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Author Topic: Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14  (Read 3683 times)

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Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« on: July 11, 2010, 10:42:25 pm »
Chapter Fourteen


   When Ailidh woke up, it was midday.  Celsie, the Contessa informed her, had awakened before her usual time, wanting to go to confession before seeking the solace of the early Mass.  Sophie had agreed to accompany her.  Ailidh, pleading a headache, requested permission to remain in the apartment for the rest of the day.  She had little desire to venture out to the Great Hall, or anywhere else in the Castle for that matter, for fear of having to face Dhugal again so soon.

   At mid-afternoon, as she sat listlessly picking at some bread and cheese, a knock sounded at the door.  She stood to answer it, but Constanza waved her back down, opening the door herself.

   “Sir Jass MacArdry at your service, my Lady.  Is Mistress Ailidh within?”

   Ailidh glanced towards the entrance, startled.  It was his voice, but she almost hadn't recognized it, unused as she was to hearing him speak in the more proper Court accent of Rhemuth.

   “She is, but I'm afraid she's feeling unwell.  Might I convey a message?” the Contessa answered.   
   
   Ailidh stood, forcing down a twinge of nervousness.  She had no idea why Jass had stopped by.  She had no reason to think he'd bring up her visit to Dhugal's chambers, but still....

   “Jass?”  

   The golden-brown eyes smiled reassuringly at her, then back down at the Contessa.  “I beg pardon, my Lady.  I realize it's most irregular, but might I be permitted to have a private word with my kinswoman?”

   “Well....” Constanza turned towards Ailidh, about to refuse, but saw the plea in the girl's eyes.  She looked back at Jass with a slight frown.  “And how are you related to Ailidh?”

   “We're cousins, my Lady.”  No trace of guile showed in the Border knight's eyes.  

   After a moment, Constanza sighed, stepping back from the door.    “I suppose it would be all right, if Ailidh feels up to it.  You may visit with her in the window embrasure.”

   “May I bring her to the Minstrel's Gallery instead?”

   The Contessa looked startled.  “I suppose so, but why?”

   An understanding smile.  “Because it's usually empty this time of day, quite suitable for a quiet conversation, but we'll still be in plain sight of anyone walking through the Hall.  I realize you don't know me, and have little reason to trust Ailidh into my keeping, but surely the Gallery would be public enough?”

   Somewhat reassured, she nodded.  “It would.”  She gave the Transha knight an assessing look.  “Thank you.”  

#

   “Since when did we become cousins?” Ailidh whispered once they were out of earshot.  “I'm even less related to you than I am to Dhugal, and I'm only barely connected with him!”

   “An' are ye a Transha lass?”  Jass asked, slipping back into his natural dialect once the apartment door had closed behind them.

   “Aye, but--”

   “Ye cannae spit out a window in Transha wi'out hittin' a cousin, Ailidh.  Gi' me a week an' a decent genealogy, an' I'll figure it out.”  He smiled, leading her down a level and through a long corridor to the empty Gallery.

   “Jass, why are we here?  If it's about last night, you needn't bother; I know better than to do anything that stupid again.”

   He ushered her to a chair, waiting until she was seated before pulling another one over to face her.  Taking her hands in his, he studied her a long moment.

   “Ailidh, I dinnae know what tha' was about last night, an' I'm nae goin' tae ask.  Th' way I see it, unless one o' ye chooses tae tell me, it was a private matter, an' it's done.”  He stroked a thumb over the back of one of her hands, looking away for a moment as if struggling to figure out what to say next, then turned back to face her.  “Are you in love wi' him?”

   Her eyes dropped.  “Does it matter?” she asked bitterly.

   “Aye, it might.”

   A long silence.  “He doesn't want me,” she finally said,  “So no, it really doesn't.”

   “I want ye, Ailidh.”

   She looked up then, startled, and pulled away from him.  “Jass...you barely even know me!  Why?”  Her eyes grew wary.  “Oh, sweet Jesu, he's pushin' me off on ye, isn't he?  Well, ye can tell him I dinnae need carin' for!  I can get by wi'out a man....”

