One Good Reason (Private RP)
Page 4 of 14

Author:  Will [ January 7th, 2012, 10:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

Riding a horse was perhaps even more uncomfortable than the carriage ride. Liam’s body continually had to absorb the shock of the horse’s gallop which only magnified the pain. But Liam just clenched his teeth and tried to ignore his aching shoulder. He had not wanted to hold onto Guinevere too tightly, but when she urged the horse from a trot into a gallop and he almost slid off the horse, Liam threw Cairbre a glance of fear but also of apology, before wrapping his arms around Guinevere’s waist. Over the thundering sound of hooves and the wind, he was just able to discern her voice and her well-meant expression of gratitude. Liam was silent for a moment but then spoke. “How could I not come for you? How could I leave you?” He said with faltering voice. “I could never let you go..”

He felt tired, so tired. His body had weakened after losing so much blood and all he wanted was to sleep. Not to feel the throbbing pain or the heartache when he saw Guinevere and Cairbre embrace or kiss. Not to think of the Redcoats who were pursuing them at that very moment or what would happen if they would catch up with them. But he wouldn’t sleep.. He had to stay strong...awake.
Liam rested his head against Guinevere’s back, his cheek touching her red hair. His thoughts wandered to the day before, when he and Rosalind had a fight.

“I couldn’t just leave.. even though you wanted me to..” Liam said to her back. His voice was weak but loud enough for Guinevere to hear. “I know you never felt love for me.. trusted me.. Rosalind told me.. Told me you three were like family..” He paused for a moment from pouring out all the thoughts that had haunted him for hours. “Even if it was not real, it felt real.. real to me.”

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ January 7th, 2012, 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

(Eeeeek! :-o <333 Your post shall go down in history as one of the most beautiful posts ever! :-D :notworthy: Holy heck, Liam’s breaking my heart right now. :'-( Here’s my reply! I wanted to go into much greater detail with it but I couldn’t without making the post too long. Hope you like it anyway! Aaaahhhh, this is so fun!)

The three horses galloped across the countryside at a frighteningly fast pace, the sound of their pounding hooves akin to rolling thunder, but Guinevere was still able to perceive the words Liam spoke to her, since he was so close. His voice sounded painful, broken, even, and it struck Guinevere with a deep knock of shock. She had not expected him to respond in such a way; she had not expected her thank you to be repaid by Liam presenting her with the contents of his heart. For a moment she concentrated only on riding, not wanting to slow down in case the others outran her. But she could not prevent flickering one glance towards Rosalind, wondering exactly what she had said to Liam.

It was so difficult to respond to him, when she had no idea how to. “Of course I trusted you,” she said, quietly. She could feel Liam’s head resting against her shoulder blades and his arms holding on tightly to her, as if he needed her. It was so strange, thinking back to the time when they’d been so close, before she’d begun to drift away from him. “If I’d never trusted you then I’d never have been with you. And I did care for you, Liam. I did.”

How could she explain to him, now of all times, when they were running for their very lives? How could she explain how her feelings had altered and changed, without hurting him even more than she’d already hurt him? “Things changed, and things became clear,” she said eventually, “None of it was your fault, you must understand that.” She was unable to say more, cringing at how ineloquently she’d spoken. Liam deserved better than the paltry explanation she offered, she knew that, but she couldn’t go into greater detail without making everything worse for him. Even so, she felt like a coward.

Memories started flooding back to her, reminding her of how all of this had come about. She saw herself back on the Anne Boleyn, sitting up in bed, her mind fresh with the nightmare she’d just woken from – one of the nightmares she had never confided of to Liam, one of the nightmares she had only ever been able to tell Cairbre of. She saw herself hugging Liam, her head atop his shoulder, her eyes flickering with bewildered longing as she saw Cairbre walk by across the deck. She saw her and Cairbre standing in a corridor talking, felt the tension, the air thick with words unsaid. She saw herself walking hurriedly onto top deck, trying to run from her feelings, smiling at Liam guiltily as he approached her. She saw herself sitting alone in her room, realizing that if she couldn’t be with Cairbre then she’d die.

“It wasn’t your fault,” she suddenly repeated. “And I’m so sorry that I hurt you; I never meant to hurt you so badly, Liam, but I did anyway. But there was no preventing what happened. It could never have been prevented.” She paused. "You don't have to say anything; don't exert your energy.You're hurt. Just sleep if that's what you need."

Author:  Will [ January 13th, 2012, 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

[Ahw Goldy! Do you really mean that? :happy: I'm so glad that you liked it! And I'd hoped it would be beautiful! Thank you so much! :) :hug: Your reply was sweet as well. I really hadn't much time lately to write a post, but I wanted to post something anyway.. But I hope you'll like it. ;) How are things going with your SN post by the way? ;) ]

Liam’s heart seemed to beat faster and his breathing was laboured. All the traveling was wearing him down and he realised that it could jeopardize the safety of all of them, but it were Guinevere’s words that were affecting him the most. She said she had trusted him, cared for him and that it never been his fault. His head rested against her back and now and then the horses of Cairbre and Rosalind came into his field of vision. Although he gazed at the landscape that raced by, his thoughts were somewhere else, somewhere warm, many years ago: the day when he had met Guinevere, or Miss Elliot as he had called her back then. It had been a curious encounter that changed Liam’s life, but also that of Guinevere. If only he hadn’t brought her to the harbour, if only he hadn’t waltzed her in the arms of her knight on a horse.. Maybe everything had been different.

“It was my fault.. All my fault..” he suddenly spoke. “Everything was an adventure when you were with me. I believed we could be extraordinary together instead of - ..ordinary apart..” Liam stopped for a moment to catch his breath. He didn’t know if Guinevere was listening, but he continued speaking anyway. “But I knew that the more you were with me, the more you were falling for him.. I couldn’t leave you.. I loved you. But I knew that it wasn’t enough.”

Liam then remained silent. He closed his eyes, but his mind wasn’t calm. He envisioned the regiment of soldiers hunting them down. He could hear the thundering sound of hooves, but he didn’t know if he imagined it or not. The pain was keeping his body from resting. There was no way he could defend himself or protect the others if it was needed. He could do nothing. It was then in that moment as he lay limply against Guinevere’s back, he was suddenly overwhelmed by an extreme feeling of powerlessness and even fear.

“You left.. I should not have come.. I’m sorry.” He finally said silently. “But I just didn’t know what to do...I had to come.”

