From the Archives

Sometimes, the dance called life is graceful. Sometimes, you step on a toe or fall flat on your face.

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From the Archives

Post by Mairead Harker » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:13 am

Children's Day at the Imperial Grand - 2012
((Author's Note: The preface was written by Eregor's player.
Some of the artwork used to depict the spells of the Duel of Magic was created by the player of Bellum Sweetflower, who granted permission for their use for DoM projects. ))

Throughout the day, duelists from Twilight Isle will be giving demonstrations of spellcraft and spectacle to delight and dazzle children of all ages.
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Maggie took her place on stage in front of the audience and introduced herself. "Hullo! My name's Maggie Harker. I'm six years old and 'n' I'm a," she looked over at her aunt, who whispered something to her, "student at the Harker Duelin' ''n' Defense Acad'my." She fussed with her teal and white dress. "I'm here today to tell you 'bout makin' magic stuff!"

Murmurs went through the group from many of the adults about how young Maggie was. Some, of course, were about the irresponsibility of letting one so young play with magic. The children, though, were all eyes.

"Most important rule is ... never do magic stuff without a growed up or another kid that really knows what they.re doin'! Let me tells you right now, not all growed ups know that magic isn't always somethin' that we pick to do. My Gran says sometimes it picks us and we have to learn how to use it!" The child looked over the crowd. "For all you growed ups out there, if your kid has magic stuff and you don't, find someone to teach 'em! 'cause if they don't learn, they could accs'dently hurt someone!" She took a breath and looked over the faces. "So, like my Mama says ... don't try this without your magic teacher watchin'!" She gestured to those getting ready to present their portion of the show after her. "I brought a few with me!" She grinned impishly.

She took her plush bear off the stool that was next to her and set it on the stage. "This my bear, Snowstorm. Right now, he looks like an ord'nary toy bear." She crouched very carefully since she was wearing a dress. "He's what they call a summon and he only works for me." As Maggie petted the toy, it came to life and shook itself. "Snowstorm has two jobs. He's like a sports team, he does defendin' 'n' goal scorin'!" Every so often, she looked into the crowd and waved at familiar people. As Maggie talked, the little bear grew and stood on his hind legs. He was half the size of a full grown polar bear when Maggie stepped back to let the children in the audience view him. Excited noises and clapping went through the crowd.

Watching the bear, she trotted to the side of the stage and hauled someone to the middle of the stage.. "This is my Aunt Rhi. Say Hi, Aunt Rhi!"

Rhiannon wiggled her fingers and grinned. "Hi." Most of the audience waved back. A few catcalls were tossed Rhi's way by some of the men watching.

"Aunt Rhi's gonna shows you all what Wizard Blades looks like so's I can show you how Snowstorm does one of his jobs!" Hearing his name, the now full grown polar bear let out a soft growl. "You ready, Aunt Rhi?"

Since she was working with Maggie, Rhiannon used crystal magic. She cupped her palms together and a clear crystal formed. She murmured a word or two. The crystal exploded and sent icy shards toward Maggie. The bear shook his shaggy coat which began to glow. He stepped between the shards and Maggie to absorb the magical ice daggers.

"That's what we call the Armor spell! It helps keep people from gettin' cut up by the sharp things!" Maggie explained. "Now, I'm gonna shows you one of the winter spells!" She nodded to her aunt who repeated her prior actions and sent the crystal shards flying. Instead of being absorbed by the bear, this time it was countered with something else! Maggie delivered her charm in Greek as she was used to doing and in Common so it could be understood by the crowd. "χιών, καλώ την πολική αρκούδα και τους ανέμους του χειμώνα! Hiona, I call the polar bear and the winds of winter!" Maggie roared along with the bear. The freezing wind that rose up to stop and freeze the icy shards in mid flight also drifted out into the first few rows in the audience. Once the exchange was complete, Maggie stilled the bear with her hand. Snowstorm began to revert to the visage of the plush toy. Rhiannon whispered in Maggie's ear then move back to the side of the stage. Maggie nodded in response then set the bear up on the stool again.

"The last thing I'm going to shows you today is what they call an ill-oo-sion. That means it's s'pposed to make you see somethin' that's not really there. 'loosions aren't real. They can be like scary movies!" Her eyes got all wide and her voice was bit breathy as she explained. "They're very good for scarin' people without hurtin' 'em! So, if you're 'fraid of spiders, 'member, she wagged her finger at the group, "this is not real!"

Maggie didn't sing '"I'm a Little Teapot like she normally would have. Instead, she told a story. "Once upon a time, there was a lady named Ah-rack-nee. She was very good at weaving pictures into cloth! Her teacher was named Athena." Maggie grinned. "She's my Mama's aunt!" Behind Maggie, a shimmering spider web began to form. "One day, someone asked Arachne who taught her to weave such pretty things. They asked if it was Athena because Aunt 'Thena is the goddess in charge of that stuff." Maggie sighed woefully. "Arachne," she shook her head ruefully, "did a very dumb thing." " 'rack-nee told a fib!" Shocked sounds came from the children. "She said she had no teacher there was nobody on earth or in heaven that weave as good as her!? A spider about the size of a tarantula could be seen weaving the web behind Maggie. "Now, my Aunt 'Thena didn't like that much! so, she made herself an illusion and when she went to see Arachne, she looked like a very old lady. The old lady that 'rachne saw, told her that she shouldn't be boastful because her weavin' talents were a gift from the gods.. You knowed what that word means?" Hazel eyes looked over the crowd to murmurs from the kids.. "Boastin' means talkin' smack." Maggie gave her parents a big grin. Rhiannon and Dennis Harker were in the audience. The spider in the web had grown larger as Maggie told her tale. "Arachne smarted off 'n' told what she thought was an ole lady that Athena could bring it anytime 'cause she could do better than any ole goddess!" She made wide hand gestures and it looked like the spider was going to chomp her hand off! Gasps came from the audience. "And ... that was when Aunt 'thena sent the 'loosion away! There she was! She told 'rachne that she accepted the challenge!"

Maggie peeked over her shoulder at her creation in progress and grinned. "Oh, hi, George!" was the gleeful greeting to the spider. The large spider's fangs were bared then retracted. "So, where was I?" Maggie paused a moment in her story as a few reminders were tossed out. "That's right! Thank you!" She waved. "They had a contest with someone judging. The judge couldn't decide who did a better job of it! They were both very good! Aunt 'Thena got angry because 'rachne had been mean and not ree-spec-full of her teacher! So.. Aunt 'Thena smacked Arachne then tore up the bee-yoo-tee-ful work she did!" The web behind her tore in half. Arachne was sooooooo very sad that she hanged herself up with a rope!" The spider hung from a single strand of silk and was still. "It made Aunt 'thena sad, too, because she didn't want Arachne to die!" She gestured to the motionless spider. "So, Aunt brought her back to life, but as a spider. Arachne and all her children and their children, would always be weavers!"

The illusionary spider dropped down to the stage next to Maggie. Screams and shouts came from the crowd. "Remember, now." A wave of her hand dispelled the image. "Things aren't always what they look like!" Maggie gave the audience a graceful curtsy. "I'm Maggie Harker and I thank you very much!" She turned toward the others with a bright grin. "Ok, who goes next?"
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Re: From the Archives

Post by Mairead Harker » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:18 am

((Originally posted by Eregor))
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"That would be me!" Looking sharp in his top hat and tailed coat, Eregor stepped out of the wings and bowed to Maggie as the girl took up her plush bear, waved, and skipped off the stage. Turning to the still-clapping audience, he joined them in applause with a smile. "Maggie's fantastic, isn't she?" Raising both hands, he held them until the clapping died down before continuing. "Thank you all for stopping by on this glorious day, here at the Imperial Grand, to see our little magic show. My name is Eregor, and I believe you have all met the lovely and talented Rhiannon Brock." One hand swept back to where Rhi stood, and dropped as she stepped forward, beaming. "We'd like to show you all a little bit of how magic can change between different casters."

"If you ever try your hand at magic," added Rhi, "be creative and let your imagination shape the spell. For example, you saw me earlier sending crystal shards at Maggie, a spell type that on Twilight Isle is called Wizard Blades. Gory?" She turned to regard her cohort with a grin and a wink. "Show them how you like to cast that one!"

Matching that grin, Eregor gestured and a flurry of shapes formed in the air in front of him... a flight of hummingbirds, but made of paper, origami flyers brought to life through magic. They circled up and around his head before darting across the stage towards Rhi. Just before the first one struck, however, she vanished and reappeared upstage, wagging a finger at him. Meanwhile, the origami birds fluttered over the audience, looping in smooth, synchronized motions before settling down atop the heads and shoulders of delighted boys and girls. "Just a little something to help you remember all the fun you're having today," explained Eregor, the children's laughter bringing a smile to his face. "Now, you just saw Rhi get out of the way of my little birds; that was a spell known as Displacement. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't; that's part of what makes magical dueling fun!"

Stepping back downstage, Rhi held up one finger to draw the audience's attention. "For example, while it worked with the magic blade-birds, displacing is no good against something like this!" Speaking something in Greek, she pointed towards Eregor and a bolt of lightning streaked across the stage; he raised a hand, and a circle of golden light formed in the air between them just before the lightning struck. "For a Mage Bolt like that one, you're better off with a Shield."

"One last thing we'd like to show you, before we go for now... earlier Maggie showed you how illusions can be used to distract someone with a fright, but they can also be used to dazzle and amaze; this type of spell is collectively referred to as a Mind Whip." Eregor tapped the side of his forehead as he spoke. "So let the two of us, together, leave you all with a little bit of dazzle to take you into the rest of the festivities here at the Imperial Grand today, such as Shakespeare for Kids and the Black Cat Studio Ballet and Wu Shu shows... and be sure to come back for our mid-day show featuring Madame Rachael Douglas and Empress Mallow, and their spectacular sorcellerie!"

Rhiannon smiled brightly and added, "Jacen Balthazar and Siofra Kelley are scheduled to be making presentations later on as well. We are all part of a dueling team called Forces of Nature."

Turning to face one another, Rhi and Eregor bowed and took a step forward, and then another, before beginning to circle each other around the stage. As they circled, like a slow and intricate dance, their hands moved and lights began to appear in the air above and around them. The lights under Rhi's direction shaped themselves into mermaids, dancing and swaying in mid-air as they moved out over the audience. Eregor's display formed abstract swirls of color, a kaleidoscopic backdrop against which the mermaids performed pirouettes. Then, as the lightshow reached a crescendo, a rather silly-looking spider dropped from the ceiling and waved to the audience right before everything went dark.

The lights rose and there was Maggie standing in front of Rhi and Eregor, the plush bear in her arm. All three of them bowed to the cheers of the audience, and again, before turning with a final wave and heading offstage.
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Re: From the Archives

Post by Mairead Harker » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:26 am

A Ghostly Encounter - The Shanachie Theater


Maggie plinked out a tune with one finger on the piano that sat on the stage of Shanachie Theater. She sang, "Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O." She giggled softly before sitting down on the bench to play something more difficult. She closed her eyes and let her fingers move over the keys and play Beethoven's Für Elise.' When she was near the end, she had the the sensation of being watched. Her fingers lifted from the keys and she called out, "Hello?" Long dark pigtails swayed as she looked over her shoulder. "Who's there?" When no one answered, she went back to playing the last few bars of the song. She heard the noise again and called out, "Doran? 's at you?" When Doran didn't answer, Maggie rose from the bench and closed the lid of the piano.

There was a sound like the clearing of a throat before Maggie heard a woman's voice saying, "Hello."

Mairead Harker found herself face to face, more or less, with what the players at the Shanachie called The Grey Lady. The child's eyes widened as she took the full measure of the ghostly figure. Maggie had encountered far less friendly spirits than this one seemed to be. "Hi, I'm Maggie!" She smiled as she offered her greeting.

"You play beautifully for one so young, Maggie."

"Thanks, I practice a lot! My Gran says you gotta practice if you want to be really good at something."

