Friday, August 31, 2012

The shifter nanny spies Tara slipping out of bed and trying to quietly open the door to sneak out into the hallway. Knowing what the family has been going through she doesnt try to stop the little girl. Instead she nods to one of the demifae guarding near the door to follow her.

Once out into the hallway Tara looks to the right, then the left and is off like a shot down the hall, the demifae right behind her, wings buzzing. They race up the stairs and in moments are in front of the door to Pandoras and Obs private apartment.

“Mon Dieu... we are about to have a visitor I think...” Alise stands as Tara taps on the door then slowly opens it. Alise smiles at her daughter, peeking in the half open door, a demifae hovering just above her doing the same.

Tara races to her mother who kneels on the floor to gather her in her arms.

Tori watches from her spot, curled in Tannrs lap. She looks up and sees the pensive look in his green eyes, feels the longing he has for children, family.

She sends to him, I cant wait to marry you.... and smiles at the grin and happiness she sees when he turns his face to hers.

Alise and Tara are speaking rapidly in French. When Tara stops talking, Alise looks to Stoney who nods his head.

Tara approaches Ob and Pan shyly, head down a little, feeling their sadness and pain at the loss of their little one. She looks up through her bangs and Ob gives a sad smile.... She looks like her mother, but so much of you too, bro.... 

 “Oncle Ob, Tante Pandora, *Je voulais vous dire tout de suite ...” Tara stops and shakes her head as she hears her father, in English little one... 

“I wanted to tell you right away...” Tara pauses and takes a breath. “Your baby...he is with Grandmere Grace. She was in the nursery holding him. And Cassie was there too... They were smiling at him and kissing him.... Cassie said he was precious and Grandmere said to tell you that she would take care of him for you.”

“Oh...” tears streaming Pandora wraps her arms around Tara. “Thank you... thank you so much for telling us...”

Stoney lifts his daughter in his arms and she asks, “**Que j'ai fait bon papa?"

 "Oh yes, ma petite...very good. Your mother and I are very proud of you."

*I wanted to tell you right away

**Did I do good papa?

Traeger lay back after his call ended...his heart was breaking for his daughter, the family; but he knew they were strong because they had each other.

Try as he might sleep would not return, and he lay there listening to the sounds of the inn waking around him. The cow lowed; milking time... and he heard the sounds of bowls and pans in the kitchen, comforting homey sounds.

Traeger's mind regressed to last night. Erin and he had returned to the Inn and enjoyed a pleasant supper and a stroll in the gardens... they had kissed, and yes; the bond that called them was surely there, but they had sat and talked and Traeger had told her it wasn't time yet... he wanted a special place; somewhere more private and Erin had understood. He bristled with anticipation and was determined to put together the special time for them soon.

Today they returned to the hills; he was determined to climb up and find the place among the crags where he thought the special clay might be for the girls... and perhaps he would cross paths with whatever he had felt watching them.

Traeger dressed and went downstairs; arranging for horses to ride today... it would be enough work climbing the rocks, he'd save them the steps getting from the inn to the hills beyond... and he knew Erin enjoyed riding.

The children have long been put to bed. Stoney's family have stayed, knowing the children needed each others' company. Stoney, Alise, Tori, and Tannr still sat on the balcony with Ob and Pandora. Ike joins them, using the family mental path, as time in the busy Tavern permitted.

Tori looks up at the moon and takes Pandora's hand. "It is time to make the call."

Ob cuddles his wife close as he dials a number. It rings only three times before it is answered. Traeger's voice is husky with sleep, a tleast until he hears Ob's voice. His "Is it Pandy or the children?" brings a sigh from the Gargoyle.

Ob pauses, not sure how to begin. Instead he asks, "What time is it there?"

"Six am... what time for you?"

"One am. You're in Scotland now?"

Traeger's voice gentles. "Ob, Josi... What happened?"

The Gargoyle licks his lips and then kisses the top of Pandora's head. "*Los niƱos... they are fine. Bruha is...We are... Pandora... she lost..."

His voice breaks and Pandora reaches up, taking the cell phone from his hand. "Daddy?"

Ob flinches at the little girl sound of her voice. He holds her close as she tells her father of the little one. Ob can feel that she is leaving something out, but decides he will not push her on it until they are alone. She tells her father about the children, how they took the news, and their request to know the baby's name. After a short time, his wife ends the call by reminding her father she was in good hands and not to cut his trip short. What he is doing is something important. She tells her father goodbye, telling him she loves him and to walk with the Goddess' blessing. When she clicks the phone shut, she leans her face against Ob's chest and cries softly. Ob holds her, rocking slightly. The look in his eyes tells the others he is just barely holding himself together, and that he is only doing it to be strong for Pandora and the children.

*The children

Marc heads downstairs to see what the Tavern offers in the way of dinner and sees Rowan standing at the bar. He smiles involuntarily, remembering their date. She's easy to be with, easy to unwind with and drop-dead gorgeous to boot. Of course, I might be a tad biased....

He stops to talk with Monty, places an order for nachos and buffalo wings. He waits till his order is delivered, then makes his way over to Rowan.

"Greetings, m'lady. Join me for dinner?"

Rowan's jaw drops and her eyes open wide in stupefaction. "Lord and Lady, what are you eating? How can you have gotten so big eating this stuff?"

"You know, you're right. Monty!" The marmuur ambles over. "Add some ranch dressing to my tab."

"Right away." He returns in a moment with a small bowl. Marc signs the slip, and...

"Join me?" Rowan rolls her eyes. "What am I going to do with you?"

"Does that mean you don't want to join me for doughnuts tomorrow?"

She sighs and they find a booth. Marc immediately tucks into his cholesterol-heavy repast, but after a while he notices that Rowan isn't eating. Her eyes look haunted.

"What's up? You look down." She raises her eyes to his and his are sympathetic. "Pandora - the lady who owns this place - she had a miscarriage this morning."

"Oh, no." His lips move silently, then - "How's she holding up?"

"As well as can be expected, maybe even a little better. Of course, she has a remarkably supportive family, and most of the customers here know her and feel for them."

"Hang on just a sec, I'll be right back."

He makes his way back to the bar. Monty's eyes open a little wider. "Wow, you were hungry tonight. Want a refill?"

 "No." He presses a crisp twenty-dollar bill into Monty's hand. "I'm not sure of funerary customs around here... apply this toward whatever rites the family practices."

"It isn't necessary - "

"Yeah, it is. Just do it."

Tannr knew all that was going on through Ob. He showered and dressed slowly, the pain in his hip picking now of all times to act up. By the time Tori was awake, he was almost ready to go.

“You heard?” she asks, tears in her eyes.

Tannr nods and pulls her close, knowing this would bring back memories for her even though it wasnt quite the same. “Come here, Red...” He holds her close, offering what comfort he can.

“Your hip... if you want to stay here everyone would understand...”

“No, I want to go. Ob and Pandora are my family now too. Maybe a shot or two of whiskey or something will help...” Tannr says.

In less than an hour the couple is at the tavern and headed up the stairs to the families apartment.

With their noon repast eaten; Traeger decided to look along the stream on the far side of the meadow for clay deposits; see if he gets a feel for what might belong to the girls. Erin decides to gather wild flowers and he glances at her as she bends to pick blooms, he can't help but admire her natural beauty.

Traeger lifts some clay from the stream edge and works it in his fingers,  he feels a faint bit of magick in its touch; but nothing strong enough to help one of the girls if they were hurt. He glances up the hill,following the stream as it climbs into the rocky crags above them.If he is going to find good clay; its going to be way up  there where the spring comes forth from the ground.

Erin strolled up to him and held out her flowers... "Lovely, aren't they?" He looked up into her eyes and the words just slipped out of his mouth... "Not as lovely as you are." Erin blushed; and Traeger stood and walked the few feet that separated them.... he reached out and  brushed a strand of hair from her face, his fingers lingering on her cheek as she returned his stare, and he took that as permission to bend and kiss her;  her lips were incredibly soft and he paused for a moment before kissing her more forcefully; her kiss answering his with a hunger that was probably entirely new to her.

Erin drew back, and Traeger thought perhaps he'd upset her... but she just whispered softly; 'I wasn't expecting that,and I liked it... I liked it alot."

Traeger took her hand and drew her back to the blanket in the meadow... sitting down he pulled her down beside him.'Would you mind if I kissed you again?"... Erin nodded and reached out to touch his face... eager to feel his lips on hers again.

He reached up and took her hand in his as he bent to kiss her again; they twined their hands together and the shock of electricity they'd felt before was a steady hum... he meant the kiss to be soft and seeking; but within seconds it became hot and wanting and his tongue slipped into her mouth to caress hers... and she answered him in kind... nipping at his lower lip with a touch of wantoness she'd never felt, and the steady hum that seemed  to bind them grew stronger as they responded to each other.

Traeger pressed Erin back against the blanket as he loomed above her; he caressed her face, his fingers tracing down her neck and lingering in the hollow that lead to her breasts; but uncertain if he should be that bold... and Erin reached up and took one of his hands and placed it against her breast; he could feel the rigid nipple just beneath the fabric and his thumb caressed the tip as he heard her draw in a breath.

