(Taken from Live Play)
The time not yet
come for the return to Montrose had Alannah nigh chased from her
place with her father by Caoime and told to go out and enjoy the
evening. Deciding agree, for arguments
would not be heard, she took herself to the Thistle for aught to
drink and seek what company could be found. Finding only Alex the
moment, she rested herself at the bar and asked after a glass
Anne had been
busily reading the play she'd talked over with Raul, more than a
little intrigued at the idea of turning actress for a little
while. Certainly the role of Beatrice was an exciting and vivid
one, where she'd have plenty
to say, which meant a lot of memorization. With Odile off being...
herself, she had plenty of time to head out for a change to find
some dinner. It was never fun to cook for just yourself! The
Thistle was the ideal place, and she planned to spend the night to
get breakfast out of the deal as well. Coming in, she didn't quite
have her nose in a book, but saw Alannah talking to Alex and
grinned. "Good evening!"
Feather was making
a delivery to the Thistle, pheasant, grouse and other game birds
as well as several rabbits. She had made an earlier stop at the
Balli and both placed would be well stocked for a time again.
After visiting with Hazel
for a few moments, she and Miakoda went into the common room, to
greet Alex, as well as relax for a little while. The wolf made his
way to the hearth, a large bone in his mouth after greeting the
tender. Feather nodded at the
two women already inside.
Matthew had been in
the main tap room about fifteen minutes earlier. No one around
except Alex who knew his problem over time. So he was to the
utility room and loaded up with all he'd need
to clean out the chimney. Being no fire was needed to burn this
was the perfect time and the fact there were no chimney sweeps
yet. He had all sizes of brooms in his arms, a bucket in one
hand with his arm pressed against handles. He wasn't sure what
sizes he'd need so had many. He could hardly see for the bandana
around his forehead was slipping over his eyes and not
a free hand to fix it. Concentrating on wiggling his brows and
huffing air up at it, he first bumped into one stool he felt a
body there as one end of handle caught, turning him as well the
clatter was difficult to miss, giving Alannah plenty warning of
another's approach. Alas for both, she did not think as she would
feel her stool overturned and herself with it in a spill
towards the floor. A look up saw those brooms and the bandanna
over them falling in her direction as well, yet there was scarce
time enough recognize the danger ere it was too late to
Anne had just
smiled at Downy Feather, a grin seeing the game birds arriving.
She knew what magic Hazel could work with those! Before she could
get out more than a cursory, "Good evening," to
the woman, the racket made by someone lugging brushes and brooms
to sweep the chimney even at this late hour was impossible not to
hear. Wincing for the noise, she looked over just in time to see
poor Alannah going rump over teakettle, lemonade flying and
brushes heading in all directions. Deciding that ducking seemed
her best option, she went for cover. Incoming!
Feather just stared
as she watched Matthew. She glanced at Mia and said a few words to
him, causing the wolf to stand up and head on outside. Best for
him to be out of the way. She turned back to see what damage had
That was exactly
what happened. The bandana going fully over his eyes when his feet
went out from under him. Brooms went flying as well the bucket to
slide towards the retreating wolf. He was down to find
his face planted against a soft chest. Fear ran up his spine of
who she could be as legs and feet tangled into the material
of her skirt as he struggled to get free and away; trying to
slide down and out but without sight he was managing
miserably. "Help, Sorry lass," obviously knowing it was
a woman as hands were moving now free of brooms and brushes to
grope for flooring.
speechless for finding herself pinned the floor by the weight of a
man's body and the feeling his face where it ought not be, Alannah
was still for the shock of it ere
she found her wits and slid free from under him. "You're not
hurt, are you?" She was not, to be sure, but embarrassed a
bit in the way of things.
Anne blinked as the
tumble got worse, going to help pick up brushes and offered a hand
up to Alannah. "Thank goodness this happened before the
chimney got swept. I hate to think of the soot that would
be everywhere if it was after the fact." She couldn't help
her grin. "We're helping, just give me a minute. There's a
lot of these brushes in the way."
Mia yelped as the
bucket smacked him in the leg. He hurried out the door as
Feather moved over to help. The cloth over the man's eye was
jerked up so he could see before she started to help with the
brooms and brushes. "Are
either of you hurt?" She doubted Matthew was.
Bright lights of a
sudden had him squinting a moment before hazel blue eyes were
wide. He was surrounded by that which had him as a klutz.
