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THE DEBATABLE LANDS (IC) [Closed to Sign-ups]

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Reverend Norv
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THE DEBATABLE LANDS (IC) [Closed to Sign-ups]

Postby Reverend Norv » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:59 pm

5 February 1567
Harelaw Tower
The Debatable Lands


Cracked Maisie Elliot is dreaming.

She knows this, and yet it makes no difference. Ever since her head struck a rock in the stream that day so many years ago, her dreams have come bright and clear and very, very real. Some people can open their eyes and wake up. Cracked Maisie opens her eyes, and dreams.

It is dark, and she sees the moors rush by beneath her; the air is cold under her wings, harsh in her nostrils. Rock and heather, stream and forest vanish behind her, and the night sky is open before her eyes, filled with a thousand thousand stars.

Now a bastle house looms up out of the gloom below her, towering over the moor, and Cracked Maisie feels a pang of dread, a sudden premonition that strikes her heart like the razor-sharp tip of a reiver lance. She looks again at the bastle house, and she sees that its walls are pale, irregular. They are not built of stone. The starlight gleams dully on pale bone, and the empty eyes of a million skulls stare out at Maisie from the roof of the bastle house.

Cracked Maisie flaps her wings, for she desires to fly away from this, from all of it, to leave it behind. But she does not move; she is pinned in place above the bastle house of skulls, and her heart rises in her throat. A great light blooms in the night sky in front of Maisie, and radiance washes over her, and there is something unspeakably beautiful there, hidden within the glory of the light, barely visible. A voice speaks from the light, and it is like music on the harp, like wee Fiona’s most lovely playing – and it is freighted with horror, this voice, and cold as ice, and Cracked Maisie quails when she hears it.

“Ye ride ta death,” the voice says. “I have sae ordained it. Ye ride ta death.”

And then Cracked Maisie Elliot remembers that she is not a hawk, and she does not have wings, and she falls from the sky with a long, long scream, down into the house of bones, and the skulls cackle with a laughter like stone dust falling down forever. The bones surround Cracked Maisie, and the sky disappears, and the stars vanish, and her breath dies in her throat, and the darkness goes on forever.

Then, only then, does she finally wake up.

* * *


Dawn comes late to the Border in winter. The light is pale and wan, almost grey, and the sun hovers low in the sky and small as the moon. Harelaw Tower has been awake for many hours. Men and women are out rounding up the Elliots’ cattle, checking to see if any have been lost to wolves or bandits. The reivers are outside practicing, and the distant ring of steel on steel echoes up through the tower. There is a distant crash as a young man’s helmet is torn from his head and dashed against the tower wall, and Red Duncan’s deep voice sends a raw-throated cry of triumph echoing up to the leaden sky.

Mither Lileas shakes her head. That man’s blood runs like fire. She turned to her brother. “They are coming?”

Roger Elliot, the Elliot of Harelaw, says nothing. His eyes are closed and his face is turned to one of the tower’s arrow-slits; the wan sunlight shines in to bathe his face in its dim and unforgiving glow, and Lileas can see every one of the wrinkles, liver spots, and faded scars that mark her brother’s face like lichen on a rock. His breath whistles distantly in the back of his throat, and Mither Lileas thinks of consumption, ague, plague. He was handsome, once, this man: his red hair swept back from a high brow, his jaw chiseled as if from the stone of the hills themselves. Mither Lileas remembers that, and smiles.

The old man does not hear her. Lileas touches his arm. “They are coming?”

Roger straightens, and his eyes open, and they are bright and clear and pale blue; for a moment his gaze is confused, and then Roger nods. “Aye,” he confirms. “They are coming. Some are already here: Isobel, and Red Duncan, and Job, and Joseph, and Old Widow Elspeth.” Lileas nods; she knows this already, for these kinsfolk all live at Harelaw. Roger seems to realize this, and his face twists grimly, and Lileas feels her heart go out to him; her brother knows that his reason is flowing away from him into the grave like sand between his fingers, and all he can do is sit and watch.

“The others?” Lileas asks, to take his mind off of the inevitable.

“Willie the Wolf is coming, wi his nephew the Walker. Clever Duff rides hither wi wee Fiona. Finlay is bringing his twa bairns also, and his uncle the smith; Robert comes wi his German dame as well.”

“Is Robert bringing his sister?”

“Cracked Maisie? Aye, though I canna see what use she’ll be at a family council.”

Lileas shakes her head. “Ye ought not ta prize her sae low, brother. She sees things differently. That can be a good thing now and again.”

Roger grumbles something, and then coughs, and coughs again. Lileas closes her eyes. The old man draws himself upright, pulling his dignity about him like a frayed old jack o plaite. “I do na think there will be sae much ta discuss, anyway,” the Elliot remarks wearily. “Twa years tis been since the Scott o Buccleuch hanged your boys. It is time, Lileas. It was time long since. To wait any longer would make us look weak.”

“Red Duncan has been saying the same for months,” Lileas observes quietly.

“Red Duncan has a good head on his shoulders.” Lileas merely arches an eyebrow, and Roger spits unhappily. “Aye, sure and perhaps that puts it too strongly. But Duncan has a warrior’s heart, and that is enow, and more than enow, for times like these. If we do na avenge our own, we shall be every man’s prey.”

“I know,” Lileas says quietly. She searches her soul, for the thousandth time, for the spark of anger: the desire to see old Wat Scott’s head on a pike in payment for his abuse of power. She thinks of Four-fingers Tam playing with the children in the courtyard of Harelaw, his vast hands whirling the little ones through the air with such a tender gentleness.

Blood for blood. It is the code of every reiving Name. It is necessary. Mither Lileas knows that. But the knowledge leaves her heart cold within her breast, frozen as if she had sold it to some elf in exchange for a secret that she should never have learned at all.

From outside, the sound of hoofbeats echoes over the moors. Red Duncan lowers his sword in the courtyard, and then gives a cry of welcome. Distant mounted figures move toward Harelaw through the heather, silhouetted against the grey dawn. Clan Elliot is gathering.

Roger Elliot grasps a clay vial in one trembling hand, and he pours the contents down his throat. The old man’s face twists in discomfort. “Sweet Jesu, woman, if ye were ta poison me I’d never ken the difference.”

Mither Lileas smiles, but she says nothing, and there is pain behind her eyes. She has told Roger again and again – the philter will give him strength and clarity for a day, but over time it will waste him away. There is no cure for age.

Roger looks away from his sister’s eyes. “Aye,” he murmurs. “So, then.” He stands. “Time to talk. And then – we ride.”

* * *


The Elliots gather in the ground floor of Harelaw tower. As with most towers, Harelaw's ground-level area is one large chamber, its floor covered in flagstones, its round wall adorned with ancient swords and halberds. Great trestle tables have been set up, and bread and cheese and ale are being served by some of the younger children. Most of the Elliots who live at Harelaw have already drifted into the great circular chamber, and a quiet murmur of conversation fills the room. It is the sound, Reverend Joseph always says, of tales a-growing in the telling.

Now, the first of the folk who have ridden in from their scattered homesteads are arriving. Their ponies are tied to the hitching posts outside under the watchful eye of Grim Matthias and his son, and the visitors stride into the tower. Men and women, clothes stained with the grey dust of the moors, embrace and chuckle together. The sound is as hard as the grinding of stones.

Red Duncan saunters over to his younger brother, Job. He nods and twists his neck, and his spine crackles. "We will ride," Duncan says with a savage smile. "Against the Scotts. At last. The old man may be slow, but he can na delay forever. Tis time."

Joseph, for his part, strides over to Clever Duff and Bonnie Hands Fiona. The Elliots part for this strange man with soft hands only reluctantly, and Blind Hamish hacks and spits as Joseph passes. The young minister's face flickers with contempt, and then he is smiling, clasping Clever Duff's forearm and offering Fiona a small bow. "Tis good ta see ye both," he grins, his pale grey eyes moving back and forth between the two. "I have a few new books here; I found them in Canonbie. Perhaps there may be time ta see what ye make o them, no?"

Blind Hamish just shakes his head. He turns to the child who is leading him by one wizened, still-calloused hand. "Boy, where is the smith? Where is Iron Kenneth? Go fetch the smith, boy! Christ knows that he's the only one left worth the breath o speaking with." The lad, whose surly expression went entirely undisguised in light of Hamish's condition, set off through the growing crowd to do exactly that.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:34 am, edited 5 times in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

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Nationstatelandsville
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Postby Nationstatelandsville » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:23 pm

Wood burns; this is a basic principle accepted by all men, even those are particularly dull, and is in fact the very basis - leastways a good one. Iron Kenneth had lit many fires in his life, kindled them and watched them burn high, then die down into ash and stubborn embers. Yes, many fires.

He should not have been surprised, then, that a church's wood burned all the same; and yet he was. He reached his hand out into the fire, and it was hot. It licked him, and then it bit him, and that stung just like every other burn he had accrued over his life. It smelled of smoke and crackled with a snake's hiss, just as the fires of the forge; but these were not fires of the forge. These were wrong.

Had he expected divinity to guard against flame? Flame was the Devil's work, and it would be no use to him if it didn't burn the work of God. Of course, if you asked the Reverend, he would say that Kenneth had it all wrong - the wood was the Devil's work and the fire God's, a purification of a corrupt church. Kenneth supposed he believed him, why shouldn't he? He was a priest, and the only one Kenneth had.

Still, it was wrong. He didn't have any reason for it, but he knew in his gut, that to burn another man's church was wrong. God's work it might not have been, but it was the work of godly men all the same - and had it been so long since the Elliots themselves called churches like those of these "Papists" their own? Not that the Elliots did much praying in churches, the whole concept was lost on them, but they had never had any objections to them until some milkdrinker lord held down some milkdrinker queen and told the Elliots which God was the God. It made Kenneth's stomach churn and bubble, like the cauldron of some old seer-woman, looking for truths in the boiling murk.

