Colorful Metaphors

Title: Colorful Metaphors
Time Period: July 24, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Just your average visit to the cemetery to hang out with the local gravekeeper.

Mariah is not an entirely strange sight out in the cemetery. She flits in every now and then and goes strange for the Larke Family memorial. Just a memorial, since their bodies never made it home for a proper burial all those years ago. Being the only Larke left in Dornie leaves only the carved stone to come to for a family visit.

Today she comes with a single red rose in hand, and a shawl wrapped over her shoulders. Not in a respectful black, but in a shocking red. But then, she isn't in mourning these days. And maybe thinks the dead need a little color in their… unlives.

Then there's someone else here. Another citizen of Dornie, patrolling, walking along the graves that line a nearby path as if he owns the place. Which he does, at least in a way that can be shown on paper. And people know it, if only for the fact that he seems ever present when the cemetery has visitors, the same heavy foot steps always announcing his arrival before he ever comes into sight.

His bird, however, is a different story. A hooded crow sits hunched over on top of the memorial Mariah means to visit today, its wings hanging low and its beady, little eyes focused in on the young woman and her every move. It makes a brief, uncertain clicking noise and twitches its head ninety degrees to get a better look.

"Visiting again, hn?" Comes a rough voice, suddenly, from behind. Lazar stands further back on the path, dressed in a heavy black coat, with a shovel in his hand. He's not looking at her, the greeting having been polite but lacking in real interest, instead looking toward some fresher graves with wilting flowers surrounding them. About time those were cleaned up.

The noise from the bird makes Mariah halt for a moment, looking up before she steps forward again. The rose is set down on the ground in front of the memorial, but she doesn't take a moment to speak to it or even bow her head. Because there's a voice.

She straightens up and turns to look at him, her smile present, but subdued. "I thought it was about time I dropped in again," she says, her tone more sullen than usual, even for this place. But that cuts out as she goes on, her smile widening into a teasing smirk, "Miss me?" It's a tone that sees to almost purposefully remind people she's so recently spent many years as a lady of the evening. She may have given up the profession, but not the attitude, apparently. "This bird is very thematic," she says with a gesture to the crow.

Lazar's gaze stays where it is as he's spoken to, as though determined to be on his way again. He is not one for conversations, especially not with people he is familiar with and knows most likely won't cause any trouble. None of his business.

Yet… he stays, and listens. Mariah's jestful inquiry remains unrewarded with anything but a wry, somewhat bitter chuckle. But mention of the crow seems to finally catch his attention, and he turns his head to face her directly, speaking up once again in his thick, Hungarian accent. "Hmph." A glance upward reveals his distaste for the bird, a light sneer forming on his lips. "He tries to scare people. Much too small to succeed. And cannot fly, so he just sits." And that it does, rattling off a few more clicks as it looks between the two people, seemingly delighted at having been noticed.

She steps closer to the gravekeeper, turning to look up at the bird from a better vantage point. "I don't know, it could work. The faint of heart, you know." Which she doesn't consider herself, apparently. "The noise is a bit unsettling. Imagine it at night." But the imagined scenario only makes her smile crookedly.

"Why can't he fly?" Mariah asks more quizzically as she turns back to the man.

"Broke his wings." Lazar explains simply, letting the shovel in his hand slide downward and business end first, until it buries itself partway in the ground beside him. His expression remains one of displeasure, though moreso at the animal than at the cemetery visitor. The former emits a few more clicks before it letting out a more familiar caw and hopps forward and off of the memorial, hurdling down in a flurry of feathers before landing more or less in the right way on the ground and scuttling into some foliage. Lazar seems unamused by its antics, letting out a long, deep sigh.

"Oh, poor thing," Mariah says, her voice sympathetic to the creature. She must be assuming an accident is to blame. She watches it scuttle off, but ultimately turns back to Lazar once it disappears.

Her fingers pull out a generous length of good silk, folded up neatly, out of a pocket. Stepping closer, she slides it into his jacket pocket, not for his personal use, likely, but good for trading in town. But hey, she's not here to judge if a man likes a bit of fancy in his life. "Thank you for looking after my family," she says with a nod toward the stone, "It looks well today."

