Not of Valor or Glory

Title: Not of Valor or Glory
Time Period: December 28, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Greene and Beisdean discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of books and boats and other things they don't quite see eye to eye on.

For the past week, the man in the corner reading and drinking has become a staple of the Wandering Albatross. Today a thick volume rests open on the table in front of him, and his hand curls around the pint of cider he lifts now and then to his mouth. He's not a heavy drinker, at least not tonight; instead, he has been nursing the glass for sometime… an hour has gone by and he's down to a third of lukewarm drink.

The holiday season means that the inn is busy; empty tables are scarce and empty seats scarcer, though one seems empty across from Beisdean. The laughter and shouts that rise from time to time from the rest of the patrons draw his eyes upward from time to time, blue eyes skimming the room for the source and reason before they drop back to the text on the rice-paper thin pages of his book.

It's with a thump of a mug on the table and creak of wooden chair legs, that Jacob Greene announces his presence to the book reader. Or maybe it's the smell of booze and the sea that heralds his arrival. It's hard to tell sometimes. His bad leg sticks out to the side, unable to bend enough to tuck under the table without playing footsies, while he leans forward to plant elbows on the table. Green eyes study the youth from behind thin lengths of dark hair. There might be an uncomfortable moment of it, before he straightens in his seat and explains his interruption.

"I think I remember you." Blunt and to the point, Greene flashes a crooked smile at the younger man, teeth flashing only on side of his mouth. "Blue eyes like that are not easily forgotten." He shakes a knowing finger at Beisdean. Before using that same hand to pick up the mug. "Not quite the wee sprite anymore, of course."

Luckily Darklight, curled on the seat, is quicker to notice the newcomer than Beisdean and scrambles out of the way with an indignant Pfft before crawling up to curl on his master's lap.

The mage looks up, brows furrowing a little at the distraction, but when Beisdean sees that the man is friendly and that there's not a lot of chairs for people, his frown slips away. "I haven't been wee in some time, no," he says, his Scottish accent murkied by his travel to the south, but he smiles politely and offers a hand to shake. "Beisdean Skye. Forgive me for not remembering you, but I dare say you had better things to do than hang around us youngun's or waste all your savings at the Dovetail, or I might remember you better."

There is no hesitation as Greene offers his hand in return, palm rough and scarred. "Eh, don't expect you to remember me. I mostly remember cause there was a lot of talk when you took off." Rubbing at his leg, as if easing an itch, he looks thoughtful. "I have a lot of family in the guard and militia," is added as an after thought. "Family get togethers are often work talk." Amazing what you hear too, but that he keeps to himself.

"Anyhow, I'm being rude." He waves it off with a flick of his wrist, before offering a careful wave of his drink. "I'm Jacob Greene. Course most around here just call me Greene. You need fish, I'm the man to see."

Beisdean picks up his own drink to take a sip. “Good to know. I’ll be running errands for Mrs. Fairbairn and also Mrs. Owens, to earn my keep through winter. I don’t have much to offer you in trade on my own, unless you have books in need of repair,” he says with a wry smile — he doubts that’s the case, nor does he have the supplies to do so.

Setting his glass back down, he marks his place with the ribbon bookmark that is attached to its spine, then closes the book. It’s worn and well loved, the embossed cover proclaiming it to be Shakespeare. “I’m only here until the spring. Don’t fancy traveling back the way I came with the weather getting bitchy as she’s apt to do this time of year.”

“That she does.” Greene agrees easily enough, head bobbing up and down. “Even going out on the waters gets tricky. Course, I got a secret ability that lets me know when a big blow is coming.” A mischievous grin plays across his lips. “And no it isn’t magic.”

Leaning back in his chair, he slaps his straightened limb. “The old leg here,” the hand rubs along the outside of his thigh, as if to press out the ache, “lets me know when things are going to get rough. Don’t always tell me in time,” — or he’s just full of it… or drunk — “but I think it’s saved me a rip sail or three.”

The younger man smiles and stretches both of his long legs out, healthy and limber yet as they are. “I believe it. My mother said her grandmother could tell when the snow was coming, and she wasn’t magic either, just because of the way her elbow ached a few days before a storm. Without fail, a stormbringer would follow a day or two after she complained about it. People thought she were a weather witch, though if she was, she was not a very good one. Snow was about all she could sense, and she didn’t have a creature to talk to like Darklight here.”

The pine marten lifts his head to blink sleepily up at Beisdean at the mention of his name, then curls back up to sleep again.

Beisdean nods toward the man’s leg. “What happened to it, if it’s not too impolite to ask?”

There is a touch of distrust in how Greene looks at the ball of fur on Beisdean’s lap, lips pressing together thoughtfully. “Dragon,” he grunts out after a decent drink from his mug, as if he needed the courage to say it. “Or that’s what they told me when I woke up. Whatever it was left my leg in a right bloody damn mess”

There is a short pause, before he adds, “Horse too.”

Mood soured a bit at the reminder of his bad fortune, Greene tilts the mug to get a good look at the contents. Empty. Unacceptable. He takes a moment to call for another ale, before stating. “Not a tale of valor or glory. Course, other men might spin it into a fancy piece of crap,” he chuckles out as if the thought amuses him.

