Old 06-29-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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Ghis (closed)

The good people of the northern English clan of Chester had been celebrating all week for the marriage of their princess to the Scottish King Brogan Ghis of the Clan Inverness, thus ending a long and bloody war between the two at the border of civilized England and savage Scotland. It was the first day of the year 1107A.D. on the day of their marriage; a new year and new hope. At least, it was new hope for the people, but not the princess herself. The people didn't know that Lord William of Chester had practically traded his daughter for peace, as Clan Inverness refused all other attempts. When Ghis had come to see the Princess of Chester to decide whether or not she was worth ending a thrilling war over, he was attracted to her immediately and signed the treaty there. There were some conditions, though.

If Brogan Ghis was found responsible for the physical harm of the Princess, the treaty would be null and void and Chester and all its allies would attack, as well as much of Southern England looking for an excuse to kill the barbarians.

The day came, Sunday January 7th, when the beloved princess was to leave home to join her husband in the Inverness territory. Thus far, Brogan had not touched her nor even asked her to sleep in his bed. He spent all his time at her side, though, as if defending his claim like some beast. Lord William of Chester awaited his daughter, Brogan beside him, in the courtyard of their small motte-and-bailey keep. This was quite new for Lord William, as he feared being outside very long, being a very paranoid man.
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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Lady Julia of Chester: http://2.bp.********.com/-RpxUm30wT5...csh7o3_250.jpg

A soft footstep sounded in the corridor as Lady Julia slowly walked towards her fate. Behind her the ladies of the household wept openly into finely sewn handkerchiefs. Julia refused to weep like a child. Crying would not solve anything. She struggled to convince herself that her father had done all he could to ensure peace between Chester and Inverness, but she was smart enough to know that it was a very tentative peace.

Her brother, the heir to her father’s throne, was a cold and brutish man and her father had no backbone when it came to matters of diplomacy. Brogan Ghis would not tolerate the young upstart trying to stake his claim in the territory of Inverness. The match had been made and sealed to keep the bloodshed from escalating. Chester would have been wiped off the face of the Earth if Ghis had not agreed to the marriage.

Julia was already past her prime, at least by the standards of her homeland. At twenty, her most formidable years were behind her and she had resigned herself to being a spinster, serving her aging mother until her brother finally came to power. Her future would have been murky and perhaps she would not have survived the change of power. Now, though, she didn’t have to worry about that.

It was strange to think that she was wed to a man like Brogan Ghis. She still felt like a girl in many regards. He hadn’t touched her since their wedding on that cold winter’s morning. Sure he had been by her side almost constantly, but they slept in separate quarters and there were no trying times as the women of the court had warned her. She as pure and driven as the snow that was currently falling on the keep’s courtyard.

Perhaps he didn’t fancy her as much as she had thought during their initial meeting. She had heard of men that enjoyed the company of other men, but she didn’t think that Ghis was one of those. It was in the way that he looked at her that she knew his true feelings. His gaze was heated and in his eyes, she could see so much. He was cunning, perhaps brutish, and eager to be home.

The thought of Inverness as home made her step falter and she forced herself to suck in a steadying breath. She stopped in the corridor, the ladies behind her halting as well as she pulled herself together. She could never have expected to have stayed in Chester but the thought of leaving was quickly growing unbearable.

Reaching up to adjust the veil which covered her tightly bound brown hair, she took a long moment to smooth her hands over her orange gown. It was brand new, laced tightly and made her incredibly uncomfortable. She didn’t like being on show and that’s exactly what her father had made sure of. She had been primped and polished, a new gown, fresh undergarments, her hair done just so, new shoes upon her feet. It was all to show his wealth, even if there was none. She had a part to play and she would do well to remember that until she was safely in her husband’s keeping.

Holding her head high once more, she continued her journey. At the end of the corridor stood her brother, his dark eyes narrowed upon her slight figure as she stood next to him and waited for his final words.

Maxwell regarded his sister, his saving grace, for a long moment before he finally spoke. “Remember, sister, that your loyalty is to your family above all else. Do not let us down.”

Julia glanced at Maxwell and schooled her features. He wanted an inside view into the way that Inverness worked and she was not the person that would give that to him. “Of course, dear brother.” She said softly with a slight bow of her head before she moved past him and into the white world beyond.

