A Start

Title: A Start
Time Period: May 13, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Luna enlists the help of an expert in the field of exploration, Eduard Hossfeld.

While other Doves might have visited the soldier's barracks before, perhaps even stayed for a bit of fun and adventure, it is unusual to see Luna Owens out this way. Dressed in her usual finery, she cuts quite a contrast compared to some of the dwellers of the buildings.

Some of the female soldiers actually slip out the back when the prostitute marches in through the front door. It doesn't take her long to locate Eduard Hossfeld's bunk, everyone seems to label their things. It makes it quite conventient. Ugly, but conventient. If he had tucked his blanket and sheets according to any sort of regulation, it's ruined the moment the blonde's bottom touches down. Her legs are crossed at the ankle to be a bit more ladylike and tucked under, only to hit something hard.

She really shouldn't, but she can't help herself. Curiosity hs become her new drug and as a result, she's down on her knees in an instant, peeking under Hossfeld's bed.

The space underneath Hossfeld's bunk isn't adorned with or occupied by much more than was the top of it before Luna took a seat just moments ago. The only thing underneath that is of note is a small trunk he has in addition to the footlocker that's out in plain sight at the, well, foot of the bed. Its appearance is simple and unobtrusive, much as its owner's. It also doesn't have any visible latch or lock aside from a simple clasp that keeps it from opening at inopportune moments. How curious.

Pulling an earring from her lobe, she tosses it under the bed and then dives after it. Accessories are always the best excuse. As her fingers feel along the bottom edge of the trunk, she seems to startle and hand flips up to the clasp. "Oh dear," she murmurs, pulling herself a little further under the bed to examine what it is she's found. Not her earring. By now, she's lying on the floor and her upper half is cut off from view by the bed.

A shoe falls as she kicks one leg up in her excitement. Her toe, pointed to the ceiling, is covered in a white lace stocking that leaves barely any skin showing.

What wonders does the trunk contain? Gold? Jewels? Pornography?

None of the above. All it contains are some mementos from a world long gone. A magazine that's falling apart, the only text on the cover still legible (and only barely so) being the word "TIME," a tarnished pocket watch, the glass over the face cracked, and a brass harmonica are the most noteworthy. The rest would be rightly considered trash, having no perceivable value or use. But hey, to each his own.

Speaking of that, someone other than Luna is seeming to express their own interest in the area around Hossfeld's bunk, and makes this know by clearing their own throat.

It's not very ladylike to curse, but that's what Luna does when her head meets the underside of the bunk with a violent crash. Her whole body seems to go slack for a moment, that could be frightening if the commander of the militia was around. Any phantom fears are aleviated though, as soon as Luna groans in pain.

Slowly, she pulls herself from under the bunk, the earring magically found and in her palm. The prostitute glances up as she refastens the bit of jewelry to her ear and then pushes herself up off the ground. "Hello, I'm looking for Mister Hossfeld," she hasn't even glanced up at the man that scared her nearly to death, but it's unlikely she'd recognize the man she was looking for anyway. They've never traveled in the same circles.

"Oh, okay, I think he's around here, I'll find him for you." Maybe the accented voice will clue Luna in, but even if it doesn't, what may well clue her in is that fact that the gentleman who found doesn't move from the spot he's standing, but simply remains silent for a moment before saying, "Hallo, ich bin Herr Hossfeld. Mir wurde gesagt du suchten mich. I heard that you were looking for me." Apparently, Luna's already found exactly who she was looking for. Was she expecting someone so, plain? Dressed in boots, trousers, undershirt and suspenders with a mug in his hand, he may as well have been another gent from anywhere in Dornie taking the day off.

Luna stands there for a few blinks, uncertain which part is the joke and which part is serious. Her lips part and then close again, a few times — which makes her look something like a fish — before she takes a long breath in and tries again.

"Mister Hossfeld," her hand juts out and shifts from one side to the other, as though she's unsure of which hand he'll be using to shake hers, if he does at all. "My name is Luna Owens, I am desparate."

Hossfeld does shake. With the right, like most other people. "Well, you've come to the right place," he says, "So I imagine. I'm sorry, but there's very familiar about you. I've seen you around before, I think." And he looks like he really can't quite place her. "Well, that's okay, I'll see all the time soon enough. I think there are some open spaces, still. Have you used a firearm before?"

