening Yaskitchi, Matoskah. All is well?" She had not heard of them coming here in some time and wonder if there was a negative reason. Hoping it was not so.

He had already started to look in the direction of the door when the braves entered, but it was Kuwan coming to her feet which had him doing the same. He leaned to place his glass to the table. Not sure what was going on, Conor Quinn was not one to be unprepared.

They knew she was safe enough but it was still a concern. He reluctantly placed his bow and quiver aside as well, following Mat to the bar. Usually they came here to deliver the game they shot. "Kuwan. All is well with us. Is it the same with you?" Dark eyes moved from her to the male who also stood. He gave a slight nod in his direction before leaning against the bar and waiting for his drink.

Their customs were different than the whites and each tribe had their own peculiar way of doing things. Mat kicked back his glass of fire and set it aside. "Kuwan," not needing to add more for Yas had. Instead he was right over and in Conor's face. Almost nose to nose as dark eyes delved. There was a reason, his face set was probably fearsome of one from the wild and the ways of the animals. It was a testing to see what kind of man this was around one of theirs. Though, none of them laid claim to Kuwan, they were protective of her.

What the...Conor tensed. He wasn't one to particularly accept any man getting up in his face. Normally, that would have been cause to send a gut punch. Instead, he just stared back. His breathing slow, his gaze steady. But he wouldn't be a Quinn if he wasn't prepared to defend himself. Alpha dog in the making here, and a Quinn wasn't one to back down from a test or a threat.

Kuwan's instinct was to put out a hand to keep Conor from doing anything negative. He wouldn't know, yet it was not her place to stop what Mat was doing. Her hand started to rise but lowered discreetly as she held her breath instead, watching wide eyed.

Eyes held and locked as the man met his intense gaze without becoming stupid, a word he picked up in their language. It lasted maybe a whole of two minutes but probably felt like an eternity as the contrast of his smile came in flash while he took a step back and offered his hand in the traditional type of greeting of their race. He had met his, now he would offer theirs. "I am Matoskah, White Bear, and this is my brother Yaskitchi, Snow Brave. Our father is Alexander McDonough of your lands and," pausing with a look over his shoulder to his brother and back. "our lands."

He watched with what seemed to be mild interest as the two men faced off. A drink of the potcheen was taken before he looked at Kuwan. And waited. They had been concerned but she seemed well. Still ... she had yet to answer  and that was telling in itself.

Conor returned the gesture with a shake, glancing to the other native as he was introduced. "Alexander McDonough? I've just taken a post at Maurice McDonough's ranch. An honor, gentlemen." He offered the other man a nod since he was too far away to provide that handshake.

She was holding her breath, which was released and her mind to reel back to Yas. "It is the same with me. I have made friend in Conor and his family. They have been very kind and welcoming." Which had her smiling Yas' way as she felt that would please him. She knew they were worried about her becoming such a recluse in the three years here and it had been getting worse up until about three weeks ago. Since she decided to visit and then stay at the Thistle.

It was good that this tradition of the men didn't also belong to the women. He could only imagine what Mary Quinn would have done if Kuwan had stepped up into her personal space and came nose to nose with the Irish woman!

"Amergin!" Which was just when a certain young scrapper and her new pup came bounding into the place, one chasing the other. Karina had devised a makeshift leash out of some discarded rope, at the end of which strained the little blue-eyed husky puppy. And Karina was discovering he was stronger than his diminutive size would have you believe! "Amer! No pulling!" Ahh yes, she was endeavoring to train her pet but the newly-named Amergin was so enamored with ...  well, the world in general that he was proving a challenge to wrassle. Digging in her heels, Karina dragged the pup to a halt and grabbed a hold of his collar. Amergin just grinned about the place, nostrils flaring as he scented all the strangers. Pretty crowded here tonight it seemed, or at least busier than it had been.

"It is honor then. Chief Maurice is mighty warrior of spirit." Which was even more than agility of the body in skill to one such as Mas. "I have something to see to. I will be back," he at least hoped to. Just as quick he was out the side door. He would meet up with Yas later, or back to collect his bow and arrows.


Luckily it was only a thing amongst the men. They held pride in a lot of things especially a form of coup which was along the lines of what Mat did with Conor. She watched as Mat took off but he had left his bow and quiver of arrows here. In his wake, or so it seemed, there was Karina. "Good evening Karina. This is Yaskitchi and Matoskah the one who had to leave."

Conor watched as the Indian departed and a new form of possible confrontation entered. He looked to the puppy and couldn't help but smile that she had a companion. "Good evening, Nes...Karina." He corrected himself mid name, not sure if she'd appreciate her pet name.

He nodded then stepped back and turned his dark eyes on Conor. "Conor." Just that in greeting before he was back to the bar, glancing at the bow and arrows. He took another drink of potcheen as yet another stranger entered. Though this one had a dog.

Karina glanced over just in time to see one man departing through the side and by the time she glanced back to the group, Conor had made his presence known. She'd not seen him before, distracted as she was by the pup. Turquoise hues jumped to Conor and as they lingered there, something in them shifted. Or maybe just retreated into themselves. The pools went still and cool. And then she looked over to Kuwan, finding a little smile for the Indian lass. A nod as
she was introduced to the remaining male Brave, taking a moment to notice his unusual form of dress. Then she headed towards the bar, moving across the room in her brand-spankin-new black boots. They'd been left at her door anonymously, just like the ball gown but by now she thought she had her 'benefactor' figured out. "Alex, a cider if ya will."



Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 82

She was quite perceptive as she watched something in silence that roared volumes. Though noticed, her demeanor didn't change to give anything noticed away. The glass she was holding was brought  up for a drink as she let her thoughts wander amongst themselves while remaining expressionless. Curious perhaps.

Cool? More like ice! Conor cleared his throat softly, cutting a look to Kuwan then to Yas then reclaiming his seat. Nice boots. Far better than those ratty-ill-sized ones she used to clump about in.

"Karina." He gave a nod as he spoke her name in a near grunt.

Amergin trotted along at her heels to the bar, and when she perched herself upon a barstool he had the good grace to plop a squat himself, panting. Karina nodded to Alex in thanks when her cider arrived and she took a long gulp. Longer than usual, that was for sure. She could almost feel eyes burning her back as she sat there facing away from the room. Only the puppy looked out upon them with equal curiosity.

He brought his attention back fully to Kuwan. "You do know that my grandmother is giving you full credit for her frogs, and even more impressed with the nets you fashioned to get them."

She almost missed being addressed. Distracted like she had been before. Dark eyes turned on Conor a second before a nice blush crept to her cheeks. "I do not deserve the credit for catching all the frogs. You caught most of them. The nets are yours to keep so that you can keep Mother Quinn supplied with all the frogs she wants. I am honored she shared her cooking expertise with me." As well she noticed how easily Mary picked up on making the rabbit pies. Her grandsons would have plenty provided they provided the rabbits.

Mary Quinn could cook like no other that Conor knew, but the rabbit pies? That would remain to be seen. "Yas, if you wish, you can join us here. And you, Karina, with your new ... friend." That said, he addressed Kuwan again. "Ah, but the truth, and what Mary Quinn believes to be the truth, there is but one. And it is the latter." He laughed. "You, Dear Lady, are the finder and fetcher of the frogs."

Mat had nearly scared Hazel out of her skin for the back door was locked this time of night from the outside so he came in through one of the kitchen windows. Ones that were up high and not that easily accessed. He had gotten her some special herbs that could only be collected at night, under a moon, like this one. That had pleased her though she swatted at the half clad male and sent him on his way back out into the main room. Except he had a rabbit pie in his hand he was eating down. He got a reward! Blue eyes danced when he passed his brother munching on the delicacy.

Even busily drinking her cider she could easily hear Conor from behind her and it made her muscles tense obnoxiously. But she told herself, again that she didn't care. That's what she'd been telling herself all week anyway. Going over there was the last thing she wanted to do but this was Karina, she had to prove a point. That, yes, she didn't care. And so she slowly stood from her barstool and, cider in hand headed over towards the group, tugging Amergin gently to get him to come along. Though she was sure to select the seat farthest from Conor.

Wait! Was that Conor's pie from the kitchen!?


He watched the young woman, all spit and fire, fight back whatever was happening in her mind to join them. At least, join Kuwan. He stood as she neared and lowered to a knee, welcoming the pup with a click of tongue to join him a moment there.

He just eyed his brother over his glass before he took another long drink. He stayed where he was, never as social as Mat.

Kuwan was very sensitive to certain things. Just as she could open herself to take in a sunset to become part. The vibes in this room probably had her look much like a butterfly to take flight. It was her namesake. Kuwan was not that far from where Conor sat. Adjacent seat that was angled that she could see his face when first chosen.

She was more than just half tempted to tug Amergin back so that he wouldn't go to Conor. But as the pup strained on the leash, she let him go, releasing him to trot over to the stranger. But Karina was frowning into her cider as the pup reared up to lick Conor's face.

Who was there to be social with, seems it was he and his brother and Conor over there with the two women. He was enjoying his rabbit pie, grinning around the munching.

"Aren't you a handsome fellow?" He played with the pup, catching his face in his hands as he licked, then sweeping a hand under his legs to flip him gently to his back and scrub at his belly. "Aren't'cha." A kicking of back leg started. Not Conor's! The puppy's! He grabbed at the pup's snout, giving it a light shake, which caused the dog to growl in playful defense. "Are you a good protector, eh? Let's hear it." And again, the dog kicking with delight and perhaps a bit more determination to flip back over, but Conor released his hold and gave the pup a pat on the head, scratching behind his ears. "A good fellow, I'm sure." He stood slowly, the dog jumped and bounced off his leg with the sudden change of attention. He took his seat back, lowering his hand to ruffle the fur atop the wee beastie's head.

She realized she had continued to stand and the muscles along her legs tensing. With that notice she took a seat, almost in slow motion but certainly graceful. She watched Conor play with the puppy in silence.

And Karina just watched out of the corner of her eye, her face hardened even if Amergin was acting oh-so-cute. Another gulp of cider and she set the glass down on the table. It clunked against the wood. "C'mere, Amergin." She held her fingers out toward the puppy, who hesitated for a second, just wagging his tail before trotting over to Karina. Yes, the husky knew his master already! Karina ruffled Amer's scruff, bending to bury her face in his fur a moment.  "Good boy. Yes ya are."

"Do you like dogs, Kuwan?" He asked her, looking over to her. "I've just been given a golden retriever. Yet to name it. Just call it 'you' for now." A glance shot to Karina as she set that glass down with a bit more force than necessary.  "Trouble is, he's starting to answer to it."

That broke the tension she was taking on, not of her doing nor will to. She was told once what it was but forgot the white man's words for it. "I do like puppies and even to grow up into dogs. I hope to have one some day. I have," and stopped, biting her bottom lip as she glanced to Yas and Mat a moment then dropped down to the drink in her hand. It took her a moment before eyes lifted again. "I am told Eddie of McAndrews is a generous man. He will trade." She could hope he liked rabbit pies or bead working.

"Aye, Eion said that too." Karina spoke up for the first time in several minutes, though she was addressing Kuwan exclusively. "Said he'd trade or let ya work off payment over time. Here, ya wanna hold him?" And reaching down to scoop up Amergin, she offered the squirming furry bundle to the Indian girl.

Because she had, Conor looked the native warriors' way too.

Mat was watching her, picking up on a few things. Kuwan had grown up with them and lived here, choosing to come with a few others, together. Friends. He glanced to Yas to see if he noticed anything as he slipped out one of the arrows and started to work on the feathers against the end of its shaft.

There was a tension in Kuwan that he had not noted before and it caused him to frown even more than usual. "I go hunt." He said suddenly, leaving the half filled glass on the counter. He'd be glad when their time here was over, even if he was the only one to return home.

"Yes," to both as she set her glass aside and took up the puppy, coming to keel on the floor. She had a way of smoothing his fur, running her fingers along his ears and neck, under his chin and leaving him to lick her face at will. That was until she heard Yas make his declaration and dark eyes lifted his way and held. Worry creased her brow with a glance to Mat then back. "I will be back to the village next week once my days of spirit's path is over." Which she was doing down at the lake. Though their village was not far from here either.

He was over to the door and grabbed up his bow and arrows and then headed out. Likely scared a lass or two when he took off running but he didn't notice.

He didn't have an answer for her but he was concerned for Yas. The look given Kuwan would say as much before he grabbed up his bow and quiver and was off after his brother.

Karina glanced up as the two warriors left, suddenly to say the least. Not even enough time to say farewell. Curiously, she looked at Kuwan as the husky crawled all over her. Amergin relished the attention and decided to express it by attacking her face with puppy kisses.

She was laughing at this point, he was very playful and affectionate. If she worried on the brother she kept it well hidden. There was nothing she could do presently. Her face was all slobbered over by the time  she was done playing with the pup and he was off to explore the room. She only wiped it with her hand were it was the most wet as she was up from her kneeling position to reclaim her seat.

They left as quickly as they came, with as much verbal communication. He looked to Kuwan but she seemed all right with it, so he just shrugged their departure away as common place for their tribe. "I do believe he was quite enraptured with you, Kuwan." He laughed, settling back in his seat with his drink in hand once more. He passed a glance to Karina on occasion, but not lingering there long so that she wouldn't be made to feel that he was testing her.

"He likes ya," Karina told Kuwan with a little smile, leaning back in her own seat to watch Amergin roam the room. With most of the others all gone it was suddenly a little less comfortable around here. Especially when she spoke at  the same moment as Conor. Her glance shot that way but only for the briefest moment.

"I would do well with getting a puppy." Like that had settled it in her mind. She would find this Eddie McAndrews and work out a deal as they put it. "This is good, this word, enraptured?" If she pronounced it right. She tried to repeat such new words after they were spoken so that she learned them better.

She nodded her agreement, "all the pups Eion got are fine-lookin'. You'd do well ta go to that Eddie fella." She watched the pup sniff about and realized he was probably thirsty and maybe hungry. She rose and left the group, heading to the bar to sweet talk Alex into getting her some scraps from the kitchen, and a bowl of water.

"When he sniffs about like that, Karina, you might want to take him out..." But she moved to the bar so he lowered his voice with the rest. "side." A smile for Kuwan. "You should take Eion with you, Kuwan. He has a knack for picking out the perfect pup."

"I do not know Eion that well to ask him. I can do it myself. Thank you for the suggestion." She had pride as her spine stiffened. "Your brother may not appreciate you volunteering him." Last thing she needed was to hoist herself on his brother.

Conor was sure pleased with 'You.' You, come here. You, get away from there.! Leave that cat alone. You...stop digging up Gran's garden. You! Dammit, you! That tensing set Conor back, always expecting it from Karina, not from Kuwan. "Aye, okay." He offered her a nod.

There were a lot of thoughts going through her head. Not ones she liked. She tried to keep the frown from her face but she could not keep it from her eyes. Stamping down the rest of them, she was up from her seat and headed to the bar to drop off her glass there. "It is late, I need a walk. Thank you for the company." The garden would be a good place to start as she stepped out there from the side door.



Date: 06-30-09
Poster: Conor Quinn
Post # 83

A bit at a loss for all the comings and goings in the Thistle, and the fact that Karina refused to even acknowledge he was alive except with the occasional glare his way, he took his leave to get some air himself. Christ, even when he asked if she would be continuing to ignore him every time their paths crossed, she made it clear, with no question to her meaning, that yes...that was her plan.  Frustration still tightened his gut as he cut down the side alley. Forced to pause to scrape something thick and slimy from the bottom of his boot only added to his mood.  He squinted in the dim light to make sure no goo remained and then continued his stroll on around to the garden.

There was a fountain in the back of the Thistle's garden. The water had a soothing gurgling sound flowing from the nymph sculptured tiers. That is where Kuwan sat in meditation. Her breathing deep with the rise of her chest and slowly released, then another deep breath of the sweet fragrances around while fingers dipped in the cool water of the fountain. The very reason she sat there, where there was water to connect with, the air around, all things of nature growing.

The majority of the flowers had curled into themselves against the night, but the moonflowers, huge, white blossoms, welcomed the darkness and sent their fragrance out into the air. A few more blooms dared the shadows, providing the garden with more color than just green, and the lights from the Thistle played off of them. Conor wandered, his thoughts rambling from one thing to the next, a medley of confusion and frustration, while his steps continued on. He came to a halt when he saw Kuwan seated at the fountain and she appeared to be, once again, in one of her trance states. He took a silent step back, then another, not wishing to interrupt her time of solitude and spirit journey.

She would breathe in through her nose as her lips would part just a fraction to release that air slowly from her lungs after a count to hold it as long as possible. It calmed all those frustrations leaving a tingling sensation all the way down to her fingertips by the time she was done. She felt he stir of one around while in that state but didn't feel there was any harm about the one. Dark eyes lifted open to capture upon his form. Holding him there a moment. She could feel that anxiety in him but she was fortified against it presently. It was more the other that was the center, the cause it radiated out from. Whatever her reasons it was strong and had been pointedly administered, using Kuwan at one point to further it. That was the start of her picking up on it directly. "Conor, come sit."

"I didn't mean to interrupt." He spoke in hushed tones, as if his words would diminish her calm state, as if his presence alone hadn't already. He couldn't deny her though. What was it about her? He lowered to a place next to her on the fountain.

When he sat, she took one of his hands to bring up. Her movements were slow, graceful, purposeful, as she ran the fingers of her other hand up over his palm to divide his fingers apart. An action in and of itself, if he watched, felt, would draw him away from all the negative within him. "Do you wish to talk? I can try. It has been a while but maybe I can help if you like."

She practically drew him in with just her touch, her words causing him to blink and bring his gaze from where she stroked his palm and through his fingers. "I was concerned with why you left so quickly. I've not known you to take your leave so abruptly." That was part of it, the rest he probably wouldn't share with her. The rest, he had created by himself and he would handle it ... by himself.

He felt calmer, there was a problem, this she felt though had no idea. It would not matter other than there was one. She lowered his hand back to rest against his thigh. "I left because I felt too many bad feelings being given out. I had wondered if the saying amongst your race of two is company and more is not wanted." So she didn't quite have it right but she knew the meaning. "Most was coming from Karina. There is much anger there and is aimed at you but she brought me into the crossfire by pointedly being friendly to me while making it a point to ignore you. This I felt. I tried to stay but when you said I should go with Eion, I felt it must be true and should not stay. Though after I came out here, I felt that might not be what it had seem but the other bad feelings were turning everything. Bad spirits that need to be cleansed away or they grow stronger."

"I would never wish to insult you, Kuwan." He grimaced a bit, preparing to admit the rest. "and Karina has just cause to be angry with me. I hate that what I have created in her, has made you uncomfortable though. I apologize for that."

"I will not ask what you caused but I would say if she is just in her feelings then it is she you should apologize to, accepting she may not forgive you but that is her choice. At least by doing so you have cleansed yourself. If she wishes to cling to the negative, it is something in her then and no longer your fault." She hoped she was making sense to him, though not knowing what happened it was a general fix all for most things.

He was grateful the gracious Indian goddess didn't ask what had caused the trouble and only offered a possible fix. He nodded in agreement, listening to her thoughts on the matter. "Aye, I suppose I should. But that would mean having to talk to her, and ..." He shook his head this time, smiling to Kuwan. "Not a good idea just yet I'm thinking." Couldn't he just talk with Kuwan instead? Talk about ... who knows...the stars? The moon? Heck, even that snake they happened upon the other night?

"Only you know if or when it is possible. The only thing will be, it will linger until addressed." Unless one or the other left. "Know, that if I am about and she comes being that way. I may leave because I need to with some if it is that bad. I am," and she finally remembered the white man's words, or close anyway, "empathy."

Conor grinned. "Empathic." Of course she would be. Weren't most gods and goddesses able to touch upon the feelings of the mere humans? "Aye, I understand. I don't think I'll like it, but I understand. I hope that I won't place you in that uncomfortable situation again. And though you are right I need to apologize to her, I also need to apologize to you. I should have left when she came in if I'm not ready to address the problem." He had tried to when everyone left, but Karina had denied him the opportunity by enforcing her stance on stubborn, jilted young miss and refusing to speak to him. He may try again...he may not. Some wounds were best left to heal on their own and any tampering with them only caused them to remain red, angry and prolonged the healing. "Can we talk of something else?" He felt his shoulders tensing, his own anger starting to rise again over a simple afternoon that had gone astray.

"I do not think you knew how she was going to be?" Eyeing him carefully and looking serious before a twinkle surfaced in dark eyes."Empathic," repeating the word that she would remember it this time but the twinkle was there for the next. "If you place me uncomfortable, I beat you with stick? Chase you to meet the Snake?" Dark brows on the rise with such a ridiculous suggestion as if plausible.

Conor...laughed. It started as a chuckle but soon erupted in a rather heartfelt, much needed laugh. He nodded in the process, imagining the peaceful Kuwan taking up a stick and beating it about. "Not the snake, anything...but the snake." Barely able to get those words out with his laughter.

"You know that most snakes are good? They eat bugs and many small rodents that can infest a field or homes. The ones with venom, if you can capture them and extract the venom, it can be used as a very lethal substance to put on the tips of your arrows when going to battle." Though this was suppose to be with humor, she had deviated. "I shall give you a rattle from the rattle snake as a token to keep you safe from snakes."

In order for her to do that, wouldn't that mean she would have to face off against a rattlesnake? He calmed his laughter and squinted an eye at her. "Only if you find an obliging dead rattlesnake, Kuwan."

"It will not be a live one and it will only be the rattler. It is good spirit to possess it." They had killed a number of rattlesnakes over the course of three years and always kept the tails. She had a few. "Do you feel better, though your problem is still there?" That could be, recharge and more able to face the problem.

He had to nod. "Aye, you make me laugh, Kuwan. That always makes me feel better." Not that he was ready to face the problem, or even wanting to, but she had eased up the tension of the night considerably.

"Then, let us sneak into the kitchen and see if Mat left any rabbit pies or if there is apple pie." Dark eyes gleamed as she lifted them with a tip of her chin up. Right across from them was the window Mat had gotten into the kitchen through. He had dragged over a cut off stump to use. "Though you will have to give me a boost." So she would have to go first!

He looked to the window, back to Kuwan, then to the window again and grinned. Ohhellyeah. He stood, offering her a hand. "You through first and I'll be right behind you." Felt as if he was home again, sneaking through a bedroom window, but the thought of rabbit pie or even an apple pie, oddly, was more tempting at the moment than what had been waiting for him on the otherside of that window as a youth.

Her hand slid into his as she tugged him over to the stump, she hopped up, taking him with her and placing his hands on her waist. Glancing the distance and back, it would not be too far and he was tall enough to get in after. "First lift me up," words in a whisper by his ear they were so low for the window was open still and in case anyone was around, "I will see if anyone is around. If I knock on your head," which she lifted a fisted hand to tap at his noggin, "then bring me down. If I tug," which she tugged a lock of hair, "then boost me through." Once instructions were given so they were on the right page she turned so she was facing the window.

If Mat could do it, he could do it! He hefted the slight weight up toward the window so she could peek in. It took all his strength since he was holding back a laugh, anticipating the knock on his head or the tug of his hair again. Who would have ever thought? Couldn't they just go through the front, through the door, and get their pie? This was far more amusing though, so he played along. "What do you see?" He hissed out a whisper, expecting the reprimand for not following instructions and just waiting for the head knocking or hair tugging signals.

Hands gripped to the sill to help pull her up with the boost. She was looking. "No one," tugging on a strand of hair as one hand left go of the sill to do so and she nearly slipped, or was slipping unless he helped in that balance again. She had never done this but Mat had and certainly they could go through the front door and in but this was far more exciting for some reason, like the coups at home.

His hand slid down to cup her backside. Nothing untoward, just to balance her and gave her a boost up further so she could ease through the window. "Pie will soon be ours." He chuckled, giving her a bounce up to help her through.

That sent her up, head lightly thumping on the upper sill as an "omph!" came out under her breath but she grabbed on and wiggled through. He could probably hear her feet lightly land on the flooring below. She took a few steps aside and waited for him.

He pulled himself up and through, a soft grunt of effort, but soon enough was swinging through to land on his feet. "Now to find the pies."

Just as they were about to start off there was a noise upon the steps that led up to the rooms upstairs. Without thinking and trying hard not to laugh she grabbed Conor's hand and yanked him back with her to press behind some large stacked barrels there near the window. A light shined with a carried lantern by one of the chambermaids that had seen to someone's call, she came in and through into the pantry across from where they were. The light slid down along the outer wood of the barrels as the woman moved in and out and headed back up the stairs.

He had started forward, but Kuwan snatched him back, causing him to stumble. He gained his footing just in time to keep from tumbling into those very barrels they would end up hiding behind. Good thing the woman didn't see them because they probably would have scared the poor thing out of her wits! Conor leaned way forward as she started to leave, attempting to see what she was carrying. "That better not be my pie!" He growled, cutting a look to Kuwan. His voice didn't match his features though, because he was grinning and since she had his hand still, his fingers tightened around hers and it was his turn to give her a tug. He would chase that maid with Kuwan in tow and tackle her if she had a rabbit pie in her hand!

That was exactly what she was thinking! They would end up giving the woman a fright and get in trouble for that over sneaking into the kitchen. She picked up on the scent of steeped herbs. "Someone with a very bad sour stomach. Steeped herbs." Coming out with his tug as her smile could be seen even in the dark such was the contrast of white against reddish bronze. "Our pies await us."



Date: 07-03-09
Poster: Adrian Frasier
Post # 84

Meeting New Friends

Adrian was once more to be found at the Thistle, leaving his Assistant completely on his own in taking care of the Westside port area. If he was down there he would get involved. Though, if really needed they knew where to find him. He was at a corner table, feet kicked up on the opposite seat with his chair tipped back and enjoying a tankard of ale. Glass of potcheen set on the table as a chaser.  Loose fitting poet's shirt work of a light tan was tucked into near black pants, shorter boots that laced up just above the ankle. Hair was left unbound for there was no reason he could see in tying it back tonight.

Gemma had been out riding Cerridwen and doing a little sightseeing in the process. She had spent most of her days since her arrival in Heathfield at the manor, helping Mel, her Aunt and now her grandmother. She had finally written a note to Dame Maureen McLoughan asking to be tested as a possible candidate for the Order of Athena. Now it was a matter of waiting. Being it was late, she decided to stop at the Thistle and maybe have a bite to eat. She was dressed in comfortable pants, knee-high boots of finely tooled leather, and a short sleeved poet's shirt of dark green. Dark hair was pulled back into a single braid. Leaving Cerridwen in the hands of the stable boy, she headed in through the front door of the Thistle.

Segan discovered that Gemma finally ventured out though riding with the intention of a letter for a position. It was entirely possibly she would end up at the Thistle. It was a good excuse to escape all the other women at the manor with Eion staying in the barracks. Conor at the cattle ranch and the only male with a half dozen ladies? He would be doing a lot of escaping! So he rode in with the idea of possibly catching up with his brothers and if not, finding a card game down at the port and sleeping on the Anaconda. It was not a bad prospect. Dismounting as he caught sight of Cerridwen, confirming his hunch, as she headed into the tavern. He would take his time as he didn't want her to feel like he was following her.

There was a moment hesitation to continue sitting as he was, laid back, lazy way of it, except there was something about the woman coming in that tickled an instinct to gain his feet. The front chair legs came down with a dull thud as he was up with the momentum and a dip of his head. Glass of potcheen still clutched in his hand. "Good evening Miss." Far better sight than most of the women he got to see on a daily basis.

But somebody was following Segan, or rather, happened to come upon the Thistle just as he was, though from an opposite direction. "Hiya, Segan." Sure enough it was the scrapper, waving at him with one cheerful hand... the other being currently occupied by a certain rambunctious husky pup on his leash. Amergin wiggled against the leash, straining to go greet Segan and she jogged up a step to allow the pup to do so. Karina this eve was dressed in the normal garb, oversized and patched tunic and pants, and cap, though the black boots on her feet were new and a far cry from the ratty old, toe-poking-out pair she usually wore. "Decided ta leave off the Docks tonight?"

