Schoolhouse Rock


"Keira" "Grace" "Masked Bandit"

Summary: Busted in the Schoolhouse.

Date: 14 January 1884

Schoolhouse Rock


Keira is seated at her desk, finishing up some last minute work before she finally goes home, a cup of strong tea within arms reach. She yawns and reaches up to rub at her tired face, stretching her arms up above her head.

The was a breath of cold wind coming suddenly from the rear window, but seemingly for no reason. There was no one there. No sign of anyone having BEEN there. It was just open an inch or so.

Keira looks up at the window and visabely shivers, "ach, kent git a moment's rest." her tea and work forgotten, she pulls a shawl over her shoulders and stands up, walking towards the window, opening it to look out, trying to find reason for it to even be open.

As the teacher's back is turned, a shadow detaches from the stoop and slips through the door, stopping just inside to say, in an amused voice, "I saw your light, and thought I would drop by."

Keira jumps a little at the words, taking a few steps back, putting her hand to her heart, "ye scared me." she scolds him, but then smiles, latching the window to keep the warmth in, "thank ye..fer tha tea, I figured it was from you." she walks back over towards the desk, retaking her spot.

"A small enough price to pay for allowing me to peruse your library." He takes a few steps into the room, keeping close to the walls. "I hope you find it a bit more robust than your usual blend."
The corners of the flour sack twitch, "And of course, the added benefit of your company is even more of an inducement."

Keira nods and dips her head a little, eyeing the flour sack, "seems that sack comes alive when ever yer around." she brings the cup of tea to her lips, carefully sipping the hot liquid, "I 'ope me dress will be ready soon, Grace is very busy, boot has been good." she looks from him to the library, "wha do ye wish ta read today?"

He doesn't look at the rows of books, keeping his cool gaze on the teacher instead, and asks, "What would you recommend?" The gloved hand reaches out and strokes the spines of the books in a light caress, "One of the classics of Philosophy, perhaps? Or something more prurient, such as..Bronte?"

Keira hmms a little, thinking it over, her slender fingers wrapping around the cup, "I kent choose a book, sadly, I love 'im all, fer their own uniqueness." she hmms softly, momentarily biting on her lower lip as she thinks, "per'aps Utopia." she stands up, cup of tea still in hand and walks over to stand next to him, looking over the books, "tis one of me favorites."

Staying very still, the masked man says, his voice even softer, "I do not believe I have had the pleasure of that particular book, my dear educator. A sypnosis, if it is quick to your mind may make the difference." There is a faint smell about him, of pines and woodsmoke, not at all strong or unpleasant..unless you didn't like pines or woodsmoke.
"or just your own thoughts on the matter at hand?"

Keira carefully sips the remainder of her tea and then holds the empty cup between her fingers, carefully running them over it, "per'aps." she says with an easy smile, "gives ye somethin ta think about, in me mind." fingers come up to tuck some hair behind her ear, "tis tha book I would suggest, boot ye are welcome ta read wha ye wish." she starts her trek back to the desk, unless stopped.

The suggested book is slipped from the shelf, and he moves a step behind her, parking his rear on the corner of her desk, holding the book out, "And what would you say is your favorite passage? if it is not an imposition, would you read it to me?"

Keira looks up to him, an eyebrow raised, but she nods, smiling, "yes, of course, if you wish." she accepts the book from him, her fingers momentarily touching his own and then she carefully opens the old book, flipping through the pages until finding her favorite passage. "Thus after many days journeys, he said, they found towns and cities and weal publics, full of people, governed by good and wholesome laws. For under the line equinoctial, and of both sides of the same, as far as the sun doth extend his course, lieth (quoth he) great and wide deserts and wildernesses, parched, burned, and dried up with continual and intolerable heat. All things be hideous, terrible, loathsome, and unpleasant to behold: all things out of fashion and comeliness, inhabited with wild beasts and serpents, or at the leastwise, with people, that be no less savage, wild and noisome, than the very beasts themselves be. But a little farther beyond that, all things begin by little and little to wax pleasant; the air soft, temperate, and gentle; the ground covered with green grass; less wildness in the beasts. At the last shall ye come again to people, cities, and towns wherein is continual intercourse and occupying of merchandise and chaffer, not only among themselves and with their borderers, but also with merchants of far countries, both by land and water."

