Drink With Me To Days Gone By

Title: Drink With Me To Days Gone By
Time Period: January 10, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: …to the life that used to be. And the one that currently is, too.

He hasn't come downstairs today and his horse is in the stables, according to those who work, live or loiter at the Wandering Albatross in regards to Beisdean Skye when Mariah asks where he can be found. From outside of his door, she can hear movement inside, and voices — no, just one voice.

The movement is the sound of pacing, footfalls padding across wood floors, boards creaking in one particular spot toward the right of the door. The soliloquy within is muttered, muffled by the wall and door and hard to make out before a more pronounced "No," can be heard. It's not shouted but it has the sort of intensity behind it that makes it almost seem as if it were.

Seconds later, the floorboard creaks again, followed by the sound of mattress springs sinking down.

It's a odd moment when Mariah isn't sure if it's entirely appropriate to interrupt him and his… visitors, so she ends up lingering outside the door for a few moments of indecision. The matter is all cleared up for her with the sound of the mattress, though, and there's a soft rapping on his door in the seconds that follow.

"Beisdean?" She calls from her side of the door, to announce herself, "It's Mariah." Today, she's somewhat inappropriately dressed in what can only be called mens clothes, although it's arguably more inappropriate that she's replaced what should be a vest with a decorative corset, as if making sure the townsfolk don't forget what it is she does for a living. But then, advertising is always a good idea, at least in her book. "You're not busy, are you?"

An exasperated growl of sorts comes from behind the door, and then the bed creaks again as he rises. "I won't. I'm sorry. I can't," comes more clearer as he nears the door. "Now leave, please." There's despair and exhaustion in his low voice.

The door opens, revealing the young man in a disheveled sort of state. His hair is uncombed and falling into his eyes; his shirt is unbuttoned and loose on his thin frame. Whoever it is that is visiting him seems to have arrived in the middle of Beisdean's dressing as his shoes are unlaced and a belt lies on the bed, waiting to be put on.

"Mariah…" the word is a breath, and there seems to be some relief in the tone, though he looks warily at her. "I'm afraid I've got guests."

There's a humorless smirk at his words — she can easily see that he's alone in the room, so just what sort of guests are understood. "You should be safe, though I can't promise to be good company. What can I do for you?"

When the door opens, Mariah looks over him for a moment before her hands go to her hips and she looks back to his face. "If anyone ever looked in more need of a drink, I've never seen it." She does glance back to the room behind him, but her expression turns more sympathetic when her gaze shifts back again. "I just thought I'd come see if you made it through alright. The dragon and all.

"And now that I'm here, I'm going to insist you accept my company for a time. I pride myself on being an effective distraction, you know." Which is to say, she's not worried about another episode like that last. Or at least, if she is, she's not letting him know.

'The dragon' gets a blank look for a moment, his past several hours lost to an argument with a spirit only he can see. Beisdean stares down at her for a moment, then shrugs his shoulders and steps aside to let her in, closing the door behind him.

"I have a flask on that table there," he says, with a nod toward the small bedside table. "The dragon didn't hurt me at all, but it's kind of you to check on me. I feel bad for the widow, but luckily the damage wasn't too much. A little scorch marks on the barn door and a fence that's a bit crooked because I'm no carpenter."

As he talks, he moves to the corner of the room to draw forward a chair for her, then takes a seat across from her on the bed. "Distractions are a bit of a tricky thing, I'll admit. Depends on what I'm getting distracted from. Sometimes it can make it all just so much background noise — that's the good sort. Other times, it makes me lose concentration… makes it more dangerous."

He rests his elbows on his knees and leans forward. "Tell me if anything I talk of scares you, Mariah. It's strange… no one knew what I was in England. My big secret, aye? It's like being here, the dam's broken, and I can't stop explaining."

The mention of a flask has her looking thataway, and she steps in to head over and grab it before she comes over to that chair. She doesn't sit right away, but rather, comes over to brush his cheek gently first. "There are far more frightening things than you about, Beisdean. And I'm not the fainting sort." She presses the flask into his hand instead of keeping it for herself, and then she moves to take up that chair.