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ January 13th, 2012, 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

(Of course I mean it! :-D <333 And your new post is just as beautiful as your last, too. =D Here’s my reply! I’ve fast-forwarded a bit again, hope you don’t mind =) And I’m sorry it’s somewhat long again but then again it is three characters I’m posting for =) And my tendency is to keep on adding to my posts till it's longer than I intended :lol: Anyway, really hope you like it <3
And I’m v.sorry but I haven’t made any new headway with my SN post yet :( – I’ve been a bit unwell the past few days with a cold that’s dragging on way too long, so I haven’t been online as much. But I promise I’ll do my best to make a start, perhaps tonight!)

It had been a long, exhausting day, excruciatingly so. The sunlight was starting to dwindle away over the hills, making way for the beginnings of twilight, flushing the sky a strange grey-violet shade. The horses had been pushed to their limit and needed sleep, as did the riders. They’d only stopped twice today for a few minutes, and that had been to drink some water from nearby streams. However, there had been no sign of any pursuing redcoats as yet, and so, when the seemingly abandoned barn house came into view, the natural decision, agreed to by all, was to stop for tonight. They could continue running in the morning.

Guinevere dismounted her horse, her limbs aching with fatigue, before helping Liam down from the saddle. “What a day,” she murmured blearily. Beneath her drooping eyelids, her blue eyes shone with her usual determination and hope, hope that everything would turn out alright, even though they had by no means reached safety yet. She turned her head as the others dismounted, smiling as Rosalind teetered and accidentally bumped into Cairbre. The group of outlaws somewhat resembled the walking dead – most particularly Liam, who had given them cause to worry all day. Guinevere helped him towards the barn doors, her arm wrapped firmly about his shoulders. He was feeling worse than any of them, and the bullet embedded in his shoulder would have to be removed very soon.

“It’s alright… just lean on me,” Guinevere spoke to him. “You’ll be able to rest properly soon.” She feared he’d spent too much of his energy that morning on talking to her; but she supposed talking had helped keep him conscious. Not that it had been merry talk. She still remembered everything he’d said, and the way she’d had to fall silent in order to concentrate fully on retaining enough horse speed. She hoped he hadn’t misconstrued her silence as cruelty.

The barn was indeed abandoned, empty of any animals or indignant farmers. The four fugitives gratefully flopped down onto the hay, a small silence reigning as contemplation of the day that had passed dawned on them. “I think this has ranked among my top ten most stressful days in the history of my life.” It was Rosalind who interrupted the pause, her arms wrapped around her knees and her head perched atop them. “My heart’s still pounding.” She watched Cairbre as he hauled himself to his feet and slammed the barn doors shut against the approaching night.

“What were the other nine occasions you nearly died?” He asked jokingly, wanting to keep good humor despite his tiredness. For a moment he faced the doors, before turning around with a sense of purpose. “Tomorrow, we head towards a port. So long as we’re on land we won’t be safe. I don’t really feel comfortable about us stopping here, but what else can we do?” He heaved a frustrated sigh, and Guinevere extended a hand towards him, perceiving that he was quickly becoming tense.

“Sit down,” she said gently. When he did so she slumped against his shoulder, for a moment resting her head there and closing her eyes. She slid one hand onto his chest, finding his heartbeat, letting it’s beloved rhythm soothe her. It was so difficult to pull away, reminding herself that there was a task to be done, when all she wanted to do was rest in her fiancé arms. But she forced herself to move away, stroking his neck beforehand, her face written clearly with her longing for Cairbre and proximity to Cairbre.

“Right…” Guinevere said, shifting herself across the straw. Reaching Liam, she carefully helped him up so that he could rest his head on her knees. “I’m sorry, Liam, but the bullet really has got to go. You can’t stay in this state.”

Rosalind peered over Guinevere’s shoulder uneasily. “How? You don’t have any equipment, any tools to help… any bandages…”

“We’ll have to improvise. The light's fading so it has to be done now,” Guinevere said, trying to think quickly about how this could be achieved. She looked down at Liam, looking for any sign of protest. “Or does the patient have any objections?” Pity panged at her as she beheld his face, strained with pain, damp with sweat, and she took one of his hands to comfort him. “I can’t say it won’t hurt, but we can talk to you to try to distract you from the pain. I can multitask and talk to you, whatever you want to talk about.”

He was in so much pain already, and it didn’t seem fair to cause him more, but the bullet had to be removed. Guinevere’s brow creased. It seemed to her that from the very first day they had met, she’d hurt him. Where had it come from, this unintended skill for wounding? She'd slapped him, enraged by his price for helping her find a ship; his price had been a kiss. Almost right after she’d given in and let Liam have his kiss, Cairbre had turned up at the harbour. The incidents of that day had formed the basis of everything that was to follow; but how could any of them, that day, have guessed what the future held?

Author:  Will [ January 19th, 2012, 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

[I didn't mind at all that your posts were a bit longer, especially because you have three characters that need interacting! I enjoyed every line of it! It's was really lovely! :happy: This whole scene is so awkward with Guin and Cairbre being so in love and Liam being there pretending that he doesn't notice. I hope your doing a bit better now btw, hopefully this post will cheer you up! ;)
Oh and I should probably tell you that I'm hopelessly addicted to Downton Abbey and its soundtrack! I played it nonstop while writing this post! :) ]

Liam lay exhausted on the hay covered floor. His entire body ached and his complexion was ghastly white. He did not speak and only listened to his own shallow breathing; the voices of the others seemed to come from far away. Only when Cairbre closed the door of the barn, shutting out the last rays of sunlight, and he had got used to the penetrating smell in the barn, Liam finally felt safe.

"They'll expect us to go to the harbour," Liam responded to Cairbe. His face as drawn with pain as he hauled himself in a sitting position, so he could look at the others. "They'll look for two ladies.. a redhead.. a mad woman." He tried to flash a grin at Rosalind, but he did not succeed in more than a grimace. "A stern-looking fellow.. a wounded man.. You may be able to disguise yourself but- I can't."

It took a few moments before the meaning of his own words hit him. The King's men would expect them to flee to the harbour. Where else would pirates go if they had nowhere to hide? Guards would be patrolling through the harbours in every city of England with a clear description of every one of them. How would they be able to slip aboard of a ship, with no money to bribe a captain and a price on their heads? He could not even move on his own..
Liam closed his eyes, if only so that he did not have to look at the little moment which Cairbre and Guinevere shared. He tried to think clearly, but his mind was foggy and many thoughts raced through his head.

"You should go..without me," Liam suddenly spoke. It was the only logical solution, the only thing that would make sense after all these days and events which didn't make sense at all. "I would give us all away.. Without me you at least have a chance.."

