Tricia (newfashiongirl) wrote in the_highlands,
Tricia
newfashiongirl
the_highlands

[[ notes ]] Continued from here. This is the result of an IM conversation between chole_dancer and myself. [[ /notes ]]

newfashiongirl:
Kenneth: Kenneth nearly relaxed when he heard Gabriel's calm even tone. Turning his attention from Keegan's panic-striken, anger ladden face toward Gabriel, promptly ignoring her. "She was nae in th'stables where she was supposed tae wait, Gabriel. Jonathan 'ere says she go' worried and came tae look fer us. Bu' she was nae on any of the main paths on our way here."

Keegan: Keegan's anger boiled even more when Kenneth's attention turned away from her. He thought she was so unimportant that he could just turn away from her like that. She couldn't say that this was the first time she'd encountered this, but Kenneth had always treated her with a modicum of respect. Now that seemed to be all gone. "Ye incompetan' piece o' cattle dung! How dare ye bring my daughter tae Campbell lands an' then lose her?!! Ye're lucky she is lost, or I'd take ye ou'side and flogg ye righ' here."

chloe_dancer:
Gabriel: Gabriel's jaw tightened faintly as Keegan started in on Kenneth again. Yes, he could see why she was upset. But this wasn't helping matters and he was going to tell her so. Looking down at Keegan, he kept his tone even and calm, lowering his voice in an attempt to urge her to do the same. "Keegan, this isnae the time fer tha'. Ye can berate him when our daughter is safe. Righ' now, ye are only wastin' time." It could have sounded harsh, if he hadn't let a bit of his own concern leak into his voice. But he believed that. Now wasn't the time for panic. It was the time for action.

Noah: Well - this...was surprising. Not only had Keegan suddenly yelled and ran out of the hall, but Gabriel himself had left to follow her. From the looks he was getting, and his own instinct...he had to follow. "One moment, please." Directed at his mother before he was making his way out of the hall after the MacAlister's. "Is there a problem, Laird MacAlister?"

newfashiongirl:
Keegan: And if Gabriel thought that she was going to let this go once Fionna was safe, he was sorely mistaken. She was so angry right now, she could brandish a sword herself! But as Noah made his wa from the great hall, she stiffened, and took a deep breath, her gaze on his young face echoing all the years of anger she'd felt toward the Campbells, even if this wasn't about that. But she managed to turn away from his honest eyes as her panic gave way to helpless fear and she took a few steps from Gabriel and the rest of the men, sliding her arms around herself in a tight hug.

Kenneth: Kenneth, however, remained obediently silent. Stepping up beside Gabriel as he turned to face Noah, as if there was a cause to be brave and stoic.

chloe_dancer:
Gabriel: Turning at the sound of the young Campbell, he lifted his chin faintly, silently assessing the young man. while his mind raced withw hat could be happening to Fionna. "My apologies, Noah. But i' seems our daughter, spirited as she is, decided tae follow us tae yer home. Bu'...i' seems she is los' in yer lands.."

Noah: To say Noah was surprised...would be an understatement. This..was not good. He'd noted the look on Keegan's face and knew, without a doubt, if something happened to the young MacAlister girl...any chance of peace would be lost. For no MacGregor or MacAlister for that matter, would tolerate harm to their nobility. And the last thing they needed was for the MacAlister's to dislike them as well. For as much MacBain may need them on his side, Noah was certain he would never come to their aid in return. "Aye... I see. All righ'...le' me ge' some men taegether an' well all go search for her. We know these lands better than ye do, it'll be faster this way."

newfashiongirl:
Keegan: And what exactly would the Campbell's do with her daughter once they had her? Hold her for ransom? Insist the MacAlister's marry her to Noah before they would all Keegan to see her again? With a defeated sigh, she chewed her lip and turned back toward the group. She was seriously beginning to dislike men. They were so... calm. No one was upset about this, or worried, not even Gabriel. She thought she'd heard the inflection of concern in his voice, but looking at him now, she wondered if she even knew him. He seemed so stiff, so... political. And he was going to agree to let those mother-less bastards help, too, wasn't he? She wanted to speak up just then, wanted to insist that this was a MacAlister matter and would be handled by MacAlisters. The anger boiled inside her even more and she found herself digging fingernails into her palms to remain silent.

chloe_dancer:
Gabriel: Gabriel drew in a slow breath. He wasn't going to look at Keegan. This...was the reason he didn't normally allow her to attend these kinds of things. When they were alone..just the two of them, he let her see hwo deeply concerned he was...his fears..all of it. But not now. This was not the time. He felt sick to his stomach with worry and guilt..that something might have happened to Fionna. But now..was not the time. Considering what Noah was offering, he gave a quick nod to show his agreement. It was, afterall, the truth. They knew enough of the lay of the land to get to the keep, but they didn't know it's ins and outs like the Campbell's would. In this...they needed their help. "Aye...do i' fas'. Kenneth...go back tae the hall an' get the other men. We're headin' ou' now."