He looped the reins around the hitching post, focus on the door of the Thistle until he heard his name. Had him whipping a glance there with a smile to emerge a moment later with recognition. "Hello Karina," coming around as he crouched down to ruff up the pup in petting him good. "How are you doing little fellow, keeping an eye on your little lady?" Though not looking at Karina as he spoke like one man to another with the pup. That was initially before rising up to straighten in standing. "I will probably end up down there at some point. Sleep on me ship."

"Evening to you as well." She smiled as she looked his way. "Nice night for relaxing." In spite of her traveling, she still had the brogue that identified her as a child of Eire.  She had stopped in her trek to the bar while she spoke to the man.

Karina gave a grin as Amergin, the newly-dubbed pup gave a little yip and eagerly jumped his small self all over Segan, offering licks of recognition and greeting. "Oh aye. He's a very brave little man," she answered to the question Segan had posed to the puppy. "Ah... rocked tae sleep by the sea and by the pure...that sounds grand."

Dark eyes held a natural intensity to them as they dipped in a quick assessing way over the woman. Smile shot wide after a moment. Transformed the more deadly look to social and even human. "Adrian Frasier, welcome to this tavern tonight. Have you met Alex?" Indicating the older gentleman at the bar ready to see to her needs, drink or food that was.

"It's a far better prospect then entertaining six related women by myself. Not that I don't love them all dearly.. but.." he laughed as he was up the few steps, a motion of hand in a gallant way that she enter before him.

"Not yet, but I'm told he's met several of my family. Gemma Quinn. It's a pleasure to meet you Adrian, of the very large Frasier family." There was a hint of impishness in blue eyes.

The remark had him laugh outright. "That it is, a large family but I hear yours is quite large. I have met your brothers, especially Segan as he shares a love of the sea and a fine ship to sail." Which had him glancing towards the open door as he was certain he heard the very one's voice along with another just outside it.

"But it wouldn't exactly be a relaxing evening, sounds like," she finished for him with another grin. She gave just the briefest of blinks, not used to such grand gentlemanly gestures but hey... she'd go with the flow. And so in she went, the small husky preceding her eagerly. Wide-set aqua eyes glanced about the place, seeing only one familiar face about and that one the bartenders. "Evenin' Alex," the teen called out to said bartender, before turning a curious gaze to the two strangers. "Hullo.." She offered a smile of greeting, waiting to see if they were open to introductions or more for keeping to themselves. This Tavern definitely saw both types.

"Alex, if you please, a glass of the potcheen punch, blackberry, if you would, and maybe a platter of bread, cheese and meats if you would." And that way there'd be plenty to share. She looked toward the door and grinned. "It sounds like that very brother is on his way in."

Adrian recognized the lass that came in. Down at the docks and dancing that had cropped up one afternoon. "Evening Karina," the portmaster indeed knew her name! Slight smirk curled the edges of his lips that touched upon dark eyes with a glint. He waited for the other they both knew to enter next.

He was a moment behind coming in through the door, heard all of course. Grinning too. "Evening Adrian, Gemma. This is Karina," more to Gemma as Adrian knew her name. He headed for the bar to pick up the glass of potcheen being set out along with a glass.

That was one way to get her pretty turquoise eyes to open wide! Cue paranoia. And eyes shot to Adrian, eyeing him a moment. She didn't think they'd been introduced but he did look somewhat familiar. "Uh... have we met?"

"Not directly. I am the Westside Portmaster. I've seen you around the docks and it's my business to know everyone's name as is possible." So she didn't really have to be paranoid but it also lent the idea he might know of her coming and goings. There too, he had not stopped her as of yet either. There were many underground dealings that went down, long as they didn't hurt the Crown in anyway, some things were left alone.

Since he was coming over, Segan was going to get a hug. "Karina." She nodded to the girl then looked at her brother again. "Escaping the manor for a while?" Poor lads didn't have a chance there, especially when they were on their own and all alone.

"...Oh." Well as long as it was only her name that he knew. He was acting friendly enough but then appearances could always be deceiving. So still a little uneasy, she nodded to Gemma in greeting before looking back to Adrian and asking bluntly, "And who're ye then?"  His full name, she meant, since he'd already mentioned his post.

He slipped an arm around Gemma to give her a good hug, words coming low while near. "I'm pleased to see you're getting out." Not adding it was about time. "Good to see you meeting ones like Adrian here," giving a waggle of his brows in teasing her without saying anything. Easing from the hug before kicking back his double shot of the Pure.

She chuckled then settled onto a stool while she waited for the platter. "Aye, finally out. Gran was about to take a broom to me backside." She waved a hand in the general direction of the stables. "And Cerridwen needed some exercise. " They each had to mourn their father in their own way. Hers had been to withdraw for a little while. "Did you hear what Gran did to Eion?"

"Adrian," which Segan had mentioned but she only asked his name like most did for the first name. Glancing up to make note of brother and sister. Reminded him of his family. So theirs held not just loyalty but warmth too.

He would pilfer from her platter too! Good to eat something while drinking. "Aye, I think it is rumored out all the way down to the port. Grams is going to earn herself a nickname. Battlemarm was one of them I heard."

"Adrian....." Clearly she was fishing for a bit more info though her tone was light and casual.

"Karina...." Easing in a lean against the table he had been occupying until Gemma entered and he had stood from his seat. Now he was half leaning sitting on it with a growing grin. Dark eyes delving her way but there was humor about the man.

"I hear tell his bunkmates are considering adopting her as their official Grandmama." She laughed softly and then thanked Alex for the platter he set on the counter. "There's plenty here for all to share." She said it so that both Adrian and Karina would hear, then took a drink of the punch. "Mmmm. Should take a bottle of this home." Grandmama was getting a supply -- dandelion wine from Eion, and the punch from Gemma, and of course, the Pure. "And threatened to speak to the Queen, no less, if Eion didn't get more sleep!" And Gemma for one had no doubt Mary would do so!

"They may have to dub her or something if she is going to continue barging her way, nicely of course, into the barracks. Else they might get mothers, sisters and the like of other ladies deciding they can too just to get a glimpse of half naked knights and warriors." He was still
picturing it all and burst out laughing.

"Just Karina," she replied quickly enough, and that was the truth! She had no last name to claim as her own. She looked at Adrian a moment longer but then, the pup at her feet whined softly and wagged his tail up at her. So she put the worst of the worried thoughts from her mind, turned from Adrian for now and started for the bar to request a bowl of water from Alex. That before Gemma's words came her way. "Ah, thankya!" She was pretty starved. It had been a good work night, thus the buoyant mood.

Which had something else touch dark eyes for that admission. "You're the second one I've met here that doesn't have a last name. The other is under the Druid Prince, one of his men." Watching her a moment before adding, "Adrian Frasier, Frasiers of Falkirk." There were quite a few of them. Leaving her then to see to her drink and the like as he collected his drink from the table to kick back. The bottle there was lifted to refill it. The tankard already finished.

Ahh and there came a bit more info, and she caught the familiar name of Frasier. It seemed to be a big name around here. She was just beginning to learn of the complex local genealogy. Though his mention of some Druid Prince didn't go unnoticed either, but that had no meaning to her. "Well met then, Adrian Frasier of Falkirk." And she turned a smile onto the man. Hey, if he didn't already know enough about her to make judgements... didn't hurt to make nice with a man who had that sort of power.

Dark eyes shifted upon Segan and Gemma. "I heard something about that. A woman that knocked down a few guards to gain her way into the barracks to accost one of the males there." Which had him pause as a smile came in a lazy way, "I can imagine the real happening was nothing like that."

Adrian had her laughing as she lowered her glass. "She's a whirlwind who wouldn't let a guard or two keep her from her mission. I hadn't heard if there was any teasing involved after, but I know the men were talking about breakfast all day. Have you met her yet, Adrian?" She picked at some of the cheese and popped it into her mouth after her question.

He near choked on his drink, almost went thorough his nose in hearing that. That was another one then of the episode that changed many hands by the time it reached the port.

"Well, that's the better one," normally he would repeat the others but it might embarrass Segan's sister. Especially when it was about their grandmother. "No, and to ease your mind, I take tales passed amongst the sailors with a grain of salt." Though some of them took off with great leaps and bounds. One trying to outdo the other and nothing near what really happened. "Well met, Karina of Just Karina," giving her a wink as he pushed up from his position to head over and raid the platter with the others.

"Your Gran do somethin' that set tongues wagging?" Karina asked curiously, just tuning in to the conversation as she headed over to the group as well, bowl in one hand, puppy in the other. A grin was given, for though she'd not yet met the infamous Grandmama yet she'd certainly heard stories tossed about. She bent to set both pup and water on the floor, unclipping Amergin from his leash so he might romp freely. It was a fine leather leash, carved with the name of its owner, Amergin and matched the puppy's collar. Just another anonymous gift left at her door by whom she had come to assume was Eion.



Date: 07-03-09
Poster: Adrian Frasier
Post # 85

"I think it best to let Gemma tell the tale." He had heard too many of the rumors around. One even of a woman assumed to be Eion's that couldn't stand not being around from her man so used her wiles to get into see him and even enticed all the other men so that no one complained. A Siren she was nicknamed in this one.
"She just made sure Eion had at least one good breakfast while he's staying at the barracks." Her lips twitched slightly as she answered, then brought the glass up for another drink. She could imagine the state those poor men scattering. "Enough food to feed the entire floor of the barracks and some left over from what I understand." Gemma would have choked if she heard that one!

He heard similar but something about the woman being the grand mother of the brothel Eion frequented. The same one the robe woman came out to slip him something he'd forgotten. Or was it not taking his money after his skills in the sack? So the grand mother took him on and now wanted to make sure her aspiring protege was fed properly. That she knew the men guarding the doors and a bit of bribery to get by them. Luckily he said nothing, just smirked as he enjoyed eating from the platter and another tankard of ale acquired while at it.

"Ahh..." And a smirk began to curl her lips as the sixteen-year-old envisioned the fall-out of a Matron showing up to the barracks armed with a feast. A light grin as she settled herself into a seat across from the others, "Bet the men didn't mind that at all.."

He was giving Adrian a look for he heard far too many of the various rumors as well. He was appreciative if his friend didn't divulge any of the far fetched, though amusing in a way, to his sister.

Poor Eion was only in Heathfield for a month and building a reputation by doing nothing! Of course, Gemma didn't know any of the tales. "No, they didn't mind at all. Grandmama is a wonderful cook." And it's good Adrian didn't repeat them. Gemma would likely demand to know who told such stories. Either that, or she'd laugh. "So, you're portmaster, Adrian. Have the day off?" She could imagine how hectic that position would be.

While Gemma talked with Karina, he moved down a bit from the group to quietly ask something of Alex. Though he was certain the man was going to catch on, he trusted he would never breathe a word of it or certain he would have rumors circulating on him. Alex gave a slight shake of his head with whatever few words was his reply. A nod from Segan before he was back to snatch up a chunk of cheese from the platter.

Karina was content to just listen for now, in fact she'd wandered over to the platter herself for a snack. Which for Karina, was never a snack but actually a meal. She already had a slice of bread in one hand and a hunk of cheese in the other by the time Segan walked thataway as well. She glanced curiously between him and Alex but decided not to ask. He'd probably just say it was none of her business. Either that or throw her in the water trough. That thought made her smirk to herself before she tipped her glance up to the man. "So, any big voyages ahead for ya's?"

"Aye, long story but when I came to the land in search of my family, I was given the offer for my expertise. Though it would limit my own travels by sea. I have two men trained and one is to the point of testing him out fully. The job is a twenty four hour one, though time there may go without much of anything at all to do." Which could become not only dull but dangerous for relaxing too much into such a night. "The ideal is a shift of three men with two that can go part time, giving any of the three regulars time off. Still there is the head. Adam Callihan has the eastside and is doing the same."

She offered him a dimpled smile. "Aye, I can see where it can be a full time job. But the call of the sea is a strong one. Will you be able to sail more if the men work out?" She poked Segan in the side ... just because.

At least that was the only one of this threats he carried out! She should be grateful to that. His periodic questions to Alex were of a curiosity only to him and nothing major. Least at this point. "I have some to go down the coast for Bovee. You've not met either of the Frenchmen?" She might eventually. "There's a nice bit o' profit for a good day's work covering me and my crew. Bringing goods down to Ballicastle port then an exchange brought back. They have a lot bigger runs they usually work but I was asked just this day if I would be willing to take some of them on. They will require more time and it was also implied if it works out, some of the more dangerous ones if I'm willing that will pay top dollar."

He move to position himself in a lean right next to Gemma being he could and easier to talk between them. That was after the mouthful of food was chewed and swallowed. He watched Karina for a moment before dark eyes delved upon Gemma. A kind that drew all his instincts up in getting to know something about this person. "It will give me more time. I might see about some runs to the colonies in particular."

Karina shook her head to his question of meeting, who, the Frenchmen? But everything he said was interesting to this sea-lusting lass and she soaked it all in, oceanic eyes a bit widened with interest. It all sounded so...  adventurous! Leaning a bony hip lightly against the table, she munched on some of that cheese and nodded again. Oh wait, swallow before speaking! "Just to Ballicastle or will ya be goin' out further on the sea? Think ye might meet any pirates?" A lopsided grin, she was only half-joking. He'd mentioned danger and that could be due to anything... the trafficking of illicit goods (which she wouldn't mention in present company) or marine marauders possibly attacking. The latter seemed more exciting, anyway. She did feel the Portmaster's eyes upon her and cast just a flicking glance over her shoulder that direction, shifting slightly where she stood and telling herself to relax.

There were places that required one to go through dangerous waters. Dangers in a few ways as governed by no one and the possibility of pirates. "Never know what I will meet out on the sea but after meeting an Amazon tribe, I'd rather fight it out with pirates." Quick wink but there was something serious to his tone as one that had very real experiences that they didn't talk on and may never.

"The colonies. I know Segan's been there. Of course, he's been a few places and has yet to tell any tales." Which had her giving Segan the look. Wide eyes and a slight pout. She only did it to tease though and started to laugh. "I hear there are a few female captains about." Pirates? She looked at Segan, and shook her head. "No wonder you don't tell your stories. Grandmama would never let you sail again."

"There are two major ones to look out for Segan. Black Doom and Black Beard. The two sometimes hook up together, neither trusting the other but both wanting the same goal. My family has had a run in with both and the two are at large though we have sunk their ships, two of the three. There is a fledgling with them that goes by Jon Sterling but we think either Doom or Black Beard will kill him off personally."

Eyes opened a little wider, Amazons? She glanced over to Gemma and Adrian both when they spoke up, holding her tongue in lieu of their shared stories. The lot of them had led such adventuresome lives, it seemed.

"Aye, I've heard of them but not a whole lot until I got here. Something about a Ferret as well that plagues your family?" There were also curses, eventually he might learn more. "If you head for the colonies, let me know. If I've the time, I'd like to go there again. There is a lot of trade that has opened up to them for the furs from an untamed, vast land."

"Are there a lot of pirates even along these coasts?" She asked, curious sea greens glancing between the three of them now. Ooh and talk of going to the colonies had her nearly wriggling but this time, she held her tongue. Little Amergin had wandered over and started playfully tugging on her shoestrings. Still listening she half-bent to extricate his teeth from her shoe and let him nibble on her fingers instead.

"Aye, she would shackle me to my bed I think if she knew half of what I've seen out at sea." Which he planned to write down as it had him glancing towards the back shelf behind the bar where his leather bound was left. Stored there until he got started on them starting from a decade ago.  When he was as young as Karina.

"They don't come too close to these coasts. Though I was told that Doom, came here to this very tavern trying to waylay Pierre Lafayette. He and Andre have as much a feud going as my family. Longer too. Doom had come originally after Andre who had near killed him and left his ship to sink. He would be recognized at this point and far too many guards, swordsmen and the like in these lands. He needs places that are without rule and anything goes. The last episode was out at sea with Doom and BB going after Faelan, Morgan and Regan Callihan. Ones you'll probably meet at some point, for the treasure they had found. Seems Faelan ended up with a real map while in Europe. Well, it would be a tale for them to tell if you come across them someday."

"I'll be asking 'em about it if I ever do meet them, that's for sure!" In her fascination with all the nautical stories spilling forth she'd almost forgotten her discomfort surrounding Adrian. Almost. With a grin she caught his eye but then just as quickly glanced away again. "I've never met a pirate...not out at sea or elsewhere."

"So, they've had their ships sunk but still keep trying? Sounds like a stubborn pair." She took another drink of the punch, then frowned slightly. "How long ago was this?" Now she'd be worrying on Segan and sure wouldn't tell Herself about the pirates, though likely Mary Quinn would find out all on her own.

"Talk to the lass Regan of what it was like. She's not much older than you and it's far different than a dangerous, romantic outlook some give the appeal to them of."  He kicked back the chaser to his tankard as both were set to the bar with a motion of hand he was done. Dark brows furrowed to the bridge of his nose a moment. "She too had that gleam of adventure in her eyes and you might say she has a different outlook after meeting the two face to face. More than her brothers, I hear she had nightmares for a long time."

" I think I've met Regan actually," Yes, she seemed to remember meeting a girl by that name, dressed in sailor garb even... down at the Lake, she believed it was. Karina perked, already thinking of ways to meet the girl again. Adrian brought her back though and something in her eyes shifted slightly, from that adventurous gleam he'd mentioned, to something else, something deeper. "Aye. I can imagine.." Not that she'd met pirates herself but certain enough, she'd met other blokes that could leave chilling dreams in their wake.

If she got to talk with the brother, Faelan, she might learn of his fight with a dragon and repercussion from that. There were all kinds of things out there, one as bad as the other, and only made these lands more a haven even to a heathen like himself.

"You want me to escort you back to the manor or send a note and spend a night on my ship this one?" He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a one on one talk with Gemma, or his other two sisters for that matter. They were the big brothers that had gone off on their own by the time they reached puberty.

"If you go to the colonies, Segan, will you be taking passengers?" She blinked then grinned. "I'd like to spend a night on your ship. Been a long time since we've spent time together talking." The note had been given to Alex so all she could do was wait and why not enjoy some time with her big brother?

"I might consider that. Depends on how long I'm going for and who the passengers are." Smile split his face with the last, pleased to have her company. "I've potcheen there and the means to make you punch form it or have it straight."

"Being I'll be safe there, I'll likely have it straight." She finished her punch then smiled again at Adrian and Karina. "It was a pleasure to meet you both. I'm sure our paths will cross again."

Karina seemed to have gone off into her own world of thought, eyes rather deep and distant until Gemma brought her back. And turning to the Quinn sister she gave a grin in return. "Aye, an' travel safe."

He was up to give a minute bow of his head. "It was a pleasure meeting you Gemma, if you are in need of an escort about the port or even some other sights, your brother can't see to them," he was starting to grin as he kept adding, "and you've a hankering to get out and not just the marketplace,.." giving a short pause, "I am available."

"If I didn't know you better Adrian, I'd wonder if you were trying to pick up my sister." Teasing him with a grin back as he was ready to see Gemma to his ship. It might be interesting to see how many glasses it took to get her snookered. "Good night Karina, I'm sure our paths will cross again." He knew his and Adrian's would.

"Night, Segan," she told the brother, seeing that he was about to take his leave as well. And then to Adrian she piped out a "'Scuse me," before jogging up the stairs to her room. Her head was starting to get a little itchy with that cap stuck upon it.

"I might just take you up on that offer." Her smile grew wider. "Mel's the only one who's been here long, and she's got her Knight to keep her busy." Concessa had seen more of the land than Gemma but having a handsome man escorting her would add to her enjoyment. And Segan got a pinch for that tease, though it wasn't a hard one. "Eion's going to take Mel, Concessa and myself to the kennels to pick out pups. Grandmama wants a black lab." And trusted Eion to pick the right one. Cerridwen  could stay at the Thistle stables tonight.

He waved as Karina shot upstairs then headed out already starting the talk. "Now, I think the last time I talked with you, you were about twelve and Tommy Tucker tried to kiss you then pulled your pigtails when you wouldn't let him." And he had to go threaten the lad in an inch of his life. Though the one was younger he had been as big and tall as Segan but that didn't stop him any.

And when she heard that, she started to laugh. "I had forgotten about that. He finally settled on Aislinn Murphy. Last I heard, she was boss of the family. " And on out they went.

Seeing he was by himself, Himself took his leave by the side door that led to a network of alleys and lanes, all leading to the port, or some swore.

Date: 07-18-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 86

Time to Gather

Kuwan was seated at a table near the window. One that offered a light breeze as she took some time to herself after eating a meal here this evening. She was threading beads to be work into a woven shawl of earthen browns, russet and orange. She had a lot to think on but between Eion and Yas, she had finally gotten a few answers to some of her questions, or at least preliminary ones.
She was attired in the usual darker brown doeskin top and skirt with sandals on her feet she bought in the marketplace. Hair was left unbound as was her preference more often than not.

Segan was quite pleased with himself for a few reasons. He had found his Solace claimed domain like he had in Eire. Though this one was a bit different than the other or so niggled at the outskirts of his conscious. He brushed it off as just another place that had a feel similar to the one in the cove where the tumbleweed sprites were having a water jubilee. Another reason for being pleased was he got the very first part done in his journal, though only a start it was moving along nicely. It would take time and probably some revisions so he had left spaces between the lines in case he needed a correction or forgot to add something after the fact. He was trying very hard to have it all neat but was prepared for mistakes. He was up to the porch to take up a lean against one of the posts as a cigarillo was retrieved to enjoy. A match flared to life illuminating his face in a golden glow for a moment before flicked out with a snap of his wrist to toss it out beyond the railing.

Eion was standing just beside the fountain as if he were waiting for someone. He saw Segan on the porch and let out a low whistle to let Segan know he was there. Seeing the flare of a match reminded him of his own cigarillos and he too lit one while he waited.

They made a triangle of the commons, the Quinn lads. Conor had taken up a seat on the window sill of an obliging storefront. More of a lean, really, against the large glass front. The street was rather empty at this hour, a straggler or few wandering along. It was the man at the fountain, and the one that just arrived on the porch of the Thistle that brought a smile to the youngest Quinn's face. Since Conor didn't enjoy the imported tobaccos that his brothers found so appealing, he pushed up from his lean to close in the pyramid and begin a night engaged in brotherly companionship.

And the one that Eion was waiting for came sashaying toward the fountain, leading the black filly that she had brought with her to Heathfield. Since she and Cerridwen had been out for most of the day, she was walking her horse to allow her to cool down. Three brothers plus one sister, at least for a time. She spotted her brothers and grinned, well, two of them. She didn't see Segan yet.

Conor's steps slowed when he noticed the lass joining Eion, then he laughed to himself when he recognized who that female was! He threw up a hand to Gemma and turned, back stepping his way toward Segan and the front porch of the Thistle.

"How's your training coming along?" In Between an inhale and exhale as he let the smoke drift on an almost still night, not really any breeze. One of those you could stand there and sweat if hardly any clothes on, or without clothes on. He was wearing all cotton so at least that helped. "Gemma," she'd hear his voice as he took just a tipping lean to see her more beyond Eion. And look who else was there.. "Conor, get your furry arse over here and join me in a drink." One soon to come.

He didn't realize just how close he was to the tavern but the back of his heel clunked up against the front of the lower step, bringing his direction to an instant halt. A sudden pitch backwards but he managed to keep his balance just before his 'furry arse' touched down on that step. "My intention all along." He chortled, spinning as he did to slap a palm to the handrail. Aye. He meant to do that! See? That's why his hand was resting where it was! A grin to Segan but his gaze drifted past him to the window when he noticed movement there.

The shawl she was making was for a special lady but all was set aside as she heard voices outside on the porch. They could probably see her if they looked in the front window as she turned more towards the panes to make out the shadows beyond the light of the room. Voices she recognized but would wait. In the meantime she was neatly putting all back into a leather pouch big enough to fit shawl and beads.

Eion chuckled when he saw Conor and that he was slowing down. He could react like that when he saw Eion with Dolly, but then he might just fall over. Segan nearly had. He fell in step beside Gemma, laughing when that feisty horse of hers nudged him in the shoulder. And more laughter was added when he saw Conor do his little save. "Well done, Conor!"

Rather than remove the hold he had on the wood, he lifted his other hand to wave. "Evening, Kuwan." He offered to her by way of the opened window even as he started up the steps. A grinning glance was shot Eion's way.

"Evenin' Conor, Segan!" She called out to both after greeting Eion. She snickered at Cerridwen then watched Conor. "Whoa." You know, she might mention the O'Gawd-let to the brothers tonight. Cerridwen's reins were handed over to the stable boy with a few instructions given as well. "Hello Kuwan and the training is going well enough, Segan." She was hoping to be up to snuff when she met with the Captain.

He headed up the steps, giving a shot to Conor's arm. "Good to see you out and about tonight." And he paused at the door to let Gemma go in first.

Ooo, polite brother! She grinned at Eion but gave Segan and Conor hugs first then she headed inside. "Look out, Kuwan, you're about to be invaded."

Which had him turning a look to the window as well, "evening Kuwan," nice sight all considering before a keener glance over his brother. "How much have you had to drink tonight already? Why do I ask? So I can catch up!" Giving Gemma her hug back. He followed the rest of them in after flicking what was left of the cig out into the street where it rolled into what remained of a puddle. Earlier rains had this night muggy besides being hot and stuffy. It seemed he had drinking to do as he headed for the bar and a bottle of potcheen to gain, not needing the glass tonight.

Conor wagged a finger at Segan, not really answering him. Truth be told, he had stopped at several taverns along the way to the Thistle. The very reason he had been forced to stop where he had to gather his bearings. "You just better get started and keep going...if that's your intention." Pressing in, at least it felt as if he had to press in to get past Segan, he looked to the Native Goddess. "It's good to see you, Kuwan." And it was! Who wouldn't agree it was always good to take in such a fair sight as Kuwan. He turned in practically a full spin to look around and then found Eion. Opened his mouth to say something, probably to do with his oldest brother's comment just before entering, but ... he forgot what he meant to say ... so he just shut his mouth again and shrugged, starting toward the bar counter.

Her smile swept fully as she almost stood then realized she didn't need to. "Good evening, Conor. Eion. Segan. Gemma." And how her smile warmed upon all the Quinns. "It is good to see you, Conor." Standing anyway as they all piled in. Mostly for it made her feel even more demure and small if she continued seated presently. From one to the other dark eyes studied, a touch of a smile more when she came to Eion and reflected on their talk. He had helped her a lot. At least he had not seen her in tears as it came about later on. That would have greatly embarrassed her. "It is very still night. A night if you stand in the meadow under the moonlight you can hear the voices of the trees whispering their wisdom." That just sort of came right out there.

Eion was chuckling as they all finally trooped past so he could get in too and get started. The look from Conor had him laughing again. "Now I'd like to know how much you've had to drink. Kuwan, Gran said you need to come to dinner again soon." He nodded at her last then chuckled. "Well, if this lot isn't around, aye?"

She was just happy to be among her family and that included Kuwan whether she knew it or not. She was over to give her a hug in greeting. "Aye. you do need to come again. It's fun." Then she was heading over to get a drink.

"Three, maybe four." He muttered. He had stopped at three, maybe four taverns along the way. Although his numbers didn't reflect exactly what was three or four. He paused his wandering thoughts when Kuwan's words managed to infiltrate his mind, and he smiled to her. Leave it to nature's goddess to say something like that!

"Bottles?" As oppose to glasses as the bottle paused before his lips and lowered to ask the question.

"Naaaah." He answered Segan, pulling his appreciative gaze from Kuwan back to his brother. He shook his head. But, without even realizing he didn't finish his answer, he just leaned to the support of the bar and grinned to Alex. "I'll take one of those too, Sir." But, God help him, he held up two fingers with that request.

The touch of rose heightened the bronze of her cheeks. "I will come soon." She wanted to have the gift ready for her. Perhaps in a way, the Great Mother was receiving all the gifts she could never give her own mother.