"I'll be watching for you next time you're in a show." The Grey Lady smiled and turned to walk away.

"I'll be watching for you, too!" Maggie grinned. She'd heard a story or two about the ghost of Hortense Docquey, but this was the first time she'd actually seen her. She made a mental note to learn a bit more about the theater's history and its resident ghost. Maybe there was a play the lady might like to see or a song she favored. She should have sat back at the piano again to finish her practice session for the day. However, she was too excited and ran off in search of her partner-in-crime, who had been helping with some touch ups on the scenery for the current production. "Doran, guess what! I met the Grey Lady!!"

((Doran))


"Really?" Although he attempted to maintain a nonchalant attitude, Doran was unable to stop an excited smile from tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Lucky! I haven't had the pleasure yet, at least not close up." He stepped away with Maggie to take a break from the set work. "I've seen her from a distance, at the edge of the stage while I was up in the lighting loft."

Maggie's eyes widened a touch and she glanced up towards the ceiling where stage lights and spots could be seen. "All the way up there?"

Doran flashed a grin and nodded. "Yep. It's funny, I couldn't really see her face, but... I swear she looked up at me and smiled." He gave a little shrug. "So what's she like?"

((Maggie))

"She's very nice, but I don't think she knows that she's a ghost." Maggie shrugged slightly. "I didn't want to tell her because that might make her sad or angry." She tipped her head up again to see what Doran had been working on. "Can you show me how that all works?"
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon May 06, 2019 9:15 am

Eye of the Beholder - Taneth and Tormay's Wedding
((Originally posted on Sat Jul 04, 2009 ))

Colleen slept the sleep of the innocent. She was still being watched by her children and, perhaps, by two others, twins whose lives had long been entwined with her own. Her memory still failed and it troubled them to watch what was going on. While she slept, the part of her that remembered things in history that had long ago faded into the mists of time as legends rose to wander. It, no, she wandered to the glen to watch the union of two people that The Sleeper might not have remembered. The old one remembered and so she mingled among those people.

Familiar faces and not were present. Some were missing that she had hoped to see; others, she hoped might not notice. It was hard to hide from those that knew what she was. Those like Salvador that had the sight in some form or other. And, so, Sal received the first gift from the wandering specter, sprigs of heather. Magical things around him made him sneeze, perhaps the flowers as well.

The woman sitting with Sal, so pretty, a sensation of kindness seemed to radiate from her. Maybe it was only for Sal, but the ghostly woman suspected it was more. And so, a gift was left for the lass, soft purple lilacs. Fio, had that been her name?

The bride walked with an another of the old ones. One that The Sleeper and The Wanderer both knew well, Tass was what the people called him, but he had other names, those unspoken. As part of her gift to the bridal couple, the specter lit the path with stardust to give the bride and her company a safe passage, but someone had refused the gift and the pathway was darkened again.

The Wanderer faded into the crowd until she spotted the one she oft called Sprite having difficulties. The tiny redhead was unable to get a clear view of a wedding she had long awaited. A young woman she claimed as a daughter was the bride. And so a third gift, something for Tara to see better. A faery kiss and blessing was passed along before she slipped away again. Two among the assembled, women, had seen or felt The Wanderer when she was near Tara. She would leave something for each of them, a remembrance or gift or thanks.

She paused near Maranya, who had been weeping joyful tears. Two white roses tied with a golden ribbon and hanging from it, a single teadrop pearl were carefully place near the doctor. Whispers of thanks and welcome passed between a pair of dear friends before the specter glided along her pathway.

In passing the candy girl, a silver charm bracelet was dropped near her feet. The lass had not noticed right away.

The ghostly form moved along on its way to Tass and Kitty. Whispered words of thanks to the old one. Of all those present he had known her longest and best. A gift was left for Kitty, a sapphire gem. The Wanderer had no time to explain its meaning, but she hoped Tass would remember. While gemstones were a gift in themselves, this one was imbued with the healing power of the creature that had been bound to both Sleeper and Wanderer. The gem bore its image and they were rarely given outside of the warder's bloodline.

Onward to the two women that had seen her floating about. She must have seemed a lost soul to some. She knew those two faces from some point in time. One she knew as Bel from times long past that Mourne had spoken of as other lives and other lifetimes. The Wanderer left behind was a single white rose tied with a red ribbon and an oval shaped ruby tied to it. The only sign of it having been left was a gentle clinking sound as the stone gently brushed a wine glass.

The crowd outside one of tents was likely unaware that a gift was being blessed and left for the bride and groom. Something to warm them and blessing of happiness. She would not visit them in this form.

When she returned from delivering her gift to the newly wedded pair, The Wanderer sought out the second woman, Melantha. Those that guide dreamers are too often overlooked, but not this night. The specter left behind a peach colored rose and what looked like a tear made of crystal tied to it. It was a fey tear, the stuff of Earthly legend. A simple thanks in tangible form, a gift of a tear that could heal.

While her companion seemed seemed ready to hunt the giver of that gift, the Dream Witch spoke in whispers, "There are ways to find the bridges back."

The Wanderer knew this to be truth and answered in whispers floating in the wind, "My time will come."

The woman standing near, her face was somewhat familiar, a place called Red Star. The Wanderer did not speak to her, there was little time remaining.

Again Melantha spoke in calming whispers, "Do not forget the measure of time, yours is longer than some you hold dear. Their dreams call your name to come home. They miss you."

Her kindness would be remembered. Such things must be and such kindness must be passed along to others. That circle is best not broken, good things must be continued. Melantha's companion commented on lawyers. All The Wanderer could ponder on the matter in nearly silent words was... Where the blazes is Cheatum? We've got Dewey 'n' Howe! Again her words flowed toward Melantha's ears, "She sleeps and dreams. She has forgotten what once was."

As she passed the candy girl again, she gestured to the bracelet at her feet. The gifting finally made, she moved along to another face known to her. G'nort the ever dashing flirt. He never changes, always charming, always delightful. Quips were exchanged, he had always been wonderful at verbal sparring! A kiss was given and she moved onward.

A feeling of warmth came from the next person she visited, Aja. Words of welcome and compassion. The Wanderer had often suspected the woman was an old soul.

There was still something undone, The Sleeper could not do so, but The Wanderer could. Her gaze paused on the face of a handsome man. What amounted to an ancient trinket box made from soapstone was left near him. It bore the Eye of Horus on one side and a lotus on the other. The box was from the Eighteenth dynasty from an expedition run by a man called Carter. The small figure made of lapis lazuli, a cat, was revealed when the box was opened. It had been gifted to her when she had last visited part of this man's homeland. Or least the Cairo on the Earth she knew. She had little voice left this night.

His words came to her ears, "Five hundred years, more or less."

He remembered. He knows. So much to say, so much lost. So much that was unsayable.

"Thank you."

You're welcome.

"I do hope you're doing well, wherever you are."

And finally, she was able to answer, "Live your life well, be happy." A whisper of words and a gentle caress of fingers, "She sleeps..."

She wanted to tell him how lovely his bride was, how glad she was to feel that he was happy, so much to say... no time left. And she was gone.
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon May 06, 2019 9:18 am

Also from Taneth and Tormay's wedding
Original posted Fri Jun 26, 2009
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The spectral figure moved along. She left a few small tokens for certain guests. Onward to the presents table, she went!

What to give the happy couple? That was the dilemma! They already had almost everything under the sun! Possibly three honeymoon trips! What else could they want?? Or need? Then she smiled as she realized what she could do.

A large box was settled among the presents with the message, "To keep you warm," on the outer card A quilt made in the wedding ring pattern had been carefully folded and placed in the container with two matching pillow shams. Tied to a ribbon wrapped about the quilt was a silver unicorn.

On the card inside the box was written:
Tie this charm to your bed. It will grant you happiness and a long life together. When your firstborn arrives, tie it to the baby's crib. It has carries a blessing of protection for those that cannot defend themselves.

Fondly,

Colleen MacLeod
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon May 06, 2019 9:22 am

Meals on Wheels
Originally posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:34 am

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What had she been thinking? Delivering special meals to a hospital that already had a fully stocked and staffed cafeteria? Crazy, that's what it was! Or was it? Helping out an old friend, that's what she told herself it was. But was it really?

After years and years of maybe, maybe not, someday, never, on again, off again, Colleen was tired, worn, and lost. She needed change and maybe doing volunteer work of some sort would fill the gaps that had begun to open. She had plenty of things to do on the farm, but her children had slowly taken over one job or other. To lighten the load, so they said. The four oldest had found their places in the world. Chrisy was back and forth from Eldicor, but the boys found their places in the family businesses. The other children from nearly seventeen year old Garrick right on down to four year old Mir had lessons during the day. While she took an active part in her children's education, field trips, swordsmanship, equitation, and language studies, there was much she left to the professionals.

And so, she found herself bringing in meals for Riverview Clinic's Chief of Staff and the Director of Administration. Anya and Ali were often overworked. Colleen had seen the effects of forgetting to eat on many people. If Ali forgot, the wheels would turn slowly for the needs of the hospital in general. Anya, on the other hand, literally had lives in her hands. She had prepared simple things for lunches; salads, soups, and hot sandwiches. Dinners were a bit more elaborate. She was in day five, Friday, of her experiment and dinner for the evening was a Caesar salad, lasagne made with rich cheeses and ground beef and garlic bread on the side. She topped it off with dessert. What else besides something she often specialized in? Chocolate and in this case, chocolate mousse. Once that was delivered, she could begin planning the next week's fare.

On her way out, she couldn't resist, Collie stopped by the nursery to admire the newborns. She heard the oohing and aahing of the family and friends as they peeked in at their particular favorite. Something inside her felt that pull, that need to hold a tiny new life, but she had plenty of her own children. As she pulled away, she felt a sense of emptiness, a sense of loss. She muttered under her breath about getting back to the business at hand and getting her head out of the clouds, but she always had been a dreamer and part of a dream.

The rumor mill had been buzzing at the Red Dragon that for the first time in years, Colleen MacLeod might just have a date for Valentine's Day. She thought about putting money on the opposing side, but decided to let fate go where it would.
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Re: From the Archives

Post by Mairead Harker » Mon May 06, 2019 8:26 pm

An Invitation
Originally posted 15 & 16 July 2017
-----------------------------------------
The envelope was formally addressed to Doran Ilnaren and family.

Mr. Ilnaren,

You and your family are cordially invited to dine with the newly named, but not yet official, Baron of Old Market. You may bring an additional guest if you so desire.

This is also an invitation for you to serve as Squire for the district and wield its weapon of station.

Sincerely,

Mairead E. Harker



The reply, when it reached Maggie, was equally formal.


Miss Harker,

After discussion with my family, it is with great pleasure that we accept your invitation to dinner. A Wednesday evening would be ideal, given my current on-stage duties.

As for your invitation to stand as Squire of Old Market, I am honored by your consideration and humbly accept.

At your service,

Doran Ilnaren


Below the formal signature was a handwritten postscript. "I guess I'm going to have to learn how to fight with an axe, huh?"
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon May 06, 2019 8:58 pm

Back to Business 1
This was originally posted between 6 Feb 2009 and 19 Feb 2009. Part of the thread was written by the player of Ali al Amat and is posted here for archival purposes.
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While Collie had often avoided people for various reasons, she rarely shirked a responsibility. Despite wanting to knock that chip off the shoulders of the clinic's Director of Administration, she got back to business as usual. Either Colleen or Nicole, 17, and Rhiannon, 15, delivered the meals as per the agreement.

On Friday, she brought the last of the week's meals along with her granddaughter, Limele. Colleen was not exactly her normal self and the little girl's company helped her focus on the task at hand instead of reminding herself of something that had been cut short. The truth was that she was sadly mistaken, she had it wrong, she always did when it came to those things. She felt used and it hurt, gods, it hurt. She had spent Thursday morning crying on Dris's shoulder. When she finally cried herself out, he held her for the rest of the night. The redhead rarely let anyone see her tears, to even get a glimpse was a sign of deep trust. She was a firm believer in letting people hear her roar, but never to see or taste her tears. To allow it was a weakness, a weakness that she could not afford.

