A Barkeep and Two Teachers

Title: A Barkeep and Two Teachers
Time Period: July 15, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Andrew takes late night a trip downstairs to have a pint and share company with the barkeep Idris, before Caera joins them. History geekery ensues.

It's not a very busy night. There's a couple of customers at the bar, farmers, husband and wife. They're pretty drunk already, and are mumbling stuff to each other. Idris is leaning against the bar, staring off into space. A small bat hangs from one of his fingers, but after a moment, it turns into a grass snake as it starts to spiral up his arm.

What breaks up the usual and mundanely predictable array of drunken babbling, mugs hitting one another and gregarious chit-chat in the background is the harsh sound of heavy clutch of papers hitting the counter rather heavily. The two stacks of papers and books tied together that Andrew drops off on the bar top are almost a forearm's length. With an exhausted sigh, he looks around himself, first. Somewhere between the feet of patrons, a black cat zooms by, unnoticed by most, soon disappearing behind furniture.

Ultimately, Andrew's attention is drawn to the man tending to the bar - Idris. He sizes the man up with a growing smirk, even if his weary eyes do not extend the notion. Spotting the grass snake spiralling around the bartender's arm, the would-be priest lifts his brows. "And I haven't even started drinking", he quips. After a pause, though, his order does arrive. "Make it a pint, please?"

The snake spirals up onto man's shoulder, becoming a crow to stare at Andrew openly, tilting it's head to one side as it looks him over. Idris fills a pint glass and sets it in front of Andrew, not particularly hurrying. "Bartending is a bit of a waste of our talents, but if it makes you feel a little drunker, perhaps not a complete waste." He turns his eyes on Andrew's face, staring at him with the same openness his familiar is, before smiling slightly. "Anything else?"

Tonight, Andrew is clearly not at his best. His blue shirt is awfully wrinkled and not tucked into his equally unkempt jeans. Upper and lower buttons of the shirt are hastily buttoned up, just barely covering the white T-shirt underneath. His hair is messier than usual and his Scottish accent is at times thicker than usual. Usual being already rather thick. With the myriad of documents and books in front of him, it doesn't take a brilliant mind to realise what's the cause of all this.

As the fellow Mage muses aloud regarding their gifts, Andrew's smile grows and his eyes finally reflect the curve of his lips. As the pint fills up, he temporarily switches his attention to the mug. "Are you enchanting m' drink?" His eyes lift to regard Idris. "You can't waste your talents if you don't use 'em. It's when you use 'em for naught that you waste them, aye?" When the drink is served, Andrew hugs the mug with both hands. "Nothin' else, barrin' yer company, per'aps. If yer not busy."

Idris looks like he doesn't care what he looks like too much - his clothes look hastily thrown on, and his face is unshaven for perhaps a week. "We don't have the ability to enchant drinks. But if we never use a talent, what's the point of having it? If other people know we have it, that very knowledge is a method of using it, however." His familiar hops down onto the bar, staring up at Andrew while Idris glances around the room. "If someone else comes, then there may be a distraction. Otherwise, we would be happy to converse."

It doesn't take horribly long until Andrew takes his first swig of the beer. In fact, it is approximately a second after he falls silent that his parched lips are graced with the refreshing taste of the alcoholic beverage. The mug is held dearly and closely to his chest afterwards. A giddy chuckle later, the man lifts up his vacant hand to wiggle it mid-air in front of himself. "Tha' whole first person plural thing is kin' o' awkward, mate." Not much else is mentioned regarding that, as Andrew moves on.

"At the risk of soundin' like a nutter… The point of havin' talents is knowin' when tah use them. We - and I mean you an' me - we are not the first people in history burdened with extraordinary responsibility. A king can't and shouldn't rule day in an' night out to justify his title." After a bit of a pause, he seeks further with a question. "What is yer talent, then?" As he finally shuts up, he takes another swig of the beer.