Liam's voice trailed off. Outside, the sun was setting and with the fading sunlight, Liam's hope also slowly disappeared. With every breath he took, a sharp pain cut through his chest like a shard of glass. Perhaps it were the pieces of his broken heart. Was he going to make it through the night? And even if he would then where would he go? There was nothing left for him, not here or in the Caribbean, only his promise that he would leave Guinevere and Cairbre, as soon as all of this was over..

Suddenly Guinevere voice sounded through the barn and shifted him, so she could try to take the bullet out of his shoulder. He shuddered, knowing what was going to happen. He had seen it before, when some poor bug-ger had been shot during a not so friendly encounter with other pirates or Redcoats. "It seems that I do not have much of a choice.." He smiled weakly, but did not look into Guinevere's eyes. He just couldn't look at her, not now. He did hold her hand tightly and turned his head to the right so he was looking at the far side of the barn, bracing himself for the pain that was to come.

"Yes.. talk to me.. Please talk to me, about anything," Liam mumbled. He knew that words would not ease the pain, but he needed to hold onto something else, than the bitter thoughts that roamed through his mind. "Anything.. Say anything.."

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ January 19th, 2012, 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

(I’m really happy you liked my post! Hehe yes, it’s all very awkward indeed <3 And btw, I’ve been plotting loads for the plotline, about the redcoats pursuing them and whether or not they get caught! So I’ve got a plot twist up my sleeve which I’m v.excited about =D
Looove your reply, as usual! <333 It has indeed cheered me up, and put a smile on my face! :happy: And I think I should tell you that I’m a huge Downton Abbey addict too ;) In fact I got the DVD box set at Christmas and could scarcely tear myself away :lol: <3
I love listening to music when writing posts too, it really helps with getting into the story =D <3 Here’s my new reply, much longer than last time O_o :lol: It'll be shorter next time, promise! Hope you like it!)

Liam was right: they couldn’t possibly head for any of the harbours. In his agitated state of mind, Cairbre had not realized the obvious. If they made towards the ocean they’d be walking straight into a trap. Cairbre’s skin was almost as pale as Liam’s as the hopelessness of the situation sunk in. Shortly, he shook his head in desperation and turned his gaze towards the high beams of the barn. Being without a properly formulated plan made him feel physically sick with nerves. He drew a hand over his dark hair, before his fingers slowly curled into a tight fist. What were they going to do?

Suddenly, he felt Rosalind tentatively touch his arm, and he looked towards her, some of the despair fading from his eyes. They’d been in a situation similar to this before, many years ago, though they’d been running from their father then, and not a pack of redcoats. Rosa put her arm around her brother’s shoulders, holding on tightly; she would never forget everything that Cairbre had done for her. From the day she was born, he had always done his best to protect her. “I know you’re tearing yourself apart inside that head of yours,” she whispered to him. “Don’t. We’ll find a way out. You’ll see.”

Cairbre smiled at his sister, greatly appreciating her efforts despite how dark their hope for escape looked. He patted her back gratefully and looked over to where Guinevere sat with Liam. She was obviously steeling herself for what was to come, taking even and steadying breaths. They all knew that this wasn’t going to be pretty. Guinevere had stepped into the shoes of physician enough times in the past when necessity had called for it, patching up wounds, snapping bones into place. She wasn’t a professional, but she had skill.

Guinevere gently slid her hand from Liam’s grasp so that she could roll up her sleeves, neatly and out of the way. She then untied the tight knots of the makeshift bandage, which was now soaked with blood, unwinding and then discarding it. Liam’s shirt was stained scarlet, and a small hole showed where the bullet had entered his shoulder. It was a horrific sight, but Guinevere masked her expression with iron, knowing that she had to keep her nerves in check to be able to do a good job. But all the same, beads of sweat now stood out on her forehead; hurriedly, she tried to think of something to talk to Liam about, as she’d promised she would. In that moment, her mind was a blank.

She carefully pulled Liam’s shirt down over his shoulder, revealing the wound in all of it’s gory glory. How was she going to do this with only her bare hands? She gently touched the surface of Liam’s skin, trying to judge just how deeply the bullet was lodged in there. For a moment, looking at him, seeing how vulnerable he was in this moment, how in pain, it struck her that this was a man she’d once held in her arms, a man who loved her, whose life it was now up to her to save. He was relying on her.

All of a sudden, a thought occurred to her. Quickly, she looked towards Rosalind, and motioned towards her wind-torn black hair, which still had two of Guinevere's hairpins caught in it’s tangled depths. “Rosa. Throw me a hairpin.” Confused, Rosa simply stared at her, and Guinevere raised her voice slightly. “Just do it!” She watched as her friend rushed to do as she said, before deftly catching one of the pins as it was thrown to her.

Guinevere turned the pin over in her hands; it was exquisite, silver combined with jade, appearing more of an ornament rather than anything of practical use. She’d bought the pins on one of her various travels, and had kept them for years. Back in her pirating days they’d been very useful to have around, for they were tipped with tiny silver lids which hid secret blades as thin as a needle. Guinevere removed the lid from the pin now and held the blade up to inspect it; it was definitely slender enough to act as a bullet extractor. “Alright,” she said, finally. “Alright, we’re ready… this will hurt but just grit your teeth. It’ll probably be over before you know it.” She was unable to meet Liam’s gaze in order to reassure him, for his head was turned away. She knew that she couldn’t really promise how quickly this would be done, and the pain would most likely feel as long as a lifetime to him, but it was something to say.

She lightly applied pressure to the area surrounding the wound with her fingertips before inserting the hairpin. “Don’t think of this,” she said to him. “Don’t think of the pain, take your mind somewhere else. I often lived in my own dream world when I was a child. I distracted myself from the awful things that went on in my life by reading books, reading tales… stories about brave buccaneers, far off worlds. Mythology, history. As a little girl the people in books were more real, more important to me than my own family.” She paused as she pierced the bullet with the blade. “I didn’t love my parents, didn’t love my brothers. Sounds heartless, doesn’t it? But it was because they didn’t love me. To them I was a piece of commodity, a bartering tool… a daughter, a sister, worth no account. When I think of the things they put me through, the man they wanted to sell me to…” she shook her head, slowly drawing the needle-like blade out, taking her time in case the bullet should drop back into the wound. “I was a lonely girl of twenty when I was forced to leave England, alienated from any sort of true friendship or loyalty to anyone. My upbringing trained me to rely only on myself, to trust no one, to let no one close. Isolation can do that to a person. It builds walls.”