He stops her reading with a gently placed gloved finger on her lips, "Does it not sound like the very land in which we find ourselves? He lets the back of his hand glide across the teacher's cheek before dropping it to his lap. Looking up at the ceiling, the man quotes, from memory, "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below, Words without thoughts never to heaven go.", then glances sideways at Keira, "Do you recognize the passage?"

Keira sucks in a breath a little at the touch, her cheeks taking on a soft blush, but it just as quickly goes away, and she nods to the words, "aye, tha I do, and per'aps ye are right, per'aps it does sound like the world we live in now." she carefully closes the book and pushes it towards him, "would ye like ta read it?"

"I believe that I would," he replies, taking the book, and slipping it into his coat pocket, "And what price must I pay for this greatest of pleasures?" His cold eyes twinkled in the lamp light, the edges of the eyeholes twitching as he obviously grinned with amusement.
"Surely, the gift of knowledge puts me in your debt?" He leans forward a bit, "You do not fear me any longer, do you?" he adds in a soft whisper.

Keira stays completly still as he moves closer, "ye don owe me anythin, I'm jus..appy that I ken share knowledge wit people." her gaze rests on his own, "nae, I don fear ye, should I?" she offers in the same whispered voice, her fingers folding together and resting on the desk.

"It is said that a man should beware of a wolf in sheep's clothing," he whispers, edging closer yet, the rough sacking brushing against her ear, "I ask, why should not a sheep wear a wolf's clothes, and remain in safety thus disguised?"
He lingers there for a moment, then sits up, slowly, looking down at her profile. "Tell me of the dress you have ordered? I hope the woman will not be vindictive because of the manner with which she was approached. But, one must be careful."

Keira lets out a slow breath, trying to calm the butterflies that have taken flight in her stomach, "I don know much about dresses." she manages to say as she continues to try to calm herelf, perhaps a bit amazed by the reaction this man can raise from her, "boot wha she told me, it sounds like it will be very beautiful, colorful."

As the door opens, the man in the flour sack mask dives from the corner of the desk, hitting the window shoulder first, shattering the glass and the frame. Perhaps it was noted, perhaps not, but he had not been carrying his heavy shotgun.
Running steps, light crunching of snow underfoot, and the figure melts into the shadows of the sides of the buildings.

Abandoned and dilapidated; red flags to Grace's bull. Climbing through the doorway wrapped in layers of wool and even a little fur, the young redhead has a lantern lit and curious eyes.

The footsteps and the thin trail of blood led into the dark shadows of the abandoned house, where a darker shadow was hunched, a gleam of lighter shades. There was a ripping of cloth, a small puff of dust, and a softly uttered curse. From the darker shape a wad of yellowed linen, perhaps an old drape or tablecloth came flying into the center of the room, minus a ragged strip.
"Blow out that lantern," The voice was harsh, with pain and anger, "This place is a tinderbox, and people may see you."

Grace recognizes the voice, blinks, and immediately blows the glass-encased candle out. "Are ye hurt then?" she asks softly. Amazing how women can react when they think they're needed. "Donna use tha'," she says. "Tis covered in filth." She reaches down and lifts her skirts… There's a ripping sound coming from -her- and a piece from her petticoats has been ripped all around the hem.
A little shyly, she steps forward offering it.

He stops what he is doing, the yellowed cloth in one hand, and just looks at the woman for a moment, unbelieving. Then, he drops the old piece, and gingerly takes the offered petticoat, "I thank you. It's only a scratch, but in a bad place."
His coat had been removed, the sleeve showing a ragged gash, as did his shirt sleeve. The skin underneath was bronzed to a rich color by the sun, and an evil mark sliced across his arm.