If only she had not opened up. Would've, should've, could've, it was too late for that. She'd opened her heart after saying "never again" and as always, the old wounds grew deeper every time. There wasn't a way to go back and change it. Kirin proved it wasn't a wise idea even when you had the means. Something else would go wrong.

For Anya, Collie delivered a Lemon Ginger Fajita Salad with chicken for lunch. For dinner, the side dish was Broccoli and Tortellini Alfredo and to go along with it, Lamb Chops with Orange Butter. Lunch for Ali was a Chicken Crescent Calzone; dinner was lamb kabobs. The dessert, however, was not of her own making; it was Ariana's baklava.

Letters written on Colleen's letterhead were dropped off with the food.

Doctor Maranya Valkonan
Chief of Staff
Riverview Clinic
Rhydin

Dr. Valkonan,

I have taken the liberty of drawing up a formal proposal for the Director of Administration regarding therapy animals that we discussed. I have modified the plan somewhat. Navarra Farms will take separate and full responsibility for any insurance costs incurred.

I will be out of the realm for a brief time. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, power of attorney has been granted to Ariana MacGyldren to act on my behalf in this matter. I have chosen Mrs. MacGyldren as she is a trusted friend and lives closer to the clinic than any of my grown children. My solicitor, should she be required, is Rachael E. MacLeod, who resides in Mellor.

Sincerely,

C. Colleen MacLeod
Navarra Farms


Mr. Ali al-Amat
Director of Administration
Riverview Clinic
Rhydin

Dear Sir,

I am writing regarding the recent discussion with Dr. Valkonan, Chief of Staff, regarding therapy animals. I would like to propose a formal agreement on the matter.

Navarra Farms will provide the dogs and handlers to facilitate this project. Initially, this will be twelve dogs and one handler per animal unless otherwise agreed. Collies, Alsatians, and several other breeds are available. The first, however, is the best suited for young children. If the dogs are to be housed on the premises owned by the clinic, funds will be provided to cover construction of suitable housing as well as other necessities. Medical care will be be provided pro bono by William MacLeod-Striker DVM. As to the concern of liability insurance, Navarra Farms will agree to underwrite and assume the full financial burden.

There is great potential for this project. Various programs utilizing a variety of animals to assist patients have had remarkable results. It is hoped that Riverview's patients might also benefit from such programs.

As I will be out of the realm in the near future, I should like to discuss this matter with you. If that it not possible, Mrs. Ariana MacGyldren will have power of attorney to act in the matter until my return.

Sincerely,

C. Colleen MacLeod
Navarra Farms

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Once the deliveries were made, there were other things to be attended to. Collie felt the slight tugging on her hand and looked down to find her very patient charge looking up at her.

"Can we go see the babies, now, Gran?" Limele asked.

"Of course, mavourneen, and, perhaps, an ice cream afterward."

At four, Limelenath Sulriniel had a tumble of dark waves that fell about her shoulders and hid her pointed ears. Like her grandmother, her eyes changed color according to her mood. Unlike Colleen, green meant the girl was delighted. She had the same curiosity in her eyes that her aunt, Rhiannon, did at her age. Her small sneakers squeaked as she walked on the buffed floors.

When they got to the nursery, Collie lifted the little girl up so she could see better.

"Gran, are we takin' one home?" Limele's face lit up as she thought about that. A little brother or sister to play with, to share secrets with, and, maybe, to lay blame on when she was caught doing mischief.

"No, love, they likely all have families to go home to." Collie couldn't help but smile. Out of the mouths of babes.

"But what if they don't??" Her eyes grew wide. "They'd haveta get a home, Gran!! The orphage is filled!!"

"That's orphanage, lass." She was trying not to smile, but it was a hard task given the girl's enthusiasm.

"Gran, can you get another baby? Like Kitty and Rick? You could bring them home!! And love them all up!!" She was almost bouncing as she thought about it.

Collie closed her eyes a moment. Just a few days ago, she'd considered that very thing, the desire to have another child. But dreams, even to the fair folk, were fragile things. Finally she thought of something to say, "I could, lass, but then I would not be able to take you gallivanting about." She punctuated the sentence by lightly tapping the child's nose.

"Aunt Dee Dee says Granny Kirin is getting a baby."

"Yes, she is and I'm going to see her."

Colleen was somewhat envious of Kirin. She'd seen how that tall and ruggedly handsome man looked at her and how Kirin looked at him. How wonderful to be so lost in someone else that the rest of the world disappeared for a time.

Thankfully, Limele's questions had ended and the young one was yawning. She was dropping off to sleep as Colleen went to the visitors lounge to make a call. Anyone is earshot could have heard her as her voice faultered, "It's me. Come home. I need you." It was all she said before closing the cell phone.
----------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Ali al-Amat
Director of Administration
Riverview Clinic
Rhydin

Dear Sir,

I am writing regarding the recent discussion with Dr. Valkonan, Chief of Staff, regarding therapy animals. I would like to propose a formal agreement on the matter.

Navarra Farms will provide the dogs and handlers to facilitate this project. Initially, this will be twelve dogs and one handler per animal unless otherwise agreed. Collies, Alsatians, and several other breeds are available. The first, however, is the best suited for young children. If the dogs are to be housed on the premises owned by the clinic, funds will be provided to cover construction of suitable housing as well as other necessities. Medical care will be be provided pro bono by William MacLeod-Striker DVM. As to the concern of liability insurance, Navarra Farms will agree to underwrite and assume the full financial burden.

There is great potential for this project. Various programs utilizing a variety of animals to assist patients have had remarkable results. It is hoped that Riverview's patients might also benefit from such programs.

As I will be out of the realm in the near future, I should like to discuss this matter with you. If that it not possible, Mrs. Ariana MacGyldren will have power of attorney to act in the matter until my return.

Sincerely,

C. Colleen MacLeod
Navarra Farms


"Lei, take this down and give it a read for me, would you?" Ali dropped into the chair across from his assistant's desk, laced his fingers together over his stomach. The chair encouraged slouching.

"Sure thing, Boss. Ready when you are," Lorelei chirped, hit a few buttons and looked expectant.

"Ms. MacLeod. I apologize for the delay in my response, and hope to speak to you upon your return to the realm. Pursuant to your proposal regarding the service animals to be made available to Riverview Clinic patients, Doctor Valkonan and I are in full agreement that this will be of tremendous benefit to both the clinic and Navarra Farms. Our partner in law will be in contact with your solicitor and Mrs. MacGyldren to start work on the contract, and our insurance department will work out the details of liability and present them for our joint review. Any materials you can provide referencing these other programs you mention would be of assistance in bolstering our promotion of the program to the community. Thank you for your willingness to...hmm."

"Willingness to what?"

"...something about helping the Clinic's patients. Help me out, here."

Lorelei squinted her big blue eyes at the ceiling, twirled a braid. "Willingness to assist us in our endeavor to..."

"...endeavor to..."

They looked at one another.

"Willingness to assist us in our endeavor to...encourage the growth of Riverview Clinic's ability to foster the health of children and families in Rhydin." Ali finished.

"Boss, no. That's way, way too long. You sound pedantic." Lorelei tapped lightning-fast at her computer, then said, "What about, Thank you for your willingness to assist Riverview Clinic in its fostering of the health of blah blah blah."

"All right. Anything else?"

"You might," Lorelei sounded almost...timid as she advanced the idea (perhaps the nurses were rummaging about in his personal life again, in which case it was already all over the hospital), "say something about wishing her a safe journey in her travels."

"Oh. Yes. Of course," Ali said. "Finish it out and let me see it, if you would."

Ms. Colleen MacLeod
Navarra Farms

Ms. MacLeod,

I apologize for the delay in my response, and hope to speak to you upon your return to the realm. Pursuant to your proposal regarding the service animals to be made available to Riverview Clinic patients, Doctor Valkonan and I are in full agreement that this will be of tremendous benefit to both the clinic and Navarra Farms.

Our partner in law will be in contact with your solicitor and Mrs. MacGyldren to start work on the contract, and our insurance department will work out the details of liability and present them for our joint review. Any materials you can provide referencing these other programs you mention would be of assistance in bolstering our promotion of the program to the community.

Thank you for your willingness to assist Riverview Clinic in its fostering of the health of the children and families of Rhydin. We wish you a safe and happy journey, and a swift return from your travels.

Sincerely,

Ali al-Amat
Director of Administration, Riverview Clinic

"That will do. Thank you, Lorelei."

"Well, yeah, Boss, it's what I get paid for. Sushi at one, don't forget."
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Mairead Harker
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Re: From the Archives

Post by Mairead Harker » Wed May 08, 2019 4:00 pm

Letters to Lyneth
This is a series of letters originally posted between Dec 19, 2014 and Sep 02, 2018 in "Of Gaul and Grangers." Part of the thread was written by the player of Lyneth Granger and is posted here for archival purposes.
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#1

Dear Lynnie,

Teacher says I should practice writing things. I thought it might be fun to send you letters.

I am very happy to hear that you are going to be a big sister! I gotta tell you that there will be times when you want to hide under your covers with a flashlight and read a book by yourself!

We are getting ready for Christmas and Yule at our house. Mama taught me about some other holidays that people celebrate. There's one called Hanukkah where people get presents for eight whole days! Some people call it the Festival of Lights.

I'm a Squire for Seaside like Aunt Rhi was for Old Temple and Battlefield Park. I'm learning to use this thing called a glaive. It feels different than my staff.

Trix has learned to play hide and seek. Mostly she looks for toys that got lost, but she learn more soon enough. Mama says Riddle used to play find the baby when Aunt Diana was little and tried to hide in Gran's flower bushes.

I'm learning to ice skate this winter time. Do you think your Mama and Da might let you join up, too?

Your friend,

Maggie
-----------------------------------------------------
#2:

Dear Maggie,

Sorry I did not writ befour the new Year. We had cake and partys and my mummy and daddy did lots of kissing.

The baby moved! He poked me in the eer when I hugged mummy and it made her larf lots and lots cos I called him a poo and he did it again.

We only did Chrismus at our house. And uncle Jon and auntie Lena came over at New year and there was lots of noise but I had to go to bed befour they went away. Did you have a gud Chrissmas and new year?

Daddy says a glaive is like a stick with a big niff on top. Does it make smashed taytoes too?

And mummy said I can do the skating with you cos I am too scerweeky and she gets tired and she says we will have fun.

Your fiend

Lyneth
--------------------------------------------
#3:

Dear Lynnie,

I'm sorry I haven't written in a while. Things have been very busy! I know we talk at school, but writing letters is still good practice and fun.

Congratulations on being a big sister! I know you will do a good job of helping your mama and da make sure your new brother is happy and loved. Mama, Aunt Rhi, and Gran helped me put together a few things that you and your family might need.

I picked out the wagon so you can give him rides when he's big enough to sit up and see more of the world. There's a blanket to for you to cozy up in and a bear to cuddle. Dogs are better snugglers, but sometimes, they aren't allowed on a bed. The music thing is for those times when you just need to hide and be by yourself. As great as having a little sister or brother can be, there are times when they cry a lot. I know it is all the voice they have, but it can be hard on the mama and da sometimes to figure it out. Sometimes, the best thing a big sister can do is make sandwiches and pour some juice or milk for the big people for when they are hungry and tired from taking care of the baby.

Gran sent the flying unicorn ornament. She said it's to help keep Baby Dylan safe from things the grown ups don't always see. It's sposta go on his bed frame.

Aunt Rhi and Uncle Eregor sent the stroller bike thing. It looks like fun to me!

I'm sending you a set of those walkie talkie things so if you need another big sister to talk to, I'm on the other end!

Your Friend,

Maggie
-------------------------------------------------

#4

Dear Maggie,

Sorry I havnet writ back sooner. The baby is very busy making.

