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Old 09-14-2014, 03:14 PM   #1
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Adventure of the Heart-closed

Victoria Berk stood in the foyer of her castle. She had been born into luck with her life, having inherited everything she could ever want. But her true passion was architecture. It was the same career her father had chosen.

Her 5’4 frame sifted through the mail collection. There were invitations to social events, and a couple from universities. Those were always the ones she’d open first. Just in case.

Opening the one from Oxford first, a tear came from her eye.
Professor Jacobs had died. He was elderly when she had him as a teacher. But he was a great mentor. He was a single bachelor with no living heirs. Attached to the notice was a note from his lawyer asking her to call and set an appointment for his will.

Brushing her red locks from her emerald eyes, Tori waited patiently in the office until he called her in. The wooden floors creaked as she walked in.
“Ah Miss Berk, let me offer you my condolences for your loss. But I’ll get right to the point. The dear professor left you everything. As you know he had no heirs, and he thought of you like his daughter. He left you this letter as well. I’ve compiled a list of everything. Here are the keys to his home.“

With all of the paperwork out of the way she headed to his cottage. She had visited him here quite a bit. It was him that always encouraged her to go about on new adventures . Opening the door she walked inside the quiet home. The furniture was all antique, and the size quite average and comfy.
Sitting in his chair she smelled it and embraced his lingering scent. Pulling out his letter she read it and smiled.

“Dear Tori,
I’m sorry I did not give you a proper good bye. In the den in the safe, you will find a book and a map. I’ve given you an adventure girly. You and I both know that myths are based on fact. If that’s the case there may be that discovery out there for you.
Love you always , PJ.

Tori wiped the tears from her eyes and went to the safe. To find the book and the map. The myth contained a story of a God that once roamed, the map led to an artifact that supposedly once belonged to him.
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Old 09-14-2014, 05:35 PM   #2
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Jeremy Crawford, mid-40's

He approached the house with curiosity, having noticed the rig tied up outside. "Hullo the house?" he called, but got no answer. He tried the door, and found it open.

"Hullo?" he called again as he stepped inside. He moved through the sitting room into the study, where he saw a young lady bending over the safe against the wall. "Oh, excuse me. I'm sorry; I saw the horse outside and decided to investigate. I called, but there was no answer..."
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:03 PM   #3
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Tori was a bit startled by the visitor as his deep voice caused her to jump. "Do you find it often to barge into peoples homes?" she questioned rather snobbishly?" Tori was curvy in all the right places. Her emerald eyes flashed daggers at the older man. "Professor Jacobs has passed, and i am the new owner of this cottage. "What is it that i can help you with? She questioned rather sternly. "In fact please wait in the foyer, and i'll be with you momentarily. Go now..out"

Tori waited for the man to comply before continuing. There had been no mention of this man or had there? She knew that P.J. had some colleges perhaps this man was one of them.

After securing the items back into the safe, she went to the foyer. "Please tell me who you are, and what i can help you with." She asked the man.
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:42 PM   #4
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"My name is Jeremy Crawford," he responded, completely unfazed by this rather rude welcome. "I live down the road. I used to call on Peter of an evening, and we would chat about his work and about the Old Ones. You must be Victoria," he said extending his hand. "Peter used to speak of you frequently, and fondly."
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Old 09-14-2014, 07:10 PM   #5
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Victoria offered her hand for the shake. "I'm sorry you took me by surprise. Yes i am Victoria. I believe PJ mentioned you from time to time. He was happy to have someone to discuss his work with."
"I apologize, but i have so much of his stuff to go through. I'll be leaving soon for a trip. so it's important i get back to work Mr. Crawford."

She found Mr. Crawford quite pleasant to look at. She being only 24 found herself drawn to the experience of older men. They were more educated and worldly. Though she was unmarried and never had a man, she found more pleasure in the older mans company then any of the young lads that pursued her.
"I don't mean to be rude sir, but i truly have a lot to do" She shifted her frame back and forth as she talked to him. She was being honest. She really wanted to get moving so she could get things done.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:31 PM   #6
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"Oh, of course, of course," Jeremy said. "I don't wish to keep you; I know it must be a challenge, inheriting an entire houseful of things from a man as fascinating as Peter was. Terrible shame that he died..."

