I Apologize For The Disturbance

Title: I Apologize For The Disturbance
Time Period: June 14, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Duncan is denied a crack at Deckard when Dina and a shotgun interrupts.

The dark of night has long been underway by the time restlessness and a full bladder conspire to roll Deckard out of his makeshift bed and onto the Manor grounds. Barefoot and in a shirt whose state says third hand more than second, he's just finishing up a wee beneath a sliver of moon and stars and Venus. Or perhaps Mars — he isn't sure of the difference or if there is one, once he's finished squinting up long enough to shake himself out and fasten his pants.

Leonard's pants, actually.

Toes curled into softish earth and shoulders rolled lax, he manages for six or seven seconds before he cuts his eyes in search of his usual sort of. Tail. Ross guards have a way of appearing before he makes it terribly far in any direction.

Up there, the planets aren't really planets any more. They're strange claims in old books that might moulder for all that such starry stuff matters. Earthly matters, pissing not least among, concern humankind now.

A bolt of uncelestial fire flashes through the heavy darkness, a torch that at least refutes the possibility of sneaking dishonesty. But it's not the stolid, grounded entitlement of a guard at their post that courses towards Deckard's quarters. Rather what's heard is murmured apology and indignation, the one restraining the other.

Duncan Rowntree pays the Ross hireling only so much mind as it takes to follow him. It's mostly force of personality and reputation that's got him this far, onto the land of the other first family. That and the fact that no one wants to wake that family at this hour, especially not when Duncan seems about ready to impose summary punishment.

When the torchlight strikes Deckard's back, Duncan breaks his silence, driving the hireling's murmur to ground as he calls out- "You! Flotsam man!" There is an unqualified quality to his voice. It's a lawkeeper's shout, meant to carry.

As he approaches, it's possible to discern a thin roll of parchment which he holds in one fist. His grip on it is tight, unkind.

Odd. The torchlight draws a second glance after the first casts it off as nothing to worry over for the obvious reason: no one goes sneaking around with a lit fire. The same goes for the guards that trail after him when he strays too far.

Either which way this likely has nothing to do with Flint the Gardener, but. Given the hour and the precariousness of his position and the ever-increasing-nearness of the mysterious torch — and perhaps a touch of a bad feeling — Flint sees fit to initiate a meandering retreat. Nowhere in particular. Just away.

Slowly, at first. More reassuring to himself, that way, up until Duncan's voice carries clear across the grounds.

The accused goes briefly tharn, fire shown back orange in his eyes in the beat it takes him to look back and weigh his options.

Then … he's off like a shot. Running.

It's not uncommon for Dina to be a nightowl. With much on her plate before, and even more so now, the older woman was up and about, getting some practice in, in moving on her own, with only the help of a cane and not the damnedable chair. It was by chance that she had seen Deckard out in the garden or thereabouts from the window's of the upper floors. It was by curiosity that brought the older woman out of the house at the late hour in skirts, shirt and shawl to keep off the cusp of summer cool. Thus it was that Deckard was beating his retreat, that she is making her journey out. A pause at the threshold of where lawn becomes garden, slippers damp with fallen dew and silvering hair tucked into it's long braid.

His retreat, the torch in the distance has her furrowing her brow, digging the cane into the ground and turning to the trailing servant who was accompanying her. "Shotgun"

Woe be to trespassers.

Duncan turns the air indigo and wastes no time in tearing after Deckard, running with the mechanical discipline of the trained. He doesn't waste any breath saying 'stop' or any other such nonsense. A man bolts like that, he's going to keep running.

The lights in the house glow up ahead. Duncan feels the wind changing.

Deckard is fast on his feet. Long legs, long strides and fear is a powerful motivator. As correctly assumed, he does not stop and has no intention of stopping.

Unfortunately there's the entire debacle of him washing up on a beach some days back malnourished and sore. He flags before he's made it far at all, ragged breaths torn in through his teeth. Winded.

The pair they make. The malnourished man and the recovering coma victim. Shotguns are close at hand though, and she's trading cane for gun, ensuring there's a shell loaded even as she is carefully making her way forward towards Deckard, but only just to him. "Hold" Spoken low for his benefit. "If you need, get to the house, but if not, hold here" She's not sent anyone to rouse more than what's already out there with them. The one following Deckard, and the one who was following her.

