Battered and Bidden

Title: Battered and Bidden
Time Period: May 29, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: He's going on an adventure and she doesn't seem to like the idea.

While it's never overly warm, Spring has made herself known today — the sky is blue and merely dotted with fluffy white clouds, and it's warm enough to be out of doors without a coat and scarf and hat — much to the dismay of one deerhound named Argyle.

The tall beast stands in a tin tub of water in the yard; he's spoiled enough that the water has been warmed with a few piping hot kettles of water from the kitchen. He looks melancholy but holds his ground obediently, looking all the skinnier for the water weighing down his fur coat. Now and then he whines, tail wagging in hopes of an early reprieve, but he's just in the midst of his lathering, a bucket of water set aside to rinse him off soon.

"Oh, quit your grumbling, mister. If you hadn't rolled around in the mud like a pig, you wouldn't need a bath," the dog's mistress is telling him. Cordelia is more wet than not as well, and mud has soiled her breeches and short-sleeved shirt; her feet are bare, toes curling into wet grass as she rubs the suds into Argyle's fur.

Cordelia's responsibilities include taking care of her hound; Jorn watches her for a while from one of the downstairs study windows, only half-invested in whatever it is that is going on behind the mostly-drawn curtains. Listening to, but not watching. Something inside takes his eyes before she starts soaping up the dog, and his watchful gaze is not felt at all again until he takes up the rear door.

"Don't look at me." Jorn's comment is to the wet dog, covered in suds and looking pitiful. All legs and ribs and tail and big reproachful eyes. His arms cross in front of him, and he takes a cursory glance back inside the hall before stepping outside, only to prop himself up against the wall there.

"Good thing he likes you, or he might hold a grudge."

Glancing up at Jorn's voice, Cordie reaches up to swipe damp hair away from her forehead with the back of her arm. "It's his ow fault he's a mucky boggy smelly mess," she says cheerfully, before looking back at Argyle. "Isn't it? Yes, yes it is," she croons to the dog, clearly as adoring of the wet and bedraggled thing as she was when he was a puppy.

A few more rubs here and there, making sure the dog is good and sudsy before she steps back to get the bucket for rinsing. Of course, the dog takes that moment to shake, flopping ears from side to side and splattering soap all around — but to his credit, he doesn't try to leave the tub.

"How are you this morning, Jorn?" Cordelia asks, lifting the heavy bucket and stutter-stepping to the tin.

Only then does Argyle daintily lift one foot in attempt to escape. All it takes is an, "Ach," from Cordelia before the hound puts his paw back down and whines once more. "You're almost through, I promise," Cordelia soothes.

Some part of him is also glad that her parents are perfectly fine with her becoming a terrible mess. That said, Jorn is personally fine with just watching her. If she was still ten, he may have hopped in to help her by now- but- she isn't. "If you torture him like this every time, I can't imagine why he would keep going into the bog. You'd think he would learn."

"Tired." He also knows that now, he can't hide much, and being frank is more beneficial than putting up a guise. One hand lifts up to rub across his forehead. "Back twinges, scars itch. Only bad part of spring here." Wet coastal springs, blech.

Cordelia's dark eyes lift from the dog to her mostly-human companion and she smiles with sympathy, though her brows tic together in a worried look. "Let me brew you something when we go inside that might help," she offers.

The bucket is lifted — it's an awkward thing given her scant size in comparison to the dog's size; at the last minute she puts one hand over the dogs eyes to keep the water from splashing into them as she pours the clear liquid over Argyle. There's a second bucket for a second rinse, but it's a moot point. Argyle's had quite enough of this, thank you, and leaps out of the water to shake himself and then roll around on the grass. Cordie finds herself soaking wet but laughing, one hand dropping the bucket at her feet.

She turns to see just how wet Jorn got, contrition mixing with mirth on her face.