It was too sticky and too hot to be outside tonight, that's what Karina had deemed. Of course, her room wasn't that much better but with the window flung open at least there was some air circulating through the otherwise stuffy room. It had been a quiet evening with rain occasionally smattering down, the perfect sort of evening for some alone time with her parchments. Laying on her stomach on her narrow bed, her knees were bent and her feet bouncing gently towards the ceiling. Propped on her elbows she gnawed on the end of her pencil, and tilted her head down at the parchment a second before scribbling again. She was so busily at the task that when the tavern below began to fill with voices, she barely noticed. But Amergin did. And since Karina had left her door hanging open by a few inches, the little pup decided to wiggle his way out. "Amergin.." She called, but soon looked back down at her paper. Eh, he'd be fine downstairs for a few minutes and she'd keep her ears open. Freely the husky pup tumbled down the stairs, nearly somersaulting down the last couple but soon he was scrambling across the wooden floors towards the group at large, yipping his greeting.


"Make sure it's just one." Conor might not even make it to the manor tonight instead of the ranch. She nudged him, grinning. Then she turned to Alex and asked for a glass of the potcheen punch. Strawberry!

Brows shot up with the arrival of the puppy and he squinted in the newcomer's direction. He recognized that pup! Carefully, he lifted his attention to the steps, but the happy fellow didn't come with chaperone. The nudge stole his notice, and his regard rested on his sister. "This is the last one." He promised her. But, again, he meant tavern.

He took a long swallow of the pure before crouching down to pet up Amergin as he came dashing over. Wiggling body and all. "So where is your lady tonight? Getting her beauty sleep?" Obviously she was upstairs for that is where he came down from without being silent about it at all.

He had just taken a drink from his own glass when the pup appeared. Grinning, he watched him and then crouched down to call him over. "Did you sneak out, laddie?"

She was still a distance across the room at the table near the window. It felt odd, her there and all of them over at the bar so she picked up the leather satchel to bring over and hand off to Alex. It was something she worked on here. She also got another box that was stored there which she opened once set on the bar. "I have made treat if you'd all would like." There were plenty of the sweet wild blackberry tarts. Yas had enjoyed them so knew they would also. While there she collected a glass of the raspberry punch.

Amergin barely knew what to do with himself, with so many people around to sniff and beg pets from! He licked Segan's hand, slobbering it up good before hearing that call from Eion. Happily waddling his fifteen-pound self over to the eldest brother and gave a little jump onto his legs.

His petting done with a nice wet slobbered hand he wiped off on Conor's shirt as he stood, just a grip to his shoulder, "you're still steady as she sails?" Or was he past those seven sheets to the wind? Now that his hand was dry as it fell away from Conor's shoulder, he took one of those tarts. Biting into it, it was sweet with a fresh wild taste, different than any he had before. It was good. Very good as he gobbled down the rest. "I think I'm going to steal ye away on me ship and have yea all to myself, Kuwan." Between the rabbit pies and now these!

He roughed the pup up good, turning him over to rub his belly before straightening again. He glanced at his brothers before taking a nice long drink. Glass lowered again as he looked at Kuwan. "Treat? In there?" He'd be helping himself as soon as Segan got his hand out of the way, though he offered one to Gemma first. He bit into it and didn't say a word until every bite was gone. "Delicious!"



Date: 07-18-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 87

She learned to take words such as Segan put forth, as a compliment and not literally. "I am pleased you like them Segan," then Eion next as her smile turned upon him. "I will have to make you more next time to bring back." Or she would bring them with her when she visited the Great Mother.

Conor lowered his gaze to the hand wiping, and it remained on his shoulder even after Segan finished. It was the comments on the tart that had him looking to the treat. Treats, that was. Several of them. He didn't reach for one though, he lifted his glass instead. And then, poured more liquid into it.


Amergin remained prone on his back, tail wagging and tongue falling out of his mouth till Eion walked away. Then he flipped himself upright and pranced over to the group at the bar. The pup was a gorgeous young husky, still small and not quite grown into his paws or ears, with the unusual bright blue eyes of his breed. He went about sniffing around the feet of the females next.

She just grinned at Conor. "It's okay, I won't tell." Giving him a kiss to the cheek before she took the tart-like treat. She bit into it, making happy little noises as she ate. She blinked at Conor not taking one but her mouth was too full for her to say anything.

"You will not try one, Conor?" Watching him pour another drink as she suspected he'd been drinking quite a few. Or he didn't like such treats. She broke off a bit of the crust but would not give the berry part to the pup. Or, he would be having the blueberry runs. She crouched down to let him take the crust from the palm of her hand while she petted his head, around his ears and down along his back.

"I'm thinking I'll be doing some writing meself, Segan." He looked at the middle brother as he spoke. "You have me deciding that even if no one else ever reads them, it might be a good thing for me to do."

"I got mine started finally. Only a little that day in here that you came." He might remember the ancient leather bound log book he was turning into a journal. It fitted. "Yesterday I found this place, even better than the one I had in Eire. Strange place," mind wandering a moment then right back to the topic at hand. "I got as far as how I got me ship. I didn't go into the details of the time we spent in training but maybe I can add those in another part later on. I'd like to collaborate with you on them." Being a lot of them were shared experiences.

"Not yet." He confessed to Kuwan.

Amergin gobbled up anything Kuwan offered, though he was a gentleman and didn't nip her fingers to get it (at least not on purpose!) Flopping his rump on the ground, he panted up at the lot of them, fixing Kuwan then Conor with  those big pale puppy eyes of his.


While she listened to her brothers, she watched Kuwan with the pup. She had picked a sister to the wolfhound that Eion would be getting. She leaned down to pet the pup then eyed Conor. "You're not eating?" Should she worry?

He did reach out and claim one though, even if he didn't eat it yet. He placed it on the counter in front of him.

She had looked up towards Conor from where she had crouched down when he answered her. A moment's pause as eyes met before focus slipped away down to the pup with a nod.

"Oh! Concessa has a challenge for the lot of you." Grinning!  And at least he did take one for later.

The pup wouldn't be content for too long as he would be off for affection from those he hadn't gotten any from yet. She stood only to notice Conor took one to try and that brought a smile, quick and tucked away as she reached for her punch to partake of.

"Strange how?" He nodded as far as the collaboration, but Gemma had his attention. "What kind of challenge?"  Attention going every which way! And he was going to steal another pie.

"The water beastie. Have you tried it yet, Eion? We did and managed to get more than halfway. Calhoun made it the whole way and Cole almost." She said it all very casually.

His brothers' thieving ways was the reason that Conor had slipped one to him to keep until later.

He would have answered him but he too was taken by what Gemma just explained. Especially knowing their little minx of a sister. He waited.

"So, she's going to challenge the three of you to do better." Not that Concessa really was but after what she did with the knights, Gemma was making sure it all seemed like her idea. Well, it was.

"I haven't tried it yet." And had been intrigued to watch but until recently, he hadn't felt up to it. "How far did you both get?"

"Water Gauntlet? Have you been on it too with these knights? Single knights?" Like he was grilling her and trying to keep a straight face.

Conor sat back, but wait! The stool didn't have a back! He swayed a moment then straightened. "To do better than the knights? Or than the two of you?" He looked to Eion. "More than half way." Hell, Conor was feeling right and he still heard her tell how far they had gotten.

"Aye, and I fell into the seaweed and was covered with whipped cream before that and soaked to the skin. Both single knights and very handsome too." She looked at Conor and grinned. "Well, better than us of course." Pause. "Concessa got that far too, so you'd have to get passed the seaweed part of it."

He had missed her saying that part as well. Maybe they were catching up to Conor? Or passed him out! "I'm surprised Concessa didn't have you married off to one of them by the end of the night, or at least courting."

Conor drank some more, added some more, and muttered. "Whipped cream, single, handsome knights. Soaked to the skin." He continued, shaking his head. At least they were knights of this realm.

"Amergin, come!" Ah yes, the 'lady' was indeed in residence and her strident voice carried down the stairs. Amergin turned his face towards it in consideration, but... there were people down here, giving him people food! After a  pause her voice came again as she called out from her bed. "You better not be botherin' people...."

He chuckled hearing the dialogue from Conor. "Are you worried?" Then he looked back. "And that Gran didn't say something about it."

"No, not even she could manage that." She snorted in a most unladylike way. "And neither man was interested. They were more surprised that we made it as far as we did I think."

Segan was over to the hall, near where the stairs went up as he answered that holler, "then you better get your skinny derriere down here and make sure!"  Grinning he was back out to address his siblings. "So, if Concessa wants this challenge. There better be some good bets included and get all to participate."

And that reminded her. "Coooonooor. " Eyelashes fluttering. "I need tack made because I lost my bet."

"If neither man was interested, they are either blind, or men that like men not to notice you and Concessa."

He dipped his head, turning it then to look to his sister. "Geeeema" He started, beginning to laugh. "I'll see you with tack to cover your wager."

She had grown quiet, listening instead as the conversation went back and forth and with it her attention. Bouncing from one to another sibling. She was enjoying it as she continued to drink her punch.

He actually fluttered his lashes back at her, but stopped as soon as he started. Not a good idea really.

Awww. She was over to hug Segan for that. Now, she might act serious and be stoic around others, but these were her brothers after all. So Conor got a hug next. "Thank you."

"Then you better make me!" There was another pause and, having flashbacks to the water trough she amended, "Never mind, I'm comin'!" And a few seconds later she'd come tromping down the stairs, giving Segan a wide smirk once she caught sight of him. The lass was sans boots and cap tonight, amber curls bouncing freely about her face. She was sporting her new clothes again, you know, the ones that actually fit... snug dark brown pants and a sage green tunic.

No. Had Segan staring at him a moment. Maybe he could do it too well. He cleared his throat deciding not to say anything on it but asked Gemma, "which knight did you lose to?" That she owed, returning the smirk as Karina passed and swiped a hand towards her rump purposely not connecting. He gave Gemma the quick hug before she was off to Conor!

His free arm wrapped around Gemma and popped a loud kiss to her cheek before she released him. He turned to see Karina coming down the steps.

Sleeves were currently rolled up and there were ink smudges on her hands as she glanced around at the gathering. A room full of Quinns, it looked like! And.. it was ALL the Quinns. She gave Segan a smarmy look for that before casting a crooked smile about the room in general. "Hullo.."

He was enjoying it all, glad to see Gemma out. Not all. They were missing two sisters, their grandmother, aunt and cousin.

And Kuwan was here.

All the Quinns that she knew, we should say!

Kuwan was certainly here! And he gave her a wink when she looked his way.

She was quiet though. "Huuulllooo, Karina." Learning her greeting.

She was always quiet!

She laughed at the noise, poking him carefully. "I lost to both Cole and Calhoun. How much have you had to drink, Segan?" Hadn't she said that before?

"Hiya, Kuwan. Segan, Eion and... you're Gemma right?" She'd met that sister perhaps once or twice before. "Conor." She added that last with another crooked upturn of lips. Bare feet carried her across the room to lean over and pet her erstwhile pup.

Not always quiet just when feeling a bit out of her element and wiser to observe from that point until another point is reached to join in again.

"Aye, I'm Gemma." She smiled at the girl then chuckled. "And I didn't make the bet, Concessa made it for me." She took up a fencing stance, pointing her arm toward Conor. "And she tried to get them to spar me."

Conor flinched when Gemma shot her arm out toward him, then he smiled. "Too bad you didn't beat them then." A glance took in the lass and her pup. "Hello, Karina."


Date: 07-18-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 88

"Not as much as Conor. Yet." Grinning before he took another long drink. "Eion, what do you know of those two knights?" So they could get the scoop right here on the two. "Any suitable for our sister?"  Watching Gemma the while. "Are they considered handsome, muscular and tall?" Struggling to add these just to see if Gemma blushed at all.

Was Segan trying to get Eion to choke on his drink. He lowered his glass and chuckled. "Both are very serious about being knights. I'm not sure if either is looking to court a lass. As for the rest, they're tall and muscular but I'll leave the handsome decision to Gemma."

"Sooooooo, Gemma, were they handsome?" Laying it her way as Eion gave that opening.

She shot Conor a grin then turned that stance on Segan. "Not as handsome as my brothers." Not quite an answer and Gemma didn't blush! She left that to her sisters. She took a step forward and poked Segan in the side.

"Good answer." Conor chuckled, pulling his gaze from the girl and dog back to his sister.

"Very good answer." He looked at Conor. "I think we might have to see to finding Gemma a husband. She'll be too busy chasing any suitors away with her sword."

Karina smirked to herself at the conversation she'd walked into, ruffling Amergin's ears one more time before moving towards an unoccupied corner of the bar, ordering herself an ale from Alex. Amergin was more than content to scamper off and park himself on the rug before the hearth, laying his head down upon his paws with a toothy yawn.

He finished off the glass of potcheen and set the empty on the counter. There was a little left in the bottle, but still some, so he eased it Segan's way. "I'd sure as hell be minding her blade. Wicked mean she is with it." A half grin tugged with a bit of pride for his sword-wielding warrior sibling. "And I'm not doing any such thing, Eion...or else I might be feeling the sting of it instead of a suitor."

"Possibly not but you can't marry your brothers. Though I remember you saying that when you were eight. So, you'll just have to make do with a lesser looking man." Teasing her right back. He took hold of her finger poking his way as it was lifted to where he pretended he was going to bite it! "I think you're right Eion. A husband she should have, perhaps one of those knights or one of many single men in the lands. There is Adrian Frasier and any one of his family too."

"Well, you were so much better than the boys at home, even if you did try to scare me off with scary stories." She let out a little squeak then laughed as she pulled away, still chuckling she leaned back against the bar. "And I'm not looking for a man. Not even if Grandmother finds the perfect prospect."

Ah but the scrapper soon found herself drawn into the conversation, her face turned toward them with sudden interest. "You train with the sword?" That directed of course at Gemma. Turquoise eyes seemed a bit brighter with curiosity.

"Ah, the Fraisers. Gran would approve of any of those." Conor would have nodded, but he knew better. Instead, he slid with care from his stool and stood fully.

"Hmm, true, but I think Conor is right." He tried to look serious. "I think we should let Gran pick out a man for her. She's not likely to chase her with her sword." He eyed Conor as he stood. "You going to try to head back to the ranch?"

His one hand rested to the counter, the other claimed his treat for later. "Aye, I've got tack to prepare for a lass who lost to two knights. Don't ask me why she thought she could defeat them, but...such is the way of it. An Irish lass and her ego should never be questioned, aye?

She just gave each of her brothers a look then laughed. "Wait until you try the beastie, Conor. Then we'll talk ego. And aye, I do at that, Karina."

"A grin, and he forced himself not to look to Gemma as he finished. He would be fine. Better than fine! He would make it all the way home eventually. Even if it was after sunrise tomorrow, and he spent the night in a field just shy of his destination.

"I hear there is a list of single ladies and one of single men if you know where to find them." As in who had said list which he heard about down at the port. "We could show Grams the one of single men to pick one out for Gemma," talking on her like she wasn't there, "and all three of us work to help out this budding romance."

"That must be amazin'." She grinned a little, taking up her mug of ale before glancing up towards Conor as he... unsteadily stood to go. He'd had a few or perhaps a few more than a few, it seemed.

"Are you looking to see that list, Segan?" She laughed then gave Conor a grin. "I'll pay you somehow. Money, or something else." But no cooking. She just couldn't cook like the rest of the Quinn women! She trusted that their grandmother would let each of them find their own love!

He held up a hand as if in defense. "Please, no, Sis, no cooking." He knew that Gemma was talented in many ways, as were all his sisters, but cooking was not included in her skills.

Eion just might walk to the ranch tonight to make sure Conor was in a safe spot at least. He laughed when he heard Conor. Had any of them escaped her attempts?

"I better start back." That was more to himself really. He had probably been thinking that for a while, preparing himself for the process. "Good night, Karina. Segan. Eion. Alex." Then he smiled to Gemma. "Sis."

"Good night Conor." The quiet one was still there and listening.

No cooking. I promise." She had to stand on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. "Good night, Conor. Rest well."

"I wouldn't mind looking over that list. Get familiar with some of the names, find out a little on them." He was normal.

"Night, Conor." Karina echoed the others, swinging her gaze back down and away towards the pup now snoozing beyond.

He walked over to Kuwan, leaning in to speak softly to her. Okay, so he tipped more than leaned, almost losing his balance next to her. "Thanks for the treat." He offered, slowly straightening. "Good night."

Which had her hands move to gently catch him, keeping it safe for them both. "You are welcome, Conor." Her words meant. "Good night."

"Good night, Conor. I'll let you know when we can make the attempt on the water beastie." They had been challenged after all. Watch out, Kuwan!

"I'll catch up with you soon Conor, see about that saddle and got some Spanish leather to use on parts."

"Aye, Segan. Got the design drawn out so get it to me as soon as you can." The door was...over there....yes. And in that direction he started.

"I better make sure he gets back." Which he was over to collect the box with the leather in it from Alex then out the door to catch up with Conor. Waving to the others on his way, "good night!"

"Good night Segan," calling after him with a bit of relief, someone would see that Conor didn't sleep on the side of the road.

"Night Segan." He watched him go with a slight frown. He hadn't explained why the place he found was strange but no matter.

"Good night Segan.  See you in the morning.  Are you coming to the manor tonight, Eion?" She looked at her brother, tipping her head. "Or does duty call?"

"I think I'll stay at the manor tonight." Weekend training wasn't mandatory but he'd still head for the field at dawn.  He turned to speak to Karina but  found she had taken the pup and left.

She nodded then headed over to Kuwan and sat. "Those treats were delicious, Kuwan."

Her smile became bright as Gemma came over. "I am pleased you enjoyed them. Do you think the Great Mother will enjoy them too?" Being Mary was such a good cook she would be naturally particular.

"Yes I do." She smiled brightly in return. "Grandmother loves what you make and she really does enjoy your company. As do we all." She looked at her brother for his confirmation.

"Aye, we do." He smiled as he answered. "You're welcome to join us again tonight, if you'd like Kuwan." He knew Mel, Brigid and Concessa were likely to still be up as well as Gran and Aunt Chandra.

"I believe your words and it makes my heart take flight in happiness. I will see to coming over until I must leave to go back to the colonies and see my people one last time." Kuwan had no doubts she would return no matter what life here brought her or not, it would bring her something and she would write a journal of their ways before they were changed too much.

"Do you know when that is?" He finished his drink and placed the glass on the counter, thanking Alex.

"I do not but it will probably be before winter sets in as the traveling would be more dangerous then, especially in the colonies."

"Then we'll all pray for your safe journey and quick return." Each in their own way. "And now, we should head back, aye?"

"We certainly will." She would be talking with her sisters and Brigid to plan something nice for Kuwan and her friends. A quiet dinner and maybe some gifts for their journey. "Will you stay the night, Kuwan?"

"I will stay here this night as it is very late. The others know where I am and would wish me not to travel alone this late. Thank you," for being her friends as this touched her heart greatly. "Good night, swift upon the eagle's wings to carry you home safely."

She smiled then hugged Kuwan. "I was inviting you to the manor, but here is good too." As long as she was staying somewhere and not walking back to their camp so late.

She wanted to finish the shawl before she went back there but eager to return Gemma's hug then released before coming over to hug Eion. She was very grateful to him.  She smelled like vanilla and flora.. a scent Concessa had given her.

He hugged her in return, smiling when he caught that very familiar scent. "You rest well, Kuwan and we'll see you soon." He was glad to see her in better spirits. When he stepped back, he continued. "And thank you for the treats. They were delicious." Gaze shifted to Gemma. "Come on, let's see to that imp of a horse of yours and head back."

"Cerri isn't an imp. She just likes people." She chuckled and lifted a hand to Alex. "We'll let you know about the contest we're having, Kuwan. You can come watch. Or take part." Maybe make a night of it if they got permission. "And yes, thank you for the pie. Very, very good."

"I would like that. See this water beast." As she heard it called and probably would take part being she was invited. "Good night to you both." as she got a key from Alex and headed upstairs with a smile upon her face.



Date: 07-22-09
Poster: Orlaith Hughes
Post # 89

After the Races

Segan got to the tavern first! Mumbling something about riding his own regular horse next time. "Fandango almost placed tonight," as an afterthought on the other as he dismounted, dusting himself off before heading up the steps and into the tavern. Door was open, nice cross breeze even if a hell of a muggy night. Typical July evening.

"So you mean to rub that in, considering where you ended up in the Hometown?" Conor chuckled, following in close behind Segan.

"Aye, more the reason to rub it in, I hate losing to you both!" Mumbling and grumbling more. "I need a come back to leave you both in the dust."

Orlaith waited along the street as she saw three ride in heading for the same place she was drawn to. Hardly any breeze but golden red hair flowed about her as if there was one, subtly. Eyes of lapis seemed to hold their own stars. Perhaps there was far more to that than just unique clarity. Some people just had those kinds of eyes others had to stop and near stare. Shape, color or something else.

Which only had Conor laughing more. "Evening, Alex." He greeted the tender as the man placed the bottle with three glasses on the counter for them.

"Maybe we should face our own horse on the track at the ranch?" It wasn't as big as the Falkirk track but it might prove worthwhile.

Once the men entered the tavern she glanced to the very star studded sky above before her eyes closed and she soaked it all in to calm her nerves. She was clueless as to why she was drawn to this place she happened upon. She was suppose to continue north on the ship she had taken. Instead she got off here. She wasn't even sure why she decided to travel again after escaping the island other than a wanderlust she never had before. Once on the move to keep on the move.

"I think mine needs a bit more time with Mel." It was his time to grumble, pouring all three glasses full and then setting the bottle aside to take one up.

"I wouldn't mind a few friendly races at home. Melantha has a track started and we could complete it for her and make use."

"Mine too. And Gemma might say the same." He chuckled as he took up one of the glasses. "Thank you, Conor."

He tipped his glass toward Eion as a 'you're welcome' then drank.  When he swallowed that much needed first taste, he was nodding before he began to speak. "And I guess I owe you both a thank you in return. For the flintlock..." A grin to Eion. "And the leather." A lift and lower of brows to Segan. "And for seeing me home the other night." He added at last, that being the true reason.

"We could race our race horses in practicing them." If that was a good thing to do, Melantha would let them know. He too took up his drink to kick back before he was pouring another and topping off theirs.  "I owe you leather and Eion, a barrel of German ale," which he got one for his runs he was making. Well, got more than one.

She had little with her for she didn't require much when wandering. All she had was in one trunk that had been sent up to this place ahead of time. She had gone to the marketplace before it closed  to get a few things now in a woven bag she favored. Eyes opened again with the dip of her head back down and focused in on this tavern. A deep breath released as she continued in its direction. A few minutes later she was making her way up the steps, across the porch with a glance through one of the windows, then within to see better of the four there. Three men around her age and an older gentleman at the bar though she stopped just within. There was something about the man or was it the room itself as she let her focus shift across cross beams and rustic decor.

Conor held his glass out to Segan until it had reached the level he wished, but actually didn't even notice where it had filled to when the woman entered the room. Immediately his gaze rested on her. Was it the color of her hair?  Of her eyes? The way she held herself? There was something about her that had Conor staring before he realized it, and quickly lowered his gaze before it was noticed.

Focus shifted, dropped to clash with the one man looking her way so far. She seemed nonplused that he should stare for she locked that gaze until he'd look away. Some bit of a silent ritual challenge on her part.

"Aye, that's an idea. As long as we're not too heavy." He took a long drink, lowering her glass when the young woman entered. It was as if a living flame had just walked it. "Good eve, Miss." And there went Conor again!

She won the challenge, for when she met his look, it actually made his gut tense. When Eion acknowledged her with words, he lifted his gaze to his brother and slowly moved it to the woman to offer her a nod of greeting.

He didn't even notice, so grumpy after losing yet another race. That was until Conor seemed to stop and followed his gaze. Couple that with Eion's words as he echoed them, "good evening Lass." Though using lass almost seemed inappropriate for some reason.

What! What had he done? A rather stunning woman entered and he looked! Beat him with a willow branch for it!

Just think of what else she could do with a look if it got his gut to tense. It was broken near as Conor dipped his gaze away only to find the other two there in welcoming her. "Good evening Gentlemen. I find myself at the Thistle Tavern?" Though she knew it was, it was at least something to break the ice.

He spoke up then, "I am Segan, my brothers Eion and Conor. You are indeed in the Thistle and this is Alex, runs the place for the Crown."

She was clad in wine red riding pants, vest and a pure white blouse with flouncy sleeves. Pants fitted her form well but had tucks to have it breathe, fan if needed, crouching or bending. She slid the woven bag down from her shoulder as she crossed the distance to where they gathered at the bar. Setting it to a stool once arrived.

The introduction by Segan allowed Conor a longer look on the redhead. "I'm the brother, Conor." He offered. "And Eion." He nodded to Eion to indicate him as if she couldn't figure out which one was left. He cleared his throat,  realizing that wasn't really necessary, and made as if he needed another drink, and so, did just that!

She was stunning and he wasn't blaming Conor for looking. It was expected he would look, otherwise the brothers would be worried.

She would find out what they had, something strong to drink, though not too strong. "A pleasure to meet you, Segan," offered his way first for the introduction before star studded, lapis blue eyes were on Conor. Perhaps he could sense the smile in her eyes for the earlier match, "Conor," then upon Eion in a discreet study. He was the more stern, stoic, of the three, a leader, whether born or circumstantial time would tell. "Eion. I am Orlaith and newly off a ship that was destined for Europe."

"Well, then, welcome to Heathfield." He saluted her with his glass before taking another drink.

"Are you here to stay or just stopping over?" Which wasn't literally but more figuratively if this was just a stop over.

"And the Thistle." Conor had seen the change there in her eyes, from the intensity of challenge to a sparkle of smile.   Still, there was something about her...gut punch material to be sure!

"I was to continue on but when we stopped here for whatever the captain needed, I knew I was to disembark. His was a quick stop and he is long gone. I shall see why I was so intrigued," not using the word called as it might sound very odd to them, "to stop in and find out why. I know little to nothing of the lands other than," there was a glow to it on the aura level, "its name of Heathfield and that the best place to go was this Thistle Tavern." Her thoughts going one way but words brought something more acceptable.

"The Thistle is the best place here. Rooms are available at no cost as meals and drink. You can borrow a horse if you wish to explore a bit though I'd suggest staying to the roads until you know the lands."  Of course, he liked The Blue Marlin too but it was in a rough area.

"Thank you." For the welcome as it eased her some. Some might think it odd for a woman to be traveling on her own but luckily they had not asked. She engaged Alex in a conversation and soon had a glass of the punch set out of strawberry kiwi so she was informed and made with homemade whiskey of the lands. "No cost?" That took her by surprise as the lift of her glass halted. "I cannot argue such a price but I would like to know who sets it that I might thank them if I should come across the benefactors."

"That would be the rulers of the land. King Karl and Queen Lahoneee." He lifted his glass. "Long may they rule."

"Aye, long may they rule," lifting his glass in such a toast as well. Perfect one. There was a lot he was thankful for.

Conor added his own lift of glass to that.

"Karl and Lahoneee," now the Queen's name was very different. "I've never heard such a name before. Most Queens are Katherine or Elizabeth," she had a dimple when she smiled. "I like unique. Says far more." Her accent was as smooth as fire and could be done in a way to warm more than one's ear if she were close, tickling, licking flames but she was behaving.

"Have you traveled far?" And did she give her name. For some reason Eion couldn't remember.

Ahhh, yes she had, and speaking of unique! Orlaith, it seemed as warm as the room at present.

She had given her name as she was back to that discreet study of Eion. Perhaps she realized that fleeting contraction of his irises. "I have traveled weeks from a tropical island called Argiddon. If you can understand a deep rooted urge to pack up and leave all behind for no other reason that what is called wanderlust. This is what has me standing here with the three of you presently. I shall stay three weeks to see if there is a reason to be here." Though it was far more than wanderlust, that fitted far better to start a new life with.

"Three weeks will be plenty of time." Eion smiled slightly. "And I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's ... a very unique land. " And for Eion, that was an understatement considering he had been ready to leave almost as soon as he got here.

Conor cleared his throat again with a roll of shoulder, drinking down the last of his whiskey. "I should be heading back to the ranch." He stood as he spoke. "A pleasure to meet you, Orlaith. I look forward to seeing you around and well after three weeks." He offered her a dip of head. "Brothers...I may need back up when I tell Gran we will be adding another pup to the collection." Although Conor's golden stayed with him at the ranch, there were still a few rolly-pollys frolicking about the manor.