Her husband and her father stood waiting for her in the courtyard. The snow that had seemed so heavy earlier that morning had died down into small flurries of sparkling white. She had always loved the snow and dreamed of it during the hot days of summer. She wondered if it would be the same in her new home.

“I am very sorry to keep you waiting, my lord. Father.” She nodded towards both men, the women behind her starting to wail in a mourning cry that caused her deep embarrassment. “I was detained by my Lady mother with a final farewell.”
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
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Brogan stood with his weight on one leg, arms crossed over his broad chest. He was dressed in the way of his homeland now rather than the stuffy proper attire of the English that he'd been wearing during his stay. He was clad in a long black kilt, and though most Scotsmen didn't wear anything beneath theirs, the Inverness always wore long trousers beneath theirs, it was a difference that rumors said hid weapons strapped to their legs. Brogan also wore a dark blue tunic, a gift from the Lady of Chester, and a black cloak of fur from some foreign, unknown massive creature on his shoulders. On his left arm was strapped a leather guard sleeve studded with rings, and on his right wrist was a thick leather bracer. About his waist on a thick belt was a dagger and knife, and on his back was a tough old claymore of the highlands.

He brushed back a strand of his dark hair from in front of his darker eyes, and scratched his stubbled chin as he spoke directly to Julia for the first time all day. "Good lass," his accent was thick and his Scottish speech habits defined, "yer mother's th' one person ya never ferget t'say goodbye to." Behind him, his four Scottish brethren all nodded in agreement. He looked to them, "Two a' ya lads, ride on ahead t'Edinburgh territory. Tell 'em we're comin' and t'have a carriage ready fer m'wife t'ride in seein' as we ain't got one 'ere."

"Yes, m'keng," one nodded, clapped a second on the shoulder, and the two jumped up on their horses' backs, not needing saddles and only simple bridals, and they raced off.

"Ciaran, Cole," Brogan looked to the other two, "yer ridin' 'hind."

"Yes sir," the taller of the twin brothers nodded. Both had long red hair and were dressed similarly to Brogan but with differently colored kilts. Both jumped up on their horses, and Brogan turned his eyes to Julia and Lord William.

"We'll be off, William," Brogan put his accent into check while talking to them, knowing he was hard for them to understand more often than not. "I 'pologize that we couldn't get a carriage, but she'll be ridin' in one by tomorrow noon." He looked to Julia then, his dark eyes emotionless aside from the usual interest he had in looking at her. "C'mere, darlin," he brought his horse over for her and with pure ease, he picked her up and set her side-saddle on its back.
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:50 PM   #4
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There was a slight blush that heated her cheeks when he spoke of being a good lass and saying goodbye to her mother. Julia loved her mother with all of her heart, but the woman could be incredibly cold sometimes. When news of the marriage had become public, her mother had turned her nose up at the brutish men from Inverness but played the part of the gracious hostess and lavished Ghis with gifts beyond compare. Perhaps one day he would know how dark her mother’s heart could be.

She noticed how stiffly her husband stood in the courtyard, his eyes hiding an emotion that she could almost identify has discomfort. Perhaps he was more like her than she realized when it came to all of the pomp and circumstance that her father’s home demanded.

As Ghis called out orders to his riders, Julia yearned to tell him that he didn’t need to find her a carriage. It might have been a luxury that her station demanded but she had been a rider since she was very young. She didn’t want all the fuss nor did she want to be put on display as she had been all week. Still, she silenced her tongue and made a promise to herself that she would speak with him once they were away from her father’s home.

She parted her lips to wish her father farewell when she felt Ghis’s strong hand circling her waist. She let out a startled gasp as he hoisted her from her feet and sat her upon his horse without the least bit of effort. Dear God, she thought to herself. He will snap me in half!

Her startled green gaze turned towards his dark eyes and she stared at him for a long moment. What did he see when he looked at her? Did he see a frightened woman that wasn’t worthy of being his queen or did he see something more? The horse moved impatiently beneath her as it waited for its rider to mount as well. Finally breaking her gaze from his, she turned to her father.

“Goodbye, father. I shall write to you about this great adventure and no doubt Brogan shall keep you informed as well.” She had little to say to the man that she barely knew. Her father barely gave her a second glance when she was a child, more focused on his strapping son than an odd little girl.

