A Faire Day To You

Title: A Faire Day to You
Time Period: July 2, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The Ceàrdannan have arrived in Dornie and bring with them more wonders than they ever have before.

They come like this, every few years — like daylight creeping over the land, they always seem to come in silently, transforming the primarily green and tranquil valley into a riot of color, scents, and sounds that seem exotic and exciting, so different from what Dornie usually has to offer. Blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds paint the perfect background for the fair below. Stalls, tents, and wagons in a multitude of colors and various states of repair hold promises of interesting crafts and goods, or at least a story or two.

At the center of the fairgrounds stand two contraptions that the people of Dornie have never seen before — at least not in Dornie itself. Some of those who have read books may have seen pictures of the objects, but strange structures are strangers to this land. One is a carousel, an octagon that when examined closely can be seen to be made of many smaller pieces, fit together just so like a puzzle piece before the sixteen wooden creatures on their golden poles were set inside. Two by two they circle the center, leaping as if in mid-air, though held in place by a pole. Horses, both mundane and magical, make up half of the wooden herd; the other half is made up of dragons, gryphons, kelpies and sea lions.

The other strange contraption is what some of the learned might recognize as a ferris wheel, though a rather modest one with just 10 carriages, all painted in a celestial motif, a black background with swirling yellow and orange stars, suns and moons. Each carriage looks large enough to hold perhaps three people, and the highest one at the apex is no more than thirty feet in the air. The tickets for both rides are sold at a separate booth where an old man barters, and while it's hard to determine what a ride on such a mystery is worth, he seems to be giving more tickets than expected to those who leave with gleeful looks upon their faces. The twinkly-eyed man grins as he stows a live chicken next to a pair of old mittens. He doesn't seem to say no to anyone, and the children often come away with more than a few tickets in grubby little hands.

Having just opened, the hours from noon to midnight, most people have gravitated to those two strange looking machines, a line forming the ticket booth immediately; but others, willing to wait until later or perhaps not interested in going in circles on somewhat rickety-looking looking contraptions, are already wandering along to look at the other goods and mysteries the faire offers. A sign in front of one tent names it the "Menagerie of Mysterious Creatures," though a little black and white goat nibbling grass outside doesn't promise anything exotic within. One of the wagons has sign hanging off of it with a tarot card. A stall has young girls, all sisters and between the ages of 10 and 16 from the looks of it, ladling out the rich red stew and sausages after a few minutes of haggling for whatever the customers have to offer.

It's a rough time lately. Taking care of a widow intent on pickling herself in alcohol, a shop in a trade she's still learning, a woman in declining health, not to mention her own matters, Mariah closed the shop up for 'lunch' and headed out this way. Because why not. Relaxation is important.

Clothing she made herself gets passed over in exchange for a bowl of stew, while the ex-prostitute coos a little over the three sisters and how grown up they're all getting since the last time she saw them. If she plans on the rides and tickets and the like, it seems she's saving it until later. Perhaps after Pins and Needles is officially closed for the day.

Things like this require attention. While some might say it is the duty at least of the higher born families in the town to make sure their presences is seen, Dina seems to be present for that purpose. The secondary purpose is that Dina actually really likes these. Over her formidable years, the little carnivals that she has seen always bring a smile, though even in those years she's never seen a ferris wheel or even a carousel. The latter, she'd heard of, long long ago.

So it is that one of Dornie's Matriarchs is out, in line, waiting for her turn on the ferris wheel, watching the progression of people and the visitors alike. Off somewhere is a bodyguard giving her space, and a smile and greeting falls from her lips to those who do the same.

Jorn keeps an eye on most things from afar, as Dina likes, and though he tried to catch up on needed sleep since he has been back, sometimes it proves difficult. He had a dream the other night, of a flock of man-eating bats coming to town. That was unpleasant, and he found himself shoving his face under the pillow from there. He isn't above a nightmare or two, now and again. Nobody is, really.

The mouth of the pipe between his teeth is deep, the neck tall, sitting against his jaw. Earlier, he managed to accidentally spook some smaller children of the Ceardannan; the ones that didn't know him from before, it seemed like. Perhaps Jorn thought his glaring was not quite going to get that response. So he has taken himself sheepishly off to the side to wait out Dina's activities, pipe lit.

