Meeting the Hessings for the first time! Bronwen wants to figure out how to be more “polite” so she can fix the fight she had with MacBeth. Cassius isn’t too keen on free roaming farm animals. Ma Hessing sends Bronwen and MacBeth in to her “cellar of doom” where they’re forced to talk. MacBeth apologises for teasing her, but Bronwen says that wasn’t what she was mad about. She considers him her best friend, and she doesn’t want him to get himself killed. MacBeth promises he won’t.

Good Morning Orlu! It’s a bright sun shiny perfectly normal day out in the country! Look at those farms filled with cows!

Cassius: *Cassius was nursing a nasty hangover, and was seemingly not speaking to Bronwen. This whole hideout thing sounded like a great idea, but once he caught a glimpse of cows, he wasn’t too sure.* …What the fuck is with the cows?

Bronwen: *If she weren’t busy giving Cassius exactly what he wanted, and ignoring him too, she might have asked the same question. …Duncan wasn’t dumb enough to have a cow teach her manners, right? Naw… His girlfriend must be one of those bubbly blond farm girls. She smirked to herself.* -04:38 Jun 09

Duncan: *Looked up as he flipped a few switched and pressed a few buttons, obviously about to land.* I want you all to meet some folk. The Captain said the more rest we get the better and what better place to escape from bounty hunters and the like?

Cassius: There’s not any women out in the country. *This was a huge disappointment. He cast a scowl in Bronwen’s direction. That’s probably exactly what she wanted. To make the whole lot of them miserable for pissing her off.*

Bronwen: *She pretended she didn’t notice, despite her instict to plant her fist in his gut. She was trying to be less defensive, right?* Duncan’s idea was genius. We’re going to be perfectly fine. -04:48 Jun 09

Duncan slows the Briar Rose and the ship begins to descend. She lands nice and smooth, in part to her nice, shiny engine. He cuts off the power.

Duncan: Come on. Think positive. We have to make the best of things, right? *He stood and led the way out of the ship and out onto the grass. He parked a good distance away from a rather large home and right next to it, a barn. There are corrals filled with not just cows but horses and a few other animals as well. And as they look around, some ducks waddle past them and chicks follow after their mother.

Cassius: We’re surrounded by animals. *Cassius could build a ship from scratch, take out a bar full of men with his bare hands, and make a fish swallow his own bomb, but apparently he was wigged out by free roaming farm animals. He gave a wiiide birth to those ducks.*

Bronwen: *bronwen stuck close to Duncan, and hissed at him.* You’re not serious about this place are you? What’s here that’s so helpful? -04:54 Jun 09

Duncan: *Glanced at the Captain as if surprised that she would ask him something like that.* Hey, you wanted a place to hide and a place to learn some manners so … I brought you to my home. *He spread his arms wide.*

Bronwen: You grew up on a farm?! *She practically shouted! ..hearing the squack of animals, she brought her voice down a few volumes.* I’m… going to try and trust you Duncan, but so help me… *she muttered a few inaudible things under her breath!* -04:57 Jun 09

Duncan: *Blinked a few times and slowly put his arms down.* … Yeah. A farm. *He looked around and cupped his hands to his mouth, finally turning to the house.* MAMA! PAPA! IT’S ME, DUNCAN! I BROUGHT SOME FRIENDS!

Cassius: *Cassius had one of them looks on his face. Like he was about to laugh and scream all at the same time.* Ohoho. Where did MacBeth get off to. He should see this.

A old crotchety looking man came ambling out of a barn, carrying a pitchfork and looking as mean as he could. He didn’t even say a word as he marched up to the group, stuck his pitchfork in the ground and patted Duncan’s shoulder. Patpat. Then his face twisted up in what was probably a smile, but he was missing a few teeth so it looked pretty scary!

Bronwen: *Bronwen was staring. She sort of imagined Duncan’s dad might be big and handsome like her father had been, but this guy kinda looked a few years shy of a casket! How bizarre!* -05:09 Jun 09

Duncan: *Grinned.* I’m sorry for the unannounced visit, Papa. These are my friends, Bronwen, Cassius, and Mac. *He gestured, then paused and looked around again.* Where’s Mama?

He didn’t mutter a word, rather he just pointed a bony thumb back towards the house. At least he was grinning as he wrapped an arm around Duncan one one around Bronwen to lead them in through the door.

Cassius: *Cassius, keeping his comments to himself trailed after them. Hands in his pockets, and a smirk that spoke volumes.*

As they neared the house, they could smell something delicious coming from inside. The back door is wide open and someone is singing rather sweetly. As they enter, the someone is definitely a female with her back to them. She wears a long light blue dress and her jet-black hair is in a braid down her back. She is slender but surely the wife of a farmer like Duncan’s dad is as old and crinkled as he is?

Cassius: Helloooo! And who is this vision of lovely beauty here in your household kitchen, Duncan? Your little sister?

Duncan: *Blinked!* … Sister, this is my–!

“That’s my wife.” said the scruffy voice from the old man. He was grinning just as toothy as ever!

The female suddenly turned. Dark blue eyes set in a heart-shaped face with a body fit and buxom to die for. “Oh, son! You’ve stopped by for a visit!” she squealed. She left her cooking to run up to Duncan and throw her arms around his neck.

