A Full Circle Has Its Luck

Title: A Full Circle Has its Luck
Time Period: 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: This time it's Beisdean asking a favor, for luck and closure, before he begins a long journey.

The inn's common room seems especially loud and boisterous tonight, mirth increasing with the amount of alcohol poured — to a point, of course. At some point, the mirth runs dry and fists fly at some perceived wrong between men who were just moments before best friends. It's the way of a tavern. But currently, it's early enough that the jokes are bawdy and the laughter jolly. It seems everyone looking for fun tonight is at the Albatross.

Beisdean isn't searching for the camaraderie of the pub, however; he's seeking the company of someone in particular, and rumor has it she's in the kitchen. The door is opened and he steps in, closing it behind him to dull the sound of the song about the size of the miller's wife's ass.

"Luna?" he calls, not immediately seeing the girl he seeks, a guest in what was once her own home.

She's staying out of the way.

With the older woman unexpectedly busy this evening, Luna hasn't had nearly enough time with her mother as she'd have liked. Some of the patrons in the more common areas of the inn were clients at one point in time. Now they're treated like relative strangers. The prostitute doesn't seem to mind the whispers behind her back, stories about her being high and mighty, acting better than everyone else, none of it is new. All of it just recycled complaints about her behavior.

She tucks a bit of blonde hair behind her ear before she looks up. Eyes blank and expression bland, until she recognizes Beisdean by sight, then she pastes something more pleasant on her face. Not joyful enough to crinkle around her eyes, she's getting older and it might cause wrinkles. Plus she's not certain if he's worth the loss of elasticity in her skin.

So her eyebrows come up a touch, her lips stretch out into a small but expectant smile, and she raises her chin. "Beisdean?" she answers a call with a call. Possibly to annoy.

Her response makes him chuckle. "Didn't see you there, Lu," he says quietly, coming nearer until he finds a bit of counter top to lean against. He's not as dapper today as most days — his hair's untidy, not brushed back in its perfect coif but hanging in his eyes; his usually tidy scruff is a little longer than usual, as if he didn't trim it back for a couple of days now. Still, there's no scent of alcohol on him, and he doesn't seem distracted by his ghosts.

"I heard you were here. I wanted to come… say hello." He isn't quite ready to say the real reason, it seems. "How've you been?" Small talk is awkward.

"Luna, I'm not a toilet," she says primly, folding the book she'd been writing in. Ink stains along the tips of her index and middle finger are smudged away to a faded grey before the woman stares up at him again. "I've been well, better than well. And yourself?" The cloth used to clean her hands with is carefully placed over the book, just in case he tries to glance at the title, contents, or play a juvenile prank of keep away.

It doesn't register for a few seconds but when it does, Luna rears back her head and stares at him with a frown. "Why did you want to say hello to me?"

"I'm glad to hear that," Beisdean responds, picking up a towel to wipe at the already-pristine counter, his eyes darting between it and her ink-stained fingers and then to her face briefly before he looks away again.

"Well. Hello, and goodbye, actually, to tell the truth of it."

He sets the cloth down and tucks his hands in his pockets, staring down at his boots, before looking back up. "I've done what I was asked to do, come and paid respects to my mum, returned to the land of my youth, if not my birth, and all of that rigamarole, aye? I'm setting back out for the south, now that it's warm enough. I wanted to say goodbye to you, and wish you the best, and thank you for being a friend to my mother all those years."

"Oh, well then," stunned into silence isn't something that Luna's familiar. Yet there it is. It's uncomfortable, to say the very least. Her eyes flicker between her book and Beisdean, as though she's keen on getting back to whatever she was doing rather than continue the awkward exchange. Being her mother's daughter, she pushes the cloth and book a little further away from herself to dissuade any temptation and focuses all of her attention on him.

"It was more the other way around," she finally says. "I didn't have a lot to offer her in the way of friendship, I did my best but… as you know my best is rarely good enough."