“Well, husband, shall we be off?” She offered him a means of escape, her gaze turning back towards his as a cold, bitter wind picked up and swirled a great cloud of snow around them. Her veil barely clung to her hair and she only wished to be free of it once they were out of sight.
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:12 PM   #5
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Brogan didn't speak an answer, only easily leapt up on the horse's back behind her, reaching around her to take up the reins. He practically radiated heat, like the sun on a hot summer day. Giving his horse a nudge and only giving a final nod to William, they set off. The hardy highland horses were quick in the snow and agile on uneven ground and ice. They were off at just less than a gallop, as Brogan didn't want the horses to overheat and sweat, then freeze thanks to the water. It was a silent ride with Brogan aside from the occasional snort from his horse and its thundering hooves. Cole and Ciaran behind them were talking back and forth about their wives and children.

"My lil' girl, my eldest Jenny," Cole spoke up, "she's off t'get married soon t'that lad Gryl from Wales. Y'know, that high-class lad who beat my eldest son in archery an' spear-throwin'."

"Good lad," Ciaran nodded, "ya like 'im?"

"Proudly call 'im m'own son once they tie the knot."

"An' yer wife?"

"Loves 'im."

"Speakin' o' which..." Ciaran rode up beside Brogan and Julia. "M'queen, er... well, future queen," he smiled charmingly, "Y'ain't a queen yet by Inverness laws. Yer gonna love bonny Inverness, she's the mos' beautiful place in all lovely Scotland next ta th' Highlands out west o' it. Ain' that right, m'keng?"

Brogan nodded, "Almos' as beautiful as the Goddess who made it."

"I'd drink t'that if I 'ad a mug, m'lord." Cole called forward, making Brogan chuckle for the first time since Julia had met him.

"Yer really gonna like th' ladies o' Inverness, 'specially m'bonny lass Chessie, she runs th' keep's kitchen that ol' Keng Brogan calls 'ome."

"Beauty, she is," Cole smiled, "Woulda been m' wife if not fer you, ya rascal."

"Ain' my fault you're uglier'n' sin," Ciaran laughed and dropped back to punch Cole's shoulder playfully.

"Watch yer tongues, lads," Brogan warned.

"Oh, er... sorry, m'lady," Ciaran quickly apologized. At least they had manners enough to watch their mouths in front of a lady once reminded.
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:42 PM   #6
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Brogan’s added heat was very welcome on the chilly day and as he reached around her to take up his reigns, she found herself leaning back against his broad chest. She didn’t look back at her father as the hardy horse was kicked into a gallop. She didn’t shed a tear for her home even as she felt a panic rising at the thought of leaving the only home she’d ever known.

The silence between Ghis and herself stretched on as they barreled through the white terrain. The sound of his horse laboring to pull both of them onward filled her ears as she heard the occasional snippet of conversation from the men behind them. The silence was welcome and off putting at the same time. It gave her time to think, but it also made her feel undesirable and awkward.

She was startled as Ciaran rode along her side and gained her attention with simple conversation. She thought about his words for a moment, took them to heart and she managed a little smile. He was telling her about his home, explaining that it was beautiful and she could hear the pride in his voice.

“I’m sure it’s lovely.” She said softly, hoping that her words pleased him.

She flinched at the harsh tone of her husband’s voice as he scolded the two brothers as they playfully bantered between one another. “There is no need to apologize to me. It will take a lot more than words to offend me.”
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:54 AM   #7
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"'S'alright, 'e's right, m'wife'd slap me if I got much more... coarse, as Englanders say," Ciaran chuckled. "M'keng's th' best spoken outta our clan, can even dim down 'is accent fer people, or even change it. 'E's got a way wi' th' French Normans' accent 'specially. Romantic, th' lasses back 'ome say." Brogan simply rolled his eyes at this, but a small smile of amusement was tugging at one corner of his hard mouth.

They rode on all the way to Edinburgh and made it there just at dusk. A local clan had come to meet them, and their leader, a brute twice Brogan's size, bowed before Brogan respectfully. "M'lord Ghis."

"MacHavish back from Islay, ey?" Brogan smiled and shook his hand without getting down from his horse.

