A/N: This current madness could not have happened without the lovely contributions of kkolmakov and RagdollPrincess. Both ladies gave me leave to borrow their lovely creations, and let them romp through this current insanity. So, for those that need confirmation: Thorin as portrayed by RA, Fili as by Dean O'Gorman, Kili as by Aiden, and Frerin as Gerard Butler from Beowulf and Grendel.
Reese and Wren should have known something was up when Briallen made them both promise they'd have to go to an event of her choice when she agreed to attend Wren's Zumba class. The devilish gleam in her eye passed unremarked, because, well, Bri was almost always up to something, like when she started making up her own lyrics to the latin music. Soon enough, Wren had to give the class a breather just to let her students recover from the laughter.
Now, both girls huddled somewhat timidly in her doorway as Bri flung open the 'garb closet' with a maniacal laugh. "Ooooh, this is soo GREAT!" She carelessly started flinging dresses, skirts, tunics and more onto the bed. "So, what look would you like? I can make you a fairest damsel, or we can go for the rebel hoyden look?"
"Rebel Hoyden?" Despite herself, Wren sounded intrigued. Not to mention the wealth of colors and textures beneath her fingers on the bed stirred her interest.
"You know, the chick that doesn't wear a dress and fights as well as any man." Bri carelessly began throwing leggings, tunics, and an over tunic together. It looked like something Robin Hood would wear.
"Hmmm, ladylike don't do it for me, I want something that says I'm here to party." Reese was idly sorting through the gads of clothes on the bed: velveteen tunics in forest green with gold trim, angel sleeved dresses, kirtles, kilts, and cotehardies all piled together with abandon.
"OOooooh, the Renners are going to LOVE you. One Esmerelda special, coming up!" Bri quickly found an ivory peasant blouse, a leather corset, and a tulip skirt of swirling multicolors, tossing them to Reese. "I'll help tighten the corset, once you get the blouse and skirt on. THEN I get to play in your hair!" The happy little squeal was so shrill, it made both girls wince.
"What sort of barney have we gotten ourselves into?" whispered Wren while Bri was once again half buried in her closet, this time pulling out various footwear: mocassin boots, ballerina shoes, roman looking sandals, and some that defied description.
"I'm almost afraid to ask." Reese whispered back, smiling all the while.
'C'mon you two! We do want to get there before all the mead's gone!" Bri held out a pair of gold looking ballet slippers to Reese.
"Mead?" Bri cocked her head at Wren and Reese. They had answered in stereo.
"Yes! Honest to god, tastes like heaven mead!" Bri handed a pair of fold top boots to Wren. "Hmmm, I may have to help you get these on."
Wren laughed. "You may have to get me a second pair of socks. These look a bit big for me."
"Not my fault you have itsy feets." Bri laughed back, tossing her a thick pair of socks. "Those are the smallest boots I have on hand."
Twenty minutes later, instead of three modern young ladies, living illustrations from fairytales had taken their place. Reese sported a braid crown now, with decorative silk flowers woven throughout. The peasant blouse showed off her lovely shoulders while the leather corset made her girls stand up and stand out. It wasn't only her boobs that seemed to enjoy the benefits of the corset. Her hips seemed to flare more, and her waist even tinier than usual. It rather irked Bri a bit that Reese wore the danged thing better than she ever did.
Then there was the wee redheaded Robin Hoodette. She wanted fishtail braided pigtails, no flowers, please, and sported the green tunic and brown leggings rather well. Once she put her in the foldtop boots, she was perfectly scrumptious.
Bri had been a bit flummoxed, since both her buddies took her usual ideas. But one "heck with it" later, she had a look she was mildly happy with. She was wearing her green leggings, and her tie dyed skirt over it, and over that, she had her purple t tunic with the gold knotwork trim. Her curly hair (with both Reese and Wren's help) was tamed into a pair of french braids with flowers woven in, and the rest loose down her back. She was wearing a pair of the strappy roman looking sandals, and slid her leather pouch into place on the braided sash she was wearing.
"Wow, what do you call that look?" Reese was giving her a rather appraising look. Apparently, the thrown together mishmash looked better than she'd hoped.
"Heck with it" laughed Bri. "Honestly? You two took my usuals, and I had to get creative. I just can't do long skirts at one of these things, so that left out the usual damsel look, and I HAVE to um, protect my legs from rub rash, which makes leggings a must...so there you have it. The mishmash motley of a jester girl." Bri grabbed her walking staff. It was a lovely polished persimmon wood staff with a perfect swirl at the top thanks to some long ago vine. Bri loved it, and no costume was complete without it.
