Histoire et Légende

Title: Histoire et Légende
Time Period: June 27, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

  • Jørn Wartooth
  • Octavia, Hermetic Adept
  • Sapiutu-la-trè, her familiar

Summary: A member of an historic order shares a drink with a living legend.

The Wandering Albatross always benefits from a ship's coming in to dock, and the longer the voyage, the better; long sails make for thirsty sailors, and sure enough the dock-side establishment is flush with foreigners a few hours after the commotion at the pier has wound down. Now the commotion is at the bar itself, a burbling buzz of French with smatterings of what might be Italian - with sailors it can be hard to tell.

Despite the place being full of her crewmates, Octavia sits alone. This is not so hard to understand, considering her uninviting mien; she leans low over a drink, shoulders near hunched, and her familiar has taken on the unwelcoming aspect of a copper-colored adder. From time to time she'll take a sip, but for the most part she looks as if she's either brooding or dozing, neither states suggesting an openness of mood.

In the name of and for the sake of making foreign friends, Jorn is back at the harbour after those few hours spared to him to get home and debrief. And of course, reassure everyone that he did not, in fact, forget to bring something back. He did- it isn't here yet, that's all. The rain is still as present as is was- Scottish summers, right? -and when Jorn shoulders his way in the door, he is also shrugging off a layer of water, wiping his face and hair down rather quickly.

Even with the bustle of their visitors, it does not take him long to spot the one interested enough in a drink to have asked him where to find one. Ask, demand, state, whatever it was. Jorn does not play familiar with those he recalls from the boat, at least- not the sailors. The more important figures are the ones that matter most. Less to him, more to the Rosses. Octavia's stormy presence over yonder does little to deter an approach, as he is used to knowing similar types. Jorn does, however, pause when he gets near, silently questioning the adder nearby with a glancing look. Instead of his mage. The snake could do more than she might.

She doesn't rebuff him. In fact, she was expecting him. Or so her words suggest. "Where you been?" is gruff as anything, but they're the first words she's spoken since ordering her drink, and when she turns on her seat to better face Jorn it's the first real motion as well. Animal magnetism indeed.

The adder may have a bite worth considering, but Octavia's familiar seems - as is always the case - more frightened of Jorn than Jorn is of it. Indeed, once he settles down, it slithers into Octavia's sleeve and out of sight. Fleeing the bear-stare.

"I had to meet with my boss. I work for the Rosses, not the Rowntrees. I was asked on the trip, and the family gave me leave." A short explanation, without the frills. Jorn sits down, settling in when the adder resigns to his presence, and stretching out his legs on the other side of the table. It looks like he is still getting his land legs back. It had been a long time since he was sailing for that long. There is a crick of joint somewhere to punctuate.

"The owners will appreciate all of this business… have you all been here since I left the party?" Small talk is clearly not his forte, but he gets points nonetheless. "How do you find Dornie?"

"You think I care which is which?" Octavia says, who thus far seems incapable of a single uncombative statement. Her nostrils flare and she pushes the glass forward on the bar. Asking for your drink to be freshened is a universally understandable request.

"I don't find it," Octavia says, her English not so much bad as just crudely hewn, "that is for Septima." Her tone makes it pretty clear this is a disparaging nickname. She glances over her shoulder, demonstratively. "Who is not here. Not all. Just me."

Of course, there are the sailors. A particularly raucous burst of laughter punctuates this point. She jerks her head to accede their presence, but not their importance or inclusion.

"They are nobody," Octavia opines, with utter dismissal. Instead she looks at Jorn, a fixed gaze from under thick brows. "Who are you? You found Dornie, too."

And so torrid about it, too. Jorn leans an inch or so from her words, if only to avoid being bitten by them. He gives her free information, but of course she takes it another way.

"Is that the young lady, with the red hair?" The northman makes a gesture down the front of one shoulder, for hair. To be clear. "Or the flaky man with the little monkey?" Jorn gives her a dry, sheepish smile, when she dismisses the sailors, imbibing themselves with Dornie brew. He makes it quite clear that he does not see them as nothing, leaning forward. "They are somebody, to have sailed your vessel…"

"Ah. So I did." Now that he is at home as much as he ever will be, he notes that he should be safe in introducing himself properly. "My name is Jorn-" Which someone may have caught on the trip, though he amends it as well, testingly so. "Wartooth."

Those big bushy brows shoot straight up, and all of a sudden Octavia is rendered wholly comic. What she says is not in a language that Jorn knows, but it’s sentiment is universal. In English we say: “No shit?!”

All of a sudden Octavia wishes she could speak better English. This was not the case before. She resents the ugly tongue, born of the Atlantic. But what she’s heard about Jorn’s career- she doesn’t have nearly enough of the right words to express.

“Alsace-Lorraine,” she says, seized with an unprecedented kind of animation, a hand upheld, fingers curled in a sort of claw, “one swing” she sends that claw cutting through the air, “fifteen heads-” she cuts her thumb in a sharp motion across her throat, “-n’est pas vrai?”

As to Jorn’s description of the other mages, at first Octavia laughs, cheer lingering. It manifests, this rare sound, as quick series of nasal sniggers. "Monkey-man" she answers.

