She shrugged and shook her head. "We're in a wee bit o' a…" Eileen paused, searching for the right word to describe this particular part of the region. Finally she settled on something at least close to apt. "A wee bit o' a blind spot here, ye ken?"
She wondered if telling him this would be bad, if he'd run off and act like some sort of wild thing, but the other option was lying, and Eileen didn't have much of a taste for that sort of thing. He'd find out soon enough, anyway, if he kept traveling after they were done with him. "We've got Castle Floret two or tree days tae th' south, an tae th' nort a few days is th' Abbey Redwall. But we're sittin right oot o'reach a' both their territories," she explained. "So there's nae real authorities aboot, aside form th' long patrols tha' come through once'er'twice a season."
Eileen stood, stretched a bit, and flicked her hair back out of her eyes. "We take care o'ourselves oot here, mostly."
The sky would be lightening soon. Dawn was still hours away, but as someone who hadn't slept, Eileen decided that hours away was still too soon. But, the floors were clean. Not spotless, but clean. Rascal had worked hard, she had to give him that. No real fuss once he was going, no real lip. He worked himself to pieces. The annoyance at being robbed was there, still, and would probably linger well into the week. But as she padded over to him, her voice was softer "Oi, boyo."
She perched on a heavy wooden crate next his and held out a tin mug filled with cold, fresh water. "Ye did good. Thankee fer cleanin' oop yer mess."
Fergus' eyebrows raised and he grinned a bit at the little show of spine from the firmly beaten fox. "Ooch, such sass from ye, laddiebuck. Be careful wi'tha sharp tongue, yee ken?" His voice didn't carry a threat, just a light, gentle teasing, almost as if he was egging the lad on. It wasn't nice to have someone rob your cellars and make just about as much of a mess as possible while doing it, but…well, Fergus had always liked meeting a new face.
In front of him, Eileen just snorted, and finally, finally let the fox's wrist go. They were down in the cellar proper, now, and with both herself and Fergus to block the stairway, she wasn't too worried he'd get loose. If he even felt like risking it, at this point, which, by his body language, didn't look like it. "Donae encourage him, Fergus," she cautioned glaring at her younger brother. She was still hot with anger and annoyance that anyone had attempted --and succeeded, if only just-- rob them, and wasn't nearly as interested in making friends. "Ye either, pup," she added, pointing a stern finger in Rascal's direction as the stairway became brighter once more, and Conary returned, carrying a sturdy broom, and a bucket filled with hot, soapy water and a scrub brush. "Here we are, noo," he announced, handing the broom to Eileen, who stiffly held it out to their 'guest'. "Hop tae, pup."
"Weel," Eileen said with a certain smirk in her voice, "Aye could say sommat about actions an' consequences, but Aye'll bet ye ken all 'bout alla that, mmm?" She let herself relax now that he seemed done fighting. Still, her hands were secure around his wrists, lest he get the impulse to bolt.
Conary nodded in agreement, looking for all the world like a disappointed parent. He was about to turn back to the house for the cleaning paraphernalia when out of the dark floated a new cheery voice and the bright spot of another lantern.
"Oooch, Leen. Ye've gone an' made yersel a new friend."
Eileen huffed and peered out from behind the fox, for she was, predictably, too short to see over him. "Hush Fergus. I'm surprised ye actually got oop outa bed a'tal."
"Oh, me wee heart," Fergus shot back, finally materializing, his own lantern adding to the muted light of Conary's. He was grinning and sleep rumpled, and something in the way he stood there, lanky and expectant, gave him a very undisciplined air, so unlike the other two.
Instead of replying to that, Eileen huffed. "Uncle, could ye go an' git this git th' broom? Th' sooner he starts, th' sooner we can all git tae bed." To Fergus, she jerked her head down towards the cellar and said, "Come help me keep our guest comp'ny, aye?"
With out waiting for an answer, Eileen turned Rascal around and marched him down the steps. Over his sister's rod-straight back and stiff shoulders, Fergus asked the fox, "Wha did ye even do, boyo?"
Eileen pressed her lips together firmly to keep the sudden twitch of a smile from being seen. It had statled out of her even though at the same time, it only served to anger her more. From the harsh laugh that barked out of her uncle, he had a similar reaction.