Mummy says to say thank you for the you nee corn, and Daddy says I skeer him on the stoller bike thingy but that's good too. Dylan always go sleeps when we play with it, so i think its good! But we carnt do it in the house, 'cos larst time I runned over Loki's tail, and he cried. Carnt wait for him to be big nuff to use the waggon!

I learned how to make grilled cheese sammiches with Kaylee, only she uses a iron and Daddy buyed one special so we doesn't get cheese on our cloves when we use it on them. So now when Mummy and Daddy are tired, i makes dinner! With teh fairies, 'cos Oisin says I am trouble inna kitchen on my own.

There's new people onna Grove our age sort of and they might be comin to school with us next year. The Burny man got a little boy and a little girl, only the little girl carnt tawk and we has to learn how to make signs so she can tawk to us, and Dom got a girlfriend and she's got a little girl called Daisy, and Lila's changin' schools so all of us can go in the same car, and it will be noisy and fun! And Arnty Lena and Jazz are gonna have babies at Chrismus, and the Burny man will have a new baby befour that, so there will be lots of babies!

The bad daddy hasn't come yet. Im not sposed to tawk about it much, but he will come now that Dylan is here, and my Daddy is all nervuss and Mummy says we carnt leave Dylan alone ever until it is all over, and it feels like he is watching us. I jus want him to go away. He is a Bad Fae. If you see him, kick him inna fork and run!

This is a long letter. Im stopping now.

Your fiend,
Lyneth
------------------------------------------------------
#5

Dear Lynnie,

My Gran says that babies sleep really good when they feel safe. Mama and Da used to ride us in a wagon for things like zoo trips. Maybe when Dylan is big enough us big sisters could make a picnic for the grown ups and littler kids. The big garden downtown or the zoo would be a fun thing!

I like grilled cheese lots! I think it's very very good with tomato soup. Aunt Nikki says it's her comfort food. I think that means makes her feel happy when she's not so happy. Me, I like ice cream for that. Who can't be happy if they got ice cream?

I know the Burny man, too! Aunt Rhi's says his name is Johnny. His wife is very pretty and she has a sister that's ... I forget the word, but they look just like each other. That's gotta be brain spinny sometimes!

Maybe we should ask to have a signing class at school. I learned to finger spell and sign 'cause Doran's Mama can't talk. She hears really good, but she talks with her hands lots of the time.

A bad daddy is not a good thing. Dads are supposed to love and take care of their kids. The unicorn charm is supposed to help keep bad magic away from babies. Gran says some faery magic is stronger than hers even though she's old and very good at it. Ask your Mom and Da if it's ok and I'll ask Uncle Heph about special magic for a staff and stuff. We learn to defend ourselves in school, but you got a special worry and need to be extra ready in case that bad daddy comes.

Your Friend,

Maggie
-----------------------------------------------------
#6

Dear Maggie,

I am very bad at answering on time. But I'm answering!

The bad daddy is all gonned. He sent bad men to hurt my Mummy and Daddy and he tooked me away to make me say I was going to be a queen but I said no and I hit him and he gave up. And when I got back, I went whoosh and all the bad men turned into dust! Daddy was a bit bleedy but Mummy said he was okay and they was looked after by Tiernan who is my big brother what I did not know I had and he's magic like me. He does not like being called Nanny.

I heard you won a Barry Knee or something. Well done! Does that mean you has to wear a crown and big boots? And I sawed you in Miserable Les! Uncle Jon got tickets for the opening night and made me and Daddy go and he says me and Mummy will go and see Snow Queen to make it fair and you might be in that one too! I'm too yung for STARS, and Mummy says I can't make myself look older becoz I will still only be 4 and she wont let me cheat like that. But she was giggly, so it is a good thing. I like it when Mummy and Daddy are giggly.

Love, Lyneth

Pss ... Mummy says can you thank your gran for the you nee corn becoz it was really helpful and stopped the bad men from getting Dylan.
-------------------------------------
#7
Dear Lyneth,

I'm glad that bad daddy is gone. I'm glad your family is safe. Mostly, I'm glad you stuck up for yourself! That's a very important thing. Couldn't they wait until you grow up to be a queen? Seems really silly to rush you along.

How do you like being a big sister and little sister, too? Closest I have to a big brother is my cousin, Jacen.

I won a barony because I got a special thing called a grant that let me challenge a Baron. Rand was the Overlord and he could have given it to anybody he wanted. He said that I had proven myself to him, so, he gave me a chance. I don't get a crown, but I do get to wear a really nice ring.

Next time you come to the theater when I'm in a show, please have your Mama or Da ask the box office people or an usher to let me know! I can find you during intermission and say hello. You will be old enough for STARS after two more birthdays. That seems like a very long time, but it'll go by quick enough.

Big doings coming up for school soon! Mama said she will send notes home and put a note on the big notice board.

See you soon!

Love,

Maggie

P.S. Gran says to tell your Mama that she is very welcome.
--------------------------------------
#8

Dear Maggie,

I enjoyed Miserable Les. You was very good! And Uncle Jon did say we could come to the back, but I felled asleep and Daddy fort I should go to bed. Next time I won't!

I like being a big sister lots and lots. Dylan is all finkles and fums and he makes silly noises but he smiles and laughs at me lots and that makes me happy coz it means I am a good big sister. I dont know about being a little sister. Tiernan is not used to being hooman lots of the time so emoticons are hard for him. But he is a hork and a wolf and he can talk to aminals and he is going to teach me how to be a hork and fly!

Mummy says I shood esplain about being half Fae. There is two bits of me. There is the hooman bit which is nearly four and knows about emoticons and love and fambly and stuff like that. And there is the Fae bit of me, what is already bigger and growed up and knows the magic and elefants. But the Fae bit of me likes being a little hooman, so I stay littler for longer cos people like little girls and give me hugs and kisses and cuddles and I can say stuff and no one minds becoz I is small. The bad daddy fort I was all growed and he fort he could get me to go away from my fambly becoz he is Fae and Fae like him dont unnerstan emoticons and love and fambly. And he lost becoz my Fae bit knows about emoticons and love and fambly becoz of my hooman bit. I have a growed up face. I will show you next time if you want.

What is a barony? Is it like a kingdom? Daddy says you is Baron of Old Temple where the Burny Man works. Are you going to the fire pretention week stuffs? Mummy and Daddy said we are going to the cookit and the fireworks and mebbe the one next Saturday with the trucks and stuff.

It is foor weeks until I am foor. I want a party but I has no ideas. Help!

Love,
Lyneth xx
------------------------------------------------
#9
Dear Lyneth,

I'm sorry I haven't sent you a letter in a long time. I've been busy with school, you know that part, and other stuff. I'm the Baroness of Old Market. Old Temple is where Mama and Grandpa Tass used to be Barons. Mama had a fire station built over there, I don't know if it's the same one that Burny Man works at or not, but my Da says that having more fire stations means people can get help faster. That's a very good thing. I think that's why they are one of the projects Mama picked to do.

It's not a kingdom. It's more like winning a prize thing. While I have my title, I have a place to stay called the Cardinal Inn and as long as I keep winning, I get to keep it. My Squire is named Andre Esmond, he's very nice, works hard, and likes to read books! I am learning to speak French from him.

While I am Baroness, I picked to have Da build a care center next to the West Side Old Market fire station. Mama had that one built when she was Baroness in Old Market. Dr. Valkonan over at Riverview is helping me with care center. She's got the ideas on what should be there that I didn't know. I need to write a letter to your Aunt Caroline, the one that used to be on the council with Aunt Rhi. I think she would know best what bedding and other stuff we'd need. Do you remember that big snow they called Hannibal? Mama and I figured out that the basement space under the fire station and care center can be used to help keep people safe if there's another storm or something and they can't get home.

I think I understand some about you being half Fae. Mama is half Fae and half Greek goddess. My Da is human. I think it makes me confused sometimes, but Gran reminds me that I don't need to worry about being anyone but Maggie.

I'm sending you some blue rose flowers to plant and grow, this kind likes the winter time best, and some silk ones for a hair wreath. I named you and some of my other family and friends as my honor people for my challenges matches.

Love,

Maggie
-----------------------------------
#10

Dear Lynnie,

Last week, I lost my baron title. I earned my place in the sports history book and unless something goes really wrong, it will always be there. I just wanted to be taken seriously as a duelist and I think did that. I wanted to try for the big tournament thing, but I haven't been dueling well and lost three times. You have to win 15 times more than you lose to be able to sign up. Mama has signed up and I think she is hoping to win and get the Battlefield Park ring. That would be her third barony! She already had Old Temple and Old Market.

I lost the match 5 to 4, so I did my best, but Lirssa did better and has earned her time now. I am a little disappointed, but as Gran says, Life goes on. I will have other chances and have other things I like to do. I think Lirssa will find something she can do to help the people in Old Market. She's going to let Andre stay as Squire. I told him that he could still do his studying at school. He likes books a whole lot and I think he'd live in the library if it was allowed. While the barons don't have any power or responsiblities, I think people look for a leader. I hope I was a good example. My Grandma Harker says we should be true to who we are. Who I am is Maggie, an almost ten year old, who likes helping people and learning.

I hope the blue rose flowers are growing for you as good as they do in Gran's big garden. Gardens! I would like to spend some time working with Uncle Eregor in the gardens this spring. He has a lot of stories to tell and I can learn a whole lot from him. Over at the Botanical Garden, some of your fairy friends have decided to live near the beehive. I don't know if I'd like to live that close to bees if they get angry. The bees seem happy with the fairies living there since they are making honey in the winter time!

What do you think about kids asking grown ups questions on TV? If you could do that, who would you want to ask?

Write me soon!

Love,

Maggie
---------------------------------
#11

Dear Maggie,

I'm sorry you lost your title, but you was the youngest ever, and no one is ever gonna take that away from you! My daddy says that it isn't the winning that matters, it is the taking part, and even though I don't really understand that, I think he means that if you enjoy doing something, you should keep doing it, even if you're not very good at it. I think. But you're really good at dueling! Everyone has times when they are not so very good. Like Dylan ... he was really good at sleeping for a couple of weeks, and now he is not. Mummy says he has colic and that means he can't sleep proper, but that it won't last long, and I have to stop Knip from sitting on his head when he cries, even if I kind of understand why he does it.

The blue rose flowers are growing really well! I have not seed the fairies for them yet, but Nanny, my big brother, he says that sometimes fairies don't come out until they have been alive for over a year, so we have to make sure they have a good year and maybe next year they will come out and play. And the fairies at the Botox Gardings will be having fun. Fairies ride on bees sometimes when they visit each other, and bees get all cleaned up when they get too covered in pollen with fairies to look after them!

Mummy says I have to say that Nanny is atchlee called Tiernan, and he is a half-Fae like me, and he has a mate, and she is a weer woof called Faolan, but we call her Fay. We fought the bad daddy together at the Halloween, and it's all good now. No more bad daddy coming back to get us!

I ask my mummy and daddy questions all the time, and sometimes they don't know the answer, but they always answer. Doing it on TV sounds like fun! If I could do it, I would want to ask Mr Ebon, or Mrs Vicki, or the man who runs the Museum. I would ask everyone!

And I writted soon! Yay for me!

Love,
Lynnie
-----------------------------------------------
#12: Author: Mairead Harker, Can Be Found: Harkers' Island or Harker's Academy PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:00 pm

Dear Lynnie,

I am writing to officially ask your help with projects for Children's Day!

The big event is going to be a fair with rides and things over at the observatory and botanical garden. I'm hoping it will be on 15 April. I say hoping because I don't want to make the fairies or tree spirits over there unhappy. Most of them seem ok or happy with us kids running around.

I'm trying to find out the best way to get people up to Uncle Eregor's ship. It's way up in the sky and they can see the real stars and stuff instead of just the ones in the planetarium. I like the planetarium, I really do, but being up in the stars is way different different than sitting under them or watching them be moved where someone wants to put them.