Kenneth turned his face from the blaze - he could bear it no more. If he had known any of those priests' hymns, he might've sung them; but the Elliots, they don't have hymns and they don't have priests. As such, he contented himself with silence.



Kenneth stirred from his daydreaming and grunted; now was not the time to wander into dreams and dark memories. This was a day of decision, and he needed to be attentive.

He reined his horse in and pulled his hammer from its back, throwing it over his shoulder. The old gelding snorted in much the same way Kenneth had grunted, and the old smith glared at his horse with half-shut eyes. Stubborn old bastard, it was - defiant. Didn't know what was good for it.

Some might say the same of Kenneth. Some might be right, but that didn't make it a smart thing to say.

Kenneth spat on the ground and sniffled - a trifling cold was leaving his body. The old crow had worried he'd caught his death, but Kenneth was unlikely to die just yet. It's not that he had any trouble with dying, he just had enough trouble left to sort in living. These were troublesome days, and his troublesome cousins were likely to fuck it all up.

"I have traveled far," he mumbled, more to himself than any of his relation, "and the first thing I would like is a bloody drink. There will be na talking 'til then!"
"Then I was fertilized and grew wise;
From a word to a word I was led to a word,
From a work to a work I was led to a work."
- Odin, Hávamál 138-141, the Poetic Edda, as translated by Dan McCoy.

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Cylarn
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Postby Cylarn » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:53 pm

The morning had come as any other for Job Elliot. The previous evening had been spent reiving and pillaging some lesser Names, and despite his capture of 10 heads of cattle along with some other goods, he couldn't seem to fetch a decent sleep. His dreams were haunted by past trials from the battlefields of Europe, charging forward on his pony as cannon fire and musket fire tore through his force, riding through the flying limbs and blood clouds that belonged to his comrades. In his dreams, he felt as though he was going through it all again, with each dream culminating with the Reiver taking a musket ball clean through his shoulder. For the remainder of his sleep, he would writhe in pain and howl as his brain simulated the unbearable pain of writhing on the ground for hours with a hole in your shoulder. Occasionally, the nightmare would come to a terrifying end, with everything fading into utter darkness, with only some unholy voice muttering something in a foreign, obscure tongue that the Elliot could not discern. Job had experienced situations in his youth that he attributed to the Devil's minions, and this fear would often manifest itself when Elliot encountered apparent signs of demons.

Thankfully, his slumber had ended, and he was in the company of his Name. He stood in the stone chamber with his kin, enjoying a tankard of ale as he sat alone at a table. He looked somewhat tired, though only a few within his family knew about his nightmares. Only one person outside of his Name knew of Job's affliction, but she was worlds away from the Border and Job. His nightmares and his past with the English Crown were taboo subjects, with the latter being the most taboo of subjects to be spoken of in his presence. Even though 14 years had past since he had deserted, he had spent 7 years in self-imposed exile, before cutting a bloody swath down from Scotland to the Border and bringing with him the spoils of war that a soldier of fortune can accumulate. He had earned his family's love, and with that, he reived for 7 years up to this point, with no intention of stopping his reiving anytime soon. He was a trusted advisor and companion of Red Duncan Elliot, his brother and the man most likely to take the reins of the family once old Roger left.

Red Duncan Elliot was a well-respected Reiver, renowned for his fighting skills, fearlessness, and his ability to lead the family. His only weaknesses: a penchant for reckless violence and a desire to defile any woman unfortunate enough to cross his path. Although Red Duncan and Job were equals in many ways, Job was widely known to be the much more hospitable and calm brother, and he was one who would rather work his way with a woman and earn her consent as opposed to forcing himself upon her. Due to Red Duncan's position in the family and Job's own position as the brother of the second-most powerful Elliot male, Job was one of his brother's most trusted advisors, often serving as the voice of reason for Red Duncan. Recently though, Job's job has become much more difficult, as other Names have sought to challenge Elliot's dominance.

The former cavalryman of the English Crown was dressed in a brown leather cuirass along with a black long-sleeved shirt and a small black cape draped partially over his left arm and most of his mid-to-upper back, a pair of brown trousers tucked into a pair of leather boots, and a black belt around his waist that contained a sheathed longsword on the left side of the belt and a handaxe tucked into the right side of the belt, and a small coin purse attached to his belt as well. His long brown hair had been pulled back behind his ears, and his beard had been trimmed low. His time in Europe had given him the habit of cleaning himself, though not as much as one would hope.

Soon, Red Duncan had approached his brother. Job stood up as he spotted his brother approaching, making eye contact with his elder brother and giving a smile to the man. Red Duncan had revealed to Job his desire to move on the Scotts, with or without the approval of Roger Elliot, the Name's heidsman. Normally, Job would object to fighting with the Warden, but when the greatest Reiver of them all hangs four men of your Name for doing what all Reivers do, one cannot simply abide by that. Job was 100% for going to war with the Scotts, but he knew that killing the Warden of the Marches would bring in the wrath of Scotland, as Walter Scott was a Scottish Warden.

"The old man knows the score, brother," Job said before taking a sip of his ale. "You can na just hang four of ours for livin' like the rest o us, and the old man knows that can na just slide. I can assure ya that I know the score too, and I am ready to take the Scotts to Hell. My only concern though, brother, is Scotland. We kill their Warden, and they may want ta threaten our livelihood once more."
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Aurinsula
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Postby Aurinsula » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:57 am

Isobel was cold and haughty and proud, and had a moment's sweet recognition when she caught her flinty face in the mirror's reflection. She regarded it, briefly, as she fluttered about with her gowns. She thought herself quite beautiful, and her beauty was pleasing to her. A little smile crossed her lips.

Isobel had come to them the blushing new wife of one of the Clan's favorite sons, his hand on her waist and his seed in her belly. She couldn't say for sure whether she had loved him, then or ever; all she knew, at the time, was that she would have to get married eventually. Four-Fingered Tam seemed like as promising a man as any, and she felt... optimistic, perhaps, is the word. She felt like this would be a life worth living.

The seed curdled inside of her; she bore and bore, but it was always rotten. Each new infant-sized grave was a fresh failure, a fresh criticism, a fresh mark on her face. After the fourth, she gave up all together. Tam, to his credit, never blamed her. He never even raised his voice at her. He took all her pain and her anger and her frustration and he soaked it up, and did whatever he could to better buoy her. Probably he had other women; she wouldn't have blamed him if he did, or even cared. She'd visited her parents thrice, in her seven years of marriage, and each time found a lover of her own. It wasn't out of spite, or out of longing; she went to their beds because she thought it was something worth doing, and didn't care how he felt about it. If he ever knew, he never told.

They never forgave her for his death, and they never forgave her for his funeral. On that day, she was unbroken, her face a chiseled marble statue as they lowered her husband into the ground. They wanted tears, and she would not oblige them. It was not her way. She was Isobel Jardine, and the blood of the Normans flowed through her veins; she never showed weakness for any reason. Now that her husband and scratching-post was gone, she took all that anger and all that pain and all that fear, and she kept it close to her heart where nobody saw. She looked at herself in the mirror, and saw none of it, and gave herself a smile.

Black would do, the black of mourning. Had she thought she could get away with it, she would have worn her finest saffron gown, and rouged up her face and painted her lips and done all the hundred things that she had learned to do to fill women with jealousy and men with lust. But she knew she couldn't; tongues would wag and people would disapprove, and little though their disapproval might mean to her on its own terms, the fact remained that she wanted something from these people and she would get it better if she played her part.

This meeting, after all, was about her. So she donned her best black mourning clothes, and she went out to join the family elders in greeting all comers.

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The Grey Wolf
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Postby The Grey Wolf » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:52 am

Robert


The three ponies trotted forward, the tower just a short distance away now. Robert glanced at his wife, descendant of many a fine general and baron, and back at his sister, "Cracked" Maisie Elliot. He had been fussy as an old woman before they embarked on the trip, worse than a mother hen as he fretted in regard to Maisie's health. Had it been anyone other than a relative, his wife would have felt threatened.

Louisa glanced back at her husband, knowing about his concern for Maisie's health. She saw it in his eyes every time her nickname was mentioned, a reminder of his inability to fully save her. No, Maisie had not died, but a part of her had. A part of her that Robert had failed to save. She never said anything, truth be told, Louisa didn't even know if it was her place to say anything. She may have been his wife, but here, people placed an almost theological attachment to family, distrustful of any strangers.

"We've reached ta tower," Robert said, in his strange accent that she had a hard time deciphering. Even back on the mainland she had found it strange. Now that he was back with his own kin, she occasionally found it difficult to determine his words.

Dismounting, Robert walked up to Maisie's steed, offering his arms to her in support. "Careful there, lassie." he cooed, wanting to keep her in a calm and collected mood. A pang of jealousy enflamed Louisa's heart, which she fought to deny. She couldn't help but flash a coldhearted glance in Maisie's direction, before dismounting her pony and walking to the tower.

Willie the Wolf


Like his usual self, Willie the Wolf was neither early nor late. Along with his nephew, he was accompanied by another man, no doubt a member of his gang of racketeers, known as "the Wolvys," whether or not it was based on Willie's nickname or his nickname was based on it, no one cared to ask.

"Good morning," Willie called out, receiving only a blank stare in response. He dismounted his steed, and was about to enter the building before catching someone in the corner of his eye. "Who is this old goat?" he asked with a joyous smile as he recognized Robert.

Robert was about to curse before biting his tongue when he realized who it was. "Willie the Jackal," he called back, embracing the other man. They hadn't been close before his exile, but had gotten along alright. Their demeanor towards each other had always been polite and friendly, Robert sympathizing with the younger boy due to his deformity.

After patting each other on the back and exchanging kind words, the two turned their attention to the matter at hand. "Let you get back to that sister and woman of yours," Willie said, patting Robert on the back one last time.

Harelaw Tower


Louisa stayed cordial throughout the whole ordeal, smiling and greeting the others with kind words, and trying to ignore how they treated her differently than Robert. Robert cheerfully greeted the rest of them, he hadn't seen some of them in over a decade. She was happy for him, he was rarely this joyful.