"I'm not, I really hope you are not Miss," looking to
Alannah and trying very hard
not to think, nor look, where his face had been planted a few
minutes ago. "I'm sorry about all this. Is there anything I
can do to make up for it." Almost regretting his words as
they were rightfully out but knew the consequences, so added,
"from afar." He was up, hoping she didn't have a beau,
father or brothers to come after him for this mishap, usually for
"I am not
hurt. And sure as not, it was an accident." Accepting Anne's
hand in the rising to her feet, she straightened her dress and
smoothed it back into place. "So long as you are not
hurt either, there is naught to apologize for. But perhaps we
ought be introduced if we are to be so... close?" Gentle
humor sparked her eyes as she smiled. "I am Alannah Callihan."
with a smile for helping, Anne carefully placed the brooms by the
hearth after hauling Alannah up and was glad to see that both were
no worse for the wear. "I'm Anne, by the way,
"I am Downy
Feather, but most call me Feather." She stepped back as she
watched the man a moment He looked almost ... nervous. And not
about what happened totally. Stepping
away, she sought to make him feel less surrounded. At the
mention of her surname, Feather glanced at Alannah but said
He visibly relaxed
as she didn't fault him for certain it had not been on purpose.
"Matthew Myers, I'm the handyman here." Wincing a bit as
he glanced to Alex and back, "I'm good at what I need to, honestly."
How could he get into the curse on him and not sound ridiculous?
He appreciated the gentle humor and even brought out a dimple with
his smile. "Nice to meet you Alannah, Anne," turning to
each as they gave their names, "Downy." He was nervous,
the palms of his hands clammy and a bead of sweat running down
from his temple. "I should.. should get to my task and leave
you ladies to," well not sure what they would be doing,
"having your drinks." He was collecting a few of the
brooms where they were moved. "Carry on.." a bit of an
English accent, backing up with motions of hands indicating
the hearth. He would be right over there as he finally turned to
start taking off the screen and shoveling up the ashes and soot
from the grate, having gotten the bucket too to
put it all in. It was set on the ledge as he was up and into the
wide opening to take a look up the flue.
"And you as
well, Matthew." She nearly slipped for the spilt lemonade but
took the towel offered by Alex to begin the mopping up, another
glass set forth for her. "You've been here long,
have you?" She had not seen him before but it did not signify
for she was seldom to the getting out. "To meet you too,
Feather. You are a huntress?"
"Why don't you
wait on that and join us, Matthew? I'm sure we'd enjoy the
company." She smiled to put him at his ease and patted one of
"Yes, I am. I
help to supply the taverns here with game. It allows me to give
something back for what I have received here." And also
allowed her to gain a few coins. "I am also making blankets
of wool for sale come winter." She
would still hunt but there were times that game was hard to find.
"The two young women at our camp help with the weaving and
the braves with the hunting."
He was muttering
under his breath as he had one of the long handled brooms to run
up the sides of the chimney as far as he could. He could see a few
clumps of creosote up there too as there were
stones that jutted out he realized one could climb a bit higher to
reach up further. "Darkness looms to devour," muttering
when he realized he was spoken to. His voice sounded like in a
tunnel as he spoke up. "Aye,"
trying to think of how many years, "maybe about eight
now," one foot disappearing followed by the other. By that
time he didn't hear Anne as he muttered, "a curse upon thee
this hour." Remembering the nightmare he had recently
and trying to recall the words. Speak them and as he reached the
broom, something shifted, soot came down over his face and upper
body as he twisted to try to get out of the way and got
stuck. One foot dangling as pieces fell down onto the grate below.
Curses flew muttered under his breath.
Alannah was a bit
at a loss for understanding the what he was saying or doing,
looking to Anne and to Feather enquiringly. Uncertain the what was
going on, she took to her lemonade for
here a while..." Called to Matthew, she nodded to Feather.
"You sound like you're a very busy lady, Feather. Do you live
with the braves?" She'd heard about them but she had yet to
meet them, looking forward
to it very much. An encouraging smile went to Alannah with a
shrug. So he was talking to himself, though she kept an eye on
him. The curses made her take a second look as she got up and
headed to the fireplace. "Matthew? Are you alright?"
"We share a
camp for now, on the estate of the Callihans, your estate.."
She blinked and looked toward Matthew. "He talks to
himself." When Anne stood, she watched carefully. The bread
and cheese Alex had set out for her forgotten for the moment.
