Though it was cold, the sea was calm, allowing for some sailing.
Just beyond the rocks, a skiff with a sail made its way, expertly
guided by one at the rudder. A tug and the small boat turned toward
an open area where it was beached. Seemingly unfazed by the cold,
its lone occupant tugged it further onto the frozen sand. Not
looking for treasure, but a net that had broken free from a fishing
boat that had been further out earlier. Once it was found, it was
examined carefully for tears. It was fairly new so could be
repaired. The sailor guiding the small boat was dressed in heavy
clothing, ones that were shapeless.
foot slid as he tried to reach what gleamed a reddish hue caught
in the rocks behind the crag. Rocks tumbled down to the pool below
breaking through the ice easily. He had to grab on as the whisk went
tumbling down as well and he to hold onto the rough edged rocks
as a few curses flew from his lips. At least he didn't fall and
found it had gotten him closer to the object he was trying to reach.
Carefully stretching once again as gloved fingers now curved around
part of the object. It was stuck however and another curse that
would make a sailor proud was out as he tried wiggling it free. He
was determined to make claim of it.
in collecting the net, Niamh looked toward the rocks. She finished
rolling it, and tossed it into the skiff then made her way in that
direction, nimble as a mountain goat. She took note of the gunny
sack, then climbed to where the rocks left a small gap. Wiggling
through, she watched as the man tried to pull something free. A rock
slipped from where she stepped, tumbling free with a soft clatter.
with one hand as he heard noise behind him and a jerk of his head to
the side as he looked over a shoulder. Keeping in mind to keep his
hold. Wondering as well who else, or what else was about this
afternoon. This time of year there was nary a soul to be seen other
than on ships that sailed close enough that one could see the men
aboard them. Sometimes women. Brows went up nearly under the edge of
the pulled down cap. "Who are you?" Unsure what to say to
the one. Uncertain as well if it was a lad with fine features or a
pretty girl. A quick dip to see if the one had any weapon on a
second thought and possibly to discern the gender. No luck there.
Least the one wasn't wielding a sword or dagger for
certainly he would be caught in a bad circumstance.
question brought a chuckle. She didn't wiggle closer though eyes
that were more blue than gray regarded him a moment. "Niamh
Lysaght. Who are you? And do you need a hand? You look like you're
in a bit of a bind?" She didn't have a weapon that could be
seen. Then again, she wasn't sure if he had one.
last comment had him glancing down, where his feet were positioned,
the pool below and the reach of his arm as he still held on tight to
the object. He was in a bit of a bind, falling would be fair easy.
At that moment the object came free, presently covered in grime and
barnacles, crusted looking except for a few parts that shone a rich
bronze. On a glance to the novice eye, it would be passed over as
part of rock than anything else. With the release his arm swung back
with the object, "Grab this. Quickly." Or he was going to
fall if he didn't have his other hand to grab onto the rocks, his
feet already shifting precariously.
She didn't argue since she didn't want to see him fall. Didn't look
like a pirate or desperate man. She grabbed the object quickly and
made ready to grab him too if necessary. She might not look it but
she was strong from the work she did. "Got it." Meaning he
could let go and catch himself.
out of his hand and it was around to grasp a hold on the rock he was
against, his one foot slipping free and certainly he would have
fallen otherwise. Not that he'd really get too hurt but he
wet. Soaked in the cold. He sucked in a breath as he pressed
his forehead to frozen rock a moment. Getting his bearings before
easing back away from the rocky outcropping. Hopefully he didn't
step on her nor bump into her, hoping she had the sense to move back
as well. "I think I'm done for the night in treasure
hunting." He was curious to what he had found as it would take
a lot of careful cleaning to find out later. Being she was before
him, he let her ease out between the rocks than try to maneuver
around her. Which had him recalling she gave her name during that
intense time. "I'm Davin Byrne, the new Keeper of the
Lighthouse. Niamh, nice to meet you and thanks for the help. Unusual
name, does it mean something special?" Usually such names did.
watched to make sure he wasn't going to fall before she was moving
out of the way. Though half her face was hidden by the scarf
she wore, her eyes lit up with her smile. "A good idea.
She eased backward briefly then jumped down lightly, his treasure
held tightly so it wasn't dropped. Turning, she pulled down
the scarf to reveal her face, wrinkling her nose as the ice on the
material crackled. "It means radiance or brightness.
And it's a pleasure to meet you, Davin Byrne, keeper of the
like your smile would be?" Not that she had smiled yet that he
could see only the way her eyes lit up. "Are you from these
lands?" Trying to think of something to say conversation wise.
Easing out as he grabbed up the gunny sack. He would need get a new
whisk broom if he went exploring with a snow covering again. Moving
closer as he opened up the sack that she might put it within.
Her laughter came easy as she answered. "My mum named me that
because she said I lit up the room when I was born though I think
she exaggerates that a bit. I'm from the village of
Ruiaidin, down the coast a ways." She made a motion
toward the skiff. "I was looking to see if I could spot
the net that came loose from the fishing boat earlier today.