Bronwen: … *Bronwen… laughed! The look on Cassius’ face was worth everything! Duncan’s mother was a beauty, and now she knew why he was so pretty!* Well, it’s a pleasure to meet Duncan’s parents. -05:26 Jun 09

Cassius: *Cassius was beat red and choking on his own words.* M..mother?!

Mama Hessing didn’t notice the others at first, too busy hugging her son to death it seems! She finally leaned back to get a good look at him. “Oh … I told your Fa you would visit soon enough!” She cupped his cheeks and patted them gently before turning to face her visitors. “Why, hello there. It is a pleasure to meet all of you. I hope my husband’s been treating you rightly.” She grinned at him.

Papa Hessing just grinned his toothless grin and nodded his wrinkled balding head. He was a perfect gentleman as always.

Bronwen: He’s a charmer. …Duncan was missing home something awful, and suggested we stay here for awhile. That wouldn’t be too much of a bother for you, would it? -05:33 Jun 09

She smiled and went over to her husband, planting a gentle kiss on his cheek. “Oh, he is.” She smiled and turned to them again. “Oh, he was?” She reached up and patted her son on the cheek. “We did tell him to come home whenever he felt the need. Duncan’s got wanderlust in his blood. Just like his father. Isn’t that right, Fa? And we could certainly use the extra help around here.”

“Got some chores right now.” says Papa, whose grin has disappeared to be replaced with a business like scowl. Apparently there were lots and lots of chores.

Duncan: We can definitely help you out, Pa. Right, guys? *He turned to Cassius and Mac.*

MacBeth: *Nodded.* Right. -05:39 Jun 09

Cassius: *Cassius was still looking a bit weird about hitting on someone’s mom… He nodded his head!* R..right.

Mama Hessing laughed softly. “I can’t possibly send you all out to chores without something in your stomach. How about we all sit down to some breakfast, get to know each other, and then go out and work?”

“Could eat a child.” Said Papa, as he shambled his old man feet over to the kitchen table and stuffed a napkin down the front of his shirt as was routine.

Bronwen: Breakfast sounds divine. *Duncan wasn’t lying about learning some manners here, she felt obligated to be as polite and nice as possible and that was a very strange feeling! His mother was just so sweet and chipper!* -05:43 Jun 09
MacBeth: Mama Hessing laughed again. She genuinely thought his remark was funny as she moved about quick aand as light as a mouse! She suddenly grabbed extra dishes, some extra napkins and silverware, even some extra seats. With some arranging, her small table easily fit four others. "Voila! Please, sit." She gestured. "Now, it might take a few minutes but I’ll have extras in no time." She served her four guests first and then her husband, able to split the food she’d already cooked evenly. It gave them a chance to eat and bought her some time to cook more. -05:47 Jun 09

Mama Hessing laughed again. She genuinely thought his remark was funny as she moved about quick aand as light as a mouse! She suddenly grabbed extra dishes, some extra napkins and silverware, even some extra seats. With some arranging, her small table easily fit four others. “Voila! Please, sit.” She gestured. “Now, it might take a few minutes but I’ll have extras in no time.” She served her four guests first and then her husband, able to split the food she’d already cooked evenly. It gave them a chance to eat and bought her some time to cook more.

Bronwen: *Figuring out where to sit was a real pain in the ass. So she stuck herself next to Duncan where it was safe. Only now she had to look at Cassius’ glaring and MacBeth’s not looking at all, and she was really wanting to ask Duncan’s father if he really ate children!* -05:50 Jun 09

Duncan: *Eggs! Waffles! Bacon! Sausage! Pancakes! Toast! Oh, the works! No one cooked like his mother did! And she had milk and juice to drink! Oh, his mother was one of a kind!*

Cassius: You know, Flyboy… I think this wasn’t such a bad idea, after all! Not only do we get fine home cookin’, but the company of your lovely mother and your hilarious father! *Cassius didn’t hesitate to stuff a waffle in his mouth!*

Papa Hessing scarfed down food like a 12 year old boy! He seemed perfectly fine with someone admiring his wife, infact he looked right pleased with himself!

A ladle came flying out of nowhere to lightly tap Cassius on the cheek. “Now, my dear, the food won’t run away. Take your time with it, much like you would … a lover.” She smiled sweetly and didn’t seem to notice her husband scarfing down food just inches away!

Cassius: *Cassius nearly choked on his waffle!* But.. But ma’am it’s just too good not to gobble up every morsel! *Was Cassius turning red once again?!*

Mama Hessing smiled in sympathy and patted his cheek. “Awh … I know, sweetie, and I am right flattered. But 75% of the fun is being able to savor something … to take your time and enjoy it. To breathe it, to taste it, to feel it, to hear it … Mm …”

Bronwen: *Haha… Served Cassius right! She stole a glance at MacBeth over the glass of her juice while she sipped. He’d hardly said three words all morning.* -05:58 Jun 09

Cassius: *If he could slide lower in his chair he would. Now generally when a women spoke like that to him, he was aaall hears for her, but this was… Duncan’s MOM and her husband was sitting right there! These dirty thoughts of his were wrong! So very wrong!* Yes ma’am. That’s- That’s exactly my thoughts too.

MacBeth: *Appears to be having no trouble in taking his time. Hell, he’s even using a fork and a knife.* -06:02 Jun 09

Mama Hessing blushed. “I am pleased you are all enjoying my cooking, though. It’s not often I get guests. Although Fa is such wonderful company.” She beamed at him.

Papa Hessing looked up and beamed at his pretty wife! “My lady is the treasure of the south.” He went right back to his eating!

