Beyond Classification

Title: Beyond Classification
Time Period: July 30, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The new 'keep at the Wandering Albatross manages to insult one of its customers, and three men discuss their magic and how it makes them superior — or not — to the mundane of the world.

The sun ascends slowly and reluctantly, sleepily tearing itself free from the unseen cage beyond the horizon. The day has started not too long ago, and the rays of sun have begun to seep through the windows of the Wandering Albatross, selectively illuminating the area with the bar.

It is generally quiet, considering there are next to no patrons in at this early hour. And so Andrew's descent down the stairs is easily picked up on, his heavy and hastened steps bringing him quickly to the spacious room downstairs. As has become tradition, he wanders over to the bar, placing a trio of books leisurely on the counter; he intends to break his fast before he is off to the schoolhouse. Idris is the first person in the morning he sees, and the first he wishes a well morning.

"Good morning, aye? Some eggs and a mug of tea, if you please?"

Idris blinks at the greeting - he's been staring off into space with a tabby cat in his lap.

"Good morning, Andrew." He carefully shifts out of the stool he took behind the counter, and sets the cat in his lap down upon his chair, who stirs briefly before falling back asleep. He finally looks up to Andrew.

"Eggs and cup of tea…" He walks over to the kitchen area, and sets on a pot of tea before dropping a generous dollop of butter into the stove, watching it melt, and cracking a few eggs into a pan. He then turns back to Adrew.

"What have you been studying as of late?"

Footfalls on the stair echo Andrew's a moment later and Beisdean comes into the common room — he's up early; the inn staff knows he usually sleeps rather late, and people who have the bad luck of rooming near him can hear him moving around off as late as three or four in the morning, his low voice speaking at times with no other voices answering him.

He gives Andrew a polite nod and moves to a seat not so far across the room as to deliberately put an invisible wall between, but far enough to give the other man space and not invite himself to the other man's conversation. There is a glance at the books, one of curiosity, as he settles onto the chair and looks to the worker on duty. "Some tea and toast, if you have it, mate," he says quietly.

The teacher grins mischievously in response to the barkeep's question. "Sto studiando italiano", he answers; lingering Scottish accent reveals that he has, indeed, studied it recently, therefore it is far from perfect. "Out of all the students I thought I'd get - besid's the children - I get an Italian prostitute." Not that he minds, judging by that amused tone of voice.

Overhearing Beisdean's choice of breakfast, Andrew incredulously narrows his voice and allows himself to be distracted by the new arrival. "You barely 'ave anythin' on you, as i' is. You don't sleep, you don't eat." It appears that Andrew may very well be one of those unfortunate who room near the would-be insomniac. "Shouldn't you break your fast with something… more substantial than jus' toast?" The criticism comes in a playful tone, even if there is a hint of firmness.

Idris' eyes flit over to Beisdean for a moment, but then he looks back to Andrew, making no immediate move to help the man out.

He finally puts a dollop of butter into another pan, and then place two pieces of bread onto it, before taking a spatula to flip the eggs. "Teaching her English, I'm guessing? Curious. I suppose I should make a bawdy comment in lieu of her occupation, but I really don't find humans that attractive." His eyes shift to Beisdean at this mention of not eating or sleeping.

"Oh, you're that human. Interesting." The cat yawns, opens it's eyes, and sniffs the air, then focuses it's gaze on Beisdean.

The concern in the other man's words has Beisdean looking over in surprise and then amusement. "I'm a little lighter than my fighting weight, as it were — trip south went a bit… well, south." They've probably heard of Luna's stories, she being the town gossip and all. If not, he doesn't seem ready to elaborate much. "But thanks." It's amicable enough.

Until Idris speaks. "That human?" Beisdean repeats, shaking his head. "And you don't find 'humans' attractive? Dare I ask what you're on about?" His blue eyes dart over to Andrew to see if the scholar knows.

For a brief moment, Andrew shifts his gaze to Idris. He nods to the self-proclaimed non-human, confirming that he is, indeed, teaching his newest pupil English. Not much else is currently said on the matter, however, tempting as the matter might be. Andrew eyes Beisdean, scoffing lightly at the given reply; it's hard to tell if he understood what it was that Beisdean referred to.