As he was turning to leave, he turned back as if something had just occurred to him. "Although, there is one thing..." he said. "I was curious: have you given any thought to what you might do with all his papers and notes? You see," he continued, taking involuntary note of the liquid way in which she shifted from hip to hip, as if they were set in with well-oiled ball bearings, "we had quite a few discussions these last few months about the old Celtic god Cernunnos, 'the horned one'. You know, the god of the forest and the hunt and fertility and all that. The old boy was absolutely convinced that Cernunnos actually existed, and he quite got me hooked on the subject. He even hinted that he had discovered mention of some sort of talisman or device or something that could bring the old bugger back.

"I was wondering whether, if you ran across anything along those lines, I might be allowed to see them? As I said, he was somewhat secretive about it, and I am keen to know just what he discovered. If anything."
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:55 PM   #7
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When he mentioned the old Celtic god Cernunnos, she stopped shifting. "He told you about that?" she asked. "I'm going on the expedition to look for the artifact. I'm not sure just yet what it is. It could be a talisman, or something similar. If you're interested you can join me. If you have some expertise in reading the scriptures that would be divine. I would love to believe the gods existed, Peter and i would go over how myths were truths turned into stories. I'm familiar with most of the gods from that time."

She paused a moment then continued. "I'm sorry if i was so rude. I'm just overwhelmed with all of this. I know he was sick for a long time. In someways i'm sure he's happy now that he's free to locate the truths. Please tell me what you know about Cernunnos, he's one i'm not to familiar with. Please follow me we'll go into the den and i'll make some tea.

Tori led him into the den and went and made some tea. Carrying out a ceramic Tea set with a tray. On it she included lumps of sugar and cream.
Please, tell me what you know" she said as she sat down and poured their Teas.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:08 AM   #8
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“Yes, well, Cernunnos…” Jeremy said as he accepted his cup—“Thank you”—and settled back into the overstuffed armchair.

“Not much is known of him, really; most of the information we have comes from various depictions and one stone inscription related to a depiction. We don’t even know his real name, actually; ‘Cernunnos’ is how he’s referred to in the inscription—‘cern’ is the ancient Brythonic stem meaning ‘horn’, and ‘Cernunnos’ simply translates as ‘The Horned One’, though whether that refers to his appearance or some insatiable sexual appetite one is left to guess,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye.

It was a test, of course, to see just how straight-laced this lovely young woman was. When she smiled slightly, acknowledging the little joke, he seemed to relax more.

“In any case, he’s always depicted in relation to animals, a stag most often, and birds, and other animals. So the assumption is that he’s a god of the wilderness. And the association with the stag in particular leads us to presume he’s also a kind of fertility deity, but not of the fields or domestic stock, but rather of the creatures of the wild. The ancient Britons—all the Celts, really—were farmers, yes, but they were also prolific hunters, and most of England was covered with vast expanses of forest in ancient times, so he would have been an important god. He’s also associated with the turn of the seasons and the cycle of the year—death and rebirth, and that sort of thing.

“He’s not a happy, free-spirited kind of god, however, like Pan or Bacchus was for the Greeks and Romans; he’s a dark and powerful figure who was often propitiated, and there are hints in various sources that there might have even been some human sacrifice involved…

“In any case, Peter hinted within the last year that he had found some new source material that absolutely convinced him that Cernunnos actually existed, and was even local to this area, if you can believe that. Of course with the loss of the forest and the taming of the landscape hereabouts, there isn’t much room for a god of the wilds, anymore Still, Peter believed that there was some sort of artifact somewhere that was connected to the old fellow, and he was determined to find it. Even said some mad things about ‘reviving’ him, though I think that was the illness taking its toll on Peter’s mind.”

