Star Dreamer

Chapter XLIII: Shadowed Sails

Long after the coffee had been finished and all had settled for the night a restless wind began to play around the ship – tugging at the riggings, prowling through around those sleeping on the deck, and sneaking beneath the cabin door.

Then, as suddenly as the wind had risen, it fell – leaving the ocean as still and dark as a wizard’s mirror of divination; overhead the stars glittered like jewels, and the twin moons spilled their milky light over the water. Until – a black ship appeared, covering the moonlight with inky shadows.

From the safety of Thomis’s arms Laurelyn jerked upright – a strangled scream coming from her throat. In her dreams she had seen The Star Dreamer approaching – and now dream merged with reality.

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Chapter XLII: Discourse in the Dark

[Laurelyn]

Laurelyn was more than happy to come from below decks and breathe the crisp, salty breeze that played with her auburn hair – the aroma of fish in the hold was almost more than she could handle. But there was little for it, since she had decided that Maeve and Rue would be better off in the small cabin – and she told herself she would get used to the smell. “If the weather holds,” she said to Thomis, “We could sleep on deck if you wanted to – we at least have those hammocks Ceart gave us. Or even our bedrolls.”

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Chapter XLI: On Evening's Tide

[Laurelyn]

Despite the fact that Laurelyn physically felt no desire to get up she was beginning to again feel the press of responsibilities and concerns. For nearly two days she and Thomis had had a nearly idyllic existence – their world revolving around Emlyn’s attic room – with occasional forays to the kitchen. But her mother had defended their privacy well and the only quiet disturbance had been when food was left at their door. One visitor only had Emlyn permitted to enter the cottage, the Hortus Keir, so that he could check on the baby rabbit, and deliver to Thomis and Laurelyn two rings that he had chosen for for them, silver circlets to show their bonding to each other.

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Chapter XL: Brandied Pup and Sweeter Dreams

[Talia]

“At least the rain has quieted,” Talia commented, followed by a sneeze, as she walked beside Jacques; with one hand resting on his arm and the other holding the blanket clasped at her throat – so it became both hood and cloak. The rain had indeed stopped, but the clouds continued to look dark – even in a night’s sky, and the wind was restive between the cottages.

At her own cottage the widow fumbled with her pouch in order to produce the keys to her door, but at last she managed to gain the keys and undo the lock. The interior of the cottage was dark – though it smelt strongly of brandy. And at the sound of the door opening Jeremy resumed his beleagured yeowling.

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Chapter XXXIX: The Stirring of Dead Dreams

[Ceart/Laurelyn/Merkins]

Ceart had started to turn, child in arms, to order Eric away – but instead he choked out, “Star Dreamer....?”

He shot a look at Laurelyn and demanded, “You’re not daft enough to be chasing after that black legend – aboard a murderer’s ship?!”

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Chapter XXXVIII: No Catch for Ye Tonight

[Fionn]

When the sprite did nothing either to approach him or to flit away, Fionn crossed over to the shrine and ducked low enough to see the blanket-wrapped Rue blinking at him from her blankets. The sight of the child, with her dark eyes clear and that quick giggle, made the cold soaking bearable. As suddenly as that, he could breathe again. Still, he did not reach to pull the basket free, but sat back on his heels to consider the flicker of light that was her protector. “What is your charge here?” he asked softly in the highland tongue. He would not ask permission to take her back – the words would stick in his throat, he knew – but neither would he try deliberately to provoke a confrontation. Small the sprite might be, but his hunter’s knife would be no guard against her.

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Chapter XXXVII: A Wet Night to Go Fishing

[at the shrine]

[Tirlina]

Tirlina hovered over Rue’s face, her silver glow reflecting in the babe’s wide dark eyes as she darted in close and away again, laughing in a tinkling harmony to the baby’s giggles and coos. Rue waved her arms, trying futilely to catch the quick little fairy, completely absorbed in fascination by the tiny light that danced above her, always just out of reach.

The alley had turned up nothing suitable for shelter, so the sprite had kept going until she had happened upon an old shrine on a hillside above Morrow’s Hold. The view of the town and the shore would have been breath-taking, no doubt, if not for the heavy grey mist that hung over everything, punctuated by repeated downpours that came and went at random.

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Chapter XXXVI: Strawberries and Rings
... haven't we met before?

[Maeve]

After finding a quick bath, and giving her thick red hair a more thorough brushing than it had experienced in several months, Maeve stepped quietly to Rudolpho’s door to knock softly. “Ye in there, lad?” she asked. Shortly before Thomis Parch had disappeared into Morrow’s Hold to meet up with Laurelyn Hillrover’s mother, he had taken Rudolpho aside and asked the boy to tend to some business. Maeve, overhearing, had volunteered to accompany the boy through the town – the thought of being free of Fionn and Rue, and walking through a village without all the highland clan feuds had appealed to her. “We can look about now, ef ye be ready.”

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Chapter XXXV: Wet Jesters and Missing Babes
and brandy and pups

[Back on the street]

Two doors down from The Laborin’ Goose the Widow Crathurs, a still dainty brunette, had started step outside to fasten down a loose shutter – when her tabby cat shot from the doorway.

A mass of angry fur flew towards Fiend.

“Jeremy!!” the Widow called out as her sweet pet headed for pup and puddle.

[Jacques]

Jeremy? Jacques blinked in surprise, and stared at the hurtling ball of hissing fury as it splattered past him towards Fiend. What sort of name was Jeremy for a cat? If, indeed, it was a cat and not another creature from the lower levels of the abyss like a certain pup he could mention. He had his suspicions.

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Chapter XXXIV: What *Is* That Stench?
You'll rue the day!!

[Eric Dunn]

He had watched the fight break out calmly enough, and as the violence engulfed the room Eric smiled. A good brawl would ease the tension alright. He leapt from his stool and caught the shoulder of the nearest brawler. Eric spun the man suddenly and before the man could react, the fisherman grabbed his hair with both hands and bashed the man’s face with his forehead. He was rewarded with the sound of cartlige giving way and the man crumpling to the floor in pain. With a sneer he scanned the room looking for any of those who he carried a grudge against.

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