He near choked on his drink, then laughed. "Aye, I'll back you up, Conor. She can skin the three of us then. " Ah, there was her name. He must have had more potcheen then he realized.

Lashes of golden flame lowered over lapis blues as she studied Eion more. "Then you have experienced the pulse of the lands, that which only instincts can feel and realize?" Then upon Conor as he was to make his leave, a slight dip of her head much like he had until lashes lifted for the full effect of her eyes upon his, captured them to her or so would go the feel. "Sleep well in dreams that benefit, Conor." The draw let go of that was held only for a split second. Why on him? She didn't question it other than she could in the way she was.

Eion could count on Conor to remember it. Orlaith's comment to Eion had both of Conor's brows shooting up. "Oh, he has felt and experienced it to be sure, Miss." And all other words ceased as she caught and held his gaze, and it  seemed his will, his thoughts, hell, it felt as if she delved within his very soul for that split second. He blinked away that odd notion, and smiled to her. "And to you, when they find you." He darted a quick look to both of his  brothers then started for the door, scratching behind his ear in thought. Something about her. Dang, he sure hoped she stayed around long enough for them to cross paths again.

"Mine is usually at the manor until I get him trained on the ship." He was tired, why he'd grown quiet though, truth be told, he was interested in observing this fire headed woman that had unique eyes. "I should head out as well and as my brother said, I hope to see you about well after the three weeks are up." Would mean she found what brought her here. Finishing off his drink. "Maybe I'll stay at your place tonight, Conor, grab the leather on me way."

He was watching and just smiled inwardly when he saw Conor. "I guess I should head out as well. Orlaith, if you're hungry, I'm sure something can be found. Rest well and enjoy your search. As I said, Heathfield is unique." And that would be all he'd need say since Conor had said it for him!

"I can toss a blanket on the floor." Conor laughed, stepping on out. Not that he didn't have a more comfortable place for Segan to bunk down, but the thought of setting his brother off was always too tempting not to put it out there.

He would bring a roll up bed with him, as he'd send Whiskers down for the stuff and meet him back here quick and all so Conor didn't have to go down to the port.

Thank you!

"I think I will have my drink and get some sleep. Thank you for the warmer welcome than most get in other places." Need all she say with a sincere smile before she was given a key from Alex. Times for breakfast, lunch and dinner given as well a look to where the map was that she could use to find anywhere she needed to go, or ask him.

"Good night then." He was sure they'd see her in three weeks. He headed for the door so he could walk with his brothers until their paths parted.



Date: 07-23-09
Poster: Orlaith Hughes
Post # 90

The Calling

Some days just seemed longer than others. No matter the set number of seconds that elapsed into minutes which progressed into hours which made up the day - sometimes that allotted amount of time just seemed to drag on. Exhausted for the most part, Cole had finished up the required paperwork and now enjoyed a cup of freshly brewed coffee at the counter. An occasional word with Alex, if something came up, but for the most part, in continued and, considering the day, blessed quiet.

Orlaith had spent her day in the commons, checking out all the stores and meeting those that ran them. Those that were not too busy and had time for some small talk. Such gave her a better feel of the place. What surprised her, it seemed everyone knew the others, worked together, helped each other out. She bought some soaps, one light perfume and a dress she couldn't resist. It was a pale silver blue, sheer silks that draped comfortably over her form in layering petals. Those about the arms sheer, thicker where it counted. If one looked close enough it was somewhat sheer about her waist and down the sides hinting the shape of long legs beneath yet not quite. Something that teased the sense of sight. Devil on her shoulder had her buying it since it fit her perfectly, the excuse. She still had it on when she all but floated down the steps. The matching slippers helping her steps to pass silently but there was a disturbance of the air about her if one was perceptive, long before she arrived down the steps to the hall then emerging into the room. A flowing sensation, as lapis blues seemed to dazzle even more for the color of the silks. Her silence near ethereal as sights settle on the lone man with Alex.

The lone man had picked up on the movement even before movement could be seen and if his gaze had lifted to the woman initially, it was the second look that might be noticed. He had allowed his attention to drift away but as soon as it lowered, he looked back to the woman to pass a more thorough survey over her. His eyes narrowed in that study, perhaps picking up more than most, perhaps just appreciating the graceful flow of her steps. Energy around an object was as good as seeing it in solid form for certain types of beings and where humans had lost their desire to use such a sense, others were not as fortunate to be able to ignore the pulsating heat and throbbing aura of life's form. Cole waited until she made the bottom step then offered her a nod of greeting.

Lips bowed curling into a smile while drawing a dimple to either side. The slight lift of her chin a subtle set defiance and hard to read thoughts behind those eyes. Assessed and assessing as she caught the narrowing of his eyes. The energy in the room could crackle if it made sound. It came alive though seemingly quiet. She noticed and more she noticed he noticed. First one of his type she met so far, other than Alex but that man was an extraordinary gentleman, and many years honing his abilities. She arrived at the bar a few stools down. "Orlaith. Are you of these lands?" She had picked up enough to know there were those not of the ordinary. Alex wasn't the only one though they lived and associated amongst those considered normal. She wondered if they protected those here instead of self indulgences and abuse. Alex set out a glass of the strawberry kiwi punch for her.

"Innis Daingneach." Cole started, bracing as she neared, the press of her essence against the force of his being. "Cole Lachian." There was a slight accent as he shared his family name, a claim to something more in the speaking of it, a pride in the possessing of it. "And you, Orlaith? Where is it that you call home?" He brought up his coffee mug, watching her over the rim even as he drank. The heat from the liquid lifted before his gaze and it seemed as if the waves of her red hair danced like flames. He blinked once, clearing away the illusion caused by the steam, and lowered his mug again.

It was the kind of night that coaxed one to be outside, to enjoy the cool air against the skin after a long hot day. For Desiree it was a chance to enjoy the lake and the element that was part of her. It was from there her steps carried her, to the Thistle for a drink before she returned to the castle. She felt something as she approached, or more someone ... two who were more than the norm. Her hair was still damp, curling around her face. She wore a tunic of blue so pale it nearly appeared white, pants of a darker shade tucked into knee high boots, and beneath the tunic a short sleeved shirt the same shade as her pants. She was pulling back her hair as she entered, eyes the color of a tropical sea sweeping toward the bar and the two there.

She could feel that pressure on another level, piqued her interest though she didn't push against it. Not yet. No. Perhaps in time or more accurately the right moment if it was to be done at all. "Argiddon," as she watched his eyes for any trace of knowledge or where it triggered some connection. She didn't expect any even if there was more to this one than others she had met thus far. Except Alex. "A shrouded little tropical island that I've not seen on any map." Probably a good reason for that. Was he perceptive enough to wonder if perhaps she had escaped? Though she didn't seem to be looking over her shoulder any. To her heat was the opposite in cool waters, something if worked together could cause the great force of steam. The shifting of eyes were swift to take in the one coming in. There then back to the man, wondering if he knew her. "Innis Daingneach," and the Gaelic words rolled off her tongue if born to them. "Evening," politely to the other as if nothing unusual was transpiring.

Whereas heat bathed him on the right, a coolness washed over him on the left, and in that direction his gaze drifted. He granted that woman a nod of greeting as well. Cole was not surprised that these two women each possessed more than just their attractive appearances. Nothing in Heathfield surprised Cole. "Yes, Innis Daingneach, the sister isle of Heathfield under the rule of King Peter O'Neill." Because she spoke the name as comfortably as any soul residing there since birth, he continued. "Have you heard of it then?" He said nothing of the way her energy had surged when she mentioned her own island. A brief but noticeable change that could lead a man with Cole's sensibilities to wonder on what had caused the need for such a self-defensive moment. A memory? Distrust of him? The Lachian was intrigued.

"Good evening." She smiled easily as she made her way from door to bar, her movements as fluid as water in a stream. She thanked Alex as he placed a glass of blackberry flavored potcheen on the bar in front of her and while she curled her fingers around the glass, she studied the two. Cole she knew but the woman was new and there was that familiar feel about her. "I'm Desiree."

"No, the island fortress has only met my ears this night. The name O'Neill comes of an ancient brand," one might think she used the wrong word instead of branch but she had not. "It is said the power of ancient kings appointed by the gods of old were not human but over time they had married and the offspring would be more human each generation. Though it is also said that one would rise every seventh generation with the ancient god that had sire the reign of these kings. Perhaps you know of this?" Still hard to read eyes other than intense upon his as if any glint that would cross his would be  read like a book. "You are the Dear, Desiree." The cooling waters, the calm more than the tempest.

He moved his head slightly to the negative to answer her question, but to also not interrupt the women should they wish to converse. Cole finished his coffee and placed the mug on the counter for Alex. He passed his gaze between Orlaith and Desiree only once, then he stood. "It may be that the two of you have much to discuss." He provided a dip of his head to each. "So please excuse me, Ladies. I shall take my leave..." His gaze rested on Orlaith a moment more. "for now. A good evening to you both."

"And you are the Seeker, are you not?" Another might think the moment between the man and woman intimate but she sensed something else. "Good night, Sir Cole, though you need not leave on my account."

Cole nodded to Desiree. "But it may be I do need to, Desiree, on both accounts." He touched his temple with his fore and middle fingers by way of a salute to her.

"For now," she felt their paths would cross again for some reason. Reasons she didn't question but always that interesting outlook to see just how much of those instincts were on the mark. "Sleep well though watch those dangerous paths that bring you to unknown places and those whose faces shift when you gaze upon them." He might know what she talked about for the energy about him, he would attract these other entities from unseen places not of this earth upon the sleep and astral planes. "You need not on my account either."

Were he one to smile, he may have done so. Instead, he stepped away from the ladies. "It may be that the two of you have much to discuss, which would exclude me, if not bore me." Though, with what flowed from the both of them, their discussions might be quite interesting. He, however, was not privy to their secrets as yet, and it would remain so this night. "Good eve." He offered again, and started in the direction of the back corridor to make his departure from there.

She would boldly watch him go. They each gave a pitch that he remain for it was a bothersome feeling if one left using you as their excuse. "Nice to view, front or back. Though there is far more to that one than he would necessarily or even willingly show to anyone." The sweep of eyes blazed back upon Desiree with a settling look there upon the woman. "So it would seem, given his excuse, we have things to discuss."

"So we do if you are who I think you are." She turned from watching him leave to Orlaith again, blues meeting blues. "You have been drawn to these lands and wonder why,do you not?" She took a sip of the drink after she asked, waiting for the answer she knew would come.

"That would depend on who you think I am or what area these thoughts are angled from." Mirth leaped to starlit blue eyes as she lifted her glass in a salute. So they would parry, such could be fun unless she was one that only saw it as an annoyance.

She laughed softly, studying the woman over the rim of her glass.  "I think you are my opposite, but there is a calling, a wanderlust that you have yet to find a reason for.  It was much the same for myself, and for the others that are of a kinship.  Alike but not."  Lips curled into a smile.  "They are not so much thoughts but feelings that touch and dance away."  The smile grew. "Or I could be completely wrong, and you would not wish to meet the others."

It was the word wanderlust that hit a chord in her as she lowered her glass, the drink not taken she had been about to indulge in. "So you have experienced this wanderlust taking you from all that you knew to find something more to your meaning here in this life as well?" Though she had other reasons to pack and leave the island she had once called home, it was apart and more, something that pushed her to do so if she looked at it harder. "If you are my opposite you could douse this room in a flood," if she were that well trained in her element, "where I could burn it down to the ground. Though I think the kind tender here would not be very appreciative of such endeavors." Luckily lowering her words as he had left the area anyway to give them privacy. She had no such intentions but even saying such could upset a person. Though the last piqued her interest while at the same time had her squaring her shoulders as if she would need to face off such extraordinaries like she had on Argiddon. "What are these others to you?"

She nodded at the question of wanderlust having left her family to come here though they were all well and she kept in touch with them.  "I could but no, it wouldn't be appreciated at all."  She glanced at Alex and then glanced where Alex had disappeared through the kitchen door then looked back.  "They are my teachers."   She paused only a second, "and my friends and comrades.  One who is of the earth and the other of air, all to serve the one of Spirit.  Willingly."  Adding the last to let her know it wasn't something forced upon them.

"Teachers?" Did she visibly stiffen or was it more felt on another level as she prided herself in not giving away too much. Obliviously there had to be an intense reason to get a reaction out of her like that before schooled away. There was left a wary attitude and a touch of cold where there had not been any before. Friends and comrades added was a strange association, "so a teacher can be a friend even comrade? How is this?" Though noted with no surprise that there were the other two elements. She had met other elements but none were all that trained or that good in the element they claimed. The last  piqued her curiosity even more coupled with the other bits, "one of Spirit, who or what is that?"

She leaned forward slightly, fingers tapping lightly against the glass. "They are not teachers in the sense of most, but more we learn together. How to work together for the better good of Heathfield and its people." She smiled again, her eyes growing bright. "Tell me what you sense about this land? Did you feel something when you came into the harbor? Can you sense the peace here?"

"If they are not teachers who set themselves apart with little personality other than demands on you, would you say then they are more like colleagues?" Colleagues challenged each other but learned together for those challenges. She at least relaxed, perhaps nothing really different physically but there on the other level. "So you use your gifts in the service of all than self serving or ordered to do things that go against something deeper inside?"

"Colleagues, yes. And friends. And they certainly aren't dull." She had to laugh at that, "they have a lot of personality. We do, to protect this land we work with the Crown Prince. His is the spirit that binds us."

"Then I shall look forward to meeting them." And would hold off on any further judgement until she had. She would also be prepared to fight like the blazing demon she could be if they turned out to be as false as the others she had to endure time under.

"You will meet the two first and then, if you are the one to complete the circle, Prince Andrew." She stood as she spoke, her drink finished. "I should return to the castle and get some rest." Their training also started at dawn.

She finished off her drink as well, standing near as she stood. "Then I shall await word when and where to meet as you know where to find me." Well, as a center point presently for she was going out to explore a little bit more each day.

"If you're not here, I'll leave word with Alex. Good night to you and rest well." She carried the glass to the bar and spoke to Alex then with another nod to Orlaith, headed out the same corridor as Cole earlier.

Once her glass was handed over, she headed for the hall that led to the staircase that led to the rooms upstairs. It had been a long interesting day, one to reflect upon until sleep overtook those thoughts.



Date: 08-07-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 91

A Friend is but a Stranger Away

It was a quiet night, one Trevor was enjoying even if he had hoped there would be others around. Busy days that had most in bed by this point. Not him. He was wide awake and wandering, seeing what life had to bring his way. Something, it was nothing outstanding, then other times life would broadside you. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad but even the bad became a challenge to bring about good. He was attired in a light cotton dress shirt tucked into black tailored pants with silver and white piping down the sides. A silver sash about his waist and the empowered sword attached to the belt beneath the sash at his left hip.  Trevor had a way of looking dressed up even when not.  A glass of potcheen, a bottle on the table, as he stood by the window near his chair looking out into the night while he enjoyed his drink.

Desiree was another who found the night more enticing than her bed. She had spent most of the evening in the Celtic Garden, enjoying the night there and even the hot springs. Ready for a drink, she made her way toward the tavern on sandaled feet. She had chosen to wear a gown tonight, one of light linen, sleeveless and belted below her breasts. It was a shade of pale blue that made her eyes appear even more blue than they were. Her hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck and braided. She saw that at least one customer was in the Thistle tonight, catching sight of Trevor standing at the window before she was up the steps and moving inside.

There was a slight lift of a brow as nostrils flared a fraction for picking up on a certain scent. Though it wasn't really a scent on the normal level of things. Ethereal type. He watched her approach, moving to turn enough to face in the direction of the door as she came in. "We have not met but in a way we have. Though I would only be guessing your name. I am Sir Trevor Cairns." Most likely she would have heard of him but like himself, she would be only guessing a name otherwise.

"A pleasure, Sir Cairns." She inclined her head slightly as she greeted him. "I'm Desiree Crawford. And yes, we have met in a way, haven't we?" She had crossed the room and held out her hand. "I have heard of you though."

"Your circle is complete if I'm not mistaken," meaning the four elements coming together under Andrew. Dark eyes kept steadfast with hers as she approached. Her hand taken in his when it was offered as fingers slid beneath in bringing it up to meet the touch of his lips. Something fleeting but may well leave a ghosted feel there upon her skin as her hand was lowered and released. "It is indeed a pleasure to meet you Desiree." Being the atmosphere was relaxed here no matter how he tended to attire himself.

"Yes, complete with the last arriving not long ago." She smiled at the gallant greeting. "I've seen you on the King's field, Trevor. I enjoy watching the spars between yourself and the other king's men."

"Perhaps Andrew's special forces will come in a friendly spar against the four horsemen sometime." It would probably end up in a checkmate but getting there would be highly interesting.

She glanced toward the window before she looked at him again and nodded. "I think that would be a good idea." She gave him an impish grin. "Should be fun. Might I join you after I get myself a drink?" She smiled again then made her way to the bar as she spoke to Trevor. "It's a lovely night, isn't it?"


"Of course, I would hope that you would." Stepping around to draw out a chair for her as he waited with a hand coming to rest along its back. Dark eyes shifting to the window as he looked far beyond what could be normally seen. The one outside he touched upon continued on as focus shifted back to Desiree. "It is a very lovely night," slow smile tipped off to the side with a slight dip of his chin, "it is why I ventured out."

"I find such a night soothing." She requested the potcheen punch from Alex before turning back to Trevor, "but then I suppose I find the nights that bring rain soothing as well." She laughed softly. "But tonight seems especially magical. It may be because others are feeling at peace as well." After accepting the peach flavored punch from Alex, she returned to the table. "I think it spreads over the lands like a blanket at times."

"These are lands that peace seems to reign and has stayed that way for as long as I've been here," seeing to her seat before taking up his next to hers along with his drink. "It is almost as if evil forgets it exists. Like this blanket to rest, shrouded them from that which is harmful. Which is in essence exactly what Andrew set forth with his wards. So, it is working," lifting his glass with a humorous gleam in his eyes before taking a drink as if to ensure peace would continue to reign in the lands.

"And will keep working." She added before taking a sip then lowering her glass, she smiled again. "But there are times when it seems the every day stress of life seems to fade away from everyone and they enjoy life. That is how it feels tonight. Peace from evil and peace from stress." She laughed, "even if for just a moment."

"Those are moments to hold onto." She might notice the gentle perusal on another level as eyes held upon hers. The spark of a curiosity that was not readily definable exactly what caused it or what wonder it provoked. "So,have you settled in well? Staying at the castle then? Have you been to many of the sights these lands have to offer, both common and not so common?" Which the last had that twinkle to lift in his eyes briefly.

She watched him as she took another sip of the drink, her eyes staying on his. As the glass was lowered, her smile returned and she nodded. "I have indeed and find my room at the castle wonderful, and the hospitality amazing." She paused for a moment to consider. "I've seen the city, and a few places beyond. I visit the Celtic Gardens quite a bit." And that twinkle in his eyes might be reflected in hers briefly. "Which I would say is one of the not so common ones."

"Beware of such visits that stray Fae don't decide to become attached." Which had him instinctively looking over his shoulder but there was not one of the two familiars to be found tonight. They would make a sport of it and something he should not forget. The glance was brief, fleeting, as dark eyes were there to meet hers again. "There are many places that most don't even know about, shrouded by veils of energy to only those who walk them and to those that one from the twilight overlay decides to favor." He was beginning to feel like the father he was telling his son bedtime stories that bordered on many wonders.

"I've always been cautious where they're concerned, I promise." She was solemn as she answered but gave a nod. "I feel the same energy here at times as I have in the ancient places that I've visited. My training here has been limited to learning to see beyond what is seen with the mind, as well as some weapons training. A necessity I think since we were waiting for the Fourth."

"Now that she has come, then your training should be expanded." Pausing that moment as eyes held still, "greatly." Slow smile touched, "Aaric is very talented as well Darragh. You will be in good hands. I would venture to say that this amount of earth that these castles and families occupy have more talent condensed in one spot than I've seen all over the world."

"I have to agree that they are." She gave a slow nod as she answered. "And I would have to agree with that as well though I've not been here as long as some. You came in company of the King but I felt ... drawn here though I didn't realize it until my ship came into the port. It seems to be the same with many, and others I've learned came because all are welcome here. That's a rare thing in itself." The smile returned, bringing the sparkle to her eyes once more. "And a wonderful thing."

"I would say my king felt drawn here though he came with King Peter, though not a king at that time. Another excellent warrior and the two entered a tournament of Champions. I do think Karl won far more than he could ever imagine. Eventually we were called here. A long story but we were to stay low and not accidentally lead some others to our king." Taking a pause for a drink as he changed the subject in a smooth flow, "I hope to be present when you are trained. It is only fair, considering you have watched me train, though not anything near what I can really do. That would not do in normal training." Which he was sure she had picked up upon as he had picked up her.

She noticed the change in subject but the smile remained. Perhaps someday she would be able to hear the story. "No, it wouldn't. I was near when Eion Quinn was tested however, watching and I must say I was impressed." She rested her chin on her upraised hand, elbow on the table as she continued. "So, it would be only fair that you be able to watch I should think."

He cleared his throat but it came out as a chuckle. "I do believe anyone who had any kind of training in that area was around, somewhere close enough to watch. You are well acquainted with the varying talents even if not first hand acquaintance. Yet." They may well train together for they all worked for the same purpose and for the good of the lands. So, he realized, she had something in common with him. "What else do you like to do in your spare time? Surely not every breathing moment is on training or practicing but the more humanly pursuits."

She chuckled softly, then looked thoughtful. "Not every breathing moment, no. I spend a lot of time down at the shore, exploring. In the gardens as I said. I like to read and have spent rainy days in the library or art museum.  I've looked at a few of the old houses here and even ventured to Ballicastle for a few days though I didn't go during the races. I'm sorry I didn't."

"You should attend at least one race and bet on at least one horse for it." He had finished off his drink and knew he should have headed back at least a half hour ago but he was in such interesting and pleasant company. "Can I see you back to the castle that we may continue this conversation a little longer? I would prefer staying much longer but I've the field to be on tomorrow at dawn and a certain little boy who covets the time his father is around to be with." Rising as he spoke but he would linger there to see to her chair if she accepted the escort.

"I plan to." She finished what remained of her drink before nodding. "I would enjoy your company very much on the way back, Trevor." She offered him a wider smile this time. "Since I too, should be on the field as well. " She trained with the women of course, and enjoyed the sessions. "How old is your son?"

"He is three going on thirty." Which accurately summed up his son. "My aim is to teach him how to have fun." A shadow briefly crossed, possibly his eyes or just a feeling but so quick one would wonder if it had really been at all. "I was figuring on your schedule being similar," so that he could have his wish in seeing her back. Once she rose and her seat tucked back under the table along with his, he collected his empty glass as well hers to bring over to Alex.

"Thank you." She smiled as she stood and watched him collect the glasses then move to the bar. Since it was still warm, she didn't need to worry about a wrap. Once he was ready, she moved to the door.

A few words were exchanged with Alex in a most congenial way, as two friends would, before he was over to Desiree, a hand coming to rest along the back of her arm above the elbow as he saw to escorting her back up to the castle. From there he would go to his manor home so his son could jump on him in the morning before dawn broke. Barely outside and he picked up their conversation right from where they left off.



Date: 08-18-09
Poster: Kuwanyauma
Post # 92

Cooling in the Thistle

It was another very hot night, humid, sticky night, the kind that left most uncomfortable. Kuwan was feeling it too and so had spent time at the lake swimming until the air around her cooled down and in turn cooled her down after emerging. Hair was still damp that was loosely braided to keep it out of her way and down her back as she sat at a corner table working intensely on something. A bowl on the table held beads she was sewing onto panels of leather and woven cloth. Head bent over her work as the large pulley fan above kept the air circulating. Why she remained here not wishing to go back out into the heat of the night.

It would be a night where sleep would not come easy. Gerrard had gone swimming in the lake as well, but it was an area not much used and perfect for skinny dipping. After he dressed, he decided to head for the Thistle. It had been far too long and one never knew who might be there. He was wearing a lightweight poet's shirt of blue linen, the sleeves rolled up. They were tucked into cotton pants of brown. Low boots were also worn and a wide brimmed hat. As he entered the Thistle, he removed his hat. "Evening, Alex." Blue eyes shifted to the lass there, whom he recognized as one of the young woman who had come from the colonies with his cousins. "Evening, miss ... Kuwan, isn't it?"  A brief meeting was all they had so she might not remember him.

She almost pricked her finger but set the needle aside as one came in addressing her. She knew of this man to see, knew he was the son of an important chief so she rose from her seat. Hands folded in front of her as dark eyes met his. She had always been one to look into another's eyes when greeting them. Though some could get killed for such behavior. "It is my name." He would probably know more of her than she would of him under the circumstances. "You live on the farmlands?" Just in case she was wrong.

He crossed to the bar to retrieve the tankard of cold ale that Alex had set out for him, knowing that was what he preferred on such a night, then he crossed the room so they wouldn't have to nearly shout. "Aye, I do. I'm Gerrard MacShire. Yas and Mat are my cousins." Well, more his dad's but he didn't need to get into all of that. "Are you trying to avoid the heat of the evening?" It was true that the Thistle was a touch cooler than outside. "Please, sit. You don't need to stand for me. Might I join you?"

Eyes went larger with the last. "I know they had cousins," but she had not really thought on it. "Please, it is too bad they are not here." So he would have the company of his cousins. "It is cooler in here than outside and I was able to work on the shawl for the Great Mother Quinn." She had a tall glass of cider which she'd been drinking when she took a break.

"I've heard of Dame Quinn but haven't met her though I have met some of her family." He smiled as he sat. "It's very lovely. Looks warm as well." He leaned back again and smiled. "How are Yas and Mat? I don't see them as often as I like." With his question asked, he took a drink.

"They are well. They plan to go back to the colonies. I think we will all be going back and some not coming back. It is uncertain. I know I will come back," as if she could predict the future and in a way it was part of her spirit path walk she had been taking at the lake. Where there had been confusion, slowly clarity lifted the fog. Taking her seat again. "The shawl shall be warm." That was her hope along with Mary Quinn appreciating the gift.

"Is it made of wool?" He knew that Feather had made a deal with Ian McCormick to obtain some wool and make blankets to sale. "I remember they were to stay three years. Seems like those days flew, doesn't it? I'm surprised that you're not going to stay." But then again, he knew how Heathfield drew some. He watched her face as she spoke and decided he was glad she was coming back. She was pretty, smart and easy to talk with.

"Partially," standing as she lifted up the shawl to show what was done, carefully so. Pleasing colors of autumn, gold, rust and browns with just enough cream to offset the others. The bead working was done on the leather panels that had holes around to work in the weave of the wool. Beneath, for a distance about shoulders and down a short ways was lined in soft rabbit fur. It was her design. The bead work was a pattern of birds and flowers.

He leaned slightly reaching out to carefully catch the bottom of the shawl, studying the design. "It's more than lovely. I'm sure Dame Quinn will be very, very happy with it, Kuwan. I haven't seen beadwork like that before." He didn't hold it long, not wanting to mark it. "You're very talented." Eyes lifted to her face again. "Do you make other things?"

"I have hope that she will. It will swell my heart to see her eyes when I give it to her before we leave." Which had her pausing, "or at least before the cold weather comes." Summer was passing far too quickly though one might wish the night to be a little cooler than it was. After carefully folding it up she resumed her seat and her drink, as the glass was lifted for a taste of the sweet cider it contained. Setting the glass down as she answered his next question. "We make our clothes and that of the braves. I also make rabbit pies and blueberry tarts." Which she learned the English name of them.

After a bath, some new non-tattered clothes thanks to Segan, and a good night's rest Karina was feeling human again. She'd cat-napped much of the day until waking to a wet nose in her face, and she realized the husky pup needed a bath as badly as she had. And so it was a damp and scruffy husky she carried under one arm as she came downstairs from her room, barefooted and neatly-dressed in some new trews and a tunic. Her month-long absence had resulted in a darker untouched shade in her skin, while the bright bob of curls atop her head seemed more coppery than ever. The petite teen was skinny too, though not as thin as she'd been when she first arrived here in Heathfield. Greeting Alex at the bar, she headed thataway first to order but kept hold of the wriggly Amergin. Curious turquoise-hued eyes glanced about to see who was here. There was Kuwan, and she waved her greeting to the woman, though she didn't  recognize the man she sat with.

