Title: Bear/Bare
Time Period: October, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A peaceful moment by the loch leaves something to be desired when Cas is confronted by a predator keeping his territory clean. Thankfully, Jørn possesses slightly more morals than a bear.

All of the lochs surrounding Dornie are full of wildlife, as much as the forests and the fields and the moors. Fish, gulls, otters, seals, sometimes even marine mammals and sharks will find routes into them. With the advent of a full grown enviornment, there are times when land and loch will melt together. Herds of skinny-legged deer that peck along the shores, and seals that amass in greater numbers in certain seasons. Once fall comes, the horse-faced grey seals are the ones to gather in their own herds along the shores, rather than the harbor seals who come mainly in summer. There are always those seals who reject such quotas, and stay at all times, and have more in common with the local tribes of otters in mannerisms.

Given the different lifebloods of Dornie, it is not uncommon for one to see groups of horses along these same shores, either brought by the herdsmen or simply those who have wandered there over the course of things. Though there are no horses along this part of shore on Loch Duich yet today, as far as one can tell; that is perhaps the fault of the barking nests of lumpy grey shapes dotted amongst the rocks.

The day is overcast, and the air chilled. Winter is approaching through the throes of October, though at a slow, plodding pace. The squeals and pips of offspring amongst the seals seems to make the idea less terrible- they romp and roll about in the muddy sand and low tides, under the watchful dog-brown eyes of the females.

While the horses have avoided this part of the Loch, the same can not be said for a horsehand. On one of his liberating exploartions of the area surrounding Dornie. Cas Blackburn has often tried to familiarize himself with the areas he settles in, especially if he intends to stay long. Slowly approaching the shore, he watches the wildlife and keeps his walk slow and unintimidating. Much of his life is spent around horses, not animals like this, but some of the mannerisms seem to work the same.

This is the kind of wildlife he likes, anyway— herds of mostly harmless animals. If he'd been a hunter, this might look like a potential feast, but he'd be more likely to catch one of the fish jumping out of the water than anything else.

"Aaa, aren't you guys having fun," he speaks outloud to the baby seals, tones soft and gently pitched, as he'd speak to a newborn horse. "Don't worry, mum, I won't be getting too close," he adds as if the mother could understand him.

In a world of magic, maybe she can, right? There are supposed to be seal-people, after all.

Settling down on the shore a good hundred feet from the pups, he kicks his feet out to where they're nearly in the water, and takes in a deep breath, face going toward the sky as his eyes close. It seems he's just listening to life for the moment.

Maybe they are used to how humans smell when they are hunting, versus when they mean nothing. Or, just maybe, one of those seal people are amongst the greys right now, and not a soul would know otherwise. The females do not seem terribly concerned with anything going on period, much less where the human is strolling along to set himself on the shoreline.

In Cas' ears, the gulls dry out, the wind whistles, and the seals begin to bark. It may be no cause for concern, if it were decidedly not a globally understood wail of panic. He can even hear the roiling of bodies on sand before he is able to look. Once he does, he can plainly see something there in the frothed autumn water. It is quite large, as it moves under the surface of the water. The stark difference is that where the seals are mottled- the swimmer is a brilliant white, outline blurred by the stir of mud.

The other things he always liked about these types of animals— they know when danger approaches. If he ever had the chance, Cas would always find a campsite on the road near a bird bower or a herd's watering hole. If only cause once they realized he wasn't the danger they would alert him if one came upon them. An early warning system if he ever heard one.

The sudden change he knows isn't being caused by him, so his eyes open and he looks around, pressing a hand against some rocks along the shore, partially gloved hands, fingers bare go around one the size of his palm as he begins to stand up. It takes a moment to realize the disturbence is in the water, and he start's backing up, holding onto the rock. It's a shitty weapon, but it'll do for a throw and a quick run. He glances away for a moment, as if looking for a quick path to the trees.

The nose comes up first, like a squat snorkel; the rest of the great white bear's head breaches the surface behind it, along with his neck and shoulders. It does not seem interested in what the seals are doing, despite what could be called a longing glance to them while he paddles his way up towards the shoreline. The bear blinks water from his eyes when he reaches a place where his paws touch down. Most animals look far skinnier when they get soaked.

Milling a moment in the shallows, stomach still in the water, gives Jorn enough time to shake out his ears and realize that he is not quite alone here. Cas is still a fair space from him, but close enough that the young man can see the black skin under the bear's wet fur.