Noah: Noah could sense Gabriel weighing his decision..feel the animosity eminating from Keegan. This was..would be a test of their intentions. He knew that now. With a nod, and without another word, he turned and started back to the main hall, knowing from Gabriel's command, Kenneth would be joining them. He would get his father's man to gather the men and start out on his own as well. He just hoped...the MacAlister girl hadn't run into a random Campbell who'd do something stupid.

newfashiongirl:
Fionna: It was far too dark outside. With all the open spaces and hillsides of the MacAlister land, Fionna had never really had to deal with thick forests after sundown. But now she finding herself getting more and more disoriented. Leaning against a large oak to regain her bearings, and her breath, she swallowed back the panic that rose up in her. The thick canopy prevented a lot of light to escape and she was finding it hard to even see where her own footfal was. She was sure she would never find her way back to the main roads now. Catching the sound of some noises coming from the right, assuming it was travelers she could as for directions, she turned and followed the noise, stumbling over a few broken tree branches along the way...

Kenneth: Nodding, Kenneth did as he was commanded and followed Noah back into the main hall. Discreetly he moved to each man and gave them orders to gather outside. And just as discreetly, each man stood and made their way out of the hall to the appointed meeting place just outside the entrance to the Campbell manor house.

Keegan: Keegan stood there, willing herself to calm down, and failing miserably. She knew she would be no help in the search, and more than likely cause more trouble along the way. She could not, however, move from her spot, and as Noah left to round up his men, her gazed trailed to Gabriel. But instead of the anger she felt there, her expression melted to desperation as she watched him, scared to death about the safety of her child.
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He watched both Kenneth and Noah leave for the hall again and let out a long breath before finally turning to look at Keegan. It broke his heart, the fear he saw in her eyes. Then..only because they were alone, did he let her see what was going on in his heart. Stepping closer to her, he took her face gently in his hands, his voice raw with emotion he'd held in as he spoke low to her. "Keegan..i's verra importan' now tha' we keep our wits abou' us. We cannae give in tae the fear..o' wha' migh' happen. Donnae think I am heartless." Leaning, he pressed a kiss to her forehead and looked down at her again. "I'm goin' with the men tae find her. I wan' ye tae stay here. I cannae worry abou' ye gettin' los' as well."
When he touched her, all that resolve to keep from shedding tears left her. A few silent tears spilled against the hands that cupped her face and her small lower lip trembled. As much as she feared being alone in the Campbell house, she feared muddling up the process and getting in the way of them finding Fionna. Her eyes closed for a moment, and she nodded, knowing her place, knowing what was right to do. Do many things she wanted to say, so many things she could say, but all she could manage was a quiet "Godspeed" to hurry him along.
He gave a faint nod and looked up as he started seeing the men filter from the hall. Looking down at her, he took the brief moment to brush the tears away and stepped back before turning to head out of the keep. They'd meet outside and head from there. No one was resting tonight until Fionna MacAlister was safe.
She waited until he and all of his men were out of sight before she finally made her way to the large bedroom they'd been given by the Campbells. She had the urge to throw herself down on the large straw bed and sob herself silly, but that would not help her, not now. Grabbing one of the large quilts from the bed she sat down in a chair beside the window and flung open the shutters, pulling the blanket over her legs. She would keep watch here until her daughter was home safe. She couldn't decide what she would do then.