   “Ailidh, no!  No, it's no' like that--”  He broke off, laughing despite the seriousness of the situation and his intent.  “Oh God, I've barely started, and I'm makin' a huge muck-up o' it already!”  He shook his head.  “Dhugal dinnae put me up tae this, I promise.  He doesnae even know I'm here.”  He took one of her hands back, holding it gently between his own.  “Ailidh....”  He thought back, then grinned.  “Do ye remember when ye still lived in Transha, an' you an' Lady Caldreana decided it would be a fine prank tae steal our clothes when th' lads went out for an evenin' swim?”

   A reluctant smile.  “Aye.  An' ye waited until we'd fallen asleep tae sneak back in.”

   He chuckled.  “I thought you and wee Caldie were two o' th' most annoyin' brats ever tae set foot in Transha Keep.”  He raised an eyebrow.  “Ye were, ye know.  Mostly you, since Caldreana dinnae get up tae half as much mischief after ye left Transha.”  He looked off into the distance, remembering.  “Ye were but a young lass yet, an' I was pridin' myself on already bein' a man grown, squired tae ol' Cauley.  I dinnae even notice at first when ye moved off tae Marlor, but after a while, I realized wha' was missin'--ye'd gone, an' taken all that spirit an' sass wi' ye.  Transha just seemed emptier, somehow.”  He shrugged.  “An' tha' might hae been th' end o' it, except after ye left, all yer old playmates started growin' up and blossomin' intae young women, getting' married, havin' bairns o' their own, an' every once in a while I'd wonder, whatever happened tae little Ailidh?  Were ye still givin' th' laddies hell?  Or maybe had ye found a man o' yer own tae love, an' brought him a wee bit o' heaven instead?”  His whiskey-colored eyes searched her face.

   She eased her hand away from his, wrapped her arms tightly around herself.  “I married Callum MacInnis.”

   “Oh.”  He absorbed the information as if absorbing a blow, then looked back up, puzzled.  “But he's nae wi' you now.”

   “No.  No' since I found out I was sharin' a husband wi' two other wives.”

   Deathly silence, only a tightening of his jaw and a narrowing of his eyes betraying strong emotion.  Then, “Is Callum still livin' in Marlor?”

   “So far as I know.”

   “An' are ye fine wi' tha', or do ye want him restin' six feet under Odhran's land?”  The golden-brown eyes blazed, though his voice remained so quiet and even that, for a moment, Ailidh had thought she'd misunderstood him.

   “Sweet Jesú!” Wide-eyed as she suddenly realized he wasn't joking, she cast a quick glance around the Gallery and at the Hall below to make sure no one else had wandered into earshot.  “No, Jass!”  She gave an incredulous laugh.  “I swear, if every Transha man is as fierce as you an' Dhugal when ye're in a temper, it's a wonder yer enemies dinnae all piss themselves when they see ye makin' for them across a battlefield!”  She raked unsteady fingers through her auburn curls.  “Stand down, Jass; Geillis's already seen tae Callum.”

   “Who's Geillis?”

   “Callum's first wife.  She gelded him.”

   Jass raised an eyebrow, considering the punishment.  Finally, his anger subsiding, he took a deep breath and let it back out.  “Well.  As my mother always said, if ye want a job done right, leave it tae th' womenfolk.”  He stood, walking to the edge of the Gallery railing to look down at the Great Hall below for a few moments, then slowly turned, leaning against it to look back at Ailidh.  “So.  Ye've had one man make vows tae ye already an' break 'em, and now ye're in love wi' my liegelord.”  He sighed.  “Well, I never expected anythin' having tae do wi' Ailidh nic Ardry would go easy, so I shouldnae be surprised tha' goes for courtin' as well.”  

   She stared back at him.  “Jass, why in heaven's name would ye want me?”