When the server looks to Beisdean to see if he wants a refill, the younger man shakes his head. “I like tales of fancy crap,” he tells Greene with a smile, hand tapping his book as if for proof. “But you don’t have to spin it for me. Sorry that you had to go through that. And sorry for the horse, too.” He does note the look of distrust cast at Darklight, and he smiles in a tolerant manner; not everyone is comfortable with mages or their familiars, after all.

He reaches to spin his empty glass against the wood of the table, something for idle hands to do. “I ride. Would hate for anything like that to happen to my horse,” he says — it’s a given, but politely conversational. “Boats, I’m not so used to — just been across the water a couple of times in my travels. I can say I prefer my two feet on the ground or to be atop Iago. They say you’re either born with the sea legs or you’re not, I guess.”

Eyes fall on the book, but there is more amusement then dislike there. “The real thing is much less pretty then whatever scribbles there might in there. From some of what I’ve heard out of those” — heard not read — “they make it sound pretty.” Greene’s eyes shift up again to the young man, a brow quirking up a touch. “But I guess that’s the point.”

“Who in their right mind would want to read about the true horrors or nasties. Not to mention in a book you don’t have to smell the blood or spilled bowel of reality.” There is a grunted chuckle “Sounds rather boring,” the fisherman finally admit, while he relieves the server of a fresh mug.

“No offense, of course,” Greene adds, saluting Beisdean with his ale.

Beisdean gives a weak smile. “It’s probably why I like the books better. I’ve seen — and smelled — enough blood, heard enough moans and groans that no one else is privy to. The books offer excitement that’s safe, enlightenment that only comes at the cost of someone else’s misfortune. I can learn from the mistakes of Hamlet or Othello or MacBeth without having to bloody my own hands or wallow in my own indecision, all from the safety of a comfortable chair in a warm inn with a drink at hand.”

Of course, his glass is empty.

“Not to say I don’t like a bit of excitement. I get enough of that riding, I think. In real life, dull is good, aye? The Chinese have a curse: may your life be interesting.” Beisdean gives a nod to the older man’s leg. “A little more boredom mighta been nice that day, I’m sure.”

There is a blank look of unfamiliarity at the names, but any questions about them are forgotten when Greene’s attention is drawn back to his leg.

Eyes narrow just a touch, a thought passing behind those green orbs. “I find myself going back and forth about that.” Fingers rub absently at the ridged of scarred flesh under the leather of his pants. “Sometimes, yes… it would have been nice, cause then I’d still be in the militia. Out there riding with the rest and sacking caravans or protecting the town,” he says with a bit of a scowl, motioning outside.

“For the glory.” Jacob states raising his mug.

“Yet…” He pauses a moment for a drink, before starting again with a thump of metal on wood. “Yet, at the same time, no. Why you might ask?” He didn’t but still he’ll get the answer, leaning forward in his seat as if it’s some big secret. “ Because I am my own man. Captain of a fine ship and beholden to no one.” There is a declaration to those words, arms spreading out for emphasis.

“Ah, a militia man,” Beisdean says, tone perhaps a little flatter despite the smile that accompanies the words. “A necessary evil, I suppose. Not a calling I’ve ever had, myself. Fishing, I can do, though like I said, I prefer me feet to be on the ground, and freshwater’s gentler than the sea. Both good jobs that give to the community, though, and I’m sure that’s why your name rings a bell.”

Unlike his, which is known for less useful and more frightening things.

“D’you have a crew, or are you a one-man operation? The solitude’s both something I’d want and something that’d get too heavy on me all at once I think,” Besidean muses.

A quirk at the corner of Greene’s mouth might mean he caught the tone, or maybe he finds the man entertaining. “Got a crew. The Lady is too much a woman for one man alone.” The smirk, pulls into a bigger smile at his own rather lame joke. “They are good men, tho. Loyal men, even my wee nephew.”

Fingers tap on the side of his drink, chipped and broken nails tinging softly on the side of the cup. “He’s… a special boy, not one for the sword like the rest of the Greene’s. Took him on as a favor. Got a good pair of sea legs on him.”

Greene’s words make Beisdean chuckle, and he rises from his seat, one arm scooping up the sleeping marten that scampers up to sit on his master’s shoulder. “Not being cut out for the sword doesn’t make someone special. It was good of you to do him such a favor, I’m sure.” Not being one for the sword, himself, it’s possible he takes a little exception to the comment, well-intended as it might have been.

“‘Twas nice to meet you, Greene. I find my bed is calling to me,” the younger man says, picking up his book and raising it in a farewell. “May the clouds and waters be kind to you.”

Mug lifted in farewell, it’s apparent that the fisherman has no plans to move from his spot anytime soon. In fact, a foot hooks the leg of Beisdean’s seat and drags it close enough to become a stool for his bad leg. “Keep out of trouble, young fellow.”

A finger points to the marten, Greene looking right at it. “You as well. Look like the mischievous sort.”

Greene’s gaze lifts to catch the other’s eye again, looking rather sharp for all that he’s been a fish with his drink. “Not everything is as it seems, so watch your back. Course I imagine you know that already.” He touches a finger to the side of his nose in a knowing fashion before turning back to his drink, the conversation clearly done.

The captain of The Lady plans to be well and thoroughly sloshed before he heads back to his cold quarters.