As for the other? Octavia’s expression recedes into a regrettable sobriety as she clarifies. “Nos Magus Quintus. The youngest, dans toute l'histoire de l'ordre.“ Apparently this is too impressive for her English to express.

If she knew him, Jorn is glad it is this way, and not some other way, like that little she-wolf in the mountains. Octavia's manner catches him somewhat off-guard, as early as her exclamation of disbelief. The reluctance of introduction on the boat is much clearer now, at least, under this abrupt haze of Jorn finding himself a fan. He sits up straighter.

"Fifteen? Mmm." His mouth flattens into that familiar, firm line, jaw working, eyes riveted momentarily on the middle distance. A twinkle, and a smirk. "I would not say one swing." Jorn does not say whether fifteen is accurate or not, clearing his throat and setting one hand on his knee, the other perched firmly on wood.

"The youngest of your… historic order?" The nord ventures, pale eyes squinting, trying to let the mutual intelligibility of Europe work itself out. Close enough. "What manner of order are you, exactly?" Latin-esque titles, a rainbow of languages, different faces. Mages. Mysteries.

Octavia shakes her head, a rapid back and forth. "All history," she says, gesturing widely with a hand, as if across some lengthy timeline, "the youngest. Trente-deux ans."

The way she puffs up her chest to answer may or may not be parodic. "Antique et éminent," is the party line, certainly, "old-" she clarifies, "grand. Do not know how old." She shrugs- "Higher mysteries." For higher mages, presumably.

"They-" she gestures again to the sailors, "are nobody." This reiteration is in answer to a much earlier defense. "You-" she points at Jorn, "are someone. Why-" those brows arch up again, this time at the angle of perplexity, "-are you in Dornie?"

Even her familiar must be curious. A serpentine head peeks out from her collar, tongue flickering.

They are nobody when compared to the youngest leader of this order, to have ever been. They are someone- but not in that vein, no. Jorn listens intently to her explanation of what is what, only shifting when she returns a new question.

"I came here because my gods told me to. Several years past." He wags a hand, his turn to be dismissive. "I brought my band to find fortune, and I think, in hindsight, I had gone somewhat mad. They became fearful and betrayed me, and left me to die in the loch. I washed up. Perhaps swam. I cannot remember anything after the first blow, and nothing before opening my eyes." All very tragic a way to drop off the grid, is it not? Jorn speaks as much to the curious snake, as he does to Octavia. They are both curious, after all.

"I may have found my fortune here. Not in riches, mind you." Not the kind they were after in Liverpool. Jorn lets out a brief chuckle. "That is why I am here. Retired to being a right-hand, and someone to drink all of the Albatross' ale." At which time he finally deigns to flag one down.

“The gods?” Octavia echos. Then she nods. Good enough for her, evidently. “No wisdom to argue with them.”

The mage is often cagey and bullheaded, but she’s anything but disrespectful. She listens with interest and a sense of privilege as she gets the inside story. Not quite what she’d heard. “In Marsailles, they think you are in the east, killing Russes. I heard one story- no more men in your army. Only bears.” She pats both her shoulders, a kind of pantomime. “Bears en amure.”

“There is a woman?” Octavia presumes this is what he means by fortune-but-not-riches. Or else maybe, “a man?” She squints, unsure, not wanting to offend but… “…a bear?”

"Retirement is good to me, so perhaps it is best that some think I am leading a battalion of… armored bears… through Russia?" Did he get that? These rumors are met with a puzzled little expression, and Jorn is soon unsure of if he should be flattered, frank, or both. He laughs modestly again, for lack of better things to say. He managed to make a legend of himself, even though his career was ended prematurely. Octavia's words tell him that yes- some of his dreams came true after leaving Fosnavag behind.

"Women. Men. No bears, save for min bror." His palm finds the edge of his cloak, before settling down to receive his drink. "Many things to make a whole." Perhaps it was literally the whole town.

“The man who told the story- I do not know how many believe,” Octavia admits - some people are known for their propensity for big fishery, “but a good story, people will tell. ‘J’ai entendu, j’ai entendu…’ ‘I heard this, he told me that.’”

Octavia might have brushed off this little maxim, formula perhaps, from someone she finds less impressive - but perhaps she is open minded about such ideas. She is a mage. Mages are known to seek wisdom - hence the name.

Still, her question is very frank, and frankly challenging. “Whole? This place? All people?” No community without its outcasts and fringes, would seem to be her working theory.

"Every place has its ups, and its downs. You must learn to accept the bad as well as the good, or you may not see things clearly." For not being a mage himself, Jorn seems to have the seeking wisdom thing down. "Dornie has beauty as well as ugliness. It is not perfect. But it is a home that I cherish."

He tips the rim of his pint down the bar to someone before he starts in on it, content to leave his explanation at that.

Octavia laughs again, this time a single drawn out nasal snarl, accompanied by a sharply canted smile. She turns back towards the bar, taking Jorn’s cue and claiming her own refilled glass. Octavia lifts it, but looks to Jorn- deferring.

“How do they- as you drink- say ‘health!’ in le Nord?”