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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1893. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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Discovered today that spotted dick is a pudding with raisins in it. But more importantly that "dick" was the victorian word for pudding. — Fallin
His sister and her group were not yet performing, however. Instead it was a plain looking young woman that he did not recognize. She seemed to believe she was singing.
My Idea of Fun

static in the heart
January 2nd, 1893 — The Reach, Scotland

He hadn't even noticed the injury at first. It hurt, but no more than the rest of his body did as he slowly climbed the stairs from the basement room to the bedrooms above. He always ached after a full moon night. It was bleeding, too, but the rest of his skin was so dirt-stained that he didn't see the slick spot there until he'd lowered himself into a hot bath and found that this particular patch didn't wash off with the rest. How he'd gotten it was anyone's guess; he certainly didn't remember. The wound on his forearm included a puncture, with a well of red blood contained within it, and some roughly torn skin around the edges. Maybe he'd run arm-first into a broken tree branch and impaled himself. That seemed par for the course; Merlin knew werewolves didn't have a whit of intelligence, at least from all appearances.

He'd finished with the bath and slipped into a house coat as the filthy water drained, then skulked off down the hall to find Merida. He knocked on her door but barely waited for an answer before he cracked it open. By now he knew she would have been dressed and ready for breakfast; it took her less time to recover from the night than it did the men. She was seated at her vanity. Alasdair held up his bleeding arm in explanation, then dropped into the chair nearest her and propped his elbow up on the vanity's tabletop so that she could fix him up.

"Nice to see you're not busy this morning," he mumbled. "No civilian casualties to tend to."
@Merida Greyback

Merida's pride would not let her admit that she was enjoying the wolf moon's less now that Maxime was joining them. Somehow - perhaps because it was she who had saved his life, rather than letting him bleed out in the woods, she somehow felt responsible for his behavior.

There was a time when she had been determined to bring him into the fold, to make him feel welcome and part of their little pack, and in so doing soften his humours and make him a touch more polite. It had not worked. Instead he had grumped, become even more unpleasant and been rude to just about everyone. The brother's Greyback were big and ugly enough to look after themselves, and self-confident enough to tell the unpleasant Frenchman to fuck off - it was the sisters-in-law, those who had married in that she worried he might mortally offend. Having saved his life once, she didn't like the idea of having to serve as medic to a duel where one or other of her brothers would try to kill him. She was rather waiting for his wolf to piss off Murdocks and for the later to ripe out his throat in the woods.

It hadn't happened this month. There had been no major injuries, some scratches and scrapes, either from barreling through the trees or playing too rambunctiously with each other. Nothing more than some soothing salve and some sisterly teasing, so she had bathed and dressed, and accepted a tray in her room. An honour not usually afforded an unmarried lady but with so few of them in the house, and Merida's mornings taken up with tending to the men it allowed her to eat on the go. The sleeves of her white blouse were pulled up past her elbows and she was at her dressing table sorting through her medical supplies when the door opened.

She greeted her brother casually, a wave of the hand as she nabbed a piece of already buttered toast from her tray. 'All quiet' she quipped back at her elder sibling. 'A few bruises and more bruised egos'. Pain potions and muscle relaxants were the average stock and trade for the full moon. She withdrew a mild pain potion from her bag and tossed it to him. The sort of thing normally prescribed for mild menstrual pains and headaches.

'How are you feeling?' she asked, her tone taking on a slightly more professional, appraising tone as she ran her eye over him, and reaching for the arm at the same time. It wasn't bad- not too deep but it would heal better with a stitch, so she set about cleaning it properly.

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Alasdair shrugged and caught the potion she'd tossed in his direction. "Same as ever," he said, by which he meant gross and sore and tired and unsettled, but he wasn't going to get into any of that. It wasn't as though a healer could help with any of those feelings. If he complained she might give him something to make him feel a little livelier, but nothing that came in a bottle could substitute for a good night's rest. Any extra energy he had today would only be stolen against tomorrow's stock, making him feel worse later. This was just his lot in life now, and there was no point trying to change it.

He twisted the cork out of the potion bottle with the edge of his thumb and downed it without looking too closely at what it was. He would have taken anything Merida gave him without hesitation. She was trained for this (moreso than most healers were) and she hadn't ever steered him wrong before. And even if she did, how much worse could it really get?