Swallowing his own nerves over the situation, he'd gotten his father's man to gather the men to start searching their lands. Once that was taken care of, he sent a boy to fetch his horse and before long, was heading out on his own. His own men would make faster work of these lands than the MacAlister's would. It was black as pitch at this time of night and they'd need the Campbell's help in navigating the terrain. But he wasn't waiting for any of his men to join him. Just as he was sure Gabriel wouldn't. This...was too important. He hadn't asked the name of their daughter, but he knew it. Anyone dealing with these sorts of politics knew the names of their possible allies or adversaries. And he assumed it wasn't their newborn. So it had to be Fionna. What kind of a child...young woman...would set out on her own, follow her parents to the home of a possible enemy? A willful one, to be sure. If he had presence of mind to think objectively, he'd be intrigued to meet her. But now...now it was only important that they find her. He headed toward the woods. They'd need as many people as possible to search them and he knew them by heart from endless hours both night and day playing in them as a child. He probably knew them better than his own men. And if she was indeed only lost, as they could hope, it made sense it would be there.
She could feel the sweat drain into her eyes as she darted through the underbrush, stumbling even as she kept running. The course simple skirts that she wore were a lot more durable than the fabrics her father had imported from Englad for her. But it was also catching on the rough twigs and branches a lot more easily. The thing was still behind her, snorting and growling, running almost as fiercly as she was, and she felt a scream rip from her throat. Instinctively she reached for a tree branch and pulled herself up on it, getting a foothold before climbing higher. The large wild boar, however, wasn't going to give up so easily. Gnashing it's teeth, it growled again, and began ramming the tree trunk, making the whole thing shake with her weight. Screaming again, she climbed higher, clinging to the large branches with so much force that her knuckles ached.
He'd left his horse at the edge of the woods and headed in on foot, attempting to stay as quiet as he could as he listened for any sounds that night lead to the young woman. It was then that he heard the piercing scream in the distance and his gut clenched. He wrapped his hand around the hilt of the sword he'd taken up before he left and slid it free before heading toward the sound, abandoning the need to be quiet. The second scream only urged him on faster, squinting in the nearly non-existant light as he ran...ignoring the lash of branches, weaving through the woods with the knowledge that only came from experience. He knew he was closer...the screams she was making were louder and he could hear something else now...the growling and heavy breathing of...what had to be a boar. "Fionna?" He wasn't quiet there yet, but he figured she'd be able to hear him. It had to be her, right? None of the local women would venture into the wood at this hour alone.
She was shaking with fright, but unlike her mother, she could manage to keep her wits about her. The boar was ramming the trunk of the tree she was stranded in, and he didn't seem to realize she wasn't going to just fall out of it. Or come down willfully. When she heard the man's voice, she thought perhaps it was one of her father's men, come to find her, even if she didn't recognize the unique male tone. "Help!" she called out, pausing to clear her throat so her voice was more clear. "A boar has treed me!"
A part of him felt distinct relief when she responded. At least he'd found her. And a boar, he was fairly certain, he could deal with. The sound of the beast was louder now as he stepped into the clear and saw it...ramming the trunk of a tree. Squinting up, he could just make out her image in the tree. "I'll have ye down in a momen'...jus'...hold on.." And...the sound of his voice significantly distracted the boar, because he could hear the thunder of it's hooves as it barreled toward him.