"Got 'em all scared'a ya, m'keng, no pirate hide there ain' quiverin' at th' name Brogan Ghis."

"Good man. Now, y'know of my treaty wi' the Lord o' Chester. Don't be attackin' 'im anymore."

"What 'bout the English east o' him?"

"Only if yer provoked." Brogan nodded to him and they rode on into the large town. They stopped an an Inn and Ciaran and Cole took care of the horses, and would be staying in a different room. Brogan walked along in front of Julia, and the innkeeper opened up a room for them.

"M'lady," the innkeeper gave her an unsettling grin, and Brogan clapped a heavy hand on his shoulder suddenly in warning.

"Thanks," Brogan growled, a warning for the man to get away from Julia. The Innkeeper nodded and hurried away. Brogan grunted, "Bloody weasel." He stepped into the room with Julia and closed the door behind them. He found it had no lock, and he didn't like that, so he found a chair in the corner of the room and shoved it beneath the doorhandle. "Don' need anyone sneakin' round..." He then turned to face Julia. She was all alone with him for the first time.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:10 AM   #8
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Julia realized as Brogan growled at the innkeeper that her husband most definitely hard a dark and unsettling side to him. He had been nothing but polite to her since their wedding a week before, but when he felt like she was being threatened, he would most definitely snarl like a dog protecting a bone.

She watched as the innkeeper scuttled away, a sheepish look on his face. Brogan closed the door before she might see more and she watched as he retrieved a chair from the corner of the room and shoved it beneath the door handle. He spoke of keeping the weasels out, but she wasn’t really listening.

It became painfully aware that she would be alone with her husband for the first time since their wedding. She watched him with those dark green eyes, a mixture of fear and curiosity clouding them. In such solitude, she could most definitely see that he was a hulking man made of finely chiseled muscle and broad shoulders. She felt positively tiny compared to him.

Say something, Julia, she said to herself. “I had only hoped the weather would hold out until we made it to your home, husband.” The weather? What was she thinking?

She let out a little sigh and turned her gaze from his and made her way to the grime covered window that looked over the small yard beyond. This entire situation was strange, she thought to herself as she reached up and carefully pulled her veil from her head, folding it with a gentle motion and placing it upon the pillow of the bed.

“You must forgive me, my lord. This is all so new to me that I am still not sure how I act.” She said softly, begging from him the understanding and forgiveness that she would need on this journey. “I cannot promise that our marriage will be a happy one, but I do swear that I will try my hardest to make it least friendly.”
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:31 AM   #9
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He didn't answer her for a moment, but then grunted as he pulled his claymore and its belt from his back: "Ain' nothin' to forgive." In other words, he didn't blame her. Or else he didn't really care. It was hard to tell with this man. He pulled the leather armguard off and set it aside, then pulled off his tunic. Revealed to her was a broad, bare, and heavily-scarred chest and thick arms decorated with Celtic knotwork designs of the sun and moon. And as he pulled off his gloves, she would notice for the first time that his hands were scarred too. On his left palm was a Celtic knotwork sun, and on his right was a moon.

There was one particular scar that she'd only seen the leading edge of before. It began on his jaw just below his left cheekbone, and stretched downward, across his neck and chest, and ended just below the right side of his ribcage. He scratched his stubbled jaw, thinking a moment, and then he muttered simply, "C'mere, darlin'."
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:38 AM   #10
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She turned from her view at the sound of his gruff voice calling her nearer. Julia’s eyes widened at the sight of his naked chest revealed to her gaze. She actually blushed as she traced along the numerous scars that he carried. She couldn’t pull her eyes away as she looked over the dark inked skin of his arms to the same darkly inked designs on his palms. Never had she seen a man such as Brogan. Never would she see a man like Brogan either.

Finally she turned her gaze towards his face and she nibbled on her lower lip as she took a step forward, her new shoes echoing dully against the wooden floor as she paused just before her new husband. Her heavy skirts swirled around her legs and she found herself rubbing her damp palms against the heavy wool. Nerves, she told herself. That was all it was...simply nerves that made her belly flutter with an unknown emotion.