He kissed her again, this time with more pressure and lust; and she moaned at his touch as he continued to caress her nipple... and he took his hand and sank it beneath the fabric of her blouse; cupping her breast and squeezing, rubbing her nipple between his thumb and finger... listening to the purr in her throat.

Traeger drew back, but just enough to unbutton her blouse and free her breasts; and then he bent to suckle at one of the rose crested mounds.

Erin seemed overwhelmed with the sensations he was producing in her; and she was seeking some heat of her own... she pulled at his shirt until it was loose and she could run her hands up and down his chest, the light frosting of hair exciting her... the feel of his hard muscles calling to something in her.

His lips found hers again; and while their tongues danced he caressed and kneaded her breasts until they felt on fire with sensation. Traeger was so worked up it took a moment when he pulled away; to reason with himself; and in that moment he also had the sensation someone was watching them; he was careful not to alert Erin; not wanting to frighten or embarress her,  but thinking that if they were going to become more involved... perhaps they should return to the Inn.

He scanned the area around them without seeing anything, but murmured to Erin... "perhaps if we find this enjoyable we should go somewhere more private to explore these new sensations." He kissed her again and she agreed it was getting late... but she knew she was anxious to get through dinner and then perhaps explore more kisses with this mystery man who had suddenly become much more important to her.

Pandora ate the light supper that Monty carried up for her, Ob eating a platter of much more substantial fare. He was being so caring; and Pandora loved him for it.

When they were both done he gathered the dishes and told her...'I'm going down to fetch the little ones; I know you can feel them just as I do... and I need to free our daughter of the pain she is dealing with not knowing." He bent and kissed Pandora and  told her he'd be right back.

Obsidian saw Chloe the minute he started down the stairs; her eyes riveted on him... she ran forward and clung to his leg. Ike took the dishes he carried and he scooped up his daughter and he went to the table where the other children sat. He glanced round at Alise and Stoney, the others that made up their family unit; and he could see they read his thoughts.

"Children, I am going to tell you why Pandora and I are so sad"... the children seemed to surge as one around him, but their manner was quiet and subdued... " We were going to have a new baby; but the Goddess must have known he was sick, and she drew him back to the summerlands to wait till he is well enough to be born a baby; I bet you felt that, didn't you Tara?"... the little girl nodded. "Pandora and I already love him, so we are sad he had to leave us before we could know him."

Chloe whispered.."Will he come again papa?"... Ob hugged her and Teri, who sat on his knee... "I think perhaps he will come again; when the goddess thinks its time... till then you and Teri and all your cousins will make me and your mama very happy."

Ob stood up with Teri on his hip; "Chloe, I think if you ask Monty very nice, he will conjure up a pretty rose for you to take to mama... hurry now, lets go tell her we love her." Monty had read Ob's thoughts and handed her a vase with a beautiful pink rose... and Ob went toward the stairs carrying his son, his daughter clutching his other hand as she carried their gift.

Chloe looks back at her cousins, tugging lightly at her father's hand.

"Ma'ma is not feeling well, but is not sick. You must be good, si?" Chloe and Teri nod, the cousins slowly bob their heads. "Si... everyone can come."

He turns and leads the way, knocking just before opening the door. Pandora holds her arms out for Teri, settling him on the bed beside her. Ob helps Chloe onto the bed. He touches Stoney and Alise's thoughts, letting them know it is alright for all the children to be up with Pandora. He leans against the headboard. Absynthe perches next to his arm, butting her small head gently against his elbow.

"First, *mi nivios... no one is in trouble. We are sad because our hearts are sore." He pauses a moment."But it is a soreness that is better shared."

Ob swallows hard, tears collecting in his eyes as silent tears slip down his wife's cheeks. Chloe leans her head on her mother's breast, tears slipping down as well. Teri snuggles close, lower lip trembling. Ob doesn't need to say more. Stoney curls his arm around Alise and the children reach out, physically and mentally, to give and receive comfort.

"Ma'ma... did you name him?"

Pandora blinks, glancing at Ob. "No Gitanilla, Mamacita did not give him a name. Why?"

She looks up at her father, still curled against her mother. "He needs a name Pa'pa. He is one of us, even if the Goddess needed him back before we got to meet him. When Abuele Grace went away, you said it was because Lord Herne needed her and her name would live in our hearts. We need his name, so he can live in us too."

The dark skinned Gar glances at his wife. He can feel her deep sadness moving into a small comfort, and pride, in the children's acceptence.

"Then we must name him."

*my sweethearts

The couple made their way along a faint trail, wending their way higher into the hills. Crag settles himself where he can watch. His natural coloring let him blend easily with the rough boulders, as long as he keeps his wings furled tight along his back.  


His tail thumps once, then twice. From the mouth of a shallow cave a young female slithers through the rubble  to his side. He glances at her, sending his thoughts in a narrow beam. She scrambles away, circling until the hillside is between her and the humans. Her strong legs shove her upward as her wings snap open to catch the thermals.

Crag turns his attention back to the humans as they spread out a blanket and open a picnic basket. He breathes deep. Meat pies... Meadow tea... Bread and heather honey... The male looks up, glancing around. Crag narrows his eyes, remembering a travelling musician and a young Gar so fascinated she crossed the Channel to trade songs.

He shakes the memories away. What did these do so high in these hills? As the human turns his attention back to his female companion, Crag hunkers down, easing himself into position for a long watch.

The phone ringing jars Rowan out of her day dream. As she stands and pulls the phone out of her pocket she notices the light fading and wonders where her day has slipped away to.

“Hello... this is Rowan...”

Her brow creases as she listens to Ob describe what has happened to Pandora and she sends a quick prayer to the Goddess for comfort for the family.

“Are you sure she wants me to see her? I am sure Star would go if Pandora would be more comfortable...”

“No, Priestess. She asked for you to come.”

“All right, then I will be on my way.”

Rowan enters the tavern to a group of rowdy children all clamoring for attention. She hadnt seen the kids lately and they were letting her know they didnt like it one bit.

She scoops up Gracie and gives her a hug amidst peals of giggles from the little girl. “Minx...”

Setting her down she sees Chloe, standing a bit to the side of the group. Rowan goes to her knees in front of her, not sure how much she knows, if anything. “How are you little one?”

Chloe throws herself in Rowans arms and Rowan wraps her arms around the small body. “Whats wrong sweetie?”

“Mama and Papa are so sad. They been trying to hide it, but we all feels it.” Chloes blue eyes are wide with unshed tears. “Did me or Teri do somethin' wrong? I dont want mama to be so sad...” A tear slips down a soft cheek and Rowan wipes it away.

“I know you and Teri didnt do anything. Sometimes its just grown up things and we dont tell the little ones because we dont want you to be sad too.”

“But we knows... we can feel it. Especially Tara...” Chloe looks to her cousin who nods solemnly.

Goddess... they are so perceptive, these little ones... 

“Let me go talk to your mama and papa. I will see what I can find out.” Rowan stands and sees Alise, getting the table ready for supper.

Rowan smiles a greeting and heads upstairs while Alise rounds up the children for supper.

Rowan sits with her arms around Pandora as she cries and tells Rowan exactly what happened. When she is calm Rowan does her exam and assures Pan and Ob that everything looks normal and that sometimes these things happen, seemingly for no reason.

Rowan tells them to take it easy for a few days, and tells Pandora to go easy on the lifting and get enough rest over the next couple of weeks. When she prescribes a mild pain killer for the cramping, Pandora shakes her head.

“I dont want anything...”

But Rowan interrupts. “Just in case, okay? You have two kids to chase around. Maybe just at bedtime for a couple of nights so you get enough sleep...”

Ob nods and says, “Listen to her Bruha, you know she is right.”

Pandora nods and Rowan asks. “What do you want me to tell the kids? They are asking all sorts of questions and Chloe knows somethings wrong. She thinks she did something to make you sad. I told her she didnt, but goddess knows what they are thinking...”

Ob and Pandora share a glance and Ob asks Rowan, “Is it all right to bring the children up to see their mama? I dont want to tire her..”

Rowan smiles softly, “Yes, I think it would be fine. Its usually better to just be honest with them. And a short visit shouldnt overtire you...” She hugs Pandora. “Shall I tell the kids that Ob will be down after supper?”

Pandora nods, “Yes... I think that would be best...”

Traeger had already made arrangements for a ferry across the a channel from Ireland; and once on Scottish soil they made their way to a bed and breakfast recommended by the ferry captain. It was a charming two story cottage run by a man and wife of middle age that were long time inhabitants of the area. Traeger and Erin sat down with them at breakfast the next morn and showed them their destination in the northern reaches; a place called Lairg. The couple told them it was a less inhabited area then along the coasts... but they could contact owners of small bed and breakfasts that could accomodate them, as most had several rooms to let. You could see the unasked questions in their eyes; as the pair rented two bedchambers for each stop along the route...

Castles abounded, as well as ruins from ancient times; so Traeger decided they would take time to see some of the sights along the way. Erin quickly thought about the children when they entered a gift shop at the foot of one majestic ruin of lichen covered rock. "Traeger, why don't we send the children gifts from different sites along our way; and they can travel with us." Traeger was thrilled with the idea and they bought a map of Scotland that favored the historic sites and castles that represented the best of the country.