"Oh ho!" Conary sneered, shifting to squat by the pinned fox, not taking too much care about keeping the lantern out of Rascal's eyes. "Dessert! My wee liddle friend, Aye donae ken ye 'ave room fer dessert." He glanced at his niece speculatively. "Wha do ye ken we do wit our guest, 'Leen?"
Even if the beast pinned between her knees wasn't terrified, Eileen wouldn't have bothered to draw the situation out. It was late, she was tired, and it wasn't likely that there'e be much sleep for her tonight. She poked him between the shoulder blades and said, "Weel, 'e did just eat damn near his own weight in our food. Lots'a energy fer cleanin' oop th' mess he made."
Shifting to grab both his wrists, she added in a bright, cheery tone that dripped with sarcasm, "An' once tha's done wit' we can discuss how 'e intends tae pay fer th' damage an' eaten goods."
Carefully, she moved to get up, her hands tight on his wrists and Conary watching his every move as she pulled him upright. She was short, but managed to lean up to ask into Rascal's ear, "Sound fair, theifboy?"
"Oh ye ar nae gittin, murdered, Theifboy," Eileen huffed from atop him. She shifted a little, setting her weight squarely and then grabbing for his arms. "At least nae yet." Satisfied that she had him still and held tight, she turned her head to call out to the farm house for help, only to find lit windows upstairs and a lantern bobbing quickly out the back door.
"Spark, wha' in all th' blazes is goin' on oot here?" The voice was thick and gravely from sleep and too much pipe tobacco.
"Jus' caught me a theif Uncle," Eileen called out, her voice only the slightest bit triumphant. "'E was doon in th' cellars, eatin' all las' years left overs an' makin' one 'ell of a mess."
There was a low noise of disgust from Conary as he slid out of the dark and lowered the lantern. He was still broad and barrel chested in his late sixties, with what would prove to be a full head of silver hair and a face weathered by years of hard work out of doors. He had hastily strapped the sword belt on before running out the door, despite the fact that he hadn't used the thing in well over five summers.
"Oh," he asked, gently nudging Rascal's shoulder with one foot. "An' wha' do ye have ate say fer yersel' m' wee liddle pincher?"
Instincts were rusty, but still she managed to bring an arm up in time to block the barrel of sunflower seeds Fergus had bartered for nearly three summers ago. He had thought it would be a grand idea at the time, but almost as soon as he had handed over the copper for it, the barrel had gone down to the cellars, nothing more than a waste of space, money, and time. And now it was actually being used against them. The seeds were old and the barrel cheaply made, but it still nearly made Eileen stumble and swear acutely. The lid popped off when it fell to the ground, but she was already turning to chase after the filthy beastie. She didn't need to turn and look to know the sound of an unholy mess getting much larger.
"Git back here, thief boy," she snarled, half under her breath. He managed to get up the steps before she could catch up to him. Abandoning the sword, Eileen got close enough to tackle the -surprisingly- quick little bugger, trying to pin him down and subdue him with her weight pressed against his shoulders and back.
((OOC: so the hubby's preparing to go back to school and I've been working two jobs. Sorry this has been so long in the making.))
"Fishin' some Dace fish," he grinned, trotting over to the stream. It was, for the most part, as narrow and slow moving as where he and his mother habitually bathed. But on one end of their land, close to the woods, it widened out in a very careful egg shape, narrow end towards the woods and the wide end towards the house and the road. The little pool was smooth as glass on the surface, save for where water skimmers traversed the surface. On the far bank there were a smattering of cattails and lily pads, but where Derry now stood, the water was shallow, with a thin ribbon of silty, mica-flecked sand separating the water and the grass. "They like ta come close ta here an' eat all th' bugs, " the child informed Tul in a tone of revealing a well-guarded secret.
Derry was about to drop the bucket and shed his clothes so he could fish, when he looked up at Tul questioningly. It hadn't occurred to ask before, in all the excitement of meeting his guest, but… Tul was a rat. He knew how to swim, of course, but.."D'you fish like otters fish, Mister Tul?"