As the creature rises up, Cas is backing away. But after two steps his heel hits something, a root or a rock and he trips and ends up landing on his backside rather hard. Good thing he's not wearing his nice pants. The trousers he has on are patched in a few places, the knees and other easily worn areas.

"AAAA! —ow." The word started out loud, but gets bit off and continued at a lower whisper. If the bear didn't notice him, the ow may have been enough to do it.

Scrambling over onto his side, he abandons any idea of throwing a rock at the bear and starts to trip and lumber up the bank toward those hopefully climable trees he spotted.

Between the barking seals and the sound of the water, if Jorn did not sense the movement before, he could have missed Cas and been none the wiser. The bear swivels its head in time to see the boy tumble, and both round ears cup towards him, along with the deep, dark eyes finding the figure to watch. Does this happen often? Possibly. Jorn has an awfully colorful track record when it comes to frightening persons unknown.

Some of it may in fact be purposeful, though this time it certainly was not intended to be. As per his job descriptions, however, Jorn cannot in good faith let strangers go unstudied. He has never seen- nor smelled- this one before. It gives enough cause. Moreso when the man begins to run. Tempting predators with a chase is beside the point.

The bear hoists himself from the water, and goes into a flat-footed gallop after the stablehand.

Fear for his life carries him faster than he might have considered possible when life isn't on the line. This isn't the first time Cas has run from something potentially dangerous, just the first time it's happened for this reason. A cursery glance back adds speed to his feet and panic to his step, because he sees… the creature is actually following him. And gaining. Only the fact he set out first gives him any advantage.

The first tree he comes upon has limbs far too high for proper climbing, but he jumps and reaches anyway. Fingers brush the limb, but that's all, and he loses his footing when he drops, falling back and the wind gets knocked out of him by the ground, leaving him trying to catch his breath as he looks over brown eyes wide.

"Wa— wouldn't you rather eat a nice yummy fish?" he asks in an almost squeaky voice. Definitely shaken. "I know I would."

Compared to a a man, a bear travels at an astounding speed. The head start gives Cas enough time to try for a tree; unfortunately for him, it fails quite miserably, and he finds himself gasping on the dirt. The bear slows down when this occurs, and Cas can hear it stepping over from the crunch of grass and the slight vibrato of such a heavy beast putting heel to ground. The man speaks, though the only answer he gets is a large black nose planting itself in his eye socket and a resounding growl from above.

"No." At least that is what it sounds like.

A wet nose in an eye means they both clench closed, jaw locked in a tooth baring grimace of pain and fear. The breath and the growl both make him shake as he anticipates the teeth beginning their work, likely with his rather exposed neck. Cas Blackburn wonders if this is when his life is supposed to flash before his eyes.

But instead he hears a growl that almost sounds like a…

The eye not currently with a nose in it opens, almost like a child might peak out to make sure the monster is still there. He's breathing rather heavily, infact shaking, but oddly he isn't reaching for a weapon, or flailing about trying to beat the creature off. What kind of a man doesn't at least try to fight.

"N.. no?" he manages to say. "Did— did you just— are you a— Talking? Bear?"
Jorn ooc has short pose for now, gonna use part of what I was gonna do soon, instead.

"No." It comes out again, at the same level of not-quite clarity. The nose moves back, only to be replaced by the face of a wet polar bear, pointedly wearing a glare. One paw digs down under Cas' hip to flip him over like a rock, and meanwhile the bear attempts to inspect him. For what? Weapons, actually, though it kind of seems like it is giving him a once-over.

"Ow! What you doing, mate?" Cas yelps out as he gets flipped over and inspected rather thoroughly. The only sign of anything that could be called a weapon is a small knife behind his belt that wouldn't be very good for anything other than cutting ropes, small branches or cleaning a fish. It doesn't even look very sharp.

Being a part-time militaman is not for the sake of because; Jorn takes it rather seriously when he is given a task. The bear leaves him flipped, for the moment- the smell of wet animal does not leave, but the presence knocking him around like a little doll eases away once Jorn stands up. A faint pop of joints precedes the rustling of fur. Facing the ground, there is not much for Cas to see until a very human- male, and quite large- foot steps into the visible frame of the ground. The sound of bare feet on leaf litter is notably different.

"Du ma vaere ny." Jorn's voice is also notably, not a bear's. The rest of him, however, is, save for the cloak he is draped in. The still soaked Northman grabs Cas by the scruff of his clothes, and tugs him up onto both feet.