For the older boys; Tomas and Ryan... they bought small replica swords with family crests; the motif incorporating gargoyles among initials and decorative work. The small boys would receive wooden dragon figures with carvings. The girls each would get a silver jewel box with engravings and a birthstone in the lid. Erin was thinking that small silver charms from their various stops would be something they could treasure and utilize when they were older on a bracelet or necklace. Traeger decided he would wait and see what caught his eye for the boys as they traveled... first purchases and the map sent; they took off for for the area of Tori and Ike's birth... Lairg; of emerald meadows and craggy outcrops of rock.

Traeger wondered what he would discover about the two sisters when they drew near; would they meet hostility? or be greeted as kin to the girls?...Gargoyles were not creatures he knew much of, and they did not seem the most social of creatures... keeping their sorrows and problems to themselves if the girls were any guide. Traeger already had talked with a local farmer recommended by the accomodations clerk regarding the packing of the native clay to be shipped to his shop for sculpting and other projects.All he needed to do was find the area Tori and Ike had described to him. He had his doubts they would even know if they encountered any other gargoyles.

It took them two days to reach their destination with all the stops along the way... but finally they reached Lairg. It was early morning, and they both fell into their beds and slept till the smell of fresh baked bread woke them both. Once they were dressed and had their belongings safely settled in their rooms; Erin wanted fresh air... traveling long periods in the car made her restless and in Erin's mind she pictured Wuthering Heights and the moors of Catherine and Heathcliff... Traeger agreed to meet her downstairs in the drawing room for tea; and then they were going to walk. When Erin arrived Traeger had tea poured and the waitress was bringing warm crumpets and a jar of fresh honey to them. "You are going to spoil me... and make me fat!"... she said jokingly as she dipped the honey dripper into the golden honey and drizzled it on her crumpet.

Feeling refreshed the couple rose to investigate the area around the small inn. It had gardens of roses,a patch with herbs and kitchen greens; and a lovely sweet cow nibbled grass in a pen that told them the cream for tea and breakfast was fresh. Traeger excused himself and went back to the kitchen to ask them to make a small lunch for them, and quickly returned. Traeger spoke as Erin swung her hair back from her face... "Pardon me if I get deeper in trouble, thought you might enjoy this"... and he held out a beautiful cape of cashmere wool woven in a Scottish plaid representative of the local clan. "Oh, its beautiful," she gushed ... as she stroked the finish of the cape as he draped it round her shoulders; and they set out toward a distant hillside.

Pandora enjoyed the evening as much as the rest of the family... the gargoyles played part of the time and then let the college crowd enjoy the younger band.

The family gathered round their familiar table exchanging banter and stories; the couples enjoying a little grab-assing under the table amid glances promising much more when the evenings festivities ended.

Pandora was still yearning for more time with Obsidian; everytime they parted it was as if part of her very soul were lost. He was doing well with his healing, but she watched his face when he was not aware she was around. He still felt enough pain he grimaced on occasion; and then stiffened up to conceal his discomfort.

The children had been put to bed hours before... and she could tell from Tannr's demeanor he was tapped out and needed home...Tori was dragging him to his feet as she watched; anxious to get to the loft.

Alise and Stoney had their regular tavern room; a change of pace tonight from the forced crowding at the cottage while they watched the kids. It was a night when all the couples could relax and have free time to themselves... and the lustful glances bespoke what most of them would do when they reached their rooms.

Pandora walked toward the stairs with Ob's arm tight around her waist; as Ike and Monty shut down the lights and started undressing each other, on their way to bed... "Get a room !" Ob snickered as they started up the stairs.

Pandora wanted to make love to Ob in her own way this night... she undressed him as he stood beside the bed... then pushed him down to recline and watch as she removed her clothes for him. She slipped each piece of clothing down her body with a sensuous flow that had Ob rock hard as he watched her movements.

Naked now; she drew her hands up through her hair and let it tumble down ... her hands drifting down to cup her breasts, slip down the soft swell of her stomach to her mound... her hand softly parting her legs as she rubbed herself.... her lips parting with pleasure as she hit the nub of her clit... she rubbed harder, moaning as she got hotter ...

Ob was kneeling now; unable to still himself from watching her as she stroked between her legs... his own hand gliding down the length of his huge cock as he imagined himself thrusting into her.

He rose and grabbed her hips, pulling her forward till he could reach her... and sat down on the bed edge... his big hand replacing hers as he stroked her... his other hand caressed her breast and he bent to suckle from her, his teeth gently nipping and tugging at her nipple. Pandora moaned louder... spreading her legs to give him more access and he slipped two of his fingers into her, moving them quickly... listening to her panting grow stronger as he thrust in and out, soon he felt her getting ready to cum; her muscles spasming around him as she relaxed against him.

Ob lifted her and laid her on the bed; he slipped her legs up on his shoulders and bent down to torture her clit and cunt with his tongue... he held her still by her buttocks... his hands spreading her wide so he could tease her further. Ob unfurled his tail, the appendage as agile as his other body parts... and he set to work fucking her with his tail while his teeth and tongue worked on her slit and clit. Pandora was grasping the bedsheets, lifting herself higher with each thrust from his tail, right into the sucking lips that chewed at her clit... she came... and whimpered... and came again.

Finally Obsidian could wait no longer and he released her so she could sink back on the bed.... only so he could let her watch him as he stroked his mighty organ in anticipation of fucking her... her eyes were full of lust as she watched him stroke; and she whimpered again, and he knew it was anticipation....

Ob lifted her hips and thrust swiftly into her ready cunt, and she sighed his name... and he thrust harder and harder.... "Bruha, there is no other like you, my love," he whispered to her as he climbed higher and higher... taking her with him... until they climaxed as one; her muscles wringing every bit of sperm from him ... and together they lay entwined and drifted to sleep.

Pandora was sotted with pleasure by last night's sex; happy Obsidian was home; but the queasy stomach she'd had off and on has not left her.She is having some cramping and thinks this is going to be one of the rare bad periods she always hears other women speak of.  In fact today she is thinking of staying in bed awhile; Ob has already gone to stone outside the patio door... and the nanny has the kids well in hand.  Monty is fixing her toast and chamomile tea.

Monty knocks and enters... "Hey, Pan... here's your tray. I included some fresh honey to spread on that toast, you'll feel better in no time." He puts it on the table by the patio door. Pandora smiles up at him gratefully.... "just a little female trouble I think, cramps. This is so out of character for me... sorry to be a bother." Monty gives her his impish smile... "You have never been a bother; you ask for less then most women I've known, and I've lived several hundred years." Pandora can't help smiling at his compliment... "Well, you scoot back downstairs, I can handle this."

The toast covered in the sweet honey is just what she needed; and she sits sipping her tea and contemplating what she will work on for Chloe's next lesson.

The cramping has not subsided... and she decides a good warm shower will relax her... stripping off her robe she steps into the warm stream and lets it slide down her body; soaping herself she glances down and is alarmed to see blood washing down the drain. A hard spasm of pain hits her groin, and she turns to sit on the small built in shower seat. Several cramps hit hard... and she has the sensation of expelling something; her mind races frantically as she realizes what is happening... and reaching down she catches the small fetus in her hand....

The soft stream of shower water washes the blood from the object laying in her hand; and she softly strokes the small body... it occurs to her instantly that this babe was a product of Ob's daemon driven lovemaking; the night they found out the Drow priestess was set on kidnapping a gar child. Quickly masking her thoughts she looks down at her son; the fetus is further developed than you would expect for the time that has passed since that night... but she knows how much faster the gar children develop.  His tiny body is perfect in every way... although she can barely see that scales are beginning to develop along his shoulders; his face brings tears to her eyes; for it is reptilian... the visage of a small dragon... truly the daemon's child. Pandora knows how Ob dreads his daemon side; and this would surely stop him from wanting more children .Her heart is wrenched, for this is part of her and Ob... and for whatever reason, the gods saw fit to take him back to Summerland before he walked upon this earth.

Pandora struggles to concentrate on seeing him as a babe and not a dragon, for Ob is bound to be picking up her feelings of distress... and she focuses on the thought that they have lost a son... she has miscarried. She takes him and wraps him gently in a clean washcloth; leaving him in the bath while she quickly towels dry and dresses. She decides she will bury him in the garden outside, and rummages through a drawer to find a beautiful handkerchief her mother had given her long ago... edged with lace and embroidered with Celtic symbols. This would be a fitting shroud for their son. She quickly wrapped the tiny body in the soft fabric,and holding it against her body she slipped into the garden.

Pandora picks up the little garden trowel she keeps in a box by the patio door; and moves to her favorite rose bush... she feels Ob caress her mind... "Bruha, mi amour"... she sends back to him "I am alright, but I want to put our son to rest while the children are occupied elsewhere."

Pandora picks a spot in the rose bed and digs a hole to hold the tiny child, cradling the small bundle in her other arm, her back is to Ob and he cannot see... so she draws back the handkerchief and leans down to kiss the tiny face; quickly covering him again and laying him gently in the hole against the roses roots. "My son, you may not see the sun shine.. but know your parents love you, and the warmth of the sun and our love will always shine on you." Pandora works quickly to bury the babe, and brings some fresh mulch to spread among the plants so the burial spot is no longer visible.

