A Man Possessed

Title: A Man Possessed
Time Period: January 5, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: It's been one of those weeks.

"You're welcome. Have a good day," calls Beisdean over his shoulder as he exits The Dovetail. The last of his deliveries for the day is completed just as the sun is sinking into the west, throwing a pink glow over the white snowy ground. He pauses on the porch of the brothel, staring out thoughtfully into the distance.

Iago stands tied to a post, waiting for Beisdean to mount so that they can return to the inn and the warmth of the stable. It's a long moment before the stillness is broken and Beisdean reaches into his pocket for a flask, taking a swallow of the whiskey within to warm him perhaps for his journey back to the inn.

Mariah hasn't been seen around the place much today, which could mean a number of things, given the nature of the house, but as it turns out, she's just been out on a walk. As Beisdean pauses on the porch, she comes walking around from the side of the building. Oddly enough, a fairly sizable badger runs along with her steps, but only until they're in full view of the front. It dashes off, and she's left to finish the last steps home on her own.

Another oddity is that she looks sort of upset, and she's dressed rather normally, lacking her tendency to have something revealing or suggestive on. However, when she sees the man standing there, she brings up a smile. "I hope you're planning on sharing that," she greets, dryly.

Lips quirk in a smile around the aperture of the flask. Beisdean holds out the container to her while wiping the corner of his mouth with the back of his thumb. "Certainly. It'll mean I'm not drinking alone, and then I've less to pity myself for," he says amiably as his blue eyes sweep her form. His smile slips, a look of concern replacing it instead.

"You quite all right, Mariah? If it's not too impolite to ask," he says softly.

"Wonderful. Glad to be of service, then," Mariah says as she takes the flask and a drink for herself. Her face scrunches up, but her smile is back by the time she passes it back over to him. "Has a bit of a bite to it, doesn't it?"

When he asks about her, though, she waves it off, "Perfectly alright. Just a long walk, is all, and I—" She cuts herself off there, and looks over at him for a moment. "Actually, could I trouble you for some advice?"

Her question surprises him, and there's the slightest touch of distrust in his eyes, a residual symptom of his outcast childhood. "I'll do my best," Beisdean says lightly, smile back in place as he recaps the flask.

He resumes his lean against the post; the winter's chill is not so bad yet, but the temperature will fall soon with the sun sinking out of view. "Warning that most of my advice comes from books, but I find my favorite mentors were wise," he adds lightly, gesturing for her to speak.

"So long as the advice worked out in the books you're pulling it from," Mariah says with a light chuckle. But when it gets down to actually talking about it, she seems to have to think it over. Her fingers drum against the opposite post, and she looks over at the door, as if it might hold a script for her to read from.

Alas, it does not.

"I think I owe someone an apology. Someone sort of…" She hunts for a word for a moment, and her hand lifts in a nervous gesture as she completes her thought, "…important. But as you might imagine, I don't tend to do apologies. I was thinking of a gift. You wouldn't happen to have any ideas?"

The young man raises his brows and reaches up to push away a long lock of hair that's fallen into his eyes. "It depends, I think, on what you done wrong and who the person is. If it's a Rowntree or a Ross or either of the Owens," (either implying Maddock or Isibeal but not Luna, apparently!) "I think an apology might do you better than a bouquet of posies or tin of sweetmeats, aye? Though those might not hurt." He smiles, and reaches into the bag at his side to pull out his gloves. "If it's a … guest," he nods to the Dovetail to accentuate his meaning, "you might-"

His words trail off. Turning to his side, he lifts a hand in front of his mouth, as if to block a cough.

"I cannot help you," Beisdean hisses, the words barely audible. "Please let me be… I do not understand."

Blue-gray eyes dart back to Mariah in apology, as a red flush paints his cheeks.

"No no, it's none of the families." Mariah glances to the Dovetail at his nod, but it gets a strange look before she turns back to him. "It's a bit complicated." Which may be why she needs the extra help.

When he trails off, her brow furrows a bit, but she doesn't get concerned until that apologetic look. She shakes her head, since it's hardly necessary, but she does step forward a little. "Are you alright?" She may be aware of his power, but it's been quite a few years since she thought about it.