There: the bullet was out. Quickly, she mopped up Liam’s wound with the bandage she’d thrown to one side earlier. “But…” she continued, “I was twenty-one when I met the first person ever to befriend me. The first person in my entire life who truly cared about me, although it took me a bafflingly long time to realize just how much…” She broke off, knowing that Liam wouldn’t want to hear about this part of the story, which she had accidentally started talking about. Her gaze had fallen upon Cairbre, who was looking at her now with tender eyes. Her lips lifted upwards in a smile for a moment before she had to turn her attention back to her patient.

“I just have to bandage you up now,” she told him. “The bullet’s gone. It’s done. Rosa, can I have your cloak? Thank you…” she nodded at Rosa as the other woman placed the bundle of material in her arms. Guinevere tore a long strip off of it and smoothed it out. “I said you’d be alright. You’ll be fine now,” she said. “I hope you weren’t too bored by my talking.” She felt guilty for recounting an event he wouldn’t want to hear about, but he’d said to talk about anything, and the words had unfolded before she could think to be sensitive to Liam’s feelings.

There was no needle and thread to close the wound, so she wrapped the fresh bandage around his shoulder. Her own hands were stained with Liam’s blood, and it was slightly disconcerting to look at them as she wiped her hands against her skirt. Only now, when her task was finished, did she realize again just how tired she was; all she wanted was to sleep.

“You left me out of the story.” Rosa’s voice suddenly broke into the silence. She hoped to disperse any awkwardness with humor. “And there was me thinking all these years that I was an important part of it.”

“Of course you were.” Guinevere smiled tiredly. “Anyway, what I think we should all do soon is try to get some sleep. It’s been a long day.” Everyone needed their strength for tomorrow, which would no doubt be spent in the saddle again. She remembered how Liam had suggested that they should leave him behind to continue their journey, but none of them were callous enough to do such a thing, for it meant the redcoats would find him and kill him.

She shifted Liam’s head from her lap onto a pile of straw, before getting to her feet in order to stretch her legs, which had begun to feel slightly numb. She paced towards the barn doors, before suddenly stopping and bracing her hands flat against them, her shoulders sagging with fatigue. “My god, I’m so tired.” It seemed as if this day had lasted centuries. After a few moments, she felt an arm about her waist, and she drooped back against the strong supporting shoulder. “There you are,” she said softly. “My Cairbre.”

“You need some sleep, Guin…” Cairbre guided her away from the doors. “You’ve done so much today. I know you; you can face anything this world throws at you with the strength of a lioness. But I also know that you can get slightly grouchy after a particularly hectic day.”

Guinevere laughed at this. “Me, grouchy?”

“I still remember the look every single crewmember got on his face whenever you shouted at them.”

“I hardly ever shouted!”

“True, your outbursts of fury didn’t occur very often, but that’s what made them so frightening when they did! Frightening to everyone but me, of course. I always knew how to talk you out of an argument.” Cairbre grinned down at her and she poked him in the stomach. “Ouch! Those were my ribs!”

“Really? I’m sorry, you know I love your ribs.” Guinevere was already beginning to feel better with Cairbre by her side and some humorous banter. She sat down on the straw whilst he started to arrange a makeshift straw mattress for her to sleep on. She hoped that the others didn’t feel awkward at all now that she and Cairbre were the only ones talking, but nothing was going to stop them from talking. She’d go mad if she didn’t have Cairbre’s voice, his company, him. That morning, she’d believed that they were both going to die. No moment together could be wasted.

Whilst Cairbre was busy, she looked towards Liam, wondering how he was faring now that the bullet was out. “Liam? Are you alright?” She smiled exhaustedly. “I think that’s the first time anyone’s ever performed an operation with a hairpin, so we should be quite proud.”

Author:  Will [ January 21st, 2012, 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

Liam clenched his jaw as Guinevere started the procedure. The cold silver that pierced his flesh and tissue, near to his muscles and nerves, caused an agonizing pain. It was excruciating pain, as if a thousand daggers were perforating his chest. He wanted to move away, away from Guinevere, away from the pain, yet he was just able to control himself. He bit his lip with such force that it had started bleeding and his knuckled had turned white from clenching his fists. Liam lay there, trying to keep his body twitching from pain, while he only vaguely heard Guinevere's words. But when she shifted the hairpin to get hold the bullet, Liam suddenly cried out, as waves of nauseating pain washed over him. It was a desperate cry, a cry of agony, in which all his torment and misery was expressed.

He turned his head back to Guinevere, his face damp with sweat and he looked at her, almost pleadingly, to get it over with, to end his suffering. Only then he realised that she held the hairpin up with the bullet clutched between the blades. Exhausted he lay back, and attempted to regain control over his breathing as he listened to Guinevere's story. He listened how she spoke of the man who befriended her, who helped her to restore her trust in people, the man that she loved: Cairbre..

Liam shut his eyes, not willing to hear more of Guinevere's tale of how she and Cairbre found true love. He couldn't hear more of it, but he couldn't block out her words. Memories came back to him of Guinevere and Cairbre sharing a secret kiss on the Anne Boleyn, holding hands when they thought to be alone, their stealthy glances to one another when he was around.. Ripping out his heart would be even less painful than this.. He was too weak to speak, but he had to, if only to wipe the memories from his mind.

"I..had a sister.." he said with a hoarse voice, as he lay completely worn-out against the pile of hay, where Guinevere had placed him. “Who I loved...very much. She died.. a month ago…Aileen died..”
A tear ran down his cheek, but whether it was from the pain, Guinevere’s confession or the memory of his sister, no one could tell.

Night fell upon the deserted countryside but Liam had lost track of time. He’d tried to rest but whether he at times lost consciousness or had slept, he couldn’t tell. Pain seemed to have become a constant companion, even when he tried to focus his mind, to draw it away from the pain, he could not think of something else than of Guinevere’s words and his own foolishness, that he could ever believe that she had loved him. He had turned away from the others and answered Guinevere’s question of how he was doing with a simple ‘I’m fine’. Perhaps he was selfish, by repaying her efforts of saving his life, in such a way, but he had no choice: Liam’s desire for self-preservation prevailed over his gratitude and his usual kindness. He lay shivering in the straw, facing the other side of the barn and he silently made a promise to himself. A promise, never to fall as deep as he had fallen now, never to feel like he felt now and never to feel such love again.