Willie sat in a chair, resting his chin on the top of his axe. Every now and then, when he thought no one was looking, he turned his eyes on Fionna, gazing as ravenously as the animal he was nicknamed after, before once again averting his gaze.
Last edited by The Grey Wolf on Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby G-Tech Corporation » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:12 am

Through the cold and chill air, still not thawed from night's black breath, Thom stomped up the packed earth road to the Tower. His feet in the bottom of his boots were still warm from the fire of the night, where he had been forced to camp in a low cave in the Moors by the onrush of the cloak of evening; a good wedge of sheepskin could keep the heat in your extremities for a powerful long time, if you knew how to pack it. His calves reverberated with the pleasant sensation of a stiff forced-march. The son of the stars and high glens had meant to arrive before dawn, to take refreshment in the cool hours before the fiery orb of the sun made its garish present known, but already it was peaking over the horizon, and he had only just glimpsed the rotund blocky form of the Harelaw Tower up on the spur of the jagged hills that it squatted upon like some fat predator lying in ambush. His battered leathers wrapped around him to keep out the probing breeze, the Elliot trudged along. They were good people, his kin, the best of the Names in his not-so-humble opinion. Some of the few beings upon this planet, Lord knows it, that the Walker could tolerate in doses of more than an hour or two. The slick forms of the coneys he had taken the day before bounced on his back, and he hailed the tower as he approached. But really, his mind was on stew, as the lad was famished.
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Cylarn
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Postby Cylarn » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:36 am

During his conversation with his brother, Job noticed his third cousins Robert and Cracked Maisie enter the room, along with Robert's Prussian wife Louisa. Unlike Red Duncan, Job respected Robert, partly due to both Job and Robert having served as mercenaries on the Continent years ago, with the two having crossed paths on occasion, though they were never on opposite sides when they came across one another. Cracked Maisie was a woman that Job felt bad for, due to the events that have made Maisie's life hell. Job knew next to nothing about Louisa, though he found her attractive. During his time on the Continent, Job had slept with many European women, finding their gentler, more submissive form of love to be worlds apart from the rough, independent form of love that Reiver women put on. Louisa, however, had nothing to worry about from Job, who had no desire to antagonize Robert.

Willie the Jackal, Robert's brother, was viewed with distain by Job Elliot. Though all Reivers raided and pillaged for their survival, Willie was different. Instead of riding with family, he rode with a group of bandits, and they plundered and coerced those who were unlucky enough to end up in their sights. Killing, raping, and other acts had been allegedly perpetrated by Willie and his cohorts, and since that wasn't Job's style, the brother of Red Duncan was opposed to his cousin. However, that wasn't to say that he was always wanting to kill Willie. No, Job wouldn't kill him without a direct reason to do so, but he could at least show his displeasure with Willie's activities.
Last edited by Cylarn on Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Occupied Deutschland
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Postby Occupied Deutschland » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:47 am

This land belonged to Elliots. It had for more years than Marcas, or Marcas' father, or his father’s father, had been alive. Blind Hamish spoke of a long-forgotten move from lands to the North, but Marcas held a doubt of the story. No Elliot, however rewarded, would bend their knee to another man. It was not in their ken. No, much more likely if such a move had taken place it had been an olden tale similar to that of Job Elliot. A portion of the family pressed into service and rewarded for their actions, who then returned to their ancestral homeland here. God may just as well have created the land with the Elliots in mind.

More specifically, God had likely created it with Marcas Elliot in mind. The family might have the land, by that ancient right of possession and strength that ruled in these lands, but Marcas was the one who knew it. The one who treated it as an extension of the family, for what else could it be? It fed their cattle and concealed them on the reaving, keeping them fed and prosperous. It’s features opposed those who would reave against them. Beyond that, it’s very spirit was Elliot. Refusing to be put under the plow just as they refused to be put under the law of another man. This was not the soft and easygoing land of the milk-drinkers. This was Elliot land. Hard, and with a strength one might not appreciate until turned against them.

Just as now, the Elliots attentions turned to the Scotts of Buccleuch, who had made the fatal error of not appreciating the strength of the Elliots. They thought that somehow the title of ‘Border Warden’ in their family granted them an immunity. But it did nae. The Feud was more important than a worldly title. No power of this world could hold back the repayment of a Feud.

Marcas stretched slightly as he reached the Tower, fighting the need to enter and instead enjoying the last vestiges of the morning sun as it rose over their land. Blocking out the sun from his face, he gazed into the direction of its rise to enjoy the sight of the golden light slapping against mountain treetops and field.

Only to spot another approaching figure offering a greeting to the tower and those at it.

“Walker! Good ta see ya!” Marcas called, offering a wave of his own at the man. Marcas had always liked the younger man. He saw much of himself in Thom’s world-going ways, and he fondly recalled a few instances of them attempting to out-boast one another at previous family gatherings. Though the younger man had a tendency of making him feel like a fool at times and his religious devotion was more than Marcas was comfortable with. To Marcas, God wasn’t an entity to be prayed to or spoken with. Or even known. He was just there. Like the Redcaps or the Green Man or any other number of Otherworldly presences. God was just much less prone to direct action or appearance.

It probably helped that Marcas didn’t possess much of value to mysteriously appear in Walker’s pockets.

“Get ye up here before Roger decides he does nae want to put up with the two best-looking Elliots in the land and kicks one of us out!”
Last edited by Occupied Deutschland on Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:57 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Nude East Ireland
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nude East Ireland » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:59 am

Through the harsh lands of the Border, Clever Duff Elliot had rode with his sister Fiona to Harelaw Tower for the conclave of the Clan. Even as their horses were tied to posts and they approached the entrance, Duff could see the almost grey sunlight dance upon the rugged landscape. The Border is a place for warriors and savages. Scholars and men of letters do not last long merely with their wits; this was clearer to Duff than ink on a page or a bearded savage stomping by. The latter was something he saw often, which he observed presently. With little interest in his kin, he weaved through the conversations of men who quite honestly meant little to him. He did not say this, not with his body or with his tongue. He simply returned pats to the back and smiled as though he were a jester in the court of a southern milkdrinker.

When the warrior men and women of Clan Elliot see Duff Elliot - whom they all agree was quite clever - they see a meek, but kind, man of words. Not a man of honour or a man who deserved respect, but an interesting chap at the least. He is content with them seeing him as such. And he hopes that they would never see him as anything else - at least, not in the near future.

Duff, Fiona by his side, observes the room in silence. The weapons on the walls, the ale in the mugs, it is all very cheery. And became clear to him not long before he departed for Harelaw that this gathering is not a simple reunion of the Clan; he is well aware that there is a purpose to all of this. Clever Duff suspects some kind of incursion - against the Scotts, most likely. They wronged the Clan years ago and revenge is the way of those in the Border. Blood for blood. And despite how much Duff dislikes his family, he knows that they have one idea correct; if wronged, one must repay those who have done the wronging. Whether it be by the sword of Red Duncan - the lustful savage with a knack for charging into battles head-on - or by a knife to the throat of a sleeping man. This line of thought often entered the mind of Clever Duff, who always saw an opportunity when it presented itself. If he did not, he wouldn't be Clever Duff, but Dead Duff.

His eyes dart then to the man who placed his hands upon Duff's forearm. Reverend Joseph Elliot, a man the brother and sister knew well. He twisted his lips into a smile, as he had done many times before. "New books are always a welcome sight. O course we will find the time ta look them o'er. Fiona has improved greatly."

He glanced towards his younger sister and smiled at her. Though from the moment his eyes left the face of Reverend Joseph to the moment they met with Fiona, the smile that he so easily fabricated was no longer present. Instead, the smile he gave to her was a genuine one. One of acceptance and almost some respect. But quickly he forced himself to turn back to Reverend Joseph and the smile faded into the jester's grin he gave so often.
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Postby Rupudska » Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:31 pm

The two children of Finlay Elliot rode together on the same pony, a little ways back from their father. Tall Rory Elliot, naturally, rode in front, as he was a reiver proper, and thus was the better rider. Of course, due to space constraints, this forced the younger sibling, Willful Moira, to ride directly behind him in such a way that she had to hug him to maintain balance on the horse.

This, naturally, led to the normal complaints, exacerbated by Moira's lack of armor, Rory's lack of a lack of armor, and Rory's wiry boniness.

"Brither, if yer shouder blade jabs intae ma chest one mair time..."

Rory sighed. "A canna help it, jus' wait, we're close."

Moira only huffed, as he was right on both accounts. There was really nothing she could do, and they were at the tower anyway. She dismounted, helping Rory tie up the pony, and the two headed inside.

"What, no jokes about ma-"

"No time for mockery, a need tae hae food!" Moira exclaimed, walking into the tower's base floor. She would mock his shoddy (in her mind) knot-tying skills later, food was far more important a need than that.
Last edited by Rupudska on Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nature-Spirits » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:49 pm

Elspeth Elliot was well-liked by some of the Elliot clan, regarded with distaste by many, and despised by a few. All of these views were completely valid: the woman cared for her flock of young women with both tenderness and bluntness. She would comfort a distraught niece over the death of her brother (even if said brother was a bastard better off dead in Elspeth's opinion), but if the same niece told the old woman that her favourite dress had been used as kindling for a fire, the response would be, "Well, lassie, we live in a harsh world." If a man displayed his incompetence in her presence (as, unfortunately, too many Elliot men did), she would more likely than not comment on his shortcomings. And if a man were to act too arrogantly for her liking or -- Lord in Heaven forbid -- defied her, she would violently shove him back into his place where he damn well belonged.

However, despite everything, no one -- not those in her favour, not those with whom she barely bothered, and not even those holding animosity towards her -- could deny the widow's wisdom. Elspeth had seen and experienced much, and that she was still alive was a testament to her capability. As such, she was -- or at least regarded herself as being -- integral to the clan's affairs, and quite understandably was present when kin began gathering for the council.

