Toot-Toot laughed. He could not help himself. He beat Siobhan to the outhouse. He kept on chuckling as he emptied his very full bladder. And he knew how to use a gnome sized toilet, even standing up, without making a mess. And his mischievous side reveled in making her wait. And wait. And wait. His bladder was very full. It was kind of mean to take his time tucking away and stepping out. He turned and let out a long “ahhhh” as he stepped out. “Pissing does a body good!”
She was not there. “Siobhan?” Maybe she tried running off to a neighbor’s outhouse. Or just squatted on the other side. Aha. That was it. He could hear the stream behind the outhouse. He put on his best innocent face and strutted around the back side, “hey, Siobhan? You can have…” What the hell? “…it…” Was she standing up pissing? “…um…now…”
She looked over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Don’t worry. I got it.”
With confused astonishment, he peered around her shoulder and saw some, freakish, off white, what?, penis?, sticking out from under her hiked up kilt shooting out a stream of urine.
“Hey!” she shot at him playfully, but somewhat sharply.
“Your jaw is hanging down to your waist. Pick up your chin.” She was clearly amused by his uncomfortable discovery.
“Ahhh…” he was trying…unsuccessfully, not to stare at her crotch and that skinny, freaky…”what the hell is that?”
“This little thing here,” she made a vague nod to her crotch with her head, as it appeared she had one hand pressing up against her testicles and the other holding her penis.
“Um…yeah. When did…um…you know…ahh, grow a…um…a dick?” He said ‘dick’ as if he was not sure if that was the right word for it.
“Tlachtga gave it to me,” she said, matter-of-factly, though still amused at his discomfort. “So…I’ve had it for years.”
“Umm…umm…Siobhan, I’ve seen you naked before…and I sure as hell never seen you with a dick!” His shock and surprise and discomfort was turning into anger, and it could be heard in his voice.
She shrugged. “I haven’t told you about all my tricks. But if it makes you feel better…” the stream was quickly diminishing, she probably would have said it was petering out, “it’s elk horn.”
The stream quickly fell to a trickle, then a drop or two, and then a last burst, then stopped. “Elk horn.” She pulled the penis…and scrotum…away from her crotch with her right hand, then reached under her and rubbed the back of her left hand against her loins. Pulling her hand out from under her kilt and letting her kilt fall back in place she transferred the ‘elk horn’ into her left hand. He could see it much better now. It kind of resembled a large shark tooth or a giant snake fang. She grabbed the water skin she had slung to her right side, popped the lid off with her teeth, and proceeded to squirt water into…the ‘mouth’? of the ‘elk horn,’ rinsing it out, then rinsed of the back of her hand and the outside of the thing. She snapped the cap back on to the skin with her thumb, and flicked the water out of the tip of the horn/tooth/fang and off the back of her hand a couple of times.
She turned towards him. “Look,” she said holding it out towards him with both hands. Without her thighs, hands and kilt partially shielding his view, it was much easier to see…but he did not reach out for it. “It lets me pee while standing up…and control the direction of the flow…away from me. Without it, I just hope I don’t saturate my legs!” She smiled up at him like she was showing him a ruby necklace.
“Uhhh. Yeah…sure…” it did really look like a big shark tooth. A large shark tooth-funnel hybrid. “So… how does it work?” Oh no! He could not believe he actually asked that question. Why did he ask that question.
“Short answer,” she circled her fingers around what would function as the mouth of the funnel, “this part I press up against my crotch, pointing this part,” she pointed towards what would have been the tip of the shark tooth, “away from me, and then let it flow! Then rinse and shake!”
“Um…should I ask why?”
“Toot-Toot,” she said as if the answer was obvious, “I’m a courier by trade. I need to cover long distances in short periods of time…and if I need to stop to pee, it’s just better if I don’t have to squat down to do it. Squatting down leaves me…more vulnerable to surprise and/or attack. Here, you want to look at it?”
“Ahhhh…that’s a hard ‘no’!”
She shrugged and slipped the elk horn into a pocket on her kilt. He had seen the pocket before…it was not a hidden pocket..but he had not paid attention to it before. It looked a lot like an upside down, capitol letter ‘L.’
“We need to go inside to see if they need any help with breakfast or getting ready for the day.”
“Yeah…” Anything to get out of this conversation. Next time…he lets her have the outhouse first!