"I'm glad to hear you weren't hurt. I didn't hear much in the way of details, just that there was a dragon and you were there and I thought, if you'd come out of it missing a limb or something and I didn't at least stop by to see how you were, I'd feel terrible later," she says with a crooked smile. It's just a little teasing. But as he goes on about his magic, understanding softens her expression. "I must say, it sounds like an exhausting balance to maintain." Something in what he says makes her brow furrow a bit, just for a second, "If you'd like to chat about something else, we can do that, you know. You don't need to feel obligated to explain things. At least to me."

His eyes close at the touch and he feels chillier than the room merits. "No, you, I do owe explanations to, more than anyone. I could have hurt you the other night," he says before pressing his lips into a firm line and glancing sideways — as if he had said something he shouldn't have.

"Later," he hisses suddenly, glowering up and to his right.

The flask comes to his lips and he takes a swallow, then relaxes noticeably. "He's gone," he explains, apologetic tone matching the look in his eyes that he turns on her. He hands her the flask, then smiles. "I would forgive you, for the record, if I get dismembered by a dragon and you don't happen to visit me the next day. I doubt that would improve my company, for some reason."

"Please. You didn't hurt me, so stop beating yourself up over it. Plus, I remember enough from when we were kids," Mariah says with a gentle, sympathetic half-smile. She glances over, too, when he hisses, but there's a firm nod when he mentions the ghost leaving. "Good. Seems like a terrible guest anyway."

She takes the flask for a drink of her own, and while the liquid within makes her cough a little, she still returns his smile, in the end. "Well, that's very sweet of you," she says on the matter of forgiveness, "Maybe I'll wait until two days after, then."

Taking the flask for another swallow of his own, Beisdean chuckles, voice raw and rough from the burn of the whiskey. "This might be a terrible idea. I haven't had any food today," he says, though he tips another swallow back before passing the flask back to her.

He is quiet for a moment, examining his nails before bringing his eyes back up to hers. "All right. No more apologies. 'What's gone and what's past help should be past grief.' Good advice. Easy to pen, harder to take, aye? How, on that topic, did your … not-quite apology go the other day? You were thinking of a gift for a Not-Ross or a Not-Rowntree, if I remember right. Before our not-living-friend crashed the party."

Mariah makes a tsk at that confession, but she passes the flask back to him all the same. After she's had another drink herself. "There you are. You'll learn one of these days. And for the record, I find most good advice is difficult to take. Hardly seems fair, but there you have it."

When the topic of her apology comes up, Mariah presses her lips together to try to hide them spreading into a particularly bright smile. Her gaze flicks to the side, too, but she nods a little, "Right, yes. I did find a gift. It… worked out pretty well, in the end." Her words are mild, but her expression gives away a rather genuine happiness that she usually tries to avoid showing, given her profession. "I must be better at apologies than I figured."

Her smile draws one of his own, infectious as hers is. "That's good. I wish I could take any of the credit, but I don't think I got as far as actually giving you any advice, good or bad or indifferent." The flask is set on the table this time, within her reach.

"Can I…" he frowns, glancing down at his loosely-laced boots, then back up at her. "Can I ask what happened to your family?" His voice is gentle, sympathetic, and his body very still, as if he might frighten away a deer in a meadow.

"Well, you listened, which is always nice when you've got a problem you're trying to work out." Mariah reaches over to give his leg a pat there, since she actually does appreciate it.

There's a reversal of her expression at the question, though, as her face falls slowly into a more sobered look. A hand reaches up to run through her hair before she can bring up another, albeit less convincing smile. "I forget, you weren't around for all that. Seems like most everyone already knows all about it in town." She lets out a mirthless, brief laugh there, but she pushes up from her chair to walk over to the window instead of just sitting there staring at him.

"They died. On a supply run down the coast. Bandits," she says, the last word sent with a look over his shoulder. "I was here watching the store. And I, ah. Well, my father's debtors came shortly after to collect and I ended up at the Dovetail." She turns back then, her smile a little better as she leans back against the wall, "I couldn't stomach factory work. You know."

Beisdean's expression grows more somber as well, and he watches her at the window before looking down. "I'm so sorry," he murmurs. "I can't imagine losing everything like that."

He only had his mother, and had lost her gradually over the years to time and distance and absence already.

He stands, too — it feels strange to be in the bed while she stands. One hand reaches out as if to touch her, but he's still too far away. "I'm sorry," he repeats, for want of anything more useful to say.