The aforementioned matter is eagerly returned to, however. The inquisitive gaze that is flung in Andrew's direction is initially responded to with merely a shrug. "Been this way since the first time I've seen 'im. Maybe he prefers sheep or boars." Looking to Idris, he dons a look both apologetic and amused. "No true offence meant, 'keep, but ye' are a little weird. Who do you consider yourself t'be, anyway? I thought ye' were just referrin' t'the fact you are a mage."

"Oh, I am. And mages are fundamentally-" The cat behind him on the stool leaps up onto the counter, transforming into a lynx as it does, it's gaze still focused on Beisdean.

"-different than humans." He tilts his head a bit to one side, laying one hand on his familiar's head and staring at Andrew with a slight smile.

"You might as well say the house cat is the same animal as a lynx." He pauses, and furrows his eyebrows.

"I'd do some more theatrics, but I'm about to burn those eggs." And with that, he scurries back to scoop them onto a plate, before flipping the toast.

Beisdean's jaw sets and his eyes narrow. "Then you're mistaken on the first count. I'm not 'that human,' because by your words, I'm not a human at all." His words are cold; he's clearly offended and he rises, but not before flashing a look of something of an apology to Andrew.

"As for finding 'humans' unattractive, you can't bloody tell with a glance the difference between a mage and someone without magic. Despite your house cat and lynx analogy — which you just proved to be incorrect, since you didn't know I was a mage. Apparently you've confused me for a house cat."

He moves from the table. "Skip the toast and tea."

The theatrics and the elaboration that Idris shares with the two patrons is not entirely successful, by the looks of it. Andrew's response is less dire than Beisdean - the teacher offers nothing more than a twisted grimace of confusion, at first. Soon enough, flashes of amusement become apparent, albeit Andrew is still quite at a loss of words, allowing Beisdean to take over.

As the man rises, however, Andrew stirs. "Woah, woah, woah! Toast alone for breakfast is bad enough, nothin' at all is out of the question." He turns his side to the bar counter, extending his hand as an inviting gesture towards the ready-to-depart young man. "Keep your top on. I've been served by worse 'keeps in me time. Challenge 'im to a swordfight if ye're insulted. But break your fast first."

Idris walks back, putting the eggs in front of Andrew, and leans against the counter, staring at Beisdean with a smile on his face.

"I'd apologize for the offense, but I'm enchanted that you got offended by that." He pauses, then tilts his head to one side. "Why don't you sit down, eat some toast, and tell me how I offended you?" He walks back to scoop the toast off the frying pan, and brings it and the kettle of tea back to the table, placing them down before fishing out a couple of teacups. The lynx hops off the counter, and rubs it's cheek against the affronted mage's leg.

"I think I like you." His tone sounds entirely unruffled.

Beisdean stands, undecided, looking from one man to the other, and even down to the lynx, as they all try to assuage his wrath. Finally he shrugs once and sits back down in a defiant sort of way — as if to let them both know he's not happy about it. "Never been much of a breakfast eater," he tells Andrew, with a half smile. "Probably because I generally had to make it for myself in the morning when I was a lad, with most the Dovetail ladies were sleeping 'til noon."

He picks up the toast to take a bite, chewing it slowly. It seems he may be ignoring Idris deliberately until he swallows and speaks. "I never wanted my ability, and if I could get rid of it, I would," he says, pointing the toast at Idris. "But if you claim it makes me inhuman, aye, I'm going to take affront to that, because I see more suffering and horror with my ability in a month than many see in a lifetime. I don't choose it and I don't want it, and it's not something I'm proud of or going to look down on others for lacking."

A brow is raised as Idris invites Besidean to return and explain the cause of offence made. Amusement begins to diminish along with his grin, even if it is as reluctant to completely vanish as ever. "Mate, he just told you what twisted his knickers a momen' ago. Jus' leave it, aye?"

Still, Andrew turns his attention to Beisdean, observing the man empathetically now, silently wondering whether he will decide to stay and have his toast, or stay to his words. It's easy to see what course of action Andrew supports, considering that when Beisdean moves back to his seat, the Scotsman's usual broad grin returns to his square face. "Now you have a barkeep to do it for you. Just don't order the wine", he warns.