Is there something you would like to do or teach people how to do it? They call that a demonstration. My cousin, Lyssa, makes dolls and she said she would demonstrate how she makes dolls. I think that will be fun! There will be craft and food booths.

I know! Maybe you could video record a welcome message for people going up to the ship!

Please let me know!

Love,

Maggie
-----------------------------------
#13

Dear Maggie,

Yay for Children's Day!

The fairies at the botanical thingy love all the visitors, and they like children, because children can see them playing. They just don't like their flowers getting picked without permission, that hurts them. I could ask them to do something for the day! Maybe they could show how to make flower crowns or something, and I could show people how to make friends with their fairies even if they can't see them!

I'm not very good with words still, but if it's a recorded message, I could do it over until it sounds right, couldn't I?

Oh! My Mummy is having another baby! Me and Dyl knew first - Oisin told me, and I told Dyl, and then Mummy knew, and she told Daddy, and we're having a baby sister! I will have one of each. Isn't that exciting?

Love,
Lynnie
------------------------
#14

Dear Lynnie,

You can record it as many times as you need to!

I think that the fairies making flower crowns would be great! I know not all people can see the fairies, but it would be wonderful if you teach them how.

This will be the bestest Children's Day ever!

Love,

Maggie
---------------------------------------------
#15

The note was tucked into an envelope with tickets for Lyneth and her family to attend the weekend performance of the RCCA's show at the Vivant Theater.

Dear Lynnie,

I am sending you some tickets so you and your family can go to the circus show this weekend! I hope you can go, it should be lots of fun! I'm having a skating thing on Saturday night at the Cardinal Inn, maybe your family can all come to that, too!

Love,

Maggie
-----------------------------------------------
#16

Dear Lynnie,

I wish you and Peter lots of luck on running for Governor!

If you two want to start up a Christmas in July thing, I'd like to help!

Love,

Maggie
----------------------------------------
#17
Dear Maggie,

Isn't it essiting? Peter and me reckon all the growed ups have gone boring. So we want to have fun again, like, for a whole year! Carnivals and fun fairs and stuff for famblies!

And, and if we're not guvnors, we might still do the Christmas in July thingy, 'cos that would be fun, only we got to wait and see, Mummy says. Mummy and Daddy have roolz. Which is okay, 'cos if I don't keep the roolz, then Dyl and Mia won't, and that's a bad thing.

She's all worried bout the debate thingy, 'cos she says every year it starts after bedtime, and that's one of the roolz, and I said I don't mind not being at the debate thingy, 'cos I don't like being tired and grumpy. You done the guvnor thingy, dint you? Does we have to fight people, too?

Love,
Lynnie
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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PrlUnicorn
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Sat May 18, 2019 10:57 pm

And Then There Was One was originally posted between 27 Mar 2013 and 15 Nov 2014 by the player of Marissa and is posted here for archival purposes
----------------------------------------------

Time, flowing like a river
Time, beckoning me
Who knows when we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river
To the sea


("Time" - Alan Parsons Project)

~~~~~

There were only two of them left, two counterparts of the same soul. There had been a time when there had been more, splintered, fractured one from the other, pieces of the whole.

She had spent years collecting those pieces, putting them all back together again. It had been a painstaking task, traveling through time and space to find them all. Some had come willingly, some had to be convinced, forced even, all of them slowly dying, withering away. Too fragmented, the pieces could no longer exist on their own. All of them had been gathered up, welcomed back into the collective whole.

They were almost like a family, all of them the same and yet different. All of them had lived different lives, different experiences, and yet, in a way, they were all the same. All of those memories and experiences were now hers to cherish, to remember, and to put to rest.

There were two left, but soon, there would only be one.

~~~~~

The portal was as it always was, but it did so much more than anyone might have guessed. It wasn't just a door to other worlds, but a door into Time. If one knew how to control it, the possibilities were endless. One could travel anywhere in time, space, reality. It was how her counterpart had managed to gather up all the loose ends, all of them but her, and it was how all of them had come to be scattered.

"I didn't think you'd come," a voice said, stirring her out of her thoughts. It was a voice she knew well because it was her own. She turned slowly, unsurprised to find another aspect of herself regarding her with infinite patience, understanding, and compassion.

"How could I not? We're dying, both of us, and there won't be any chance of resurrection this time."

The other winced, remembering a particularly horrible death and an even more painful rebirth. She'd often thought that nine lives was more curse than gift, and yet here she was, trying to cheat Death once again, gambling for a little more time.

She was young, after all, if time were to be measured in years and not experience, born only a decade ago in linear time, though she looked closer to twenty. The two of them looked so alike, they could have been twins, but for the fact that one had long, brown hair that flowed down her back and the other's had been cut short, nearly to her chin. Both of them were orphans, but not really orphans. A living contradiction. An enigma to those who didn't or couldn't understand.

"Will it hurt?" the other asked. The older one, the one with the short hair, the one who had dared to love, only to find herself alone. Always alone. Apart. Different.

"Yes," replied the younger, the one with the long hair. She could not lie, not to herself. It was not in her nature to lie, even when it served her purpose. She sighed softly, sadly. She knew of the other's pain, the heartache, the loneliness, because she had felt it herself. She had felt the pain of all the others, but they were a part of her now, and they were no longer alone. They need never be alone again. They had each other. "We were the first, and now we are the last," she said quietly.

"Which of us will prevail? Which of us will be left in the end? You or I?" asked the elder.

"Does it matter?" replied the younger. "There can only be one. I promise you this... You will never be alone again. We will always be with you." She offered an outstretched hand to her counterpart, warm and inviting. She knew the other had no choice. It was either choose this or they both would die. "It's time."

The other hesitated, fear clutching her heart. There were worse things than death, far worse. Pain, grief, loneliness, but this wasn't just about them. It was about setting things right. About fixing the past and with it, the future. It was how this entire adventure had started in the first place. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Her intentions had been good. All of their intentions had been good, but one could not change the past without affecting the future.

"Marissa, what have you done?" The words echoed in her head, a painful memory, an accusation. How had things gotten so complicated, so out of hand? "We can't fix everything. People will still die. It's the nature of things."

"This isn't about dying. It's about living. Do you still want to live?"

The question was rhetorical. There was no need for a reply. She reached for that outstretched hand, so like her own, fingers linked like two lost sisters. The portal shimmered with color and light, like a living, breathing thing, all too familiar. Warm, like a lover's embrace.

"Ready?" asked Marissa, looking over at her counterpart with a reassuring smile on her face. They would be together again, they would be one, they would live. All of them.

"As ready as I'll ever be," replied the other Marissa. She drew a deep breath to gather her courage and together the two of them stepped through the portal, hand in hand, separate but together, never to be alone again.
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Marissa awoke from the dream trembling and in a cold sweat. It had been the same every night for a week. She had begun to think perhaps it was more than a dream. Perhaps it was a message, a portent, a cry for help. The dream was always the same, and it always left her shaken.

There was a man in her dream - not just any man, but one she had come to know and love, one she thought of as a brother. She had not seen him in years, but not from lack of desire. His world had become inaccessible to her. The portals had closed and with it, her means of traveling back and forth, and yet she still felt a connection, as if their souls were inextricably linked somehow.

Perhaps it was the pendant they both wore about their necks that bore the crest of a rearing unicorn. Perhaps it was something more, some deeper connection she had yet to understand. There was magic in her she hardly understood - old magic, tribal magic, the gift of her bloodline, or perhaps a curse. Whatever it was, it brought her dreams on occasion, portents of things that only she could understand.

She rose from the warmth of the bed where she slept alone. Always alone. A solitary creature, like those of her kin. Yet as solitary as she was, there were those that she cared for, those that she loved. As she walked the dark halls of the home where her foster mother had once lived, the ghosts of the past seemed to taunt her. She remembered the laughter and love that had surrounded her early life, and the tragedies that had finally sent her away. Always alone, but never truly alone.

The dream had been dark, full of blood and death. Too much blood. Pain and suffering. An unexpected death at the hands of an assassin. It was always the same, night after night.

A dagger flashed silver in the afternoon sunlight before burying itself deeply in the man's abdomen, slicing through flesh and muscle and vital organs. The assassin twisted the blade to do the most damage and yanked it away before the warm spill of blood could stain his own hand. A dark stain spread quickly across the man's tunic, and he collapsed in a heap, eyes wide with shock and pain and horror.

She watched the scene play out night after night, watching as he died, unable to stop it, unable to save him, awaking in a cold sweat, heart pounding, and on the verge of tears.

She didn't know if what she saw was only a dream or a vision of things to come or things that had already taken place, but she knew she could not ignore it. He deserved so much better than this, so much better than what Fate had given him. Though she had not wanted to interfere in his life again, if she could, she would save him. She owed him that much; she loved him that much.

There was only one problem. In order to save him, she'd have to find him, and it wasn't so much a question of place as it was of time. The portals were closed in this time, but there had been a time not so long ago when they had been open, when she had traveled freely back and forth, when she had even brought him here to Rhy'Din for a while.

She would have to go back to a time before the portals had closed. It would not be easy, but it could be done. In truth, it had to be done. It was the only way she could save him, and she was the only one who could do it.
-----------------------

The Brownstone, Rhy'Din...

The ground floor of the corner lot brownstone was still outfitted as a shop with the two upper floors as living quarters. Colleen made her way around to the side of the building and rang the bell near the door to the stairwell that lead up. There was still a garden behind the privacy fence in back and Collie could smell the fragrance of newly bloomed roses in the air.

Marissa wasn't expecting any visitors, but that didn't mean much. Now that she was back in Rhy'Din, word was bound to spread through the family and it was only a matter of time before they all wanted to catch up. She might have guessed who it was that was waiting at the door. She knew it was only a matter of time before Collie came by to pay a visit, and in all truth, Marissa was glad of it. There was a matter pressing at her heart that she wanted to speak to her about. She wouldn't be surprised if Collie already knew that, too. Footsteps were heard coming down the stairs before the door was pulled open, and Marissa greeted her with a warm smile and a hug.

She returned the smile and hug as she kissed Marissa's cheek. "I was just stoppin' by ta see how yer settlin' in." Collie rarely came empty handed when visiting and had a basket of goodies over her arm that included fresh bread, sliced meats, and her infamous brownies.

Knowing Marissa, it was hard to tell just how long she was planning on staying. Settling in was something she wasn't very accustomed to doing for long. "It's a little strange, to be honest. Mum..." She broke off a moment, as if she was unsure if it was acceptable to refer to her foster mother in such a way anymore. "Kirin loved it here." She pulled the door back to invite Collie inside. "Would you like me to make some tea?"

She nodded as she replied, "I could go fer a cup." Collie didn't missed that hesitation. "Marissa, ya know, it's fine ta still call her Mum unless ya don't want ta do it anymore. She raised ya just like either o' us would 'ave raised a daughter we birthed. Blood isn't the only thing what makes people family." Her words were spoken in a gentle tone.

"I know. It's just... I miss her sometimes." But then, there was Colleen, who was as close to a duplicate of Kirin as she was ever going to get. It confused even Marissa sometimes. "I'm glad you're here. There's something I need to speak with you about." Speaking of family who wasn't truly blood. She led the way back up the stairs to the living quarters, knowing the layout of the place by heart.

She followed Marissa up the stairs. "Many o' us do. It's awkward ta have a piece o' yerself walkin' about. I have the feelin' ya know what I mean by that." Collie set the basket down. " I brought a snack, just in case." Some mothering habits were never let go of. She paused a moment as she considered Marissa's words. "What can I do ta help?"

She headed toward the kitchen to set the kettle on the stove and prepare two cups of tea. Tea was a tradition that had been handed down from mother to daughter, blood or otherwise. Few serious discussions ever took place that weren't accompanied by a cup of tea. She didn't want to jump right into what was bothering her. There were some things Collie needed to know first. "There's only one of me now," she started to explain as she moved about the kitchen, gathering the items for a proper tea.