"Is he here?" he asked as she cleaned out the cut. He meaning Maxime, and here meaning the Reach. If their roles had been reversed, Alasdair wasn't sure whether he would have wanted to stay and rest before venturing back out into the world or whether he would have been eager to be clear of this place as soon as he was dressed again. Maxime's inclusion here was still weighing heavily on his mind, as he suspected it was weighing on everyone's to some degree or another. This was not a thing that happened. This was the premise their family's entire way of life was built on — that here, in these particular circumstances, it was safe. Trespassing or not, Maxime having been turned put a crack in the foundation of the Greyback traditions.

Merida's fingers worked deftly and quickly, procuring a cotton pad and a bottle of a viscous liquid that smelled strongly of aniseed. She gave him a look to indicate that this was likely to sting, even inspite of the mild ameliorative effect of the potion. In response to his question, Merida hmmed - a musical noise that indicated a question, when really she was playing for time, she knew who he was talking about but it probably wouldn't do to admit to her brother how much the presence of Mister Maxime was playing on her mind.

Merida made another tired noise that indicated an affirmative, 'Yes he's sleeping in the McDonald bedroom' she affirmed, avoiding his gaze and procuring the enchanted stitching material from her bag along with her wand. 'He's not hurt, he just needs some rest. I've asked Bradan* to bring him some breakfast when he wakes up.' she confirmed, head bent over the wound, her wand moving to put in place the two or three stitches that it would need to securely close it.

She looked up suddenly from her work, 'Has he said something?' half expecting a horror story of rudeness to interrupt what had otherwise been a reasonably pleasant morning.

*House elf

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Alasdair chewed the inside of his lower lip as she dabbed at his arm, ready to bite back whatever pain came to keep his face impassive. He shook his head at her question, and waited until she'd stopped with the cotton ball before he answered verbally. "No. But he didn't need to. It's obvious what's on his mind," Dare pointed out. Their only interaction had been in the room where they undressed, and it wasn't the ideal spot to strike up conversation even if either of them had been keen to. Maxime didn't seem keen to talk to anyone; he may as well have been walking around with a literal storm cloud over his head, for how difficult it was to guess his mood.

The truth was, Maxime had him curious. Alasdair knew plenty of werewolves — more than the average person probably thought possible — but this was the first interaction he'd had with lycanthropy outside of the Greyback clan. He was keenly observing how it played out... from a safe distance, until he'd made enough of an assessment of the situation to decide whether he wanted to broach a real conversation. In Alasdair's mind there had been a divide between him and the rest of the family since he'd been turned. It was invisible to everyone else, but always felt in his heart. From what he had observed, it seemed as though Maxime could be an ally — on his side of the issue rather than Murdock's. But it was early days yet, and there was no telling what would happen once the initial shock had worn off and things had settled into a rhythm.

"Can't say I blame him," he admitted. "He didn't know what he was getting into." Neither had Alasdair, not really — but that wasn't something he'd discuss with Merida.

She winced in sympathetic pain when she anticipated his pain, the tip of her wand activating alongside the stitching material, the two working together to pull the harassed skin together and bound them closed. It would heal well, the rip was clean, and she was decently proud of her fix. Her head still bent over the wound, making the final checks, she scoffed, at her brothers tone. It was clear, that no one had missed his attitude.

'He was trespassing!' she reminded, 'Trying to pin a murder on us.' she was feeling less then charitable towards Mister Maxime after the fiasco on New Years Eve. She had grumbled extensively to her sisters and sisters in law's about the fact that she had spent an entire evening trying to stop him bleeding to death and he hadn't managed a civil word to her - a thank you seemed a bit much to expect under the circumstances but his complete lack of grace had been shocking.

Merida had had the pleasure of Mister Maxime's company perhaps a little more than her siblings and in-laws, with the possible exception of Murdock who was exposed to the man on a daily basis. 'He wasn't much nicer before he was biten' she assured her brother beginning to pack up her medical bag, and returning to her toast, offering the well stacked plate to Dare. ’I don't think he liked any of us before he became a werewolf.’

