Waking up in a strange place was always disorienting.
Rhiannon was up, wondering where she was, the dregs of sleep making her a tad slow to remember. Slowly, things began to fall into place; The sunshine, the sounds of a village coming to life after the night, the smell of the morning mist, and of cooking food from the common room downstairs.
She was in an traveller's inn. In a village called Lough Caillte.
She looked around the room; Her son was still asleep, as was his nurse. Quietly, she muttered certain words, familiar to most magi, and began her morning ritual.
Belle was soon up after she was, meaning Eaghn would be up soon as well. "I'll go see what's for breakfast," she said, after pulling on her clothes and tying her hair back, "and I'll bring some water up." Before Rhiannon could agree or disagree, she was out the door.
It wasn't long before they were all down in the common room, eating a meager breakfast (meager because it was spring, and it was the last of the food put away for the winter) of bread and cheese. Belle, as always, was the center of attention, being flirted with by the younger men, stopping in before going out to work in the fields for a pint to wash down breakfast. Eaghn, saints be praised, was still sleepy, and thus, not getting into trouble in a strange place. Thus, Rhiannon's morning was able to pass in relative peace.
Soon, after asking the hostler to bring thier mounts around (A horse for Rhiannon, and a pony for Belle and her son), she was at a loss for what to do. "Mama, what do we do now?" asked Eaghn, impatiently sitting in front of Belle on the pony.
"Didn't they say there would be someone to meet us at the inn?" asked Belle.
"They did. They did indeed..." She could see that there was a gentleman being greeted at the gate by the innkeeper, who was now pointing towards Rhiannon. "And I believe he has arrived."
The younger man walked up. Dressed well, but not too well, so as to not attract too much attention. "You must be Lady Rhiannon?" At her nod, he continues. "I am Seamus O'Connor. My father Angus has asked me to lead you up to the covenant, if you are ready?"
And with that, the little group leaves.
"I'm afraid Diedre will have to explain some of our arrangements to you, but I can at least point out the simple things. There is a church in the village. Before ye start in, Father Brendan is a friend of both Diedre and Mab. He understands you wizards quite well. Brother Patrick does as well. There is a nun as well, she's from someplace called...France? She helps with the kids in the village, and lends a hand where it's needed. There's the mill, things have been kind of slow, but then, things are slow in the spring. The smith is over there, I see Liam's at work already. " Seamus has kept up a steady stream of talk as the group has slowly worked their through town, and are now walking down a well worn road along the north shore of the Lough.
"Over there," he starts, pointing to a rocky outcropping sticking up above the trees to the north, " is the watchtower. Someone is always on watch there, typically one of Mab's 'men'. Now there's a strange one, Lady Mab. She means well, but when she uses her magic, everyone, even Lady Diedre, starts to clear out. Over there," he continues, pointing to the lake south of the road "is Lough Caillte."
"What about the isle in the center of the lake," asks Eaghn. "I can see a stone circle there..."
"That, lad, belongs to the Tuatha de Danaan. No one goes there, without their leave, save Mab. Speaking for myself, they're not a bad sort, the few I've met. Mab's 'men' are usually four of their young warriors. They hold her in high regard, indeed."
The road turns north, from it's westerly course, soon leading up a hill. There is some activity, and definitely the smells of cooking, namely baking bread. A few children are out and about, playing and generally making a ruckus, as children are wont to do. At the top of the hill there is a wall, more decorative than defensive, and set in it is a gatehouse. Sitting just outside the gate...
Is a very large wolf. Still, Seamus is unafraid, as if this happens every day. "Ho, Miach, what brings you out today?"
Unsurprisingly, the wolf responds. "Mistress Mab wishes to go out into the woods today. Where she goes, so do I. Are these the new arrivals?" He gets to his feet. It is disconcerting to see a wolf nearly as large as a horse. Still, as he is not threatening, the horse and the pony do not shy away.
"I am pleased to make your accquintance," says Miach, the wolf, looking at each of you and nodding. "I bid you welcome to the Covenant of Lough Caillte. You may call me Miach..."
"Cuana! Where are you?" a new voice sounds from inside the wall. Soon, a new person appears. Dressed in purple, she sees the new arrivals. "Oh! Guests! Hi, I'm Mab!" and with that, she comes up and embraces everyone, as if they were family returning after a long trip. "I hope your trip wasn't a long one. I hope Cuana hasn't been bothering you..."
It is Belle who speaks next, as Rhiannon is chuckling quietly. "No, he was being very polite, and welcoming. Why do you call him Cuana?"
"That's his name, Cuana. At least, thats what it was when he was young, so I keep calling him that. Anyway, Deidre will be upset if I don't invite you in, so please, come in. Was your trip long? Did you see anything interesting..." And Mab keeps up the stream of chatter as she leads the guests into Lough Caillte proper.
Left alone by the humans, Miach the wolf settles back down in the sun, content to watch the road.