Collie settled into a chair as Marissa prepared the tea. "I would think that is savin' on one's sanity. " She smiled a touch.

"Yes and no." She set out the cream and sugar, along with two cups and spoons, as they waited for the kettle to boil. "They're all part of me now. It's a little confusing at times."

"Like tryin' ta tie things up in a single package?"

"Sort of. I have all these memories inside me, and sometimes they get all confused." She frowned a little as she considered it. She didn't want to end up going mad, but sometimes it was hard to tell which memories belonged to which of her separate parts. "They're all different and alike at the same time."

The kettle whistled, drawing her out of her thoughts and she filled the cups with hot water to allow the tea to steep.

"Too many voices in the head, that I can understand all too well," she murmured as she took one of the boxes of brownies from the basket and set it on the table.

"What do I do about it?" she asked, letting her guard down and allowing Colleen to see just how worried she was about it. She knew she'd done the right thing in bringing all the pieces of herself back together, but sorting through the collective thoughts and memories was a real challenge. If there was anyone who would understand, she hoped it would be Colleen.

"Be patient wit' yerself. Try not ta get angry 'r frustrated when ya can't sort them out. I've had ta relearn a century 'r two o' things that I lost. Not quite what yer dealin' wit', Marissa, but just as confusin' 'n', at times, frightenin' because it feels like ya might be goin' mad."

She'd heard a little about what had happened to Colleen while she'd been away, but not first hand. She set a cup of tea in front of her and then took a seat nearby, wrapping a hand around her own cup as she contemplated her words. As quiet as she was, Marissa was full of caring for those she loved, and she loved Colleen, almost as much as the foster mother who'd raised her. "Are you all right now?"

"Thank ya." She stirred some sugar into her tea. "I have moments when things are buzzin' wit' confusion." She shrugged a bit then smiled. "About then is when one o' the children needs somethin' 'n' reminds me that life moves along, ready 'r not." She had her left hand wrapped around her mug and tilted her right hand, palm upward. "I think I'm as all right as I'm goin' ta be fer now."

Marissa took that all in with a thoughtful frown, waiting until Colleen was finished with the sugar before stirring a bit into her tea, along with some cream. "Now that Kirin is gone..." She wasn't quite sure if she should continue. As much as she was part of the family, she always felt a little bit like an outsider. "You're the closest thing I have to a mother."
--------------------------------------

"She is a goodly part o' me, ya know, but somewhere the path separated and we became two people." She set the spoon down on a napkin. "Her children are mine, by birth 'r by heart." She reached over to brush her fingers over Marissa free hand. "What troubles ya, Marissa?"

She found that simple, caring touch reassuring, her heart heavy with worry for a life that wasn't her own, but one she held dear. Her own problems were one thing, but there was something else troubling her. "Nightmares. I keep dreaming about... about Duncan." She thought she didn't need to explain just who that was; he was not only a close friend, but he had once been considered family. She had tried to help him time and again, but it all had seemed for naught. "I dreamed he died, but..." She shook her head, tears blurring her vision. The dream had clearly been a strong one.

She held out a clean napkin in case Marissa needed it. Collie knew that sometimes letting the tears flow was best and didn't force the issue. "When did ya see 'im last?"

She took the napkin in her hand, but didn't need it just yet, so long as she didn't think too hard on what she'd seen in her dream. It had seemed more vision than dream really, like she'd been right there watching it all unfold before her eyes, but she could do nothing about it. "Not since the portals closed."

"A couple years then." Collie pursed her lips. "So, there's no way to go see 'im wit'out ... special circumstances?"

"Right." And they both knew what those special circumstances were without saying it outright. "I know everyone dies sometime, but..." If she thought on it too hard, she was going to start crying again. She had often blamed herself for what had happened to him. She'd gone over the if onlys too many times in her head. "It was Triad. An assassin. Collie, he doesn't deserve to die that way. He deserves to be happy. I can give him that, I think." Oh, she knew what she was proposing. She'd thought on it long and hard. She knew she was playing with fire, but wasn't this one life worth the risk?

"Ya already know the risks o' changin' things. I don't have ta be tellin' ya that." She took a long sip from her tea. "How would ya get there wit' the portals closed? More important, how would ya get back?" She didn't know for certain if Marissa planned on coming back, but such things needed to be considered.

She dabbed at her eyes with the napkin before going on. She'd laid awake nights thinking about it and had only been able to come up with one solution. It had seemed so obvious once it came to her. "I'd have to go back to a time before the portals closed." The tricky part wasn't so much the how as the when.

"Ya already made up yer mind ta go, didn't ya?" the question was just that, not a hint of judgment or chastisement in it.

"I think I owe him that much," she replied, honestly. "The last time I saw him, he was miserable. He's family, Collie." It was Marissa's turn to reach for the older woman's hand, her expression not so much one of needing her approval, but her understanding. Colleen knew her well enough to know she had already made up her mind.

"There anyone what oughta be travelin' wit' 'im? Children, maybe?" She took Marissa's hand and held it gently.

"Rob," she replied. "His son." She wasn't quite sure about anyone else yet. She'd have to wait until she got there, but an idea was brewing in her mind. It was going to be tricky, and there would be repercussions, but hopefully, those repercussions would not be damaging to any innocents.

She nodded once as she lightly squeezed Marissa's hand. "It might not be easy convincin' either one that they should pull up stakes 'n' move. Especially if yer askin' 'em ta move worlds away."

"I know. I need something that will make him believe me. Some proof." She'd given it a bit of thought, but hadn't decided on anything specific yet. She bit her lip as she thought on it.
She knew enough of his history and background, but that wasn't really proof.

Collie smiled slightly, "This Duncan, is 'e from that same place yer Mum ended up?"

She nodded her head, wondering what Collie had up her sleeve. She wasn't smiling for nothing. "Yes, why?"

"Go to 'er afore ya see 'im. If memory serves, she took somethin' wit' e'r. It might be able a serve as the fastest way back, whether ya convince 'im ta leave 'r not. But ... ya would have ta use it afore the portal closes." Colleen remembered a mirror that Kirin had in her cottage when she helped with the delivery of the Lexington children. It served as a portal, but to only two places. She tipped her head. "How well does 'e know 'er?"

Marissa arched a brow, not quite sure what Collie was getting at, but obviously interested. "They were close friends at one time, before..." She frowned, not wanting to point the finger or place the blame on anyone for what had happened. "Before he got married." Before Cate disappeared. Before everything went to hell.

"Ah, I see. Not a fan o' his mate, was she?" Colleen studied Marissa's face. That was one of the few reasons Collie could think of for Kirin distancing herself; giving deference to a spouse.

"I don't know. Cate disappeared, and I tried to help him find her, but..." She shrugged. It was a long story without a happy ending. If there'd been a happy ending, she wouldn't be considering doing something as drastic as traveling to the past to straighten things out.

She pursed her lips as she considered a few things. "So, ya need ta choose a time after his wife took off."

"To see Kirin?"

"Ta travel back, aye." Colleen nodded. "If 'e was close ta Kirin, she might 'ave ways o' aidin' yer cause. Dreams can still be walked in, even in those lands."

She nodded her head. She could do that. The timing would be tricky, but if she was careful it could be done. Then she could explain to Kirin what she had planned. It wouldn't hurt to see her foster mother again either. It would do them both good.

"We are all yer family, sweetheart, don't ya ever ferget that."

She smiled at last, feeling better than she had when Colleen had first arrived. She reached for her hand and gave it a soft squeeze. "I know, and that means more to me than you'll ever know."

"Just... be safe, Marissa. Prepare fer everythin' 'n' hope ya don't have to face it."

She nodded again, unsure what she might have to face in the past. She'd faced death once already, but she knew there were even worse things than death. If death were the only thing to fear, she wouldn't be trying to save him, in the first place. "I know. I'll go see Kirin first, and then I'll go from there." There was no real hurry. The past wasn't going anywhere, and what was done was already done.

"Good." She set her tea down and reached to hug her.

Marissa was all too eager to return that hug. She'd been alone far too long and had missed the love and support that came with family. "I promise I'll be careful."

"Good, because I'll be expectin' ya ta be about fer Rhi 'n' Eregor's weddin' this summer.

She smiled at this bit of good news. She'd already heard and ran into Rhi herself, but was happy to hear of it again. It was always nice to receive happy news, rather than the alternative. "I'll be here. Don't worry."

"Good.. good.. " She grinned. "The colors are goin' ta be shades of purple like lavender 'n' lilac."

The conversation continued, turning to happier matters, family matters, matters that were worthy of celebration. That was what this was all about, after all - family. If there was one thing Marissa had learned, it was that family was not defined by blood alone. Colleen was family. Kirin was family. Rhi and Eregor were family. And Duncan was family. You didn't abandon family in their time of need. You saved them. One way or another, that was what Marissa intended to do.

((My thanks to Colleen's player for this scene and for all her help and support in bringing Marissa back to Rhy'Din.))
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Dreven, Spring 1275...
(Approximately six years ago)


Kirin was attending to the garden and humming a tune to herself. It was early evening and the cottage windows glowed from the lantern on the kitchen table.

The trip through the portal had been uneventful, though the timing had been tricky. Marissa had to carefully time things in order to set things right in the past, so that they could be resolved in the future. It was a tricky business, and if anyone understood, it would be Kirin. It probably wouldn't come as a great surprise for her to see her foster daughter there. Kirin always seemed to have a second sense about things, often knowing what Marissa was thinking before she even knew herself.

Kirin's dog barked twice as he heard someone approaching. It was both a greeting and reminder that he was standing watch. She set her gardening tools down and tugged off her gloves. "What is it, Cuckoo?" Her eyes widened as she caught sight of the young woman arriving. "Marissa? It is really you?"

Marissa smiled at the all-too familiar greeting. She had a habit of popping back and forth through time, disappearing for long periods and resurfacing when it was least expected. "Yes, it's me." She more than likely looked a little older than Kirin remembered, but like her mother before her, she seemed ageless and timeless. "I've missed you," she said, which hinted that this Marissa might be from some future as yet unknown to Kirin.

"Let's have a look at you!" She grinned and made a show of looking her daughter over. "Taller, I think. A bit more red in your hair." She flashed a wink at Marissa. "I've missed you, too." She kissed her cheek. "Come into the house and I'll brew us up some of my special tea. What will it be? Mints or cinnamon spice?"

Marissa smiled and kissed her back, her heart warmed by the easy-going affection she shared with the other, whether they were related by blood or not. "Cinnamon, I think, if it's not too much trouble."

"Pish, if it was trouble, I wouldn't have asked." She held the front door open for Marissa. "Not the grand houses of the past, I'm afraid, but it's comfortable and plenty big enough for now."

Marissa smiled, knowing a thing or two about where her mother would end up and with whom, but it was sort of cheating to tell her about all that. Still, there were some things that were yet to happen that she did need to know, but those things mostly concerned someone else's life, not Kirin's. "Sometimes simple is best. Aren't you the one who taught me that?" She pushed into the cottage, which she'd always found quaint and charming and had once herself occupied for a short time. Strangely, though that was part of Marissa's past, it had not come to pass yet in this time.

"True, I did." Kirin washed up and put the tea on. "I met this handsome fellow the other night, a shameless flirt!" Her smile just about lit the room as she set out a tray with honey and spoons on it. "Always did appreciate a man with sharp wits."

Marissa's smile faded and she turned serious, knowing it could be only one of two men. But which one was it? Where exactly was she in the past? Where most people needed to orient themselves to a place, Marissa had to orient herself to a time. "What's his name?" she asked casually, as she drew her cloak from her shoulders and hung it over a chair.

"His name's Will." She fussed with napkins and such, even in the rustic cottage she kept to certain habits like setting the table. "Got a teenage son. He seemed embarrassed by the whole thing. The son, I mean."