She heard the sound of another softly upon the flooring. Dark eyes turning in that direction. "Good eve, Karina. It is good to see you again. It's been a while." Though she might not have realized her absence like some others would being they didn't see much of each other to begin with. "This is Gerrard, he is son of a chief," realizing she actually spoke the thought and they were not called chiefs here. A touch of pink graced her cheeks as she didn't look Gerrard's way.

"It's both practical, being warm, and pretty. I don't know a woman alive who wouldn't like that. The colors are perfect for fall." He nodded at her answer then smiled at the young lass who entered the room. He didn't have his husky with him tonight but then Trouble was older and not a handful anymore. He cut a look at Kuwan and smiled. "That's all right. I don't think my father would mind being called a chief."   He thought the touch of pink very becoming but didn't embarrassing her by calling attention to it.

"Hiya, Kuwan. It has been awhile, I been gone. Just got back yesterday." As for the introductions, she turned her glance over to Gerrard and offered one of her quick catlike grins. "Hullo Gerrard. I'm Karina. Pleasure to meetcha." Clean she might be right now, but she did wear boy's clothes and spoke with the vernacular of the streets. Amergin was yipping softly now to be put down and Karina finally obliged the pup, who immediately scampered over to greet Kuwan and Gerrard. With a wildly wagging tail and licks, of course.

She leaned to pet the puppy up as he came dancing her way. His antics brought laughter to fill the air before he was over to jump around Gerrard. "He is a very active puppy. Always moving." Then back to Karina dark eyes turned. "You have been well?" She looked more well than she had ever seen her.

"It's nice to meet you, Karina." He smiled her way then leaned over to greet the pup. "Most huskies are. I have a full grown one that I named Trouble when I first got him." Actually, the pup had named himself with the trouble he got into. He roughed the pup up some in play while the two talked.

"He sure is," Karina agreed with Kuwan's statement emphatically, though the smirk upon her face was fond as she watched Amergin playfully tug at Gerrard's boot strings. She let out a laugh at Gerrard's dog's name. "Maybe that woulda been a more fittin' name for Amergin, too." Kuwan's question drew her gaze back to the older woman and she bobbed her head in a light nod, offering a softer smile. "Been through some bad but I'm good now," she answered honestly.  Certainly a less immediately-recognizable change about her was that she seemed older, somehow. Older even than her sixteen or seventeen years.

Kuwan picked up on something though she hardly knew Karina. "There is much bad in this world but what is important is you are good now." She obviously came through whatever had been labeled bad. "I am pleased to hear of the good." She had enough dealings with the bad and would be dealing with them again in a few short weeks or months. This she was not looking forward to but it was something she knew she must do in saying her farewells, leaving no bad spirits to mingle.

He straightened up, fingers curling around the tankard again. "Friend of mine always said, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. Of course, he said it at the worse times." It was a friend from school who used that saying...  most of the time when he and Gerrard were escaping trouble by the skin of their teeth.

Karina nodded at Kuwan, acknowledging her words with a slightly crooked smile. Alex delivered her cider then and she lifted the tankard in one hand, crossing the room on bare feet to bring herself closer to their table. "S'pose it makes the most sense at the worse times," she replied to Gerrard. No longer being roughed around by Gerrard, Amergin trotted over to Karina's feet and she half-bent to rumple his ears.

Her smile welcomed Karina in joining them at their table. She moved the shawl away as well the beads in the bowl back into a pouch to clear room on the table. "What is it you do Gerrard? Do you follow in your father's footsteps?" Then on another thought being he had mentioned it, "you would be welcome to come to our site to see you cousins. They do a lot of hunting."

"Aye, I do. Big steps to follow though I do me best. He's given me some land of my own to take care of." He nodded thoughtfully. "I think I will. I haven't done any hunting in a while. Might be a good thing to share before they go back." He felt bad that he hadn't done so before. Just time got away from him like it did most folks.

"Then you are a hunter too?" That was a good thing for the culture she came from. A man was proven by his hunting skills. Even the women helped in the hunt and had learned to spear fish in the streams and lakes. Another thought had her asking a question. "You know the Quinns?" He seemed to know the Great Mother.

Karina perked a little at the course the conversation had taken, since the Quinns had become friends to her as well... some of her only friends in town still, actually. Giving the pup a playful cuff she headed over to the table, pulling out a seat for herself and flopping upon it as she maneuvered another sip of cider to her lips.

"Used to hunt a lot until I took over that land. I went with Rory McDonough. We still do on occasion. He's married to a sweet lass." He liked Kiana. "I don't know Dame Quinn but I met Eion when I was at the spar field. I met Segan too briefly at the docks, but he was busy and I had to get moving. Melantha I met when she first became Stable Master. She came to talk to my father about getting feed for the horses and supplementing the crops they'll grow. And I met Concessa not long ago." He still needed to meet the others, and the Grandmother.

"You have not met Conor then?" She was listening attentively. "He is working for Chief McDonough. I have not seen them since we tried out the O'gawd-let. Have you tried that out?" Her words coming a little softer and a bit contrite. "I owe all three brothers a selection of wild foods and a canoe ride. Gemma almost had us all win but she came short at the end. It was fun and it is my first time to bet, I bet what I thought would be good and I would not mind to lose if I didn't make it through." She was starting to run at the mouth as she took up her cider for a drink and settle that.

"You tried it? I'm impressed, Kuwan!" He grinned at her then shook his head. "No, I haven't yet. I have to head over to the ranch in a day or two and see if they're going to be breaking horses. I usually help with that every year, and I'm hoping to meet him then. I'd like to see if he'll make a saddle for my sister for Yule." Though that was sometime off. He gave Karina a look. "You always so talkative?" Teasing.

"Hrm?" Karina's eyes refocused and she realized she'd been off in her own windswept world, eyes down in her mug of cider as if it contained the most fascinating of specimens. Gerrard's question brought her back though and she came down to earth with a sheepish grin. "Usually more'n this but I guess I got lost in me own head."

"They break horses there?" This she would come by to see being they were welcome to come by. It brought back memories when the braves would go out to capture wild horses and tame them. Their horses meant a great deal to them and important in status and helping to make a more comfortable life. She was getting tired as she hid a yawn behind the back of her hand. She reached over to give Karina's hand a little squeeze in reassuring her. "I think I am going to stay the night here. Maybe I can come by the ranch to see these horses on my way back tomorrow?"

It was getting late, and he needed to get home. "Tell you what I can do. I have to come back into town tomorrow in the late morning and get supplies. I'll take you there if you'd like. " He knew he'd get teased but he was used to it, and though Rory had met Yas and Mat, he was probably like Gerrard and hadn't met the others.

She would have stopped on her way, not wishing to put him out of his way but easier to go a new place with someone else that was known there too. "I will wait for you here," she would be up early and probably work on finishing the shawl as she waited. It seemed Karina needed to rush off as she barely got in a wave. Next she took her glass to the bar for Alex to collect. "It was good in the meet, Gerrard." Smile over her shoulder that reached her eyes before she continued for the hall and stairs taking her above.

"All right. We can have lunch at the ranch." He grinned as he stood. "I always have an invitation." Just as the McDonoughs were always welcome at Ravanna. "Good night, Kuwan. It was nice to meet you." He watched her leave then realized Alex was watching him. He just gave the man a grin as he crossed the room and handed him the tankard. "Night Alex." And with that he was headed for the door. It was a touch cooler, making for a nice walk back.



Date: 09-07-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 93

Night Out and About

Segan once more reined in the Roan, causing a cloud of dust to billow up. Dog days of summer were gone but they left the earth fairly parched. He was down near as fast, before the stallion came to a full halt, one hand dusting off poets shirt and pants while the other guided the reins over the hitching post. "So, story teller, I'm glad you took over for I feared any of my stories might have her gaping."

He was coughing slightly as he dismounted, making a face from the dust. A wry grin was flashed at his brother as he dusted himself off, then used the tether rope to tie off his horse. "It took me some thinkin' to remember that wee adventure. I wonder if Conor remembers."

"Dressed up basically as a girl, an angel, I think he would right be forgetting that one even if he was young." Which had him chuckling just thinking on Eion bringing it up to him. "I dare say, I'm not sure if you had answered my question on what I could offer Melantha for that Roan? I will need a good name too."

"I was going to, but we got distracted. Good runner, strong strides. A thousand gold?" Hell, he had paid more for his horse back in England, one now lost to him unfortunately.

He would not admit to being bothered by the idea, from how the lass was telling them where they were by telling them were they were not, that they had galloped right off the planet. He near freaked until it was cleared up. He coughed hearing that.. "gold?" That would be near a king's ransom.

He blinked then laughed. "Silver!  Coins!"  Whichever!  His mind must have been elsewhere.

Eion was joking, certainly, as he was up the steps and into the tavern. "Potcheen," called out to Alex as he was headed straight for the bar. The whiskey served in that other tavern was good but wasn't as good as potcheen. Which had a curious question tripping off the tip of his tongue. "What was the name of that tavern? Did you get the name? Do you think we'll even pass that way again?" Straddling up a stool as the glasses and potcheen were set out and poured.

"The Phoenix? Something like that." He had nearly lit out of there himself but he refrained in the least. "Never know. Depends on the wanderlust."

Lengthy strides of the horse carried her towards the Thistle. It'd been a while since she'd had a chance to get away and tonight was the perfect opportunity. Reaching near the steps, the horse was drawn to a halt and Vanessa dismounted. It wouldn't take her long to make a quiet entrance. Nothing more than quiet steps and the rustle of material of her dress beneath the royal blue cloak draped over. Gloves in the process of removal as she approached the bar. Golden hue found two familiar faces and offered them a smile. "Good eve, you two."

"Probably somewhere else as with the wanderlust we go where we end up." Which had him laughing for the way it sounded. Sucking in the last laugh as he spun on the stool enough to be facing the voice that halted all thoughts. He knew that one, "Vanessa. How pleasant a surprise. Out for a wanderlust ride too tonight?" And the full moon had been about a few days ago. Must still be in effect.

And what had the petite vagabond been up to recently? This and that, here and there... the usual. An increasing amount of her time was spent training Amergin, who was growing by leaps and bounds, and ranging about the town and its surrounds. The husky pup was at her heels again tonight as she pushed through the Tavern doors, rubbing her hands together. "Brr! Cold one out tonight.. Hallo," she added brightly, upon seeing the three familiar faces already  inside.

And there beyond only needing the slight shift of eyes in focus. "Karina, come on in and get warm." There was a low burning fire in the hearth to ward off the cooler nights. Peat had been added having the place smelling like Eire. Certainly a very pleasant scent to him.

A deep breath was sucked in, enjoying the distinct smell of burning peat almost as much as the Irish lads. "Don't haveta ask me twice," as she made a beeline for a seat close to the hearth. Amergin cavorted his way over to greet the group in his own slobbery manner... though all of the training had resulted in a somewhat calmer pup.

"Good evening, Vanessa, Karina." He gave a nod to both, withdrawing into his more stoic mien. He'd enjoy his drink, the familiar scent of peat and listening, though he did lean to pet the pup in greeting.

A brilliant smile to Segan with a nod. "Aye. The night is far too lovely and not a single force could keep me from enjoying it." Gloves were removed, she tucked them away in a fold-hidden pocket of the cloak before turning to spy Karina. Bare hand waved to her. "Good eve, Karina." Greeted her with a warm smile before turning to request some warmed cider from Alex. "Eve to you too, Eion."

Amergin was big enough he didn't have to get down from his stool as the larger pup was up, feet braced against the edge of the seat as Segan ruffed up his fur in petting him good. "Have you had the wanderlust tonight too, Karina?" Looking up from petting the pup who then was over to get his share from Eion. Flash of a smile went Vanessa's way in return for her earlier one he had caught.

"How have you two gents been since the races?" Inquired to Eion before thanking Alex for the drink. The mug settled in both hands and held for the moment to allow it to cool some.

"We've been well. I've been busy with training, Segan with his ship. Yourself?" After petting the dog, he straightened and leaned one elbow on the bar, turned so he could face them all.

Taking her turn to reach down and pet the pup, she smiled and gave a nod. "Well enough. Preparing for the cooler weather in Eldyn."

Warm cider, now that sounded like a good idea... and so she ordered one for herself as well. Settling her lanky frame into a cushy chair, she shifted about until she could face the others while still keeping close to the flames.

He set to listening as he enjoyed his potcheen, one not to kick back followed by others for the few they had already. Studying each in turn in a quiet comfortable way, leaving his brother to do the talking.

"Wanderlust? Always Segan," she tossed a grin his way in answer. Glad to hear the lot of them had been well, she realized she hadn't seen much of anybody in several days.

"Aye, I suppose the cooler nights are naught but a reminder of what's to come." Though having spent last winter never being warm made him not mind the thought of cold weather.

Grasp of materials with her free hand so she could seat herself without pulling on her skirts, she offered another smile to Segan and nodded to Eion. "Yes. Everyone is busy stocking up on winter supplies, expecting the blizzards this year." It was bound to happen and running out of firewood, just would not do. Smile then turned to Karina. "And how are you?" Pretty sure she hadn't seen Karina since that night at the docks.

"Will you be staying here for the winter, Karina?" Concern edge the tone of his voice though he tried to cover it up having it sound as an ordinary question out of sheer curiosity. She wandered off twice already and gone without expectation of her coming back. He worried on her being alone in the cold winter for all the hazards that went with it. At least if she stayed here, she'd stay warm and be amongst friends.

Quiet sip of her mug was taken while observing the others. She was not ready for winter. Too cold. She dreaded it in fact despite the need for it. At least it was a good reason to make fires.

Two question for the lass. Luckily for her, he didn't have one. Hiding his smile, he took a drink of the pure.

Brought thoughts of finding a lass to snuggle with in front of the fire. Dash that! Shaking his head visibly before a chuckle under his breath followed by a kicking back the potcheen. Though there was a tipping of a slightly wicked smile as attention shifted to his brother a moment. Hard to tell what he was thinking but Eion should be warned by the look. While here and not on any up coming runs, he would need to occupy himself and that usually meant in mischief.

He could work his mischief on Conor. Eion had enough to keep him busy between his training and Herself.

They all had to deal with Herself, so that didn't count. Eion would be first and Conor second unless he just happened to fall into any of the traps.

Now her attention shifted to the two brothers. It was more the expression of Segan's before they initiated silent conversation. A small smile of amusement with the exchange of expressions between the two.

And he was ignoring the look. More he was thinking on the harvesting that had to be done. Fields of hay to be taken care of. He closed his eyes briefly as he savored the burn of the drink.

"You will be keeping warm throughout the winter, Vanessa?" Being Karina was lost in her thoughts presently. "Are you one that likes the winter or only tolerates it until spring is back again? Do you have any favorite sports or the like about the coldest season?"

A small blink out of her own thoughts, she smiled to Segan. "I will certainly try to keep as warm as possible during the winter months. I really have little care for the cold. I prefer the warmth of the sunshine." Pause for a small drink and a moment of thought to his latter question, she shook her head gentle. "No. I'm afraid not. I don't do much exploring during the coldest times." Nope. She was a warm blood creature to the bone.

"I prefer the spring and summer right into autumn just before it starts to get really cold. Though I make the best of winter, getting involved in sled racing, ice skating and so forth. Do you have a beau to keep you warm on a cold wintry night when the winds howl, snow falling and the temperatures dropping for even a usually warm home?" Notice, he was not looking at Eion presently.

That first sip of cider had been taken rather incautiously, and the sizzling liquid against her irritated throat brought a coughing fit that prevented her from answering either question initially. Waving that she was fine, she hacked into her sleeve until another careful sip of cider allowed her to speak. "Phew... aye, I been right enough Vanessa... and I figure I'll probably be here for the winter," she answered to Segan with a shrug. She never really knew where she'd be or when. A big sniffle cleared her nose as well, which part was then wiped discreetly with her sleeve.

"Then, if you wish not to stay in the Thistle for a whole winter," which the Thistle was fine but probably confining living in only one room even if spacious enough, "we can see about getting you into a small cottage or the like."

"You're a braver soul than I." In regards to sledding and other outdoor winter sports. "No, no beaus." A small blush, covered with another drink from the mug and a nod to Karina's response.

"A cottage?" Blinking at Segan in surprise, a brow perched itself up beneath the brim of her cap. "Like a room in someone's house? Nah, I'll be fine here..." Not wanting to impose her company on some innocent family.



Date: 09-07-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 94

"Well, if you dress in layers and appropriately, you can stay warm for you're moving about, expending energy." In fact one could get overheated if not careful. He was actually a bit surprised she didn't have a beau. "Maybe that will change by the time the cold winds blow." He might have added more but Karina's response had his attention there. "No, a place of your own. A small cottage near here so you have more than one room to be in, although it means keeping the place clean, making your own meals where that is provided here." There was a back lounge, a garden, a separate dining area and sitting room here. Though they were all shared by anyone staying here.

Just the thought of trying to brave the cold for more than necessary already had her shivering. She smiled though with a soft chuckle. "Perhaps one resourceful enough to tempt me into winter games for the experience."

Eion hadn't opened his eyes until he heard Karina. He watched her a moment then raised his glass for another drink. "Some of the lads here make a toboggan slide that is supposed to be a challenge." He hadn't taken part in winter sports for years.

"Aye, doesn't hurt to give them a try. I'm told they build a dragon's sled run down by the lake..." which his words were echoing his brother's having him finishing with laughing.

"....A place of my own." She repeated blankly, without much comprehension. Having never had such a thing the concept was foreign. In fact, her room here at the Thistle was the first time she'd ever had a room entirely to herself.   But even beyond whether she'd WANT a place to herself (she hadn't gotten that far in thought yet) one issue was clear. "I can't pay for that." It was on a lower tone, almost a mutter... what was Segan thinking anyway? Amergin had come over to plop down at her feet by now, and she shifted in the chair so she could reach down and bury her fingers in his fur.

She quirked a small grin to the two interpretations from the brothers and gave a nod. Yeah...not so sure about that. "I'll have to come watch and see that for myself."

"Aye," word near as low as hers. Things were set up differently here so he was told. "You would need not," but he'd let it go for now and let her think the thought over more before addressing it again.

They were doing that a lot tonight. "I think they make an area for folks to watch, but don't take my word for it. I'm just repeating what I've heard."

"They have bon fire pits with a fire going for those that come to watch can keep warm. Usually various foods to eat and hot beverages."


He was going to swat his brother or just go quiet!

A quiet snicker looking to the two brothers with a nod. "Well, that sounds inviting. I'll have to bundle up for the ride then and see all of this for myself."

And indeed, mull it over she would.... with a perplexed sort of frown marring the brightness of her blue-green eyes. Another sip of cider taken, she reached up to scratch beneath her tightly-wound curls, which just now were catching the firelight and turned to molten amber. Still having not shed her thin leather over-coat, she was getting toasty warm slowly but surely... a nice feeling.

Which he caught Karina's look, the frown, though would not think the idea presented before would bring about such so had to ask, "are you all right Karina?"

Thin brow arched upward slightly as she looked to Karina curiously, then looked away with a sense that it wasn't her business and that she didn't know her well enough to be nosey.

"Hrm?" Her eyes turned back to Segan, and she offered a slight shrug. "Yeah, fine..." But because he was looking at her so intently she felt compelled to add, "Just... thinkin' about what you said. 'Bout a whole place of me own." A crooked smile curved her lips. "Dunno what in the hell I'd do with it, really..."

"Aye, wouldn't be a huge place but a cozy little place. Like Davin has with the lighthouse. Just something that is out there in case you liked the idea. Ideas are no good unless at least presented. You'd be warm and well taken care of here as you have been." Her room might feel to her like another's house would to them.

A cozy little place... despite herself that didn't sound half-bad. Her head cocked lightly to one side as she thought about it. Though it was still difficult to think of it as a real possibility instead of just some could-be-someday. "...Can't cook though..." Or at least she never had. One didn't tend to cook the scraps earned on the streets.

Being they were in the Thistle and neither Segan or Karina were talking in low voices, it seemed open enough. He found himself wondering about training in the winter months. And his hope about being accepted as a king's man soon.

Then to change the subject in case it was a sensitive one or just needed more time. "How are things in Eldyn, Vanessa? Sari doing well? Have you gotten a king yet?" Slight smile in understanding sent Karina's way as there was a thought to consider for that but he let it go.

Once more brought from her own thoughts, she tilted her head a bit to Segan's questions. "Eldyn is..still in the slow state of healing. The Queen is well. She and her children have taken a short leave of the castle and no. There is no king still."

"Healing takes time, depending on the wound. At least things are still on the mend." Which by the sound of it came the statement. "Is there any prospective king?" It seemed to be something that if it happened might well accelerate this healing.

A light smile to him. "Aye. Hopefully soon, but not rushed." The wrong king could be worse than no king.

She missed that glance from Segan though, already wrapped up in her own thoughts again. Her imagination was running away with itself, in fact, and she reined it in as she might an unruly pony. A whole place of her own... nahhh. It  jut seemed... strange. Amergin gave a little whine at her feet, and absently she reached down to scoop him up and plop him down in her lap. The pup was getting big for that now, but Amergin sprawled happily there, oblivious to the fact that his paws were hanging off from her lap.

He would agree with that thought had it been voiced. "Good to hear, you'll let me know if and when it happens?" So he need not keep asking her in case it doesn't come about.

"I will." She smiled and finished off her drink before asking Alex for a refill. She looked to the quiet Eion. "How is training going?" Recalling his mention of it earlier.

He was getting tired and the more quiet that seemed to settle over them all, had him suspecting it was that time to call it a night. He finished off his drink but remained a few minutes longer to hear his brother's answer.

"It's going well, more of a challenge for me now." That he was healed but he didn't add that. He smiled slightly and shrugged. "I was just wondering how it goes in the winter. We don't stop but I'm not certain if we do so in the hall or stay outside. I would think it depends on the weather."  In other words, if a blizzard was in progress, they might go inside. Depending on wind and how much snow was falling.

A nod of understanding, though she imagined some training would be done to prepare for the elements. "Glad to hear that it goes well for you."

"Aye, it does and because of that, I fear I need return to the castle to sleep." He was usually up before dawn to be on the field.

He was still showing up when he could to practice so he didn't get rusty. There was a slight thought now and then about joining those ranks like old times but then there was the sea and the adventures there. "You are welcome to stay the night Vanessa than travel back this late." Extending the offer before eyeing his brother. "Are you going back to the barracks tonight or the manor." If the barracks, then he was heading for his ship to stay the night, but if the manor, then he would join him. To go alone and put oneself amongst six women all with lists of chores, was insane.

"Morning comes too early sometimes." Attention slipped to Segan with a small smile. "That's very kind of you, but I think I should ride back tonight. I have things I must tend to earlier than normal in the morn."

"Barracks." He finished his drink and placed the empty glass on the counter. "I told Gran that I'd stay tomorrow night. I have the following day off and want to help out in the fields with the harvest." It was only hay but it would need to be brought in quickly so there would be plenty for the winter. "Good night, Vanessa. Stay well. And to you as well, Karina." He looked at Segan and nodded. "Of course you are."

"Aye," well understanding as a dimple came with his smile this time around. "It was good seeing you again, as always, Vanessa. Safe travels home and in time to see you again." If things continued as such, that was a good possibility. "Ill walk you out to where our paths will split then, Eion. Unless I'm welcome to stay there and practice on the field with you tomorrow." So, the hint he was trained.

Her attention re-focused somewhat as the others prepared to make their leave. Looking up across the three, a faint smile rose to her lips as she rubbed Amergin's belly (now upturned). "Night, ya lot."

If Eion became a king's man, he'd likely have his own room and Segan could stay there but for now, the barracks and a spare bed would do.

He was over to ruffle up Karina's hair before a lean down had a quick kiss to her cheek. "Night tae ya too." Giving her a wink as he straightened and waited to hear Eion's response.

A nod was given to Segan as she slipped from her stool and reached for her gloves. Then to Eion and Karina. "You three stay safe. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again soon." She turned for the door as she pulled her gloves on and headed over to where Tennison waited.

Kiss to the cheek, what? She glanced up quickly to Segan, eyeing him a second before giving a little smirky grin. "Night. Oh... Segan?"

Which only had him grin back with a dipping glance over her. A hand slipping over the pup's head before he started for the door then turned on a heel. "Aye?" Bracing himself.

He saluted Alex then made his way to the door, waiting there for Segan.

There was a moment of hesitation, enough to have her gnawing on her lower lip. But then she changed her mind. "Ah, never mind. Have a good evenin'."

He almost teased her with chicken as whatever she was about to say was thought twice on. "Next time. Have a good night too," turning back around as he caught up with his brother and out.



Date: 09-13-09
Poster: Trevet MacKay
Post # 95

Late Night Conversation

Treve was lounged out with his feet kicked up on the opposite chair at the table along the wall. "So, what do you think of entering our horses in the Moors' races as well?" Wondering if that would be too much on them to run twice in a month. Not that he knew a whole lot about horses but was learning. He made saddles and bits for them.

Trevet caught Kynan with a mouthful of the stew he had ordered. He had to chew first before he could answer. "Why?" He gave his brother a devilish look. "So you can see some of the lasses there again?" And then he shrugged. "I guess we could."


It was nice to see a familiar place after long travels. Tennison was dismounted and tied and shortly after Vanessa was making her way inside. Hood of the dark blue cloak she wore was pushed away once inside and strides towards the bar were made while pulling off her gloves. A warm smile was given to Alex and a nod to the two gents near by in quiet greeting so as not to interrupt their conversation.

He scrambled to his feet, near toppling the seat his feet rested on and the one he'd been sitting in. A hand lifted to dash through unruly hair in one quick sweep as surely the smile appeared. "Evening Miss, welcome." The scent of peat permeated the air lending it a cozy appeal like Eire itself. It wouldn't be seen that he kicked his brother in a side swipe of a booted foot with the table covering his actions.

Golden hue lacking pupils turned to the man who nearly fumbled his foot rest with a warm smile. "Good eve, sir." Blonde curls brushed away with bare fingers. "I hope the eve finds you both well." Reaching the bar, her attention turned to Alex to request a warm cider and thanks of his kindness.

"Ow!" But he did let out a yell before he laughed and stood, and he had no problem rubbing his leg where the kick had landed. "Evening, miss."

Smile to the other. "Good eve, sir."

"It finds me, us," giving Kynan a quick glance and trying to keep the smirk down for his actions before back to the lady, "I am Trevet MacKay and this is my brother Kynan." Kynan looked the few years younger than himself. "You are welcome to join us if you're wanting some company." If not, he'd understand too as some came in to have a drink and just unwind by themselves.

Gloves were tucked away within the folds of the cloak with another thanks to Alex when the mug was set down for her. The mug taken up and attention returned to the two at the table. "A pleasure to meet you both. I am Vanessa Baltimore." Brief eyeing of the brothers and their table. "You're sure I would not be intruding on your conversation?"

"It's a pleasure, Lady Vanessa. " He bowed slightly, then looked at Trevet before looking back. "No, you won't be. You won't mind me finishing my meal, I hope?"

"Not at all, Vanessa, you'd be welcome to join in. A pleasure to meet you." He was around to draw out a chair for her, he'd been brought up right.

Company was always nice. Gentle shake of her head to Kynan. "No, not at all. Enjoy your meal." And smile to Trevet as she moved to take the offered seat. "Thank you." Eased down onto it with a glance to both men. "Are you both from Heathfield?" She figured they were from the area, but perhaps not from the current surroundings.

He saw to gently tucking her in once seated. One of those smooth flowing processes before he was back around to his seat, which happened to be directly across from her. Gave him a good view of her face and the unique eyes. He'd not seen ones without pupils before. "Aye and from a good size family, settled here about a year and a half ago. Took some of us longer and still one sister to come yet."

He smiled warmly at her, then sat once she was seated. Listening while she and Treve spoke, he dug into his stew again.