He took another sip of his tea, watching her over the rim of his cup to see how she would react to all of this. She really is extraordinarily pretty, he thought.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:50 PM   #9
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Tori smiled at his jokes, and enjoyed listening to the tale immensely. Cernunnos was a complicated god indeed. One thing she knew for certain was peter would have wanted him resurrected. It wouldn't matter to him whether he was evil or good. In peters opinion all gods were a combination of both.

But if Cernunnos could be resurrected he could help resurrect other gods. The way the world should be. Both Peter and herself had long conversations about what the world truly needed. Now she had the opportunity to make this happen.

"It wasn't his illness" she advised softly. "Both Peter an I shared the belief that the world would be a better place with the old gods versus the fake one most people worship. I know that's blasphemy, and many would see me stoned for such a statement. But the truth remains, our country is going to the pits with the new technologies. Everyone needs to take a step back and remember what was. The only way to do that is to bring a god or several back and have them show them. But a horned god, well that will certainly scare them."

She smiled again at the thought of what a horned god could possibly do for the world. How she would love to be his liaison. The wondrous things he could do. Looking at Mr.Crawfords' handsome face she smiled again.

"Perhaps you think we're a bit batty? or did you have similar thoughts?"

This was an important question to know. If he was truly against it, then well he wouldn't be able to assist her in the adventure. If however he was of the same mind
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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He pursed his lips for a moment at the question. When he answered, it was in a considered tone.

"Well...I'm not so sure about resurrecting old gods--they could be a fairly bloodthirsty lot, as you know. Consider the Morrigu, for instance, the three-faced Goddess of War: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Said to frequent battlefields in the form of a carrion crow...Or Nuada Silver-Hand, the 'Lord of the Mound', which title references a burial mound...

"However, I must agree with you that we've gotten away from the bonds that held us to the land and the ancient rhythms, and I think we were all somewhat happier then. And I also must admit that I've always had a penchant for pursuing Quixotic ventures, and this certainly fits that bill.

"I would be delighted to accompany you on whatever expedition you have in mind, simply to satisfy my own curiosity. I think my 'inner cat' has a few lives left; expending one more in such an exotic exploration shouldn't distress it too much." He smiled.

"Though I must tell you at the outset that I'm enough of a rationalist that the possibility of actually resurrecting any ancient gods strikes me as dubious at best. But finding whatever Peter was so enthused about? Yes, you can count me as keen for that."
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:02 PM   #11
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Tori listened intently to his response. Then she responded. "Perhaps those would be bad choices. But remember there once was a balance of gods both good and bad if he can lead us to the ability to resurrect them all, it would be a historic moment. To be able to find out who they were, what they did, from their lips. Not the mythical stories that have stretched everything out disproportionately."

Setting her tea cup down making a small clang she continued. "If you would like to join me on this expedition, be aware my purpose will be to resurrect this god, for better or worse, whatever it may be."

Shifting in her antique wooden chair she continued. "if you don't think that is what you want, or want to be a part of, i'll understand. But know that you won't stop me from accomplishing my goal."

Tori was making it apparent that it was her way or the highway. She was in charge of this adventure. She would accept the help only under her conditions. Despite how much handsomer he seemed to get with each moment.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:32 PM   #12
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Jeremy smiled. "Oh, certainly, my dear, by all means I encourage you to attempt it, and I will be most happy to help you along in whatever way I can. Far be it from me to stand between such a spirited young lady and her goals.

"Only please try not to be too disappointed when it doesn't work, which I am quite confident it will not. And I promise I shall refrain from saying, 'I told you so' at any point during the enterprise."

"So, do we have an agreement?" He asked, drinking in the way her curves filled out her tailored dress as he awaited her answer. He very much hoped she would say "yes", as spending time with this fascinating creature would be very pleasant, indeed...
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:43 PM   #13
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"Excellent, then we have a deal, shall we start planning then?" She asked rising and gathering the tea cups. If you give me a moment i'll bring out what i have and we can start going over and making a plan." She didn't wait for his answer, for she knew it already. He seemed almost as anxious as she did to begin this adventure. When she returned from the kitchen she had with her the book and the map.