"Y'kno' what brings mages together? Talking 'bout what they can do and secretly comparin' who would win in a spell-fight. Gettin' thin's off yer chest helps." Lifting up a hand to point at himself, Andrew inadvertently shows his watch - a sizeable item with a partially cracked cover. "I walk dreams. I see things I don't wish seein'. Sometimes it keeps me awake… sometimes it keeps me asleep. Once, I couldn't wake up for days." Lowering his hand, Andrew then tosses a nod in Idris' direction, prompting him to spill the beans and share, as well.

The lynx turns back into a sparrow, and flies up onto Idris's shoulder as he pours some tea for each of the men - Beisdean first, then Andrew.

"See, the why is what I want to know. I want to get inside people's heads, when they interest me." He leans a little closer to Beisdean. "What you choose to do with the knowledge that you are different is of course your own choice. I choose to look down on humans because it seems right to me, given the circumstances, but I'm not telling you to do the same." A pause. "But just because you're not /happy/ being different, doesn't make it less true." He glances over to Andrew, and laughs, holding up his hands.

"The ability I use is no good in a spellfight at all, I'm afraid - when someone takes my hands in their own, and makes an oath with a personal consequence, then should they break that oath, that consequence will come true. Thus, I tend to rely more on my physical abilities, when it comes to fighting."

While Idris has decided he likes Beisdean, Beisdean doesn't seem to be reciprocating. Idris leaning close has Beisdean leaning back, eyes narrowing as he listens to the other man. "Cheers," he says for the tea, politeness reigning — he is the child of a prostitute, but Slainte raised him to have manners. Most of the time.

The tea is lifted and sipped, and then the medium turns to Andrew. "Is that how you know I don't sleep much at night?" he says, lips curving into a smile for the other man, but he nods to Idris' words. "Mine isn't much help in a fight as well. Rather, it's almost gotten me killed more than a few times. One more reason not to think I'm superior."

Andrew picks up the utensils served with breakfast and wastes barely any more time. Now that he's distracted the others with an inquiry, it's high time he's strengthened himself for the day to come. By the time Idris has his turn at banter, Andrew already devours half of his breakfast. Listening to Beisdean, then, he lifts up the tea and takes a couple of sips. He's visibly curious about the other patron, and so he pressures him to join the little circle of stories. Soon enough.

"Aye. Takes one to know one, as they used to say. I'd 'ave been turned into sleepin' beauty a long time ago if not for me familiar. And with the short supply of princes, I don't think I'd do well." He pauses for a moment, realising that the archaic story is more than likely unknown to either of the two men. After a bit of an awkward pause, he chortles softly, as a way to pierce that discomfort of miscommunication. "Still, what is your magical talent? If you don't mind me pryin', tha' is. If it makes you more comfortable, I could ask you for yer name, first."

Idris listens to all this, a smile forming on his lips again, and shakes his head, and lowers his voice slightly.

"Oh, don't get me wrong. The minimum of fully trained humans willing to sacrifice their lives it would take to take me down… that would be three, even without a magical ability that lets me directly hurt anyone." The sparrow on his shoulder warbles a throaty little warble.

"And mages can live off the land, easier, too." His eyes flicker over to Beisdean. "Still, I think our friend may want to keep quiet about his ability - quite wise, really."

Beisdean chuckles and offers a hand to Andrew. "Beisdean Skye. It's hardly a secret. Only those new here may not know," he says. "I see and speak to the dead. I've learned to shut them out most of the time, but it takes an effort."

The smile flits away as he returns the chillier gaze to Idris. "Aye, we've our familiars to do our hunting and the like for us. That's about all my magic does for me." Another sip of tea is taken and then a bite of toast. "We'll have to agree to disagree on your classification system of mankind. Personally I find there's two kinds of people — those I like and those I don't. Magic's nothing to do with it."

The reality Idris readily reminds Andrew of - the likelihood that Beisdean may not want to part with the knowledge of what his ability is - is not good news. It is, however, grimly accepted with a nod to the barkeep. Andrew is not the kind of person to insist continuously. And so, when it turns out that his curiosity will be sated, he beams with enthusiasm. The introduction is accepted, as well - he shakes the young man's hand. "Andrew Cullen. I'm new in Dornie. I teach in the Ross schoolhouse."