Idris laughs at the statement that a first person plural is awkward, but then focuses back, continuing to listen, leaning a little closer when Andrew says 'me and you', the raven transforming into a white kitten to sniff at Andrew's fingers.

Idris holds out his hands, palms up. "If you take my hands, and speak an oath, and a consequence for breaking it - why, then, should you break that oath, that consequence will come true. This only works after you have been told of it, however." He starts to pull his hands back. "And yourself? What is this extrodinary responsibility you bear?"

As the constantly shifting familiar chooses a white-furred kitten as its latest form, Andrew finally reaches out to interact with it - his index finger aims to pet the forehead of the ostensibly young creature, curling behind the ear if allowed. "I don't see your plight", he responds soon enough, looking away from the kitten and up to Idris, a faint smile of amusement still on his lips. "Your talent will be awfully useful in this time of broken promises and ignored oaths."

Provided he didn't need to retract his hand from the kitten earlier - in the case of aggression, perhaps - Andrew pulls his own hand back now. After another hefty drink of the cool beverage, he heaves a weary sigh. "Inspiring young min's, but in doing so, not changin' who they are. Spreadin' forsaken words of divine wisdom in the harsh winds of scepticism."

Of course, that isn't what was asked of him, and so Andrew answers as was expected of him. "But as for my magical talents… I walk and stalk dreams. I make people forget, I make 'em remember. Among less pleasant thin's."

The creature allows him to pet it's forehead, and licks Andrew's index finger. Once he withdraws his hand, it moves over to Idris, brushing against his shirt, then grows into a larger cat as it hops down behind the counter. "An oath that can't be broken can be just as dangerous as one that is broken readily."

"You can't inspire someone without changing them. It's hard to even interact with someone, without changing them a little." Idris pauses, crossing his arms against his chest. "But these 'forsaken words of divine wisdom'. That's interesting. What would these words be?"

For once, Andrew readily agrees with Idris. The danger of oaths both kept and broken begets a wag of an index finger, and a knowing smile. "Wise words. I'd drink to 'em. In fact—" Fulfilling a miniature oath of his own, he near empties his mug. What little is left is placed briskly onto the counter. "People, though, I disagree with tha'. To inspire is to coax a spark into wildfire, not cha'ge i' into a bloomin' flower. It's so easy to change a min', especially a young one, tha' people think there's no difference, but there is. Especially with young min's."

The puddle of beer at the bottom of the mug is duly finished, and the empty mug is placed back down on the bar before it is pushed softly towards Idris. "Mind refillin' i'?" With that short break from conversation out of the way, Andrew continues: "The words— Ever hear of the Bible? Of the Christian God, maybe?"

"Might be better for the child to be turned into a flower than to be coaxed into a wildfire. Or the village, for that matter." Idris refills the cup, not hurrying, pouring the exact same amount he did the first time before placing it back in fron to Andrew.

"I've heard of a bible and a christian god, a time or two." Something in his words makes it clear he's not capitalizing them. "But from what I heard, I don't see that it has much to do with today."

What sounds like a half-scoff, half-chuckle escapes Andrew. He patiently watches Idris refill the cup; he isn't in too much of a hurry, himself, but given how much work he has in front of him, that's not surprising. "Aye, an' flowers can be stepp'd on. Let's not turn the metaphors into a farce, now. Me point was that inspiration equals cultivation. It's helping things progress. While a baker tells you how to be a good baker, and a butcher tells you how to cut up meat, I teach children to find what they're good at and help them get better at i'. If I am not good at i', I learn meself." Andrew nods to the massive paperwork near.

When the drink is served, the teacher nods in appreciation. He does not touch the pint just yet, however; his hands are placed flat on the very edge of the bar, instead. "I' has everythin' to do with today, but… I'm a little too wo'n ou' for a history lesson. Suffice to say, I don't want people to necessarily start believin' in invisible flyin' gnomes, I want them to believe in good things and act with those beliefs in mind. The Bible is an ABC book of morality for adults. Do I make sense?"