"Augh-" Whatever Jorn was going to say about her making him something up, is lost to his grumbling. It's not that he hates water- he loves it- just that he hates dog water. "You little-" It was enough to soak the front of his legs, at least, and yes- now he has that delightful wet-dog smell that is not quite the same as wet-bear, which he is obviously used to. Jorn steps after the hound, clapping his hands at the beastie now rolling about in the grass. "She just got you clean."

"Maybe you should just shear him, instead. That'll teach him." Despite the soaking, his expression remains in decent spirits.

Cordelia giggles at the mock anger, and shrugs. "He's just trying to get his scent back, I think. The grass won't get him too dirty. Not like the muck. He can stay out here and dry," she suggests, glancing then to the tin tub and pail, but waving them off. She'll get them later. Or someone will.

"Let me go brew you some tea, aye?" she suggests, heading to the doorstep to pick up the towel she left for herself there, drying off her face and hands before handing it to him and heading into the kitchen, sure he'll follow. "It'll make you feel better. There's some fresh roots and leaves that I gathered that should help a bit." The tea kettle is put to use for something other than bath water, and she sets about finding the proper ingredients for his mug.

Jorn gives the hound a few pats on the neck when he pauses in between rolls, looking up after the teenager when she goes to dry her face off. He makes certain that Argyle doesn't follow him inside, at least, shoeing him back towards the grass. The dog takes the hint and practically does a somersault onto the ground. Jorn turns back to the hall with a laugh, nearly lumbering after Cordelia's footfalls.

"When I'm actually an old man, I wonder if I'll need to lean on the sword instead of swing it." Jorn's words serve to remind himself that he is not terribly old, just yet, even though he might be feeling it more often than he used to. He falls into the seat of one of the old wooden chairs kept for the staff; nobody is peeling potatoes, and it's a sturdy old thing. He can use it for just a few minutes- or at least until the marm comes back and finds him lazing about.

Then there would be someone peeling potatoes.

A sachet of herbs and roots is quickly enough created and set in one mug; for herself Cordelia simply scoops a bit of tea into her mug, the one set aside for her since she was a much smaller child, and the one she continues to use to this day.

"A cane would be more comfortable, should it come to that, but maybe a wee bit less menacing," she says over her shoulder as she goes to a cupboard to pull out a plate of shortbread and bringing it to the table, setting it in front of him. "Help me eat that. Mrs. Keith made it for me and I can't eat it all by myself, and my Da certainly doesn't need it; he'll eat it all if we let him," she says lightly.

"…Not like he's fat. Yet." Which, in Jorn-speak, means that he knows she is right. He probably would eat it, if it was within reach long enough. But so would Jorn, and she is putting him to it instead. Must be the blubber thing. He takes a piece in his fingers, watching the mugs with mild interest. It's probably a good thing he is no herbalist- he might decide to rely on them if he was.

"The day I need a third leg is the day I shouldn't be around." Jorn's mouth creases into a line. "I suppose it's one thing I fear, getting old. Weak." Grumbling begins when he puts the shortbread in his mouth to stifle himself, one palm angling his arm off of his knee.

"Getting old should be something to be proud of in this day and age, not something to be ashamed of. Don't say such things," Cordelia says, brows drawing together in a scowl at his words. "If we got rid of everyone who was frail or crippled, what sort of society would we be? Survival of the fittest has some truth to it, but the most fit of people should help the less strong survive, I think." This is why she's a philanthropist at heart.

The kettle is taken from the stove and poured into the two mugs, which are then carried to the table. "There. Let it sit a moment, though."

"I didn't say that I hated old people." Jorn gestures at her to settle down, hand waving aside. "I said, that I was scared of getting old. Pride notwithstanding, it will hurt regardless." He tries to calm the topic, but there is only so much he can do about stemming the Tide that is Cordelia's Opinions.

"I've been bitten, broken, bruised, and battered." It will certainly take its toll. Jorn watches his mug steep with an intensity that tea shouldn't be getting. "And still I'm being bidden on ventures. Has your father told you about the trip I am supposedly to go on? With Miss Owens?"