Beisdean seems to be concentrating on something, lips pressed thin and eyes narrowing; he takes a step closer to Mariah and away from whatever it is — whoever it is — he speaks to at his side.

"I'm sorry," he murmurs, then breaks their pretense of not knowing one another. "They don't interrupt as often as they used to when we were young. I've learned to block them but sometimes they're too st-"

The apologetic and pained look falls from Beisdean's face, and instead his features draw together into something fierce, something dark and raging. His hand shoots out to grab her at the elbow, dropping the gloves he'd just pulled out and pulling her closer to him.

"Hver ert þú? Hvar eru þeir? Hvers vegna mun hann ekki hjálpa mér?"

While Beisdean's voice in timbre and pitch, the words are nearly spat, harsh and discordant.

"You don't have to say sorry," Mariah says gently, which is a far cry from how she'd tease and point when they were kids. "How can I help?" But of course, before there can be an answer, things take a bit of a turn.

Mariah yelps a bit when her arm is taken and she stumbles into him when she's pulled over. It isn't that she's not used to being pulled around, but rather, she wasn't expecting it from this particular source. And while she does look frightened when she looks up at him, she meets his eyes all the same. "Let go of me," she says, her voice low, as she yanks back against his hold. "And get out of here while you're at it." Whatever he's saying to her, she doesn't seem to understand anything but the fact that he's angry.

Beisdean — or rather whatever has him in its grips — doesn't let go, but instead brings both hands up to Mariah's shoulders to shake her. The flush in his cheeks fades, and he seems colder now despite the escalating anger.

"Tík! Ég mun drepa þig — ég mun drepa ykkur ef þú koma þeim ekki aftur. Fá þá! Fá þá fyrir mig!" A fierce shake of her shoulders punctuates each individual word spoken in the guttural tongue; Beisdean's combed-back hair falls into his face with the force of the assault on Mariah.

"Beisdean—" Any appealing to the man within will have to wait, as she trades it for a whimper when he starts to shake her. But, she doesn't sit idly by for long, but instead, tries to wrench out of his hold on her and get some distance between them. She doesn't go far, but, stumbles a few steps back before she regains her footing.

"I don't know what you're saying," she explains, although with little hope that he'll understand her, whoever this is. But she lifts her hands placatingly as she goes on, make her voice gently, lulling, even, "If you could just let him go, I'm sure we can work this out." It's not forceful enough to put him to sleep, not yet, anyway, but something like a stupor. "It'll be alright, just… get out of him."

His grip is so tight that when she wrenches free, fabric tears, and he turns to beat at the post he had been leaning about so casually not minutes before.

"Hjálpaðu mér að finna þá, ó, guð, vinsamlegast! Hann mun ekki hjálpa, hann eigingjarn. Eigingirni!" he growls out, more mournfully and despairingly than angry now. The post gets another punch, and the tall man turns to glare down at Mariah. "Norn," he hisses, and the fury returns to Beisdean's face as he takes a menacing step toward her, hand raising as if to strike her.

A dark shadow seems to plummet from the sky, black glossy wings becoming dark glossy fur, and Beisdean gasps and lurches backward when the pine marten lands on his back, nipping at him.

You will thank me later, the marten's voice intones in Beisdean's mind, somewhere conscious of this all.

Later becomes now, however, and suddenly Beisdean falls to his knees as if shoved from behind. His trembling hands come up to cover his face. "Oh, my God, I'm so sorry, Mariah…" he breathes out, before sucking in another shaky breath.

Torn fabric will be fretted over later, Mariah's a little distracted on the whole. She watches quietly, staying still, like she doesn't want to remind him she's standing there.

But when he turns her way again, she takes a step back, trying to stay out of his arm's reach. But she can't stop the rather relieved feeling that sweeps over her as Darklight comes to the rescue. And with Beisdean dropping to his knees, she lets out a heavy sigh, her hand coming to press against her chest. It's just a few moments, a little recovery time, before she looks back to him again.

She doesn't answer right away, but her shoes fall against the porch in soft, even steps as she comes over to his side, crouching down to put a hand on his arm. "Come on. You need some water and a proper place to recover." She even goes so far as to tug him back up to his feet and support him once he's gotten there. It's likely this is just a very bad place for a public scene, but there is actual concern there, too.