The sight of the wheel and the carousel were of course, puzzling; he doesn't like the idea of being thirty feet in the air, though the riding animals on the latter are finely crafted.

It doesn't take long for the lines to move from ticket man to the ferris wheel and carousel; the ferry wheel seems fairly basic, as a machine; a long lever of sorts is manned by two strong Traveller boys, one dark and the other a dark ginger, who use brute force and set the wheel in motion as each carriage is loaded. When Dina comes to, the ticket taker doffs his cap. "Afternoon, mum. This way. You'll get a grand deek of all the land and the town too, from clear up there!" he says warmly as he leads her to her own carriage, that promises to swing and shake; luckily thirty feet is not too high.

The carousel too is loaded quickly; children point out and lay dibs on the creature they want to ride while in line, then run for it when the rope is dropped to allow them to mount their steeds. But there's no obvious power supply for this machine.

Mariah is given an extra piece of bread by the littlest girl whose dark eyes shine at the compliments laid upon her, then ducks back to working the booth when the eldest calls her back to attention.

Out of a wagon near Jorn pop out two young women, twins who had been seen in their younger years. One stares out at the crowd with a grin on her face while the other tugs her down the steps of the wagon. "We're late. Hurry up," the other insists, heading toward the carousel.

The extra bread is taken with a smile, but Mariah slips a simple ring into the girl's hand all the same, gives her a wink and turns back to wander the faire with her meal. She ends up looking on the ferris wheel, curious. Like she hasn't decided if it's scary or fun yet. And seeing Dina at the front of the line gets an amused chuckle and she lingers there to watch.

"I am far too old to be climbing trees to get a birds eye view of all that is around us. So this shall have to do" She offers a genteel smile to the man, and takes his hand as she works at getting herself settled into the seat, looking over to see who else is going to come and join the ride. Out from under the collar pokes Greets The Sun, looking around. Now you will see what I see.

It is at the carousel that the temporarily closed Dunmore Forge's main blacksmith is found taking a moment's rest. Standing at a distance, away from the bump and bully of children pushing to the front to snag their favorite creature magical or mundane, Niall just soaks in the atmosphere. His focus wavers now and again, a side effect of a concoction given to him to dose himself with should the pain in his healing sides come forward more strongly than wanted. It doesn't matter how many revolutions he's seen of the carousel, the contraption has yet to reveal to him how it all comes together. As it is, he's quite fascinated with it. There is plenty more to see, and he seems intent on getting in his faire's share. But perhaps, not alone. Spotting Mariah from his vantage point, he calls out, "Mariah!" A hand starts to lift, but the action comes to a stop and a wince. A pained smile will have to suffice.

If only the kids were as excitable about the real thing. Then they'd have an interesting time of it. Jorn presses a foggy breath out from his nose and from between his teeth, the smell a standard one of mid-range tobacco. Nothing special. His eyes drift at the sound of a door, and he watches the twins as they sweep outside and down the stair of the wagon. Late for what? The northman's attention wavers as they move off, and he seems content, for now, to watch between the rides, and the movement at the rest of the faire.

Suddenly every one of the Travellers whose lucky enough to be inside a tent or wagon seem to be peeking out of them. Out of the "menagerie tent" come a man and a boy who has to be his son, given the matching mop tops of curls, and the younger looks to the older. "Think it'll work?" he asks. A rainbow-hued bird sitting on the boy's shoulder repeats his words. "Think it'll work? Think it'll work? Think it'll work?"

The older man shrugs, pulling out a pipe and lighting it with a match. "No reason it shouldn't," he murmurs, softspoken where the boy and his pet aren't.

At the ferris wheel, the lever is pushed and the last carriage loaded, so the two men begin to push in earnest finding a rhythm between them, and the wheel turns slowly, lifting Dina into the air to get the bird's eye view she can share with her familiar.

The twins head to the ticket taker's booth, where a bench awaits them. Walking past Niall, the grinning one winks while the one dragging her along gives a sharp tug of her arm to keep her sister on track. Looking over her shoulder, the white rabbit of the two smiles as well, before focusing on their errand.