Idris nods, leaning forward a little, resting his arms on the bar as he stares into space for a moment. "I get it. It's not that you believe the bible is correct, you think it's a useful tool to get humans to believe what you want them to, so you can grow their society into something a little more positive. That might be amusing to see, humans treating each other with a touch of decency." He smiles, looking back over to Andrew. "But if you don't want your words twisted against you, you should choose them with a little more care, dreamstalker."

"Ah ah ah."

The index finger that he wags yet another time is now held in air in front of his grinning visage a few moments longer. "Twistin' words and shovin' 'em in another's mouth are different things, mate. You-say-dog-I-say-you-meant-cat is not how ye're meant go about things. It's like shakin' hands with our backs turned to each other, aye?" His smile is a little bit more wary, now, but Andrew is starting to prove it takes more effort to wipe that toothy grin off his face.

"Right, I'll educate you about God Almighty and all tha' when I've the energy to. I've blabbed my share, are you willin' to spill yours? What're you doin' here in Dornie? Haven't seen your mug in the Albatross until recently, and I'm a regular drunkar' 'ere."

Idris shrugs, smiling broadening. "If you want to teach people to think differently, you have to be ready for that kind of thing. Those that fancy themselves adults are more argumentative than students, even among humans." He pauses, smile slipping into a more serious look. "But that bit about the bible - I really thought that's what you meant. If you meant otherwise, I'd be interested in hearing it sometime. Even if I'm the sort who's as likely to shake hands behind a man's back as not." A shrug, and he straightens up.

"Not much to tell. Dornie decided to burn down Shackshore and invite people over here. Used to hunt and farm, but I don't have a farm here, and the humans here don't want me running out in the woods quite yet, seeing as they think I might run off, so they offered me a nice choice between this bartending position and working at one of those giant relics."

The smile edges on disappearing entirely from Andrew, though just as it is about to - it rebounds and curves into a grin again. With the wave of a hand, he aims to dismiss the topic of religion with fittingly polite closure. "If you're interested in hearin', then hear y'shall, one day. If you think you are an example of a stubborn mule, you haven't taught a year. It took me jus' seven months until a pupil of mine punched me right in the face. So don't think I took offence."

A cursory glance at his wrist watch later - a curious thing, the cover cracked but it must be functional - he looks up to Idris again. Despite the potentially rude nature of the gesture, it looks like he's genuinely listening. "Dornie burned down yer town? Why? Competition?"

Idris shrugs amicably at Andrew's explanation of his student and the relative example of stubbron mules. He blinks at the question. "I don't know why. I might ask someone sometime, but it doesn't seem enormously important. The rest of Shackshore was just humans, after all, and it doesn't make a lot of difference to me where I am at the moment - I prefer the open air to stuffy old buildings, but if it wasn't burnt down, I wouldn't get to talk to rather interesting men like you."

What starts out as a cackle is quick in becoming a short fit of laughter. Andrew lightly tips his head back as he laughs wholeheartedly at the final sentence spoken by his newfound conversational companion. "Frankly, I don't think m'self worth burnin' an entire town over", he announces shortly after his amusement diminishes vocally. Lifting a hand, he brushes the side of his palm against a brow. It's easy to tell he's tired, but bed is a distant thing for him, given the two massive piles of papers and books, each bunch tied together. Still, he prefers Idris' company to working, for the time being.

"Huntin' and farmin', eh? I'm sure they'll let you off the leash soon enough, although personally I'm not a big fan of the wilderness. I'm more of a… civilisation kind of person." Patting one of the paper bunches at one of his sides, he adds with a bit of a grin. "Speaking of, have a friend merchant of mine bringing in another book. D'you like books?"

Idris blinks, tilting his head a bit to one side at the laughter. "Perhaps you misunderstood: I don't know why it happened, but it hasn't become relevant for me to know why yet, because those humans aren't important to me. Rather, I'm a bit happy that I ended up in a place with more of my own people." He smiles, and adds half-jokingly, "Although, one part you did not misunderstand: I do think I'm worth burning an few towns over."