Yes, poor thing. Lazar shows little pity for the bird. His grip on the shovel tightens ever so slightly when Mariah approaches, brow furrowing when he is rewarded for a job well done. Not a thing he's unfamiliar with, but it certainly doesn't always come this easy. "You're welcome." He replies after a short, stunned silence. And this time, his words sound genuine. "I hope you are, too. Well." It is hard to tell whether he actually cares for the answer, but the very fact that he brings it up seems to catch him slightly off guard.

"Well enough," Mariah answers with a gentle smile, something bittersweet about it, "Tired." There's a slight breath of a chuckle after the word, but whatever deeper might be going on to make her so, she's sparing him the details.

Ever generous, this one.

"And you? Doing well out here? Not getting lonely yet?" It's always been her curiosity about this particular profession of his, since she is and always has been quite the social creature.

The details are best spared on this one anyway, he wouldn't know what to do with them. Lazar seems somewhat more keen to talk when it is to answer questions pertaining to himself, and almost immediately cracks a grin that never quite reaches his eyes. "Lonely?" He uses his free arm to swing it in a small arc around him. "I am not alone." He corrects, though his tone of voice is much more lighthearted than before. "Every day I have people to see. I keep busy." Whether that is a good or bad thing remains a mystery, the gravedigger always having been reluctant to complain aloud.

Mariah lifts an eyebrow at his answer, his smile is echoed on her features, although to a lesser degree. "The bereaved and sullen," she says with a soft chuckle, "they make for wonderful company. One of these days, I'm going to have to have you down at the Albatross with a few drinks in you. You must be off duty sometime."

"And if I get tired of the bereaved and sullen, there are always the dead." The grin on Lazar's face grows ever so slightly, and he gives a shortlived shrug. "Some times I go there." He taps the side of his head with a middle finger, "When the head is full and needs to be emptied." Then, after a short pause, he adds, "Or maybe when I get challenged to drinking contests again by the religious drunk." That would be Andrew, according to the gravedigger. He seems amused enough by the notion, but then promptly clears his throat and much of his expression with it.

"Not the best conversationalists, the dead. But good listeners, I do like that." Mariah looks over at the stone, not just her family's, but the expanse of them stretching out behind it. Even if her words are faintly sarcastic, she comes by here often enough that she must understand.

There's a gentle laugh as he goes on, and a nod, "That's when I go as well. Although, not so good at the drinking contests. I always have to cheat and challenge someone who's halfway there already."

Lazar shakes his head, now leaning on the shovel. "I will remember that one for next ti—" He's interrupted when the hooded crow pops back into sight with a start, darting out of the top of a low bush nearby to latch its little talons onto Lazar's sleeve. He nearly falls over in surprise, fervently cursing the bird in Hungarian as it clumsily climbs up to his shoulder for a spot to sit. The cursing continues even afterward, and by the look on Lazar's face, one could well assume he's telling it exactly how soon it will be murdered for scaring its owner.

Mariah startles, too, at the sudden movement before she gives an odd look in the direction the bird just came from. But it's the string of curses that bring her attention back around. "That's quite the expressive language you have there," she says with a knowing smirk. She doesn't know it, of course, but cursing sounds the same in any language.

"Magyar— Hungarian." The gravedigger explains angrily, still glaring at the bird, which seems to pay the angry man no mind whatsoever, and seems happily perched atop his shoulder for now with his wings half hanging down. He raises a hand as if to grab the creature in his fist to strangle it, but calms himself shortly before it would take place, instead muttering angrily, "If you ever want to tell someone he has the brain of a sock, like this one, I will tell you the words." Two or three more foreign words escape him through gritted teeth, but he busies himself with dusting off his sleeve for now. Miniature dust and dried dirt clouds rise off of him as he pats down his side.

"I'll definitely let you know. In French, all the cursing still sounds so lyrical, it's hardly vicious enough." Mariah nods back to her family's stone as she notes, "Just going to have a moment here, then I'll be out of your way. But I mean it about the Albatross. I'm going to expect you drunk enough for some dancing, and don't think I'll forget."

And just like that, all of the pleasant appears to have been drained from the gravedigger. He will now return to his usual schedule of generally ignoring people and minding his own damn business. "Dancing is not likely. But I will see, I will visit." And bad as his sudden moods get, he is not known to lie. They will meet again. For now, however, he picks up his shovel and turns curtly enough for the bird on his shoulder to give an alarmed caw in dismay. Heavy steps continue once more, to snatch up some dying flowers from another grave before they rot and be on his way. "Be well, miss Larke."