"I've never — I've never struck at anyone before while under," Beisdean whispers, stiffening a little when she goes to gather him up. He's pale and shaking, but tries to stand on his own before he stumbles forward a step and gives in to her assistance.

Darklight curls around his shoulders, tail curled around the man's neck in a protective way. Beisdean pats him with his free hand, the other holding on to Mariah a little gingerly as she supports his weight. "I can go. You shouldn't have to do this. I don't expect you to help me after that," he whispers, a little color coming into his cheeks.

"Don't worry yourself," Mariah says, giving him a crooked smile. It's a little shaky, given that her heart's pounding away, but she's pretty good at faking it. "My dad always said my mouth'd get me smacked one of these days." She teases a little before she pats his arm, "You didn't actually hit me, though, so no harm, no foul." Just pay no attention to her clothes.

She turns the three of them around to head back for the door. She might just be ignoring his protests. "You say that like you did any of that on purpose. Which, if that's the case, I'll drop you right here," she notes as she pushes the door open.

He smiles weakly, not finding her words too amusing — time ran out and Darklight was close, but it could have been worse.

Beisdean ducks his head to avoid any gazes of any girls inside, as he lets her maneuver him indoors. "Not on purpose. Never on purpose. Though it be madness, there be no method to it," he murmurs and misquotes more to himself than to her, his eyes half-closed with fatigue. His feet fail now and then and he trips, her support keeping him upright. Anyone inside will likely assume he's merely drunk.

Mariah does look around at the others around, taking a mental note for where the eventual and no doubt highly interesting gossip will be coming from. "There, see? All is well, then."

She quiets as they go through the halls to her room, mostly to focus on not dropping him along the way. But once she gets him into her room, she sits him down on the edge of the bed. She doesn't pour him water, but wine is as close as she's got on hand, and a glass is set down on the bedside table.

"Make yourself comfortable," she says with a quick gesture as she turns to peel off her torn jacket. It gets a bit of a frown, but she tosses it over the back of a chair with a shrug. Not much to be done about it just now, in any case.

The room is surveyed for changes from his childhood and its prior tenant. "Just… need to close my eyes," he whispers, taking the wine glass to swallow it down. "Just a few minutes. I promise."

It won't be the first lie he's told in the past couple of weeks.

The glass is emptied with another swallow and Beisdean leans back; Darklight drops from his shoulders to land on the mattress and then back down to the floor, finding a corner to curl up in.

"If it happens again," Beisdean says, his eyes closed, "run. Just in case."

"Uh huh," Mariah says to the promise, sounding very much amused and very much like she doesn't believe him. At his warning, though, she turns to look back his way. "I'll have wings for feet, promise," she says before she turns to pull a book from her very small collection of them. There's even a piece of ribbon marking her place in it. There's a glance and a little smile his way before she takes her book and herself over to the couch under her window to sit and read in the swiftly fading sunlight.

Some hours later, the room grows gray with the chilly dawn light. To call Beisdean's slumber "sleep" would be an understatement; he was closer to unconscious. He has moved very little since falling onto the bed, and his breathing throughout the night was shallow but even, keeping an easy rhythm for the nearly-twelve hours he's been here.

His eyes finally open, and instantly his brows furrow with confusion. Where is he? Why is he here? He pushes himself up to peer around the dim light of the room.

Morning, sunshine, comes the voice of Darklight, amusement but worry in the familiar's mental voice. Are you feeling better?

While he slept, Mariah took care of things like his horse and covered him with a blanket at some point. But when he wakes up, Mariah's there, for sure. She's just curled up on her couch, still in the clothes she was wearing the night before, her book laying open against her where it fell when she eventually passed out. She even still has her shoes on.

But it seems him waking up isn't enough to get her to do likewise, even though she does look rather uncomfortable there in the corner.

"Fair puggled," Beisdean says, despite the half-a-day's rest he just had on Mariah's bed. A hand comes up to rub his temples, brows knitting as the gesture hurts more than helps.

He swings his feet around the bed to stand, picking up the blanket she had tucked around him to do the same to her. The book is gently closed, marker placed within after he reads a few lines of whatever page she left off on, and then he lays the blanket over her. "Thank you," he whispers as he does so, trying not to wake her.