Pandora turns from the grave after asking the goddess to keep him in her care; and walks to Obsidian's still stone form.She throws her arms around the warm rough stone and begins to sob; Ob's soft whispers reassuring her that it is alright, they will have other children when it is time... he loves her beyond reason and her tears break his heart. There is a grinding noise, a shifting of stone dust, and Ob's granite arms gently lift her onto his lap. Finally her crying subsides and she sits quietly in the curve of his arms, feeling his mental caresses on her face... his gentle tender words, and she is lulled into sleep.

Pandora awakens to Obsidian carrying her into the bedroom; it is late afternoon... and the shadows grow long in the garden. "You are up early" she whispers... he leans to kiss her tenderly and says.."you needed me, bruha, and I am here." Ob sets her gently on the bed and helps her undress while a warm shower runs... together they bathe; Ob gently soaping her body and applying kisses to make her giggle. Pandora puts on the soft cotton dress Ob brings from the closet and he brushes through her shining black locks before kissing the back of her neck and declaring her ready... "Thank you my Josephito"... he grins and swoops her up ... "lets go see what our children have been up to today; before the hired help all quit on us."

Ob descends the stairs to the excited shouts of Chloe and Teri as they make their way to their parents.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rubbing at her face, Ike stretches. It was finally dark enough, finally time that her form was able to shift from stone to flesh. She carefully picks her way across the eaves on delicate goat hooves assisted by her feline claws. Sighing, the Chimera Gargoyle swings inside through an upper level window. Couldn't you have waited until I was awake? Dammit Tori, I miss all the freaking good stuff! She feels her sister's laughter. Her brothers fill her in on Tannr's dumbfounded surprise, and his... difficult situation.  Ducking into the room where the Gars keep extra clothes. Finally in full fleshed form, the statuesque blonde tugs on tight jeans and a loose blouse. Tying the strings on her top becomes a lost cause as familiar hands slide around her waist, drifting up to cup her full breasts. She moans at the rasp of stubble along her bare throat. Monty's voice is little more than a husky whisper. "Bend over the dresser. Now." Ike bites her lower lip, stretching up on her toes and  as his strong hands peel the denim down her legs. He pushes on her lower back and Ike giggles, pressing herself forward and raising herself up. She feels his hands spread her cheeks as his tongue slides slowly between her thighs. She whimpers and wriggles as he tastes her. A finger delves deep exploring her wetness. When she begins to moan, Monty rises and slides into her wetness with ease. "Watching Tori give Tannr a lapdance made me think of how hot and tight you are. If it was you, I don't think I could have stopped from taking you right there and then." He thrusts hard, making her squeal. "Especially with everyone watching..." She groans as he pulls out, grunting as he slams home. His nails slide along her sides, scraping lightly. Ike writhes, grinding on each of his thrusts. Monty groans, pounding into her even harder. He grabs her hips as she begins to milk him, fighting for every ounce of control he can muster. "I want..." Monty pulls back, pausing. Ike whimpers, mewling as he leaves her hanging on the edge. "I want you to beg." Ike tosses her hair as she tries to grind back. He holds her tight. "Beg Ike... I want to hear how much you need this." She clamps down, trying to suck him deeper. His hand cracks across a bare cheek. "Beg Ike..." She moans again as he pushes just a little deeper. "Please... Oh Goddess Monty... Please... I am sooo close!" He pulls back and she mews. "Monty! Goddess please.... Fuck me now!" She wails as he starts to pull backwards. "FUCK ME NOW!!!!" Monty slams deep. shoving her into the dresser. Three more hard thrusts has her screaming, writhing under him as she cums hard. He pulls back once more and rams as deep as he can. Bucking into her, he feels his sack pull up tight. Arching his back, Monty goes for that last inch as his cock erupts. His strength ebbs as his seed jets deep into Ike. Leaning over his lover's spent body, Monty moans. It takes everything he has not to collapse over her. Sweat drips from sodden lengths of hair as Monty fights for the energy to move. He licks gently along her shoulder, tugging at the fabric of her blouse with his teeth. "I think we need a shower and you need a fresh set of clothes." and you need to learn to block better... "Oh shit..." Ike looks over her shoulder at Monty. "I hope someone blocked us from the kids..." At the look on Monty's face she grimaces. "I didn't think to block us from my family.." She can feel Stoney's chuckle. The kids were blocked.. but... merde... You guys need to make videos... Just think how much we could get for those if we franchised it... Tori laughs as Ike shoves them out of her mind. The blonde buries her head in her arms. "Now I know how Stoney felt when Tori and I caught him and Alise..."

Rowan couldnt remember a lot of the conversation at the restaurant, just that they had laughed a lot and she couldnt remember having so much fun on a date.

After a shared plate of spaghetti and several glasses of red wine, Marc suggests a walk in the park, just a couple blocks away from the restaurant.

The night was warm and the park quiet in the evening air. The pair wander aimlessly for a time, talking and enjoying each others company. Taking a seat near a an old fashioned street lamp, Rowan asks Marc how he came to join the Ravens.

“Well... its kind of a long story. Let me see if I can give you the quick and dirty version. I was at a picnic, 4th of July I think it was, playing some horse shoes, minding my own business and suddenly theres this Unseelie troop in front of me. Not sure where they took a wrong turn, Albuquerque maybe, but they thought I was trespassing on territory claimed by the Fae. Before I knew it I was being dragged by a burly troll into the Sidhe realm, but I still had a horse shoe in my I let it fly, beaned the troll, cracked his skull. Cold iron, you see...”

Rowan has to stifle the giggles, not sure if he is telling her the truth or not. “Really? Or are you kidding...?”

“No. .. I swear its true. Just ask Tannr. Anyway, I realized I couldnt get back and I had no idea where I was or how to get back. I started wandering, dodging Unseelie patrols and eventually made my way near the Unformed Plane. I had lost all track of time and was almost dead by the time the Ravens found me. The commander at the time assigned Tannr to teach me everything he knew about fighting and after awhile I never even thought to come back to this realm. I guess until now, I never had much of a reason to... Anyway, thats how I met Tannr and the Ravens.”

“You have had such an interesting life. Mine is pretty boring by comparison.”

“It cant be boring with all that you do. How did you get here?” Marc puts an arm around her shoulders and pulls her closer.

Rowan tries to tell him everything that she does then starts to laugh. “You know, maybe I am over-extending myself. I am exhausted just trying to tell you everything...”

“So you really are a priestess?” Marc asks, a bit of awe in his voice.

“Yes. But dont worry, we dont sacrifice babies or fly around on brooms...” Rowan says with a twinkle in her eye.

“I didnt say that...or think it even. Were you raised pagan?” Marc asks.

Rowan nods and tells Marc about her parents, her schooling, both traditional and non-traditional. “I spent some years in Ireland before I came here. I didnt intend to stay, thing led to another and this is where I ended up.”

Their conversation flowed and even when there was periods of silence the pair was comfortable and content in each others company.

Marc leans close and captures Rowans lips in his own, thinking how soft and sweet her lips are. When they part, Rowan is smiling, her eyes sparkle, and she leans into Marc.

“Can we do this again? We can take leave for awhile. The men havent had a break in months...” Marcs words trail off as Rowan lifts her head and looks him in the eye.

“Are you sure about this? About seeing me?”

Running a hand over her cheek Marc smiles, “Absolutely positively sure.....”

Marc's nervousness seems to have dissipated in large part as he drives to Rowan's. It's a quiet, peaceful place on the outskirts of Exton. He texted her before he left, making sure she was ready. Nothing like showing up while the lady's still fussing with her hair to piss her off at you... but he has a hunch Rowan might be different from anyone he's ever known.

The house comes into view - a medium-size two-story house on the edge of the woods. It's shaded by several old trees and the house itself is surrounded by several short scrubby plants. She has a small garden out back, used for cultivating the herbs she uses in her medicines. Rowan is waiting on the porch and as he parks the car she rises and moves to meet him with a smile.

He lets his eyes play over her figure, dressed neatly but simply, a match for his own attire. "Welcome back," she says, smiling. She notices his undisguised appraisal and her smile widens.

"You look great," he says as she sits down and buckles her seat belt.

"Thanks, you too." Marc doesn't know Exton, so Rowan had recommended Gino's, an Italian restaurant and pub not all that far from the Tavern. They talk as he guides his rental through the streets, now and then using a shortcut that she recommends. Thus it is that some fifteen minutes later, they pull into the parking lot of a small unpretentious eatery with red gingham check curtains. The smell hits him as he opens his door and suddenly he's starving. He goes around to open Rowan's door, helps her out of the car and they walk side by side to the restaurant.

Rowan smiles as she looks at herself in the mirror. She had changed out of her well worn jeans and put on a soft cotton paisley skirt in shades of blue and turquoise. A dark turquoise tank top flattered her figure and her hair, which she left down and only pulled back the front in small braids. She adds ear rings and adjusts her necklace, the silver goddess pendant that she is never without.