Settled in her seat, mug in one hand while the other smoothed the velvet cloak over her dress with a nod towards Trevet and a light smile. "Seems tradition from the others I have met here, that family all gathers. It's a good place." Subtle nod, mug was lifted for a mindful sip of the heated contents.

"You've been this way before," taking up the bottle to refresh his glass and topped off Kynan's while at it. "Who do you know? Perhaps we know them too even if we haven't met until now." Setting the bottle back upon the table as he took up his glass and slightly shifted back in his seat, the back of which butted up against the wall. Gave him a more hooded look to study her more discreetly.

"Thanks, Treve." He nodded at his brother, then fell back to listening. He was not acting like he was starved, but using manners as he ate. After all, he didn't need to be chided about that. He would be quiet until he finished.

"I have been this way before. Quite a few times. I enjoy the company I find in Heathfield." Pause for another small drink, and to think about who she knew. The MacKay name dawned on her. "Are you kin to Mikhail?"

"And we have missed it up until now." Treve had a charming smile to dash for it was a compliment then only bigger bringing out an elongated dimple off to one side. "Aye, he is one of our older brothers. He does card readings that are pretty accurate. Plus he helps out the King and Regent of Kildare in warfare maneuvers. He's training the Crown Prince of Ballicastle who is about my age."

She listened with interest, which served to brighten her eyes a bit. "I don't know him well. I've met him...twice I think. He's a friend to Queen Sariyelle of Eldyn."

Which had him stop to stare before the words just tumbled out, "has anyone told you that you've very unique, very beautiful eyes?" Like liquid pools of gold. Nothing like taking off in a complete different direction for a moment before reining himself in. "Yes, I think he said something about being friends, I recognize the name."

Fair skinned cheeks rosed in color with a meek smile to the compliment. "Thank you." Meekly spoken to match the smile. "She speaks quite fond of Mikhail and his friend, though I'm not sure I can remember his name. Am..." Face scrunched up in thought, for the life of her she couldn't remember the friend's name.

"That would be Amory. Though Mikhail has a few friends. He seems to make them easily. Kynan here is the most shy of the clan." Though not looking his brother's way, he grinned in a dare devilish way.

He looked at Treve and smirked, in spite of Treve's comment. "Aye, I don't have the means to talk all flowery like Treve does." And then he picked up his glass and took a drink, his meal finished.

She looked from Trevet to Kynan with a smile. "Is that so?" Smile turned to a grin which was quickly hidden behind her mug. Attention turned between the two of them with a soft laugh.

Which had him laughing, "I'm not that good and only speak the truth." In short, he'd not say someone was pretty that wasn't. He'd not stay anything at all. "He's does do well in jousting even if he claims he'd not do well with flowery words."

"Yes, ma'am." He gave a quick nod then gave Treve a look back then made a face. "Didn't do so well with that last time either."

"Jousting? A sport I have never understood." Shake of her head only to have to reach up and brush away blonde curls from her face.

"That's because our sister wasn't there."That to his brother before dark eyes were upon Vanessa. "She is running the Zoo here though she could really use some help since the other bloke left."

"A zoo..." Thoughtful expression for a moment, the mug set down. "That must be a great deal of work. Wonderful work though having a chance to work with the animals."

"Why don't you understand jousting, Lady Vanessa?" He gave her a slight smile. "You ride a horse with a big lance and try to knock your opponent off, or at least score a hit."

"Aye, and she has given a list to Faelan Callihan who has a ship and will be getting her more animals and birds. His brother Morgan and sister Regan in on it as they each have ships too." That right out as he was fairly talkative but quieted when his quiet brother actually got into the conversation. Such a sneaky bit of a smile to rest upon his features as he lifted his glass finally for a drink.

"It's a violent sport. Something I just don't understand the interest in. I've only seen one jousting tournament though." Slender shoulders offered a shrug, looking back to Trevet. "It sounds like soon enough, she will have her work cut out for her."

"Laird Maurice McDonough heads it so I'm sure he will find her help. Well, it's not like she doesn't have any help, just not one that has taken the other's place. They have a crew that keeps the grounds and sees to the feedings."

"I'm sure when the time is right, a replacement will come along. It shouldn't take too long. Working with animals holds a great deal of appeal to many."

He nodded then looked at Vanessa again. "There was a big fellow helping her too, but he had to leave as well. But I think she likes what she does."

"I'm sure she does. There isn't much down side to working with animals. It's not like they talk back or anything." An amused smile, she lifted her mug for another small drink.

"Do you have a profession, interests?" He found himself wishing to know more about this golden eyed lass. Especially after spending that time in the Hollow Hills, residue of what was stored away in his brain until the right moment and the head of their brood, Rurac, extracted it.

Which just had him smiling and looking at Treve again briefly, before he stood. "Excuse me a moment. I'm going to collect dessert. Would either of you like anything?"

"Mm...I'm not sure what I do is really a profession. I suppose my official title would be handmaiden to Queen Sariyelle. Though she's taken her leave of duty and has decided to not return to Eldyn. So I think I am going to seek residency elsewhere now." Looking to Kynan she smiled. "No, but thank you."

"That's a profession as it requires various skills on your part," then hesitating with a look Kynan's way, "aye, if there is apple pie with the crumble topping and some ice cream to go with it."

"It really doesn't take much to follow her wishes. She's a very kind woman and rather simple in nature. What do you do? I heard mention of horses when I arrived."

He gave a nod, deciding that sounded good to him too and headed to the bar to order just that, if there was any left.

"I make saddles, bits and other such merchandise from leather. I get the leather from the McDonough ranch for its high quality. I have a race horse that runs monthly and not doing too badly. We have entered the joust tournament in Solarius, an ally of ours that is held once a month. They also run races and I was running the idea by me brother about entering our horses there too or not." He was really indecisive on that idea.

"Hm.." Another thoughtful moment as she resettled in her seat from left to right. "I attended some races here not too long ago with the Queen. The horses genuinely seemed to enjoy it. I'm sure it's a great sense of freedom for them."

"It's even more exciting if you placed some bets. You're there hooting and hollering like it will make a difference in the horse moving faster and winning the race. Sometimes I swear that it does too!"

"We were a bit late for betting. I did get talked into joining the race where we got to race rather than the jockeys."

He came back carrying a tray, apple pie, complete with crumble topping and ice cream, and a plate of cookies, 'for later'.

"How did you like that, wait, you're the won that won the race?" He remembered reading the post on it.

"Yes. Luck was on my side that day." Another meek smile.

The bigger piece of pie was placed in front of his brother, the plate of cookies on the table, then he sat down to enjoy his own slice of heaven. "Was it fun?"

He was smiling enough for both of them. "That's great. I'll have to join in some time." Distracted then to the dessert, there was always room for apple pie and ice cream. "Hazel is the best cook in all the lands," saying it loud enough so she could hear! Now he would be the one quiet as he delved into that which he loved the most where desserts were concern.

"It was great fun. I've never done anything like that before. I love to ride, but racing was never something I tried. My horse is trained for dressage. It's quite different." She finished off her drink and stood to walk to the bar and ask Alex for another.

"You should have said something, ma'am. I would have gotten it for you." He watched her briefly then dug it too after grinning at Treve. Always a good idea to stay on the best side of their Aunt.

"It's alright. You had your hands full." She smiled to Kynan then to Alex and thanked him again. Mug was picked up to return to her seat. "What do you do, Kynan?"

Probably why she had this pie made being they were here long enough if she hadn't any. Ice cream went so well with it, freshly churned too. Time for his brother to hold up the conversation.

"I work with Treve in the leather shop. Making my first saddle now. And when I'm not working there, I'm training with our older brothers."  He motioned with his fork toward Treve. "Going through all the stuff he went through before." And none of the three went easy on him because he was the youngest. Something he was glad of, even if he did grumble a lot.

"Sounds nice. It must be comforting to have so much family so close." Smiled to them both as she resettled with her drink.

"Do you have family?" Having paused in his devouring of the pie. Swipe of his mouth too so there wasn't any cream leaving a white moustache.

"Aye, it is." He glanced at Treve, showing a glimpse of worry. They still hadn't heard anything of their sister, Eimear.

"My father and my sister, but neither of them live close to here or Eldyn. My sister lives in Draconia and my father lives in Enchanted Hills."

"Enchanted Hills, much like the Hollow Hills of Ireland?" Which had a link to ancients of the past and a great wealth of knowledge on life.

"I don't know." She shook her head gently. "I've never been there. My father does a lot of traveling, so I never know when is a good time to go see him."

Pushing his plate aside, Kynan patted his stomach and leaned back. "Is he a diplomat?" Being curious.

"Uhm...Hm....I know he's a warrior of some sort." Sounded strange that she knew so little. "See, I just recently learned he is my father. I haven't had a chance to learn much about him yet."

"Oh. Sorry." He gave her a half smile. "I didn't mean to be nosey."

"That must have come as a surprise and put to rest wondering other than getting to know him?" He too was pushing his plate aside, on top of Kynan's then onto the tray.

"It was quite a surprise. A pleasant one though."

"I'm pleased to hear it," she seemed like a very nice woman. "I'm sorry to hear you need to find a new place to stay. That Lady Sari isn't going back to Eldyn, where will she go?" Yes, he'd been listening.

"I believe she's returned to her cottage with her children. Aside from traveling around to close places, I've never lived anywhere else."

"So you are not going to live with her in her cottage?" Some cottages were quite big. And he was genuinely concerned for her welfare now that they were getting to know her.

She shook her head. "No. I think she just wants to be there with her children. That's how she made it sound." Mug lifted for a drink now that it had cooled some.

"You can stay here if you need a place?" As it was beginning to sound like she had no place at all to stay until she found one. Uncertainty there but certainly welcome here.

"Well, I still have a room at the castle, but there isn't much purpose in my staying there anymore. So I am thinking that perhaps a small cottage somewhere of my own. Someday hopefully."

"I'm sure you'll get your wish then," there was a power in wishes for some he discovered. "You will stay the night for the hour?" He shifted his chair as the front legs met the flooring and he up in one smooth motion. Arms moving up as hands cupped behind his neck in a quick stretch then down again. "Kynan, did you fall asleep?" Chiding in a teasing tone as he gathered up the tray to take over to the bar and leave it there for Alex.

Kynan caught himself in a yawn and covered it with a blink. With his stomach full and a long day now over, he was suddenly tired. He smiled sheepishly as he stood, but it seemed Treve had the same idea. "Nearly." He answered, then added, "but not because of the conversation."

A glance cast towards the window with a nod. "I will. It's a bit late for the hours of travel back to Eldyn. I'm sure that guard Nero would have a heart attack if I returned alone at this hour." She smiled to Kynan. "I hope I've not kept you both from your rest."

"You are as wise as you are beautiful then," easy words over his shoulder before he was around to face them both. "I think I may stay here the night for it is that late."

A nod, she rose from her seat. "It is late. Good conversation steals away the time." To the bar to ask Alex for a room key, she finished off her cider.

"I'm going to stay at the shop." He had left his pup there, though shut up in a room so he wouldn't do any damage. "Night, Lady Vanessa. Night Treve. Night Alex. "First he was going into the kitchen to wish Hazel good night and that was after he loaded his pockets with cookies.

"Good night, Kynan. It was nice to meet you."

"Aye, and I've enjoyed ours and in the meeting, Vanessa," hand rising to splay over his stomach as he briefly dipped his head cordially. "Have a good night sleep." He would accompany his brother to the kitchen or he'd be getting his ears boxed next time after being here and not greeting their aunt.

"It was a pleasure, Trevet." The key taken with a thanks to Alex, she turned to go out and gather things from her horse before retiring for the night.

"Same, Lady Vanessa." He called over his shoulder as he headed into the kitchen.



Date: 09-20-09
Poster: Segan Quinn
Post # 96

Getting Ready for the Cold

Segan was back from a run down the coast as well a few other islands not that far away. Though coming back it seemed the weather changed overnight as he found it a lot cooler. First stop was to the Thistle to warm up and get a good meal. Though the cook on his ship was good, food here was like home cooking. He was situated in front of the hearth finishing up a well stacked plate. Tankard of ale and a glass of potcheen as a chaser. He sent word to the manor he was back and would probably be stopping in by tomorrow evening for the Sunday dinner, one more elaborate.

Vanessa had been spending most of her time at the Thistle recently since there was little in Eldyn to hold her attention. She'd taken up a room at the inn on a more regular basis and Alex was kind enough to tolerate her. She'd returned to the tavern not too long ago from an evening ride. Cleaned up, she ventured from her room to the commons for a mug of cider. Steps were quiet as she came out with a smile to Alex. "Good eve, Alex." Golden hue spotted Segan and offered him a smile. "Good eve, Segan." Dressed in a fair shade of coral with her hair left down and a lavender shawl to bare against the chill.

Blue eyes lifted as he tore into a piece of the bread sopped up with the gravy leftover from the turkey slices. Seeing who it was, he was up quick as a flash, cloth used to wipe off his mouth before speaking. "Vanessa, it is good to see you again. How have you been?" Probably more in that he'd not been around for the run he just got back from. Smile spread with dimples to show in the aftermath of his greeting. He was attired in warmer clothes but not as warm as they would have been had he known it had gotten so much colder. A heavier dark blue vest over an ecru poets shirt, black pants and boots lacing up. He was warm by the fire however of which he indicated with a sweep of his hand, "care to join me were it's nice and warm?"

A quiet spoken request to Alex for the warmed cider while listening to Segan's greeting. She hadn't meant to disrupt his meal. "Nice to see you again, as well. I'm doing quite well. How have you been?" She paused a moment to recall last she'd seen Segan. Pretty sure it'd been here at the Thistle. Alex was thanked for the drink, which she quickly scooped up to hold within the cup of her own hands to collect the warmth, then smiled back to Segan. "Very much. Thank you." And to a nearby seat she claimed, easing down into the comforts.

Or it could have been at the races. Either way, it had been a while. Smile melted into a warm one as she joined him at the hearth. "It seems Autumn has invaded the lands though I'm told we'll probably be having an Indian Summer soon." Retaking his seat as he studied her briefly, discreetly. "I've been fit as a fiddle o' late. Been keep'in me 'ands busy and me nose clean," which was a record for him to keep out of trouble. Though usually it was the regular kind. Maybe because he'd not been hanging out with his brothers? Now there was a thought to consider sometime. "Are you ready for winter?" Giving her time to answer and him time to finish his meal as it was nearly done.

Perhaps it was the races. It was hard to recall. Once settled on the seat, she got comfortable, pulling the shawl up a bit more over her shoulders with a soft laugh. "Busy makes it easier to keep out of trouble. Unless, of course, busy is what gets you into trouble." A grin flashed to him as she settled the mug in both hands with a little crinkle of her nose. "Not really. I'm trying to ready myself for it though. As long as it does not happen over night, I should be able to ease into the season. Are you prepared for it?"

"There is that, aye, and probably will find me soon enough." Which had him give a quick wink for certainly trouble was always around the next corner for him. Setting his plate onto the tray and taking up the tankard as he relaxed back. "Another month you might well see snow though it will be light and not stay upon the ground. Hardest part is dressing appropriately so you don't get sick, this time and spring are the worse for that."

Eion came in through the back, heading for the common room after speaking to the guards there. He had been informed that Segan's ship had arrived and thought to look for him first at the Thistle. His hair had grown some but still was much shorter than his brother's. He was dressed in a dark blue tunic over a shirt of white, and black pants tucked into knee high leather boots. "There you are, Segan." A smile appeared briefly then he nodded at Vanessa. "Good evening, Lady Vanessa." He headed to the bar for a glass of the pure, then he'd join them.

A warm smile given to the wink, she lifted the mug for the first sip, and just in time to hear about light snows. Kept her from the mental chill. "Hopefully by the time the first snow comes, I'll have somewhere warm to button down and watch it from." About to respond to his being stranded on land, she looked to Eion with a greeting nod of her head. "Good eve, Eion." Smile offered to him then back to Segan. "I'm sure you'll find plenty to keep you busy. Tons of winter sports, yes?"

Taking a quick drink from the tankard to coat his throat nicely. "Aye, I'll find some fun out of the season being I'll be stranded on land and plenty o' family especially grandmama to find work for me hands." He stood as his brother came in and once he joined them, met him with a clan grasp of shoulders. Firm hold for a few moments before stepping back. "Aye, I'm back in one piece," he knew some of them worried about his runs for the sea was a fickle mistress let alone others that traveled her vast expanse of nothingness at times. "You're looking hale. I see you put a little weight on." Which was good in Eion's case. "You've been eating my share of Gram's apple pies.." teasing as he would as there would be some catching up later on of a different kind. Though Vanessa's words sunk in having a blue eye pursuit her way. A few moments as he tried to unweave the feeling the words gave. "Is not your place in Eldyn warm?" See, he was carefully traversing there! "Aye, there is a lot to do in the winter if one wishes not to stay indoors."

Quiet for the exchange between brothers, attention drifted to both before settling Segan again. "Oh...well the room I had there was warm, but I haven't spent much time in Eldyn, really. I've spent most of my time here in Heathfield as of late." Slender shoulders rose and fell with barely any effort, she lifted her mug for another small sip of the cooling but still warm drink. Her tone didn't seem any too put out by her lack of time in Eldyn. It was what it was and she took it as a chance to perhaps spread her wings and see other things, perhaps find her niche away from Eldyn.

He greeted Segan in like manner and nodded, patting his stomach. "Aye, I have but I think Conor's taken the lion's share. He's been burning energy for all the work he's doing with the saddles and for Gran when I can't get there." He grabbed one of the chairs, turned it and straddled it, arms resting on the back.

Well, though her words were calmly given, it had concern darken blue eyes as he digested them. "How is your friend, Sari? Is she also in the same predicament?" Obviously it was kind of a predicament or how he was seeing it. Though there might not be any drastic rush or emergency to it presently. "I'm pleased to hear you've been staying here in the least," not to take him wrong on that aspect at all. Though his brother received a look with concern on their brother Conor being mentioned as a work-alcoholic. That wasn't like him.

"Sariyelle is doing well. She's taken residence at her cabin in the meadow with her three children." A place that Sariyelle often returned to when she felt the castle was no longer home. "Alex has been very kind to let me stay here." Which she was very grateful for and offered her assistance if he ever needed it. Silence was found with the look of concern from Segan and given to Eion, she occupied herself with her drink while listening and watching the two.

They were mostly making sure the manor and stables were winter ready. He gave Segan a slight smile to let him know that all was well. Neither of them would be content until they knew there was plenty of wood, the windows calked and had even dragged Gabriel into helping at times. "Everyone's doing well. And Gran's been telling us you'd be home soon." He paused to take a drink then added. "And Conor's saddles are selling even better than at home."

Gabriel could fly! Some things would be easy for him that would not be so for others. "I'll be sure to stay around the week to help with autumn chores." He knew that look and would pull his weight. Though he would probably get in a couple more runs before it got too cold. He needed to continue his journal too and time was planned to be set aside for that. "I thought he was only making them for the McDonough ranch?" Unless he missed something. Though he was sure Conor could sell ones if he wasn't kept busy enough. "I'm sure Grams has a list set aside just for me." Then with a thought, "if you're going to be around Vanessa, would you like to see the Royal Stables that my sister Melantha runs? Manor came with the lands to house our family that sticks around."

She continued to listen quietly with a soft smile. Familiar hearing chat about family and what not. Thoughts were shaken off with return of attention to Segan with a smile. "That would be wonderful. I'd love to see them." Her voice perked up slight with acceptance of the invitation. Sounded like a fantastic outing to see more of the surrounding areas.

"He is." He grinned. "Do you know how many men and women work there?" The grin was gone again as he took another drink. They were always glad when Segan came home but no one would expect him to not keep up with how he made his living.

"All I know is that the McDonough Ranch with two brothers is extremely large. A few hundred acres in all and many hands hired on a permanent basis and many more during certain times of herding and branding." See he knew something about how things were done on land! Though Vanessa got a warm smile again, one that brought out those dimples for her acceptance and genuine interest. "Melantha really loves her horses like our grandfather had when he took care of the royal stables before the dark times."

"Understandable. Horses make excellent companions. They have understanding eyes and never argue. I don't know what I'd do without Tennison." She smiled softly, hidden though when she lifted the mug again. Perhaps she'd get to meet Melantha. Sounded like someone she'd get along with.

"So you've a rapport with the horses as well?" Which might have her getting along really well with his sister. "You have your horse with you then?" Not to assume and she could ride him out when they went. He finished off his tankard then set to filling a shot glass of the potcheen for himself and one for his brother which he set out his way.

Eion listened quietly, blue eyes moving from his brother to Vanessa and back as each spoke. It had been a long day but he wasn't tired yet. He nodded his thanks to Segan and picked up the shot, downing it quickly.

A subtle nod was given. "I do. I have a great appreciation of horses. Tennison is tied on the side of the inn right now, waiting for me to walk him to the stables for the evening." Gave her a good excuse to get out once more before calling it a night.

"The stable is not far down the side road." Aside the Thistle and she was safe walking these lands, least up here. The port was another matter but probably safer than most ports in comparison. "How long have you been on your own?" Realizing the question was presumptuous. "That is you've never mentioned family and now parted from working with Sari, I figure you're pretty much on your own."

She nodded to mention of the stable. "I save that for reason for a walk at night before retiring." The contents of the mug were finished off and empty container held in one hand for now. She thought briefly and nodded. "I suppose as well as can be. It's hard not having anything really to do like I'm used to, so I hope to soon find something to fill the time."

"Have you gone to the library in the castle? Or perhaps the museum upstairs?" Though he wasn't sure who ran that now. It wasn't a lot to occupy her time, but it might help.

"Is walking, sightseeing, one of the things you like to do? Nighttime only or sunny days?" The last part only had more questions. "What is it that you would like to do?"

Golden hue looked between the two with a soft laugh. "I haven't had the chance to see the library or the museum. I've not made it near the castle yet." From Eion to Segan. "I like to walk and see new things, day or night. As far as what to do for something regular,..." She thought on it for a moment. "I think I would like to work with birds. Hawk scouts, carrier pigeons, things like that."

"Have you trained such birds before?" Curious as there were hawk trainers for the hunt or some even had such a rapport they would bring back information or alert them to danger.

Rising from her seat, she nodded. "I have. I trained them for my parents farm so they could scout for predators and give warning before the livestock was attacked." Over to the bar to request another fill of heated cider. "I once trained a hawk to hunt and bring back meals to his master. They're quite intelligent creatures. It's amazing some of the things they can do."

He watched Segan then smiled to himself and went back to drinking. It was nice to just listen, especially since he didn't have much to add to the conversation.

"I'm impressed and sure you could find work doing such. You should see the zoo then while here too." It seemed a logical suggestion. "Have you thought about where you wished to live?" Not to assume there either as she might have some spot like Sari had.

Thanking Alex, she came back to her seat. "I'd like to see the zoo. I've been told there isn't as much help as needed there." Or something along those lines. Eased down onto the seat. "Just something small and simple, near this area since it offers much to do."

"The man to see would be Laird Maurice McDonough," if she was serious about relocating so he would give the name. "Alex can get hold of him. He and his family have been around a long time. Though, it gets quiet here at times too. I think pretty much one has to first depend upon themselves and then if others come around, all the merrier." Which had a smile spread with the last.

"Laird Maurice McDonough.." The name spoke to be easier to remember. She smiled to Alex then back to Segan. "I would appreciate that. Perhaps I can offer help to the animals there." Nod followed. "I don't mind the quiet, really. But the company found here is always delightful when it is found." A smile offered to both brothers.

"That's kind of you to say." He inclined his head slightly. "Laird McDonough is a good man too. He'll be easy to talk to."

"Spoken in truth, Eion." Everyone she'd met in Heathfield was good natured and easy to get along with.

Which had him chuckle, "well, you have a point there I cannot bring myself to argue you on." A nod given his brother before lifting his glass, "to brighter days ahead aside being blinded by snow on a bright day, slainte!" Kicking back his drink as it was the perfect chaser.

A quiet laugh to the toast, her mug tipped and a cautious drink was taken so as not to burn the roof her of her mouth.

He relaxed back, taking a moment to enjoy the quiet as he was the one usually talking. This way he'd see if they wanted to ask questions or talk in general.

Vanessa too was silent for a moment, looking between the two of them then looked to the fire for a moment. Silence was broken with a quiet inquiry. "Do the waters here freeze when winter sets in?" Slow turn of her gaze to Segan, recalling the conversation between him and Eion regarding helping and being stranded on land.

He lifted his glass in a toast then finished what was in his glass. "Not the waters of the sea but the waters in lakes and ponds, rivers." Some ice formed on the ocean but it was more the storms that kept the ships in port. Realizing she had been speaking to Segan, he cleared his throat then stood and headed to the bar, placing the empty glass there.

Which was what he was about to answer with but his brother beat him to it. Grinning with a nod, "aye, they go skating and ice fishing on the lake in winter once deemed solid enough."

She smiled to Eion and nodded then to Segan. "Ice fishing?" Frozen fish? That didn't make much sense to her. Thoughtful expression trying to imagine that before shrugging some. "Is that something the both of you enjoy?"

"I don't know." He answered sheepishly as he turned. "I've not tried it before."  It wasn't something he tried when younger and once he began his training, then took to wandering, he hadn't considered it.

"I've not done it in a while. You make a hole in the ice to fish through. The fish are beneath the ice and swimming about. Fry them up on an open fire in a pit, best fish you'll ever eat." Probably had something to do with the cold and things tasting better along with a better appetite.

She smiled to Eion then to Segan. "You'd think the fish would freeze under the ice." Guess it was something she'd have to see to understand. "Will you be trying it, Eion?"

"I don't know." He glanced at Segan then looked back. "I'm not sure how things will go during the cold months with my training." He hadn't done well in the fortress during the winter but was hoping he'd not be affected by it now.

"The most fun is the sledding. They make a run I'm told that is challenging. There is ice skating, taking rides in sleds drawn by horses. Then the Yule season which has everything festive."

"How is your training going?" Idle drink from the mug before resting her free arm on the arm of the chair and propping her chin in the upturned palm. Looking over to Segan with a nod. "It sounds like something really to be seen. I'm very much hoping to see it. All those festivities and merry folk."

"Well, which is why I need to return to the castle and sleep. Segan, I will see you at the manor for dinner." Or Herself would come to the barracks and drag him out by his ear. "Good night, Vanessa, and rest well."

"Good night, Eion. Have a restful evening." Small wave was given to him once she'd lifted her head from resting against her palm.

"Segan, welcome home again. And sleep well." Giving his brother a hint of a smile before he started for the back hall.

"It seems to be that time of night," as he was up after going half dazed. "I should head up to the manor, perhaps I'll see you soon again." Rising he would take the tray and what was left in the bottle over to the bar.

Looking back to Segan, she nodded. "That it does. I should get Tennison to the stables and settled for the night." Rising from her own seat, she followed to the bar to set her mug down, then adjusted her wrap for going back outside. "Be safe in your travels to the manor, and a peaceful night to you." With a smile, she started for the door.

"I'll walk down that way with you as it will be on my way." The tray set he was over in a quicker longer legged stride to get the door for her. He would be taking a cloak with him from now on.

"Thank you." She smiled and waited for him to arrange himself in his cloak then reached for the door so they could slip out before too much of the chill was able to get into the inn.



Date: 09-22-09
Poster: Mikhail MacKay
Post # 97

Back from the Moors

The quiet was heaven to his ears as he dispelled the anxiety he felt by a few there this evening. He rode in quiet, cherishing it but was dismounted and over to help Vanessa down once her steed came to a halt. "I realize I had nothing to eat or drink there and me throat bae parched." Hand raised to assist.

"Aye, lively place tonight. Though there won't be as many nights such as this to enjoy being in the gardens." He added as he dismounted and allowed his horse to roam a bit. He wouldn't go far and Amory would ride him back to the castle tonight.

The quiet ride back was a welcome one after all the noise. Though the celebration had been nice to see with high spirits. Tennison drawn to halt, she accepted the hand with a smile. "Quite lively at that. I'm glad to be back on familiar grounds though." Even if only partially.