“How can I help you, my lord?” She asked, her manners polite to a fault. To tell the truth, she was scared, not that her husband would hurt her, but of her uncertain future.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:46 AM   #11
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Brogan rose to face her and lifted a hand to her chin. His eyes searched over her own and her face, truly taking in her beauty for the first time. And then he spoke once more, his voice rumbling out of his chest like soft thunder. "... Take off th' dress, lass." Before she could make a move, he stepped away and came to settle at the head of the bed, his back against the wall and his arms crossed over his chest. His dark eyes cast over her expectantly, waiting to see if she would obey.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:55 AM   #12
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His hand was large and warm as he cupped her chin and looked down upon her face. Again, she nibbled on her bottom lip as his gaze flicked over her finely formed features. He was a giant, a king among his men, and her husband…a very complex man indeed, she decided.

“Take off…my dress…” She repeated, dumbstruck until the realization came over her of what he’d just said. “OH!”

Julia gasped, her eyes widened and her arms instantly came to cover her breasts even though she were still fully clothed. He moved away from her, settling against the bed of the bed with his arms folded across her chest as he waited for her to obey. Her heart was pounding and she didn’t know if she would be able to follow through.

It was silly really. He was her husband. They had been married a week. This moment should have happened that first night but he had held off on his request until now…in a strange inn…with others just on the other side of the thin wall. She cast a glance towards the wall for a moment before turning back towards him.

It was a battle between her stubborn streak and her sense of hope. Part of her balked at the thought of him cooling ordering her to undress while part of her was saddened that her husband was not more…understanding. She’d never been with a man before. That he had to know as it was part of the marriage negotiations. And yet, there he was…staring at her with an expectant look upon his face.

“I suppose…” Her voice was trembling as she reached for the ties on the bodice of her new dress. Pulling on the lacy strings, she soon was stripped to her undergarments, the orange fabric pooling at her feet as she struggled to stand before him.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:07 AM   #13
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"I know what you're thinking," he deadened his accent, even made it slightly English for her. "And you're wrong. By my clan's reckoning, you're still my fiancee. We aren't Christians or Catholics or whatever the English are, so the wedding at Chester was just... a courtesy to your people." He then motioned her over slowly, and his accent thickened, "But I'd still like t'enjoy m' future wife's company, e'en if I can't 'ave 'er yet." He patted a spot on the bed beside him for her to join him.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:15 AM   #14
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Brogan’s words were like a bucket of cold water tossed over her. She actually shivered as he told her that in the eyes of his clan they were not man and wife. What did that mean, she asked herself as he crooked his finger at her and motioned her towards the bed. They had been wed in her father’s home. Surely that meant something to him…

“If you are telling me that we are not married then it would be incredibly inappropriate to get into that bed with you, my lord.” She said, her eyes narrowing slightly as she kept her arms crossed over her chest in a protective manner.

Sucking in a deep breath, she let out a long, slow sigh as she thought through the situation. It was incredibly ignorant of her to think that he believed in the same things that she did. It would make her nearly as barbaric as most people believed the Inverness clan to be. What choice did she have to deny him?

It took a long moment before she slowly lowered her arms from her breasts, allowing him to see her in her undergarments as she bent to remove her shoes and found her way to the spot that he patted next to him on the bed.

“You are a very complicated man, Brogan.” She said softly, using his name for the very first time.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:22 AM   #15
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"I'm bloody simple compared t' yer English ways," he muttered and wrapped an arm around her, drawing her in close. He looked down upon her, and then placed an oddly gentle kiss to her cheek. It held no tenderness, it seemed more like a claim on her. Then, thinking of something, he asked, "Would ya rather a horse 'r a carriage t'ride t'morrow? Noticed ya didn' seem thrilled wi' the idea of a carriage back in Chester."
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:28 AM   #16
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“More like backwards.” She groused as he wrapped an arm around her body and drew her close. His words about the English stung a little and while she could ignore most of it, she was sure that there would be times that they had words with one another.

Dear God, his arm was nearly as thick as her waist, she thought to herself as he leaned down and placed a kiss to her cheek. It wasn’t a romantic kiss, but it still made her belly tighten in the strangest of ways.