She take a deep breath trying to quell the butterflies she is feeling in her stomach.

Never one for a lot of make up, Rowan moves closer to her mirror and adds mascara, a little blush and lip gloss. She steps back and looks at herself again.

Oh for the love of... whats the matter with you? You are acting worse than a 16 year old on her first date.... 

But the next thought of ….I wonder if he will kiss me again... has her laughing to herself as she grabs her sandals and purse and heads downstairs to wait for Marc on her front steps.

Marc checks his reflection in the mirror for the hundredth time. Nothing has changed; he's still wearing soft well-worn jeans and a short-sleeved button-down with brown boots. He doesn't have anything stuck in his teeth and his hair is still neatly combed.

It doesn't do a damn thing to calm the butterflies currently having a cotillion in his stomach. You're an idiot, he tells his reflection firmly. Rowan isn't one to be impressed by fancy clothes or forty-dollar manicures. Relax. She's probably as nervous as you are. 

It doesn't help.

He sits down, tries to force himself to watch TV. It seems to work, until he realizes fifteen minutes later that he has no idea what just happened. The guys already gave me hell over taking leave for this date; wouldn't they laugh if they could see me now?

Pandora couldn't remember being happier than she was right now; Tanner looked to be making a full recovery and the family was gathered once again in harmony...the gars happiest when they could play the instruments and lift the crowd with their singing.

She glanced again at Ob,his wink telling her he was just as happy as she was. Pandora knew he fretted about his hair; she thought she might look into her mother's spells to see if there was a spell; or herbal concotion that might speed hair growth...although he was her handsome brute whatever way he wore his hair. Ob caught her eye with a wicked grin that said he was the same; regardless of his shorn locks.

Pandora laughed, and watched as the children imitated the rock movements of their fathers.

“Hey! Have you ever been to a real speakeasy? I mean, back in the day...” Raina asks Nick the second he wakes and enters their bedroom.

Nick grins, used to Rainas bluntness and knowing she would have a reason for the question.

“Is this a dig at my age?” Nick ducks the flying pillow. “Okay. Yes, a time or two. Why?”

“Why did you go?”

 “It was prohibition. I wanted a drink.”

“Just a drink...or was it the women?”

 “You are full of the questions tonight. Whats going on in that head of yours? And dont tell me nothing, I know better.” Nick sits on the bed with Raina and kisses her forehead.

“Well... I was reading some of the paperwork that came with the files for the house. That and some stuff that Tori dug up for me on the internet. Apparently, one of the owners, a madame, would have these 'entertainments'. She was arrested a couple of times but it seems a lot of people attended her 'soirees'. I thought it would be fun to do something similar...we could have a party... kind of like the ones they used to have here...”

Nick nods absently, his first thought that Raina always threw great parties and then the words started to sink in.

“You mean...not just any party, you want hookers here or an orgy or what? God in heaven, Ky will be absolutely ecstatic when she hears this.” Nick starts to laugh. “What am I going to do with you? And just who do you think will come to this 'party'?

Raina joins in the laughter, feeling good to just be happy after the last couple of months. “It would have to be invitation only and I think I would just ask people. That way no one can get a hold of a printed one and claim they were invited. And no, no hookers and no full out orgy unless we set aside a room for that.. that actually might work. Its more of a 'anything goes' party. Lots of good drinks, good food, open minded friends...We could set up different areas with different kinds of toys and playthings. ..”

“You really have given this some thought havent you?” Nick grins. Raina never ceases to amaze him in one way or another.

Raina stands and takes Nicks hands in hers. “I have.. I wonder if Ky and Gareth have any ideas... lets go start supper. We can discuss this over some food and a bottle of wine...”

Raina laughs uproariously at the looks on Ky and Gareths faces. Both being fae they didnt see the need or desire for a party of this type. Sex was a much more open and freer topic among their races, especially so among the Wyldfae. If everyone wanted to get together and have sex no one would question it or think twice. But once Raina started to explain Gareth started to warm up to the idea.

“Maybe we can just set things up in the ballroom..” Raina starts thinking out loud. Gareth shakes his head, “If you want to keep things feeling intimate, thats way too big of a room. I think we can use the living room and dining room for your 'areas'. If we set the bar room up for drinks, and a small buffet in the kitchen, there should be plenty of room. We can even use the patio if the weather is nice enough.”

Several ideas were discussed, some Raina made a mental note about and some she discarded. By the time the kitchen was cleaned up Raina had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to do. She was excited to tell Alise about it, even though she wasnt sure what kind of reaction she would get from her friend. Raina decides to call Alise and see if she is at the Tavern...

The Tavern is its usually noisy six o'clock. People were arriving early for dinner, keeping Monty, Patti, and the wait staff moving. Nothing like it would be in another two hours, but still....

From the stool of his drum kit, Ob watches as his beloved Witch-wife and daughter set the table for the first family gathered dinner that they have had in weeks. The Gargoyle Gypsy taps out a few licks as his son bounces in his walker, dancing in his own style to daddy's music.

Shaking his head, he feels the very tips of his multi-hued locks brush his shoulders. Ob strikes a cymbal in frustration. Pandora looks up and he smiles, hiding his frustration. Over a hundred years his hair was nearly midback. Now it was just over nine inches in length. A very trendy and wild nine inches, but still. The again... if it hadn't been the loss of his hair, it would have been the loss of his wing, and a wound so deep he would never have played drums again, much less lifted his arm. Pandora kept reminding him it would grow back, but... maybe he would keep it shorter, and let his wife be the bearer of the sexy long hair.

A sudden image of his wife in nothing but her hip length hair, a bed mask, and high heeled boots slips through his mind. At the way her knees seemed to lock, his wife had caught the image before it moved away. The look she cast over her shoulder reminded him of just how lovingly she had been tending to his... recovery.

A muscle twitches in his shoulder, reminding Ob he hadn't stretched out his wings yet today. Lengthening out his arm, Ob feels something pop. He nearly moans in relief as the cramp disappears. He senses Tori and Tannr before the door opens. There is a nagging concern in his sister's thoughts, so he watches as the couple come through the door. Tannr is pale, moving slowly as if pain still wracked his wounds. If it did, the Viking was hiding it very well, mentally.

Tannr eases onto a chair and helps Chloe to clamor up on his lap. She begins to tell her "uncle" all about the new spells she is learning from Mama'. Ob touches his sister's mind on a very narrow path.

What is it? Is something serious? 

No... we are just waiting for test results. 

Did Rowan start the filtering of his blood yet? Her hesitation is enough. Ob pushes at her until she gives him her thoughts.

No.. looks like she won't have too. Something is breaking down the iron. Ob, he had enough iron in his blood to kill three Sidhe Warriors. Over the past two weeks, the level has been slowly dropping. Mortuis and Rowan have taken samples of both Guunnar and Erik's blood to try and see what is different... 

But you're worried. 

She shoots him a glance and Ob nods. What if this is a precursor to something more? Who knew with Underdark.

Byte waves as he and the lead guitarist from Lunar Eclipse grab a booth. Ob nods to them and picks up the pace of his rythms. His thoughts turn inward, touching Allah's Light, but the sword remains silent. Whatever is going on in Tannr, is not enough for the Healing Blade to be drawn to it. That in itself is a good sign.

Ob starts to drum a fast rolling beat. Link, Lunar Eclipse's lead strings man, hops up on stage and picks up a guitar. Tori grins and joins them. Her low throbbing notes joins Ob's rythms and Link starts playing a familiar riff. They stop and Byte rattles some spoons from the tables. The small crowd hollers "WIPEOUT!" and the trio swing into the old surfer song.

 Teri bounces and claps, keeping pace with the music. Stoney and Alise arrive before the song is even midway. Their children race to the front of the stage, as does Chloe. They surround Teri, each bouncing and gyrating to the music, but letting the littlest of them still able to see his daddy.

Stoney steps up on stage and uncovers his keyboard. As the other song ends, he plays a few chords. It's enough that the others catch on. Tori grins, swinging into the chords, Link right behind her. Ob throws back his head and shouts "YEAH!"

Stoney laughs, and takes off with the lyrics, feeling Ob's concentration centered on keeping the rythm steady.

I been up, I been down. 
Take my word, my way around. 
I ain't askin' for much. 
I said, Lord, take me downtown, 
I'm just lookin' for some tush. 

He winks at Alise on the last word and sends her a mental cupping of her ass.

I been bad, I been good, 
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood. 
I ain't askin' for much. 
I said, Lord, take me downtown, 
I'm just lookin' for some tush. 

This time both Pandora and Alise feel a bit more groping. They roll their eyes at their husbands. The sister-in-laws grin at each other. Tori and Link begin trading the bridge back and forth.

Take me back way back home, 
Not by myself, not alone. 
I ain't askin' for much. 
I said, Lord, take me downtown, 
I'm just lookin' for some tush.

As the song ends Tori whispers something to Link. making her brothers start laughing. She puts down her precious guitar and picks up the mic.

"Looks like we are doing a few oldies.. and i don't mean oldies as some of us would see them...."

Tori steps off the stage and straddles Tannr's lap. The redhead drapes an arm over her lover's shoulder and pouts. Tannr touches her mind, but she refuses to let him see what she is about to do.