   A smile, not quite reaching the sadness in his eyes.  “Because I might not hae been in love wi' that little lass ye once were—ye were over young yet—but I always loved yer spirit an' yer sass. And seein' ye again now, here in Rhemuth, a woman grown....”  He chuckled.  “It fills a place I never realized before had gone empty.  I want tae hear ye laugh again like ye used tae do, and still do sometimes.  I want tae see yer face light up like sunshine when ye smile, and put that spring back in yer step.”  He looked away.  “I'm a man, Ailidh.  I want more than all that, but you're no' ready, so I'll nae push ye.  I'll settle for seein' ye smile.”  He glanced back at her.  “May I at least try for yer smiles?”

   “Jass....”  A weak, resigned laugh.  “Aye, ye can try.”  She shook her head.  “I dinnae suppose there'd be any stoppin' ye.”

   “No' really.  I'm as stubborn as th' next Border man.”  

   She sighed.  “I'd best be getting back, 'Cousin' Jass.”

   “Aye.”  He offered her his arm.  “I think I've figured out our exact relationship, by th' way.”

   “Oh?”

   “Yer my brother's wife's second cousin's nephew's mule-tender's godmother's daughter twice removed.  O' course I'm fit tae chaperone ye.”

   Her burst of laughter rang throughout the gallery.


Chapter 15: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=559.0
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 03:20:18 pm by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline Alkari

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 11:29:20 pm »
Quote
“Ye cannae spit out a window in Transha wi'out hittin' a cousin, Ailidh.  Gi' me a week an' a decent genealogy, an' I'll figure it out.”
and
Quote
“Yer my brother's wife's second cousin's nephew's mule-tender's godmother's daughter twice removed.  O' course I'm fit tae chaperone ye.”

*dies laughing*  Oh, I do love your Jass  :)   Just the man Ailidh needs!

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 11:53:44 pm »
I finished high school in a town about that small.  I'm almost positive I'm the only one in my graduating class who wasn't somehow a cousin or other relation to someone else in the town, if not in our class.  Most of the kids there had families who had been in that area for generations.  The property we bought there, from a family whose surname was Abernathy, was referred to by locals as "the old Abernathy place" for at least a decade after we bought it. 

So when I think of Transha Keep and the village of Transha below it, yeah, I tend to think of that sort of "close knit small town" feel.  I imagine after becoming Earl of Kierney and Duke of Cassan in addition to Earl of Transha, Dhugal must have had a few times during his adjustment period when he rode through his new lands thinking the Gwyneddan equivalent of "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore."   ;)  (Though at least the cultures are similar enough; it's not like he found out he was the long-lost Haldane King, or even a lowlander Duke!)

Jass is a lot of fun to write.  :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline AnnieUK

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 01:56:43 am »
Yup, and the Scottish Island the majority of my family are from is just like that too.  I remember once trying to figure how I was related to someone I grew up calling auntie (as I recall it was something along the lines of her grandmother, and my grandmother's mother being sisters - can't quite figure it, even now).  In the end she just said "we're family".  DD couldn't get over the fact that she was related to most everyone.  Even someone we got chatting to on the ferry we worked out by a family tree on a napkin was her third cousin.

I'm thinking I'm liking Jass a lot.  Post that pic here too, Evie, as he is gorgeous in that.  (No, I do like Alaric best, I do, I do, I do).

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 08:54:17 am »
As you wish....



His hair should be darker (dark chestnut....think of chocolate with auburn highlights) and the eyes should have more amber-gold in the brown.  And I suspect he's only this clean shaven when he's in Rhemuth; it's a bit harder to stay that clean cut while riding the Transha borders, I'd imagine.  But otherwise, it's close enough.

I have a picture that started out as my Kelson, but now that I've seen KK's idea of an actor she thinks would make a good Kelson, I'm wavering a bit on that and thinking my pic might be Seisyll instead.  And if it ends up being Seisyll, then I have a Denis Arilan as well.  (Until recently I've been thinking of them as Kelson and Nigel because of the resemblance between them.)  Let me know if you want me to post those here too.