He is silent for a long moment. "I don't like books, particularly, but I do like knowledge, and sometimes a book is the path to knowledge." He leans a bit closer, watching Andrew's face with a faint smile. "What would you say would be worth burning for your sake?"

And on that note, Caera walks into the bar. She doesn't show up in the town's bars, as a rule. She's generally far too shy, doesn't drink, and doesn't prefer to really be around people…but she's decided to make an exception, tonight. Looking rather nervous, and feeling a tad self-concious, the young teacher steps into the common building of the bar, just in time to hear what she assumes is a very out of context comment about books and burning. Her eyes dart around as she looks for a place to sit.

A light chuckle momentarily broadens Andrew's grin. "Fair enough, fair enough", he admits. "So long as y'don't burn Dornie to prove yer worth, aye?"

Picking up the pint he had in all truth reserved for when he goes back up to his room, Andrew decides it's better to have some more of it now. Why not? The would-be priest sighs softly after a swig, placing the mug back down. "A candle", he replies in what is perhaps an anticlimactic response to Idris' query. "Naught but a candle is worth burning for m' sake. Hopefully, my legacy will outlive candelight."

With the hours slowly slipping into the night, there's nary any patrons entering; there's a far greater number of them leaving or being dragged out by their friends. So, while Caera's arrival here combines many oddities, that one is the most apparent. Some rude whistling - aimed at Caera, no less - might make this trip to the inn seem like a bad idea after all, but it does draw Andrew's attention to the target of attention. With a half-confused, half-kindhearted expression, he gestures to the bar stool nearby.

Idris shifts in his position behind the bar. "Just a candle? I'd easily burn at least two candles for you, should it be necessary, and we just met… and don't worry, I'm not about to burn down Dornie to prove my worth."

At the whistles, Idris glances over to the new arrival briefly, but doesn't seem disposed to give her much more attention unless she orders something… or he wasn't, until Andrew gestures to the barstool next to him. Then he stares at her openly, looking her over.
Her eyes darting nervously at the whistles, Caera takes a step backwards, as if to leave the bar. At the wave, however, she skuttles over towards the stool. Pulling it back a bit, she sits down on it, and then glances towards Andrew. "Thanks." she says, hoping that, in fact, this turns out to be something she should be thankful for. She does her best to ignore the stares.

Like Idris, Andrew inevitably looks Caera over, although it's not long before his attention is elsewhere, namely his surroundings. Fortunately, everyone by now appears to be too drunk to bother with flirtations and seductions and more preoccupied with keeping their stomach contents where they belong. With a look of fatherly disapproval donned, Andrew sighs. "Now's not a prime time to be stalkin' the streets, much less a sailors' hangout." Fingers drum on the wooden surface of the bar as he looks to the young woman, and then to Idris; the latter gets a more inquisitive gaze.

"Come now, I'm sure she has her own reasons." Idris leans forwards across the bar, staring at Caera for a moment. "I do admit, I'm a little impressed by your asocial behavior. Humans are usually more cautious. Is there anything you'd like?" He reaches out to pat the top of Caera's head, like you would a dog.

Alright, so this was a really bad idea and she should not have come, is roughly the first thought to go through Caera's head, before even indignation has a chance to ring through at the patting. "Humans?" she asks. "Uh, you say that in the third person." Urge to bolt rising. She knew bars were creepy, especially at night. What was she thinking?

Despite describing it as a sailors' hangout, Andrew himself is anything but that. If anything, the man resembles more like someone who hasn't slept in a while and rolled into a casual choice of clothing on his way to rolling down the inn stairs to the bar, sans the bruises. His faint smirk dissipates in favour of a sterner look crossing his face as he observes Idris, but upon hearing Caera, he reconsiders his approach. A reassuring grin accompanies a reassuring tone of voice.

