Lesson in Self Preservation

Title: Lesson in Self Preservation
Time Period: June 15, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The acid of Constance's tongue carries with it some consequence.

The pale moon shines down on the ship and the water, oddly bright in the night sky. Though long shadows creep across the deck, it is easy to see from one end to the other. The hold is still heavy with water, necessitating sleeping under the open sky. It stinks. The head of the sea monster, cut away from the rest of the body, takes up most of the room.

There were two sides of the ship to chose from when picking a place for her bedroll. Luna decided, along with most of the rest, to take the side of the boat that didn't have the broken rail. Circles as like large shadow halfmoons ring below her eyes, she hasn't tried to sleep. She's only cried.

Constance managed to sleep for a little while, enjoying the freedom of not having to hide her presence, but being on deck wasn't exactly her ideal sleeping arrangement. Occasionally, the young blonde would open her eyes, blinking at the sky and occasionally looking around at would-be sleepers. Eventually she cannot fall back asleep. Crawling out of her bedroll, she notes the other blonde and carefully moves over towards her. "Hey," she says softly.

They'll be able to patch the boat properly and do more than empty buckets once they get landed in some sort of port. Even if meager, they'll surely be able to do more. For now, the boat meanders along at a pace set only by the captain, leaving those aboard to deal with the smell or the uncomfortable beds on their own or with one another. In the least, they were able to get parts from the monster. Nothing goes to waste if one can help it, yes? Not at sea.

Because of the smell and the previous encounter, those aboard that are skilled take turns waiting up in the night; making sure that no more surprises lurk up out of the water. If one does- well- things are trickier. Jorn is awake, even if it isn't his turn to be. Constance got into enough trouble for being there, though perhaps it is the implications that worry him more than her stowing away. Duncan will flip his lid unless she left him a note. Not his fault, at least! He comforts that much out of himself.

Propped up against part of the cabin, Jorn sits in silence, chin tucked, listening to the mixed snores and light sounds of crawling, whispering, and rattle of ropes on the sails.

The dim light hides the redness that's taken over Luna's eyes as she whips her head sharply in Constance's direction. Lips pressed tightly together, she doesn't say a word to the younger blonde. Her jaw works, possibly as the prostitute practices a valuable lesson in discipline. Finally, rather than glaring at the young Rowntree her eyes travel upward to the sails. Once torn, they're now repaired with silk that the crew had managed to glean from their cargo. Much to Luna's chagrin, all of it came from her dresses.

"What were you thinking?" she begins, her voice as scolding as a school marm's… or perhaps Constance's grandmother. "Were you thinking? Do you know how worried your father is going to be? Do you think he will ever forgive me for this? You might have ruined my entire life if it doesn't end before we get back to Dornie."

Constance takes the lecture with a straight face. She'd had plenty of time to prepare for scolding, and she looks back to Luna once the older blonde has finished speaking. "I know he'll be worried. I left him a note and I assure you it places no blame on you. Besides… if he trusted you to go on this trip, it's certainly safe enough for me." She pauses. "Can we leave out the part about the sea monster when we tell him about this?"

It is not terribly hard to eavesdrop on this part of the boat, when Jorn is actively trying to listen in and pretend he's dozing off. Part of him is proud that Luna isn't taking it too well- then again, Luna has the right to already be in a foul mood. Jorn shifts his head to look up towards the girls, not quite caring if one glances over to see his pale eyes glistening back. Privacy isn't a real luxury now, is it?

"Not likely." Jorn rumbles in the half-dark, on the matter of leaving things out. If they did, he'd find out anyway, and it'd be worse. Being practical, unfortunately.

She's struck dumb for a few seconds, likely a thankful reprieve from the string of accusations and questions that Constance has already and is about to receive. "Leave it out?! We're not be leaving anything out, young lady. And me going on this trip, well it had nothing to do with his trust, let me tell you." Luna's whispered tirade begins anew, the woman crawling a little closer to keep from waking Hossfeld and more of the crew.

"I'd been planning this trip since before your father stepped into my life," she goes on, "and I'd have stepped right out of his if he'd planned on stopping me."

Constance manages to keep her strength and composure in the face of a whirlwind of nearly-parental scolding. "I know everyone's angry with me, but I needed to get out. You don't understand how stifling it is to just be entirely locked away like that. I'd never have gotten this opportunity otherwise and I don't regret doing what I had to do to get out into the world a little."

Jorn frowns quietly at Luna's renewed anger, and Constance's need to defend herself. He puts out his legs, ankles stretching as he sits up straighter. Should he actively intervene? He is not sure if that would be a good idea or not, given the circumstance.

"Jenter, roe ned…" His chosen interference is loud enough to be heard, but not scolding. It's a calm interjection, tired, and somewhat pleading. "Ladies. Is this not best for after we make it aground? After we sleep? It has been a long day for both of you." And him. Smelling faintly like eel guts.

"If we make it to ground, it's not looking likely right now, is it?" Luna snaps pulling her blanket a little tighter around her shoulders. The cool sea air combined with the dampness of her clothing hasn't helped her disposition any. "I'll go to my maker with a clear conscience, I'll not let anything go unsaid if I'm about to die."

She stops and looks down at her shoes. The blonde woman never did venture below to see how many of her collection had survived. The loss of her dresses was enough of a toll on her poor little heart, causing fainting spells with every rip of cloth. Though a practiced seamstress, she volunteered Constance to help with repairs rather than put herself through more torture.

Constance hadn't been too happy being volunteered. She would have volunteered herself happily, but because of the fact that it was someone else volunteering her, the young woman had obliged in a less-than-satisfied manner. She folds her arms over her chest, looking between Jorn and Luna. "It isn't as if it's my fault about any of this." She pauses. "Besides, we'll make it somewhere. I think we're all fighters at heart."