As for my ladies, I've posted those pics previously, but if someone missed them, Sophie's is (I think) in the comments to "In Pulverem Reverteris", Celsie's is in "Demoiselle in Distress", and Ailidh's and Constanza's are in "Outfoxed."
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline AnnieUK

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 09:12:27 am »
Hubba hubba!!!  :-*

(I do like Alaric best, I do, I do, I do)

(He's gorgeous!)

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010, 09:56:01 am »
*dies*

You know, just because your heart belongs to Alaric, that doesn't mean anyone's gone and put your eyes out....  :D

BTW, I have finally figure out who it is that I've had in the back of my head for Grown Up Dhugal, or at least some other Borderer, this entire time.  Too bad he'd be way too old to play the part now, given this picture came from Star Trek: The Next Generation:



Hair color, of course, should be more coppery instead of brown, and eyes definitely need to be more amber.  Come to think, though, that hair is almost perfect for Jass but needs more auburn highlights.  What makes me think of Dhugal is that roguish, mischievous look, the hair pulled back (as I recall, this character has a ponytail, though you can't really see it from this picture), and Dhugal's described as having a mustache.  Unfortunately the actor is older than me, so way too old to play Dhugal anymore, though maybe he could still play Ciard.  But just tell me you can't imagine this guy trying to steal a kiss from the Earl of Carthane's daughter...  :D
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 10:03:45 am by Evie »
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
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Offline Elkhound

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 10:15:00 am »
*dies*

You know, just because your heart belongs to Alaric, that doesn't mean anyone's gone and put your eyes out....  :D

BTW, I have finally figure out who it is that I've had in the back of my head for Grown Up Dhugal, or at least some other Borderer, this entire time.  Too bad he'd be way too old to play the part now, given this picture came from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

Does he have a son?

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2010, 10:52:54 am »
*dies*

You know, just because your heart belongs to Alaric, that doesn't mean anyone's gone and put your eyes out....  :D

BTW, I have finally figure out who it is that I've had in the back of my head for Grown Up Dhugal, or at least some other Borderer, this entire time.  Too bad he'd be way too old to play the part now, given this picture came from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

Does he have a son?

Got no clue.  My question is, is he looking for volunteers to give him o--

Oh dear, was that my outside voice?   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline AnnieUK

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2010, 11:29:15 am »
yup!

Just because DesertRose hasn't got a mod for here yet, doesn't mean those outside voices can start whispering...   ;D :o

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 12:06:15 pm »
yup!

Just because DesertRose hasn't got a mod for here yet, doesn't mean those outside voices can start whispering...   ;D :o

<Southern Belle voice>  Why, Annie!  I meant, of course, would Dhugal like me to give him a son within the context of a story.  I can't imagine whatever else you thought I might have meant!  Gracious! </Southern Belle voice>  *fans self briskly, all wide-eyed innocence*

 ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline kirienne

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2010, 08:37:36 pm »
I really do like Jass! You've brought him to life in an excellent way. He and Ailidh would be good for each other, me thinks.

Offline kirienne

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2010, 08:42:34 pm »
Oh dear ladies, I do so enjoy your naughty comments...you voice what's in my mind before I can voice it myself. These last few, about this bonnie man from Star Trek . made me nearly choke on the iced tea I was drinking.  ;)

Offline Evie

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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 14
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2010, 09:00:57 pm »
Well, see, now you just need to go back and re-read Chapter 13, but this time you can imagine Ailidh sobbing into that nice linen shirt (I don't imagine Dhugal would've bothered to put the jacket back on before going to check on the squires), with Jass standing on the other side of the door glaring.  And if you need a reminder of what Ailidh looks like, her pic is at the end of "Outfoxed."  See?  Aren't pictures fun?   Now we've got Maidens of Mayhem: The Movie!  ;)
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

 

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