"Aye, though I have the wanderlust to roam and sometimes it is to give word where needed. It may not have been so much the Queen but the other Lady that was more in need of hope." Which the Star brought. Once to her feet his hand was away as he headed in with the two to the warmth of the tavern. "I hear news that you have come to stay, is this true Lady Vanessa?" Which the smile showed he thought well of it. Right on over to the bar where he would have a tankard of ale and some potcheen as a chaser.

He held the door open for the two, following them inside and of course to the bar.

Following in with her company, gloves were pulled from her hands and hood of her cloak was lowered as she made route to the bar. A nod was given to Mikhail. "That I have. Alex has been kind and patient with having me here until I can find a place to call home." Her own request was warmed cider, as always.

"You will be meeting the esteemed Laird Maurice McDonough then if you have not already?" Though the man was busy, he would get to that which needed attending. "How is Sari doing?" Which he would always ask of his friend of many years and counting.

A gentle shake of her head. "I've not yet met him. Though I've been told by quite a few that I will soon enough." Tenure of her voice was calm, apparently not one to rush the man. "Last I spoke with Lady Sariyelle, she was doing well. She and the children returned to the cottage in the meadow for the time being while the Guardian Knight tends to kingdom matters."

"She," pausing with rephrasing, "is she happy?" That was one of his hopes for his fair friend. She had her children in the least which he knew brought her much joy. "The Kingdom fairs the same then?" If she had left to stay in her meadow, most likely the reason why.

Pupilless eyes turned to Mikhail after thanking Alex, with a tilt of her head. "I suppose she's happy enough. I can't imagine life alone like that. Not that she's alone. She has her children, but...I don't think it's the same as friends and peers of your own age to talk to and do things with."

He listened quietly while he enjoyed the tankard of German ale he had asked for. Wasn't much he had to say and for the most part he was content to listen.

"Aye, then perhaps she will get out when she has time, bring her children, visit us here." More a statement than a question but only time and fate would tell. Sari knew she was welcome here amongst friends, if she had need of socializing. With the tankard set as well the glass of potcheen, bottle left, he raised the tankard in salute. "To Autumn, may she be as beautiful as the ones before her."

"Perhaps." She smiled and sipped her cider. "I told her that when I have a place for her and her children to stay, she should bring them for a visit." Mug lifted for the toast. "May her warm colors make up for the chilling air." A quiet laugh was given before another small drink.

"To Autumn." He lifted his tankard in toast before downing a good portion.

"Aye, that they will, warm colors," he liked that one and would remember it. "You are ready for the winter?" Though he was sure she would be settled in by then.

Seating herself, she kind of shrugged. "I'm trying to prepare for it. I'm not fond of cold weather really. But I've heard there are some very fantastic activities here during the winter. What about the both of you? Are you ready?"

"One has to be ready." He chuckled. "It will arrive when it wants and with no mind to anyone being prepared, though I find the winter is milder here than in Luneburg." Or so  it seemed to him.

"Aye, I'm ready. Though I wont be staying in me vardo. I'll probably stay in the knights' quarters at the castle." Or end up in Kildare if they needed him. "I plan to try the slopes this year, snake's head I think they call the run."

She smiled to Amory. "Thank you for the warning. Now I can already feel the chills of winter." She laughed softly and looked over to Mikhail. "Snake's head? That sounds dangerous. Is that for sledding?" They didn't have things like that in Eldyn. This was all pretty new to her.

"Dragon's Run." He corrected with a grin. "Couple of the lads here make it up and build a dragon's head at the end of it."

"Aye, dragon or snake, I hear it is a wild ride that ones keep going back for more."

She just smiled, listening to the two as attention moved accordingly. "Sounds interesting. It also sounds very cold."

"At least after the winter, one appreciates spring again and the coming summer. I prefer the warmer weather but make the most of any other season."

She nodded some. "Aye. Even in the cold, it helps me appreciate the sun when it shines through the winter clouds. How are other things going for you. Sariyelle spoke that you had both recently been knighted."

"Ja, a few months ago." There was a hint of pride as he answered. It had been because of his friends that he had been mentioned to the King.

"Congratulations." Spoken to Amory. "I'm sure it's well deserved. Such titles are honorary to hard work and dedication."

"I'm more a Captain of the Guard, though in this instance, it is warriors and knights. Tactical warfare and training the crown prince of Ballicastle."

"I'm afraid I don't know the difference. I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to military standings or status."

"Thank you, Lady Vanessa." He inclined his head then stood. "And now, I should retire for the night. Mikhail, you will be on the king's field tomorrow?"

"Aye, it is no matter, more in that I help the lands here and those of their offspring." Finishing up his ale before kicking back the shot of potcheen. All set as he pushed up from his lean. "Aye, and I should be getting some sleep as well. I would enjoy crossing swords with you on the morrow, Amory, see how much you have learn since the last time." He knew he was being trained by the best.

She smiled to Amory. "You're quite welcome." And fell silent as questions turned to Mikhail. Looking between the two, she remained where she was for the moment. "Thank you both for the escort back and company. I hope to see you both soon."

Mikhail was being modest. He laughed then bowed slightly to Vanessa. "Good night, Lady Vanessa. Rest well this night." With a salute to Alex, he headed for the door. Outside, he mounted his horse and headed back to the castle at a slow leisurely walk.

"You will, see me and most likely Amory as well many more. Have a good night, sweet dreams, Vanessa." He was tired and it was time for much needed rest. He would catch up with Amory as he was staying the night at the castle so easier to be on the field come dawn. Smile swept just before he disappeared out the side door.



Date: 09-23-09
Poster: Niklas Traugott
Post # 98


Cooler evening with the arrival of fall was being enjoyed after a long day's efforts. Vanessa had already been in to collect her mug of warmed cider and retreated out to the porch as the sun fell into dusk to enjoy the changing colors of the sky. Cleaned up from mending of wounds earlier, she was draped in a dark green cloak of velvet with the hood laid across the very back of the crown of her head. Standing at the railing of the porch with Tennison on the other side, one hand held the steaming mug while the other offered sugar cubes to the bay andalusian.

Niklas looked like he just woke up because... he had. Working late hours and then long hours without much sleep it had all finally caught up. Hair was askew, clothes wrinkled for he'd fallen, more collapsed on the couch in the back room of their shop. One that had his legs hanging over the one end and half off and on until he slid off completely which had finally awakened him. His gait was not all that steady that one might think the kingsman drunk as he half shuffled and half staggered like one walking in their sleep from the clock shop over to the fountain where he promptly braced his hands against the ledge and in slow motion lowered to dunk his head. The cold water did what was needed, shocking him fully awake as he let out a cry in surprise as his head flipped back up, the brace of hands shoving him away as a stream of water followed in an arch.

Not that seeing someone walk around the commons was all that strange. It was still early in the evening and just before the final stretch of light faded into darkness. However, the cry of surprise was enough to draw attention toward the fountain from both Tennison and Vanessa. The horse perked both ears and snorted before going back to the cubes and gentle tickles of nails against his upper lip while Vanessa watched curiously for a moment. Briefly. Didn't most do that in privacy of their homes? Not one to stare, she turned her attention back to the horse, watching him try to lip at her palm for the cubes.

Standing there dripping from hair into his shirt he realized where he was. Hands were up as fingers drove through sodden strands in taming them back. That wouldn't last too long as he patted down the wet spots along his shoulders and upper chest. At least he was descent in his attire as he tucked the shirt in more and stalled. There wasn't anyone in the square itself but there were ones about. He needed something to eat as the low noise of a growl rose up from his stomach. "Ja, you'll get fed." Now he was talking to his stomach. Giving a wave to some he knew to see that had glanced his way before he was heading for the Thistle, the warmth within would have his shirt dry in no time and a warm meal to devour.

As he drew closer, attention discreetly rose to the man who'd dipped his head in the fountain. The benefit of having eyes that lacked pupils was that it was often hard to tell what she was looking at. A small smile, she ruffled the fore lock of the stallion's mane and as soon as the man was close enough, she dipped her head gently. "Good eve, sir." Light brush of her hand against her cloak, removing wet horse kisses from her palm. "Ten, you're a rather sloppy eater. I hope you realized this." The horse flitted ears at her and just shook his head with a step back and lowered his nose towards the ground.

"Guten abend," taking a discreet notice of the lady with a dipping glance. Set a twinkle into periwinkle eyes as well. Dimple to follow with the comely smile while adding, "schön dame." Then amending as the dregs of tiredness must still be upon him with slipping into his native tongue. "Good evening, lady." Not translating quite what he had said. He was up the steps, across the porch and right on into the tavern and to the bar. Greeting Alex as he ordered up some of the hearty Irish stew along with a tankard of the German ale they had imported here.

It was nice that he spoke English because she didn't speak a lick of German. For a moment, she looked at him as though he had three heads because she didn't understand. It wasn't meant to be rude, and there was a small smile. Small smile brightened slightly when he greeted her in a tongue she could understand, she watched him go into the tavern and looked back to Tennison. Not that the horse would know since he was curing the edge of the porch of its weeds. "Some company you are." She chuckled softly and turned to go inside to warm away the chill of the air, some couple minutes after the man had made his way in.

If she had understood him, she might well be blushing. So it was best. Not many spoke German. Straddling up a stool he was ravenous by the time the thick stew was brought out and set before him, chunks of homemade bread used to sop up the extra in one hand, while the other was spooning in the nourishment in a way one could wonder if he inhaled his meal. He was that hungry, yet not a drop fell nor ran down his chin.

She probably would be blushing. Didn't take much to turn her cheeks a fair shade of rose and it was good way to see her lose all her normal grace. Quiet steps carried her towards the bar with a smile to Alex. "Maybe I have another cider, please?" The emptied mug set out for him, she slid onto a stool comfortably, leaving the starving man to his meal for a bit, but did cast a smile to him.

Which he caught and tried to finish up as quickly and discreetly as possible. It was in his eyes, the smile, the way they held that twinkle. Hair was starting to dry and a lighter shade of blond brown that was curling too. Curled down along the line of his neck and could use to be tied back. Scruff along jawline and chin as he noted Alex eyeing him long enough he finally shifted attention there with the quip, "ja, I know working too long and not enough sleep. It caught me up." By way of explanation. "At least the order of clocks will be done on time. Aleric is working on them too." Even Julia helped when she got time with taking care of her twins. The napkin was lifted as he swiped off his mouth with the cloth, muffling a burp first for eating so fast and the air being displaced upwards. "I am Niklas Traugott and you are?" Getting right into introductions.

He didn't have to rush through his meal because she was there. "You'll give yourself a belly ache eating that quick." Spoken quietly with a tone of humor to it. She thanked Alex for the refreshed mug and took it in both hands to warm them from lingering on the porch. When the greeting was offered, attention turned to Niklas with a kind smile. "Vanessa Baltimore. A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Traugott."

Calhoun was in the back going over papers in Peter's office. Door was left open and a familiar voice heard that gradually made its way through his concentration. Setting the last of the papers down, a hand lifted to rub over his eyes and down along his jaw before falling away. Time for a drink or at least time to get away from work. Stepping outside the office he spoke with one of the two guards stationed there in the back hall.

He was use to rushing, way of his life at times when down in the bowels of Luneberg where he earned his moniker of the Luneberg Mole. One that could get down into places others couldn't. "It is my pleasure to meet the lovely Vanessa Baltimore. I have heard someone has taken up the cottage down Oak street, far from the maddening crowds," the last added with humor. "You are settling in, ja? You can call me Niklas. Otherwise we have titles to trip over."

Cal emerged from the back hall as Fae green eyes took in the two. Niklas known of course, the lady not. Had a wry smile tip off to the side. His attire consisted of a sleeveless tunic worn over a buccaneer shirt of wheat. Browns made up the tunic and pants as well the boots. Except the wide belt from which the empowered sword hung, sheathed. Still, the hilt alone was impressive in its workmanship. Accent was Irish in the way his words rolled off his tongue though not any heavy brogue, which was hinted upon. "Guid evening, Niklas, Lady." Coming upon the bar at the other end as he would have some of the potcheen this night. Glass and bottle set as he thanked Alex.

The kind smile remained to the compliment before nodding lightly. "I am trying to. It will be easier when all of my things are sorted and everything feels more like my own." The hard part of moving into a place and making it your own. She looked to the man she'd yet to meet and offered him a smile. "Good eve, Sir." Mug rose for a small drink of the contents, listening to the two men quietly for a moment.

He was up from his seat in all due respect of another warrior, kingsman under Peter. "Good evening Calhoun, this is the lady Vanessa that has recently come to live here in our lands." Then back to the lady, "ja, it takes time and in that time you will get to meet others. Get familiar like one gets the feel for their home after a while. All takes time. Calhoun is stationed here under King Peter O'Neill who is very good friends with the King of these lands."

"That about sums it up," wry smile tipped off to the side with a dash of humor in Fae eyes again. Like he could be summed up that easily but yet would not say so or elaborate. Turning to the lass, with a cordial dip of his head, "it is my pleasure to meet you Lady Vanessa. I can hope you are enjoying the lands. There is much to see and always a new day to bring new things into your life."

Once more attention turned to Calhoun with a nod as she was introduced. "A pleasure to meet you, sir. I have sincerely enjoyed all my time here. Even before the decision to move here." Looking back to Niklas, she nodded. "It will take time, but I am plenty busy so my mind doesn't dwell too much on it."

"Busy is a good thing to be and will fill your days than have them drag. If you will excuse me," as he didn't wish to interrupt the two, though no assumptions were made either, he headed for the hearth and one of the comfortable wingbacks to claim. Sinking into the cushion as he relaxed back, closing his eyes yet ever alert.

"Ja, just not so busy you lose track of time and sleep until it descends on you in claim nonetheless. Out cold then and not necessarily at a good time."

A nod given to Cal as he excused himself, she turned on her seat towards Niklas with a small smile. "Aye, I suppose so. At least time still meaning though. You are the clock maker?" Recalling his comment to Alex.

"Ja, a family business. We make cuckoo clocks." Which had him pause in recollection of something he read. "You have won one from the races?"

Nodding. "I did. It's very beautiful. I look forward to having somewhere to put it now, but have yet to decide where in the cottage it will go."

"Usually it is put over mantle," indicating the one he had placed over the very mantle in this tavern, across from where Calhoun sat comfortably. One over the hearth. "Or some put it on the wall at the foot of the stairs." He finished his tankard as Alex set out some potcheen for him. It made a warmer chaser.

"Hm..." Hummed thoughtfully. Obviously, she'd never had to place a clock before. "I will have to see how it looks in both places once I find furnishings for the cottage." She looked over to Cal who had gone quiet then back to Niklas. "It will certainly add a bit of warmth to the cottage."

"If you are looking for furniture," without ever opening up his eyes but obviously was not asleep but alert to their conversation, "I would suggest MacGrath Furniture."

"Ja, the man does a fine bit of craftsmanship with his furniture." Agreeing with Cal with a chuckle. One would not be wise to try and sneak up on the man. "It would be best to try various places until you know it is the right place for it. I can hope it does not end up in the commode with the bird jutting out saying cuckoo."

MacGrath...the second time she'd heard that name. She would have to venture there once the flight cages were completed. For now, she had what she required. "Thank you." Spoken to Cal and then laughing softly to what Niklas spoke. "I highly doubt it will end up in the commode. It's a true work of art and offers a sense of caring from its maker."

"There is time and precise makings in the intricate works of such a clock. A trade handed down for many generations." He was truly pleased she liked it. If she had come into the store to buy it there would not be that question or doubt as in when someone won such an item, it might not be something they would care about.

"Such traditions must be nice. Something that one can say was truly learned from the fore fathers of a clan or family." Meek smile, she sipped her cider again.

"Ja, long history and a troubled one too." Which he would not get into but he and his brother got to see their father unjustly accused and beheaded. Their mother and sister thrown into the dungeons. It started their new careers. "What matters is that things are brought to justice and what should have been is again, ja?"

"Indeed that is what matters." A light smile given to him as she set the mug down, content with the warmth of her fingers now. "Are you both prepared for the coming winter?"

"Ja, I am, it is colder in Luneberg in winter. Tell me of yourself." As he really didn't need to talk about himself. Not at this point. "Where do you come from, what do you wish in life, your goals." For a start.

Once more the voice picked up from over at the hearth, though this time he sat up to take up his drink. "I am always prepared," which had a wry smile tip off to the side with the skip of Fae eyes in a glance her way. Lifting the glass in salute. "Slainte." Immediately kicked back and the glass set next to the bottle.

She laughed again quietly to Cal's piping up and tipped her head to the salute. "I will have to remember that and see if I cannot prove or disprove it." Jokingly of course, then back to Niklas. "I'm from Eldyn originally. My current goal is to have the Avian Gardens prepared before the cold sets in. Beyond that? Who knows. Every day is a new adventure."

Calhoun was always up for a challenge, bit it a spar of swords or a spar of words. There was only a difference of an s between the two. And if a lass had the s as in sassy, all the better. "Time will tell and she tells no lies." He was listening but was also aware of the late hour, he would be on the king's field by dawn. Peter was in so especially a little earlier. "Shall we see you on the king's field, Niklas." Having moved from the hearth to the bar where bottle and glass were set. One was good for him this night.

"Ja, and I will drag Aleric with me as he too needs a break. We both need the practice." Knowing if they were pitted against certain kingsmen under King Karl, they would be eating some dirt. Then back to Vanessa, "so they are building such a place in the lot next to the Cottage?"

"She tells no lies but occasionally offers a folly now and then." A bright smile given, she looked back to Niklas with a nod. "Yes. The flight cages are being built on the lot within the gardens. With all the help, hopefully they will be standing and strong soon."

"Indeed, every day is a new gift to open in seeing what it brings. Best to view all as an adventure, some better than others but all lessons best learned." Chuckling with the comment on folly, "aye, she be as tricky as the mistress of the sea. Make sure you are paying attention or get caught with your pants.." and he caught himself with a devilish grin.

Jaw dropped in mock gasp to what Cal said, really trying not to smile. "Sir. You should mind your tongue or Lady Time will see to such happenings."

"I would welcome anything Lady Time seems to deem my way." Fae eyes had brightened under dark brows and the tipped grin told of a dare devil soul within. "Perhaps she will see to keeping my tongue busy in the future."

A soft laugh escaped her with a shake of her head. "I think you keep your tongue quite busy on your own."

"Not quite as good as getting someone else to keep it busy. Far more entertaining." Tracing glance from her to Niklas as he seemed to be winding down as well.

He was amused as he let the two banter. Fingers working through disheveled, now dry, curling hair before he finished off his drink. He was up from his seat with a few low words to Vanessa, "you will be getting into trouble, ja." More a statement with a chuckle.

"I am heading up to the castle if you are heading there as well Niklas?" Man looked like he needed a good work out and sometimes stayed with the rest of knights and warriors.

"I would have to take your word on that, Sir Calhoun, and leave to others to tell the tale of." Another laugh, she looked to Niklas. "Me? In trouble? Never. It's all in good fun. I hardly doubt that good Sir Calhoun would take just
banter in any form of seriousness."

"All depends, there have been some that ended well in a searing kiss. That is if the lady wished to be kissed." Which was not something one just stated but depended on the way the bantering went. "Though I doubt that would be your goal." So he would not continue to tease her overly, just was in his nature and hard to break. Plus, one never knew when he was serious unless behind the blade of a sword.

"Some trouble is not bad, makes life interesting." Which he would not get into nor Cal's reputation, nor even his own on the norm. Vincent deBeauvias would like teaching them manners given any excuse. Though his sister was the only one that could bring that warrior to his knees.

She just smiled and picked up her mug. "Perhaps it is at the choice of the lady, but a smart lady would leave it in a haze of mystery what she truly desires. In fun or otherwise." The mug rose for a drink, looking between the two men.

"There are some tales but I'd not be the teller of them." Clasping Cal's shoulder, "ja, I will head up with you and some more sleep so I am alert on the king's field tomorrow."

"Always, a lady should keep her mystery. I agree." Though the last he practically drove nuts until she gave in. She didn't know if she was coming or going and emotions were electrifying. Pity she moved on but his wit remained sharp. If it was not, then surely a sign he was sick. "Good night Lady Vanessa," having no compromise between them to worry on later. A few words with Alex before he was heading out the side door. A good deep breath of cooler autumn air had one feeling even more alive as he waited those few moments.

She just smiled to the both of them as it seemed they were taking their leave for the evening. A wave of slender fingers to both. "Take care this night and may rest find you in peaceful comfort."

"Ja, maybe our paths will cross again. Until then guten abend, good night." Grabbing the one bottle to take with him up to the knights quarters. It would be easily passed around one more time. Joining Cal as they would head up. Easy conversation to commence between the two.



Date: 09-25-09
Poster: Concessa Quinn
Post # 99

Talk on Men

Concessa had tagged her sister after accusing her of noticing certain handsome lads, well men, if truth be told. She rushed in through the side door winded, laughing and looking frantically for a place to hide. She considered the bar but she'd be chased being that was taboo. Hair was a wild mass of dark curls, eyes just as dark alive with the exertion and cheeks flushed a healthy rose color. Dress was still clutched either side within fists of a dark burnt orange she favored. Boots were finely made, though with small modest heels so she could run in them.

Vanessa had come to the tavern for some of Hazel's cooking since she had yet to stock her cottage. Her meal was finished, she was sitting at the bar chatting with Alex who'd kindly asked of the progress of the Gardens. Blonde curls were pinned back from her face but the length left down her back because it was warmer. A simple dress of dark blue with a lighter blue panel down the front with cross fashioned lacings and belled sleeves. Hands gathered around her
usual cup of cider to gather the warmth in her hands before heading out into the chilly night for the walk home.

Gemma didn't run after her sister. She just strolled into the Thistle after counting to ten. Lips twitched slightly as she stepped inside and closed the door, Her flat heeled boots made little to no sound as she stood there a moment. Dressed all in black from her poet's shirt, to the sleeveless leather tunic, pants and boots, she was a contrast to her wild-eyed sister.

She caught sight of the lady at the bar but before she could say anything the prickling ran up the back of her neck that her sister was indeed within the tavern and behind her. She gave up the ghost on hiding, he who hesitates was lost and she lost that window. Instead she swirled around, hands going to her hips and the slight lift of her chin in defiance. "You can't argue that either is ugly. Both very handsome right out of the tales of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Melantha got one, maybe you will too."

Hearing the door and the two new voices, attention turned over her shoulder as one spoke up. Golden hue lacking pupils looked them both over briefly with a kind smile, but didn't intrude upon their conversation. Just a quiet laugh to what the one had said.

"I didn't say they were ugly. But since I have interest in neither, and they don't in me, you can tease all you want." She grinned at Concessa. "You, on the other hand, just might be." She held up her hand and used her fingers to count off, "Cal, Cole, Lancely, and that one at the jousts... now what's his name?"

"Oh no, Cal, Cole and Lancely are for you to choose from." Still teasing and she didn't offer any names. See, she was smart! A big smile turned on the woman she had yet to meet at the bar. "Don't you think my sister here should be tickled pink? Three handsome knights." See, the lot was growing. Moving in that direction as she would request a punch, made from potcheen in a blackberry flavor, of Alex. Once her request was made she addressed the woman again. "I'm Concessa Quinn and this is Gemma, the lucky lady."

She wasn't even trying to eavesdrop on the sisters, but...well Alex had gone quiet with amusement to the banter. When addressed, brow quirked up and she turned on her seat to better face the two. "Most women would be tickled pink, I would imagine." A nod to Concessa. "A pleasure to meet you both. I'm Vanessa Baltimore."

"I'm neither tickled or pink." She said with a shrug as she made her way to the bar and requested straight potcheen. "Or interested." In spite of any effort from Gran, or her siblings. "Well met, Vanessa."

Well, those words were out of her sister's mouth and she was around, quick as a nymph to start tickling her sister. "Now you are!" Laughing the moment but certainly getting in as much tickling as she could before her sister stopped her. "Nice to meet you Vanessa." Realizing she'd heard the name mentioned before but right now she was occupied.

"Nice to meet you, Gemma." She laughed softly to the antics of the two sisters, realizing how much she missed her own. She just smiled though and picked up her mug for a small drink.

Which had her nearly dropping her glass. She twisted to avoid the tickling as she placed her glass back down, then started to tickle back. And she whispered. "Oh yes, Tolrooooze." Maybe she had been talking to the MacKay brothers?

She gasped, "we barely exchange words," though her cheeks were reddening as she continued the tickling. Squealing and squirming herself at this point. "It is normal to notice men, to wonder? Am I odd, you don't like men," tickle, tickle, tickle, "Gemma. I can look and say to myself, he is really handsome or another is not as much to me. Funny big lips or a crooked nose, eyes too close together.." finally catching her breath.

"Of course it's normal." she swatted at her sister's hands, dancing away from the tickling finally. "And I never said I don't like men. I'm not interested in a relationship, and may never be." If Concessa was done with the tickling, she made her way back to tend to her drink. "I've other things I'd rather concentrate on."

She was done, wore herself out but mostly she was trying to reassure herself that it is natural to notice men. "Tolroze is a good knight of his kingdom but he has no real interest being he never tried to see me other than when at the joust and he is just kind. There is also Mister Frasier who is devilish handsome that sometimes I have a hard time concentrating, I'm afraid he will think me daft." Taking up her seat where the punch was set out she studied Vanessa a moment before curiosity got the better of her. "Do you notice men too, if they are handsome or if they are not, if they are kind no matter their looks but have no interest either, like wondering.." finding she wasn't quite sure how to put that part and hoped she just understood.

Blinking from her momentary daze, she looked back to the sisters with another small drink of the mug before setting it down. Curious blink, she turned her attention to Concessa as she considered the question. "I think it's natural to notice men. I do. I suppose it's more a curious quirk of mine though. I find the male gender rather odd most of the time. Odd in their actions and the various ways they carry themselves."

"Odd? Well, they are different certainly." She looked thoughtful. "Though, on second thought they can be odd." And with that, she took a drink.

She was trying to muss over the view of her sister's and of Vanessa. "So they are best just studied from afar?" Well, though, the imp was not too satisfied with that. "We have three handsome brothers," if she couldn't get Gemma in trouble she sure could try on them. "How are they odd?" She genuinely wanted to know. What to look for that was considered odd. She was looking for particulars to use.

She smiled to Gemma then looked back to Concessa. "I find them odd. That's not to say that everyone does or should. Just..having seen some from an observer's stand point, they just...are odd." A thoughtful moment to attempt to explain. "Alright....well they are very rough with one another. Physically. The hit and kick and pull pranks on each other as sort of a testament of their friendship. Most men seem to have two halves to their personality. One they show their friends, and one they show the person they court. They are just ... odd. Perhaps though it is more that I am awkward."

"You don't have brothers?" Theirs had wrestled, fought and supported one another since they were boys. She really saw nothing odd in it but she was used to it.

She was soaking this all in, silent for the duration too. Now she would be looking for that difference. Slow tearing of her attention from Vanessa to Gemma, "do you think Eion, Segan and Conor do that?" They were the most handy men closest to them. "Think Gabriel does that too? He is a warrior, fighter," with that kind of 'hmmmmm' to it.

Looking to Gemma, she shook her head. "No. No brothers. Only a sister." Gentle shrug to follow she looked between the two with a smirk. "Sometimes the warriors can be even stranger. I noted some of Eldyn, after their training  practices enjoyed swatting each other on the backside after good practice."

Which had her eyes go wide, "I haven't seen that," with a pause, "yet." Then the natural giggles started to bubble up as obviously she was picturing it. "Maybe they are practicing," which the red was now starting to rise to her cheeks. She obviously had caught the sight of a man's hand on a woman's backside.

A soft laugh and another shrug. "I'm not sure. They are an odd gender. Though in all fairness, I'm sure they think the very same of us."

"Do they or do they see .. " well, she heard comments. "I heard some say men only see women for one thing. Is that true?" She was full of questions and only getting started. Sometimes a little too blunt in not learning tact in all things presented. "Your name, I heard before, have you met any of our brothers?" Which she gave all three names.

To the question, she tilted her head. Looking at Concessa curiously and oblivious to what she was getting at. "I'm not sure I understand. What is the one thing?" Consideration to the second question, the surname finally dawned on her. "Are you related to Segan and Eion?" She really should pay better attention.