Bronwen: *Bronwen found her attention on Papa and Mama Hessing, of which she decided where the beauty and beast. It seemed Duncan’s parents were a couple of lovesick romantics!* It must be wonderful living here and working together. You run everything as a team, right? Equal partners? -06:09 Jun 09

Mama Hessing turned from still gazing at her husband. “Why yes. We share the hardship and the reward, as they say. Of course, it took some trial and error but … I think we’ve worked out just right, haven’t we, Fa?” She moved over to her husband and slipped her arms around him.

Papa Hessing looked like a man in heaven! He patted his wife’s arms with his toothless grin. “Got the love of me life. But them chores ain’t about to do themselves.” Papa Hessing was planning on petting those men to good use!

Mama Hessing laughed softly. “You’ve a one-track mind. But you boys have at you.” She kissed her husband on the top of his head before moving away. “Perhaps you’d like to help me around here, my dear?” she asked Bronwen.

Cassius: *Cassius had just swallowed what was left on his plate, and quickly seeming to like the idea of getting good and away from Duncan’s Hot Mom.* Let’s get to work then, old man!

Bronwen: I think that’d be a really good idea. *She replied to Madam Hessing. Especially considering even Cassius talked to her before MacBeth did, and she might end up throwing something at him.* -06:25 Jun 09

Papa Hessing set his folded napkin on the table, and with his usualy gruff manner pointed a thumb towards the door and led the way out in to the yards. He was definitely all business, no chatty.

Duncan: *Quickly finished his breakfast before hightailing it after his dad. Mac is right behind him.*

papa Hessing put them to work right away in the stables! Cassius got the best job of shoveling manure, while Duncan and MacBeth got to clean up weird looking horses! Papa was off to check the rest of the stock!

Mama Hessing chuckled softly. “We won’t exactly be getting as down and dirty as the men are but I have to warn you, we will be doing our fair share … My apologies. What is your name, dear?”

Bronwen: *Bronwen sighed as soon as the boys were gone. This was undeniably awkward…* Bronwen. I don’t mind working, but I did have a sort of strange favor to ask… You…ah.. obviously know how to act like a lady, and I’m a bit lacking in…that department. -06:36 Jun 09

Cassius: *Shoveling manure. He was an engineer and he was shoveling animal dung on a farm. Cassius cast a scowl across the barn at Duncan.* Why’d you have to give Bronwen bright ideas?

Duncan: *Looked up, still brushing down the horse he stood beside.* Well, we needed somewhere nice and quiet to rest, somewhere close by, right?

MacBeth: *Hard at work still brushing down his horse.* -06:40 Jun 09

Cassius: Right.. And she’s up in that house chatting it up with that babe you call a mother, while we’re out here working. How’d your fa get hooked up with a fox like that?

Mama Hessing got a thoughtful look on her face. Then she smiled. “Don’t fret none, my dear. You start washing these dishes and put them on the side. I’ll start cleaning the table. Afterwards, I’ll help dry the dishes, we can put them away, and then we can see what sort of help I can be. Does that sound good?”

Bronwen: Aye, sounds just fine! *Bronwen gave a genuine smile as she pushed up her sleeves, ready to tackle those dishes. With that pesky asking business outof the way, this should be a piece of cake!* -06:48 Jun 09

Duncan: *Grew silent as he thought for awhile.* Well, like Ma mentioned, Pa did some travelling when he was younger. Apparently he won her over when he helped her out with something big. She fell in love with him and left city life, braving the hard work of the farm for a family.

Mama Hessing has already gathered up the large dishes. The plates. Then she went around to gather the glasses, followed by the smaller utensils.

Cassius: *Cassius muttered as she moved another shovel full.* Nice. …Do you know which one of us she’s more pissed off at? Cause I noticed she ain’t talkin’ to MacBeth either.

Bronwen: *Washing dishes was easy work, and a lot more fun than fixing things too. She even hummed herself a song- until she realized what she was humming and abruptly stopped. Better to just wash those dishes.* -07:01 Jun 09

Duncan: *Shook his head slowly.* Sorry, man. I don’t have a clue. All she told me was that we needed somewhere nice and quiet to take a vacation.

Mama Hessing paused to check on Bronwen a few times while she did the dishes. Instead of telling her what to do or what she’s doing wrong, she merely nods and gives words of encouragement or soft pats on the arm before moving away to do something else.

Cassius: Guess I’ll just have to ask MacBeth..! *He made sure to say loudly! As if MacBeth couldn’t hear them talking, anyway!*

Bronwen: *It wasn’t long before she was smiling again. Mama Hessing was a very nice lady. It was no wonder she had that grisly man falling in love with her!* -07:07 Jun 09
MacBeth: *Pretends to not hear Cassius. Done cleaning the horse, he picked up the bucket with the brushes and moved on, a little further away to the next horse.* -07:09 Jun 09

Cassius: *Getting the silent treatment was he? Cassius never baked down from a challenge.* After all that dancing and laughing, you’d think they’d be rather friendly this morning. I suppose someone up and came to their senses!

Duncan: *Silently wished Cassius the best of luck. No one seemed able to get Mac to talk more than he needed to. He focused on doing his own chores before his Pa comes a-calling.*

Mama Hessing dusted her hands on her apron. “How are we doing over there, Bronwen? Have you divided and conquered those nasty dishes?” she asked as she took a dry cloth and moved beside her.