Marissa relaxed, seemingly relieved. "Oh, that one," she remarked with a smile, not wanting to reveal too much. It was almost too tempting not to tell Kirin what her future held, but there were certain rules to abide by, even though she was intending to break them for the sake of another. "It will work out fine, Mother. You should know something though..." she continued, with a frown.

A red brow raised, "It will, hm?" Kirin put the blended herbs into teaballs and set them in the mugs. "Go on ... "

Marissa knew whatever she told Kirin would be kept in the strictest confidence. She knew Kirin would not let slip what she knew of the future, unless she found it absolutely necessary. Marissa took a seat at the table, a troubled frown on her face. "The portals are going to close in a few years." If nothing else, that bit of information should give Kirin a clue that this Marissa was from some unknown future.

"Somehow, I am not surprised given the oddities of the mana here."

"The portals will stabilize and eventually work here, but there won't be any more travel to or from other worlds," Marissa explained further.

Kirin studied Marissa in silence for a bit as she poured the boiling water into the mugs. "In short, you're telling me to settle my affairs where I came from or go back." Her eyes locked on Marissa's. "The question is, what aren't you saying that you should?"

She shrugged, not really wanting to tell Kirin what to do at all, knowing it would all work out in the end. "It's just a warning, Mother. You're going to find happiness here, but..." There was that frown again. "I won't be able to visit you anymore. No one will. Not unless I travel back to a point before the portals closed, and we both know that's dangerous. You must already know that I'm from the future."

"I gathered that, yes." She settled at the table. "The question, my girl, is what is it you need ... or want to do?"

Kirin had never been one to beat around the bush, and today was no exception. Marissa came straight to the point. "I'm here for two reasons. The first is to see you. I miss you. But I also came to ask for some help. Colleen suggested I see you." She wasn't quite sure just how involved Kirin would want to get in this whole matter, but there was only one way to find out. She sighed, folding her hands on the table. "It's about Duncan."

"Duncan Mallory? There's a charmer." Her brows furrowed as what Marissa was saying sunk in. "What about Duncan?"

"Yes, Duncan Mallory." She was frowning again, knowing Kirin did not know half of what she did, and it was more than a little complicated. "I don't know how to explain, but he's family, Mother. He becomes... family. You know what we do for family."

"Everything we possibly can." She tipped her head. "Does he die from something other than old age?" Kirin had a way of cutting to the heart of matter.

That was where it got a bit sticky. Marissa had only nightmares of a possible ending for Duncan, but no way of knowing for sure if it would or had really happened. Since the portals had closed, she had no way of going there and checking, but there might be another way. "I'm not sure. I keep having nightmares. I think our lives are linked somehow. Colleen suggested the mirror."

"Did she explain fully what that mirror does?" The mirror in question was a full length standing mirror and in Kirin's bedroom at present.

"No," she replied, though she had something of an idea how it worked. "It's a long story, but the last time I saw him he was... He's broken, Mother, and I'm not sure he'll ever be the same. In my dreams, it's an assassin. It's always an assassin. Triad, I think. It's always the same. He dies all alone." There was such sadness in Marissa's voice, it was obvious that she had come to care for the man in question and was haunted by his perceived fate.

"The mirror, Marissa, is an escape route. It connects to the portal system here and while routing into the main one it bypasses the need to go into the tavern itself. It means, no one sees you enter or leave."

"What am I supposed to do?" she asked. "I need to know. I can't live with myself knowing I could have prevented it."

"However, it only has two destinations. Colleen's home in Rhy'Din and the homestead in Ireland. Either of those places would aid your quest, I think. The only thing you can do is try, but you must be prepared for the changes you will be making if you do." She studied Marissa. "There's more to this, isn't there?"

"Yes, but I'm not sure how much I should tell you. More lives will be saved than just one, but... another life may be forfeit."

Kirin withdrew the tea balls from the mugs and stirred honey into her own tea. "Is this a life that already exists?"

"No, he's going to meet someone. Someone who..." Marissa sighed again, as it was so very complicated. "There will be a child. If I change things, then that child will not be born. At least, not in this reality and not to this Duncan."

"An ethical question for certain." Her hands curled around her mug. "However, if the child has not yet been conceived nor the mother met, this is not a life being ended." Kirin drew in a long breath. "Had I not returned from when I was, three children would not have been born. And who knows into whose care your mother might have placed you."

Marissa nodded as she considered all this. She and Kirin had had these sorts of discussions before, and there was no one she trusted or whose advice she valued more. "I should see him in this time, I think, before I decide what to do for certain."

"Will he know you already?" Kirin paused a moment to consider her words, before saying, "If you need my help, you will let me know, won't you?"

"No, he won't know me. Not yet. But he knows you. Maybe it's enough."

"Perhaps." She nodded. "Get a good night's sleep and see him tomorrow."

Marissa agreed, and with that decision out of the way, the pair of women went about discussing other matters over tea, just like old times, at least for Marissa. Tomorrow was another day. She would worry about Duncan tomorrow. Tonight was for visiting with the woman who had raised her and who she loved like a mother.

((Many thanks to Kirin's player for the above scene and for all her help with this SL!))
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((Cross-posted for the sake of continuity.))

This is the first time I have ever put pen to paper, the first time I have ever tried putting into words an explanation of the life I have led. Few will ever be able to grasp its meaning or understand. It is, in a word, complicated. I'm not sure why I'm writing this, perhaps as some record of my thoughts for those who love me, in case I don't come back.

I am, in essence, a child out of time. However cliched it may sound, I am from the future, a future that may no longer exist. I am from another time, another place. There are many of me, as many as there are other realities. Countless really. Innumerable. Each one existing independently and without knowledge of the others.

My birth parents are dead, killed in an explosion. My siblings are being raised by my birth mother's family. I have not seen them since I was a small child. After my parents' deaths, I was separated from my siblings and raised by my mother's nearest and dearest friend. She is the only mother I remember; hence, the only mother I have ever known. Her name is Kirin, and her story is as convoluted as my own. Perhaps that is why she was chosen to raise me. Perhaps my birth mother, in her wisdom, knew she was the only one who would truly understand.

So many questions, so few answers. I have sought out the answers all these many years. It is partly why I am here, but there is more to it than simply that.

I have traveled through time in order to solve the mystery of my own life, but also, to know those who I could not otherwise have known had I remained in my own time and place. Life is like a web, each strand weaving itself through another until they all become interconnected. So many lives, so many possibilities. Countless really.

In one life, I am a child living with my birth parents and siblings in a cottage in the woods just outside of Rhy'Din. In another life, I am with my mother's family, being raised with my siblings far from the city. In yet another, I am the adoptive daughter of Kirin and Fox Mulder, raised with the children of that union as one of their own. That is the life I know and remember best.

In one future, I am dead. In another, I am lost. In still another, I am married and have children of my own and am living on a world far from Rhy'Din. And so it goes, but this is not about those lives. It is about this one. This Marissa. The only life I have ever known.

There were others who came from the future, but they are all part of me now. We live together in one body. We share one heart, one mind, one soul. I know them as well as I know myself. They are part of me, and yet, they are separate. All their voices speak in my head. Together we are as one. Together we have decided what we must do, and together we will do it.

There is one last life that needs saving, one last journey to the past. He is my adoptive mother's heart-brother, and as such, he is as much family as myself. His name is Duncan Mallory. He is from another world very different from Rhy'Din. One of us - one of the Marissas inside me - was in love with him once. Another died for him. His life is almost as complicated as my own. I have seen his life and his spirit destroyed as he fell into despair and lost himself in misery. I have helplessly watched him die horribly in my dreams, night after night.

He came to Rhy'Din once to find someone he loved. One of me brought him here, but it didn't work out, and when he returned to his own world, he was lost.

All of this is not just about one life, but three. A man, a woman, and a child. I have decided to go back, before his life became full of grief and tragedy. I do not know how I will prove myself to him or how I will make him understand, but if I do not do this, if I do not try, I will not be able to live with myself. He is family, after all, and I would do anything for family.

Perhaps then, I can find peace. That is all I want, all I can ever hope for.

Marissa Mulder
May 2014, Rhy'Din

---------------------------

What is it they say? Be careful what you wish for? I should probably take some of that advice for myself.

Duncan and Mara and Rob are safe in Rhy'Din and staying at my birth mother's old cottage in the woods - the one that belonged to her father before her. I've been staying at the Brownstone when I'm in Rhy'Din, but there are almost too many memories there. Too many memories at the cottage, too, but that's another story. Sometimes it's hard to sort it all out - all the memories of the various mes. Sometimes I wonder if it won't drive me to madness one day.

I know I'm welcome in Rhy'Din, but I've been thinking lately about going back to Dreven, or perhaps I should search for my birth mother again. I have been so busy these past years trying to save Duncan and his family and make them safe that I've neglected the home and family I have here in Rhy'Din, as well as those in Dreven. That door might be closed to me now, except through the past, and that is always a dangerous business. I warned Mother - Kirin, I mean. I told her the portals will close in her future, but I know she will be happy and content there, especially now that Da is gone. She raised me as her own, and I will always love her for it, but her path has taken a different twist than mine. Perhaps it's time I had a long heart to heart with Colleen. She's the closest thing I have to a mother now that Kirin is gone and my own mother lost.

Now that Duncan is safe, I'm not sure what to do next. I've never really felt like any place was home, but then home isn't so much about the place, as it is about the people. I have family here in Rhy'Din, at least. I know I'm loved and cared for, but I need to find my own way. I need to make a life of my own. I'm just not sure how.

Kirin was a dressmaker. Colleen is, well, complicated. They're both complicated. Life is a complicated business, I suppose, even more so for those who defy fate, as we have. I'm not sure where my future lies. I have little need of money and have infinite choices, and yet, I've no idea what to do with my life now that this latest quest is finished.

It's fall here in Rhy'Din. Only a few months have passed since I left to travel six years into the past. It's a lovely time of year, but winter is coming. The threat of snow in the air. The woods will become quiet with the dead of winter, but that is still another month or so away yet.

It's often tempting to lose myself to the tiger. There is no thought, no worry, no heartache when I am in that form. It is only about survival. I am still needed at the cottage, I think, at least, until Duncan and Mara feel comfortable here and are settled in. There is much to learn that they do not know. I will try to teach them slowly, so nothing comes as a shock to them. They're safe at the cottage for now, but they cannot stay there forever. Duncan's wish has always been to raise horses. Perhaps Colleen can help with that somehow, or I can help him find employment on one of the farms outside the city.

I do not know what the future holds for me. No one does, not even me. I can only hope that someday I will find a place that seems like home, and that I will find the kind of love and happiness that Duncan and Mara are now free to share. Until then, I will be the solitary creature I have always been, at least in this lifetime. Perhaps it's better that way. Opening one's heart to someone else only invites heartache, and I am lonely enough already. I often wonder what became of my other selves - the ones I have never met, the ones that live in all those alternate realities Rhy'Din is so famous for. Did they find happiness or are they, too, still searching?

At least, I am happy knowing those I love and care for have a chance at the peace and contentment I may never know. And that is really all one can hope for.

Marissa Mulder
November 2014, Rhy'Din


((Cross-posted from Motley for continuity.))
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Mairead Harker
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Re: From the Archives

Post by Mairead Harker » Sat May 18, 2019 11:20 pm

Maggie Stays Put was originally posted in Riverview and is reposted here for archival purposes.
Mairead Harker
---------

Easter Sunday 2016

beep beep beep

The slow and steady sound of the life signs monitor caused the sleeping girl to stir. Alternating between which eye she peeked out of, Maggie started to grumble quietly, "Can somebody please stop that frazzledtwitterbeepy thing from hurting my ears?"

Rhiannon Harker set her book on the nightstand as she stood up. "Hello to you, too, Maggie." She chuckled softly as she kissed her daughter's forehead. "I'll get the nurse and see what we can do about the beeping, ok?"

The ten-year-old's eyes squinted as she looked at her surroundings. "Why am I in the kids' wing ..." before she could finish her sentence, a mighty yawn overtook the child.