"Name!" She calls out, authoritative tone dredged up from who knows where, and managing strength to lift the shotgun and aim it at the figure bearing a latern. "I will shoot sir or Madam. You are on Ross grounds"

It's a train of men, really. For after Duncan comes the hireling, and when Duncan slows - which he does when he sees the armed woman perched upon the step - the torch-bearing guardsman stops short as well. Ill luck and darkness would have it, he's at the end of the barrels.

"M- m'lady!" the hireling exclaims. "Rodric, m'lady! And- and-" But words don't come. It's not as if he's about to say 'not me, him', though that would seem the most appropriate thing.

"Lady Ross-"Duncan begins. There was anger driving him at first. He'd been flouted, taken off guard. But this intervention requires a change of tactics. You can call Duncan many unkind things, but unmindful of rank he is not.

"I pay my respects, and those of my father, Marcus," he continues, with careful diction, "and upon his good honor, I am here to protect you."

The register of his voice changes, adding Deckard to the address.

"To protect your guest as well, mayhaps."

He lifts the roll of parchment.

"My men brought an outlander to me. I took this from him."

He tosses it, so that it lands at Dina's feet.

Hold. Deckard holds. He holds by listing to the right far enough to fall forward off balance in the process of still trying to run, one hand thrown out not enough to keep him on his feet.

Once he's down he just lies there for a moment. Breathing, of course, visibly and audibly, but not much else.

Eventually he kind of. Rolls himself over onto his back, eyes squinted to slits and sweat damp through his shirt. Grass stains. So on. Not interested in looking at either of them.

There's a gesture with the shotgun for the hireling to move his butt back a few steps even as she's looking down to the parchment that's been tossed at her feet. A fierce look often reserved for her son, niece and grandchild when they have done something she disapproves of. "You pay your respects at odd hours Mister Rowentree. And through my back forty, as opposed to like a proper guest.

Fortunately, one of her own hirelings has the sense to step forward and pick it up, trade it for the shotgun which is no longer pointing at people, and try to look at what's scribbled across it. "Come creeping through my gardens, like some roustabout, ready to raid our home. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were making to make a run on us. But, I think that I know better" Thin fingers flatten out the parchment, looking over the words, reading them but not quite comprehending them. French, it is not her forte. "Next time, the front door please? You were disturbing our walk through the garden. Mister Deckard here was making sure no wildlife were about, before he gave me a tour of what he was planning to do to it"

A look down to the man in question then back to Duncan. "What does this say young man and who is this outlander? Do you still have him in your posession or has he been dispatched?"

Duncan receives the chiding without a hint of rebuttal. He appears properly contrite. he waits until Dina has finished speaking before fielding a reply.

"We let him go, as he came only as a traveller. But he put questions to me, said that slip described someone, someone he was looking for. Someone dangerous." The briefest of pauses, to let this sink in, without fully affirming it. "I didn't say we knew yet if a man had washed up in irons." And in truth he didn't- that last detail was only in some of the rumors. "I came in haste-

"For it may be this man could be down at some bar now, yarning away over his drink about how he's here looking for a dangerous fugitive, that likely washed up of late, and there might be a reward for them that might run him down and take him in."

It's now that Duncan speaks to Deckard directly, circumventing Dina in favor of a direct appeal.

"Make me your friend. I'm not o'er keen to side with Frenchmen. But there must be an understanding, you 'ken?"

"They smell," Flint agrees not very enthusiastically, having found his breath. And his voice. He's keeping his eyes squeezed shut as if he has a headache, which he well might — brow furrowed and shadows harsh about the angles of his long face. Where the torchlight gleening off sweat and smudged dirt doesn't reach.

Hesitation marks a part of his teeth that doesn't lead immediately back into dialogue and he closes his eyes harder still. Trying to think.

He's English, to Duncan's ear. Or American. Both. From nowhere easily discerned on a map.

"And — historically quite cowardly, I'm led to understand. So — " in his defense, this man's definition of dangerous

All of this and he has yet to mention whether or not he wants to be friends.