MacBeth: *Yep, still not paying attention …* -07:13 Jun 09
Bronwen: Like any good captian should. *Bronwen beamed, showing off her conquest done right and proper with the might help of Madam Hessing!* -07:14 Jun 09

Cassius: *Uh huh… Let’s try this!* I could have warned him, Duncan. Bronwen’s a real bitch. She’s just a down right pain in the ass.

Mama Hessing chuckled softly. “So you’re a captain, are you?” she asked, taking dishes and drying them. Then she placed them into a large basket, all nice and neat.

Bronwen: Thier captain. Duncan is my pilot and MacBeth my first mate. Cassius is brother and better off on his own ship. -07:19 Jun 09
MacBeth: *Jaw clenched. Keep calm. Yep, just trying to rile him up. Cassius was nothing if not a persistent bugger.* -07:20 Jun 09

“Ah, siblings. They usually mean well but somehow … their interference only brings out the opposite.”

Cassius: Yanking his chain around like all women do. But you know, she might be my sister but that dun mean she ain’t a bitch like the rest of them! *He didn’t mean a damn word he said, but he knew when something worked!*

Bronwen: He still thinks I’m fourteen. But I’m used to Cassius. I know how to talk to him. *She flicked a soap bubble in the sink. Not like MacBeth. He was mister dark and mysterious!* -07:25 Jun 09

“Hm?” She tilted her head slightly at Bronwen. “Then whoever is the problem. Let me see … not Cassius, as you just stated. Not my son, Duncan, or you probably wouldn’t be here … Your first mate, MacBeth?”

Bronwen: You’re a very perceptive woman. *She leaned against the sink finding great interest in the ceiling!* -07:28 Jun 09
MacBeth: *Still not going to give into temptation and hurl something at Cassius’ head. Or worst.* -07:28 Jun 09

She slowly shook her head. “A blind man could see something is wrong. It was either between you and Cassius or you and MacBeth. It is rather hard not to notice tension.”

Cassius: *He continued his shoveling, in more ways than one!* Knowing Bronwen, she might’ve got piss drunk and banged the first guy she met just to piss me off. I guess that’s what that fish guy was all about.

MacBeth: *Oh, that was it. Shadowstar would never–! He was suddenly across the barn with his fists full of Cassius’ shirt.* Shit, Cassius, what the hell do you want from me? -07:32 Jun 09
Bronwen: And it makes for shitty crew. *The corner of her mouth twitched.* I’m pretty sure I said something stupid, and to prevent any future issues I ought to learn to mind my mouth better. -07:33 Jun 09

Cassius: *There’s that smartassed smirk of Cassius’! He’d gotten exactly what he wanted!* To know why you’re pussyfootin’ around my sister. I gave you shit last night, and maybe I aim to make up for it.

Mama Hessing patted Bronwen’s shoulder gently. “Not to worry, sweetie. How about we get started and see what happens?”

Bronwen: *Bronwen lifted her hand up and saluted with a grin!* I am in your hands Madam Hessing! -07:36 Jun 09
MacBeth: *Oh, he hated that smartassed smirk! Now he was beginning to remember that it was Cassius who’d he learned it from. He growled softly and let go of his collar.* Just drop it, Cassius. *He turned to go back to what he was doing.* -07:37 Jun 09

Cassius: I’m out here shoveling shit cause of you two- *he pointed at Duncan!* don’t think I don’t know, and I aim to find out why!

CLONKED! A shovel suddenly slobber Cassius at the back of his head and he went down like a ton of bricks! Papa Hessing frowned down at him. “Too much talk, not enough shoveling.”

Ahem CLOBBER… Dirt shovel.

Mama Hessing whips out her ladle out of thin air! “Let’s go, troop! To the den!” She pointed to another door and marched straight through it. It led from the kitchen to the den, a large but simple room. It had a large table at the center surrounded by rather large and comfty seats. Just right for entertaining folk. She motioned for Bronwen to take a seat.

Duncan: *Blink blinked! He looked up to see Pa standing there.* Sorry, Pa … *And he went back to cleaning horses with Mac.*

Bronwen: *Bronwen had a seat, eyeing the room skeptically. She wisely kept her mouth shut and waited for instruction like a good cadet!* -07:42 Jun 09
[Bronwen is sitting in a room that she has dubbed as the War Room.] -03:50 Jun 10
[MacBeth still outside with the guys.] -03:50 Jun 10

Mama Hessing returns with a small jewelry box. It is beautiful. Dark brown polished wood, enamel. It must be a heirloom and ancient! “Now, I believe we were going to help you think before you speak?”

Papa Hessing picked up where Cassius left off with the dung shoveling. “A man’s business with his woman is his own business.” He said in his gruffy voice as he shoveled.

Bronwen: That was the plan. *She eyed the jewelry… and of course her first instinct was to wonder if it were some sort of trap.* -03:53 Jun 10
MacBeth: *Decided to keep silent when Duncan’s dad called Shadowstar "his woman." Like hell she was!* -03:55 Jun 10

Cassius: *Cassius was still unconcious. It was probably safer that way.*

Shoveling with perfect rhythem, Papa Hessing really didn’t say much. Occasionally he’d grunt about flies, and tell them boys ‘Quit yer daydreamin’, but all in all he kept to himself!