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ January 21st, 2012, 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

(Eeeeek! So beautiful! You’ve done it again, Will my dear <3 :hug: btw, I shall try and reply to your PM very soon; I haven’t had a chance today because I’ve been out shopping and going to the hairdressers, and I’m absolutely knackered! But trust me, I’ve been plotting loads for our RP, with the aid of lots of beautiful music =D <3)

Guinevere had no idea how long ago it was that they’d all gone to sleep; she could only remember her head hitting the hay, her limbs melting with exhaustion as she dropped into a dreamless sleep. It must have been at least several hours ago now. In the pitch darkness, she shifted herself up from her hay bed, looking around to try and discern the others. She could hear the sound of them breathing, so it seemed that she was the only one awake yet. She felt wonderfully rested, but she would rather have remained asleep until the daylight. The atmosphere felt too strange, too dangerous, here in the dark; thoughts of the redcoats plagued her mind as she asked herself how soon they would come for them, when would they arrive and take them away back to prison…

Abruptly, she shook her head. Thoughts like that would get her nowhere. For a moment she sat with one arm folded around her knees, disentangling a few strands of hay from her hair with her free hand. Just then, she thought of what Liam had said to her before turning his back for the night. His words repeated themselves in her mind, and she felt a sharp twinge of guilt; why had he not said anything before? Why had he kept silent about losing his sister? But then, when had he had the opportunity to bring the subject up, and why would he have? Guinevere supposed that she was someone he no longer wanted to confide in, except for that one moment after she’d saved his life: his whispered, tearful confession in the last strains of daylight.

What a lot had happened in the space of a few short days. About a week ago now, Guinevere had been making preparations for her wedding, making last minute adjustments to her wedding dress, going through every last detail. Closing her eyes against the dark, Guinevere wondered if it would be possible to bribe a priest to perform the ceremony for her and Cairbre whilst they were on the road – but of course they had nothing at all, no money or goods, with which to bribe a priest, and it would be far too dangerous to attempt it. No man of the church would help them anyway; it was certain that he’d straightaway break the laws of sanctuary for the moral pleasure of handing a group of sinful pirates into the authorities.

No, the wedding would have to wait until they were safe. But where was safe, and when would they find it? Sighing with frustration, Guinevere pushed herself onto her feet. She padded on careful feet across the barn. “Is anyone awake?” she whispered hopefully. Maybe it was selfish of her to want someone to talk to whilst the others were getting some much-needed rest, but she couldn’t help it. There was no reply but silence, and, clasping her hands together, she resigned herself to seeing through the rest of the night alone.

She picked her way across the barn like a blind person, not wanting to stay still and let her thoughts pick away at her. At that exact moment, she tripped over a pair of feet; the darkness made her clumsy, and she toppled over, landing across Liam’s ankles with a yelp of pain as she hit her elbow hard on the barn floor. “Oh, Christ, I’m sorry. Who is it?” She outstretched her arm, reaching out, and her fingertips accidentally met Liam’s stubbly, slightly bearded jaw, which told her who it was she’d tripped over. She drew her hand back and attempted to scrabble to her feet as best she could, knowing that, judging from his earlier behavior, he didn’t want her near him – and not without good reason, she admitted that freely. She’d wounded him, broken his heart, and he had no reason to bring himself to forgive her. Doubtless, every time he saw her and Cairbre together, saw how much she adored Cairbre, Liam probably hated her more and more.

She found a place to sit, leaning against one of the barn walls, asking herself if she should say something, since she had certainly woken Liam up. She wanted to say that she was sorry, so sorry, about his sister, because she was, but she felt uncertain that he would accept sympathy from her.

Author:  Will [ January 23rd, 2012, 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

[Thank you Goldy! :hug: This post is rather short, but then I wasn't that inspired.. :( I'm looking forward to see your post (and PM and SN post :P). Guinevere's reaction is going to be interesting for sure! :) And hurray for plotting and beautiful soundtracks! :) ]

Liam woke up with a jolt. Immediately his hand went his bandaged chest, biting back a groan of pain. He scanned the dark barn, wondering what had dragged him from his peaceful oblivion. In a moment of horror, he thought that the Redcoats had found them, but then he noticed a frail figure moving at his feet and he heard Guinevere’s soft voice. Her hand trailed over his bearded cheek, before she moved away. Liam remained silent at first, not wanting to speak, yet the skin where she had placed her hand still tingled.

“Are you alright?” he spoke at last, his voice was still weak from a lack of strength. “Is something wrong?”

Quietly he shifted his head, so he could peer out the barn window into the starless night. Unwillingly, his mind went back to the past, to that eventful night in Port Royal, during the pirate attack. He had wanted to leave her, there and then. But she had convinced him to stay, because she wanted him to stay, because she needed him, because she wanted him.. If he never knew her, everything would have been different. If he had never held her, never felt such love, then he would never have to let her go.

Liam sighed deeply, somehow not able to drift asleep again. He gazed into the dark at the place where Guinevere was sitting. “It is so dark.. as if there will be no light again, nor a tomorrow..”

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ January 23rd, 2012, 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

(Once again, incredibly lovely! <3 Reading it, I would never have noticed that you weren't feeling that inspired! :hug: Here be my reply =) And I'm so sorry about the delay with SN and my PM :blink: - they will be on their way soon! :-D Anyhoo, hope you like this! The drama is about to begin - the redcoats are coming, head for the hills! :-o )

Now that Guinevere’s eyes were beginning to adjust to the darkness, she could see Liam a little better. She shook her head in reply to his question with a small smile. “Nothing’s wrong; I’m fine. Thank you. I’m just awake, that’s all.” She hoped that her words didn’t sound standoffish or abrupt, but she didn’t wish for him to worry about her. He still sounded unwell, which was no surprise; she may have removed the bullet from his shoulder, but the wound had drained his strength, and it would take a long time for him to properly recover. For a moment she sat in silence, wondering what time it was and when the sun would rise, before she was alerted by Liam’s next words. She leaned her head back against the barn wall, thinking.

“I know what you mean,” she eventually said softly. “It feels too dark. Like some sort of herald of ill fortune. An omen.” There was a pause, before she suddenly chuckled quietly at what she’d said. She wasn’t the overly superstitious type, and as such she couldn’t help laughing at herself. Quickly, she muffled the sound by covering her mouth with her hand so as not to unfairly wake up Cairbre and Rosa. However, despite her amusement, she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were all standing on the edge of some unknown fate, and it disturbed her. Her very skin crawled with uneasiness; she wrapped her arms around herself to try and ease her discomfort, rubbing her arms as if she was cold, despite the warm summer air.