For the occasion she had decided to wear a simple ash grey dress, lighter than her other winter dresses; she anticipated the collective body heat of the Elliots combined with whatever fires may be lit to be enough to keep her warm without excessive clothing. For three evenings prior she had been embroidering a simple red pattern of leaves on the sides of the dress extending from her elbows nearly to her feet -- something she had taken upon herself specially for the event. After all, councils were not altogether frequent, and it was important to maintain a good appearance. Hidden in a nigh-invisible pouch sewn as part of the dress was a dagger that she could retrieve at any moment -- a gift from her late husband. He had been the one to teach her how to use it: something that put her mind a great deal at ease. In Elspeth's view, it was important to be able to protect oneself, as one could not always rely on the menfolk.

As the clan gathered in the tower, the widow glanced past most faces. A few she recognised as being incredibly imbecilic, and she chose to ignore most of these, though when she passed the even more imbecilic the old woman simply could not stop herself from muttering a few words that, if they heard, the dull men likely did not understand to be the insults that they were. A few others she recognised as great and valued reivers, and, though Elspeth disapproved of some of their more violent tactics, she knew well and respected that they were necessary to the survival of Clan Elliot. And a few other faces -- mostly those of fellow womenfolk -- she recognised as valuable, intelligent, wise women, or girls who well had the potential to become such. These were her favourites; and, while she tolerated the duller girls and even liked some of them, she would be much more likely to make a dress for and impart some wisdom to one of the more intelligent ones.

But then she saw a new face, one she was certain that she'd never before seen. She was certainly not a Border woman; the old widow could tell that from both her appearance and the way she comported herself. She surmised that one of the young Elliot men must have returned with her from Europe. She looked around the girl's environs and saw that a man -- young Robert, perhaps? She knew that he had been on the Continent for 16 years -- was close by her. She saw that the poor lass felt somewhat excluded, and, as she always did when there was a new female addition to the Elliot Name, proceeded to approach, asking loudly, "And who might ye be, lass?" as she embraced her warmly.

In case it was unclear, the girl Elspeth is addressing is Louisa.
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Evraim
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Ex-Nation

Postby Evraim » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:17 pm

Fiona loves few things more than the gentle amble of her Icelandic mare. The pace is easy, even over the treacherous marshes of the Border, and the exertion is not so great as to leave her breathless or to raise sores on her thighs. Even the gloom of an overcast morning can not dampen the girl's spirits, and soon she finds herself smiling softly at the tower house that looms darkly on the horizon. How many times had she traced this self-same path attended by the melody of a mare's footfall? The sights never changed much, but Fiona never ceased to discover something new in the rugged bleakness of the marshes. A treacherous sinkhole would fascinate her as much as a bright swallow perching atop the mossy branch of an old, whorled willow.

Even the routine is familiar. She had woken well before dawn to prepare a meal for herself and her brother. She had mashed the grits by herself, singing quietly to pass the time. Songs of tender love and flickering candles filled the kitchen as she worked, so sweet that they served to drive the pillowed heads of her kin deeper into their dreams. When at last this task had been completed, Fiona had wiped the useless grains away, swept the floors twice, and set the table. Then, slinking into the cool predawn air, she had tended to the horses that would carry them Harelaw. By the time, her family had risen from their beds, no chores remained undone. She and Duff had departed a mere hour later.

They ride in silence, save for the eerie music of fading bogs, each knowing for what reason they had been summoned. Fiona wears a stoic mask, while her heart vacillates between dread and fierce approval. Two years past, the Scott of Buccleuch had hung four of their kin under the pretense of reiving cattle. The sentence had been unusually harsh, leaving no doubt as to the Scott's sincere motives. It had been the beginning of a blood feud, nothing less, and Clan Elliot of Harelaw had but one answer to quarrel of this sort. Retaliation. Fiona knows this well. Her formative years had ingrained the concept of filial vengeance on her delicate, young psyche. All the same, as she glances over at her sibling, the one person she values above all others, her breast cannot help but feel tight, as though some great weight were pressing down upon it.

Blood for blood is the way o Clan Elliot, she reflects, But tis a verra fykie thing. For who but God Maist High can foretell whilk clan's bluid will color the muirs when twa clans make a rammie o'er kye intae a reid rummlin? Aye, thare lies the rub. It is now with a sadness more deep than that of a wolf's mournful howl that she gazes at Duff, mounted atop his horse. He is a capable rider, especially compared to the milk-drinkers who dwell to the north and south, but he is not like Red Duncan or Iron Kenneth a born reiver. Besides that, any man can perish amid a battle. How art the mighty fallen in the midst of battle? the scriptures read, and Duff had never been numbered among the great warriors of the moors.

All at once, they arrive at their destination. Fiona watches her brother tying their horses to the posts with keen interest, and then shambles off her own mare's silky back. She had taken care to tend to her appearance last night, bathing, adorning her unused dress, and brushing her golden hair until it shone with the radiance of a rare sun. Fiona's looks give no hint of the squalor in which she lives, though said squalor is a fair improvement over what some more destitute people endure. With a Celtic harp resting upon her shoulder and her tremulous voice echoing through the marsh, she might well seem an apparition fresh as dew from Alfhame. Her dress mixes whites, browns, and even drab greens, making it moderately luxurious by the standards of the Border.

As they enter the tower house, the din of men drinking and boasting, of women weaving tales and trading gossip, and of children in fierce play cause Fiona's ears to pop, as she is violently torn from her melancholic musings. Unbidden, a demure smile springs to her face, brightening it even as the murk of the marshes had made it dull. She greets her kin, at least those who move to greet them, respectfully, excitement sparkling in her vibrant green eyes and giving her tone a melodic quality. Duff is somewhat less genial, perhaps because of his fervent dislike of councils such as this. He had never been one to leap into a feud, sharing Fiona's own aversion to violence. Nonetheless, not one among them could deny the grave reality of the situation. Had this then made him pregnant with qualms and quiet musings? She would ask him later when they were alone and out of earshot.

As they navigate the crowd, Fiona catches sight of Joseph approaching, and her smile broadens. The priest, whose heart was as gentle as his hands, had taught her much of the Christian faith and of books. She loves him for it, though not so well as she loves her brother, who been the closest thing to a protector that she had ever known. Joseph greets them cordially after his own fashion, and Duff exchanges his own greetings. They spoke of books and of her own literacy. Fiona can feel her cheeks growing hot with pride at Duff's praise. "Prithee, brither, ye should na praise me sae high," she implored him, "For, after all, ye did learn me awthing that yit I know. Or do ye seek ta make grand your own self?" The laughter is evident in her tone as she teases her sibling.

"Tis good ta rest eyes on ye again too, cousin," Fiona replies, offering Joseph a small curtsy, "Ma brither speaks for the twa o us, even if he neglects ta ask after your health." She sends a sharp, sideways glare at her sibling at this remark, feigning displeasure at his rudeness. It had been quite sometime since she had been genuinely angry with Duff. He always treated her kindly and had such a gentle manner that it was utterly impossible to stay furious with him. She likes to think they are similar in that way, but when her thoughts turn to the Scott of Buccleuch, who had killed fours of her cousins, or to the Dacre of Carlisle, who might seek to slay her brother, she cannot be so sure. And that is almost as frightening as losing Duff, the thought of losing herself.
Last edited by Evraim on Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Astrolinium
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Ex-Nation

Postby Astrolinium » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Maisie Elliot stared straight ahead, eyes taking in everything and nothing. She was floating on the breeze, in her perception, or... no, no. There was a horse beneath her, lumbering frightfully slowly. But so was she. That was the way of the world, great beast that it was, lumbering on frightfully slow. There were times when Maisie thought that perhaps the world was a great turtle, and all the Elliots and the Borderlanders and the milkdrinkers lived on its back, and all those lands beyond were made-up or other turtles, perhaps.

And then there were times when she knew that the Lord God in Heaven would not have done something silly. The turtles were a product of her mind, and even her mind -- racing, racing, lightning, fast, speed of the wind in a mighty storm -- was not like that of the Lord.

The world was so slow and it pained Maisie to try and comprehend it.

Foggily, at the edge of perception, she became aware of Robert. Robert, brother dearest, tried to save me, tried to keep me normal, but couldn't keep me from the water and the rocks, couldn't keep me head closed and keep the magic out and the brains in.

Robert said they had reached the tower. He always stretched out his words, but then, so did Maisie. So did everyone. Maisie could think fast, and it pained her that her mouth could not keep up.

Dimly, she turned her head toward her brother. How had he moved so quickly? He was at her horse now, hand outstretched.

Maisie laughed, a wheezing cackle. That was so funny. She floated down from the horse like a leaf, into her brother's arms, a smile in her eyes, but her mouth refused to cooperate. Slowly, oh so slowly, slow even for everyone else, who was already moving so slowly, she lifted her arm and asked, "Brither, fesh me my cane, ye ken I canna scanty walk wi' oot it."