Mama Hessing saw the look on Bronwen’s face and chuckled softly. “Oh, sweetie, it’s not going to bite you.” She opened the box which is inlaid with black velvet and a strange little black device at the back. She presses a small red button and a light turns on. A projector also turns on and Bronwen sees a hologram projection of the Hessing farm. “See?”

Duncan: *Worked and occasionally said “Yes, Pa” whenever Papa Hessing told them to stop daydreaming. He kept glancing down at Cassius to make sure he was still breathing. He wasn’t sure how he would’ve explained it to the Cap’n if he’d died from a concussion or something!*

Bronwen: *Now THAT was interesting! She leaned forward to get a look!* That’s brilliant! Is it a map or a surveillance system? -04:01 Jun 10

Mama Hessing chuckled softly. “It can be either, actually. Map. Surveillance system. Hologram projector, which–by the way–is what we will be using it as. I want to see if you speak before you think all the time or just under certain circumstances. Like when your MacBeth is involved.”

Papa Hessing stopped for a minute to pull a pipe out of his back pocket and light it up. He gave a few slow puffs. “My wife is a firecracker. Cain’t much tell with those pretty smiles, but one foot out of line and she’ll take the ladle to ya.”

Bronwen: *She couldn’t help but thing Her MacBeth was used in the completely wrong sense. But she did cock an eyebrow at the idea.* Hologram Projector, huh? Why would you need one of those on a farm? -04:05 Jun 10
MacBeth: *Paused for a moment to wipe the sweat off his brow. By now, he’d rolled up his sleeves to his elbows and opened his shirt.* She and the Cap’n have a lot in common then. -04:06 Jun 10

Mama Hessing blushed a bit. “Well … this is something I brought with me to the farm when I married Fa.”

“Makes a man wonder how they handle it all when they got so much goin’ on in them heads of theirs.” He puffed, seeming to be staring off in to space thinking about his pretty wife.

Bronwen: *A big wide catlike grin of a little girl learning a big secret from an adult!* You’ve a wonderful mysterious past filled with danger, mayhem and untold adventures? -04:16 Jun 10

Mama Hessing suddenly turned red. “Well, I … don’t often share and I haven’t spoken a word of any of it since I had Duncan.”

Bronwen: I suddenly understand Duncan so much better now! *She laughed! As it… explained a lot of strange things about Duncan!* -04:22 Jun 10

Mama Hessing blinked, striking an uncanny resemblance with Duncan when he has that dumbfounded look on his face. “You do? The poor dear. Not many people understand him. He’s always trying so hard.”

MacBeth: *A disturbed look crossed his face before it disappeared and he went back to cleaning his already quite clean horse.* … Yeah. -04:24 Jun 10
Bronwen: He is a complete and utter fruitcake… But I admit he’s grown on me. *She gave the woman a sly look, mother or not..* It’s better not to tell him that, though. -04:27 Jun 10

Papa Hessing sighed, which sounded a lot more like a snort and a wheeze. “Hit me so many times, thought I wanted to kill ‘er. Then she went and strangled a Darmungian with her bare hands. Ain’t nothing more sexy.” The thought of Papa Hessing thinking anything like that was sure to make anyone green.

Mama Hessing chuckled softly. “Of course not. He’s taken after me more than Fa. Fa was never like that. The strong, silent type, self-assured and utterly determined. He makes my heart flutter.”

Bronwen: *Bronwen was trying to imagine Mama Hessing doing all the things Duncan does. ….She had to hide her snickering behind her hands!* I’m glad Duncan has parents that are so in love. -04:36 Jun 10

Mama Hessing smiled. “Believe me, if we were not, we would have killed each other by now,” she said, obviously meaning every word.

Duncan: *Blink blinked!* She actually strangled a Darmungian?! With her bare hands?! *He lowered himself a bit as if trying to make himself smaller.* I uh–I’m not calling you a liar, Pa.

A stern look was cast over Duncan as he puffed his pipe. “That’s what your mother does to those who threaten her family. Best not make your mother worry, boy.”

Bronwen: That is a feeling I am very well accostomed to. So, how are we using a Hologram Projecter? -04:48 Jun 10

Duncan: *Gulp!* Yes, Pa!

Mama Hessing grinned. “Well, I figured it would be easier to use this baby.” She patted the box. “Then asking MacBeth to sit in.”

Bronwen: Hmph. Talking to a dummy MacBeth won’t be much different from the real thing. *She muttered.* -04:52 Jun 10

Mama Hessing chuckled softly. “Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure,” she purred. “I doubt the dummy MacBeth is as solid or as fine as the real MacBeth.”

Bronwen: I hadn’t noticed. He’s usually covered head to toe in bandages and rocking on his feet. *She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms looking rather cross.* -04:57 Jun 10

Mama Hessing grew thoughtful. “Perhaps you thinking your mind is not the problem after all …”

Bronwen: I can’t imagine why else he’d be mad at me enough to not talk to me at all. I did threaten him a good bit. -05:06 Jun 10

Mama Hessing tapped her finger against her chin. “You already have experience with men, my dear, I can tell that much. So I cannot tell you what you already know. But it does sound like MacBeth is not the type to come out with his feelings.”

Bronwen: Of course he doesn’t. He’s mister dark, brooding, and mysterious. Which he can be all he wants, for all I care. ….But I’d rather not piss him off if I can help it. -05:13 Jun 10

Mama Hessing laughed softly which is different from the way she laughed or chuckled before. “He is a strange one.” From somewhere in the house, there is the loud deep DING! of a clock. DING! DING! DING! “Oh my, it’s nearly supper time. Could you help me, my dear, and we pick this up at a later time?” she asked, standing.