His whole body had
stilled as he tried to figure out how he was going to get out of
this situation. He tried easing up but that didn't work as he
heard Anne, he believed it was and his body stilled
again. "Ah," there was a long pause as he debated
trying to pass it off as nothing was wrong and end up a long time
here. "No. I'm stuck." Wondering how she might help.
"Think you can pull on me leg when I try shifting my
body again?" The broom came down as he tried to grip part of
the wall. Made a thud and fell off to the side.
suddenly alert to that, for recalling James spoke of such. "I
have seen your camp but not yet had time to introduce myself
properly for tending my father." Ere she could say
aught else, the call for help came and she went to Anne to see
what needed be done.
Alannah, Feather, would you both come help? Poor Matthew seems to
be stuck." To her credit, Anne didn't laugh as she reached
for the left leg. He probably heard himself referred to that way
often, poor Matthew. A look over at Alex saw him watching
silently. She got the feeling that 'poor Matthew' got himself into
predicaments often, and Alex was just accustomed to them.
Anything she might
have said was lost when she heard Anne. After a glance to Alex,
she followed Alannah. The broom was picked up and moved out of the
way. "What can we do?" Dark eyes shifted to Anne, her
expression carefully neutral.
He felt one take
hold of his left leg as he tried to maneuver the other foot lower.
"Take hold of me legs and on the count of three, pull."
Hoping that would get him unstuck as he counted then when felt the
best ready, as if there was a best in this situation.
"One..." drawing a breath, "two..." and
another. "Three.. PULL!" Saying a silent prayer to
whatever deity was around to hear.
Nodding to the
instructions given, Alannah took hold of Matthew's other leg and
left room for Feather to seize hold as well, waiting for the
direction. Once given, she gave a good, firm tug
to the leg.
Anne shrugged with
a grin back at Feather as she pulled with all of her might.
Getting stuck in the chimney seemed a little too gothic a fate for
her to stand idly by.
Since she was
wearing fringed pants beneath her dress, Feather went down on one
knee and tugged when she heard Matthew call. Was that a chuckle
she heard from Alex?
It had to be one of
the satyr's about that heard his plea for down came his pants off
his legs. Worse, he still didn't hold to the custom of wearing
anything beneath. The force of their pull and the giving
away of the pants, probably had them back a few steps too. There
was that moment to feel the breeze before something snapped back
in place and he came down in the wake. Covered in soot and
trying to cover himself up as to not offend any sensibilities. He
was at least made very well physically. "Don't look, might
hurt your eyes." Well, that just sounded wrong but all he
could think of at the
moment sprawled out on the grid then coiling up for their sake.
Sure the crones would have a field day with this if they were
peeking in the windows about now. They never slept when there
was a scoop to be found.
Sure and it would
be Alannah's luck did those old busybodies peek in to see her part
of this with Matthew standing without his pants. Blushing indeed,
she turned round until he could see to
dressing again, but enquired in concern for his well-being.
"Are you hurt?"
Don't look? Was he
serious? Anne was looking and enjoying the view, though she
respectfully averted her eyes from looking where she shouldn't.
Clearing her throat, she extended the pants back
to him with a sheepish chuckle. "Your... ah... trousers, sir.
My apologies; I fear the three of us were too much for the
Feather went down
on her rump, one leg tucked beneath her. She stood before he fell
completely and watched him a moment. His comment had her brow
furrowing briefly but she shrugged her shoulders and looked away.
"Yes, are you hurt,
"I don't think
so," probably a few bruises by tomorrow but that was of
little concern. He took the pants as they were offered and was
soon hopping on one foot then the other as he quickly managed
them up. At least he hadn't been motivated in a way that would
have had a bigger show. "I think I need a drink." Trying
to act nonchalant about it, "well, once I get the soot swept up
and make sure there are none on the bottoms of my sandals."
Which he would see to promptly and set the bucket out of harm's
way. He didn't trust that at this point. Finally he gave in,
"I'm real sorry about
all this. I've got a curse on me around women." Like that at
least wasn't obvious by now!
"What will you
have to drink?" Alannah thought perhaps was wise to keep her
distance from the accident-prone man, even was he truly cursed
sorry. Things sometimes just happen, it doesn't mean you're
cursed." Anne smiled affably, going to help Alannah with the
drinks. She honestly felt sorry for the poor man, who didn't look
like he was having a good
night at all.
her head slightly, curious though she did put some distance
between herself and Matthew. "You mean a medicine man or
shaman cursed you?" It might have been a woman though. It
seemed odd that a man would do so to another man
unless they were rivals for a woman.