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Trespassing was hardly a crime punishable by this, he could have contended, but he knew Merida wouldn't prove a sympathetic ear. No one in his family treated lycanthropy as the punishment he felt it was; they wouldn't have understood what Alasdair (and, it seemed, Maxime) knew instinctively. And he may not have been a nice person, but that also wasn't a crime punishable by something like this. Even if one took the most charitable view of lycanthropy imaginable, as most Greybacks did, it was hard to argue with a few key points: it rearranged his life forever, it was dangerous if not managed properly, and it was something he'd had no choice in.

"Well, what's to like?" he joked gruffly. The only safe reply to anything she'd said. He took a piece of toast. "Going to eat the eggs?"

'Speak for yourself.' she grumbled, but also pushed her leftover breakfast plate towards her brother, but not before grabbing another slice of the now very cold toast. She couldn't imagine the eggs would be good, but after the wolf nights, she knew some of the men would eat the lamb of God if there was mint sauce on the sideboard. 'I'm a god damn delight.' she corrected with mocking affront, swearing in a way that she only did with her brothers in private.

'I've tried very hard -both before his bite and after to try and be nice to him, but he is determined to hate this entire family.' she was throwing her medical supplies a little too viciously into her bag, gesturing with her tools, jabbing the air with clear annoyance. 'I think he is a terrible snob'


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Dare snorted to let her know exactly what he thought of her delightfulness, and turned his attention to the eggs. The entire plate would have been immeasurably better if he'd gotten to it half an hour ago, but his stomach was empty and his whole body ached and beggars couldn't really be choosers. He made heaping mountains of eggs between the fork and toast and shoveled them in as he listened to his sister complain.

"Some people are terrible snobs," he allowed. He would have shrugged, but one of his shoulder muscles had tensed up — residual impacts from the full moon — and he knew moving it right away would have stung. He took a break from the plate of eggs and reached his other hand up to roughly massage the space between his neck and shoulder, trying to dispel the knot in his muscles. "But we're stuck with him, at any rate, and him with us. Might as well give him some more time before you write him off."

At his snort she threw a small throw pillow at him, it was a lazy throw that went far wide. How dare he think of her as anything less than the epitome of ladylike elegance.

She hmmed, unconvinced of Dare's argument that they needed to give him some leeway. None of her interactions with Maxime had convinced her that there would ever be anything amounting to harmony between him and the Greybacks. 'I'm more concerned that he or Murdock are going to end up ripping each others throats out' she said, Dare hadn't been there the morning after the attack - hadn't seen the tension between the two man, or Murdock's not very subtle threat to kill him if he stepped wrong.

'Are you going to be acting as the emissary?' she asked, Dare was perhaps one of the least 'indoctrinated' of the Greybacks, perhaps he would be an easier entry way into the clan than someone like her who saw this as a true blessing and who envied the sense of belonging the boys had to each other and the family.

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Alasdair had no intention whatsoever to act as an emissary — that would have involved brokering peace that he didn't believe had any right to exist — but sidestepped the question instead of answering it.

"Murdock wouldn't kill him. Too inelegant," he pointed out. Not that he thought of his oldest brother as a particularly elegant person in general, but he was fiercely protective of the clan; he wouldn't have done anything that would have drawn undo scrutiny to their safe haven up here, and the murder of one of his subordinates — especially anywhere in the vicinity of the Reach — certainly would have done that. "And he couldn't kill Murdock if he tried. I think we'll stall out on rude words and unsubtle glares."

He was probably right, as gruff as their elder brother was, he wasn't a full, nor was he really as hot headed as sometimes all of his bluster would imply. While he would rage and swear enough to make a docker blush, he hadn't gotten to his position in society by being rash.

'Of that part I am sure.' she affirmed, 'and for all of his bluster I think Maxime is a little scared of Murdock.' She finished putting away her medical things and drained her coffee cup, which was now ice cold, but not entirely unpalitable. 'Although I suppose if someone almost ripped out my throat, I'd probably retain a little anxiety around them.' Merida tapped the coffee pot with her wand, heating it, before she refilled the cup with the cold coffee and pushed it towards her brother.

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Almost ripped my throat out was a turn of phrase, probably — he had not paid enough attention to Maxime's scars to say certainly — but all the same Alasdair felt the knot of scar tissue hidden below his beard start to itch. He ignored it and took the coffee.

"I'm staying in Kent after this," he said, eager to change the subject. "My hostess is inclined to throw a ball — Merlin knows why, in January — and she's hopeful I can do something to make it a little more inspired than the typical winter wonderland theme."

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