The glance toward her book doesn't escape Beisdean, and he straightens out of his lean. "She was easy to be friends with. I'm sure you offered her plenty in your own way," he says lightly. There's a tightness in his eyes as he talks about Slainte.

He nods to the book. "I'll let you do whatever it was you were doing," he says quietly, no reproach or disdain in his voice. He merely sounds tired. "I just didn't want the rumor of my leaving coming back to you from another person." He doesn't add again, but it's there like an elephant in the room.

"It's alright, I wasn't particularly inspired. I'm having just a bit of trouble with my words." It's a small effort to keep him from leaving, though it doesn't sound that she's hopeful he will stay. Getting up, Luna crosses the room for two cups and holds one of them up, shaking it in his direction. "We can at least share a cup of tea before you go. We haven't spent nearly any time together since you came back. My fault, I know." She's not the easiest person to get along with.

"You said goodbye to— " Luna pauses for a moment and then gives a tight lipped smile, "— the others?"

He accepts the mug and moves toward the tea kettle. "That we can do," Beisdean says with a smile, and he leans again against the counter as he sets his cup out for the tea pouring.

"The others?" he asks, brows lifting. "I've told those who need to know. Mrs. Ferrier, Mrs. Fairbairn. Your mum. There aren't many in this town that will miss me when I go. My hope is that maybe there'll be a few more happy to see me where I'm going than will be sorry to see me leave from here, but it's hard to be sure of that. It's been a long time, and the thing about absence making the heart grow fonder isn't always true, though it's a lovely line in a poem."

"The others at the Dovetail," Luna says with a grimace and wrinkle of her nose, as though the answer to his question were too obvious. "I don't know why Missus Ferrier would care, you being a mage and all. I heard she despises them. I've never seen ma' trade with her and I know I won't because of it. Magic is everywhere, good or bad; not all good, not all bad."

Both cups are poured, no sugar, honey, or milk are offered before she takes her seat at the table again. "Did Missus Fairbairn give you enough supplies to travel with? That was part of the bargain for you working there. If she didn't, I'll march straight to her door and demand it."

"Because I was working for her, too. She doesn't despise mages. She's just a bit nervous sometimes, but I've not seen her be unkind or refuse service to anyone because of it. She even saves scraps and spare buttons and the like for Darklight when she has them," Beisdean says quietly, taking a sip of the tea and then carrying it to the table to sit.

"I've enough supplies. Don't worry about it. Or me."

He lifts his eyes to study her face. "Can I ask a favor, Luna?"

The question catches her midsip, something she stretches out to come up with an answer. As the blonde slowly lowers her cup to the table, she curls both hands around the bowl before meeting his eyes finally. "Still, supplies were part of the barter for you working there. She can at least send you with a bag of grain for porridge. It's a long ways away, the place you're from, isn't it?" She's assuming.

Her knuckles turn white from the tight hold she has on her mug before he finally gets his answer. "You can ask, I can't guarantee I'll grant it. After all, since you're leaving you won't be able to grant my birthday boon, will you? If I die, no one will know."

"I can still look for you now and then, and send word if I find anything amiss," Beisdean says quietly. "I'm sorry that I'm leaving and can't keep it quite the way you envisioned, but then that's just the way things are with us, isn't it?"

A sip is taken from the cup and there's the slightest grimace — he's always been one to take his tea with milk and honey. "It's a twofold request, or a boon as you'd say," he says with a smile, and he tips his head to study her face. "A forgiving of all the wrongs I've done you is the first and foremost. I apologize. Especially for the wrongs I've done and not even been aware of, because I'm but a man."

The cup is lowered to the table. "And a good luck kiss is second, though not least."

"A letter would be fine. It would be better to have ma know something for certain than be left guessing for the rest of her life, aye?" She's silent as he begins asking his favor, straight face and impassive until he puts the light of scrutiny on her. Blonde head lowered so he's granted view of her crown only, she turns her head and slides from her seat. "We forgot scones and cream." An obvious reason to leave the table and go searching cupboards instead of being looked at.