Grace nods. "Just a moment then…" As sneakily as she can, she crawls back out the door and comes back with a bit of nice clean snow. Obviously no doctor, the girl at least seems to have an idea as to what might help such a scratch. She kneels beside the bandit and moves to pack the snow in around the bloody slice. "T'will sting somethin' terrible, but will help tha bleedin' aye?"

The glittering eyes don't leave her face as the snow is packed around and in the gash, "You have ruined a perfectly good petticoat," he observes drily, "And it seems to be my night for being in the debt of those of the gentler gender."

The woman just laughs softly. "Sure, but clothin' isn't somethin' I worry about. I'll just add a flounce an' trim it with lace." She winks. "Good as new." Once finished, she settles back on her heels, eyeing him back with just as much care. "An ye kin pay yer debt by never pointin' a gun in me face again," she says firmly. "I've no quarrel wit' ye an' I don't want one." The girl has little fear of men it would seem.

He regards her thoughtfully for a time, pulling the ragged parts of the sleeve up the makeshift bandage, and shrugging back into the coat, before speaking, "Olace yourself in my position," he says, his vocie dropping in tone and volume, "Do you not think it a wise precaution to have the upper hand from the beginning?"

"Aye, I'd be thinkin' that if I were yerself," Grace allows somber-faced. "But I think tha' even though I'm -not- yerself."
She crosses her arms. "I jes' donna like it when a man herself canna see points a gun in me face from tha shadows o' me -own store-. I understan' yer position, sir, but Keira an' meself have decided tha' ye shouldn't point guns in a woman's face." She nods as if that settles that. No condemnation; just a woman's ruling.

This elicits a dry chuckle from the mask, the corners twitching mirthfully, "As I myself so obviously believed myself. You gave me quite a start, as you did, and I with no more than a penknife in my pocket." he half turns and reaches into the corner, taking up the shotgun, "of course, I shall have to find a new bolthole, now that this one is compromised."

Grace phaghs softly. "Change if ye wish," she says softly. "But I thank ye for the tea all th' same. Keira an' I have been enjoyin' it." Her green eyes twinkle suddenly. "Poor girrl hasn't a clue what tae do wit' ye." She shifty-eyes for a moment. "Kin ya tell me if a Walch Navy .38 is a good gun fer Marcus Berry? Himself needs a new revolver somethin' horrible, an' well ye seem tha sort tae know bout those guns." She looks at the man quietly.

"A Walch navy? Not the sort of thing I would wish to stake my life on." he replies, "I would prefer, in a handgun, something with more stopping power. I am sure the gunsmith has much more of an idea than myself."
He hefts the shotgun, non-threatening, "As you might guess, I prefer the maximum amount fo damage available that I can comfortably fire."

Grace blushes. "But I canna jus' ask tha gunsmith 'bout a gun fer an outlaw," she protests softly. "I canna just walk up when I go tae get my dear Molly an' say, 'Ah well, thanks fer all tha work ye be doin' fer me, would ya mind stoppin by fer a wee chat over tea an' talkin' bout the proper gun fer a man viewed by most as a killer?'" Her voice changes when she 'mimics' her own words, adding a bit of proper hilarity and persepctive to her plight.
She shakes her head. "Nay. 'Twill haftae be yerself."

This brought an even larger chuckle, "And I am to waltz in like the Caesar, and purchase a firearm for a man whose activities are inimical to my own?" He shakes his head, "That does not serve my interests well, does it? Arming a possible antagonist? No, my dear, if he is to obtain a weapon, it shall have to be his own doing."

Grace's smile grows suddenly. "Ach no," she says with a cat-who-ate-the-bird purr. "Ye're tae tell me what tae buy for 'im. An' I've already tol' him na tae bother wit ye. He's happy tae let Billy talk wit ye an tae otherwise let ye be as ye will." She tilts her head. "Like himself, I donna sense any -real- harm in ye. Ye're jus'…" She pauses for the right word. "Strugglin' wit' things in yer pas'."

