A Polite Conversation

Title: A Polite Conversation
Time Period: August 2, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Todd and Lazar have a lovely, polite conversation that ends with a kidnapping. For profit.

The Blackburn House

The area of Dornie where Todd Blackburn's ramshackle dwelling is to be found is quiet in the early morning hours, sun only just having peeked over the surrounding hills to shed warm, dim light on the cool earth. The tiny house is adjoined by a tiny three-stall stable-shack that actually looks better-constructed than the human house, and it's at the front of the row of stalls that the hunter can currently be found. His hair is plastered to his head and his beard is a bit more scraggly than normal, and the man's hands are slightly unsteady as he pours a small wave of feed into the feeding bins for each of his three mules in turn. The smell of stale beer can be detected in a five foot radius of the man, leaving very little to the imagination as far as what he's done with himself the previous night. Hrgh.

"Tell me," A Hungarian accented voice comes from some distance behind the hunter, deadpan with just a dash of disbelief, "Tell me you are not the man people have told me to find."

The local gravedigger manages to move quieter than his stature would suggest, and now that he has come to a stop on unfamiliar territory, he eyes Todd with a painful sort of grimace forming on his face. Though he's wearing a heavy coat, somewhat bloodied bandages on his neck and around both arms and right hand are still clearly visible. The look on his face shows the hunter is familiar to him, but not familiar enough for Lazar to take a stab at trying to remember his name. "Are you the hunter. I need something killed." He pauses, then, glancing down at a book held precariously under his left arm. "Or someone." He's not entirely sure.

Todd takes his sweet time turning around. He finishes up with the feeding of the last hungry mule, drops the feed sack to the ground and ties it off, then hefts it up and over one shoulder before he finally even bothers to acknowledge the gravedigger's presence, turning around with what might be swagger or what might be the last legs of the ale in his gut, his forearms lazily hooked over the top of the sack behind his neck. He looks up, he looks down. Briefly, he looks at the book. "Sorry to tell you, buddy, but I'm 'the hunter.' I'd guess I'm the one you're looking for, too. If you've got a problem with that, you can ask someone else to do your killing."

And from the looks of it, Lazar is very, very close to doing just that. He stands perfectly still, watching the hunter as he speaks. He wrinkles his nose at the smell of the animals, the man, or the fact that none of them seem all that bothered by either.

"Are you always drunk… buddy?" It hurts him a little to say the word even in jest. "Because I do not need more work digging, if you shoot a gun in your own face." While he waits for an answer, he somewhat gingerly lifts the book in his arm, and begins to try and find a very specific page with one of his fingers which aren't bandaged up. Something that seems to come entirely unnatural to him, and it shows in the way the man handles the book, as if instead wielding a priceless crystal ball filled with deadly, deadly acid.

"Always? No. But often." The hunter starts ambling towards the shed to dispose of the weight on his shoulders, kicking open the door to the little building and disappearing inside it to replace the bag on one of the many hooks that hang from the short rafters. While he finishes the chore he talks, leaning back far enough to peer at Lazar through the open doorway. "Never shot a gun in my face before, though, and don't plan on it any time soon." Todd nods down at the book with a rather peculiar twist to his lip, one eyebrow arching. "You gonna preach at me or something?"

The hunter steps out of the shed and points blandly towards the street. "Because if you are, you can just get right back off where you came from." A beat passes as he wipes his cheek on the edge of his sleeve, a mild grin finally coming to his face. "What ate at yah?" He apparently finds the other man's injuries very amusing.

No preaching. That question isn't even answered, if one doesn't count the breathy chuckle that it garners. In fact, that second question is left unanswered for a while, as well. Is he just here to look at pretty pictures? He should have stuck a bookmark of some sort in there.

"Ah." He exclaims under his breath, finally, holding the book up to eye-level so that Todd might see two pages in particular. Most of it is text, but on the very left side there is a badly drawn illustration of what appears to be half man, half wolf, looming over the silhouette of a downed horse of sorts.

"This." Despite having been mauled a little, he seems pleased enough to have found its likeness, a weak smile on his lips, "I want it dead."