"Sex," but it came as barely a whisper that if she said it out loud it would be blasphemy. Or if Hazel heard her, it would get back to Grandmother and she'd have her mouth washed out with soap. Of course that would not really prevent her from saying it again either.

Blink...and blush that turned her cheeks a very warm shade of read. "I'm not sure. Really I hadn't had a chance to converse or interact with many men before moving here."

"Some do, I suppose." She made a slight face. "Just watch our brothers sometime, Cessa. You might be able to tell if that's what they're thinking." A hint of a smile was hidden as she took another drink then lowered her glass to answer Vanessa. "And yes, they're our brothers."

"I think Conor is the more prime subject to watch. Eion, I don't think he notices women and Segan is somewhere between the two." So she had noticed some.

"I don't think I've met Conor. Eion and Segan have always been very sociable and friendly, but not overly so." Not that she could recall, at least. "Eion's rather quiet."

Fingers were tapping against the polished wood of the bar, "though I think even stoic Eion noticed Kuwan." She was bobbing her head in agreement with Vanessa on Eion. "I don't think he is normal but odd in that way."  Now she would be looking to see if he walked funny too.

"He's very observant." That much she could tell from the few times she'd been around him.

"Eion doesn't care much for women, except for his sisters and a few others." She pursed her lips slightly, then mentally shook her head. "Or perhaps, it's best to say distrusts them."

"Well, distrust is a whole different view on it? I mean, if I had reason to distrust men, then I wouldn't be looking at them unless they really proved in some way they were not scum."

"Probably rightly so. Women can be quite trite when they want to be. Not all of course. But some I've seen were just....catty." Concessa made a good point. One she nodded to.

"Trevet and Kynan MacKay seem to be very nice, not scum." Which she slapped a hand over her mouth as soon as she realized that they were related to Hazel. Brown eyes were very wide though she had not said anything bad.

"They are both nice. I got to meet them not too long ago." The contents of her mug were emptied and the mug set down on the counter.

"I'm sure they are. " She looked at Cessa and chuckled. "Some men don't show that they're scum right away."

Her hand lowered discreetly as if it had never lifted. Hazel didn't rush out of the kitchen to say anything to her on mentioning her nephews. She realized she wasn't sure. "I agree, they are nice," and now she wondered how they would become scum. "How can one ever know then if you meet someone nice that they wont turn into scum?"

That seemed like a good question, so now she looked to Gemma with a curious tilt of her head.

"You don't." She rolled her shoulders in another shrug. "I don't know that much about them, but some can be sweet to your face then turn into ... uh ... scum seemingly overnight. Remember Callie Donnelly? How she'd be sweet to your face, then turn around and be horrid if you did the least little thing she didn't like? It's like that."

"No wonder you don't like men, or at least ever want to be with one." Now she understood where her sister was coming from. And frowning with the whole idea of it. It seemed very unfair.

"Well, surely not all are like that. Isn't that what long courtships are for? To get to know another person before deciding to give vows?" Curious tilt of her head, she looked between the sisters curiously.

"Not all men are like that, Cessa. Look at Gabriel and how he is with Mel. The King and Queen. There are more examples of good here than bad." She looked at Vanessa and nodded. "I suppose that's part of it, yes."

Which brought up a whole other avenue of questions and greedily grabbed up to get away from the other doomsday idea on males. "Yes, but it seems it will be too hard for me to tell a nice man from a scum." Almost whined. "And if you court, does it mean only seeing one man or can you see as many as you want like men do before you court just one?"

"I'm not sure. I've never been courted and the only person I've ever witnessed being courted was my sister. She and her husband though fell in love as children and never ventured further than one another."

"Maybe you should talk to Gran or Aunt Chandra about that, Concessa. Though I think if you're really in love, and he loves you, you don't want to see anyone else." She shrugged. "I'm certainly no expert."

"So you have seen a good relationship. You've never been drawn to one man over another then yet?" She had noticed a few so now wondered if there was something wrong in that. Her words to Vanessa as she nodded to Gemma's suggestion.

She looked between the two again before looking to Concessa. "I never had time to be drawn to a man. Before coming here, I was lady in waiting to Queen Sariyelle. Aside from occasionally being allowed time away for myself, most of my time was in service to her."

"You have met males here then since then." Obviously that came out on two of her brothers and the two MacKay brothers. "Have you found any attractive over than just them being nice and there?" She noticed! So she was hoping she wasn't the only one that did. Though she never made any moves or indication really, just blushed a lot.

Little bite of her lower lip and a meek smile, she nodded. "Yes. I have found a couple of them attractive. Captivating on some level. Makes me nervous."

She would most likely talk to Aunt Chandra over Grandmother for she was afraid Grans would forbid her to see a man until she was thirty. And... she couldn't wait that long! "Does it make you blush too? I find I think that I would say all these witty things like some women do and then I just blurt something out, sometimes I'm at a loss to what I just said for getting so flustered."

"I blush and find myself awkward and I don't really understand why. They're kind with their compliments which doesn't really help matters any." Chuckling lightly, she turned to ask Alex for some more cider.

"Is compliments part of that being nice to your face and scum to your back?" This spoken to Gemma in all curiosity. See, she was still stuck on that idea now.

She looked to Gemma as well with a curious tilt of her head after thanking Alex for a refill of her drink. The mug taken in hand and sipped from, she smiled to Gemma.

"No. Sometimes they're meant sincerely. Cessa, I'm no expert. I could care less about it all."

Chin came to rest against the palm of her hand as elbow braced against the bartop while she studied her sister. "One day you are going to fall very hard for a man." There was something about eating one's words that the idea was rooted in. Maybe a prediction like some had the gift of. Though she smiled warmly, the words were not a threat but maybe a good wish on her sister.

Leaning back against her seat, she smirked. "They say love will hit you when you least expect it." Spoken as a humored warning to Gemma with a smile.

Hand was lowered to scoop up her drink to down in nearly one gulp. Certainly warmed her throat but she was use to the punch. Setting the glass aside. "I think I would like to pull some mischief on some of these nice men..." she wasn't sure why, just all this crazy stuff twisting around inside in confusion and way to deal with it. "I just don't know what yet."

"Until that time, I will remain as I am then." She tapped her sister lightly on the nose. "And allow Mel and Gabriel, perhaps our aunt and grandmother and our brothers to find it all out." And as an afterthought, "And you and Davin as well."

"I think Mel already found out and I would swoon over a man that has wings and can fly too." Which she had that perfect dreamy eye look for a moment, considering the man was handsome as they got too.

She smiled and listened quietly to the two again, sipping her drink.

"Near angelic in face and form." She held up her glass in toast and downed the last of it. "And now, dove, I'm heading back to the manor and my bed. I plan to be on the field before dawn and Eion has promised to work with me."  She straightened and studied her sister. "Give it time, Concessa. It will come to you."

"We'll see, you are a number of years older than me," purposely making it sound like Gemma was older and would fall in love first. She couldn't wait for she could wear a smug smile then. "It was nice meeting you Vanessa, maybe I'll see you again and you can tell me more about yourself." She had gotten them off on a topic of men, a way for her to learn more. "I think I'll come to the field too for I would like to learn how to protect myself especially if I meet any scum." Such a smile!

She smiled to both sisters. "It was a pleasure to meet you both, and I certainly hope to see you soon. You're welcome to stop at the cottage if you venture down Oak street." A small wave given to both before they could make their leave.

"Not that much older and no, it's not." She just shook her head. "Maybe one of the knights will notice you tomorrow. There are a few squires who are close to being made knights, you know. Since you're so young and all." Teasing.  Good night, Vanessa. Rest well."

"I would like that." Bigger smile Vanessa's way as she was down from her stool and heading for the door, dashing out it before her sister could, waving as she went.

She gave a shake of her head and a wave to both Vanessa and Alex as she followed.



Date: 09-28-09
Poster: Trevor Cairns
Post # 100

Autumn Evening

It had been a long day for the king's horseman as Trevor loosened his tie after removing his jacket, though kept the vest on. Fine cut suit as was his preference though a drastic change from the king's field this morning where even the shirt had been discarded after a while. Steel clashed continually with sparks flying and sweat building until the shirt was soaked. Even boots were discarded as the earth beneath his feet was preferred more intimately. Toes curling into his element made him even more powerful. Now he was relaxed in one of the wing back chairs missing the one with the moon shapes hollowed in it while enjoying a glass of potcheen.

It had been a long day for the eldest Quinn as well. After training in the morning, and watching the king's men as always with more than a touch of amazement, he headed for the manor where the last of the winterizing had waited to be finished. All the walls were fixed and with the care the manor had received when empty, there was little else to do though he was sure Herself would find something. A hot bath had been welcome and dinner with his family of course. Now with a bit of time to enjoy, he was making his way to the Thistle for a drink or three before retiring for the night.

This evening, his brother had his help in winterizing the manor. Made for a more pleasant experience than toiling alone. Jokes and comments were exchanged mounting to challenging on various levels by the time the work was done. They had at least four cords of wood cut and stacked where it was sheltered from the elements more so than not. Segan too had washed up and clean, fresh clothes donned. A patchwork vest of leather over a fancier cut buccaneer shirt. Black pants and boots lacing up to below the knees. Hair was combed back into a small tail at the nape of his neck. He caught up with his brother before either reached the tavern. Just a grin given his way.

He had hoped Segan would join him and gave a grin in return. The only one missing now was Conor but he had been busy himself lately though he did help when he could. The chill of the night was pleasant after the warm day. He had chosen to wear a shirt of white under a vest of black. Matching pants were tucked into polished boots. Moving up the steps, he opened the door and motioned for Segan to go first.

"All dressed up, I hope there are some ladies around tonight to at least impress with the effort," such a grin while words were kept low as he moved past his brother into the tavern. Normal octave lifted as he greeted Alex and the king's man in turn. "Good evening Alex, Sir Trevor," while heading for the bar and soon to take up the glass being set out of potcheen, bottle left as well.

A roll of his head had dark eyes turned upon the door as the brothers arrived. He didn't move much otherwise as if planted like one of those ancient oaks. "Good evening Segan, Eion." Quirk of a smile as he noted both were all spiffied up nicely. "Has it gotten colder out?" Asked by one who was very resilient to cold, to the weather in general though he would dress appropriately to not appear different.

His brother's comment had him snorting out a soft laugh in answer. More like Gran insisted he not look like a heathen and shame the good name of Quinn. He followed Segan inside and inclined his head in Trevor's direction in a show of respect. "Good evening, Sir Trevor. Some, aye, but not unbearably so." It had him thinking that soon the leaves would be falling.

"Just wait. You'll see. You'll fall hard when you do, Eion. One day a lass will walk through that door," glass lifted up as if she might appear at that very moment, "and you will be lost in her beauty and her eyes." Being he felt that was one of the better qualities, the eyes, more than figure but not more than mind. It fitted for the first attraction, mind was something eventually discovered. "And I hope to be here to witness that moment." Grin only spread as he lifted his glass to kick back, "slainte." Sealing his words as if it would have them come true. Once the glass was lowered, he refilled it.

"You're welcome to join me here at the hearth." Certainly enough chairs and rooms though Segan's words had a tip of a smile to return. "Alhough there have not been any ladies within this evening thus far. Such words as yours on your brother could happen. Nothing is impossible just as anything is possible."

"Don't hold your breath." He muttered under his breath before he picked up his own glass. "Slainte." He took a drink then refilled his own glass before looking at Trevor and chuckling. "Aye, well I'll neither agree nor disagree since I've a mind not to eat my own words but in all honesty, I've had my fill." He made his way over to the hearth. "Thank you for the invitation."

"I hold my breath for no one, unless dunked into the sea." The grin was in his eyes at this point that had brightened, "I think in this case if he ate his words, they would be at least sweet, not bitter. The ladies of these lands are not like where he had been. Hell in a hand basket, you'll have to get over being jaded, Eion. Although, if this angel descends, it will be as if the past had never been." He was really weaving up what sounded like a spell on his brother. One brought on by concern. Bottle was collected as he headed over with Eion to join Trevor, taking up a seat nearer his brother so he was able to make low comments if justified.

Vanessa had finished her work for the evening within the gardens and cleaned up before leaving for the commons, more to the Thistle. The walk being such a short one, she enjoyed the cooler evening. Set to do so before the winter set in. Up the steps and to push the door open, she stepped in quietly, shaking gently the hood of the dark blue cloak from the back of her head. Golden hue washed over the interior with a nod to those present. "Evening, gents." Not intending to interrupt their conversation.

He just shook his head, deciding not to answer and instead taking a drink. Eion was content with his walls. "Good eve, Vanessa." He greeted her, glad for the distraction she should prove to be.

Segan rose from his seat. "Good evening Vanessa. Have you met Sir Trevor?" Knowing she had met his brother so there was only one other possible who he was referring to.

Though he had not risen for the brothers, just a turn of his head against the back of the seat he was comfortably situated in, he was up to his feet easily for the lady. Low words they would hear as his smile spread. "It has not been in vain comrades." Meaning the two had gotten dressed up and possibly a little hint to Segan he had heard his lowered words earlier. Should he really be surprised? "Good evening Lady Vanessa, a pleasure in the meet. You are welcome to join us," just that heartbeat of a pause with a glint in dark eyes, "if you dare." Like there was something formable amongst them.

A nod was given to the brothers with a familiar smile. "Good eve, Eion and Segan. Nice to see you again." Her current destination was the bar to request a mug of cider from Alex. Though her attention only briefly left the gathered men as Segan provided an introduction. Pupil less eyes turned to Trevor with a kind smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Sir Trevor." Then a brow quirked up slightly at the word 'dare'. "If I dare? Would I be in danger sitting amongst three strapping men?" A tease to the soft voice, she thanked Alex for the mug and turned to the table she'd been invited to.

As her eyes were like the sun, his were like the earth, hard to tell if there was any pupil they were so dark. Rich earthy black-brown. Nostrils slightly flared as he picked up on the fact she'd been that close to his element of recent. He didn't need to see any dirt marks that wouldn't wash out so easily beneath her fingernails or even if she managed it. "Only in that the brothers hold their charm." He remained standing and would continue to do so until she was situated in one of the seats still empty where they gathered at the hearth.

He kept from rolling his eyes as he stood. This manner business was going to get him in trouble. If not from those he trained with, then from his own Grandmother. "Segan and Conor gained all the charm in the family." He added with a hint of a smile.

"I don't know if I could live up to such an ideal. Perhaps I could get my brother to show me how it is done?" Like that was a possibility. Which rather dispelled that ideal that he could! Grinning his brother's way as he too remained standing until Vanessa joined them.

"If it is only charms I need worry about, then I suppose I shall fall victim like most other ladies I'm sure do." With a small grin, she approached the table to claim one of the seats. A soft laugh to the banter between the three of them along the way.

"I would wager a good bet that if Eion wanted to do any charming, he will when he is ready and very capable." Which had those fathomless eyes turn on the aspiring knight in a silent dare on another level.  A hand moved to guide the empowered sword at his left hip as he situated himself in his seat again. "I hear an Aviary is being constructed that you are running?" Asking instead of just stating it.

"Only if it means I can charm my way out of more work at the manor." Meaning with Herself. Had he been younger, he might have squirmed under the gaze of the King's man. Instead he met his look blankly. Whether he took the dare would remain to be seen. Once both Vanessa and Trevor were seated, he did the same.

"I'd wager that one safely with you on that, Sir Trevor." Settling back down into his chair as his glass was lifted in a sealing toast much like before. "Slainte!" Down the hatch it went.

Her attention turned to Eion as she lowered onto a seat with all three in view and set the mug on the table. "There's something drawing about the silent type. A greater sense of mystery perhaps." Just an observation from what she knew of Eion. Looking to Trevor, she nodded. "That's right. It's nearly finished now. I've received quite a few avians and have begun training some of them."

"See that Eion, you are attracting without even trying. How good is that!" Which he raised his glass again in toast and tease as it was kicked back. Maybe his brother should be more like him, then he'd not have to worry!

He was amused watching the brothers but there was more picked up from their auras no matter their words. Reading them as one had a streak of sliver shoot through burnt orange. Only a momentary distraction as focus was upon the fairest of them within these walls. "You are an enterprising lady as you are comely. I would wager you possess intelligence beyond your years." In short, she was not of the common women there seemed to be more of. Although in these lands there were more worth knowing than not.

This time his smile showed more fully as he inclined his head slightly to Vanessa in acknowledgement of her words. He cut a warning look in Segan's direction but knew a look wouldn't silence his brother. As Trevor spoke to Vanessa, he settled back to enjoy his drink.

She snickered softly to what Segan said. All of them had their charms. Heaven help a woman who had to pick just one! A subtle blush to the compliment from Trevor. "Thank you. I can only hope so. And what is it that you do?" Her mug lifted for the first drink of the cider and held to warm her hands.

"North. Grizzly Bear are my monikers," which was not directly saying exactly what he was unless she knew the symbols. "I am one of the four horsemen under King Karl von Rundstedt. I and my comrades have been with him a very long time. Long before he came to these fair lands and met the fairest lady of them all. One that could win such a heart as my Sire." Not a trivial one once burned. So that was the tip of the iceberg in what he did. Nothing more said but those dark eyes would hint on there being far more than only seen upon the surface of this man. "I think you will find the winter is not so bad in the company of the citizens here." Maybe out of nowhere, maybe not.

It was his turn to discreetly study Trevor. He had seen some when they tested his brother and yet, he had the feeling there was even far more than the earth moving under his feet. See, he ignored that look from his brother! Just as his brother would on him if the circumstances were reverse.

The Grizzly Bear reference lost her, and was clear by her expression. Somewhere between curious and blank. When he continued to explain, she nodded and a small smile returned. Not a full understanding of what he did, but she got the gist of it. His winter comment caught her off guard, she tilted her head and smiled meekly. "I'm sure you are right about the winter. Only time will tell. It's quite possible that I will spend most of it in front of a fire somewhere though."

Eion could have added that Trevor also reminded an aspiring knight how far he had to go when one became too cocky but he kept that thought to himself.

He was watching the exchange and for once, quiet. Drinking.

"You have been making friends of others in these lands?" Which would help her greatly in seeing through her first winter here. More friends, less the chance of spending cold nights by herself but in the warmth of friendships made. "Will you be selling trained birds? Hawks in particular?"

She looked to the two silent brothers for a moment with a smile and nodded to Trevor's inquiry. "I have made friends, yes. Everyone I have met here so far have been more than welcoming. I am grateful for it." She paused for a small drink before answering the next inquiry. "Yes. I am selling trained birds. Hawks and falcons, I have both."

"Do you have the Falco cherrug, Saker Falcon? I would like then to have you trained such a one for me," which in turn he would train his son with. "Once you are settled and ready. I am a man of patience." Only a pause on her comment of whom she has met, "I hear you have met the King of Innis, Peter O'Neill," which had dark eyes shift from the pretty lass to Eion in particular. "He will be on the field come dawn and interested in watching your training. If interested enough he might draw swords with you." Which would be an honor for the aspiring knight.

Which had brows lifted as he shot a look his brother's way. Talk about making one nervous! "I think I will accompany you on the field tomorrow." Being they had been kind to allow him to practice there even if he had not joined their ranks for his choice of the sea.

Had Eion been drinking, he might have choked. Instead, blue eyes widened only slightly to show his surprise. "I would be honored if he feels I've reached the place where I can spar with him." Both Peter and Karl were men he respected, even more than the King's men and knights he trained with. He looked at Segan and smiled again. "You know you'll be welcome."

She shook her head gently. "No. But I have a man bringing me some new birds. I will see what he brings and let you know. I do have gyrfalcons." Marvelous birds. Her own was a Gyr. Features fell slightly pale when mention of Peter was made. "King..." Of course. Made sense with Cal calling him sire and now she felt positively ridiculous for the help Peter had offered.

"I don't wish to make you feel uncomfortable in his presence if your paths cross in the future. More, it is the ideal that all here are equal in being human, or there a blend of." As all were not completely human and some completely not human too. "A man or woman is measured by their own merits to excel or fall short in the face of others." Though he didn't think for one second that this lady would fall short amongst her peers nor try to seem to be more but be herself. "I have an open mind, though I might end up buying two that are trained." He didn't have the time to train one at this point or he would have considered it.

He might have to make Segan swear to not say anything to Herself. If he didn't do well, he'd not want her to get wind of it. She might take it upon herself to scold Peter.

"Of course. I caught me off guard is all." She smiled and settled back in her seat. "I don't train them as carrier birds. I can, but mostly I simply train them for scouting and hunting. And I try to let the bird chose its master. It seems to hold a greater bond for the avian that way. You are more than welcome to come to the gardens and have a look."

He knew of her visit to the barracks and luckily, as Trevor said about all going on their own merit, at least they didn't throw the older sweet lady in the dungeon. Though he hoped that Herself would know where to draw the line and show respect than push her way too far. He wasn't sure, though it usually proved amusing.

And at times embarrassing! Though the young lads in the barracks adored her and had near adopted her as their unofficial grandmother.

"I do not wish a carrier bird, they would be for the seafaring, trackers and rangers to send back reports while on the job." He was reading the looks upon the brothers, those minute changes in expressions that spoke to him as words spoke to others on paper. Something had amused him as the touch of a smile set off to one corner of his lips. Though eyes were then drawn to the fair lass. "I would agree on a rapport between bird and man, the same as for a man's horse especially one that joins him upon battlefields where both their lives are at stake."

"It is only fair for the bird to stake its loyalty to a master of its choosing. Their senses are far more keen then our own and it is the bird that must tolerate the commands given." Agreement completely. She looked to Segan and Eion again. "You two are mighty quiet. Are you conversing with yourselves?"

"I'm just visualizing scenarios of Eion facing King Peter and our Grandmother catching wind and deciding to show up." Oh yes, there could be many of those and all amusing.

He looked up and shook his head, eyes showing his amusement though his expression remained the same until Segan spoke and then he actually laughed. "I was thinking the same. She tends to worry a bit." Though thanks to her worry, Eion had recovered nicely.

She chuckled softly. "It should prove interesting then if she should show up for that."

"We have spoken on Eion finding a woman one of these days but from what I know, the King has not a Queen and no one in the wings?" His curiosity getting the better of him to ask and realizing another point, "but he is not the only one as King Leoric of Kildare has not a queen either?"

"I think both await that special woman that would make a good queen. As Karl found Honeee, so it should be for them. Not something arranged or pushed as an agenda." There was a slow smile. "One could question your continual bachelorhood though I'm sure you would claim being married to the Sea, a fickle lady that she is."

Now it was Vanessa's turn to listen quietly. Mug rose for a small drink while watching the three in amusement to their conversation.

"...or their ship. At least we of the sea came up with good excuses." Which had him chuckling but decided not to push the issue as Trevor had been married but was no longer.  "Besides, I'm not quiet enough to hold mystery.." giving Vanessa a wink as he could use that angle along with the others. "Of course that leaves me brother with no excuse in remaining single."   He just had to get that in.

Brow quirked to Segan with a smile. "All if you have your own charms. There would be no mystery to enjoy, nor would there be tales of the sea, or adventures at the king's side to share if you all of you shared the same charm."

"No excuse other than the desire to remain so." He answered calmly. "In spite of the efforts of others." He gave Segan a look. "And I've no need to have an heir." A lift of his glass in Vanessa's direction. "Well said." And he downed the last of his drink.

"Fodder, you're no fun to tease Eion." Though he would not cease as he shot a grin his brother's way. Kept him on his toes. "As would a lady be different from another so that there was enough differences that would eventually even attract one such as me brother so set against the idea." Which the last gave him an idea. "Tell that to Grandmother!" Herself would set herself upon a campaign in the interest, emotional cure as well, now that Eion's body was cured.

Her mug tipped towards Eion with a laugh to Segan. "Exactly. And where would the world be if we all had the same charms? No fun lies in solving a mystery twice."

"And have her take me by the ear and make me sit so she can lecture me. No thank you." He laughed. "Besides, if I say different then our sisters couldn't tell me I'm naught but a grumpy old man. and before me time."

"As long as the one held truth to her words and not saying that which she feels should be said without heart behind them."

"All words should be spoken from the heart. Words not spoken from the heart are minimally half truth."

"I thought they already accuse you of such." At least he didn't get those words from them. Still, he remained single too. "Though if Grams got it in her head, you'd not be able to escape."

"Half truths are lies for they are either the truth or not." In short, he didn't believe in half truths. All spoken calmly but with conviction.

"Neither would you or Conor." If he was going to be sunk, he'd not be alone! "And aye, they do accuse me of it. " He waved his hand in dismissal. "Let her set her sights on seeing Mel happy for now."

There was always something that could be spoken, but rather she held her tongue and smiled in response to half truths. She looked to Segan. "Mel? You offered me an outing to the stables." Spoken in joking accusation, aware the was a busy man.

The irony if Eion was the one to be sunk without even a ship beneath his feet! "She need not set her sights on Melantha for she IS happy with her knight. It would be you that would pose the most challenge," though his words faded off as blue eyes turned upon Vanessa. "Aye, that I do and we should soon. The lands are becoming spectacular with the turning of the leaves. Perhaps after the race is done as Mel is doing all her extra training right now." Not that she waited for the last minute but she seemed to rise in her anxiousness she had seen to every quirk that they did well.

A nod given to Segan. "Sounds fantastic. I will hold you to that then." Followed with a smile before finishing the rest of her cider.

"We should a bonnie afternoon before they are all gone." He knew the weather would become more like summer again during the daylight hours leaving only the chill of night to tell differently.

He laughed and waved Segan off. "Enough. I'm too tired to spar with words tonight." Not that he was ever as good at it as Segan. He finished the last of his drink and covered a yawn with his hand. If he hadn't promised Gran he'd stay at the manor and have breakfast with her before heading to the field, he would have gone directly to his room at the barracks.

Eion didn't give himself enough credit for he had to sharpen his wit every round with his brother. Conor as well which he missed there. "If you are heading for the Manor, I will join you for I've made some promises on minor work done still before the winter sets in. I will also speak with Melantha on a good day for a tour."

He was content listening as he gradually finished off his drink. There were a lot of thoughts going through his head but that had never changed. Some on the present company, some on other things that dealt with his comrades and king and then there were the personal ones that always took a back seat, all but that of his son. Those on himself tended to.

"Aye, I promised Gran that I'd be there for breakfast." She never slept passed dawn as it was though at her age, she could have a nap or two and no one would tease her. He'd also give Segan a hand with those minor chores so they'd be done all the quicker.  He pushed to his feet and saluted Trevor with a thump of a fisted hand over his heart. "I'll see you on the field come morning, Sir Trevor. Vanessa, it was a pleasure as always."

He was up in a stretch as it was the bewitching hour probably for them all. "I will see you come morning as well, Trevor. Vanessa, I will see you soon I am sure and looking forward to it." He had yet to see her Avian gardens and cottage so a mental note was given that.

"I look forward to meeting her and seeing the stables." Spoke to Segan as she rose from her seat to take her mug to the bar for Alex. "I suppose I should return to the cottage." A dip of her head to Eion and a smile. "It was nice  to see you again, Eion. Have a pleasant night." Then to Segan. "As do I. I wish you a pleasant night as well."

He too rose as the lady had. "I bid you all a good night. A pleasure in meeting you Vanessa and would find it pleasing again when our paths cross." Which they would at least on gaining the falcon.

"And to you, Trevor. I look forward to seeing you again." Both hands drew the cowl over her head, she offered a smile and wave to all in passing towards the door.

His glass was carried to the bar and deposited before he moved to the door to wait for his brother. "Good night." He held the door for Vanessa and then Segan.

"Alex, give my respect to Hazel and that her cooking remains the best in the lands." His glass discarded to the bar though he would take the back way out, stopping at their office in the back and a few words with the guards stationed there.

He was on Eion's heels, "we shall see you to your cottage on our way Vanessa." They would have to pass it to get to their Manor.

She slipped out with a thanks to Eion and headed off for the cottage.  "That would be nice." A smile given as she waited for them.

She'd not have to wait long as she'd have a brother to each side in a leisurely gait to match hers.



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