"You are right, it isn't your fault." But it doesn't help that she's here. Jorn shifts in his seated position, as if he cannot quite decide on how to be. Literally or otherwise. "We may need to ground early, but we are still going to make it far enough. I've faith in that much. We cannot know where we stand until then, so I suggest you look at the cup half full, not half empty."

"Turning into a paranoid, distraught fool now will help even less than our …encounter did." He finally decides to sit away from his bit of wall, slinging his arms over his knees and watching the girls over this perch.

Giving Jorn a look… the look… Luna sets her jaw, her lips turning down along with her eyebrows into an unhappy frown. "I'm not turning into a paranoid and distraught fool. Do you think what's out there is the only thing I'm frightened of?" A pale arm motions toward the water and the land beyond it. "I am capable of coming to terms with my own demise, but hers?" That same hand points a long finger toward Constance.

It could be a sob, or a laugh, possibly a combination of both. "Duncan'll have my head if a hair on hers is damaged. It don't matter what your note says Constance, this was my voyage. I'm the one responsible if you get hurt or worse."

"Oh, please, he wouldn't hurt you. He can't see anything but you," Constance shakes her head. "We get back? Won't be a thing about it being your fault, he'll just lock me up in a tower forever and go back to you."

Whatever Luna seems to think, Jorn may agree- but it does not appear that Duncan makes him quake in his boots quite as much. The perils of being a man, perhaps, are that he can like to think he understands the female fear.

"Duncan is only a top dog in our part of the highlands." Jorn does not sneer, but it is in his tone. Not at the militia leader, per se, but at the notion presented. "I respect him enough, and I would do much for him, but I know he is not the be-all end-all. There is a whole new world where Duncan Rowntree isn't around." He also likes to think that if it came down to it, the younger Rowntree might have a hard time going head to head with grittier generals.

"You are thinking too far ahead. Both of you. If you are going to worry, worry about how much fresh water we can carry with us once we land. What he thinks or does will not matter if we don't last that long." Jorn actually laughs then, a short, sharp bark. "Tower, no tower, he can't do anything to us if we never come back."

"We will come back, I made a promise that I would. You are here to ensure that I do." Whether or not it's at the cost of his own life, Luna doesn't quite clarify, but apparently Jorn's purpose is more than just as a companion. Heaving a long sigh, she wipes her eyes and gives Constance a slight smile. "Here to make sure the two of us return, now, I suppose."

Jorn's wisdom has sunk into her selfish skull, at least in part. "Once we reach land then, that's when we'll worry about getting back. At least the sails will hold, those dresses are made from the finest silk, they'll carry us swiftly home. As long as the hull holds. If it won't, we'll go back on foot."

"Jorn has the right idea." Constance grins after a moment, clearly pondering the concept of the rest of the world where her father does not dictate all. "As… hard as this all is, I kind of look forward to all of this. I really get to do something for once." She glances to the bigger man. "And Jorn will take care of us. He's good at that."

Jorn knows too well that his purpose is physical; it's one of the reasons he wasn't stuck in the munitions factory those years ago. He gets taken on for what he is good at, and he is good at making sure other people don't bite the dust or otherwise get into trouble.

"Indeed. Even if we can't fix the boat. But hopefully it won't come to that." He gives the pair a short nod, considering the tips of his boots and the dampened boards under them. "Right now we think about how to land, how to live, and how to find what we came for. When that is done, we go home." And if, in the possibility something goes horribly wrong- well- the world is wide.

One of those three hows has written instruction. Luna tears her eyes away from Constance for a moment to look at the pack she's been using as a pillow. The one with the book and the map inside of it. Her two most precious possessions, at least now that her wardrobe has been torn to sheets and used to repair the ship. "I would hate to cut our journey short because of a stowaway and a crippled ship. At least if we come home with some riches, Duncan might overlook the running away."

Her lips lift into a semi smile at one corner and she slides down to rest her head on the 'pillow'. "At least you didn't run to the Dovetail, you can use that in your own defense. You're doing something he admires."

"There is no reason that the trip should be cut short because of me! I am not hindering this." Constance folds her arms, huffing a breath of air out. "I don't need to run off and go open my legs, I just want to be able to make a choice for myself once in awhile."

Jorn is glad that he has had some experience in derailing manic episodes. Even if it comes back later on, he doesn't have to deal with it right now, when they should be sleeping. Or attempting to. Good as anything, right? He seems ready to settle back again.

"You're smart enough to keep yourself from becoming troll food, Constance, but you're still young." And in Jorn's head, youth begets mistakes naturally. "I'm willing to give you the chance to prove yourself, just don't make me regret it." Or they'll have to rope her to the boat for being foolish.

Something in Luna freezes colder than ice. Stiffening her lips, she's silent for only a few seconds after Jorn speaks. Then, in a tone sweeter than honey she gives her piece. "Perhaps." There's another pause as she takes a breath. "Perhaps you don't need to run off and open your legs, but as the leader of this little expedition, I'm not as willing as Jorn is to let you run into a dangerous ruin." The prostitute has taken offense, but to her credit she hasn't resorted to the violence that she's been known to display.

"You'll stay on the ship with the women your father sent," the saccharine drops from her tone as she adjusts her blanket on her shoulder. "Jorn, Eduard, and I will go into the city to see what we can find." Lifting her head, she gives Constance a tight smile and stares at her through narrowed eyes. "It'll give you time to think about how to speak to people without being hurtful. Consider it a lesson in self preservation."