"I do so dislike it when people come in, drop information and then take off. As if I would make my way to the tavern to speak with him. Such a shame you did not bring him with you. Something like that, I would have preferred hearing, instead of it being written down" There's a soft sigh, folding the paper in her hands. "We both know that I could find the truth out in a moment. But, alas" Alas.

"If there had been a man washed up ashore Mister Rownetree, in shackles, I am sure that the Militia in it's eagerness to fatten it's ranks or in the name of protecting the town, would have found him and dealt with them as they see fit yes? And we have had an issue with Kelpies recently. At our shoreline. Terrible things really. I cannot stand them. Though I hear that their hides have wonderful applications"

The paper is now folded into quarters, even as a small mouse appears beside Deckard, sitting on it's haunches beside him, watching Dina and Duncan. "Indeed they were dear" She looks over and down to Deckard. "Frenchman. Terrible people. Always with their nose in the air" She shakes her head, tut-tutting at the thought of a frenchman. "Never met a single one that I liked. You however, Mister Rowentree. I like. Smart head on your shoulders"

The paper is held out to him, to take if he wishes, make him step closer. "Be a shame if you should side with a frenchman. Over rumors no less"

"My interest is the public good," Duncan says, and lets the motto speak for him, without embellishment or interpretation. He accepts the compliment with a respectful bow. "I shall endeavor to locate this man, if you'd like me to bring him before you?" The offer of arrest as a courtesy is not really shocking in clannish oligarchy.

While he doesn't point out that it would also be a shame to side with a genuine public danger out of misguided pity, he does add, "I trust your guest properly appreciates the patronage of your noble house, and will wish it every prosperity and safety as rightful due for its hospitality."

Bare feet drawn in closer to himself one after the other with their scarred, blackened soles, Flint rattles around shiver despite the night's warmth. Adrenaline's unsteady decay is likely to blame — an aftershock is audible in the breath he pulls in before he starts to pick himself up onto his feet.

He dares to open his eyes on the way up, more out of necessity than courage, and to no immediate ill effect.

He opts not to speak for himself again, though, hanging unsure about the region of Dana's shadow. Mistrustful of them both. Less mistrustful of her.

"My gue- Oh" A hand goes to her chest, pale cheeks turning a faint shade of pink in the dim light of lanterns and torches as she turns to gesture at Deckard. "He thinks you are a guest?" They are not too far apart in age. "A cousin. He does indeed appreciate it. And the position that I have given him here. It has been comforting. Especially with what happened months ago. I do hope that you'll treat him like you do Bridget." Both he and Dina are of a similar enough age to be cousins. "If he doesn't appreciate it, well, I'll just have to send him right back." She turns to look back at Duncan, taking a step closer.

"As for this… Frenchman. If you might instruct to him that his is invited to take tea, so that I might hear out his story better, perchance see it. But if this washed up danger is smart, she or he will have likely stolen some clothes and supplies and hied off into the woods and taken their chances with all manner of beasts that reside within. This is Dornie, after all"

"We all strive to keep it so," Duncan agrees. His words, plentiful before, now seem depleted. There is nothing he can say to or against Dina's story. He does not believe it - he is no fool - but nor is he fool enough to make an issue of this here and now. This problem will likely work itself out - ideally it will not concern him at all. The only shame is that he's now played messenger boy.

"I apologize for the disturbance, Lady Ross. With my regards to your cousin," the irony here is barely detectable, "I shall take my leave."

Thoroughly confused at this point, Deckard stands and listens hard, the way that people do when they're hearing something surreal from someone they don't know very well. Is she joking? Is Duncan joking? He's suddenly even less sure of them both, looking between them with the long slope of his jaw slack, as if he suspects this is all over his head, somehow. Is he supposed to say something?

Thinking it too risky, perhaps, he fails to confirm or deny. The dumb peak of his brows says enough. He's about ready to shrink back into the night, anyway. A pair of steps taken back see him receding from the firelight before he's been dismissed.

"You are dismissed. Give my regards to your parents will you? I will expect the Frenchman within a few days" With that, she too is turning around, making her way to Deckards side, out of the light of the 'visitors'. There's an arm slipped into his, for support and for appearances, though her voice is low enough that only he can hear. "It seems Mr. Deckard"

She looks up at him. "That I must teach you welsh"