It all happened so fast. And maybe if it hadn't been so dark or if he'd had more experience with the sword while away at the university it wouldn't have taken the boar falling on his sword to kill it. But the thing had damn near trampled him in the process. He just..hadn't been able to see it. He'd only gotten one good stamp of a hoof into his ribs somehow but, from the sudden silence and weight against him, he knew it was dead now. With a groan, he shoved the thing away and got to his feet, wincing at the shot of pain through his side.
She couldn't hear the growling or the huffing of the boar anymore, but she couldn't see very much down on the ground. Swallowing, she refused to move. When Noah had come closer, called out to her again, she'd realized that she didn't recognize his voice. Most of her father's men had been in his service since she was born, and she knew them well. Her mother always preached about the evilness of the Campbells. She was sure he was one of them just waiting to ransom her.

However, he was her only hope, really. Swallowing she slowly began to climb down the tree. She would deal with whatever monstrocity of a man was waiting for her. "I cannae see the ground," she said quietly, her voice clear and strong, hiding the fear she felt.
"Stay where ye are.." He made his way toward the tree..and from his angle he could see her better than she could see the ground, no doubt. Reaching up and biting back another wince from the movement, he positioned himself beneath her. "All righ', now start tae lower..I'll help ye down." And when he could see her closer to him, he gently laid his hands on her waist to help guide her down until she was safely planted on the ground. "There..are ye all righ'?"
When his hands were upon her, she stiffened, in fear and something else she couldn't quite discern. But as soon as her feet were firmly on the ground, she felt her legs shake, but moved from his grasp to steady herself. She wouldn't depend on a stranger for that. "I'm all right. Thank you," she said in that same calm mannor. Turning to face him, she was caught off guard by his size, and had to look up to see him fully. Squinting, she brushed stray hair from her face and scrutinized him best she could in the darkness, noticing how he favored that one side. "Ye hurt yourself."
He couldn't see her well..but it was her voice that got under his skin...how smooth and soft and...strong it was all at once. And she was..very observant. He took a step back, letting his hand slid over the injured side. "Aye..bu' I'll be fine." He glanced behind him, at the dark mound in the distance. "We should ge' goin'. Yer mother seemed..very worried abou' ye." Understatement of the year, but..he was being kind. He looked back down at her, squinting in the dark. "Everyone's ou' lookin' for ye."
When he mentioned her mother, she stiffened, and gasped slightly as a new fear rolled over her. "My mother... she knows I'm here?" That was almost more dangerous than the boar. Chewing on her lip slightly, she followed him as he began to lead the way, slowly, toward the way out of this frieghtening dark forest. She did not like the idea of facing her parents. Clutching her skirts, she tripped a few times behind him. Pausing, she saw him wince again as he turned back to look at her, and refused to go a step further. "Ye have to let me take a look at that. Ye could have broken a bone."
He'd paused to retrieve the sword from the boar, but had started to lead the way back out through the woods slowly, ducking where they had to in spite of the pain splitting his side. "Aye, yer mother knows. Bu' she'll be happy tae see ye safe, I'm sure." He didn't know her mother..didn't understand her fear. But assumed they hadn't been happy she'd followed them. As they went, the pain was getting deeper in his side and a part of him was glad when she stopped him. They were in a part of the woods that was clearer and had a bit more light and he paused to look back at her with a faint sigh. "Aye, I'm fairly certain that I did." He said it as if that wasn't that big of a deal. But he didn't have it in him to lie either. But what stopped him more now and kept him from going on was that he could finally see her..better than he had at first. The delicacy of her features..the nobility that shone from her eyes. She was breathtaking.
The braid that had held her hair back the entire trip was beginning to unravel from the trauma of running from the boar, strands constantly falling into her face. With a grimace of annoyance, she pushed at the hair, and glanced up at him. His gaze upon her... well, she'd seen that before. In Kenneth. But it was different coming from this stranger. She didn't even know his name. She felt a twinge of fear as he looked at her, but there was something else. A heat rushed over her, and she found herself looking away from his gaze at first, chewing on her lip. But after a brief moment of shyness, she squared her shoulders and slid on that practiced MacAlister calm, and met his eyes as if they were equals. "It needs tae be banadaged, then," she said firmly, noding with resolve. "Remove your shirt."
With effort, he drew in a breath and looked at her skeptically. "My lady..I'm no' sure that would be...appropriate. Ye..donnae even know who I am." He could be anyone, as far as she knew but..her offer to help either way..not knowing was..impressive. Perhaps..he shouldn't tell her just yet. He turned to start back on their path, bending to duck a thick branch when another shot of pain went through him and he gripped the place over his ribs, sighing as he leaned against the trunk and looked at her again. "All righ'...ye win." Stubborn woman. But..perhaps she was right. Making their way back to the keep would be easier if this was bandaged in some way. He shifted, attempting to work the shirt off of his frame as best he could..trying to ignore how he felt with her standing there. It wasn't appropriate. Nor was it a good thing to encourage.