It all goes off without a hitch, right up until he speaks up that close to her. She wakes with a bit of a start, like she's not quite sure where she is, either, but it follows with a groan as she tries to move her head. Sore neck, no doubt.

But she cracks an eye open to look up at him, her smile tired, but it makes an appearance. "This couch is great for fooling around, less so for sleeping on," she comments wryly. Her voice is a bit gravely there, so she clears her throat before trying again, "Slept well?"

"It is the lark, the herald of the morn," Beisdean says with a smile, reaching up to tug a lock of her long hair lightly and with affection. "I slept like the proverbial log or baby or something that sleeps well. I wouldn't know, I never do." Except after he's been possessed, apparently. The humor is feigned, but with good intent.

He moves to pick up the bag where he'd dropped it the night before. "Thank you for the bed… I didn't intend to stay all night… if I kept you from a night's pay, I'll make it up to you somehow." He frowns at that. He doesn't know how much she charges, after all.

"Oh, ha ha," Mariah says with a chuckle, "It's far too early for puns." The tug gets a smile out of her, though, and she shifts to sit up, taking a moment to stretch before she pulls herself up onto her feet. No pretense or flirty greetings here, despite her vocation and their location, she doesn't even seem to worried about looking like she just rolled out of bed.

"You're welcome. Let's just say you owe me one someday," she says, although it's hard to say if she really means it our not. "Iago's in the stables, by the way." Seeing as he's picked up his bag, and the rumors are probably bad enough already, she nods toward the door. "Shall we slip you out the back?"

Hushed voices from Mariah's room are generally nothing that normally gives Luna a cause for pausing. Except that one of them is distinctly familiar. She leans toward the door, nearly pressing her ear against it, her brow furrowing slightly with worry. While it's no surprise that the other woman has a man in her bedroom, it certainly is a surprise to the blonde that Beisdean Skye is the man.

Shall we slip you out back

The words have Luna retreating a few steps backward, her bare feet already freezing on the wood. The mug in her grasp shakes, requiring two hands to steady it. Still it tremors just a little. Holding her breath, she stands a few paces directly opposite the door, waiting for the two to sneak out.

Darklight chitters and heads to the door waiting for it to open, and Beisdean complies; he does not see Luna at first, smiling over his shoulder as he is at the moment. "I'll be sure to repay all my debts before I leave, Mariah," he says, throwing his scarf back over his shoulder to follow his feet out the door.

Bringing him face to face with Luna.

"So much for the back," he says under his breath, cheeks coloring despite the innocent night spent asleep. "And it is the moon," he murmurs, a flourished bow bending him at the waist, but when he rises it is with a wince at the pain in his head.

"Oh nevermind, I'm happy to do a favor for a fri — " She catches sight of Luna first, and while she doesn't have the coloring cheeks, she does take a moment to run a hand over mussed hair. "Luna. You're up early."

Like it were any other day.

She looks over to Beisdean at his bow, and the wince that follows, and she settles for leaning against her door frame. Someone reminiscent of before, but she's well aware that she's more likely to be getting punched this time around.

"Mister Skye," Luna's grip on the mug tightens a little. Her knuckles go white on the handle while the steadying hand's fingers turn red at the tips. Her eyes dart to the floor rather than look at either of them. "For a man that doesn't pay for the sort of favor we provide here, you certainly chose well." It could be an insult, it probably is.

It's an eerie sort of calm that the blonde seems to be keeping together. A slow, deliberate sip from the steaming mug in her hands yeilds a wince as Luna bravely battles through the searing pain running down her throat. "Good morning then," she squeaks as she mechanically turns toward the door to the attic and begins the slow walk.

His eyes narrow and he glances back to Mariah, as if to determine how much he should protest Luna's obvious assumptions. His red-rimmed eyes turn back to watch Luna ascend the stairs to the room that was once his home.

"I didn't pay," Beisdean says coolly. There's more to say — there is more to explain — but he does not.

"Thank you again." Long legs take him toward the exit; he doesn't really need anyone to show him the way, after all.