“I have no want or need to be paraded about in a carriage, my lord. I am more than capable of riding a horse.” She said, a pout on her pretty lips.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:45 AM   #17
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"Suit yerself," he nodded slightly, letting his head rest back against the wall. Then he remembered something. "Oh... M'mother sent somethin' along t'give ya..." He reached to a pouch on his belt, and drew out a beautiful silver chain with a teardrop-shaped emerald pendant. "Don' know why she wouldn' just wait t'give it t'ya 'erself... but mother knows best, I s'pose."
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:02 PM   #18
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Julia let out a little gasp as he pulled out the beautiful silver chain and the emerald pendant that matched the color of her eyes. His…mother? She would never have guessed that a man so big and brutish as Brogan Ghis would have a mother. Everyone has a mother, she scolded herself as she stared at the piece of jewelry hanging off his thick fingers.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.” She said softly, turning her gaze from the emerald to her husband. “Would you put it about my neck?”

As she asked, she wiggled free from his grasp and sat upon the edge of the bed, her back turned towards him. Pulling the thick braid of her hair off her neck, she presented him with the creamy pale column of her throat. She trembled slightly as she waited for him to do the task set out for him.

“I…um…I apologize for what I just said Your religion and ways aren’t backwards.” She said softly, searching for some manner of easy peace between them.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:14 PM   #19
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"They are t'you," Brogan answered quite simply as he drew the chain round her neck and fastened the small clip behind. The jewel was set perfectly at the beginning of her cleavage.

Brogan shifted and laid down, trying to get comfortable, but it was clear that he couldn't. After a couple minutes, he sighed annoyedly and stood, then laid down on the floor beside the bed. He hardly shifted at all after that. A man who was suited to sleeping on the ground or on a hard bed simply could not stand something so soft as the expensive feather bed. Brogan had made sure to get something akin to what Julia would've enjoyed in Chester. His actions made him out to be concerned with her comfort, but at the same time, he didn't express that he cared much at all.

"Best get t'sleep," he grunted, crossing his arms behind his head.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:29 PM   #20
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Glancing down towards the pendant as it settled against her body, she had to admit that it was truly beautiful. She wondered where his mother had found such a rare treasure. Slowly, she lifted her hand and placed it against the sparkling green stone and felt the cool, smooth surface. It made her smile slightly, even if Brogan could not see the smile upon her lips.

The bed moved behind her, the tossing and turning of her husband shaking the entire frame until he finally gave up the fight and pulled himself from the soft mattress and to the hard, cold floor. Julia cocked her head and regarded him as he told her that it was best they try to get some sleep. On the floor?

With a shrug, she pulled herself back onto the mattress and lie down, her hand reaching for the soft, wool blanket that had been placed upon the bed. It was still warm from where he’d been laying and she let out a contented sigh as she settled down into a surprisingly peaceful sleep.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:56 PM   #21
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The rest of the four-day journey was much like the first, and Brogan proved further that he was a man of few words while Cole and Ciaran seemed to chatter about anything on their minds. The twin highlanders were really quite sweet on Julia and very kind to her.

Inverness came into sight at noon of their fourth day of travel, and Cole galloped ahead to announce them while Ciaran rode it front of Brogan, grinning excitedly to be home. "Yer gonna love it," he told Julia for about the hundredth time.

Over their travels, they'd gone from the dark and dirty town of Chester, to the dangerous but bright town of Edinburgh, and then out to pure, virgin green lands with the mountains and highlands becoming a consistent backdrop to the west. It was far more beautiful than the Chester countryside, especially as they drew closer to Inverness. The sea stood just beyond it, a long bay, and just to Inverness' northwest was a narrow passage between sea and highland that acted as a path to the northernmost regions of Scotland.

Inverness unfolded as a large village, but it wasn't muddy and dirty like some English villages. It was quite green, grass and trees all over, and the tiny houses were surrounded by small crop fields of wheat, barley, and potatoes, and some had small gardens with other food plants. There were people all over, working in the fields or gardens or doing all manner of chores. But as Ciaran led the way into the village, the people stopped and clustered together to see their King pass by with his bride-to-be. Most called out greetings to Brogan, and Brogan made sure to nod or answer every single one. A little girl came running out into the pathway and Brogan snatched her up onto his horse.

"Uncle Brogan!" The little girl cried happily and Brogan chuckled deeply, hugging her before sitting her on his saddle in front.