"And who are you?" They have had too many interfering in the countryside as of late, and frankly, Jorn dislikes his so-called territory being moseyed in on, orgy-loving gypsies or not.

The scruff of the clothes is made a little difficult by an additional bit of cloth at the back of his neck. It would appear he's got a hood sewn into a shirt that he wears under his coat. Cas has rather odd fashion tastes, by some standards. He makes a sound as he's bare-handled, and does his best to avoid looking down. Even if the man's face is scary enough.

He doesn't stand very tall, and he can't be living too rugged at the moment, despite his clothes. His face shows light stubble, but no beard and his hair is short and wild, standing up a little in places. "I— I'm Cas Blackburn— I just settled here." A hand comes up as if he can't help gesturing as he makes an observation. "A second ago you were bear…ish and now you're… do you want to borrow my coat?" Even if he's far too small to give the man a coat.

"Yes. And no." Jorn appears to not care that the cloak is all he has, its teeth pointed and menacing above his face. He does not release Cas from his grasp. The blue-eyed glower stays, despite the fact that Cas looks like he was rolled on the- no, wait, he was. Still, the younger man does not look like he could hurt much of anything, or anyone. Jorn smelled the fear on him, and paid enough attention to his lack of fighting back.

"Just settled? You came with the gypsy wagon?"

The fear is still there, it seems, even if there's a residual amount of relief. A man is easier to deal with than a bear. Even one that's… Cas' hand self-consciously begins wiping at his clothes, even as he's held in place, breathing still fast and body likely pumped with the things that make it want to run.

"No— I came in on my own. I— I work for Rowntree— at the stables?" His statement somehow manages to sound like a question. But the smell of horses and hay on his clothes might give the words truth. Under the sharp smell of fear.

Most people in Dornie will smell of either a horse, or of hay; both is not uncommon, especially towards Rowntree properties. His story adds up, insofar as his having been in stables. Luckily, the other part gives him more credit in that he did not simply sleep in one. Jorn's lips flatten together, and the length of stubble on his chin creases where the lines meet.

"You possess unlucky timing. We have been on guard." Far more gently, Jorn releases Cas from his grip, voice sombering from a restless growl into his usual mellow volume. The tall man falls short of actually dusting him off- that would be too much interference, so he leaves poor Cas looking like a rumpled up hare.

"Do not run from predators here. They will chase you too."

The dusting off is left for Cas, but he stumbles back as soon as he's released and falls against the tree trunk. Now that he's no longer being man-handled and his stress level is dropping, it means he's quickly growing pale and looking very tired. Faint even. Lucky for him he doesn't outright faint in front of the man. He'd probably never live it down.

Sliding down the tree trunk, he forgets about dusting himself off and closes his eyes, breath releaved.

"Thought I could make it to the tree," he says with his voice now more hoarse than squeaky. Still his accent is different than the majority of people around Dornie. After he speaks, he's making careful exhales through his mouth. Maybe he is in danger of passing out.

Jorn is obviously not a Scotsman, and we'll leave it at that. One shoulder shrugs heavily, and Jorn lowers the hood and mantle from his shoulders, to catch it in one arm and pick up the cape with the other. He tucks it about himself, for the time being, Cas' hyperventilation coming off as something he needs to avoid happening.

"If I had wanted you, I would have gotten you." There is faint amusement in Jorn's voice, which segues out soon enough. "You are unarmed."

Hand presses against his chest, as if that will keep his breath inside his body. Or his heart from exploding. Cas continues to look pale as he looks up, but perhaps he's not about to pass out so much anymore. Being off his feet helps. "Not a weapon guy," is what he manages hoarsely.

"But I know you could've caught me," he says with a grimace, finally able to keep his eyes on the man for longer than a second now that he's less bare.

"If you are going to stay here, I advise you change that." Jorn may be rather terrifying to some, yet he is still enough of a courteous man to advise them at the same time. "Find a knife bigger than that, if nothing else." He watches Cas more closely now. Not a dubious looking over, no. Making notations about manner and the ease of scaring him into losing his wind.

Some moments go by, and Jorn seems to have fallen silent in favor of inspection.

"Really? I think I'd be more likely to stab myself than anyone else," Cas states honestly as he begins to recover enough to talk without sounding so odd. His hand drops away from his chest and he looks back. After a few moments his eyes start to drift over to the side, as if to check what's over there, before he looks back.

"You're freaking me out a bit," he says honestly as he presses a palm against the tree and pushes himself up to his feet. "Not— as bad as bear yous, but still."