Link strikes a vibrating chord and the guys swing in a well known song by The Troggs.

Her voice is husky. The low sound vibrates through Tannr as if he licked a nine volt battery and forgot to let go.

Wild make my heart sing... 
You make everything 
wild thing... 

Wild thing, I think I love you 
But I wanna know for sure 
Come on, hold me tight 
I love you 

She rocks on his lap, undulating her stomach and torso sensually in imitation of her viper aspect.

Wild make my heart sing... 
You make everything 
I said wild thing... 

From nowhere, a reed pipe is in her hands. Its whispy tones and the sway of her body are hypnotic. Her flame kissed green eyes never leave his. Both arms slide around Tannr's neck, The pipe tapping his back, then gone.

Wild thing, I think you move me 
But I wanna know for sure 
So come on, hold me tight 
You move me. 

She moves closer, pressing her body against his. Tori's lips brush Tannr's and she forgets for a moment where she is. The sound of the guys' voices just make her smile as Tannr kisses her back, hard and possessive.

Wild make my heart sing... 
You make everything 
wild thing... 

Come on, come on Wild Thing 
Shake it, shake it, Wild Thing... 

The song ends to a thunder of applause. Tannr leans his forehead against Tori's and moans. She smiles wickedly. His voice is low, nearly a whisper. "Red, I can't get up... not right now... not with the kids here."

Tori bats her eyes and gives him an innocent look. She starts to slide backwards, grinding her hips a bit. "I'll move so you can get..."

Growling, Tannr grabs her roughly, hauling her back over his throbbing situation. "RED, Don't you fucking move...."

Rowan smiles as she leans back in her chair and stretches the kinks out of her back. She was used to getting up early, but today she was at the manse before sunrise.

She was pleased with Tannrs progress. The wound looked better than she expected, she had taken the IV out and Tori helped him shower. The remains of breakfast were on a nearby tray and all that actually remained were the dishes, looking as if they had been licked clean. A new dressing applied and Rowan starts to pick up her supplies.

“You look about a thousand times better.... any pain?” Tannr grins, “I feel pretty good. Only hurts when I am walking around or if I forget and try to lay on that side..”

Rowan knew he was down playing how bad the pain could be and the frown on Toris face verified those feelings.

“Okay. How do you feel about going home later tonight?”

Toris head snaps up before Tannr can answer. “Home? Is he ready do you think?”

“YES!” Tannr replies loudly, making both women laugh.

Rowan nods, “I think so. As long as you dont mind me stopping over daily to check on things. And as long as you take it over-doing....if you re-injure anything you will end up at my place. A fate worse than death or so I have been told.” Rowan grins but continues, “Seriously, Tannr. Broken ribs take time, that wound is still susceptible to infection and the pain meds will make you tired. Your finacee needs to rest too, not worry about you doing something that you arent suppose to...”

She looks at Tori, who looks better then last week, but still tired and pale. “As long as you both follow my conditions...”

Tori grins evilly, “Dont worry. If he doesnt behave I will get some duct tape and tape his ass to the bed...”

Traeger cut fresh baked country bread and sliced chunks of cheese and piled it with a cluster of grapes on a paper plate before shoving it over to Erin... "Sorry, no fine china today". Erin laughed and picked up the food with an appetite she didn't know she had... "Local goods? tastes like home". Traeger stopped in mid-bite to nod yes. They ate and talked about common simple subjects; the countryside, the weather. Erin felt really comfortable by the end of the meal  and decided to broach one of the subjects on her mind.

"Traeger, we have only met... and this may be none of my business, but I'm jumping in... are you here to mourn someone who died in the fire? I am aware of your scars; I saw them when you didn't know I was here... before you turned aside and wove the glamour spell."

Traeger looked at her with an unreadable look; as if he was reading her again, and then sighed and nodded. "Yes, I lost my wife in the fire. I shielded her the best I could and burned my face; but smoke inhalation killed her like so many others."

Erin scooted closer and laid her hand on his; and both felt an electrical tingle... as if somehow their energies flowed together. "I lost my parents and sister; we came every year... it is our home place of worship; or at least it was."... She hung her head a moment, remembering... then looked up again. "I have a hard time because I wasn't there that year; I had lambs birthing and I stayed away... several were first time mothers. I sometimes feel guilt that I lived".

Traeger squeezed her hand and another jolt shot through them; "Part of why I'm here is because I finally worked my mind around to realizing the Lord and Lady had a reason to keep me alive... a purpose... I'm here to discover what I am to do."

Erin felt somehow lifted by his statement; as if it opened a door for her too... she twined her fingers in his, ignoring the pulse between them  and looked directly into his eyes...  "I have quite a story to tell you about some dreams... maybe we were destined to meet right here... right now."

Erin told Traeger about the dreams; that they seemed so real... and deciding he trusted this woman; he told her about the family and friends he held near and dear.

Traeger told her about his beautiful daughter and his grandchildren... his son-in-law and other gargoyle relatives, the weres, and the tavern... and how the town as a whole drew the weird and fantastic to call it home.

Erin didn't display the shock he expected to see at his tales... "I have always been aware there were other creatures and worlds beyond ours," she laughed. "Remember, I grew up here in Ireland , among an ancient Celtic family... we have always been witches; and know that many legends of today were friends of our ancients. The forests talk to me if I listen; although today you caught me unawares... and I am often aided by gnomes and fairies when I venture to the woods in search of herbs  and other necessities."

"Well, guess we are not so far apart, are we Erin?"... Traeger said with a grin, "in fact; I can't remember being this comfortable except for Rowan." When he said her name Erin could see the pain flash in his eyes. "Its okay, she is a very special lady and wonderful friend; I wished for more... but she is the most dedicated woman I know about helping others. She cares for a whole coven of witches, as well as half of us in town. The Others like her because she understands their different needs,and never judges them."

Erin was listening with rapt attention. "I am so lonesome here, I feel like I serve no purpose... you, on the other hand come from a world where the fantastic is everyday... I would really like to see that".

Traeger made a spontaneous decision... "Erin, would you like to come with me on my trek? I would enjoy the company and you will see a lot more of the world before we return to Exton... are you able to pack and go? Money is no object; I am wealthy, and I promise we are only traveling as friends; although I think you are one hot lady."... he winked and Erin felt like a school girl instead of a woman of middle years. She had to admit that the moment he turned and she had seen him; she had felt some connection... was drawn to him; this trip could prove to be memorable as they grew to know each other. "I don't really have much, I can be packed this evening."

Traeger put away his basket and helped her with her tree planting; then walked with her through the woods to their cars. Erin was shocked at the sleek Mercedes he drove; but it was not some startling color, but a deep green so like the forest around it. So like a warlock she thought... we are ingrained to hide; even in plain sight. 

Traeger followed her to her home in the Irish countryside and admired the small neat house she called home. It was full of those touches that bespoke "woman"... dainty doilies of lace, flowers in vases; feminine in every way. They kept up a lively conversation as she bustled around; calling a friend to take her sheep, asking another to check the house periodically... and leaving Traeger's number with them as a contact. Erin smirked to herself as she did all this by phone; she could imagine the stories that would fly round the village after she left... well, this is where life was leading her.

Finally her two small suitcases sat in Traeger's trunk; and he shut the lid... "Well,Erin; are you ready to start our adventure?.. at least with all this traveling  we are going to get to know each other pretty well...."

He looked into her eyes with an earnest expression... "I don't think we meet by chance Erin; I think we are meant to be... where it leads us is yet to be discovered." Traeger took her hand and gave it a squeeze as he shifted into gear... and again the charge pulsed between them...

"We have to figure what thats about too, must be a witchy thing."... He grinned and started down the country lane... "Next stop; Scotland; home of Tori and Ike."

Erin awoke with a start; another of the strange dreams that had plagued her for the last three days. She would have put it down to the anxiety she felt each year at this time... when she made her pilgrimage to the forest where her parents and sister died, but the scenes and characters in the dreams were consistent and linked somehow. Tonight a new character had entered... a tall man, handsome and middle-aged with midnight black hair and piercing blue eyes. There was such sadness in those eyes... they haunted her when she awoke.

Were these actually visions? She had the sight,as her mother had... but she could not have imagined a stranger group of people... gargoyles, soldiers, women who all seemed to have bewitching beauty, it was truly a mystery.

She stretched and rose from bed... throwing open her terrace door as she did every morning; stepping out to face the sun with arms raised to thank the lord and lady for another glorious day. The sun glistened on her burnished brown hair;the soft natural waves drifting around her face, she greeted life through clear blue grey eyes... when she had a vision they appeared to take on fire giving them a golden glow. 

She had a soft rounded figure and was considered comely among the Celtic community. Erin was 36, a spinster in the eyes of many among the village... and the ladies were constantly dragging pictures of some nephew or son to try and turn her head; but she wanted none of it.

Her people had always loved but one; and she had never found the one that quickened her heart. Erin had turned away suitors till there were no men within miles that hadn't stood at her door, because her beauty was not just of the face and body... but the soul.

She emitted a sense of serenity and kindness that drew people to her... no vanity touched her face, she was genuine and sweet.