"Let us away to the Faire and Games!" Wren and Reese wondered just exactly what they'd find at the Renaissance Faire Briallen had been cackling about for the last three weeks.
Luckily, they did get there early enough to sample the mead. Wren would only take a spare taste, citing the bane of being a ginger. Bri had no problem offering to help her with what she couldn't drink. Reese was already on her third. The mead really was that good.
"I know the perfect place to stop for lunch! You have GOT to try their scotch eggs. They're better than the ones I make." Bri was bouncing up and down in the cart. Reese and Wren were a little wobbly from the mead, and so they were catching a ride in the plague cart.
"How can they be better than yours? I could eat yours every day and not get tired of them." Wren's cat slanted green eyes regarded Bri in wide wonder.
"Cause this is the guy I got the recipe from?" Briallen playfully bumped Wren's shoulder with her own, regarding a hula hooper in fairy garb out the back of the rolling cart. The stuffed plague victims made a rather comfy mattress.
"Oh my god, yes, we MUST eat there!" Reese was all but rattling Briallen's teeth as she shook her.
"Good lord, woman! If you get this het up over just the idea of 'em. I can't imagine what you'll do when you taste them!" The mock horror on Bri's face set both friends to laughing again.
The faire was an amazing feast for the senses. Purpose built to allow a medieval town to come to life, everything but the visitors looked authentic. Stiltwalkers, vendors, and more swirled by in vivid colors and put on accents. Some even managed the parlance of long ago days. Several times, the girls found themselves drawn into the little dramas the reinactors would put on between shows to drum up audiences.
Bri had insisted Wren take her bow, and so Robin Hood begged her to have a shooting match with him. When she begged off, Bri, being Bri, offered to stand as her champion. It was an interesting match, Robin claiming her a fair shot, but he won in the end. Briallen idly wondered how he would have played it off if she had managed to win.
The girls visited costume shops, cobblers, jewelers, and curiosity shoppes. They saw jugglers, comics, acrobats, and then stopped in at Bri's favorite lunch spot, just in time to catch Ded Bob. His was an interesting ventriloquist act: The man put on a blank black sheet over his face, wore stereotypical medieval garb, and voiced an opinionated skeletal dummy: Ded Bob.
Ded Bob is a standard at most Ren faires. And while he might claim he invented gallows humor, there's little doubt he might very well have perfected it! Reese became part of the act after she couldn't resist sassing back after a zinger he'd aimed at her. He closed the act by begging a kiss off her, pretending to be smitten by her smart aleckness. Bri and Wren were both breathless with laughter by the time he finally sauntered off. Then 'Mountain Thunder' was introduced on the stage, and all three girls were riveted.
Four men, in kilts, and their music ROCKED. They had the usual instruments: chanter, lute, drum, and one she wasn't sure what to call, it almost looked like a cross between a lute and accordion. She saw a mandolin and fiddle on stands behind them.
Bri knew the song 'March of Cambreadth", but daaaamn, hearing it in tenor and bass added a new depth and earnest to it that she found transfixing. It was easy to envision these guys fighting invading hordes to a standstill. Burly boys in kilts tend to have that kind of believability. They weren't hard on the eyes, either. Two were dark haired, one older with piercing blue eyes and strands of silver in his hair, the younger with melting brown eyes and a face too pretty to be believable. The other two were lighter haired. The younger one had the same long features and blue eyes of the older dark haired man, while the other had grass green eyes and a curl to his chestnut locks. Definitely a nice looking quartet. The blackwatch kilts and open throat pirate shirts certainly didn't hurt.
She quickly found herself banging the table and stomping in time to the music. Reese and Wren backed up a bit when she started singing right along with the musicians. Close as they were sitting to the stage (these places didn't leave much room between buildings,) It wasn't long till she'd gotten noticed. The pretty boy nudged the younger blonde, and pointed with his chin at Bri, laughing. Oh heaven help her, but the blondie had to die for dimples. Bri felt her cheeks heating up, but didn't stop singing. Wren and Reese snickering didn't help, either.
With the intro song done, the men took time to introduce themselves.
"Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. We're Mountain Thunder, of Mountain Thunder Armory, just over the hill there and to the right. My name is Thorin Durinson, this is my brother, Frerin, and these two scamps are our nephews Fili and Kili." Oh mercy, the dark haired man, Thorin, had a deep velvety voice that was pure sin. Bri noticed Wren got still next to her, and saw a bright red blush bloom across her cheeks. Briallen didn't blame her, the man was a hunk and a half. In fact, Momma Durinson made FINE boys all around. It should be illegal for that much handsome to be in one family. While Briallen was still mooning over the unfairly handsome men, she utterly failed to notice when one of them was pulling her up from the table. She grabbed Wren's hand purely by reflex. Wren, of course, grabbed Reese. She wasn't going to get humiliated alone!
"What?" Already Briallen's feet were falling into the familiar pattern of the old song.
"Come along, surely you know Tangle Brawl?" Laughed the dark eyed scamp, Kili. He was weaving them in and out of the various benches and posts, gathering more for the Tangle Brawl line as he went.
"Yeah, but why are you starting it way back here?" What she really wanted to know was 'why grab her?' but she didn't really want to open that can of worms right here and right now.
"So we can pull everybody into it?" Well, when he put it that way, it made perfect sense. The three left up on stage were playing a rousing old tune with an easy to keep beat to it. Frerin seemed to be playing the weird instrument, while Thorin handled the lute. Fili had the fiddle fairly singing in his hands.
"Tangle Brawl, Bri?" Wren hissed at Briallen. Precisely what had that madcap dragged her into this time?
"Two big steps forward, two little steps back. Listen to the rhythm of the music, just follow the leader, and DON'T LET GO!" Briallen laughed back at her, already caught up in the gaiety of the music.
Briallen was laughing, Reese was cursing good naturedly under her breath, and Wren, well, she was throwing glances and smiles at the stage like the belle of the ball. Bri noticed both of the older men seemed to be following Wren with their eyes. She's pretty sure she caught the curly haired Frerin winking at Wren a time or two.
Kili had managed to tie the entire audience into one giant gordian knot. People were laughing, cajoling, and in some cases cursing like Reese. Finally the blasted song wound to a close, and everyone clapped enthusiastically as they made their way back to their seats.
Bri wasn't going to think about Fili, and those cerulean eyes that seemed pinned on her the entire dance. She was pleasantly winded when she retook her seat under the arbor with Wren and Reese. "Wow, wonder what these guys are gonna do next?" What they did, was blow everyone's proverbial socks off.
They played Sovngard song, one of Bri's favorites from Miracle of Sound, but it NEVER sounded this raw, real, and manly. Dear god, it was like listening to pure unadulterated sex. Bri started shifting in her seat. Bri was relieved to see she wasn't the only one affected by the song. Both Wren and Reese looked positively entranced.
They then broke into a medieval song she'd heard once before, but couldn't understand the lyrics. She could occasionally catch 'wolf, raven, and hare'...or words that kinda sounded like them. Once again she found herself thumping and banging along to the music. She noticed both of her bosom buddies were thumping and banging right along with her.
Briallen was now laughing herself silly. They were singing "Nord Mead" and Fili, bless him, was tossing bottles that looked exactly like the mead bottles from the Skyrim game. She howled until she cried. Both Wren and Reese were looking at her like she'd lost her mind. Briallen helplessly waved her hands at them finally gasping out "I'll show you when we get home. Promise. But I WANT one of those mead bottles." When, of course, a mead bottle landed in her lap. Once she was able to wipe enough tears away she saw Fili wink at her, those darlin' dimples flashing beside that too knowing smile. Her face flushed with more than mirth at that point.
"Thanks for being a wonderful audience. That's all from Mountain Thunder! Be sure to stop by the Armory for all your sharp pointy needs, and maybe a few shinies. Weapon demos are every two hours, and the forge is always open. Thank you, and enjoy the Faire!" Dang, were all the men blessed with sinfully sumptuous voices? Wren looked ready to swoon at Frerin's voice, and Briallen wasn't too far behind her. Reese was toying with a bit of ribbon Briallen hadn't noticed before, and she was smiling to herself.
"So, lemme guess, we're going to go check out Mountain Thunder Armory , aren't we?" Briallen knew the answer before she even asked, but couldn't help teasing her friends a bit. She carefully tucked her precious mead bottle in her pouch.
"Yes!" Once again, Wren and Reese managed a stereo answer.