"So you were right about it being in England. But the forest it leads us to hasn't been abolished. Its said to be a haunted forest and not even the locals will venture in to it. She opened up the book and thumbed through it. There he is...It seems to only confirm what we know, which isn't much. The map on the other hand, she laid it out. Leads us on a three day or more hike through the haunted woods. So we'll take the horses to the edge and take in donkeys to carry the packs and such. It will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. I'll make a list of the supplies you should have with you, and one for myself. We should be able to leave in a couple days."
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:01 PM   #14
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"Whoa, whoa, whoa--you are the eager one, aren't you?" Jeremy asked, smiling broadly. "Didn't you say something about having to go back home for some appointment or other?

"Besides," he continued, "there's more to it than that. Firstly, if you stay here--and I presume you are intending to stay here?--what will you wear? You just came down for the day, remember? You have no clothing packed.

"Secondly, I need some time to put my own affairs in order before haring off across the countryside searching for a "horned god" in a haystack... I did not imagine when I set out today that I would be leaping into any adventures before day's end...

"So let's look at this with cooler heads, shall we? First off," and he looked over the map again, "I know this area indicated. I often have hiked through that neighborhood on holiday, and I've never even gotten the whiff of an indication that there was anything as romantic as a haunted wood anywhere thereabouts--and the natives are quite garrulous, I can tell you..."

He perused the much-creased piece of vellum before him. "This village--Angford is the name of the place, as I recall...there's a good livery there, we can easily hire pack animals. Though I think mules might come a bit dear... better to get some sturdy Shetlands; they'll move easier through the undergrowth, being smaller, and they're tireless.

"Angford also seems to give us the nearest civilized access to the entry we want, if this map is anything like accurate. Not that I don't relish the thought of tramping through the Forest Primeval with you, dear," and he looked over his shoulder at her, "but I'd sooner not spend any more time in the rough than is necessary."

He straightened and turned to her. "Make your list of necessaries, and leave it here, and go and take care of whatever you need to take care of. I'll see to it that everything is here, packed and in readiness, upon your return in, say, three days?"
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:10 PM   #15
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"No" she said lightly. "i never said anything about an appointment. Just simply that i had a lot to do here. I always come packed and ready to take off for a new adventure. But i understand if you don't. I'll pick up some extra supplies though. I think you're right about the Shetlands, will probably be a lot easier for them going through the forest."

Studying him for a moment she continued. "Mr. Crawford, i never am without a cool head. I am just severely focused on the task at hand. I can however wait a couple of days for you to get your affairs in order. I realize not everyone is like me and has the ability to just get up and go ..so to speak."

Pursing her lips she added "Please keep in mind this is my expedition. You are allowed along as a favor to Peter, and because of your interest. I have full intention on following the trail, as i always do. Whether it be an amulet or a tin cup, i have a mission to find it , and i will find it if it exists." "However", she added "I am glad you chose to come, peter doesn't like me running amuck into possibley dangerous situations." then she coughed "not like i can't handle it myself."

Her need for control was obnoxiously apparent. One thing she hated was being told no because she was a woman.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:23 PM   #16
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He stood quietly for a moment, studying her face. "Miss," he said finally, putting the map down on the table and turning to face her.

"I have no intention of 'taking over' your expedition. The map is yours, the book is yours, the papers are yours, and the 'expedition' is yours. I am a native to these parts, and I've spent many a year tramping about in wild places, and I will offer my advice when and as I see it can be of benefit. You are, of course, totally at liberty to take it or not, as you see fit.

"I would only say this: I once had a cat, who was a prolific hunter. He was always stalking something, and his level of focus was without peer. He was taken by a hawk one day because he was so focused on what he was stalking that he didn't see or hear the bird until it was too late.

"Focus is a wonderful thing, and under most circumstances it is a virtue. But focus on a single goal to the exclusion of all else in the world doesn't always give you the result you desire.

"I thought that we were going to be on a more-or-less even footing in this enterprise. I have things to take care of before going away for days at a time--a household to put in order, animals to make arrangements for. If you feel it absolutely necessary to start off today, then perhaps it would be best for me not to accompany you. I don't want to hold you back in any way."