"Eh, don't min' 'im", he starts with nonchalance, subduing his overly thick Scottish accent somewhat. "Post traumatic stress disorder. He also thinks he's several people. One of 'em's a bagpipe player. Just see past it - he's a good mate underneath." After a bit of a pause, he reiterates Idris' question: "As he asked, though— While you're here, lass, might as well get somethin'. Anything you want for a drink or a bite?"

Idris blinks at Andrew's explanation, looking over to him curiously. "Post trauma… what?" He shakes his head a bit. "I'm terrible at bagpipes." He pauses. "To be fair, though, I am a couple of people." As if on cue, a sparrow flies up from behind the bar and perches on his shoulder as he looks back at Caera. "Well, I asked because it's my job at the moment."

"A tiny bit of venison, if you have any. Not much, I'm not a big eater." Caera replies. She -would- have eaten her own, but that stablehand scared it away. "Coming here at this hour was not my best idea." she admits to the two men.

Looking to Idris, Andrew's smirk broadens, particularly when the bagpipe is mentioned. "Oh, tha's easy, mate. The only way to play it well is to play it badly", he explains. His attention veers off to the sparrow, and that reminds him of his own familiar. As he looks over his shoulder to look for it, however, he doesn't find it. Always there, yet never in sight. Cats.

Turning back to face Caera, Andrew tips his head to the side. "And yet not only did y'get the idea, you followed through with i'. Surely, there's a reason for tha'?" Pointing to Idris, he states, "He's 'ere 'cause, well, he's the barkin' bartender. Me, I'm 'ere 'cause I need a break from all the paperwork and preparin' books for teaching the young scallywags. What brought you 'ere then?"

"The best way to please people's ears with a bagpipe is to leave it well enough alone," counters Idris, smiling back at Andrew. The sparrow on his shoulder belts out a few bars of Itchy Fingers. He glances back to Caera, with a touch of curiousity after Andrew's question, despite his seeming ebb of interest once she said coming here was not her best idea.

"Your a teacher?" Caera asks, changing the subject. Or, more specifically, latching onto something that interests her. "I don't think I've seen you up at the schoolhouse. I teach as well." She peers at Andrew curiously. "There is a rather lot of paperwork and preparation to do." she agrees.

Andrew chuckles light-heartedly on the matter of the infamous musical instrument that is the bagpipe, but the joke isn't pursued any further. He idly observes the bird perched on the barkeep's shoulder, listening to Caera in the meantime. Ultimately, he looks to her. "Aye, I teach on behalf of Dina Ross, albeit that's not solely my trade. I seek to open up a… part museum, part library and part book shop 'ere. I've gathered a lot of items of interest over the years of wanderin'. A bit of a family legacy. Seems like a shame not to share 'em."

Looking to Idris, he nods to him in a friendly manner. "Speakin' of, if you seek some sort of knowledge, or feel like you 'ave curiosity of ages come and gone, ye' can always ask me. Until I get my own place, I'm easy t'find - upstairs, in the room that's chock full of books, boxes and generally paper."

Idris nods to Andrew. "I'd like that. For the moment, though, I should probably go get this foolish human her venison, and then see if anyone needs alcohol but is too inebriated to come to the bar." He glances over to Caera, and smiles. "I wish you luck in getting home without being set on by wolves, little human." And with that he walks back into the kitchen area.

Caera blinks at Idris as he heads back into the kitchen, before turning towards Andrew. "We must have missed each other perpetually then. It seems we are coworkers. I, too, teach on behalf of Dina Ross, and I also have an interest in things which have long since passed away. Do you have any particular topics of personal curiosity?"

Andrew laughs softly at the notion of constantly missing a coworker. The true amusement of the situation is duly elaborated on by the man: "Two teachers fail to meet in a schoolhouse, but find each other in an inn after every decent man's asleep." Briskly shaking his head in amused disapproval of this turn of events, Andrew sighs with a grin still on his beaming face. "I like relics. Relics that actually function or retain a purpose to this day, however, I love."