"Oh, thanks for that," Mariah says in dry humor, not taking the insult too personally, at least not outwardly anyway, "Don't be daft, Luna." Of course, Beisdean chimes in and says a thing that can really only make the moment a bit worse, all things considered, but with how her luck is going lately, she can only chuckle silently as she drags a hand over her face. But when it drops, she smiles over at him, and she nods to his thanks. "Anytime. Get yourself home safe."

But once he starts off, she strides over to follow after Luna. "He only needed a place to sleep," she explains, if a little tersely, "I stayed on the couch. If you need proof, you can smell the sheets or something." Or a lot tersely.

She turns around herself then, to head back toward her room. She manages to keep her footfalls quiet, but she only keeps from slamming the door behind her by leaving it open.

"Yes, because you're so well known for letting men sleep in your room… for free." Luna's yells echoes through the house and causes a few more doors to open. Heads to peek out to see what she's is on about this time. Each of them receives a glare from the blonde, the closest one a threat of her hot drink in the face. But it's too precious. "Oh go back to whatever it was you were doing!! It was none of you that said you wouldn't hurt me. None of you are supposed to be the dearest friend I have."

When she swings the door to the attic open, it hits the wall loudly. Tugging a little on the opposite side, she finds that the knob is stuck fast in the wall. "Oh bollocks!!"

The man looks up at the shouts and slams and threats, wincing again, and glancing at Mariah a little sheepishly. "I'm sorry," he says again. For so many things.

But not enough to go upstairs.

"Good luck," is offered, and Darklight and he are headed down the hall to the back door.

She was only a few steps in, but those words bring her right back out again to stare after Luna. Beisdean's apology gets her attention and does ease her expression, but she doesn't bother with a smile this time. "You've nothing to say sorry for. Honest." She means that.

But after he heads off, she pushes her sleeves up her arms and calls after the blonde. "You have no idea what a fool you're making of yourself right now, Luna," she says, her tone far more calm than her friend's shouting, but then, Mariah's anger tends to run cold. "I may not let men stay for nothing, but I will always have an open door for a friend who needs a decent night's sleep. I'm not going to send him off because it offends you to find him here. If you don't trust me enough to believe me when I say nothing happened, then I guess that lays out how dear we are, doesn't it?"

"Oh, friend is he now?" Torn between dropping her mug and yanking at her door with both hands or keeping it, Luna chooses to keep it and take another sip. It's oddly calming. "Since when has Beisdean Skye ever been your friend? Since he came back looking better than anyone either of us has seen in— I don't know— Make up a long time and put it in at the end there!" An exasperated squeal is let out at the blonde kicks her door, only further sticking the knob into the wall.

Collapsing down to a sit on the stairs in dramatic fashion, she holds the mug between her knees, watching the space that Beisdean last occupied. "I'm sorry. It don't matter anyway, he'd never have me and I'd never be able to keep him, aye?"

"No, Luna," Mariah says, her tone short and sharp, "Since I grew up." That, too, may be an insult. Maybe. Possibly. When Luna kicks the door, Mariah throws up her hands with a groan, pacing a bit there in the hall. It takes a few rounds of her prowling the hall like a caged tiger before she calms down enough to look over at the stairs.

She lets out a long shy before coming over and dropping down next to her. "It may speak to his sanity that he's not going for either of us, ey?" She smiles a bit and reaches over to take Luna's hand. "I need you to know, I would never do that to you, alright? He really is just a friend. And it'll stay that way, whatever happens. Even if he is better looking than anyone either of us has seen in a long time," she says, her tone teasing. "But, I must say, handsome he may be… he's not the only one around. I'll have all the others instead, fair?"

Taking another drink from her mug, Luna peeks over the rim to give Mariah a squinty eyed smile. After another gulp. "We'll both leave him to Florentine then, she'll be happy enough. All she can pull is the really ugly ones anyway." She's not shy about insulting the other prostitute, even with the yell of protest through the wall.


Mariah pauses at the yell, looks over that way, but turns back to Luna with a quiet laugh. "You're awful," she says, but with affection. She takes her friend's face in her hands, and smiles over at her. "See there, no man can slip between us. Unless he's paying top dollar," she says with a grin before she moves to stand up.

"I need a drink. So do you."