This earns the small woman a long, cold hard look, and he says, slowly, "There is more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Stepping back, he seems to withdraw too into himself, "What is in my past shall remain where I have buried it, there is no future and the present is but a tenuous thing."
"…But come;
Here, as before, never, so help ye mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear meself,
As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That ye, at such times seeing me, never shall,
With arms encumber'd thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,
As 'Well, well, we know,' or 'We could, an if we would,'
Or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might,'
Or such ambiguous giving out, to note
That ye know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at yer most need help ye, Swear."
Grace smiles softly as she finishes quoting. "Me Da taught us 'Hamlet' well," she murmurs. "Sure, an I donna want yer secrets, boyo. The stories o' one man are enough fer th' like o' meself. Jus' understan' that I see tha good in ye. I'd na be here if I didna."

"It pleases me that someone does not find my continued existence anathema," he says, remaining in his shell. Changing the subject, the masked man asks, "You have been spendign a lot fo time with the teacher? Tell me all you know of her."

Grace just gives the masked man a look. "Aye. She is but a wee bit oulder'n meself," she says softly. "Timid, friendly, like tae please people… Likes tae dance an' is tha romantic type." Her face falls a bit. "Poor girrl lost her love a month 'r two after gettin' married."
She eyes the man again. "Ye know," she says softly. "If ye're sweet on her… I'd try tae find a way tae appear more stable tae her. If I were ye. Th' dash o' danger n mystique tis allurin' fer a woman who dreams o' romance… But maybe if ye made yerself more -real-."

He shakes his head, and answers with a note of regret, "I enjoy her company, but it can go no further. What have I to offer such a woman in this guise? Nor have I aught to offer when this mask comes off. I am wealthy enough, but not rich. Money is merely a means to an end, and when it runs out..why the government mints more and obligingly delivers it to me."
He draws a deep breath and letsit out slowly, the flour sack puffing slightly from the action, "Perhaps I should never have..but it is too late."

"That's about tha craziest thing I ever heard ye say," Grace says abruptly. She shakes her head, eyes disbelieving. "G'wan an' put yer gun back in me face. I think meself needs tha' shock tae recover." She's giving him about as much grief as a woman used to brothers.

After a moment she sighs. "Ye've a chance tae be happy. People live two lives all tha' time… Money isna important when it comes tae lovin' a woman. Nary a woman worth a man's time cares about tha' things he buys her or tha house he provides. She loves -him- despite tha ragin' winds." She smiles gently. "Her hair will keep them safe from tha storm."

She clucks her tongue and lightly reaches out touch -below- the scratch. "D'ye need more snow?" she asks softly.

"No, it will be fine," he says, too quickly, and pulling away from her touch, "There is much that you know not of." Then gathering himself, he steps closer and lays his gloved hand on her shoulder, "I thank you for what you have done." he hesitates, and adds, with a note of deep emotion, "I wish Keira every happiness. All whom I have grown close to have suffered, and it is because of that, " another low sigh, "If you are her friend, you will tell her to fly from me."

He drops his hand then, and glides soundlessly to the door, looking out.

"Tell her yerself," Grace says quietly, encouragingly. She crosses quietly behind the man, peering under his arm at the outdoors. "I'm no stranger tae tragedies," she says at last.

"The lore o' me darlin' Eire is nothin' but tragedy and sorrow. Can ye imagine a place more perfect in th' eyes o' the All-lovin' Father, more beautiful an' treasured a gem than her green lands an' wooded hills? And yet fer her soul tae be so ravaged an' her heart tae be so full o' thousands o' years o' pain an sufferin'? Conquest upon war, the bloodied breast of one lover heaped upon another, th' feuds, th' massacres, th' oul' gods fightin' against th' new…"

She sighs. "Tragedy 'tis a thing tha' we Irish own in a very special way." She chuckles softly. "Perhaps tha's why we laugh at a funeral an' cry at a weddin'." She looks upwards. "Tell her yerself," she urges again. "She won't understan', but the las' thing tha poor soul needs is another man tae bewitch her an' then leave without another word."

And with that, she makes to depart into the empty street.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License