After a few doors are opened and slapped shut, Luna pauses, keeping her back to him. "You were forgiven long ago, Beisdean. You're the one that keeps rooting around in the muck and dredging it all back up. I'm content with how things stand between us, finally. There's a man outside that writes me poems, it's all I've ever wanted."

A brow tics up at the analogy that compares him to a boar or something of the ilk, and he chuckles. "Well, thank you for that," he finally says. "I'm trying to limit how many people are angry at me on my way out of town; I think it casts an ill shadow on the journey ahead. As for a man who writes you poems, you should aim a bit higher than that. I've written a few poems in my time and not meant more than a moment's passion in the words. I've never yet promised more than that, not to anyone, but a few mistook the rhymes for more."

He stands. "Forget the scones. It's past tea time, and I should finish sorting my things. Your poet then, he claims all your kisses, even a chaste one between friends as old as we are?"

"I wouldn't even begin to know how to give you a chaste kiss," Luna says as she turns and finally looks at Beisdean. Lips quirked into a lopsided grin, she lets loose a long sigh and tromps toward the table and flops back into her seat. Very much like a child when caught doing something they ought not. "That's always been the problem between us, though, hasn't it? I feel too much where you feel too little."

The prostitute reclaims her mug and nods toward the man's suddenly vacant chair. "Sit back down, Baizey, don't leave anything unfinished. If you go now, I'll feel I drove you away and I'll no longer be content." Looking down into her mug, Luna gives off a small huff of a laugh, fond in nature, before looking back up at him. "My poet as you call him, isn't very good. His poem is lacking in meter, it doesn't flow well. But he wrote it for me, to tell me how he feels."

After a lift of his gaze to the ceiling, Beisdean returns to the chair, easing his long frame into it. "Flattering. I think you are more capable of chaste than you'd have me think, though. I'm not that irresistible, but cheers for the pretty thought."

He lifts his cup in a mock little toast, then takes a sip. "So a man who writes you bad poems is all you ever wanted… too bad word didn't get out about that sooner, for all the poor sods in Dornie who would have eagerly tried their hands at doggerel to please you, had they but known." His eyes sparkle with the jest.

"It's more than that, Baizey, he flatters me." Luna's voice takes on the softness that she generally gets when her affections have been stolen. A tone he's witnessed at least once since his return, at this very table. "He's never called me a whore. You know I've always been worried about how I look; he calls me beautiful, even before I ask."

She takes a final sip of her tea before pushing her mug a little ways away. There's still a bit of liquid in the bottom, enough for a reading if there was anyone around who could. "He's more than just a man who writes me bad poems. He's the opposite of everything I thought I ever wanted. He's much too strong in both body and mind but I find myself captivated. I've heard and seen such horrible things that have been done by him, but I look at him— " She shakes her head and looks toward the dark window. "— I find myself forgetting it all."

That the last time he heard this tone of voice was for someone altogether different is kept to himself. There’s no reason to fight when he’s leaving, after all — though some might say that’s the best time, since he won’t have to endure the aftermath. Still, Beisdean listens, and smiles and reaches to pat her hand. If he manages not to come off as condescending, all the more power to him.

“Ever the romantic. I’m jealous of that streak in you, truth be told, Luna,” Beisdean says softly, and there is a touch of wistfulness in his tone.

“I’ve never been in love once, and I’m usually glad of it, but the way you speak makes me a little regretful.” He doesn’t mention, either, that she has a penchant for doing it often. Perhaps he’s learning.

The tea cup is drained with one swallow, and he stands to bring the cup to the sink. Returning, he bends to kiss Luna’s forehead, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“May the best you have seen be the worst you ever see, may the mouse never leave your grain store with a teary eye, may you always keep hale and hearty ‘til you’re old enough to die, may you always be as happy as I wish you to be,” is whispered softly into her hair, and he steps away, back to her, the traditional Scottish blessing completed.

“Good luck, lass,” he murmurs, voice low, head down. “Goodnight.”