Bronwen: *But they hardly did anything at all besides talk! And her expression betrayed her thoughts! With a sigh and a shrug, Bronwen stood.* I didn’t realize how long it’d been. -05:21 Jun 10

With Bronwen’s help, Mama Hessing begins dinner. This means she needs help gathering food from outside, vegetables and the like. Then comes the task of cleaning them and preparing them and let’s not forget the rolls for dinner or the pies for dessert.

Bronwen: *Cooking was an adventure. Bronwen was not the chef, infact giving her a knife was dangerous and leaving her alone near a stove more so! If was a sheer miracle she didn’t chop off her own finger, and double so that she didn’t get a smack when she cursed about it!* -05:28 Jun 10

Mama Hessing was there to help and supervise! She made quite sure Bronwen didn’t lose any digits to those tricky blades, although there were a few close calls. But they finally managed to get dinner ready and the table set. They were just missing … the men. Mama Hessing stuck her head outside. “DINNER TIME, FA!”

One didn’t have to called Papa Hessing twice! He had immedietly dropped what he was doing and marched back in to the house looking more famished than a starving bear! He dropped in to his seat and had his napkin stuffed under his chin before anyone else had even sat down!

Cassius: *Cassius had come to some hours ago, and with wisdom far beyond what was expected of him, he had kept his mouth shut and stuck to working. HE was about as hungry as Master Hessing, and seemed to be more interested in food than talk!*

Bronwen: *Where did the damn day go. Bronwen sat down next to Duncan again.* I’m amazed, you actually look like you’ve been working, Flyboy. -05:40 Jun 10

Mama Hessing grinned. “Well, everyone, eat up.” She stopped. “Oh dear, I’d almost forgotten. Bronwen, sweetie, could you do me a favor? I have a special bottle of drink down in the cellar. Go out the back door, take a left, walk around the corner and you’ll come to the cellar doors. MacBeth, I need you to go with her. The cellar is dark and there are things lying everywhere in there.”

Duncan: *Looked up at the Cap’n and grinned sheepishly.* Yep. Me and Cassius and Mac, too. Quite a day. How about you?

Bronwen: It’s been enlightening. *She blinked at Mama Hessing. Bronwen wondered if she should take a gun with her, if a cellar is supposed to be so dangerous. Or did she plan on hoping she and MacBeth would have a gun fight?* All right. *Dutifully Bronwen was up and taking said directions, she wasn’t about to wait for MacBeth, she doubted he’d say much anyway!* -05:45 Jun 10
MacBeth: *Raised an eyebrow when Duncan’s mother singled him out. Why did he have to go with her anyways? But he was up and following after her, although she seemed to be in a hurry to leave him. Fine. He could live with that.* -05:46 Jun 10

Cassius: *He stuffed a roll in his mouth once the two of them were gone.* Hope they ain’t got any guns on ’em.

The two of them find the cellar in no time and it’s not like the doors are locked anyways! A long flight of stone stairs leads on into darkness until Bronwen steps on the first step and activates lights on either side of the step. With each step, more lights are activated until they get to the bottom. There, they find nothing but darkness. It seems here they will need to find another type of light or have to stumble around until they find that special bottle of Mama Hessing’s!

Duncan: … They won’t really kill each other. *He doesn’t sound too sure and he glanced at Cassius.* Will they …?

Bronwen: *Stupid man was worse than Cassius. …And this cellar look obnoxiously large for a farm cellar. She wasn’t afraid afraid of the dark, though, and they’re hardly be anything worse than a few misplaced crates. She stepped in to the dark waiting for her eyes to adjust!* -05:50 Jun 10

Aye. Hasn’t she ever aimed a gun at you? One wrong word and blam! She’ll do it! *Telling Duncan tall tales never got old!*

“Oh, they’ll be fine, sweetie.” Mama Hessing moved to stand behind him and patted his shoulder. “They’ll be much too busy to try killing each other.” She reached behind her with everyone’s attention on the food and pressed a button on the strap around her wrist. The button activated the mechanism feet away which caused the cellar doors to close and lock. At the same time, the lights in the cellar came on–to reveal that Bronwen and Mac were standing at the start of a huge maze. They were on a wide path that sloped down rather steeply, giving them a view of the overwhelming labryinth under the farm!

Cassius: Aye. Hasn’t she ever aimed a gun at you? One wrong word and blam! She’ll do it! *Telling Duncan tall tales never got old!*

Duncan: *Blinked!* But she never shot me, even when I put the moves on her.

Bronwen: I have a feeling I’ve just been tricked by a Toru princess. *Bronwen muttered. Oh yes, Mama Hessing was a woman with a very interesting past indeed! Bronwen Shadowstar can find her way through a damned maze, and she didn’t need MacBeth’s help to it. She started walking really trying not to look behind her.* -05:56 Jun 10

Cassius: …You put the moves on my baby sister? *Cassius had paused mid-bite.*

Of course, just like Mama Hessing, there’s more to this maze than meets the eye. As Bronwen begins to walk to the maze, the ground begins to shake. THUD! THUD! THUD! As if a giant is tailing her. Small rocks roll past her.