Her speech was tortured and slurred like a baby's.

~~~~~

Inside Harelaw Tower, Maisie stood by the side, facing the wall, engrossed in her own mind. To the casual observer, she seemed utterly blank, but inside, thoughts raced all at once, too fast to grab onto any of them.
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Postby Reverend Norv » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:05 pm

Cylarn wrote:"The old man knows the score, brother," Job said before taking a sip of his ale. "You can na just hang four of ours for livin' like the rest o us, and the old man knows that can na just slide. I can assure ya that I know the score too, and I am ready to take the Scotts to Hell. My only concern though, brother, is Scotland. We kill their Warden, and they may want ta threaten our livelihood once more."


"Scotland," Red Duncan says; contempt drips from his words like acid, and his lip twists as he sneers. "Aye, and what is that, then? The wee Queen on her throne o stone?" He spits in disgust. "A filly wha needs a good man for ta ride her, and na more. Her French generals?" He spits again. "King Harry bled us seven years wi the mightiest army in Christendom, and we are still here. I tremble not for the Lairds o the Congregation and the barbarians frae Skye. So do na talk ta me o Scotland, brither."

Red Duncan shakes his head. "The only thing as can slay a Reiver is another Reiver. Tis the Scotts that will see us dead and gone, not Mary in Edinburgh. Or sae they would, if we do na end them first." The big man wraps an arm around Job's shoulders and squeezes; there is a terrible strength in his grip. "We'll take Old Wat ta Hell together, eh?"

Then Red Duncan follows his brother's gaze, and he chuckles. "Ah, do na let Willie rile ye. He is here, and he can fight, and we need every sword. Besides" - and here Red Duncan grins - "by my reckoning, we shall have need o his friends in Carlisle for ta sell all the gold and silver that we will have ta'en frae the Scotts this time tomorrow! Ha!" Duncan's voice drops to a low murmur. "If ye must look thither, look at cousin Robert's German wench, eh? I fancy she's a fine one in the night. Quiet as a mouse, hm?" The big warrior gives a guttural bark of laughter.

* * *


The great circular chamber is beginning to fill in earnest now, and young Harry Elliot has to work hard to forge his way through the crowd toward Iron Kenneth. Hoary Rory, a big man whose hair, gone prematurely white, stands up in every direction like bristlegrass, is already in full form: his voice booms out as he tells the story of a foray against the Olivers, in which "I smote left" - and Rory stamps his foot upon one of the trestle table benches, making it boom like a drum - "and my brand broke in my hand, but the blud shot forth na the less, but he struck me here as he fell" - and Hoary Rory is pulling open his doublet to show the scar, and Harry ducks under the big man's wildly gesticulating arm and finds himself in front of Iron Kenneth.

The old Reiver is making determinedly toward the nearest pitcher of ale, and as Harry's eye roves over Kenneth's frame, the boy thinks of steel and gristle and old leather. Harry can hear Iron Kenneth growling to himself.
Nationstatelandsville wrote:"I have traveled far," he mumbled, more to himself than any of his relation, "and the first thing I would like is a bloody drink. There will be na talking 'til then!"


The boy grabs one of the earthenware pitchers of ale, and a copious beaker of wood, and he promptly fills the latter with foaming brown liquid. This is weak ale; but then again, it is safer to drink than streamwater, and the hour is still early. Later, after a foray, the good ale will come out, and faces will grow flushed, and voices will grow loud. For now, the Elliots need their wits about them, and so the ale is weak - but it will quench a man's thirst well enough, and wash the dust of the road from his throat.

"Here," Harry says simply, and thrusts the beaker into Iron Kenneth's hands. He lets the older man drink, and studies him a moment longer. Harry is a big lad of twelve, his wrists already thick from practice with the sword, his hair a sandy thicket. The young man is beginning to show within the boy: the shoulders are broadening, and the confident swagger of the young warrior creeps into the boy's posture and gait.

Harry seems to ponder for a moment, working up his courage, and then he shuffles his feet a bit in the rushes that cover the flagstone floor and observes: "Tis not sae far ta travel - cousin." Before Iron Kenneth can respond to this either with amusement or with a box on the ears, the boy rushes to add: "Blind Hamish says that ye are the only man here worth the breath o speaking wi, and he asks for ta see ye. So."

* * *


Nude East Ireland wrote:"New books are always a welcome sight. O course we will find the time ta look them o'er. Fiona has improved greatly."
Evraim wrote:"Prithee, brither, ye should na praise me sae high," she implored him, "For, after all, ye did learn me awthing that yit I know. Or do ye seek ta make grand your own self?" The laughter is evident in her tone as she teases her sibling.

"Tis good ta rest eyes on ye again too, cousin," Fiona replies, offering Joseph a small curtsy, "Ma brither speaks for the twa o us, even if he neglects ta ask after your health."


"The Laird has kept me well, Jesu be thanked," Joseph says. He looks between brother and sister, and when Fiona says that Duff has taught her all that she knows, Joseph Elliot puts his hands behind his back, and grasps one hand in the other, and squeezes until his fingers turn white. But his smile is fixed, steady - as fixed and steady as Clever Duff's. The minister meets the young man's eye, and nods a moment in silent recognition.

And then Joseph's gaze is all on Fiona, eyes dark and bright and glimmering like pebbles in a burn. "I thank ye for your kindness, cousin. I shall seek ye out, the baith o ye, afore ye leave." Joseph includes Duff in a peremptory glance, but his eyes barely leave Fiona's face. "A book enjoyed alone is naught but covetous sin."

Abruptly, the minister's eyes widen, and he shakes his head almost violently. "Forgive me, too, cousin, for I have neglected ta speire at your health in return. And yours too, Duff." Joseph takes a step back, and some energy, some tautness, is suddenly gone from his face and his shoulders. He is the good minister again, the shepherd among his flock. "Ye baith look well, Jesu be praised. Your fither would be proud o the twa o ye, God rest his soul." Joseph raises his eyebrows. "And tis a good thing, too, for - if I do na miss my guess - your fither's memory is soon ta be avenged. I jalouse tis why we are here today."
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Cylarn
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Postby Cylarn » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:59 pm

"I'm not sayin' that tha Wee Queen an' 'er cohorts are gonna end our way o' life, brother," Job said before taking a swig of his ale. "What I'm sayin' is that they'll rush us up to tha hills, burn our homesteads, slaughter our cattle, and lay waste ta all that we hold dear, b'fore they grow tired an' leave us once more. I just despise the involvement of tha Crowns in our affairs, brother."

Job and Red Duncan were at odds on the whole Willie situation. Clearly, Red Duncan thought more of Willie than a brigand, unlike Job, and although the Reivers often traded in their own loot, it seemed that Red Duncan was interested in utilizing Willie's fences. Job simply shook his head, but gave a chuckle when his brother expressed how he felt about Robert's wife.


"Aye brother, those lasses from the Continent are worlds from our womenfolk," Job claimed. "Where our womenfolk are fighters n' biters in tha sack, their womenfolk are gentle, and more submissive. From tha tavern wenches to tha princesses in their castles, they are softer than our womenfolk. 7 years on tha Continent made me miss tha fightin' nature of Border wenches."
Last edited by Cylarn on Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ex-Nation

Postby The Grey Wolf » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:22 pm

Nature-Spirits wrote:
Elspeth Elliot was well-liked by some of the Elliot clan, regarded with distaste by many, and despised by a few. All of these views were completely valid: the woman cared for her flock of young women with both tenderness and bluntness. She would comfort a distraught niece over the death of her brother (even if said brother was a bastard better off dead in Elspeth's opinion), but if the same niece told the old woman that her favourite dress had been used as kindling for a fire, the response would be, "Well, lassie, we live in a harsh world." If a man displayed his incompetence in her presence (as, unfortunately, too many Elliot men did), she would more likely than not comment on his shortcomings. And if a man were to act too arrogantly for her liking or -- Lord in Heaven forbid -- defied her, she would violently shove him back into his place where he damn well belonged.

However, despite everything, no one -- not those in her favour, not those with whom she barely bothered, and not even those holding animosity towards her -- could deny the widow's wisdom. Elspeth had seen and experienced much, and that she was still alive was a testament to her capability. As such, she was -- or at least regarded herself as being -- integral to the clan's affairs, and quite understandably was present when kin began gathering for the council.

For the occasion she had decided to wear a simple ash grey dress, lighter than her other winter dresses; she anticipated the collective body heat of the Elliots combined with whatever fires may be lit to be enough to keep her warm without excessive clothing. For three evenings prior she had been embroidering a simple red pattern of leaves on the sides of the dress extending from her elbows nearly to her feet -- something she had taken upon herself specially for the event. After all, councils were not altogether frequent, and it was important to maintain a good appearance. Hidden in a nigh-invisible pouch sewn as part of the dress was a dagger that she could retrieve at any moment -- a gift from her late husband. He had been the one to teach her how to use it: something that put her mind a great deal at ease. In Elspeth's view, it was important to be able to protect oneself, as one could not always rely on the menfolk.

As the clan gathered in the tower, the widow glanced past most faces. A few she recognised as being incredibly imbecilic, and she chose to ignore most of these, though when she passed the even more imbecilic the old woman simply could not stop herself from muttering a few words that, if they heard, the dull men likely did not understand to be the insults that they were. A few others she recognised as great and valued reivers, and, though Elspeth disapproved of some of their more violent tactics, she knew well and respected that they were necessary to the survival of Clan Elliot. And a few other faces -- mostly those of fellow womenfolk -- she recognised as valuable, intelligent, wise women, or girls who well had the potential to become such. These were her favourites; and, while she tolerated the duller girls and even liked some of them, she would be much more likely to make a dress for and impart some wisdom to one of the more intelligent ones.

But then she saw a new face, one she was certain that she'd never before seen. She was certainly not a Border woman; the old widow could tell that from both her appearance and the way she comported herself. She surmised that one of the young Elliot men must have returned with her from Europe. She looked around the girl's environs and saw that a man -- young Robert, perhaps? She knew that he had been on the Continent for 16 years -- was close by her. She saw that the poor lass felt somewhat excluded, and, as she always did when there was a new female addition to the Elliot Name, proceeded to approach, asking loudly, "And who might ye be, lass?" as she embraced her warmly.

In case it was unclear, the girl Elspeth is addressing is Louisa.


While surprised by the embrace she received, it did not go unwelcome. "My name is Louisa," the Prussian woman said timidly, suddenly conscientious about her accent. "I'm Robert's wife." she turned her head to where Robert was. He was sitting in a chair next to Maisie, speaking gently to her as he set a plate for her, along with something to drink, with no regard for his own appetite. It reminded Louisa of when they first met, how selfless he had been. He had tried to make his new wife as comfortable as possible, unconcerned about his own comfort. She smiled unintentionally, before remembering she was in the presence of one of the elders. "Excuse me, afraid I spaced out."

Astrolinium wrote:
Maisie Elliot stared straight ahead, eyes taking in everything and nothing. She was floating on the breeze, in her perception, or... no, no. There was a horse beneath her, lumbering frightfully slowly. But so was she. That was the way of the world, great beast that it was, lumbering on frightfully slow. There were times when Maisie thought that perhaps the world was a great turtle, and all the Elliots and the Borderlanders and the milkdrinkers lived on its back, and all those lands beyond were made-up or other turtles, perhaps.

And then there were times when she knew that the Lord God in Heaven would not have done something silly. The turtles were a product of her mind, and even her mind -- racing, racing, lightning, fast, speed of the wind in a mighty storm -- was not like that of the Lord.

The world was so slow and it pained Maisie to try and comprehend it.

Foggily, at the edge of perception, she became aware of Robert. Robert, brother dearest, tried to save me, tried to keep me normal, but couldn't keep me from the water and the rocks, couldn't keep me head closed and keep the magic out and the brains in.

Robert said they had reached the tower. He always stretched out his words, but then, so did Maisie. So did everyone. Maisie could think fast, and it pained her that her mouth could not keep up.

Dimly, she turned her head toward her brother. How had he moved so quickly? He was at her horse now, hand outstretched.

Maisie laughed, a wheezing cackle. That was so funny. She floated down from the horse like a leaf, into her brother's arms, a smile in her eyes, but her mouth refused to cooperate. Slowly, oh so slowly, slow even for everyone else, who was already moving so slowly, she lifted her arm and asked, "Brither, fesh me my cane, ye ken I canna scanty walk wi' oot it."

Her speech was tortured and slurred like a baby's.