Finally in place, the children on their mounts await the start of their voyage. The two sisters link hands, and every eye is upon them — could they have something to do with it? Are they the reason they wait?

Both twins close their eyes, and the carousel begins to move. Slowly at first, it picks up steam, and the creatures begin to move up and down the poles. Somewhere, an accordian players begins to play, perhaps hidden within the center of the ring.

But that's not all that happens. "Be aware and brave, ladies and gents and kinchin, for this is no ordinary carousel!" the ticket taker suddenly calls. "There be no danger here, but prepare to be amazed!"

The creatures suddenly turn from wood to fur and scales, and whatever sticky substance a kelpie is composed of. The sound of hooves beating on a road accompany the horses as they prance through the air, the sound of water swishing and sloshing is heard near the seals and kelpies. There is the scent of sulphur and fire near the dragon's mouth.

At first, Mariah only waves back at the call of her name, but once the lady eyeing him has passed by, she comes over to take up the spot next to him. "Pretty girls. And two of them! You'd have to pay extra for that, at the Dovetail," she says, her smile teasing. But she passes him her extra bread and maneuvers the bowl to hover between them. "How're you mending? Haven't been around to see, with… everything. Sorry."

Niall may have seen the twins in the past, but they've hardly had reason to pay attention to him before right? The rare instance of a wink and a pretty smile elicits a crooked upturn of his mouth corner as well. Hey there. A little innocence never hurt anybody. But of course, they have a job to do and Niall has a spectacle to watch as anybody else. Mariah's tease earns her that same sort of grin. "Fair enough a price, I'd say," muses the blacksmith as he nods a thanks and dips bread to stew. Right about then the carousel comes to life, and the smell of sulphur stays the smith's hand. Only for a second - a small, noticeable second - is he frozen. Then, he's back to popping the bread into his mouth and chewing away. "Nothing to be sorry for except the loss of good people," he replies in subdued tone. It's the carousel he watches, avoiding Mariah's gaze.

This is the magic that Jorn likes best; it doesn't hurt anyone, doesn't create a panic- at least not for him- and it seems, at worst, awkward to have something come 'alive' under your seat. The life in an otherwise lifeless- machine- draws the nord closer, though only enough to get a better look at it, rather than too close. Where did they find this thing? Gods only know, perhaps. Maybe they built it, maybe they found it in some shell of a city. Whatever the case, Jorn seems impressed.

Children on the machine squeal, but luckily their steeds aren't real horses to send into a whinnying panic; the creatures whirl around, up and down, their colors more vibrant than their real-life counterparts would be, but that doesn't make them feel or smell any less real. Only a couple of children seem upset by the sudden "life" to the creatures — notably, a kelpie rider jumps off and to the carousel's floor where he seems content to sit and watch the other creatures in wonder, and a little toddler whose older sister quickly leaves her own dragon to climb onto the horse behind the little boy, who calms immediately. All in all, a success.

Finally the ride begins its ritardando, the accompanying music decrescendoing to match.

The twins' eyes open and they look to the machine to take in the faces of the current bout of riders who cry out in dismay that their ride is at its end, then dismount only to run either to the end of the ride again, or try their luck at the ferris wheel.

The ferris wheel too is coming to its close, the two rides seeming to be timed together, and Dina is brought to the ground, a hand held out to her to help her out once again. "You have a good day, Madame!"

An elderly woman strides up besides Jorn, puffing on a cigar. "Pluffan?" she asks Jorn, handing him a cigar. "Good to see you again, Bear Man. You wanner a fortune from me, yeah?" Deya the fortune teller is anything but mystical when she's not in her tent with her deck of cards.

"Well. That's new, isn't it?" Mariah says as the ferris wheel's show calms down, and she whistles through her fingers since her other hand is too occupied to clap at the moment. But once it all starts to wind down, she turns to look at Niall again. "Truer words. I'm afraid I'm not very good at bringing his widow up out of the mire, either. She would love all this." And maybe Mariah is holding a hope out that Sorcha will be up for a trip while the troupe is in town this year. There's a shake of her head before she calls up a smile and tilts her head to look up at the blacksmith. "Who's minding the shop?"