Left or right, Luna might have been prepared for both with the way her hand was wagging back and forth. Once Eduard has let go of it, she folds it on top of her other one and holds them both in front of her, trying to contain some sort of excitement. "I was a Dove until quite recently," she explains, it might be how he knows her. "Then I found something and now I'm in a fit for exploring… and I need you." Both of her index fingers are pointed at him, like a gun, that she looks down at and then back up at him. "Uhm.. used a gun? No, do you think I need to?"

For a moment, again, Eduard Hossfeld is quiet. And then, he raises up his hand to indicate, 'just a moment,' before he sits down on the edge of his bunk. "Let's try this again," he says, "Start from the beginning, proceed until you reach the end, and then stop. I don't think you and I are talking about the same thing."

Although he didn't exactly invite her to join him, Luna does anyway. Sitting near enough but not so near that it could be considered indecent or suggestive, she reaches out and takes one of her hands with both of her own. It's a method to keep his attention riveted on her instead of wandering around the room. "Mister Hossfeld, I'm not certain if you've heard or not, but I've found a map."

She stops there for a moment and lets her big news seep in before going on. "I've heard around the gossip circles and from some of the girls at the Dovetail, that you used to do such things, aye? Go exploring and all that? If that's the case, I'd like your help with the planning and preparation… and since I'm not used to the things one might face in a city so large, perhaps accompany me to Liverpool when the time comes?"

Oh, a map? Even if Luna hadn't been capturing his attention, she probably had it in undivided form from the word, 'map.' And as she speaks, he adds a quick, "Mmhm," after she says something he feels is especially important. And, true to form, the end leaves him silent for a moment. "Liverpool?" he asks, carefully repeating exactly what he heard. "You're sure? Liverpool?"

Of this she's quite certain. Letting go of Eduard's hand, Luna twists at the waist to hide herself from him for a moment. When she turns back, she has a yellowed plastic bag in her hand. It's flat, warm from being pressed against her skin, and there's a paper inside of it. This is pressed into the soldier's possession. "Aye, I'm sure it's Liverpool. It's a map to what they call their Mersey rail system. Underground tubes that trains go through."

Plastic is not wholly unfamiliar to Hossfeld. He's actually been in a position to see quite a bit of the stuff, and for the most part, it never goes anywhere, not like wood or even metal. Carefully, he unwraps the map from its petroleum-derived protector, unfolds it, and studies it. Briefly. "Underground is always more dangerous," he says, "But rails always, always have something worth finding." Another pause, before he stops paying attention to the map and turns his full focus on Luna. "Where did you get this?"

"From a man," its the simplest answer. She doesn't explain further, figuring the fact that she's a whore might fill in the blank for him. Changing the subject but not entirely, she points at one of the lines, following its trail up and around to a bridge. "I've done my calculations, it would be much faster to go by boat than by horse. I think much less dangerous as well." Then she looks up at him before following the light blue river off the map.

"It's more than seven hundred miles, a sea voyage would definitely cut that time." Reaching into a hidden recess in the gown of her dress, she pulls out a small notebook. This is also held out to him, opened to the most recent entry. Lists upon lists of numbers.

The notebook next is taken by the Germans, kept open to the most recent entry. The numbers are examined, although not in depth, as that will require more space and materials than he currently has. "You've put thought into this," he remarks. The notebook is closed.

"We'll need people." The notebook is passed back to its owner. "Equipment, supplies, a ship. Seven hundred miles is only the start. A place like Liverpool. Wild animals, unstable buildings, das jagd entsetzen. Dies ist keine picknick. This is no small thing. We plan as much as possible, as soon as possible. We are ready for anything that might happen along the way, or we won't go. That is the way it must be."

"So you'll help me?" Luna's lips spread into a wide grin and an excited huff escapes her. The book is pressed against her chest, along with both hands, as she tries to keep herself from getting too loud in celebration. "Oh thank you! Anything you say, I'll make certain we have. I've never done anything like this before. I don't know how many people, what sort of people…"

She stops and lets out what's left of the air in her lungs.

"I'll start with a ship then? Or should I start with people?"

"You can get there sailing, or walking," Hossfeld replies, "But without enough people, you won't go anywhere. We need people. Good health, marksmen, hunters, woodsmen, sailors, doctors, these are the kinds of people that we'll need. To make sure we can get there. Always start with people. Then, we worry about how we get there."