Todd shuts the door of the shed behind him and flips the little padlock back into place with an almost thoughtful expression, doing so without looking behind him - seeing as though he is suddenly entranced by the illustration in front of him. "Oh yeah? That's quite a tale." He steps a few paces closer to Lazar and tries to be subtle about inspecting the man's bandages a bit more closely. "Can't say I hear about many werewolf attacks. I think I can kill your monster for you, for a price… how 'bout you come in for some beer, and we'll talk it over." It's not really a request, since a moment later Todd's got one hand practically glued to the gravedigger's shoulder, steering him towards the house.

If Lazar notices being inspected at all, he does not show it. The book he brought with him is carefully tucked under one arm again when he's steered toward the house, which promptly washes away the smile he had before. It's a good thing Lazar's heard good things about Todd, or at least vaguely impressive ones. He is not as easily led along as one of Todd's more obedient dogs, moving at his own pace, but he does oblige and meanders in roughly the right direction.

"Is hunting and killing this beast not good enough?" He asks, flat tone of voice. Although… "You keep the-" he falls silent, looking for the word, "-hide, I keep the head."

An indulgent chuckle is the response, one that an adult would give a child asking a particularly obvious question. "No, hunting and killing it isn't enough, though I'll keep the hide. Where did you see the creature? Tell me everything." The door to the house is pushed inwards by Todd's free hand, letting Lazar get a good look at the two-room shack in all its run-down glory.

Three large hounds are splayed out together on the floor in font of the remnants of a dying fire. The fouth dog is in residence on a dog-bed of two bear pelts. The only things of note in this section of the house are the cooking pot that hangs outside the fireplace and the large locked trunk in which, presumably, the hunter stores most of his weaponry - except for that rifle that's propped up on one of two chairs in front of a teetering table. "Have a seat."

"I am not staying long." These words leave Lazar's mouth all too quickly, particularly after he's laid eyes on the hounds. Not fearful, not by a long stretch, but somewhat apprehensively. The rifle, on the other hand, gets less of a distrustful look and more of an interested one, though it's not too long before he looks back to Todd. Must be polite when addressing people and try to look them in the eyes, after all. "It was at my cemetery. Digging up a corpse. It took an arm, I tried to take this arm back." He explains, curtly and tediously, as he feels he's done a dozen times already just these last two days. "We had fight in the mud, I shoot, gun explodes in my hand," He holds up his right arm, then drops it down again with the slightest of winces as the fabric of both the bandages and his coat slide over the slowly healing burned skin, "and then it runs."

The dogs do not seem to be particularly bothered by Lazar's arrival, the majority of them staying where they lie save for one that lifts its head away from the warm floor by the fireplace to get a better look, tail thumping slowly. "Have a seat." Todd's the type to repeat himself until he's obeyed, and the hand that guides the Hungarian forward isn't letting up, keeping him headed in a direct path for the non-armed chair. Along the way he picks up the rifle to make room for him to sit down himself, which he does, and then sets the weapon casually on his lap while watching Lazar expectantly. "Doesn't matter if you're not staying long. It's polite." And that's that.

Todd lifts the now-cool cup of tea he left out for himself and holds it out towards the gravedigger in a very polite gesture. "Tracks still there in the cemetery, or did you clean it up?"

Though he does sit eventually, Lazar's expression easily shows he's not pleased whatsoever. He grunts, then does his best to sit comfortably slouched in his seat while crossing his arms over his chest, which unfortunately just ends up being halted halfway due to his injuries. His arms then rest in his lap instead, one elbow on the book.

The tea is declined, or just plain ignored. He takes a few seconds to look around, then impatiently breathes out an answer. "Tracks are there. Grave is cleaned up, but it did run more. And drooled like maniacs. This will help."

At least Todd seems pleased by the other man finally joining him at the table. The tea, having been so rudely refused, is brought back towards Todd for a quick couple of gulps to drain the chipped cup. The cup is set down again and the hunter sets his free hand down with the other on the rifle, smiling a little blandly as he considers the information he's being given. "It'll probably help, yes. Did it fight like a man or like a beast? Any strategy?"