A breath of fresh air, exhilarating, Dina has color on her cheeks as she places a gloved hand in that of the man helping her down. "You as well. I shall be sure to send as many people down as I can" She seems to have enjoyed that and with a glance to Jorn to make sure that he's behaving himself - and hopefully enjoying himself - she's ensuring she stays in sight as she makes her way to the stew to partake of it as well. The carousel having garnered her attention as well.

Niall nods in agreement, watching the pair of rides and still holding a sense of marvel around their operation. A couple times in the run he sneaks a glance at the twins on the bench, but again returns to Mariah beside him. "No one. Unless you count Stands-Fast as a minder," Niall answers her question, calming and focusing with the dispersal of the illusions. His free hand moves up to lightly touch the covered bandages along his torso, his chest rising for a careful breath. He then turns to Mariah, meeting eyes and expression with his own joking addition, "Though he hardly minds anything at all." Out comes a tender chuckle from the man and he sneaks a second dip of his slice of bread into the stew bowl.

He's got the pipe in his teeth, but even she can't see through his head… …Right? It's bad manners to not accept a gift from the Ceardannan, however, or at least that was what he was always told. The cigar finds his glove when she hands it to him. He may save it unless she insists upon it right now for good measure. Jorn gives her a polite smile, as reserved as always.

"Ah, I thought I have had my fill of fortunes this summer …but yours will be on my mind, of course." Though knowing how pressing some seem to make things- Jorn subconsciously digs his heels into the dirt when he speaks. His gaze wanders after the wheel again, and he dutifully watches Dina as she moves from that station towards where the girls are providing food.

"You come when you want one, Bear Man," Deya says with a grin, and gives a jut of her chin to the girls on the bench near the carousel. "Do you like the new toys? We've spent the last few months working on the machines, now that those dillies of mine are so good with their gifts. Blythe, she is the zor, the force, and Simza, the one who gives your winklers all that is magical to see. This is the first time we've tried it with you gadje."

A long puff of her cigar is taken, and she gives an abrupt wave of her hand. "I have tea to make. For the leaves, yeah?" And she heads to one of the more her wagon to disappear within.

The two girls on the bench are unaware of their grandmother's gaze; Blythe, it seems, is all about taking bows and praise, as the next group of riders mounts their steeds, while the one who was worried about being late turns to look again at Mariah and Niall, a small smile curving her mouth.

"I'll count him," Mariah says, although the gentle joke makes her smile wider. "You remember to let us know if you need anything. I'm running errands and the like for Sorcha and her mother, wouldn't be hard to tack a few more on. Although, no hope of me swinging the hammer for you, sorry." That, she is less sincerely sorry for, however. "But I'm sure you can find a willing hand to take care of your hammer for you." She manages to deliver the addition with a straight face, but a grin slowly surfaces to give away the double meaning as she starts to move away. Presumably to get her butt back to work. It was just supposed to be a lunch break, after all.

Niall breaks out into a laugh that is less mindful of his stitches, and he pays for it with some pain. Still, it was worth the laughter. Shaking his head at the departing woman, he swings his gaze back to the Faire proper to take in more of the view. And more of the sisters. The blacksmith leans up against a post once more, seeming content to just enjoy it all while it lasts.

"When I want one." Confirmation, if short. Jorn gives off an amused little laugh against the lip of his pipe, for Deya's explanation of the carousel. The man nods his head to show he understands it. "They are very good. We have had a strange few seasons, but I think friendly magic will help ease it."

"Thank you." Jorn offers a downward tilt of his chin to the older woman when she leaves him, lifting his eyes back to the carousel. He then begins peering over heads for Dina, ready to reassume his duties as shadow.

The second round of the carousel and Ferris Wheel commence, and the rest of the Travellers, having watched the maiden voyage of the amazing device, turn back to their own errands. There's fortunes and stories to tell, lace and pearls to sell, and the Gadje to amaze and befriend. Everything seems to get set back into motion, as if in some beautiful chaotic form of choreography — a riot of color and a feast for the senses, nothing matches and yet everything works in perfect harmony. A fair day indeed.