"Duncan Rowntree promised some women to the expedition already," Luna explains, taking back the notebook. It's tucked away into the same pocket it came from, then patted to make certain it's still there. "I think I can ask a few more people to join, but I'm sure Aislinn won't leave the settlement on this errand. It's too far from her family and I'm not familiar with any other doctors in the region. Isn't everyone in your militia trained to bandage up people as needed?" She's sure that Aislinn doesn't join them in their raiding parties.

"As for others, I can ask the Ross family if they'd provide some men and women. I'm sure for a cut of the spoils they'd be more than happy." Assuming they come back with enough to spread around.

"Bandages don't cure infection," is all Hossfeld adds to the issue of doctors. It's an issue he leaves behind. "Once we know our capability, then we plan more. I will see about equipment, when the times comes. What was the time you planned to leave? This matters too. You must have a day where you will not leave after, or it will be too dangerous."

"Not too far off," Luna says quietly, it's uncertainty that hushes her words. A hope for guidance on the issue has her giving the soldier a hopeful look. "I wish to leave before spring ends, after the seas have calmed of storms. That would be assuming we can secure a ship, I just think a caravan would be much too slow and open to predators of all types." Not that the sea doesn't host its own dangers.

"If I say a month, no later, will that be enough time to gather everything we'll need?" What resources she has at her disposal are limited to a trunk's worth of wealth saved over the course of a few years. Not much. "If we have a ship, I'm hoping the expedition won't take more than a fortnight. If everything plays in our favor."

"We'll say, 'before the end of spring.' And if everything comes together by then, we'll go." Seemingly, this is all Hossfeld has to say on the matter, because he moves on from when the planned time of departure is to an issue already touched upon. "First, people."

"How many? I'm afraid that if we have too many that we won't be able to creep through the ruins safely. After all, it is forbidden, isn't it? But if there's insurmountable danger and we have too few," A breath is sucked in with a hiss through the blonde's teeth and her eyebrows come together in a sharp angle. "If there's too few, we'll perish there."

Luna's hands make quick work of gathering up the plastic, unfolding it and then holding it out for the precious map. "Should we bring horses to pack things with, or carry by hand? I suppose since it's underground, we'd have to carry what we find, aye?"

"No horses," is the vulture's quick answer, "They're noisy, they need feed, they frighten. No good, too much burden. Only people. Some to stay with the ship, or the wagons, the rest to go inside." A nod, and a smile. "First, people. Always first. The rest will follow."

The map has been unfolded and refolded so many times while in Luna's possession that it's practically gained a memory of how it is supposed to be wrapped in the plastic. She makes quick work of it and turns to tuck it back into which ever bit of lace or fabric that it had originally been hidden away in. Somewhere close to her heart is an easy assumption.

"Thank you, Mister Hossfeld," she begins with a grateful smile in his direction. "I'll begin gathering those who would like to join in our little adventure. I'm quite certain the promise of excitement past the walls of Dornie and away from the dangers of the dead that walk and explosions will entice many to our cause." The blanket doesn't recover well from her imprint when she rises. Wrinkled and puckered in the places that held her weight.

Once on her feet, she stands before him and dips in a polite curtsy that's quickly righted in well practiced grace, presumably taught to her at the brothel. "I look forward to our next meeting then, and showing you all of the progress I've made."

"I look forward to seeing it. It will be a good challenge to attempt." Hossfeld rises when Luna does, as it's only polite. "Achten sie darauf, Frau Owens. Until I see you again, be well." Even he affords a slight bow, despite being in no way dressed like a gentleman. "Don't forget. Before the end of spring."

"I won't, I promise."

Well pleased, Luna gives Eduard another nod before turning and making her march toward the barrack entrance. When she reaches it, she pauses and glances back over her shoulder at the vulture. It might be appraising, the way her eyes drift up and down his form, but she nods contented before she leaves.

Despite his dress, Eduard Hossfeld has impressed Luna Owens. A fair task to accomplish.

Eduard Hossfeld watches as Luna Owens takes her leave. And the instant she's out of sight, he places his mug on top of his footlocker, and immediately sets to work on the now distended blankets covering his bunk. "Verdammt noch, dame…"