MacBeth: *Suddenly passes Shadowstar–in a real big hurry!* Hurry up, Shadowstar! -06:01 Jun 10

“Oh, Cassius, you make that sound like a bad thing!” Mama Hessing says sweetly and throws her arms around Cassius’ neck, hugging him.

A bit too tightly perhaps …

Bronwen: What the hell are you- *She turns to blinked over her shoulder.* That devious wi-! *Oh, forget cursing, she just started chasing after MacBeth!* -06:03 Jun 10

Cassius: Gurk! *Well first of all that woman was alluding to the fact that hitting on his little sister was a good thing! Secondly, such a hot woman was touching him! And third… he had a suspicion that she was choking the daylights out of him!* …she’s just a kid!

Papa Hessing continued to eat his dinner, not taking much notice of his beautifil wife choke holding a young man. “Too old, if ye ask me. Married mine young before someone else got ‘er.”

THUD! THUD! THUD! Where the hell had that awfully large rock creature standing at least twenty feet come from?! It isn’t armed with anything but a creature of that size doesn’t have to be to kill you!

Mama Hessing giggled, blushing. “Oh Fa!” She loosened her hold on Cassius just slightly. “A kid, you say? She’s quite a remarkable young woman who is captaining her own ship and leading her men.”

Bronwen: *Who puts a rock creature in a cellar?! Duncan’s bloody mother of all people! That sweet little lady who- Damnit, they couldn’t keep running straight forever! She snagged MacBeth by the back of his shirt and drug him through the first turn she could find!* You don’t know where the hell you’re going! -06:11 Jun 10

Cassius: Barely old enough to run a ship. Not a one of us boys got one till we were twenty-five. *Of course a woman would defend another woman, what’d she know about Captaining a ship anyway? She was a farm wife!*

“But your father believed in her, didn’t he? He thought rather highly of your sister and your mother, the woman who tamed Erikson Shadowstar. Your mother came out of nowhere and stole his heart and put all his lovers to shame.

MacBeth: *Gets jerked after her!* Neither do you! *But he followed after her, anyways. Of course, each turn looked the same.* Who the hell is Duncan’s mother anyways?! -06:18 Jun 10

Cassius: *Well now Cassius was right curious!* How in hell’s blazes would you know something like that? Ain’t been anyone around in ages that knew Mom and Fa.

The rock monster keeps coming but it stops once it reaches the entrance to the maze. Instead of crashing around and trying to get to them, it just sits as if waiting.

Mama Hessing only smiles sweetly and dances away. She grabs a pie and holds it up. “Anyone ready for dessert yet?”

Bronwen: I’ve got more sense than you do! *She waited for a moment, hoping that giant rock monsters still hadn’t developed the dexterity to make sharp turns.* She’s a deviant is what she is. …never underestimating a pretty face again. *Satisfied that it wouldn’t follow them, she looked in both directions and picked the one that looked the least dangerous.* -06:22 Jun 10
MacBeth: *Smirked a bit. Well, she’s got a point there.* -06:23 Jun 10
Bronwen: *Oh she saw that. She glared at him.* -06:25 Jun 10

Suddenly, Bronwen’s next step triggers something. The small tile she stepped on sunk in and suddenly just a foot away, the floor opens up. From wall to wall, nothing but a gaping space that leads down to murky water.

Cassius: I’m a big fan of pie. *Of course Cassius was all kinds of suspicious.* There’s something peculiar about your wife, Hessing.

“I’m aware. Never knew a women to like blueberries so much.” He was already helping himself to a heap of pie!

Duncan: *Raised his hand and waved it around.* Is that your apple pie, Mama? I haven’t had that in ages!

Bronwen: *Bronwen stopped short, seeming rather wary.* Can’t go this way… -06:28 Jun 10

Mama Hessing still smiled sweetly and served her son some apple pie.

Nothing appears to be in the murky water but one can never be sure. However, the gap looks large enough to be easily crossed–provided one gets a running start and a strong jump. Of course, they can also backtrack and take another way if they choose …

Cassius: What’s taking them so long. How big is your cellar? *He was smelling a rat! Duncan didn’t lead them in to a trap? …Naw… His sister must be hiding the body.*

“Big enough for them to work out their differences. Tension like the one between those two will mean nothing but serious trouble.”