They rode on, the people greeting both Julia and Brogan now, and Brogan soon lifted the little girl off his saddle to pass her to her waiting mother. Just down the path now loomed a simple but very well-fortified stone keep, and out front flew banners of a black Celtic-style lion against a blue, white X-crossed banner. This was all too familiar to Julia, as she'd seen many of Brogan's banners on the horizon near Chester in times of conflict.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:27 PM   #22
heartofcourage
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During the long journey to Brogan’s keep, Julia learned little more about her husband. He was a man that only seemed to speak when necessary. It made her a bit sad to think that he would not be sharing secrets or passions with her, but she supposed that she could make the best of her situation. He was an easy man to respect and she could certainly do that.

The twins, however, took every moment to speak to her. They told her stories and jokes, fawning over her like the queen that she was soon to be. More than once they had made her blush with bawdy tales of the exploits of their clan. It more than made her wonder if things were really like that all the time.

The city of Inverness came into view about the time her belly rumbled with hunger on their fourth day. It was a welcome sight, not only for the beauty of the setting, but also because she was tired of riding in a saddle. The rolling green hills and the glimpse of the sea would have taken her breath away, but it was the thought of lazily sitting down without moving that truly appealed to her.

The crowd that gathered to greet the return of their king was much larger than Julia had anticipated. She had known that Brogan’s people were large in number, but this was awe inspiring. They seemed happy, cheerful, and so unlike the brutal forces that had threatened her former home.

The sound of Brogan’s laughter caught her attention and she snapped her gaze towards him as he leaned from his saddle and hoisted a little girl upon his lap. The little girl beamed a happy smile up to her beloved uncle. There was such joy in Brogan’s gaze that Julie felt a lump form in her throat. Would he ever feel that way about her?

She continued to follow behind him as he lead the way towards his stone keep. They paused just briefly for Brogan to lower the little girl into the waiting arms of her mother before they continued onward towards their destination. She wondered how much of a lie the tales of the clan told to her by the elders of Chester really were. His keep didn’t seem to be much different from the home that she’d been raised in. His people were nice, cheerful, in awe of their king. It all seemed so…normal…
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:42 PM   #23
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"Open up, lads!" Ciaran called as they reached the keep. The heavy iron-and-oak doors were opened up, leading into a main hall where Brogan likely held his court. Brogan dismounted from his horse and handed his reins off to Ciaran. A slender, beautiful woman with cascading black hair and emerald eyes came to help Julia down from her horse.

"Welcome, m'lady," the woman smiled kindly, with a soft Italian accent on her lips. "My name is Valentina Ambrose, King Brogan assigned me to be your personal attendant." She had a dark beauty characteristic of Italians, and her name certainly suited the idea that she might be half Italian. She was clad in not a dress like a so-called 'proper' lady, but instead she wore form-fitting black leggings and a white blouse-like tunic with a sash about her waist. Also unlike a lady, she carried a sword at her hip.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:48 PM   #24
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Home only a brief moment and already she was forgotten, Julia thought as Brogan dismounted and attended to his own needs as she still sat on the back of her steed. She watched her broad shouldered husband for a moment before a voice caught her attention.

Glancing down at the emerald eyed beauty that came rushing from the keep, she blushed brightly to see the way that she was dressed. Surely Brogan would not expect her to dress in a similar manner, she thought to herself as she allowed the woman to help her from the saddle.

“Thank you, Valentina.” She said softly, her eyes unable to meet the other woman’s as she moved to find her way to Brogan’s side.
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:00 PM   #25
KieranSoares
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Brogan was just turning to look back for Julia when she reached his side. He'd not forgotten her. He put an arm around her, "Come inside, darlin'." Within, the keep was quite warm, kept up by three grand hearths around the structure.

"Sir," a Scotsman approached Brogan, "Everythin's all set fer t'morrow."

"Good. Let ol' Mercer know we're 'avin' th' ceremony in th' hall."

"Yes, m'keng." The man hurried off to do as he was bid. Brogan briefly spoke with another few men before they were finally left in relative peace.

"Val," Brogan looked to Valentina, "I've got ta talk with m'Captain, I'll be back. See tha' Julia gets a good meal, aye?"

"Yes, sir," Valentina nodded. Brogan looked down at Julia, and with a simple, though rather gentle farewell, he hurried off. He was sometimes gentle, sometimes entirely unfeeling. It was hard to predict what this man would do or say.
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