Are you from the lands also?" She knew there were a lot of
newcomers to the realm lately so if one didn't recognize the name,
it paid to ask.
you able to find it?" Otherwise he would help before it got too
dark. He shook his head with the question. "My mother's family
was a long time ago. She came back last summer. I came to visit and
stay the winter." Lips pressed together as he closed up the
gunny sack after the object was placed within then slung it over his
shoulder. A glance given down along the rocky shoreline to note the
skiff. "Laird Maurice offered a place of my own to stay while
here and doing the lands a service as well. I took him up on the
offer. Comes with a cat." The last somewhat humorously.
than being seen on Luna's back, Nora walked along at her side, her
gloved hands holding onto the reins. There was no reason,
other than she suddenly felt like walking rather than riding.
Perhaps, again, she'd been on the mare for too long. It wasn't
often to see her in anything but dresses, though tonight she wore
fitted trousers of heather grey, matched up with a ruffled blouse
worn over another shirt to keep her warm. Her cloak was fur
lined and she kept it pulled about her to block the wind. Her
hair was left loose, long and curly. She took her time, though
when she came closer to the lighthouse, her eyes raked over it
thoughtfully. Luna snorted through her nose and pawed at the
ground at Nora's side.
met Laird Maurice when he's come to the village. He knows my da."
Of course, he didn't really come to talk to her but still she knew
him. "He's a good man. And thank you for your offer
but I found it on those rocks over there. It's in the skiff
now." She tipped her head to look up at the lighthouse.
"And does the cat like your company?" Smiling again
at the thought of the cat owning the lighthouse and its keeper.
picked up, whisking moisture filled air in a sharp bite over the
rocky shoreline. Snow was starting as he glanced up then back.
"You're welcome to come up to the Lighthouse for something
warm to drink." Eyeing the waters that were also starting to
churn up with the gusts. "You might not want to go back out
in this. We can secure it so it doesn't get washed out to
sea." He'd help her with that as he started in that
direction. It was time to get off the shore and back up where
it was safer. "Aye, cat likes me but I think it is mostly
because I feed him." Pausing a heartbeat, "least six
meals a day."
going to travel to the banks of the sea, to see the waters
gliding, hear the nightingales sing." She piped up
the song out of nowhere, and her voice managed to lift enough to
be carried by the wind; haunting and yet, soft. She trailed
off with a bird-chirp of a laugh and gave Luna a light scritch
along her sloping neck. They walked a little further, Luna's
head lightly bobbing up and down with each step the mare took.
Nora's step was more of a lazy dance, long legged with a playful
sway of hips.
adjusted her scarf, narrowing her eyes slightly as she looked up
at the sky. "I told them I might not make it back
before the snow started again, but we've a method for that."
When they reached the skiff, she removed a heavy wool blanket from
a wooden box with holes drilled in it. From inside,
she first retrieved a paper with a piece of charcoal. A quick
note, and the paper was put in a oiled cloth tube on the leg of
the homing pigeon inside. "Go inland first, Tutie."
She glanced at Davin, an impish look in her eyes before she
released the bird. "He'll reach the village in no time
and let them know I'm safe." Now the skiff could be
was real curious as to her safe measures under such circumstances.
At first he thought she would heave out a heavy anchor and
toss it between the rocks so the skiff could not be washed away.
Brows lifted at it turned out to be a homing pigeon instead.
"Oh, that works well." Provided a good gust didn't slam
the bird into a building, rocks or tree. He indicated where steps
hewed out from the rock led a spiraling path up to the top of the
cliffs where the lighthouse was. The light already reflecting off
the snowflakes as night descended. "Watch your step on
them." They were not too bad but anything out in this weather
was slippery in parts if one wasn't careful. The trick was to sort
of walk flat footed than a slanted - sliding step. He headed that
way and started up, letting her know where to mind her footing
along the way. Had he heard singing upon the wind? Maybe there
were mermaids like tales of old. In these lands, with all he was
finding out, he would not be shocked to witness the impossible in
There had been singing, but now it was more of a delicate hum. She
had her face tilted to the sky, her eyes closed. Snowflakes
touched her cheeks, melted, and a few more fluttered against her
lashes. She might have forgotten her destination, became
distracted by a few thoughts. She drew in a breath and opened her
eyes to watch her exhale mist upon the air. Then her gaze lowered,
her chin tipping down near her collarbones. She grew quiet. She
she'd heard people. She gave a tug to the reins and she started
forward, Luna in tow. She crept towards the sounds.
the skiff wasn't going anywhere. She not only had an anchor that
she used but a rope that was looped around one of the rocks and
tied off good. An oilcloth cover was pulled over it. There was a
hole for the mast and a slit with large eyelets that a rope was
quickly threaded through, securing the top. All this was done in a
matter of minutes. She followed him up carefully but just as
lightly as she had tread among the rocks earlier. As far as Tutie,
he was a survivor of many a trip in stormy weather. He'd shelter
if it became too windy then continue on when it was safe or