~~~~~

Inside Harelaw Tower, Maisie stood by the side, facing the wall, engrossed in her own mind. To the casual observer, she seemed utterly blank, but inside, thoughts raced all at once, too fast to grab onto any of them.


For a moment, Robert thought he was going to break down and start crying, before gaining a grip and deciding to keep strong for Maisie's sake. He remembered the day he had rescued her. He hadn't known the full extent of the damage she had sustained. At first he had assumed she would get better. It was only until he had returned from his exile in Europe that he realized the truth.

A voice screamed in his head. You did this, maybe if he hadn't gotten into a fight with that Thomson boy, over some buxom English girl, maybe he could have nursed her back to health. She would be fine right now. He had failed her on two counts.

"Louisa, dear, could ya fetch Maisie her cane?"


Robert took Maisie's hand tenderly and walked her to a chair, setting her down gently and placing a plate and cup in front of her. "You have to keep your strength," he told her, stroking her hand and encouraging her to eat. The plate had cheese and bread, and the cup was full of ale.


Seeing his chance to poke fun at his brother, and get closer to Fionna, Willie approached the two of them. "Little brother!" he said with boisterous enthusiasm. "I haven't seen you in awhile. Why don't you ever visit me?" while his nickname was the Wolf he had the grip of a bear, and Joseph would have a hard time prying him off.

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Nationstatelandsville
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nationstatelandsville » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:34 pm

Reverend Norv wrote:The great circular chamber is beginning to fill in earnest now, and young Harry Elliot has to work hard to forge his way through the crowd toward Iron Kenneth. Hoary Rory, a big man whose hair, gone prematurely white, stands up in every direction like bristlegrass, is already in full form: his voice booms out as he tells the story of a foray against the Olivers, in which "I smote left" - and Rory stamps his foot upon one of the trestle table benches, making it boom like a drum - "and my brand broke in my hand, but the blud shot forth na the less, but he struck me here as he fell" - and Hoary Rory is pulling open his doublet to show the scar, and Harry ducks under the big man's wildly gesticulating arm and finds himself in front of Iron Kenneth.

The old Reiver is making determinedly toward the nearest pitcher of ale, and as Harry's eye roves over Kenneth's frame, the boy thinks of steel and gristle and old leather. Harry can hear Iron Kenneth growling to himself.
Nationstatelandsville wrote:"I have traveled far," he mumbled, more to himself than any of his relation, "and the first thing I would like is a bloody drink. There will be na talking 'til then!"


The boy grabs one of the earthenware pitchers of ale, and a copious beaker of wood, and he promptly fills the latter with foaming brown liquid. This is weak ale; but then again, it is safer to drink than streamwater, and the hour is still early. Later, after a foray, the good ale will come out, and faces will grow flushed, and voices will grow loud. For now, the Elliots need their wits about them, and so the ale is weak - but it will quench a man's thirst well enough, and wash the dust of the road from his throat.

"Here," Harry says simply, and thrusts the beaker into Iron Kenneth's hands. He lets the older man drink, and studies him a moment longer. Harry is a big lad of twelve, his wrists already thick from practice with the sword, his hair a sandy thicket. The young man is beginning to show within the boy: the shoulders are broadening, and the confident swagger of the young warrior creeps into the boy's posture and gait.

Harry seems to ponder for a moment, working up his courage, and then he shuffles his feet a bit in the rushes that cover the flagstone floor and observes: "Tis not sae far ta travel - cousin." Before Iron Kenneth can respond to this either with amusement or with a box on the ears, the boy rushes to add: "Blind Hamish says that ye are the only man here worth the breath o speaking wi, and he asks for ta see ye. So."

Kenneth glowered at the boy over his mug, which had quickly been downed. A right little ass, wasn't he? Kenneth had no patience for children, especially not impertinent children, and especially not impertinent children who bore the Elliot name and threatened to get the whole family mounted on a spike outside someone else's castle.

"Blind Hamish speaks too much," the old smith grunted. He spoke without any of the reverance the other Elliots had for their patriarch (if in spirit rather than position); the first thing you learned when you got old is that old men are just young men with less strength and even less tolerance. Still, Kenneth was fonder of Hamish than any of his other cousins, which - come to think of it - didn't mean all too much.

Kenneth turned back to face the sea of Elliots behind him and sighed heavily; they were even more insufferable when they flocked. Wading through their shit would be damn near impossible, especially given Hamish's increasing tendency to get lost in strange places and start muttering nonsense. When a man got to old, he started to stretch out his mind, and that's when things started to snap.

"I suppose I'll have some use for ya after all, boy," Kenneth said, "Lead me ta Hamish, and I'll give ya a fine new buckler for your trouble."
Last edited by Nationstatelandsville on Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Then I was fertilized and grew wise;
From a word to a word I was led to a word,
From a work to a work I was led to a work."
- Odin, Hávamál 138-141, the Poetic Edda, as translated by Dan McCoy.

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Astrolinium
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Ex-Nation

Postby Astrolinium » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:46 pm

Maisie existed in a dream. Dreams are curious things. One does not, per se, control their own actions in a dream. Rather, dreams happen to you. There is a floating, detached sensation -- as if sight is the only of the six senses which function. However, in dreams there is only acceptance -- to question, to be a skeptic, does not even cross the mind. Maisie's mind was constantly questioning, and that is how she knew that she was waking, however slow and fuzzy the world might be, however much it might feel like she was perceiving life through a film of cotton gauze.

The world was gray, and that is why Maisie so loved her bonny blue dress with the orange accents, patched and faded though it was. It clashed, it demanded the attention of the viewer, and it stood out loud and clear in a sea of grays and browns that melded together. Also, it made her feel pretty.

As Robert -- brither Robert, good brither, who'd tried to save Maisie and who'd failed her, but that was okay, because now Maisie knew how slow the world was and how slow everyone was, but then, sometimes, Maisie saw things that were very, very fast. As Robert put the plate in front of her, Maisie stared ahead, directly ahead, not bothering to spare a glance at the plate. She could see it, foggy and clear, in her peripherals, so why would she spare it a glance? She was busy, watching a very small spider in the corner weaving its web. Maisie loved spiders -- they were weavers and knitters, and so women's work was spiders' work. And the spiders were so cunning, leaving their shining dewy traps for all manner of dirty insects. Spiders, Maisie thought, would rule the world, moving so much faster than everything else but so delicately, if only they cared for power.

Maisie was a spider.

The spider roughly grabbed the bread with her hand, and the cane laying in her lap clattered to the floor, but Maisie did not hear it until afterwards. With surprisingly daintiness, she lifted the crumbling crusty to her mouth and ripped off a bite, eyes fixed the whole time on the spider in the corner.
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Founded: Feb 03, 2010
Democratic Socialists

Postby G-Tech Corporation » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:59 pm

Marcas, ah, yes, that was the fellow waving at him from near the tower. The Walker allowed a ghost of a smile to flit across his face. A strong fellow, one of the best. Family, good people, those were the Elliots, even the queer ones from other branches that he did nae ken with. At a swift pace he covered the remaining hundred meters to the entrance to the Tower, and grabbed up Marcas in a bear hug. Rarely an expressive fellow, he reserved his rare outbursts of affection for family, for the Name were those he could trust in the unforgiving chaos of the moors.

"Marcas. You're looking modestly more ugly than usual, though that still puts you far above the rest of these louts." A joke- neither man was exactly conventionally handsome, but in a family of stolid brick-like figures that was the Elliots..- well, some women, mainly milk-drinkers, had said the gaunt figure of Thom was actually rakishly handsome. He released the other fellow after a quick appraisal; perhaps leaner, perhaps harder, than when last the Walker had laid eyes on Marcas. But that was the Border for you. You were tough, or it ground you down to dust. Thom laughed suddenly, a dry bark of humor. "Let's get some drinks, and then we can talk about life as the Lord intended it; while enjoying his fine alcoholic gifts to mankind. This is nae time for solemnity, but family and ale."