"Both." The gravedigger answers, leaning back in his chair as half a sneer comes and leaves. "It listened. I saw it did." And he's annoyed by this, it seems, idly scratching his forehead with his bandaged arm over his face, as if subconsciously wanting to hide the fact that he is. "And it strangled like a man when I had my hand around its neck, but first, it bit."

It bit. That is all that Todd needs to kick himself into Genre Savvy overdrive. He sits up a little straighter and leans forward just the slightest bit, lifting his brows and schooling his face into one of keen interest. "Listened, you say?" Under the table the rifle is slid sideways over the hunter's lap, the barrel carefully changing angle until its mouth is pointed right at the gravedigger's vitals. "And bit. How unfortunate for you." Todd Blackburn, you see, is a man acquainted with old tales. Old tales that imply that poor Lazar here is going to be a tad hairier come the next full moon.

And Lazar Demeter Vodenicharov is not a fool. Or at least he does not consider himself such, despite what part of Dornie might think of him. Regardless, he's smart enough to know that he's not only on someone else's territory, he's also woefully outnumbered. The shotgun that never used to leave his side is absent now, and even after its betrayal ruining half of his arm he still feels strangely naked without it. Something is wrong, and a glance to the table and what he can see of Todd's posture seem to confirm it.

"… I am going." His own arm moves, hand firmly grabbing the heavy book by its spine.

The jig is up, it would seem, but it doesn't look like Todd cares. "Think before you get up. There are four hounds in here with us and I've got a rifle pointed at your balls - if you think your little exploding gun hurt your arm, you've got an idea of what it'll do to your manhood." Todd smiles, and hell, it even looks like there's a bit of a psychotic twinkle of elation in his eyes. "I'd just like for us to take a friendly trip up into the mountains until the next full moon. Make sure you don't bite anyone." And possibly get a two-for-one deal on the werewolf pelts, with heads tossed in extra. "I'm sure you wouldn't mind. It's for the safety of the townsfolk."

While he may have just been increasingly tense before, that little speech breaks Lazar's temper like a spoiled egg. Whether or not it would be considered wise, he rises up from his chair with a start, grabbing the rifle's barrel with his half-broken hand to point it upward at his own gut instead while staring Todd squarely in the face. The book drops to the floor with a heavy thud and flutter of illustrated pages.

"Threaten men with quick deaths, not painful." The gravedigger's voice is cold, grip steady. "It is polite."

And so it comes on this early morning that it turns out to be Lazar's very, very lucky day - because Todd is not a man with an itchy trigger finger, and when the rifle is grabbed and hauled up he keeps his index finger safely outside the trigger guard.

The dogs, startled to the last one by the sudden movement, all find their feet and a couple start barking insistently at Lazar, hackles bristling and teeth snapping though they don't attack. Hell, the hunter just grins all the wider, giving the other man a flash of teeth of his own and even a condescending chuckle not unlike the one from before. "Who says I'll be killing you? I'm sure you'll be happy to join me. Won't you? If not, I can always just arrest you. I guess." The book is totally ignored; the hunter would never bother himself with such a thing.

"Arrest me for what?!" Lazar glares incredulously at Todd and scoffs, letting go of the barrel to push his shoulders back. His attention moves from the hunter to the hounds themselves, and though it's obvious from his posture and very muscles twitching for some action that he wants to just end the conversation here, after making sure Todd has at least as many injuries as he does… but he stands still. Probably the first smart thing he's done since coming in here. Or, considering what happened when he did come, the first smart thing since eating some of Andrew's breakfast this morning.

"Looking at me funnily, breaking into my home, assault… I'd think of something." Todd takes a step back and pulls the rifle out into the open, never letting the barrel waver from the gravedigger's personage. The dogs know what's going on, now, at least as far as they are concerned - the hunter has an animal at bay, and they're meant to help keep him there. They start to circle, still growling, offering their master the backup they've been trained to give. "Regardless, we should probably be on our way before people start waking up. Now if you'll just join me and the dogs out in the stable…"