She did her best to steel herself against her inner fear, taking a deep breath from the bottom of her lungs. Slowly, she got to her feet, finding her footing with greater care this time so that she didn’t trip over someone again. She looked around, able to distinguish the shapes of Cairbre and Rosa now; Rosa lay curled up in a little ball like a child, and Cairbre lay flat on his back with his hands resting on his stomach. Guinevere did not know it, but the dark sky outside was very gradually, almost unnoticeably beginning to lighten; dawn was approaching, and making it slightly easier to see.

After a moment, she walked a little closer to where Liam sat, wanting to say something to him, something that was owing. “Listen, Liam… I just want to say,” she began, not knowing how to phrase the words correctly without sounding awkward and forced. What could you say to a person who was grieving? “I just want to say that I’m sorry. I’m so sorry about your sister… Aileen…” All of a sudden, she broke off from her attempt at better eloquence, alerted by the sound of something she almost wasn’t even aware of.

It sounded something like very quiet thunder, rolling over the Devon hills, coming closer, as if from a great distance away. It was the sound of hooves. Guinevere stood still, her body tensing and her eyes widening. Her mouth suddenly felt very dry, and when she tried to speak, no words came out. A few moments passed before she shook herself free of her shock, and she raised her voice. “They’re coming for us!”

It looked as if the redcoats had finally caught up.

Author:  Will [ January 30th, 2012, 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

Liam looked at Guinevere as she spoke, but the darkness concealed the look on his face, for which he was glad. When she called the name Aileen, a fresh wave of grief washed over him, as he thought of his darling sister, who had been way too young to die and with whom he had spent so little time in the past years. Only Guinevere knew what his sister meant to him, as she was the only one Liam ever confided in about his family. That he was the cast-away, disowned son of a Lord, taken in by a woman who was in every aspect kinder than his own living family members, and how her daughter became his loving sister. And although both knew that there was no future for him in Port Royal, Liam had never been able to cope with the knowledge of how much he had grieved them by taking the course of piracy and leaving them alone..

Liam interpreted Guinevere’s silence as a pause, thinking that she couldn’t find her words and said: “I’m sorry too...She was the only person...the only one I -” Suddenly he fell silent as he heard what Guinevere must have noticed as well: the sound of hooves from far away, yet slowly approaching..

Liam paled and clutched his shoulder as he abruptly sat up straight, attempting to discern how many riders could be approaching. It was a large group, riding at great speed. Then he turned to Guinevere: “Wake up the others, take the horses and go!” His voice was stronger than before and he looked intently at Guinevere, hoping that she would not argue with him. He scrambled to his feet and staggered to the other side of the barn, where the horses were held, saddled and ready for if they had to leave in a hurry, and quickly untied the reins. “Split up if you must and ride east, as fast as you can. I will cover up your tracks. If we’re lucky, we will meet here again, in three days.”

Only then he noticed that Guinevere still hadn’t moved, perhaps still in shock that their safety once again was compromised, but there was also the look of protest on her face. He turned back to her but he could just keep himself from moving closer to her. “I cannot go,” he said quietly. "I cannot run or ride. I can only hide.. You will stand a better chance without me, you always did..” The sound of hooves became louder now and even if the Redcoats were not visible yet, they were close. There was no time left.

“Please, go! If you ever loved me, than you must go.” The others were stirring now as the noises and voices woke them up. Liam swayed on his feet, the throbbing pain in his shoulder grew worse. He wanted to tell Guinevere that all would be fine, that he would find her and that he would keep her from harm. But then he remembered the way Guinevere had looked at Cairbre, how she had told him how much she loved him, needed him. Rosalind’s words echoed through his mind: We know everything about each other, us three. As thick as thieves. You know nothing about us. Guinevere doesn’t need you, she never did and she never will. He remembered how much he hated Cairbre and how much the latter hated him.

He turned away from Guinevere and with a lot of effort he managed to throw open the doors of the barn. “Go! Save yourself!”

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ January 30th, 2012, 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

“You’re being ridiculous if you really believe we’ll leave you here,” Guinevere insisted, facing Liam with pure disbelief written across her features. “If you stay behind they will find you and they will kill you. I’d have to have a heart of stone to allow that to happen.” It was obvious that she saw her decision as the deciding vote, and she refused to be gainsaid. She knew that Liam was correct, that they would be quicker without him, but that didn’t make it the right thing to do. She took his wrist and tried to drag him towards the horses, but his stance was stubborn as he made it all too apparent that he wasn’t going to do as she said. For a moment she stared at him in frustration and fury. “Do you want to be shot?” she demanded.

“What’s going on?” Rosalind grabbed Guinevere’s shoulder, her voice suggesting that she was still only half-awake; she was still recovering from a head rush, brought on by getting to her feet too quickly. There was a pause, before Guinevere wordlessly took her by the hand and guided her towards her horse, helping her up into the saddle. Guinevere’s heart was battering fiercely, pumping absolute fear. She didn’t need to answer Rosa; the air was filled with the sound of their doom, the hoof falls sounding closer and closer with every passing moment.

Guinevere turned around hurriedly, looking around for Cairbre in the half-light of the barn. Within a moment, he appeared at her side, and she threw her arms around him, pulling him towards her tightly. There was every chance that they could be caught and imprisoned again, and if that was to happen, then she wasn’t facing her doom without his embrace. She felt him whisper in her ear, “Guin. We’ve got to go, we can’t linger here.” All the same, his arms encircled her waist and he placed a kiss against her neck. The hurry to escape forced them to release each other, and Cairbre helped Guinevere up onto her horse. She arranged her skirts and looked towards Liam, who was still standing by the barn doors.

“We’ll meet you here in three days, did you say?” she said, quietly. Furrowing his brow, Cairbre looked towards the other man in surprise.

“What?” he said. “Are you insane, Gray? You’re not staying here?”

“Liam, don’t be a martyr,” Rosalind spoke up, still sounding exhausted. “What use is it to be the sacrificial lamb? Just get on the bleeding horse!” But whatever any of them said or did, it was clear that Liam’s decision was final. The lack of time was so pressing that there was no case for any more arguments. With one final incredulous look in Liam’s direction, Cairbre threw himself into the saddle and urged his horse forwards.

“We will come back for you,” he told him, unable to believe he was speaking these words, after his and Liam’s long and bitter enmity. But there was no hostility or dislike in his expression or voice, even though there was no friendship there, either. “In three days, or two. Hide yourself as best as you can.”