Bronwen: *She couldn’t tell how deep it was, and if either of them slipped… As long as there weren’t anymore water traps it’d be fine! She snagged MacBeth’s sleeve to tug him back the other way.* -06:37 Jun 10
MacBeth: *Follows quietly. After several moments of silence … * Hey, Shadowstar. -06:40 Jun 10
Bronwen: What’s the matter, now? -06:41 Jun 10
MacBeth: … I’m sorry. For laughing at you. -06:42 Jun 10
Bronwen: *Bronwen stopped so suddenly she nearly tripped herself! She turned to blink at him, looking perfectly confused.* Are you kidding? -06:44 Jun 10
MacBeth: No. *By the look on his face, he is perfectly serious.* I … did laugh … If it had been me in your place, I’d hate how helpless I was. -06:48 Jun 10
Bronwen: *She hadn’t actually thought that seriously about it, and now that he mentioned it she had to take a step back and lean against the wall.* I wasn’t actually mad about that. -06:50 Jun 10
MacBeth: No? *He tilted his head slightly at her.* -06:52 Jun 10
Bronwen: You had to go get yourself in one of Cassius’ stupid bar fights and might’ve gotten yourself killed. What am I supposed if something serious happens to you? -06:55 Jun 10
Bronwen: *supposed to do! -06:56 Jun 10
MacBeth: Fighting is in my blood, Shadowstar. When a fight goes on, I can’t hang back. Especially when one of your brothers is concerned. -06:58 Jun 10
Bronwen: My brothers… *She scoffed, pushing away from the wall to start down the maze again.* You’ll get yourself killed for my brothers, but you can’t be alive for me! -07:01 Jun 10
MacBeth: Shadowstar …! *Sighed softly. There was just no talking to her. But he had to try because if by some off chance they did end up dying here, he’d like to go not being her shit list. He finally had to reach out and grab her wrist, gently but firmly.* Bronwen, wait. -07:06 Jun 10
Bronwen: *She didn’t bother to turn around, she was likely to hit him.* What do you want me to say? You’re my best friend. I need you to help me stay out of trouble, and I want your around alive enough for all the fun kinds of trouble. Because it’s the truth. *Sheepishly she pulled her hand free.* You’re an idiot. -07:08 Jun 10
MacBeth: Comes with the territory. *He said, looking at her.* Fine. I’ll stay alive long enough to get into the fun kinds of trouble like screwing with your brothers’ heads. I won’t leave your sight and if I don’t keep this promise, I … will teach Flyboy to fight while in my birthday suit. -07:12 Jun 10
Bronwen: *It’s exactly what she wanted, but she didn’t feel any better. And her had made such a brilliant offer too. Bronwen just nodded her head slowly.* Acceptable… -07:16 Jun 10
MacBeth: Fine, then let’s get the hell– -07:18 Jun 10

A bright flash of light and both of them were suddenly standing in the Hessing dining room with Cassius, Duncan, and Papa and Mama Hessing!

MacBeth: Out of here …? *Raised an eyebrow.* -07:19 Jun 10

Cassius: *Cassius choked on his pie!* Macberrrrf!

Bronwen: *That… made her damned dizzy!* …what the hell, woman! -07:20 Jun 10

Mama Hessing giggled. “Welcome back, sweeties. You’re just in time for some pie.” She offered them a slice.

MacBeth: … It’s nice to see you, too, Cassius. *He sat down at the table and started eating.* -07:22 Jun 10
Bronwen: *Bronwen pushed up her sleeves, and she looked perfectly ready to throw that pie in her face! Hrrm. Instead she sat down with the heir of a displeased queen. Damned sneaky Hessings… She graciously accepted dessert.* -07:23 Jun 10

As usual, papa Hessing wasn’t the least bit phased. He was picking his teeth with a toothpick.

Cassius: *He swallowed.* …so I assume you kissed and made up?

Mama Hessing smiled. “Did you enjoy your food, Fa?”

Papa Hessing smiled his biggest toothless grin yet! “As if you took ambrosia from the gods and made us a meal, sweetums.”

Bronwen: That’s exactly what we did, Cassius. *Imperious little sister taking a bite. … Well, it was awfully good pie for such a wicked woman…* -07:31 Jun 10

Duncan: *Is enjoying his pie although the Cap’n seems both tense and yet not as tense as she was before … or did that mean she was just as tense as before? Hm …*

Cassius: *Cassius had a fork in his hand, and he looked ready to fork a man. He stared at MacBeth.* Is that right?

THWACK! A ladle comes out of nowhere to strike the back of Cassius’ head. “Play nice, sweetie.”

Cassius: Arrgh! *He was rubbing his head!* As acting legal guardian, I have a right to ask, woman!

MacBeth: Mama Hessing sighed loudly and patted Cassius’ head as if thinking, "Women find you attractive?" -07:40 Jun 10

Mama Hessing sighed loudly and patted Cassius’ head as if thinking, “Women find you attractive?”

Papa Hessing was lighting up his pipe. “Might be needin’ my shovel…”

Cassius: *Well if he didn’t get the hint from Mama Hessing, he sure got it from Pops! He shut his trap. That damned shovel packed a wallop of pain.*

MacBeth: *Casually eating his dinner. These mashed potatoes were great and so was the meat. Nice and juicy.* -07:41 Jun 10
Bronwen: *She should be pointing at laughing at Cassius. He really deserved it. Instead she was grinning over something entirely stupid. Apparently she could cook after all. Even if she did have supervision.* -07:44 Jun 10

Mama Hessing looked at Duncan. “You should eat more vegetables, dear You look a little malnourished.”

“Boy’s fine. Just needs a little more workin’ in the feilds.” replied Papa Hessing. “Unless my pretty wife wants to join her husband for a night walk.”

Mama Hessing looked as if Fa had just given her the moon. “Oh, Fa, nothing would please me more. May I have everyone’s help in cleaning up tonight?”

Bronwen: Cassius would be more than happy to do all of the dishes! -07:52 Jun 10

Cassius: *Cassius didn’t look like he enjoyed that idea at all – until he suddenly grinned!* As a matter of fact, I’d be honor to do the dishes. Duncan could give me a hand. After all, I’m sure my sister wants to spend the night moongazing with MacBeth now that all is fine and dandy.

MacBeth: *Studied Cassius. What the hell was he up to now?* -07:56 Jun 10
Bronwen: *There was no reason for her to be embarassed, and she wasn’t going to break any of Mama Hessing’s dishes over Cassius’ fat head.* I doubt MacBeth wants to go looking at stars, seeing as how we’re up there everyday, Cassius. -07:57 Jun 10

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