The expression on the teenager's face softens when he repeats his fear, and she picks up a piece of shortbread to turn in her hands a few times before nibbling off one corner. When he brings up the word ventures, she peeks up through long lashes and then shakes her head.

"You're going on a trip?" Her father adores her and most likely knew this news would make her sad — which is why it's been left to Jorn to bear.

"I told her that she'd need to clear it with your father, and she did. I think because I might bring something back, and you know how he is about having- things." Jorn shifts in the chair somewhat uneasily, taking a bit of the bread and testing how it tastes after a corner is dipped in the tea.

"She has a map of an old city, and has been planning an expedition. A couple of weeks long, or so. She asked me if I would consider it." And they are back at his first words- Jorn told her to clear it up with his employer, as his job came first.

"With Luna Owens," Cordelia says, brows lifting a bit dubiously. "She'll have you fighting windmills at every turn, you know. She thinks everything is a crisis. I can't imagine her out in the wilderness for more than two days, let alone a fortnight…"

There is a concentrated effort to make it about someone else rather than herself, and Cordelia lifts her tea to her face to take a long sip, brows knitting as she stares down at the table. When she sets down the cub again, she looks back up at him. "Good luck, then, " she offers in carefully neutral voice. "When do you go?"

Jorn is not quite sure if this is one of those female moments of territorial menace, or if she does not actually care what the trip is about. It leaves him with an odd expression, and a tentative glint in his eye.

"We're to take a boat down the coast, hopefully there will not be much camping. She is taking some militia women, as well." When he does respond, it is with fact, rather than speculation. Cordelia is getting into that age where Jorn finds himself at a loss when it comes to following her train of thought at all times. "When the spring storms pass, I think." Soon. Trying to not burn his tongue, Jorn takes up the hot tea and starts nursing it down.

"What are you looking for? There's old cities all over the place… that's nothing new. What makes this one any different?" she asks, frowning again as she looks down — her curiosity coming in spite of her efforts to look unconcerned. The real questions she want to ask don't come; she tries not to be selfish, and they would sound selfish and childish in her ears.

She looks up again and wraps her hands around the hot mug, soaking in its warmth.

"No idea." Jorn has no idea what they are looking for. Luna didn't tell him much, it appears. Enough to get him interested, and enough to get him permission to take a leave, but nothing more than he's willing to share. "A map and a dream." He cannot help it, but he lets out a short laugh.

"I can tell you're curious. It's Liverpool, down in England." Jorn feeds her another bite of information, running the taste of tea along his tongue.

Cordelia wrinkles her nose at the information given and shakes her head. "Seems a long way to go to look through some old buildings and stuff, if you don't know that there's anything of interest. But good luck, I guess."

She sighs and takes another sip of tea and looks to the window, peering out at the dog still frolicking in the grass there. "There's no such thing as normal these days, is there." It's not really a question. "As soon as we get over one thing, another thing changes." There's a melancholy air about her, the wistfulness of the child on cusp of adulthood. She stands to bring her cup to the sink. "I should go clean up. I smell like wet dog," she adds quickly and veers for the hallway.

Jorn does not answer at first, only clearing his throat and washing the dryness down with the tea, and taking up another piece of shortbread. Only when she gets up does he straighten a moment and finish the drink.

"Thank you for this." And though he does not reach up to stop her leaving, Jorn does shift on the chair to follow her with his face, still creased at the mouth. "I promise if we do find anything, I'll bring something back just for you." It's only a little touch of lightness into her otherwise melancholy air, but he can hope that she appreciates it nonetheless.

She pauses in the hallway, back still turned and head downcast, but Cordie manages to call back, "I'll prepare you a few sachets to take with you on the trip. The dampness of being on a boat won't be doing you any favors." Quid pro quo. It's her way of saying he will will be missed and to be careful, and all of the things she's not quite grown-up enough to say when she feels she's being abandoned, but it will have to do.