The horses went forwards, beginning in a trot. Guinevere looked over her shoulder towards Liam in goodbye before the horses surged on into a gallop out of the barn doors. They headed east, following the beginning of the rising sun. Fog was rolling out over the countryside, giving the landscape a beautiful, mysterious appearance, despite the danger in the air and the fear in the riders’ blood.

Author:  Will [ February 2nd, 2012, 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

Liam watched how the trio disappeared in the fog, their questions and remarks still echoing in his ears. His motives for staying were not understood, yet for him it had been crystal clear what his options were. He wasn't a martyr and nor did he want to die, but he wanted the best chances of escape for all of them. He would most certainly slow them down and get them arrested. He just couldn’t handle even more guilt; bear the knowledge that he was responsible for their fate.

The first rays of the sun now pierced through the veil of fog and shone on the barn. Liam quickly tried to sweep away the hoof prints on the ground, knowing that the King’s men would first search the barn if they would not find a clear trail, allowing the others to get a good head start. The riders were almost visible when Liam once again closed the doors of the barn, shutting out the first morning light. He didn’t feel any fear, only a strange sort relief. Guinevere was gone and so was her fiancée and his sister. All he had wanted since he had entered the Eagle manor was to leave again, to pretend like it all never had happened as if to erase that chapter of his life. And now they were gone. Now he did not have to watch how they were looking at each other, kissing or holding hands. He did not have to make himself stop thinking that it could have been him, that he could have been so lucky to deserve her love. But he couldn’t erase this chapter. He couldn’t leave England any time soon nor did the others ride out of his life. He was trapped and had nowhere to go.

Once his eyes had adjusted to the dark again, he dragged himself to the corner of the barn with the most hay. Quickly he hid himself in the corner and covered himself with the hay, hoping that from a distance it would only look like a large pile of hay. Liam tried to get his breathing under control again and to keep his body from trembling, as he lay, curled up, in his hiding-place. The air was oppressive and stuffy and with every small movement he made the hay rustled. He lay there, quietly, waiting and hoping the soldiers would not check every inch of the barn, that he would remain undiscovered and that he would make until the next day.

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ February 2nd, 2012, 5:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

The redcoats had proved merciless in their pursuit, out to spill blood. It was clear that should they be caught, they would not be brought back to Exeter for another trial. The three outlaws were now marked as the walking dead. They’d found a hiding place, however meager: a small, abandoned tumbledown cottage perched near a river, which they could hear flowing in the background, a sound which should have been soothing. Guinevere was pressed against one of the crumbling stone walls, her breath shuddering in her throat as she watched Rosalind’s movements warily. The black-haired woman was beginning to act odder and odder; she couldn’t really be blamed, since they were all frightened, but her heightened nerves didn’t bode well.

“There’s a bridge over the river,” Rosa spoke up, her voice sounding constricted and choked. “We’ve got to make it across. We can’t stay here. We could destroy the bridge when we’ve crossed it so they can’t follow us. It looks old enough. It could crumble easily.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Cairbre said shortly. His eyes flickered with acute fear and frustration as he watched the horizon. The redcoats had hidden themselves well, but they were out there, waiting for their next move. If only they still had the horses. Rosa’s horse had cast a shoe and had been unable to carry on unless at an agonizingly slow pace; and as for Guinevere’s horse… the poor devil had been shot from under her. So now here they were, like sitting ducks, waiting to know their fates. In all truth, each one of them knew what was likely to happen.

“I’m not waiting here to die,” Rosa blurted out, scrambling to her feet hastily. “You two may be content to wait it out but I’m not.” She waited, as if believing that her words would somehow convince the others of her idea. Hysteria shone on her face, tingeing her cheeks bright pink. “Cairbre!” she appealed to him, desperately. “We didn’t escape from father all those years ago just to end our lives here like this. There’s so much more left to live for. You and Guin are still yet to marry. You’ve got everything to live for. We can’t stay here and abandon every dream we ever dreamt!”

“Rosa,” Guinevere said slowly, stepping forward slightly, her expression rigid with pain, “stop this. You must calm down, you must…”

“No,” Rosa interrupted her, loudly. She looked at both her brother and her friend, blinking. A few tears trickled from her eyes, before she shook her head and turned, setting off into a run. She ran away from their hiding place, across the grass towards the bridge. Cairbre shouted after her.

“Rosalind!” Quickly, he turned towards Guinevere. “Stay here. Promise me you’ll stay here.” He clasped her arms and quickly kissed her lips before pulling himself away and running as fast as humanly possible after his sister. Guinevere stood still, rooted to the spot by shock. It took a few moments before she wrenched herself free of the thick, constraining astonishment and into action, and she ran after the others, lifting her skirts above her knees so that she could run unimpeded. The bridge was further away than any of them had thought, and Guinevere’s hesitation meant that a gap was maintained between herself and Cairbre and Rosalind, which she was frantic to close. However, in her haste and fear she suddenly tripped over a small rock, losing her footing and toppling face first onto the ground. Cringing, she tried to raise herself up, tried to move, but there seemed to be something wrong with her ankle.

Cairbre, having no idea that Guinevere had tried to follow him, had caught up with Rosa now, and he grabbed hold of her arms. “For pity’s sake, you idiot!”

“D-don’t call me… an idiot… I’m just trying, I’m just trying…” Rosa hurried and stumbled over her words, before bursting into a fresh peal of tears. She clutched at her brother’s shirt, looking up at him, before realizing that he wasn’t looking at her anymore. His gaze was directed towards the other side of the bridge, where a group of redcoats were now waiting, their weapons poised to shoot. That was where they’d been waiting and concealing themselves. Rosa had walked the two of them straight into the trap.

“When I say to jump,” Cairbre said, “you do as I say and just do it.” He grasped Rosa’s hand tightly.

Time seemed to move in a terrible hurry, blurring things, fogging them with fear. The next thing Rosa was aware of was water… just water, surrounding them and threatening to destroy them. But she and Cairbre were both strong swimmers, and they were quick enough to avoid the shower of bullets that followed them. However, Rosa was suddenly aware of a searing pain in her foot; she tried to cry out, but could only gargle. A stream of red liquid poured forth from between her toes, and she struggled in the water, trying to grab her foot, pulling off her shoe. But Cairbre seized hold of her, wrapping her against his shoulder, and dragged her alongside him.

It seemed an age before they eventually burst to the surface, gasping for breath. The bridge had been left a long, long way behind. As he shuddered and spluttered, Cairbre wondered just exactly how far they’d swam.