Today she was going to the forest glen where her parents and sister died in a tragic fire several years ago. It was a spring Beltaine festival and while the people worshipped the gods and celebrated the beginning of another cycle of growth and renewel... haters had set fire around them in the night; and few escaped alive.

Each year she returned to the site; wondered what had kept her away that night... why she was spared. Erin planted a new tree each time she returned, and broadcast wildflower seeds to help disguise the sparse injured area. It was a way to keep her family's memory alive.

Erin seldom relied on a car around the village; Ireland's green rolling hills and craggy outcrops pleased her and often she rode a neighbor's horse; but today she packed things in her small car and set out across the valley to the mountains in the distance.

It was less than an hour till she had her destination. Erin slipped packets of wildflower seed into her pant pockets and putting her arms around the tree container, with trowel in her back pocket she set out for the clearing.

Erin enjoyed the walk, stopping to listen to the birds... to watch a scolding squirrel... and before she realized it the parched meadow was in front of her. Along the edges of the clearing wildflowers bobbed their heads from her previous plantings; but the young trees she had begun planting did little to disguise the burned tree skeletons that littered the edges of the green meadow. She set her tree down and drew the trowel from her pocket, leaving them on the ground as she did her pilgrimage around the site... thinking of her sister's smile, the look of love on her parents' faces; and she paused to put her face to her hands and cry softly for all that was lost.

When Erin glanced up she realized she wasn't alone... a few yards away a man stood looking toward the meadow edge; he turned partially as he surveyed the scene and she saw the scars on the side of his face that revealed he was probably a survivor of this tragic fire... here to grieve his own loss. She decided to greet to let him know he was not alone; and as she drew nearer he turned... and shock must have shown on her face; because it was the dark haired man of her last dream...

The man looked at her, and turned aside... when he turned again his face was unmarred; she realized in that moment that he thought her shock was his scars; and she also knew he was a fellow witch... his glamour spell woven to conceal the scars that branded his face.

Erin stammered..."I am sorry; I startled you, I only meant to let you know you were not alone." She smiled that gentle knowing smile of hers; and he smiled in return.

"I didn't mean to appear offish, I was just surprised...  my name is Traeger." He was scanning her face, his piercing eyes missing no details of her appearence; his vision reading her heart and finding no fault there.

Traeger smiled softly at her..."I was about to enjoy a picnic lunch, would you join me?" He knelt and drew a basket from behind him,spreading a soft blanket ... he put the bread and cheese, the ripe red grapes, and a thermos from the basket on the open plaid quilt and plopped down on the ground... waiting for her to join him.

Erin felt at ease and sat beside him; waiting to know more about the man who so recently had inhabited her dreams.

I beat my fears over the head with a stick until they lie still and silent. I draw in a deep breath, letting love rejuvenate me. Time enough to mourn when there's cause for it... for now I'm going to live like there's no tomorrow and squeeze every drop out of every minute we have.

 I jerk again, drawing her closer to me and kiss her, feeling the warm ache of love flow through me like warm golden honey. Her body next to mine is all the world, the smile on her face all the reason I need to live. "Hey, old man," she says with a grin. "Think you're up to that again?"

 I stretch and groan. "God, you're insatiable." I look at her, skimming her curves with true appreciation. Eira's no anorexia queen, the lady has ample curves, all in the right places. She eases her lips next to my ear and whispers, "I want you inside me again...." she nips at my earlobe, then my throat... fastens her teeth there and tugs gently while her hand glides up my wakening cock. She releases my throat and whispers again. "I want to take charge... do you mind?"

 I shake my head no and she rises to kneel above me. Her eyes are shining and her smile is like the first light of dawn, driving the darkness away. "There's something I need to say," she says seriously. I prick up my ears, my eyes searching hers. "I don't have a lot of hang-ups, Jack... if something will give you pleasure, I'll probably do it for you - so please don't hesitate to ask. I like to play... I like to try new things, to experiment... if I think of something I'd like to try, I'm going to ask you about it. Nothing - and I mean nothing - is so kinky, so out there that we can't talk about it. I love you, and I want to make you happy, in and out of bed." She grins suddenly. "So if you have a kink that's burning a hole in your pants, tell me about about it. Odds are really good that we'll give it a try...." She takes my cock in her hand, strokes me. "Mmmmmm... you felt so good in my pussy today... I want more...." She rises up, sinks down on my shaft, slowly.... "God, yes, this feels so good already... mmmmm, baby, it tasted so good when you came in my mouth... I can't wait to suck you again...." Now she lies flat on top of me, begins to move against me, her nipples hot and hard against my chest, her tongue in my mouth, taking me in fully, moaning raggedly... I pulse inside her wetness, reveling in the feel of her pussy on my cock. "I'm yours, Jack... all yours, baby...." She kisses me deeply, her tongue playing with mine, her hands moving over my chest, her hips moving, grinding against me. "Mmmmmm, I love the feel of your hard cock splitting me open..." She rises up on her knees and begins to ride me in earnest, moving up and down my shaft, moaning with delight, squeezing her tits, pinching and twisting her nipples... giving me a show while she drives me insane. Now she adds a corkscrewing motion to her hips, tightening her pussy - she has amazing muscle control! - going slowly enough that she won't set me off prematurely, just fast enough to keep me hard... I thrash beneath her, my hips stabbing upwards, my hands gripping her luscious ass.... My head is spinning with the ecstasy of it; she may have amazing control, but I'm not sure how much more of this I can take.

"That's it, Jack... oh yeah, lover, fuck me, take my pussy, make it yours... anything you like, lover, just tell me what you want... God, you're so hard, you feel so good inside me, I love fucking you... oh yeah, baby, give me that dick!"

Like I have any choice in the matter... or want one...!

This slow careful fucking is making us both crazy and I can feel my control eroding... every heartbeat feels like it'll be the one when I explode inside her... she grinds hard against me, raking her clit against my throbbing cock and her control snaps. She starts slamming down on me, hard and fast. I grab her hips and fuck upward, meeting her halfway... I'm on the edge now, dizzy with need, can't hold on much longer... I feel her thighs trembling and then I explode, gushing deep into her sweet hot pussy... that seems to set her off, too, for she screams and drives down on me harder, faster, taking me to the hilt as I cum and cum again. She grinds into me, moaning and wailing and crying and cumming....

I don't remember much after that... except for the sound of applause and a familiar voice -

"Well, it's about time!"

Rowan watches as Marc disappears into the trees on his way back to the tavern. Her gaze shifts to the moon, bright in a sea of stars.

Her thoughts swirl, the week had been one of highs and lows, enough to make one dizzy.

Goddess, I know you put people and events in my path to teach me... and take them away as well, everything is a learning experience. But this many differences....what can I possibly.... 

Suddenly Rowan feels Marcs lips on hers again, the memory making her blush all over and his words, You are so beautiful... 

Smiling, Rowan stands and goes into her house. I must be sleep deprived and crazy....he cant possibly be interested in me....can he?

Rowan quickly gets ready for bed and sets her alarm, intending to be at the manse first thing in the morning. As she lays down she pulls a sheet up, the warm day giving way to a cooler night. Her thoughts tumble through the many mental lists she has going. Things to do for the coven, checking up on all the taverners kids and immunizations, if she could talk Alise into it. Things she needed to check for Tannr, his bloodwork, the wound, removing the IV if he was eating and drinking enough.

I might be able to let him go home soon if he and Tori dont mind me coming to their place for the dressing changes...and we can monitor his blood, try the standard treatment of taking a pint or so every couple of months until its back to normal. I need to speak with Mortuis about that one... 

Her last thoughts before she drifted off were of strong arms around her, happy brown eyes, and a deep voice telling her he would call soon....

For those of you who don't know... necking doesn't have to be a prelude to sex. It often is, but it doesn't have to be... sometimes it can even be something you do instead of sex.

Not that we have any intention of going to that extreme, but there's no rush....

Kissing and licking and feather-light touches... we kind of just flow along from one to the other, in no particular hurry... it's the journey, not the destination, right? This is our first real time together, a memory we'll share for all our lives... why not make it especially memorable?

Slowly, deliberately, I let my barriers fall, those layers of protection that have kept me from feeling anything meaningful for anyone for the last sixty years. If things should go south, at least I'll have the bitter consolation of knowing that I did it to myself.... I skim my lips over a nipple, eliciting a soft moan and murmur, "I love you."

They aren't just words. I feel it like a fire in my chest, like someone made the sun rise today just for the two of us. Part of me recoils, we can't do this, not again... I gently but firmly tell it to shut the fuck up and hold it down until it stops struggling. Eira hasn't spoken, but her eyes are wet. I lean over and place a kiss on each eyelid, then nip at her throat.

She rises without using her hands, pushes me backward. "I love you, Jack." Her hands move over me, soft as swansdown, the strength of her massueuse's hands waking each part of me to life... Her lips meet mine and she traces my lips with her talented tongue. She nips at my nipples and I jerk beneath her, giving up control, letting her lead... She cups my balls, drawing her fingers back slowly, teasing... my cock is hard as stone (no pun intended) and it feels like every hair on my body stands simultaneously on end, my body awake, aware - what Buddhists mean by mindfulness, maybe.... I let her take me with her, lose myself in the moment....