“I’m not in love.” She insists, looking up at him with a bit of wariness in her countenance. “Infatuated, enamoured, smitten, charmed even, but I can’t ever be in love.” When she stands, her fingertips of one hand are pressed against the wooden table, the other is occupied by grabbing the mug. “I’m cursed that way. Every time I think I might be in love with a man— or boy— he leaves or pretends I don’t exist. It ain’t just you, so don’t fret that none.” Giving a bittersweet smile to his back, she takes a few steps around the counter to rinse out her cup.

After placing the cup back where it belongs, erasing her intrusion of the kitchen, she turns back toward him. The long lines of his back and legs are studies before she huffs a small sigh and clicks her tongue to grab his attention. “Don’t be leaving that way, Beisdean, you asked for a chaste kiss and that’s what I intend to give you. Duncan said he’d forgive modest flames in hearts, so I hope he’d understand this. Can I ask you though, why do you wish a kiss from me and not from someone you’re friendlier with?”

He turns and smiles at her words, something sad in his eyes as he reaches for both her hands. “Because you were the only one who saw the good in me — to a fault, perhaps — so long ago, and because everything you do is a grand endeavor. If I’m to take luck from a kiss, who better to take it from? And you are going on your own adventure — perhaps we’ll give one another luck,” he says, a feigned merriment in this tone.

More somber, Beisdean adds, “And because it’ll be the last, and once upon a time, it was the first. A full circle has its own luck, I think, and its own merits. I’d like to leave at least one thing here better than I left it last time.”

He studies her face, and bends to kiss her, though leaves that last couple of inches for her to negotiate on her own.

She’s suspicious, that much is clear by the way Luna’s eyes narrow a bit as Beisdean gives his explanation. But, with a shrug it’s accepted as truth. The difference in their height makes it necessary for the blonde to rise up on her toes to reach him and she closes in until her breath can be felt against his lips, where she hovers. Instead of closing the last bit of distance between them, she weaves to the left and presses her lips against the middle of his cheek. It’s as chaste a kiss as she could possibly give him.

Her breath trembles slightly as she lowers back down to her heels and looks away, toward the window and then the door. Perhaps making sure that no one witnessed the exchange. “Good luck with your journey home, Beisdean,” she says, hushed in a near whisper. Clearing her throat, she squeezes one of his hands before tugging both of hers away. With a step or two of distance between them, she seems to gain a bit of confidence again. “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and— ” She pauses, her own blessing falling short of a full farewell. “— and may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”

Straightening, he lets her retreat, eyes following hers to the window with some amusement, then sobering again as Luna murmurs her own blessing. “It’d be a lovely change from seeing the back of his hand,” he says lightly, though it’s meant more as a joke than a lament.

“It’s hard, isn’t it?” Beisdean asks, gesturing vaguely between them. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t try to say goodbyes the first time I left. That and my mum wouldn’t have let me go, if she’d known my plans.”

A step back and glance up are taken. “I should get back to my preparations. You have a good night, and a grander life, I hope,” he finally says, before turning to leave the kitchen, and her.

“It’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” she admits, not unkindly but factual. “It would have been more difficult in the past, when I still held such a strong longing for you. Now— “ her fingers flitter through the air near her head, catching a strand of loose hair to twine between them. “— I can let you go and be happy for you, rather than beg to tag along.”

Luna falls silent, at least until Beisdean’s steps carry him to the door.

“I would tell you that I’d write, but you never told me where you came from.” A hint of disappointment, in his secrecy and the realization that she might only mean a token of luck to him. “If I ever manage to make it to the selkies, I will travel the coastlines searching for my poem. Only because you promised.”

Beisdean’s hand stops on the doorjamb and he turns to look at her once more. “The plan’s to make it back down to Clovelly, down in the south. But I may look for my mentor in the north a bit — over near what used to be Manchester, not that there’s much of that,” he says with a tired smile.

“I’ll write you an epic, should you find your kin in the sea, Luna. I promise you this,” he adds with a small bow. “Fare you well.”