He hadn't spoken condescendingly, maintaining a quietly conversational tone throughout. And now he calmly awaited her answer.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:04 PM   #17
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It had been a while before anyone had dare challenge her much less tell her off so politely. She admired that in a man. Though she had little time to consider such frivolous things as romance.

"I apologize Mr. Crawford, I can be a bit rash and headstrong at times. Dealing with people has never been one of my strong suits. Of course i will wait for you. I have plenty to do here, and decisions to make as to what i'll do with Peters' belongings. I appreciate your candidness with me. Most wouldn't dare to do so. Then again you probably have only heard of me through Peter. But still its refreshing, thank you."

There was a reason she lived in a castle, a reasons she did as she wished. She was a Duchess by birth. She kept out of mind and out of sight by never appearing to the court functions.

She liked his analogy about the cat. That was quite a good use of the story. But she wasn't a cat. Still he had a point. She would have to try and be more subtle when speaking with him.

"I look forward to our expedition and I will see you in three or four days." With that she rose and curtsied. "it was a pleasure making your acquaintance. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish together."
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:55 AM   #18
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He nodded, once, and said, "I too look forward to this 'expedition'. It looks to be a grand adventure, indeed. "

"Oh, and call me Jeremy, please. Mr. Crawford was my father." He winked as he passed her on his way to the door.

"In three days' time, then," he said jauntily. "Or sooner, if I can manage it." Tipping his hat, he was off down the lane, striding purposefully.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:37 AM   #19
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"As you wish Jeremy" she said with a smile, "you may call me Tori, and yes i believe there is a grand expedition and adventure to be had. Feel free to send a messenger if it will be sooner or later. I'll be staying here." With that Tori saw him out the door.

Tori locked the door behind him and went back into the study. So many things in here and so many memories.
She started by clearing out two corners of the room. One was for keeping, the other was for dis-guarding.

In a couple hours time she realized not one thing had she added to the dis-guard pile. She was simply going to have his entire house hold belongings transferred to her home.

She sat at his desk and began to go through the drawers. For being so precise about archaeology he certainly was a mess about his creditors. The fact she had to shell out pounds to clear his name didn't bother her at all. With a stack of bills enclosed in satchel she went to her horse.

It took her approximately three hours in town just to pay everyone and get the receipts showing he owed nothing. Mr. Crawford was a curious man she thought. He was a bit older then her, she guessed around forty. But he was quite handsome. She liked that he stood up to her.

So very few people bothered readdressing her, even not knowing who she was. No one did when they knew. She was considered odd, and an outcast of society. How shocking for a woman to traipse about the country and travel abroad without an escort. It was simply just not done. The fact she had refused all suitors made it even worse. Her status required her to marry. However, without someone making those decisions for her. It was quite simple for her to say no.

Her parents would have scolded her no doubt, god bless their deceased souls. But Tori had little regard of what was expected, and enjoyed the adventure and the danger. It was an adrenaline rush to prove a myth true or false. For Peter's memory, she hoped indeed it would ring true.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:48 PM   #20
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"Hullo the house," Jeremy called two days later when he rode into the front garden. He dismounted, tethered his horse with a careless twist of the reins, and walked towards the door.

Two sturdy Shetland ponies were tethered off to the side, waiting patiently to be burdened with whatever Tori had decided was needed. Jeremy always packed light; everything he would need for four days was already packed on the back of Morgan, his thoroughbred. He would transfer it to one of the ponies once they got to Angford.

He knocked on the door. "Tori?" he called, "are you in?"
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:16 PM   #21
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"Jeremy, Good to see you" she replied opening the door. I merely need to change from this dress into my exploring gear and i'll be ready to go. Please come in." She waved him in and shut the door after him. "I just made some tea, help yourself" she advised before heading up the wooden staircase. Her dress was that of expensive quality. Not something she would normally be seen in, if she hadn't just gotten back from doing business in town, he would have never gotten to see the green floral print that made her look like a proper lady.