"Because, Maggiebug," it was her father's voice that greeted her ears, "you got sick on us this morning." Dennis took the seat his wife had vacated. "At first, we thought it was just a tummyache from the Easter treats."

Maggie's patience was growing thin with her father's verbosity. "Da! As Gran like likes to say, get to the finish line, please!"

Beverly Masters was a petite twenty something nurse that recently finished her graduate degree. She smiled thoughtfully as she adjusted the machinery that was disturbing her patient. "Are you always so feisty and short tempered, Miss Harker?"

Maggie turned her head and read the tag on the breast pocket of Beverly's uniform. "Feisty, yes. I'm not short-tempered, Miss Beverly, I'm impatient. That's a whole other thing!"

"Well, since your father is taking his sweet time like molasses moving in winter to get around explaining," she winked at Dennis, " I can tell you that the diagnosis was acute appendicitis. You had no bad reactions to the anesthesia. Surgery went well and you should be able to go home in 7 to 14 days."

Dennis started started to object, but Rhiannon spoke as she came back in with two coffees; one black and the other black with cream. "It's a matter of keeping a very active child quiet ... relatively quiet for a steady period of time so her body will do its job." She handed off the black coffee and sipped from her own cup.

"Mama! What about all that extra stuff that I'm s'posta have?" Maggie scowled.

"You've never been this sick before and we don't know which side of the family your healing factor is going to come from." She set her coffee next to her book. "So, we'll be here with you tonight then take shifts for the next couple of days."

"After that," Dennis said, "you'll be here be here with the other kids at night." He tucked the covers around Maggie. "You think you'll be ok with that?"

"MM... yeah," she sounded resigned.

"Doctor Valkonan will be in during rounds tomorrow. So will your surgeon, I'm sure he's notified her of your condition," Beverly said as she started to leave the room.

"Time to sleep, now, Maggiebug," Dennis finished tucking Maggie in as she drifted back to sleep.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Norse Lady
-----
Naturally, word got to the female Viking about Mairead's unfortunate health scare on Easter Sunday, and the resulting appendectomy. She also found out that Miss Harker came through the surgery with no problems, thankfully, but is stuck in the hospital for the next 7 to 14 days.

Therefore, Shy decides to go shopping.

Later that same day, Shy gracefully strides into Mairead's room during visiting hours flashing a pretty, dimpled smile at her favourite ten-year old friend. "Well na, Kid Clover," she quietly states, "you look as if you could use something to cheer you up, so I brought you a gift." Presents the young lady in the hospital bed with a large box wrapped in colourful butterfly-print paper, tied with a bright yellow satin ribbon and a matching bow.

Upon unwrapping the white cardboard box and removing its cover, Maggie will find beneath a layer of white tissue paper. . .

An Embroidered Backpack

Excitedly says, "Look inside, ja?!"

Items within:
What Happened on Fox Street paperback book (The story of one unforgettable summer?a summer of alarming letters, mysterious errands, and surprising revelations?and how a tuft of bright red fur gives Mo the courage she needs).

The Book of Girls' Activity Fun (Join Carla and her friends for hours of puzzle fun! Quizzes, Doodles, Secret Messages, Stories, and Mazes).

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book

Friendship Bracelets Kit

Mini 3d Butterfly Bookmarks

Coloured pencils

Crayons

With great affection Shy remarks, "'Tis my hope this shall bring you hours of pleasure while you recuperate. Ogs?, glad forsinket bursdag, min dyrebare venn, Maggie."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lyneth Granger
------------------------------
As promised - or should that be forewarned - by text, Lyneth showed up a day or so later with a big box of Get Well Soon shortbread cookies.



But that wasn't all. As word spread around Maple Grove of Maggie's indisposition, the trip to the hospital had been postponed to allow time for others to offer up a little something to make the time go by for the active young personality.

From the Storms came a Make Your Own Dreamcatcher Kit, and an animated photograph of Lir, the newest dragony addition to the family, putting out dancing flames on Fliss' hand with spat mouthfuls of water.

From the Old Man, Jon, and Vicki came Dancing Shoes, Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, and Theater Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild, packaged up in a beautiful basket that could easily be put to some other use.

And from Daisy, Dom, and Elle - despite their being on vacation right now - came The Complete Alice Compendium on audio (Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass).

Add to that a huge card signed by everyone on the Grove - including the animals - and it was a wonder Piper was even visible behind the care package.
-------------------------------------------------------------
Terry King
----------------


Get well soon! Be sure to demand all the jello and icecream you can while getting better!

- Terry

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Ebon Ilnaren
--------------------
It was midday on thr 28th when Ebon stopped at the Clinic and poked his head into Maggie's room. "Hullo, Maggie!"

"Hi!" came back the cheery reply. "You came to visit me?"

"Of course! I'm the Governor, so how could I not visit one of Rhy'din's favorite daughters when she's in the hospital? Besides, we're practically family by now." He flashed a grin as he settled into a bedside chair. "I've been laid up more than once myself, you know, so I understand how nice it is to get visitors." He set a little snowglobe on the bedside table, containing a scene of flowers--a small bed of clover, in fact--and when shaken it raised a cloud of miniature butterflies rather than snow. "Something to brighten the room a bit... although, I have to admit, the rooms here at Riverview are very nicely decorated, aren't they?"

He sat with her for a while and they talked about Children's Day and the Shanachie and duels. Ebon realized that he'd never faced her in the ring, and promised to take her up on a duel sometime soon, after she was back in top form. Finally he rose to leave. "Take care, Maggie, and get well soon!"
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annabeth Caldwell
----------------------
Annabeth came into Maggie's room. "Hey young'un, who gave you permission to get sick?" She threw a wink the girl's way to let her know she was teasing.

"I brought you a couple of books. My grandmother read them when she was a child, and then my mom did, and then I did. I managed to get you early edition copies, so you're reading the original text. I hope you like them."

She handed over a brightly colored gift bag with lots of paper. Inside were hardback copies of Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion and Trixie Belden and the Red Trailer Mystery.

"Get better soon, Maggie. The town's just a little bit quieter with you in here."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Doran Ilnaren
-------------------------
(afternoon on the 28th)

"Hi, Maggie!" Doran left the door slightly ajar as he slipped into his friend's room. "I'm done with all my lessons and chores for the day, so I'm here to visit until they kick me out. Or you do." He held a planter of flowers in one hand, and reached the other towards her, holding out a pair of envelopes. "The blue one's from Azure... and Olivia, technically, but she just got some grape jam on it. Azure turned the smudges into purple butterflies!" The youth flashed a grin as he set the flowers down on the side table. "I made the other one."

The front of Doran's card depicted green forested hills with the words "Get Well Soon!" Opened up, it showed the same scene with the sun rising above the hills, saying "You make our lives brighter!" While it wasn't great art by any means, it was clearly heartfelt.

As the afternoon wore on, the two BFFs chatted and played a few games. When Maggie tried to stifle a yawn, Doran smiled and drew a little flute from his pocket. He played a soft lullaby, letting the music drift her off to dreams before slipping quietly out and closing the door gently behind him.

There would be more visitors over the next few days, of course, but for now it was time to sleep.
----------------------------------------------------------
LadyAjaBird
----------------------
Aja peeked in the door at Mini Mate. Sleeping. Well, this was to be expected.
She tiptoed in, placed the gift on the over the bed table where it would be seen upon waking with the short note.

Until you are up and about, use this to keep an eye on things.
Love you very much

Aja


She placed a kiss on Maggie's forehead and went out as quietly as she came.



*The remote had a small screen that would show what the camera saw. :)

------------------------------------------------
Marissa
----------------

A package found its way to Maggie's room at the clinic with the following note:

Dear Maggie,

I'm sorry I can't visit right now, but hopefully, this little care package will help cheer you up. I'm not sure if you can eat the jelly beans yet, but you can always save them for later! Hope you're feeling better soon.

Love always,
~Marissa

P.S. I will try to come by and visit soon. There's someone I want you to meet. Be good! Love you!


Along with the note were the following items:




----------------------------------------------
Mairead Harker
-------------------------
Maggie was well rested after a week of mostly being in bed in the hospital. She was happy with all the visits from her friends as well as the unexpected cards and gifts. Each person that sent or gave her something received a thank you note. All the new books she received were shared with the other children as she read aloud to them. Reading had been one of her favorite activities since she was old enough to choose picture books on her own. She had learned that books opened doors to learning, let people travel without leaving their chairs or beds, and gave them things to talk about. The pretty new backpack from Shy would fit the all of her new books when it was time to go home. The care package from Maple Grove made her eyes widen. Her sister, Catie, would enjoy having the basket for an art project. Maggie found that sharing some of her gifts was more fun than keeping them to herself, so, she sat with some of the other children making friendship bracelets. She had made bracelets for Lynnie, Doran, and Azure.

She talked with some of the children about what they would do first when they were able to go home. Some, she was only able to visit through a viewing window in the isolation ward. Many of the children were well enough to go out with wheelchairs, but the quarantined children couldn't leave the hospital. After a talk with Doc Anya and another with Doran, Maggie started to form a plan. If the children couldn't be at the Children's Day Events then Maggie would bring it to them. The countdown had begun!
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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PrlUnicorn
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Sun May 19, 2019 10:46 pm

Originally posted: Thu May 07, 2015
---------------------------------------------
Shrine to the Mother; North of RhyDin City
RhyDin
Just before noon


Early in the morning, the matriarch and much of her brood gathered for breakfast and a trip into the city. Rhydin had imported the celebrations of Mother's Day and Beltane, this day was combining both. Sons, daughter, in-laws, grandchildren, and a few that were further down the line of generations were in attendence. She had even convinced Albert Hall, Maggie's godfather, to come along. He was family by choice rather than by blood or marriage.

Limelenath cleared some of the dead foliage before the family paid their respects. Each of the grandchildren stepped forward to place their chosen flowers at the base of the tree. They were followed by all but one of the adults, each setting forth a single rose of red or white to honor their mothers or the memory of them. Colleen moved forward and knelt before the simple shrine with her head bowed. She offered silent prayers for her mother, her sister, and two daughters that might have become mothers had they lived. When the redhead finally got to her feet again, the group dispersed into male and female. MacLeod House had been prepared for a Father and Son event. Family and friends had been invited to have a boys' day out while the Mother/Daughter picnic was held.

Rhydin Botanical Garden

The family's women and girls chose places near the carousel, shaded by an ancient oak, to spread their picnic blankets. Nearby, a net had been put up for volleyball and stakes were set for horseshoes. The refreshment tent, set up on the bandstand side of the conservatory, was featuring mead with honey produced by the garden's bee colony as well other dishes made from the foodstuffs produced on the grounds. The lively music of the band greeted those arriving.

Some of the children watched in fascination as a docent explained how the bees and ants went about their daily routines in their respective habitats. The insect colonies were behind locked glass doors and safe from curious little fingers.
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Re: From the Archives

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:01 am

Originally posted in The Rhydin Post on Mon Sep 24, 2018

-----------------------------------------------------------
23 Sept 2018

Tomorrow, when you wake, you will have a new Governor in office. It has been my pleasure for the past year to serve this city as your elected Governor. I hope that the next person, or people as the case may be, taking the reins of the office will have a positive impact on Rhydin and her citizens.

It has been said that the Governor of Rhydin is just a figurehead. While in essence that is true, it takes a strong figure to head up and support projects that are very much needed to create better lives for those living in and arriving in this place. A place that many of us have come to call home. Each candidate has his or her own ideas about what is needed most. Those that I heard speaking at the debate made fine points about their own causes. Regardless of who wins the election, I hope that each candidate will not let title or lack thereof stop them from achieving their goals in helping their fellow citizens. I shall continue to work toward improving emergency services, healthcare, and education for and of our citizens and offer any assistance that I am able to give to the new Governor.

Sincerely,

Colleen MacLeod-Fenner
Governor of the City of Rhydin
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