"I never tried factory work myself," is a quick change of subject, "but I think it'd be a tad dangerous for someone whose attention is as likely to wander as mine. D'you know they had a name for it that I read in a book — granted, I don't think it was because of ghosts, but people who can't pay attention for more than a few moments at a time? The people in the old days, they had a name for every problem you could think of."

"It's alright," Mariah says, tugging pointlessly on the edge of her corset as if to straighten it, "It was all years ago. I like to think I picked myself up well enough. Plus, it teaches a girl a few things, when you're starting from nothing." Which might account for how different she is these days. There's little doubt it all bothers her far more than she says; it becomes quite obvious in the relief at the shift in topic.

"Sounds like they had too much free time on their hands, in the old days. What would they have labeled you, then?" She doesn't move back over yet, too much nervous energy to sit down again, but at least she gets her easy smile back.

"It was … I forget quite. Attention Disorder or something like that…? It was in a book about mental problems that keep people from learning as they should, I suppose. They had a medicine for it. I wonder if Mrs. Rowntree could concoct me something — though I'm thinking that Luna's little roll of herbs is more likely to do the trick, aye?" His eyes sparkle and he returns to the bed.

Studying her through tired, half-lidded eyes, Beisdean nods. "And I'd say you did quite well for yourself. A town like this, there aren't many options if you're not a Rowntree or a Ross, and it's as honest a living as any. Giving people pleasure is a higher calling in my book than making weapons to kill someone with…" Beisdean's laugh is low, thoaty as the alcohol begins to mellow him. "Just don't tell the Rowntrees I said so."

"Makes someone wonder if they had more magic than they realized, back then, and just thought… it was something broken." Mariah lets out a breath and comes back over as well, but she opts to sit next to him, propping her feet up in the chair instead.

"Never been too good with weapons myself. And don't worry, your secret's safe with me." She looks over at him, her head tilting a little, "If it wasn't for Luna and your mother, I think I would have had a rougher time of it there, to be honest. She used to sit with me when I cried, you know, at the beginning, your mum." Which might be a strange insight into her profession, but then she's not worried about keeping him as a client, so perhaps the truth falls a little easier.

Her words make him smile a little ruefully. "For some of us, I think it still is. Something broken," he murmurs, then leans back on the bed, arms tucking behind his head as he stretches out on the mattress behind where she perches.

He is quiet, eyes closed, and for a moment, it might seem that he has drifted asleep. But then he speaks.

"She was good at that," he finally says, voice low and somber. "I'm sorry it was hard for you. I'm glad she was there."

The topic too serious, he opens his eyes, one corner of his mouth quirking up into a smile. "And Luna, did she browbeat all your clients if they paid you poorly?"

"Maybe. Definitely a double-edged sword in a lot of cases, at the very least." She turns a little to look his way, legs folding up onto the bed with her, "You have Darklight, if nothing else positive out of it." She sounds… fond, there.

"I suppose any new job is hard to get used to. But I'm glad she was there, too. I'll never forget her." Her eyebrow lifts at his latter question, but she laughs a bit before answering, "Oh aye. Still does, from time to time." It's playful, but warm all the same.

Beisdean closes his eyes, lips curving into a more full smile. "Yes. I suppose I wouldn't trade Darklight away for a more peaceful life… there are days I might say I would, but it'd be like ripping my soul in two to do it. He lives up to his name. I hope he's out there giving some squirrel a good chase."

Those blue eyes open and he watches her again solemnly, before reaching to pull her hair lightly. "You're a good friend. To Luna. To my mum."

There's a pause, and the truth perhaps is the most surprising of all, given their childhood. "To me."

Letting go of her hair, he draws his hand back under his pillow, watching her through his lashes. "Let me know if there's anything ever I can help you with, aye? Whatever it is. I'll do what I can to help."

When he pulls her hair, Mariah gives him a quirky smile, but it evens out some at the latter addition. It might even be said that she's touched by it. Especially given their childhood. But as he settles against his pillow, she slips off the bed, although she doesn't go far. At least not until after she leans over to press a peck against his cheek.

"Ditto." Her response seems to encompass both the sentiment and the offer, and she ruffles his hair a bit before she straightens. "Sleep well. And try not to get eaten by a dragon before I see you again," she offers with a wink before she heads for the door.