* * * * * *
Diplomacy was…tiring. Toot-Toot lost track of how many people Siobhan had gone to see that day. Either to ask for where to find somebody with a particular skill, or to give, for lack of a better term, a sales pitch for immigration to New Warrendale. Considering all the admonitions and warnings she gave, nobody could accuse her of over-promising, yet, at the same time, she made it sound so damned appealing. She would have talked him into going…even if he was not already in love with her. She must have pitched twenty to thirty people. He lost count after twelve. She even got them free food…just for telling stories. He could listen to her for hours. Hell…he did listen to her for hours!
Dinner with the Tailors was wonderful. The food was nice, but the company was better. Little Tailor’s curiosity. Mrs. Tailor trying to hush her invasive questions. Siobhan interjecting with answers. Mr. Tailor providing periodic tidbits of gossip. The Tailors were very friendly, after Siobhan warmed Mr. Tailor up. That took awhile, but once he was on board, it felt like a family. And Toot-Toot actually felt like he was part of it. Normally, he would have been quite, but Siobhan prompted him just enough, sometimes with young Tailor’s help, to make him part of the conversation, punctuated by positive reinforcement with friendly shoulder bumps to encourage him to talk, or reward him for participating. He was, however brief it might be, part of a gnome family. And it felt good. And Siobhan was part of it. At the moment, it felt like life could not get any better.
After dinner and after clean up, they all sat down together in front of the fireplace to listen to Siobhan spin tales. And she did not disappoint. Tales of forbidden lust and forbidden love between humans and the fay…that inevitably ended in tragedy for one or both participants. Apparently, ‘they lived happily lived ever after,’ was not part of her lexicon. And gifts…gifts from the ‘others’. Gifts that were, often times, wondrous, but never exactly what was promised…there were always loopholes. Some point that the recipient failed to get a clarification on. A term that was undefined, but could be interpreted more than one way. Always a catch. Even gifts from druids, while more reliable, were subject to bans and boons, but were generally reliable when used as intended or instructed. As he listened, just as entranced as the Tailors, he began to wonder if the stories were for the Tailors…or for him.
Then it was young Tailor’s bed time. “No more stories,” Mrs. Tailor admonished.
“But I’m wound up, Mama! I need a story to help me go to sleep!”
“Ach!” Siobhan cut her off, cocked one eyebrow at her, and asked, “are you usin’ my words against your Ma? Ye’ canna do that! It makes me a bajin guest. Ye donna want me to be a bajin guest, do ye?” That was the most pronounced he had ever heard her native accent from her. It was sweet, but very foreign.
Young Tailor cast her eyes down, “nooo…” she trailed off.
Siobhan put a finger under Young Tailor’s chin and guided her chin back up, “me eyes, darlin’, are up here.” They were up there, bright, smiling. “Now…tell yer Ma yer sorry for usin’ my words again’ her.” The voice, the face, they were friendly, but Toot-Toot suspected it was a non-negotiable point. He realized Siobhan was forging a relationship with Mrs. Tailor, reinforcing that Mrs. Tailor had the last word on bed time.
“Sorry, Ma…” eyes back down.
“Eyes up, darlin’. Own the apology…” Siobhan’s visage was still light and upbeat. “Ye know, Tlachtga said that if I was embarrassed and had to say I’s sorry, then I had ta own it…eye to eye for the apology…then I be free to cast my glance downward an a wait for acceptance, forgiveness or rejection.
“Oh…ana don’ think yer Ma is gonna reject yer apology!”
“Ahm ah sorry, Ma,” this time making eye contact…and seeming to start to take on Siobhan’s brogue.
Mrs. Tailor reached over and brought her daughter into her arms. “It’s fine…’darlin’,’ now off to bed with you!”
And then, Toot-Toot learned something new about Siobhan. Her voice, soft and gentle, but firm, cut through the air as she started to sing. A melodious ballad. Of heroes and Chivalric love and banding together to defend the kingdom. Heroism and sacrifice. Tragedy and triumph. The spirit of man over the depredation of monsters. Heartbreakingly sad. Spiritually uplifting. For fifteen minutes, she sang the Ballad of McGiann’s Fianna. Hearts broke in sorrow. Hearts glowed with love. Emotions ran the gamut. Toot-Toot couldn’t remember the last time a ‘normal’ song had made him…feel something…much less seem to feel everything. Maybe…she…was less than truthful when she said she was not a bard.