On his feet again, he grimaces, avoiding weight on one of his ankles as if he twisted it in one of his many falls. "So— how much do I need a weapon?"

"Good." Both of the Nord's eyebrows lift up in a twitch, but otherwise he remains silent until Cas asks a question of him. "A great deal. Especially away from home, as you are." A knife won't often kill a bear, but a man should go down fighting. "Beasts and men roam." The arm with the top of the cloak over it gestures to the lightened weight on one ankle.

"Can you walk?" Or is this going to turn into guiltily dragging Cas Blackburn back to town? Jorn hesitates to find out.

"I hope so," Cas responds to the last question, taking a small step and obviously limping. It doesn't seem like it's impossible for him to walk, though a little help until he walks it out probably wouldn't be a bad idea. "Only hurts when— when I move," he adds with a small breathy laugh. The topic isn't funny.

"So you got a name besides…" He gestures a little. "Big White Bear-man? Cause I somehow think me calling you that when I try to explain what happened to me would be insulting and I don't want to be insulting you." Especially not since he could catch him. Easily.

"A man can live through worse." Take it from him. Jorn is about to turn himself away when Cas inquires a second time, and so he pauses and shifts back to face him. "Polar bear." He corrects. "My name is Jorn Wartooth." He skips the bit about what he does; saying such a thing to a newcomer would gain him nothing but an odd look. Blue eyes study Blackburn again, faintly weary before he finally speaks up. "It takes a great deal to insult me."

"If I should let every misnomer get to me, I would be of poor character."

"I'm all for people of good character," Cas says with a two handed gesture towards the man. "Right up there with people who don't kill me when they could, and those that are both are doubly better." From his smile, he's recovered from the shock well enough, even sporting a dimple in his cheek and showing off teeth that are a little too big in the front. Just a little.

Jorn lets out a small snort of air, somewhere near being amused by this. "As you like it, stranger. I can walk you to the road. Then I must be gone." The offer is a lot more than he could have decided to do. He could have left Cas out here on his own, in the land of great white bears! So kind a gesture. Then again, travelling through over the lochside with a man wearing nothing but a fur hide is …suspect.

"Thanks Mister— Wartooth," Cas states, still smiling as he limps along. As long as he doesn't trip again he should be able to walk it off, even if he grimaces in an exaggerated fashion with each step. He's not the fighting type, it seems.

If that wasn't already obvious.

"So you really think I should carry a weapon? Swords are really nice, though. They— you can wave them around." He even waves an imaginary sword around for a second. And if it were a real sword he'd just have slashed his own face.

Jorn walks ahead, still barefoot, just by a couple of steps; he moves around to the side when his new ward talks of blades, so that it does not feel that Cas is talking at his back. The corners of his eyes hold quiet mirth towards the pantomiming, but he averages more silent time than speaking time while they walk, taking liberal pauses.

"I usually carry one when I am on an active duty. A hand-and-a-half blade." Hoping that Cas knows what that means. What it means, is that Jorn uses a sword that is as tall as a small woman. "Today was patrols." Which does account for what he was doing in the loch.

Doesn't look like Cas knows much beyond 'sword'. Cause his eyebrows stay up and he listens, but beyond that… "Why would you use a sword when you have— well— teeth some of the time? Though I guess you might prefer to wear pants more than not when you're fighting."

The walking already seems to be a little better, and he makes up for the silences by… filling in the inbetween with words.

"Pants can be helpful. Armor is better." Which may or may not be painting a picture of what Jorn does in Dornie. "A sword is a poor man's tooth. Guns are messy, but I will carry them. But a sword does not require ammunition." There is a bit of quiet once again, as Jorn prefers a steady conversation to a quick one.

"As you should know, Marcus Rowntree and his kin look over the factory. If you work with the horse lord, I suggest you learn how to fire one."

From his expression, guns are something he thinks he should use right now. "I think I'll stick with a poor man's… tooth," Cas says, grinning a bit as he shakes his head at the use of the word tooth. How should he expect a bear-man to talk? It's his turn to be quiet for a few steps, it would seen, before he looks over and up. "Do you think I could learn to use a gun and not accidentally shoot one of the horses?" Or himself. Or his boss.

This isn't something he'd considered before, but— there's something about a big tall bear-man.

"You are not giving enough credit to the horses. Get someone to teach you, away from the herdlands." And there will be no accidents, of course. So Jorn says, and leaves the horse-shooting at that. He looks down to the younger man now, but only just. "There are enough hunters and militiamen to do it."

