The Curse
(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 of lemonade.

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 stool.

 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 prevent it.

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 been done.

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.

Startled nigh 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 their sake.

"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."

Thanking Feather 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, Anne Harper."

"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 nothing.

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 the stools.

"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 listening.

"You've been 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.

Alannah was 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.

"Of course. 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 fabric."

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, Matthew?"

"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 round lasses.

"Don't be 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.

She tipped 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.