With a shove of his wiry arm the Walker held open the door, and, bracing himself, plunged into the throbbing chaos of the Tower. Deftly ducking through mobs of relations, distant and near, he secured a mug of ale from the brewery in short order. The accents of the Border still ached longingly of home to him as Thom traipsed hither and thither, though he had been back in the moors for several years now. They said that when you went wandering, you became a citizen of no land, and even family weren't family no more. A disgrace, and the Walker hadn't believed them, until he came home. Now his legs always felt restless, longing for open sky and to go farther than the Debatable Lands; even the tongue was unfamiliar to him, for his thick Scots had been tainted by the light cluck of Edinborough, and muddied with the sonorous speech of London and beyond. His words felt too crisp, and yet too long, and a sad smile touched his lips as he thrust a mug into Marcas hands. The curse of the exile, perhaps, but they said time healed all wounds. If only it would mend quicker, the Walker would be content.
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Nude East Ireland
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Posts: 17308
Founded: Dec 31, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Nude East Ireland » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:59 pm

Reverend Norv wrote:"The Laird has kept me well, Jesu be thanked," Joseph says. He looks between brother and sister, and when Fiona says that Duff has taught her all that she knows, Joseph Elliot puts his hands behind his back, and grasps one hand in the other, and squeezes until his fingers turn white. But his smile is fixed, steady - as fixed and steady as Clever Duff's. The minister meets the young man's eye, and nods a moment in silent recognition.

And then Joseph's gaze is all on Fiona, eyes dark and bright and glimmering like pebbles in a burn. "I thank ye for your kindness, cousin. I shall seek ye out, the baith o ye, afore ye leave." Joseph includes Duff in a peremptory glance, but his eyes barely leave Fiona's face. "A book enjoyed alone is naught but covetous sin."

Abruptly, the minister's eyes widen, and he shakes his head almost violently. "Forgive me, too, cousin, for I have neglected ta speire at your health in return. And yours too, Duff." Joseph takes a step back, and some energy, some tautness, is suddenly gone from his face and his shoulders. He is the good minister again, the shepherd among his flock. "Ye baith look well, Jesu be praised. Your fither would be proud o the twa o ye, God rest his soul." Joseph raises his eyebrows. "And tis a good thing, too, for - if I do na miss my guess - your fither's memory is soon ta be avenged. I jalouse tis why we are here today."

"Oh, o course," Duff says as his eyes widen. "I had na even thought o that. I can na imagine we would go ta war against the Scotts, would we?"

He glances to his sister, to give her a knowing look before he returns to meet the Reverend's eyes once again. "I suppose that we should na make any conclusions 'til Roger speaks, o course. I'm sure what ever 'tis, it will be o importance."

Clever Duff knew for a long time what Reverend Joseph saw when he looked at Fiona. He and his sister are close - probably closer than any in the Clan, though he quite frankly did not concern himself with the well being of his kin. He imagines what he would do to Joseph; what he would enjoy doing to the minister, should anything happen between Joseph and Fiona. He stows that thought away for now - it is something best left for after the Elliots slink back into their holes and sleep until the rise of the sun.

Duff makes sure to never completely break his smile; keeping up appearances, he knows, is important for a man more intelligent than he has made himself out to be. No one suspects the fool.
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Nature-Spirits
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Posts: 10984
Founded: Feb 25, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Nature-Spirits » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:20 pm

The Grey Wolf wrote:
Nature-Spirits wrote:
Elspeth Elliot was well-liked by some of the Elliot clan, regarded with distaste by many, and despised by a few. All of these views were completely valid: the woman cared for her flock of young women with both tenderness and bluntness. She would comfort a distraught niece over the death of her brother (even if said brother was a bastard better off dead in Elspeth's opinion), but if the same niece told the old woman that her favourite dress had been used as kindling for a fire, the response would be, "Well, lassie, we live in a harsh world." If a man displayed his incompetence in her presence (as, unfortunately, too many Elliot men did), she would more likely than not comment on his shortcomings. And if a man were to act too arrogantly for her liking or -- Lord in Heaven forbid -- defied her, she would violently shove him back into his place where he damn well belonged.

However, despite everything, no one -- not those in her favour, not those with whom she barely bothered, and not even those holding animosity towards her -- could deny the widow's wisdom. Elspeth had seen and experienced much, and that she was still alive was a testament to her capability. As such, she was -- or at least regarded herself as being -- integral to the clan's affairs, and quite understandably was present when kin began gathering for the council.

For the occasion she had decided to wear a simple ash grey dress, lighter than her other winter dresses; she anticipated the collective body heat of the Elliots combined with whatever fires may be lit to be enough to keep her warm without excessive clothing. For three evenings prior she had been embroidering a simple red pattern of leaves on the sides of the dress extending from her elbows nearly to her feet -- something she had taken upon herself specially for the event. After all, councils were not altogether frequent, and it was important to maintain a good appearance. Hidden in a nigh-invisible pouch sewn as part of the dress was a dagger that she could retrieve at any moment -- a gift from her late husband. He had been the one to teach her how to use it: something that put her mind a great deal at ease. In Elspeth's view, it was important to be able to protect oneself, as one could not always rely on the menfolk.

As the clan gathered in the tower, the widow glanced past most faces. A few she recognised as being incredibly imbecilic, and she chose to ignore most of these, though when she passed the even more imbecilic the old woman simply could not stop herself from muttering a few words that, if they heard, the dull men likely did not understand to be the insults that they were. A few others she recognised as great and valued reivers, and, though Elspeth disapproved of some of their more violent tactics, she knew well and respected that they were necessary to the survival of Clan Elliot. And a few other faces -- mostly those of fellow womenfolk -- she recognised as valuable, intelligent, wise women, or girls who well had the potential to become such. These were her favourites; and, while she tolerated the duller girls and even liked some of them, she would be much more likely to make a dress for and impart some wisdom to one of the more intelligent ones.

But then she saw a new face, one she was certain that she'd never before seen. She was certainly not a Border woman; the old widow could tell that from both her appearance and the way she comported herself. She surmised that one of the young Elliot men must have returned with her from Europe. She looked around the girl's environs and saw that a man -- young Robert, perhaps? She knew that he had been on the Continent for 16 years -- was close by her. She saw that the poor lass felt somewhat excluded, and, as she always did when there was a new female addition to the Elliot Name, proceeded to approach, asking loudly, "And who might ye be, lass?" as she embraced her warmly.

In case it was unclear, the girl Elspeth is addressing is Louisa.


While surprised by the embrace she received, it did not go unwelcome. "My name is Louisa," the Prussian woman said timidly, suddenly conscientious about her accent. "I'm Robert's wife." she turned her head to where Robert was. He was sitting in a chair next to Maisie, speaking gently to her as he set a plate for her, along with something to drink, with no regard for his own appetite. It reminded Louisa of when they first met, how selfless he had been. He had tried to make his new wife as comfortable as possible, unconcerned about his own comfort. She smiled unintentionally, before remembering she was in the presence of one of the elders. "Excuse me, afraid I spaced out."

Elspeth finally pulled back from the embrace. Seeing how the young woman looked with love at Robert, she smiled. The widow remembered the days when she would look at her own husband that way, and he would return her looks. Verily, her years with him had been among the happiest of her life. She often longed for his touch, the feel of his lips on hers as they made love together in a dance o passion. It had been 35 years since, and sometimes she felt downright lonely in her chamber -- the fate of many Border women, unfortunately.

The lass's words pulled her back to the present, and she chuckled. "Worry not, Louisa. You're among kin here. Folks call me Old Widow Elspeth, but if it's ta yer likin' ye can call me Elspeth alone. Now, come meet our womenfolk. The men will no doubt bore ye wi their tales o bloodshed. Have ye yet met Mither Lileas? She's a right mervailous woman." Elspeth began to lead Louisa through the crowd, glaring at any men and gently shoving aside any children who got in her way.
Last edited by Nature-Spirits on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2534
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:27 pm

Cylarn wrote:"I'm not sayin' that tha Wee Queen an' 'er cohorts are gonna end our way o' life, brother," Job said before taking a swig of his ale. "What I'm sayin' is that they'll rush us up to tha hills, burn our homesteads, slaughter our cattle, and lay waste ta all that we hold dear, b'fore they grow tired an' leave us once more. I just despise the involvement of tha Crowns in our affairs, brother."


"Armies come, armies go," Red Duncan sneers. "Nothing ye or I can do will keep the armies away, nothing ye or I can do will make them come a day sooner." The big warrior's tone turns serious, now, and he turns to face Job. His eyes are hazel, large and curiously childish. "Armies are like the winter, Job, and we weather them like the winter - but we do na seek ta avoid them, nae more than a man could run from the snows. Ye have been away a long time ta have forgot that, brither."

Duncan shrugs, and his fierce grin returns. "And so I do na care ta waste me hate on things I canna change. The Scotts, though - them I can change." Job's brother gives a cruel chuckle, and he gestures with his hand as if overturning a table. "From rich ta poor, and alive ta dead. Them I can change, and on them I will spend my hate." Duncan laughs again. "Twill be a fine thing ta do together, Job. Ye and me, back on the Border, raising Cain. Just like old times."

Cylarn wrote:"Aye brother, those lasses from the Continent are worlds from our womenfolk," Job claimed. "Where our womenfolk are fighters n' biters in tha sack, their womenfolk are gentle, and more submissive. From tha tavern wenches to tha princesses in their castles, they are softer than our womenfolk. 7 years on tha Continent made me miss tha fightin' nature of Border wenches."


Red Duncan pulls a face. "I like a woman wi some fire as much as any man, and more than most," he admits cheerfully. "Ye hardly feel alive if she doesna draw some blood during the deed. But I can see clear how it might be a fine thing ta come home to a lass wha does na feel entitled ta tear your face from your skull if ye displease her." Duncan took a swallow of ale. "If that's what tis like on the Continent" - Job's brother always speaks of the world beyond the Border with mocking sarcasm - "then I'm surprised ye ever left."

* * *


Nationstatelandsville wrote:"Blind Hamish speaks too much," the old smith grunted..."I suppose I'll have some use for ya after all, boy," Kenneth said, "Lead me ta Hamish, and I'll give ya a fine new buckler for your trouble."


Harry Elliot's eyes light up at that; then his brow furrows, and he suspiciously asks: "Really?"