“Christ almighty,” he managed to wheeze, helping Rosa up onto a bed of reeds as she writhed in agony, “oh God… Rosa…” he stared at her foot, in that moment absolutely dumbstruck. On her right foot, Rosa was missing two toes, and instead in their place were two bleeding stumps. “Wh…whatever you do… don’t look down…”

Author:  Will [ February 5th, 2012, 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

A red sun had set on the third day after Guinevere’s departure and the sky had first turned as red as blood before colouring purple. Only slowly the twilight turned into darkness. Liam sat in a shaded corner of the barn. At times his eyes fell closed and he dozed off for a moment, only to wake up with a shock a few minutes later. He would then scold at himself for being so weak, for however exhausted he felt, he couldn’t be weak, he shouldn’t sleep. He didn’t know how he had made it through the past days but all he knew that every second that he had been alone, seemed like an lifetime. Seconds after he had settled himself in his hiding place, the Redcoats burst into the barn and had inspected the barn thoroughly, their swords cleaving the hay to find the fugitives. In that moment Liam had only tried not to move, not to breath, even when a sword scraped his leg. He listened to the soldiers’ heavy footsteps and their curses, for not finding those b-loody pirates. After what seemed an eternity, the soldiers finally left but Liam remained in his hiding place, not moving a muscle, hardly daring to breathe, for hours. When he had gathered enough courage, he crawled away from under the hay, gasping for breath. He could hardly believe how lucky he had been, how things could have ended differently. He had been worn out and his shoulder still ached painfully. In normal circumstances, he needed all food and rest he could get and to stay hydrated in order to regain his strengths. Yet the past days had been anything but normal. They had been running for their lives, concerned only with their survival. He hadn’t eaten for days, except for a few berries he had managed to find and despite his fear of the soldiers returning to the barn, he had risked to stagger over to a stream, only a mile away from the barn, as he was almost dehydrated after two days without having much to drink. And then there was the waiting... The endless hours of contemplating of what could have happened to the others and if they would return only resulted in the most horrible scenarios of what would happen if the Redcoats found them. At times when he accidentally dozed off, he would wake up in cold sweat, seized by panic at the thought of the soldiers returning to the barn. He couldn’t defend himself, yet he couldn’t leave either. He would wait, like he had promised, for the others to return.

Author:  ~Goldleaf~ [ February 5th, 2012, 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: One Good Reason (Private RP)

(As I said in my PM, loved your post :hug:
Here be my reply :happy: I hope ya like it! :) I really wanted to depict Guinevere's grief properly so it was important for me to get this post right; I hope I have! Poor lass :( I just want to run up to her and yell, "you're right, they're NOT DEAD!!!" O_o)

Guinevere had no idea what time of day it was, nor could she recall the month or the year. She had no notion of how long she had searched for Cairbre and Rosalind after the redcoats had departed, how many times she’d screamed their names. Her skin was still icy cold to the touch due to her jumping in the river in a futile attempt to find them. Her feet ached from walking, running, stumbling, attempting to track down her two missing loved ones with an almost certainly twisted ankle. Her arms and legs trembled with shock, and her face was stained with tracks left by seemingly endless tears which still continued to flow. And her throat, her throat felt raw from sobbing, as if it was bleeding. It was in this wretched state that she staggered towards the barn she’d left behind three days ago, returning now in a frantic quest for help. She still clung on desperately to the hope that Cairbre and Rosalind would be found and that they would turn up well and safe – even though she’d seen the redcoats firing into the water, even though she knew what the most likely outcome was.

Her breathing was ragged and hoarse as she battered her fists against the barn doors, as if she would break them down with her bare hands. When this did not succeed, she tried again, using the handles this time, her fingers trembling violently. Finally gaining access, she burst in, casting her eyes about in pure desperation, before they fell upon the man sitting in the corner. Guinevere started towards Liam with an immense sense of purpose, before, exhausted, she faltered and collapsed to her knees in the middle of the barn, releasing a cry of grief that could have torn through the very sky.

Every bone in her body ached and her head felt as heavy as a rock as she crumpled in on herself, believing in that moment that she would die. She wrapped her slim arms around herself, rocking from side to side as she shrieked as much as wept. “No,” was the only discernable word that she uttered. The grief was so agonizingly painful that no words could possibly begin to describe it. If it was true, if she really had lost them, then she had lost everything; her life sat in tatters at her feet, a broken garden of fresh, bright memories. With this thought, she emitted a howl, unable to grasp the concept that it all could only ever live on in memory. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t. Cairbre’s kiss, pressed against her lips before he’d set off in pursuit of Rosalind, still felt warm and tangible on her skin. She could feel his arms around her, hear his voice as clear as day in her head. Everything that he was, she carried with her; he was here with her. Rosalind, too, lingered in the air, her voice dancing and her familiar laughter shaking against the walls. They were both here – except that they were not here, not in the flesh.

They could not be gone. They could not be just… gone. How could it be possible, how could it even be considered, that she had lost the man she loved and the woman she saw as her sister? Very slowly, she raised her head, her eyes moist and shining with tears, her mouth parted as she struggled to breath. Perhaps it was all a dream? Some terrible nightmare? She’d suffered from such vivid nightmares before, the kind that seemed so real in sleep. With clumsy fingertips, she pinched her own arm viciously. No. No, she was awake, so awake that she felt dead.

“I… I saw them.” At last, she spoke to Liam, her voice bursting with unburdened sobs. “I saw them… jump into the water… I saw, s-saw the soldiers shooting into the water…” She drew in a huge breath, more tears spilling from her bright blue eyes. Speaking clearly was a huge effort for her, but she had to be able to talk properly to him so that he would understand and be able to help her, so that they could find Cairbre and Rosalind. “You must help me!” She reached out and grabbed his arm, holding on tight. “You have to listen to me, you must help! You have to help me find them!” She let go, before scrambling to her feet. The sudden movement was too much for her strained body, and she stumbled backwards into a wall, hitting her back hard.

“Cairbre wouldn’t leave me.” Speaking to herself, she closed her eyes, hoping beyond hope that when she opened them again, the world would have righted itself. “He promised me,” she continued in tremulous tones, “he promised m-me he’d never leave me.” When she opened her eyes again, she still saw the barn, still saw those empty spaces where Cairbre and Rosalind should have been standing. Her gaze suddenly alit with fury, before gradually filling with a heartbreaking hopelessness. She choked, steadying her hands flat against the wall before she launched herself forwards and ran straight out of the barn, her bad ankle making her sprinting lopsided. She could not get far, especially after putting herself through such a torturous journey to get here, but she ran all the same, hardly knowing where she was going or what she was doing.

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