Soon she descended wearing her kacki britches green shirt and black vest. A pair of mens' boots were upon her feet and here hair pinned up to keep from hindering her.
Grabbing her large satchal she wrapped its straps across her shoulders and swung it upon her back.

"You can leave the tea there she advised, i have a maid for the house now she'll take care of it. I'm ready when you are"
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:40 PM   #22
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He looked her over appreciatively. The breeches conformed to the curve of her hips most provocatively, and the green shirt set off her eyes alarmingly.

"You know, it's ironic that we're looking for an ancient Celtic god, seeing that you must have some of the Old Blood in your own stock, somewhere back along the line. They say Queen Maeve had flaming red hair and green eyes, too." He didn't mention that "Méadhbh" the original Irish version of the name, translated as "she who intoxicates". And she was certainly looking intoxicating this morning.

Mentally shaking his head to clear it, he turned towards the door. "Shall we be off, then?"

He preceded her outside, untying the ponies and gathering their leads in hand as he mounted Morgan.

"It's a day's ride to Angford from here; there's a nice little inn where we can spend the night after we settle the horses at the livery service. From there it's a day's hike to where we enter the woods, and after that it will be as many days as it needs to be to find whatever it is we're looking for.

"Oh, and I've learned the name of the forest that we'll be traveling in--it's called 'Wyrdnafal'."
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:14 PM   #23
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Tori listened intently as he spoke of the Celtic god. "You're not the first to suggest that i have old blood in me. Perhaps it's true, and perhaps not." she smiled brushing aside a stray piece of red lock from her face.

"Yes i'm excited to begin this journey. It's been a couple of months since I've been able to be in the field. I'm glad you don't seem to find that shocking like most of the men i speak to. I wonder if i'll live for a time when women will be expected to be heard, rather then simply be seen." Following him she mounted her own horse after strapping her pack on the Shetland.

"That all sounds fine" She responded to his plans about the inn and settling the horses." "I hope making the plans wasn't too much trouble" she questioned as they rode. "I would have been just as fine camping as stopping at an Inn. Though it does offer the last chance for a bath unless we are lucky enough to happen upon a river."

'Wyrdnafal' she repeated letting the constants roll off of her tongue."The name sounds familiar but i cannot put my finger upon the story that goes with it. Did you find out anything?"
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:07 PM   #24
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"Not really, I'm afraid, other than the name." he said as they rode down the lane. "The locals are rather tight-lipped about the place; something about wicker men. I did manage to ply a gaffer at the pub with enough stout to open up a bit; something about standing stones somewhere in the wood, and hinted that in former times there were some blood sacrifices...all very vague, and probably just rubbish. He was inebriated enough to lose track of what he was saying quite a bit," he said laughingly.

"So you've been in the field before, have you?" he asked. "I can't say that surprises me; you strike me as a woman who likes doing rather than reading about things. It doesn't shock me, no; anyone that was friends with Peter is bound to be...well, 'eccentric' seems too strong a word--shall we say, 'unusual'? In the sense of not being entirely within the realm of social norms?"

He glanced over at her, taking in the way she sat her saddle. She rides well, he thought: reins firmly in hand but not gripped, back straight, which thrust out her bosom in a most enticing way...
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:42 PM   #25
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She laughed a little. Something she rarely did. "unusual, i like that." she smiled and continued. I actually read quite a bit. Most of Peter's library I've been through and even added to. But the presence certainly does imply a place of worship and the blood sacrifices, were the ways of the old for worshiping the Celtic gods. It would stand to reason there were still some clans of people that did the same deep within those woods. We should be cautious to say the least. The last time they probably interacted with 'English' was probably traumatic to say the least. I hope that i'm versed enough in their language to get through to them if they do indeed still exist." she looked worried for a moment then let it roll off her shoulders.

He was quite distinguished for his age. She was glad to see he could do some reconnaissance without being asked. That he knew how to loosen the tongue in a man friendly environment. "Do you think we should hire some locals for guards and guides?"
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