At this point, the boy remembers that it really doesn't matter whether or not Iron Kenneth is really going to forge him a new buckler: Harry Elliot has been told to look after Blind Hamish, and Blind Hamish wants to talk to Iron Kenneth, and that is all that there is to it. Life is very unfair, as far as Harry Elliot is concerned: a young boy who will one day be the future of the family is bound to serve a blind old bugger who is indisputably the family's very distant past.

Harry Elliot solemnly reflects on the bitter irony of that fact as he nods to Iron Kenneth and says: "This way." The boy leads the smith through the crowd of men and women, over to a table that stands near the staircase - a set of stone steps that curve up one quadrant of the tower's circular inner wall until they vanish overhead into Harelaw's second story. This particular table at the foot of those stairs is set up so that it faces all of the other tables in the hall. And it is here, in this place of great honor, that Blind Hamish Elliot is waiting to speak to his much younger cousin.

* * *


The Grey Wolf wrote:Seeing his chance to poke fun at his brother, and get closer to Fionna, Willie approached the two of them. "Little brother!" he said with boisterous enthusiasm. "I haven't seen you in awhile. Why don't you ever visit me?" while his nickname was the Wolf he had the grip of a bear, and Joseph would have a hard time prying him off.


Joseph tries to pull himself free of Willie's grip, discovers that he cannot do so, and instead reluctantly turns the situation to his advantage by embracing his older brother. "Willie," the minister manages. "Sure and tis fine ta see ye." Releasing his brother, Joseph finds himself momentarily released in return, and he takes advantage of the moment by moving to put a bench between himself and Willie. "I do na visit ye on account o the fact that ye are always off on the moor wi your band o disnamed brigands, praying on good Christian folk and selling the proceeds in Carlisle." Joseph offers a brittle smile. "So, ye ken, I never know where ta find ye."

Nude East Ireland wrote:"Oh, o course," Duff says as his eyes widen. "I had na even thought o that. I can na imagine we would go ta war against the Scotts, would we?"

He glances to his sister, to give her a knowing look before he returns to meet the Reverend's eyes once again. "I suppose that we should na make any conclusions 'til Roger speaks, o course. I'm sure what ever 'tis, it will be o importance."


Joseph frowns for a moment, as if trying to figure out whether Duff - whom everyone calls "Clever" - can possibly be as dim-witted as he seems. Everyone knows that the Elliots are gathering to ride against the Scotts. And everyone knows that every day has left Roger of Harelaw weaker in body and mind than he was the day before. Duff's respect for Roger, while filially proper, seems daft; in the minds of many of the Elliots, Red Duncan might as well already be heidsman. And so Joseph's brow furrows in confusion, and anger glitters in his dark eyes as he tries to discern whether or not he is being played for a fool. "Aye," he finally agrees, "sure and we all should wait for Roger ta speak, and no doubt."
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Nationstatelandsville
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Posts: 70969
Founded: Apr 27, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Nationstatelandsville » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:44 pm

Reverend Norv wrote:
Nationstatelandsville wrote:"Blind Hamish speaks too much," the old smith grunted..."I suppose I'll have some use for ya after all, boy," Kenneth said, "Lead me ta Hamish, and I'll give ya a fine new buckler for your trouble."


Harry Elliot's eyes light up at that; then his brow furrows, and he suspiciously asks: "Really?"

At this point, the boy remembers that it really doesn't matter whether or not Iron Kenneth is really going to forge him a new buckler: Harry Elliot has been told to look after Blind Hamish, and Blind Hamish wants to talk to Iron Kenneth, and that is all that there is to it. Life is very unfair, as far as Harry Elliot is concerned: a young boy who will one day be the future of the family is bound to serve a blind old bugger who is indisputably the family's very distant past.

Harry Elliot solemnly reflects on the bitter irony of that fact as he nods to Iron Kenneth and says: "This way." The boy leads the smith through the crowd of men and women, over to a table that stands near the staircase - a set of stone steps that curve up one quadrant of the tower's circular inner wall until they vanish overhead into Harelaw's second story. This particular table at the foot of those stairs is set up so that it faces all of the other tables in the hall. And it is here, in this place of great honor, that Blind Hamish Elliot is waiting to speak to his much younger cousin.

Kenneth's first priority was not, however, Hamish.

"Harry, is it?" he said, "Aye, that it is. I don't forget an Elliot, less I choose ta - when I get back to my forge, then I'll make ya your shield. My boy will bring it ta ya once its done, assuming he doesn't get himself done in by then."

Kenneth took a seat next to Hamish, nodding curtly at the old man. This was not a curtness born of contempt, rather of the short and simple manner with which Kenneth did everything. There was no point in tarrying if you weren't getting anything out of it.

"You're still alive," he noted - an unorthodox, if characteristic, greeting, "I'll be honest wi' ya, the wife and I fully expected ya ta die last winter. But you're fine, and that's good for ya, I suppose. Hopefully Duncan hasn't driven ya closer ta the black, eh?"
"Then I was fertilized and grew wise;
From a word to a word I was led to a word,
From a work to a work I was led to a work."
- Odin, Hávamál 138-141, the Poetic Edda, as translated by Dan McCoy.

I enjoy meta-humor and self-deprecation. Annoying, right?

Goodbye.

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Evraim
Negotiator
 
Posts: 6148
Founded: Dec 29, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Evraim » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:11 pm

His eyes, Fiona thinks uneasily, Thay do pass like a searing flame o'er the whole o me. She draws an almost anguished breath, maintaining an amiable smile. Then, suddenly, as if realizing where they stood, their cousin returns to his normal prim and proper self, imploring their pardon for his own rudeness. Duff is quicker to the rejoinder than her, playing off Joseph's talk of their feud with the Scott. His tone is sharp and mocking, quite unexpectedly so. She doubts that her brother aims to antagonize the reverend, but then men were seldom reasonable. A single ill-spoken word had caused deaths in the past, albeit not between children of the same Name.

Catching sight of Duff's wandering gaze, the girl peers at him plaintively, as if begging him to tread lightly in these halls. Insulting Joseph, whose reputation was nowhere near as sinister as Willie-o-the-Wisp's or Red Duncan's, would scarce provoke commotion, as discourteous as it was, but more dangerous men had gathered in this stronghold. More dangerous, aye, and less patient. All the same, Fiona can hardly resist the urge to smile, and to cry. She had waited two long years for this day to arrive, and, now that it is here, she can feel the floodgates of her tears shuttering under the strain of pent-up emotions. At times like this, she yearned more than anything for a harp.

But to sing the ballad of Tam Lin, with its imagery of loss and redemption, would strengthen her fortitude. As she listens to the back and forth between her brother and cousin, she ponders what she would do if she was the heroine of that self-same tale, whom the hero had bid grasp him dearly to her breast. Could she clutch them so fiercely, could she prevent Duff, and Joseph, and Iron Kenneth, and all the rest from slipping between her fingers like the dust to which they would all return? Time and time again had she struggled to hold Tam Lin to her heart, but to no avail. Had she not embraced her father with all the strength that a maid could muster? What of her cousin Four-Finger Tam, who used to twirl her about in his arms as though she were air? Had she not loved them both well enough?

Then, right as she was about to interject, Willie-o-the-Wisp, as she called him, catches his brother in a rough choke hold that might have been meant to pass for a hug. Fiona tries to preserve her pleasant demeanor, but she can feel her throat tightening somewhat. She has never been fond of Willie. Something about him makes her feel uncomfortable. He is not like the other reivers who bear the name Elliot. His band of pillagers and murderers had earned a reputation for depravity that would make even Red Duncan out as a saint by contrast. Rape, slaughter, destruction, all of these came to Willie like rain to a desiccated grove, a welcome coterie of companions.

As their cousins jostled with one another, Fiona finally worked up the composure to speak again, interjecting gingerly but with all the authority that a wise fourteen year old could boast to have. "Aye," she agrees with Joseph, "We sall ken whit Roger sall speak for his piece, and Mither Lileas and Blind Hamish too." She gives both Duff and Joseph a pleading smile, hoping that they would mellow their tones and take the sting from their words. "As ta the other matter o whilk ye spoke, cousin," she says playfully, "I be na pape sae as ta grant ye pardon on account o your transgressions, be thay filial or otherwise, but, as ye can ken, ma brither and I are hale as the kye in autumn."
Last edited by Evraim on Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Just a run-of-the-mill sorority woman who enjoys political squabbles over things that probably won't change and role-playing in P2TM and II. Nothing to see here.

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Ex-Nation

Postby The Grey Wolf » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:34 pm

Willie the Wolf


"Ye filthy liar," Willie said playfully, jabbing a finger at Joseph accusingly. "Ye get onto me for not abiding by the commandments of yer God, yet ye won't live up to them either." He remembered his childhood, he had been sullen and avoided Joseph and the other boys on account of his embarassment over his deformity. "Ye make it sound like I'm one of them damn Armstrongs." he laughed, despite the fact that the clan of wardogs scared him, and he made a habit of avoiding them. Every now and then, he might do business with one or two, where he kept his opinions to himself. "I would say that I am doing the Lord's work. Reminding them good folk of their Christian duty to be charitable." he grinned, he had always had a disdain for Christiandom. "Wouldn't you say that we have the same job brother? Only that we go about it in a separate way?" he turned to Fiona and grinned devilishly. "What would ye say, lassie? Would ye say that I'm a good pious man?"

Robert


While her husband was busy fretting over Maisie, Louisa was busy chatting with the old widow. "Elspeth, you have a lovely name." she said, wincing as she heard the cane clatter against the floor. Robert leaned down and picked it up, some of the crumbs of the bread fell onto the back of his head. Dusting them off with his hand, he gently patted Maisie on the back with the other.

"I believe I have met her," Louisa said, recalling the old woman referred to as Mither. The language that these people spoke was strange, like a strange dialect of English. She had been tutored in French, Latin, and English back in her homeland, but not this language. She walked through the crowd with her head high, afraid of being perceived as weak-willed.
Last edited by The Grey Wolf on Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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