She'd never been called "my lady" before. With some effort she'd bit her tongue and followed him, until he'd stopped again, and leaned against the tree, attempting to work his shirt off. Maybe she didn't know him, or even his name, but he was hurt. And if she knew how to help him, she would. Appropriate or not, her father taught her how to help others, no matter how inadvertantly. Reaching up, she grasped the material of his shirt and gently helped him ease it over his head. Setting it aside, she lifted her cold small hands to brush over his skin where the injury was, assessing how bad it was. His skin was so smooth, that was probably the first thing she noticed, taught over a spance of muscles. Another wave of heat rose to her cheeks as she touched him, chewing on her lip. Avoding his gaze all together, she let her hands fall to her skirts, digging for the underskirt. For a few minutes she worked, pulling off long strips as best she could in the darkness. Once the bandage was made, she let her gaze flick back up the naked chest in front of her, to his face. She tried to hide the... whatever it was... that she felt, but she couldn't manage to keep it from her eyes, even as she squared her shoulders once more and cleared her throat. "Keep yer arms out of my way," she instructed firmly, waiting for him to move his arms before she began to wrap the bandages around his ribs, pulling tightly, with force someone so small should not have possessed.
He'd fallen quiet the moment she'd helped him pull the shirt off..the moment he felt those small hands of hers brush against him..how she wouldn't meet his gaze as she worked..tearing her own dress in order to help him. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew this spoke multitudes about her...and her family. To unquestioning come to the aid of someone in need...even if he might be considered an enemy. But he wasn't really thinking about that right now. He couldn't take his eyes off of her. And eventually..she looked up at him and...something in her eyes, pierced more deeply than any broken rib could. At her quiet but strong command, he shifted, moving his arms out of his way but still..didn't say anything. And when she began to wrap that fabric around him..how hard she was pulling, he couldn't help the surprise and the moan that left him. Jesus..he'd broken his leg riding when he was a child but this was very different. And it had been so long. "Yer very strong..my lady." Maybe most of his countrymen would've simply called her lass..or her name. But...he knew who she was..her station. And it was only polite. She deserved that respect.
When he moaned, when she heard that husk in his voice, she swallowed, imagining it was just the pain making him do both. Chewing on her lower lip, she thought of what to say, even as her fingers fumbled with the bandage. "I'm a MacAlister." What was all this? Her heart was racing, and her palms felt sweaty. She kept telling herself that she was imagining these feelings, imagining the weight of his stare on her. That these feelings were the after-product of panic, and that as soon as she was in view of her father, she would feel normal again. Finally she tied the last bandage securely around his midsection and reached for his tunic. Willing her fingers to stop trembling, and failing, she glanced up at his eyes. God, had she ever seen eyes like his before? Even in the dimlight she could see the intensity in them, the smouldering scrutiny of her. Swallowing she shifted the shirt in her hands, moving the fabric so that he could slide his arms into it without much trouble. "Put this on," she said in that same even tone, even if it took all she had to keep it that way. "Ye'll catch yer death of cold."
He'd heard the screams, but he'd been too far off. Teaming up with one of the Campbell man, he'd personally taken it upon himself to find Fionna. He loved that girl like... like he'd never loved anyone else. He had planned on entering into negotiations with Gabriel for her hand next month, after this whole Campbell thing was solved. Now, that seemed like such a far off dream. Gabriel, no, Keegan, would never allow him to marry Fionna now. But he would not give up, not this easily. Following the Campbell man through the woods, they came upon a small clearing, near stumbling over the carcass of the dead boar. He'd found Fionna's head wrap back in the underbrush, and now that there appeared to be signs of a quarrel with this boar, he wasn't exactly calmed by the fact that it was dead. "Fionna!" he called out, his soft voice finding it's volume in his rising panic. "Fionna?!"
Somewhere in the distance, he could hear another man yelling for her. But after he eased the shirt on over his head, his eyes found her again in the dark. They wouldn't be alone for much longer. No doubt she'd discover who he really was and she'd probably hate him like her mother did. But for now, he was just a man she'd assisted when he needed it. Drawing in a hesitant breath, he found the bandage did help quell the pain that splintered through his side. But it was more than that that he felt in that moment. This...was something entirely new. He'd felt desire for women before..this wasn't new. But then, this wasn't only desire. Catching her hand gently, he bent enough to press whta should have been a simple, formal kiss to her knuckles. But once his lips left her skin, he couldn't seem to look up into those eyes again..perhaps somewhat afraid of what it might make him feel. "Thank ye..young Lady o' MacAlister. Yer help will no' be forgotten." He did look up at her then as he released her hand finally.
She'd been so wrapped up in him that she hadn't heard the call of the other man. When his lips brushed her skin, she felt her whole body flush with heat and she shivered with the force of it. "Nae, I'm the one who should be thanking ye." She swallowed as she looked away from his gaze, the shakiness finally creeping it's way into her voice as it grew quiet. "How canne I repay ye?" Glancing up at him through her lashes, she drew her bottom lip between her teeth, waiting on shaky legs or his answer.
He shook his head faintly and straightened from his lean and took a step back, needing the space to clear his mind. "Ye already have." He knew he wasn't a typical Scotsman. All those years away from this place had done it to him. But she wasn't typical either. Nothing about Fionna was average. He dropped his gaze from her again then, to his own ribs as he pressed a palm against it..testing the bandage and the difference it made. "This is verra good.."
When he stepped away from her, she felt a coldness wash over her, and she found herself sliding arms around herself to keep warm. She was both relieved and strangely disappointed that he moved away, hadn't asked for more. Not that she knew what he should have asked for, or what she would have given him. It was probably for the best, however. "I'm glad... it feels better," she said quietly, as she glanced back the way they had come into the darkness.

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