His enthusiasm is not long-lived however. Happy as he is to cater to his ever-lasting curiosity, Beisdean's ability is not exactly convenient. "I'm sorry the dead trouble ye', Beisdean. But even such a dire curse can have its moments of need." Slowly retracting his hand, Andrew returns to his breakfast soon enough. The man has an appetite, clearly.

Once he hastily finishes his food, and once he drinks some tea to down it more easily, Andrew switches his gaze between Idris and Beisdean. He isn't entirely sure how to approach the subject matter, even if the glint in his eye suggests that he bears some interest towards it. Ultimately, he shakes his head, heaving a hefty sigh. "I think my own classification of mankind is a bit too complicated t'talk over breakfast, but I don't think magic makes us 'bove mundanes."

"Oh, I have more complex categories than some sort of black-and-white system. Like the fragile people who are so tightly wound that they're cute, and it just makes you want poke at their wounds even if you shouldn't." Idris reaches his hand out as he speaks, a single finger raised as if to poke Beisdean's forehead, then draws it back.

"But there's also simple people who prefer their simple, humans-are-all-one-thing viewpoint." A slight shrug of Idris' shoulders, and the sparrow flies back onto the chair it was sitting on before, closing it's eyes and curling up as it takes on a form of a sleek white cat.

"Myself, I don't believe in getting beyond teasing others, unless they try to harm me or otherwise irrevocably get in my way. After all, I can't speak to dead people, and people you can talk to are /so/ much more interesting." He laughs lightly.

Just as Idris pulls back from pretending to poke him, Beisdean's hand draws up as if to smack him away — but it's all moot. He is not amused. He turns blue eyes to Andrew and offers another smile. "Sometimes. Often, they're just … tiresome."

Most of the time, say those dark circles beneath his eyes.

Tea cup half full, one piece of toast remaining, he rises again, this time a little more calmly. "If you'll excuse me, gentlemen," he says to both, then nods to Andrew again. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cullen." He looks back to Idris. "I think the Owenses might prefer you try not to insult their customers in the future, mate."

With that, he pushes his chair in and makes for the door.

Having finished breaking his fast, Andrew works to emptying the mug of tea. As he hides his lack of a grin with the mug, he eyes Idris for as long as the barkeep's attention is on Beisdean, allowing the teacher's observation to transcend curiosity and border on judgement. It is his initial comment regarding fragile people that seems to have sparked this piercing gaze, and it remains until Idris laughs.

It is at that point that Andrew lowers the empty mug, revealing a grin that supposedly is meant to provide company for the aforementioned laughter. He shoots a short glance to Beisdean, and one can see it in his eyes that he agrees with the remark that mentions the Owens. Still, it doesn't hurt to emphasise the point. Lowering the mug back down on the counter, Andrew directs a sterner gaze to Idris, even if a faint shadow of a smile still lingers on his lips. "Aye, you might want to stuff your god complex down yer pockets when ye're servin' people in a public place. Don't go 'n' insult the wrong people."

Pleasantries exchanged and farewells shared with Beisdean, Andrew announces his own departure. "And I need to head to the schoolhouse and start me day, as you have to start yours as well, Idris. I'll come back later tonight, help you clean up the place." As he tends to do whenever he can spare the energy. Rising from his own seat, he doesn't forget to pick up the books and wander off, as well.

Idris blinks at Beisdean's words, widens his eyes, straightens up, and looks straight into Beisdean's eyes - then grins. "Hopefully they'll find a more interesting job for me if enough people complain about my bartending, Beisdean." He turns back to Andrew, then hesitates, looking black to Beisdean.

"The name humans use for me is Idris Mac Lir, incidentally." He laughs. "I suppose it should be no surprise that the sea likes the heavens more than vica versa." His gaze returns to Andrew, and he blinks, then his face takes on an almost serious contenance.

"Your help would be much appreciated, Andrew." A slight inclination of his head. "May your students be worthy of your teaching."