He lifts a hand off the counter and shows his wrist to Caera. It is adorned by a fairly plain wrist watch. The glass cover is cracked, but further observation will reveal that it is, in fact, functioning. It also serves as a good reminder of just how late it is. "I love history because it teaches us things about the future. I think this watch proves that in a very simple, yet effective way."

Caera looks at the wrist watch. She's honestly impressed. "Very nice." she admits. "I don't have anything like that. Don't have any collection of the old world, really. No working items or relics of that sort." She thinks for a moment. "I love history because it teaches us what we've lost, and what we'll have again. The gleaming steel cities, the thousand thousand lights of centuries past. The arrogance and the knowledge and the power. And yet…" She gestures around. "If you know history, you know what we've lost. So many don't. So I love teaching. Rekindle the fire of lost days."

The fellow teacher is as impressed by Caera's passionate speech as she was impressed by the watch, if not more so. Yet he observes silently, and that optimistic smirk is slowly diminishing. With a tip of his head, he sighs softly and duly notes, "It's refreshing to meet someone else so intimately attached to knowledge, but… keep in mind the precarious precipice our present puts us in. Not even us - the devoted scholars - can know for sure what the world was like before flames enveloped it. Too much time has passed, to much has been burned and ravaged and destroyed. We might make the past seem brighter than the present. Tha's what the future is fer."

Caera knows. She's seen it through the eyes of the dead. But she can't say that. Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, she nods in agreement. "I suppose your correct." she says. "Though with the sheer number of books, and the movies we have, we can get a good picture. It certainly seems brighter, in many ways."

A single finger is brought up, darting upwards before it's angled swiftly to point at Caera. Grinning from ear to ear, Andrew snickers almost diabolically at his detection of an unintentional pun. "Movies we have, we can get a good picture? Eh?" He does notice the rousing discomfort, but aims for something more light-hearted and humorous, so as to dispel that awkwardness.

"Sorry, couldn't contain meself. Uhm— Anyway, I have some interesting paraphernalia for ye'self to gawk at, but most of it I keep outside Dornie until I have secure storage. A few merchants I trust keep me things safe for me. When Lady Ross grants me a lot, and I have my own place, then you could pay a visit. Hell, I'd appreciate any help in setting it up even. Somehow I know you're less likely to run away with something, since you know its little value to merchants and great value to humankind."
Caera chuckles in spite of herself at the movies pun. "I'd be glad to help you set it up." she agrees. "We need to preserve and protect what we have." she agrees. "This is a good town for it, too. I've seen towns where they destroy such things out of hand, in the name of the Saints."

A shrug is given, at first. After, Andrew sighs with a measure of disappointment. "One of the main reasons I decided to travel 'ere, to Dornie. Time will tell if that was a wise decision. Other towns have cracks in the walls that are easy to see, but Dornie… This place keeps its sins under the bed. I feel safer in this tavern 'ere with a bunch of rowdy drunk sailors than a drab room with a Ross, much less a Rowntree. The games they play…" By now, Andrew's light mood has disappeared. Rubbing at his forehead, he parts with an irked sigh. "Weariness isn't doing me good, and I still have all this work to sift through. The barkeep seems to have left us for good. Will you be okay by ye'self, or should I walk you home like the gentlemen of ol'?"

"I would be happy to take you up on that." Caera replies. "A woman doesn't get much respect if she can't keep a man from…affronting her, but its better to not take risks."

A look of disappointment is thrown to the nearly full pint he's saved for himself for his trip upstairs. Still, he discards it easily enough, snatching it off the counter and walking along the bar some distance, handing the mug off to what may very well be a friend. "'Ey, mate, min' grabbin' me thin's ba' 'ere to m' room upstairs?" The Scottish accent sinks into quite the mess, but the patron seems to understand, agreeing with an indifferent, sluggish nod.

The walk back Andrew is perhaps calmer than his usual self, something he ultimately admits is in large part due to his exhaustion. The topics of choice revolve around items of old - their uses, their importance, their redundance. Some good ol' natured boasting is involved, but most importantly, Andrew helps ensure the walk back is safe and sound. And mildly entertaining.