For the last little while she's been kissing me - slow, lingering kisses that have no purpose but to create pleasurable sensations... slowly, inexorably, she's been working her way south. I feel her warm breath moving along my shaft, throbbing in her hand... then she lowers her mouth and licks, making her way without haste from the base of my cock to the tip... My breath is shallow, not wanting this ever to end... the feel of her mouth on me is only part of it. I feel like I've been on a respirator for years - and now I can breathe. I encourage her with soft groans, my hips jerking involuntarily, my fingers with a deathgrip on the bedclothes... She swirls her hot tongue around the head of my dick, in no hurry, making the sensation last and last and last... She eases her mouth down my shaft in tiny increments, licking and sucking and moving up and down, back and forth, drawing the pleasure into a fine golden wire that thrums as her mouth moves on me. She takes me deeper, ever deeper... no gag reflex so far... Her eyes are calm, her movements slow and somehow calculated... I see a mischievous glint in her eye. She knows somehow just what effect she's having on me and she revels in her control. Deeper yet, and deeper! I groan and gasp and thrash like a fish out of water and she loves me with her mouth, building to the inevitable explosion.... She raises her mouth from my cock, looks me straight in the eye and says, "I love you." Then she takes me in her mouth, down her throat, swallows me without a trace of difficulty, her mouth moving up and down on my cock taking me higher higher HIGHER and then it's too much and I scream, roar, cry, bellow and cum explosively, bursting inside her mouth, jetting hot cum down her throat, my hips jerking uncontrollably... she doesn't miss a beat, just keeps on sucking and licking and teasing until I have no more to give, lying there utterly drained, quivering with passion and release and love.

I do love her. Truly.

God help me.

With Rowan absent on a well-deserved break, it is now my place to attend our patient. Thus I present myself in his room just after dusk. I quickly scan the room for children, relieved when I find evidence of none. Tourmaline notices and tells me with a mildly sadistic grin that Tara has returned to her own home. Tannr seems stronger, but by no means completely healed. Still his voice is strong when he wishes me good afternoon, and I take that as a good omen to his continued recovery.

"I regret, young man, that I must have another blood sample for analysis. Fear nothing, however; I have done this for so long that I daresay you will scarce notice it."

"He's tough," Tori says, eyes sparkling in more her old way. "He took a hit from a monster and came back from it, with your help and Rowan's. A tiny prick of a needle won't faze him."

And so it proves to be. I check the fluid level in the intravenous drip and advise him that he will probably be rid of its encumbrance upon the morrow, whereupon he smiles faintly. With Tourmaline's assistance, I compile a list of his solid and fluid intake and promise to send the elementals for his dishes presently. Through it all, I can all but feel the subtle communication between Tannr and his betrothed, and it is with an unseen smile that I bid them goodnight.

They've been sitting outside on the porch for awhile, enjoying the stars, the occasional cool breeze... and quiet companionship. Marc takes a deep breath and Rowan raises an eyebrow.

"So... what's the verdict? Can I see you again?"

Rowan is grateful for the darkness, for her face is suddenly hot and she's certain she's blushing as red as her hair. Stop that! she tells herself furiously. You're not a teenager!

"I'm just a plain blunt man, Mam'zelle Rowan... a soldier. You are a healer and a priestess. I am aware of the gap between us...."

...which Rowan, suddenly insecure as any teenager, interprets as age gap... but Marc is still talking.

"You are a diamond, Mam'zelle... I am nothing but common gravel."

Rowan is quiet, so quiet that the warrior wonders if she'd even been listening. Time passes and Rowan remains silent. Marc gets to his feet, certain that silence is to be his only answer.

"Marc... do you know much about diamonds?"

The question seems irrelevant, but he fields it neatly enough. "Not really."

Rowan wears a rueful kind of smile. "Neither do I... but I'm told that it takes an expert to recognize a raw diamond. Before they're cut and polished, they look like ordinary rocks." She looks up then, her eyes meeting his head-on. "They look like common gravel." She drops her eyes then and her voice is quiet. "I have a theory about people... I think we all have a few chips of diamond in us, buried in pounds and pounds of mud and gravel. As in nature, it takes a lot of searching to find them, and it takes skill to recognize them for what they are."

Marc stands motionless, head cocked a little to the side, absorbing this. Finally he speaks. "What does that mean exactly?"

Rowan seems to flow to her feet. "It means I'd love to do this again." Marc finds her somehow next to him and he draws her close, folding her in his arms. The kiss that follows is hungry yet tender and they take their time, reluctant to let this interlude come to a close; and so it happens that they both are a little short of breath - perhaps a little weak in the knees, too - when the kiss finally ends.

"Wow," Rowan says in a shaky voice. "Now I really want to do this again."

My heart gives a leap when I see Eira come out of the terminal. Other parts sit up and take notice, too.

She's evidently been getting some sun, even of the northern variety; her tan is about two shades darker than it was when she left, displayed to best advantage by shorts and a tank top. I watch and admire before I remember that I'm here to pick her up. This takes a while... no one ever said  I was quick on the uptake. She's looking decidedly miffed, so I approach from behind and take her by surprise.

The embrace and kiss that follows takes me by surprise. I disentangle myself reluctantly and pack Eira's stuff away in my truck, followed by Eira herself.

 Going home - home! - I have trouble keeping my eyes on the road.

Once we're inside, I dump her suitcase on the couch and gather her into my arms for a real kiss. This one is longer and hotter and altogether more intense than the one at the airport. Of course there's no one here to watch and criticize my technique....

"Nice tan," I murmur against her throat.

"Mmmmmm - oh, that's nice, Jack! - Sibyl has a pair of balconies that get the midday sun... Jeanette and I used to sunbathe there in the afternoon."

"Uh-huh... how extensive is this tan, anyway?"

She gives me an impish look. "Why, all over, Mr. Stone... would you like to see?"

When I imagined this moment, I was thinking slow and sensuous... lots of necking as we undress each other slowly.

In actual fact, it's more like a Weight Watchers group stranded at Baskin-Robbins. The kissing is hot and feverish, hands tugging clothes up, down, to the side - any way and every way to get to the bare flesh beneath. I have just enough time to appreciate that Eira's tan does indeed go all over, then she's plastered tight against me, her mouth seeking mine, our tongues intertwining, hands gliding over each other, no holds barred. We overbalance, fall onto the bed - which is where we were headed anyway... Eira lands on top of me and she grinds hard against me. "I want you, Jack," she murmurs between kisses. "Dammit, I want you inside me right now!"

That's my cue to roll over suddenly, pinning her wrists with my hands, holding her down with my weight. "You'll have me," I promise, grinning sadistically, "but you're going to have to wait for it."

 "Oh, HELL, no!," Eira cries. "I've waited too long already!"

I stop her mouth with a kiss... then another, and another. I tease my mouth over her temples, licking along the curve of an ear... tasting her throat, then taking it in my teeth, biting gently. She grinds against me, her hips undulating beneath me... "Close your eyes," I command. "Lie still. Enjoy...."

She makes a visible effort to control herself. I loosen my grip on her wrists, ready to clamp down again if need be. My lips and tongue move upward, over the slope of a golden breast, moving toward a hard swollen nipple... I take it between my lips and lick lazily, lingeringly... tasting her. I suck gently and she groans and her hips move sweetly against me... I take it between my teeth, nip at her... I tighten my teeth and tug, stretching her taut, lapping... Her eyes are tight shut, her moans soft. Her legs move farther apart as I move to the other breast, licking and sucking and biting, leaving marks... "Oh god, Jack, please, please... no more, don't make me wait any more, please lover...." I kiss my way down her belly, swirl my tongue in her navel, lick along the outside of her hip. She writhes beneath me as I kiss her thighs, moving upward again toward her dripping center. My nostrils flare at the primal scent of her and then my lips meet hers, just touching and pulling away... and again, my tongue snaking out, outlining her glistening lips, tasting her for the first time... She opens herself to my mouth and I lick and tease and suck unhurriedly, exploring her inmost recesses. She moans unintelligibly as I probe for her G-spot, glide my tongue along it with torturous slowness. Higher, ever higher... until my breath caresses her clit. She cries out then, her hips jerk, and I seize her clit, suck it hard, lash it mercilessly with my tongue. Her voice is gibberish, not one word in ten an actual word. I slip two fingers inside her, finger-fuck her hard while I assault her clit. She screams - again - catches her breath and builds to another climax. My fingers glide along her G-spot as I suck on her clit, bringing her higher higher higher. She screams lustily as she cums again. I go to my knees and thrust deep; her eyes go wide and her hips slam jerkily into mine as I fuck her hard and fast and deep. She whips her legs around my back pulling me in deeper, deeper... I kiss her hard, grinding my hips against hers, thrusting deep. She cums again, her body thrashing uncontrollably... I let go my control and cum explosively, filling her pussy with my juices. It sets her off again, which sets me off again and I blast deep inside her twice more before the passion releases us and we lie still, wrapped around each other....

Her voice is rough like suede when she speaks again. "I owe you for that, Mr. Stone...."

My voice is muffled, my mouth busy with hers. "I'll look forward to payback...."