"Here, even a farmer must protect his wealth. Be it from wolves in fur or skin."

"I've never had any wealth of my own I have to protect," Cas says with a grin that doesn't seem to think he's insulting himself. Based on just his clothes, he looks like there's not much worth stealing on him. Even what he wears is patched and dirty. Even more so now that he's been rolled around in the dirt. "But I like living. Quite a bit really. And I only got just the one.

"Startin' to think I should have headed south though."

"South? To where? The pit of Britain?" Jorn almost barks this, and it is hard to tell if he is attempting to make a joke of it, or if he is being serious. "Dornie is a little jewel, but a jewel. You will see it. Many years ago, I sacrificed everything to find my fortune out here. It may not have turned out how I- expected- but that, I think, is fate." Everything that makes him in the last years is here, in Dornie. No wonder he is partial.

"Have you ever been across the sea? Outside of these isles…" Jorn's barrel chest sighs wistfully.

"Oi, I'm from the pit of Britain— well, technically the north half of England, but definitely south of here." Cas ramples a bit as his walking improves. The more he talks the less he thinks of the pain and limps. It's improved quite a bit.

"Never. I don't trust boats. Legs do just as well, if we weren't… on a really big island at least. You don't sound like you're from around here, and you spoke a language I didn't know— I doubt it was bear…"

"It was not bear. As good as." Jorn does make an obvious joke that time, one hand lifting to check the drape of his cloak. "I am from Norway." If he goes by storybooks, 'viking' is a good term. "My story is a long one." And he doubts that Cas wants to hear it. He also doubts his willingness to tell it.

"You have not seen nature until you have seen the lands of Europa." The word comes as pronounced by his own tongue.

"A viking. I heard about them, from books and stuff— people who read books." Cas looks over and briefly gives the man an up down look. It's very brief, cause the man's not wearing much. But with the fur as the main source of clothes, the longish hair, the height, the scars, the muscles— "You look just like one. Without the helmet. I always heard they had these… helmets." He makes gestures with his hand. Gestures that seem to be horns.

"But since I likely won't be going, I'd love to hear about it. Never actually met someone from there, much less someone who can turn into a bear. That's got to be an amazing story." Apparently, he is interested, and looking up at him like a kid wanting a story.

Jorn lifts both of his eyebrows at the younger man, allowing his eyes to give a rather clear roll away from him. Oh boy.

"Those are ceremonial. Vikingr helms are leather and metal. Some with mail." Good job, Jorn, you have crushed mister Blackburn's viking imagination. "I cannot bring myself to tell you about min sjelevenn." His chin tips down, and his forearm holding the head of the cloak gestures up. "And my story is too long but for a reason.

I was once krigsherre. A warlord of Europa. That is all you need to know." And it seems like all that Cas will be getting, because the road is nearing, and Jorn has clamped his jaw tighter.

There's words there he didn't understand. From the way his eyes shift around, Cas knows he probably wasn't meant to. But he smiles up at the man anyway, even if he just called himself a warlord. "I'm guessing yer not a warlord anymore then. I mean a warlord probably wouldn't have walked me to the road, or told me this much, or— not any warlord I ever imagined, at least."

Just like the vikings who apparently don't wear horns like he always thought…

"I'm glad I met you now then back then. Cause I like life, as I said." And he did back then, too. If he was alive back then. "I guess this is the road." He looks a little disappointed, though, despite glad to be back to a hint of civilization.

Jorn's blue eyes narrow in their search for Cas', while one palm finds a particular scar spread on one side of his ribcage. "I am not." On the first matter.

"You are not the type of man that needs to be killed. If it makes you feel well, I would have shown you off. I ran, as one may call it, a 'tight ship'." His knuckles lift to scratch at part of his brow. "I try to do the same for mister Ross, apart from the fact that I do not need to worry about misconduct."

Misconduct can be a dirty word.

"This is where I leave you." Jorn keeps walking, over the dirt road and towards the other side, aiming to apparently walk his way somewhere else. "Farvel, mister Blackburn."

Not the type that needs to be killed makes him grin a little too much. Apparently he takes it as a compliment. Cas looks down the road, knowing what direction he needs to go, then looks back as the Ser Wartooth is already walking right across the road instead. "Oh— I thought you might— Guess not. Maybe later. See ya!" he calls out, holding a hand up in a gesture of farewell.

While he holds his hand up he notices all the dirt and tree bits on his clothes finally and begins brushing them off as he starts down his own walkway. It's been a strange trip around the land, that's for sure.