On Curses and Happiness

Title: On Curses and Happiness
Time Period: February 13, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary:Luna and Beisdean manage to have a friendly conversation, though not without some misunderstandings.

If one were to look around the common room of the inn on any given night, it's generally a busy place. Not tonight but it's late. There's a thick lump of blankets in front of the fire, the pale hands that reach out to curl and warm around the steaming mug are still quivering. Luna's come home to be spoiled by her mother and from the looks of things, she hasn't been disappointed in the reception.

"Ma'," the call goes out over the quiet din of low conversation. "Ma' my tea's gone cold!" The prostitute seems very much the child, yelling out an order rather than going to get it herself. To the careful observer, it's not all her fault. The blankets seem to be piled so high around her that she can barely move at all. There's space for her arms to duck in and out, if she desires, and a spot for her face, but that seems to be all that Isibeal left exposed. Much to Luna's chagrin. She doesn't feel very pretty right now as it is. Fresh faced and no makeup, a touch of pink to the tip of her nose to display to the world her harrowing ordeal earlier. Her hair is limp and loose, with none of the curl that she usually takes great pride in.

"It doesn't look cold," says a familiar voice as Beisdean slides into a chair near the fire; he's just come in from outdoors, given the rosy cheeks and snow dusting his coat and hat before he removes both to drape over the back of the chair.

"Still steaming, anyway," he points out; his voice is still raspy but he looks much healthier than he had the day before. "You're not coming down with anything, are you, Loon? I hope I didn't get you sick." His eyebrows knit with concern as he surveys her appearance.

Blue eyes flit toward the company that's settled itself near her and she ducks a little lower in the blankets. She could be embarrassed to be seen this way, the flush of her cheeks and the aversion of her glance toward the floor somewhere off in the corner seem telltale enough. "It feels cold, it'll be cold by the time I get a new cup anyway." Her voice is as clear as ever, with no rasp or stuffiness to it. Still, she shakes her head.

"You didn't. I got lost today… Mister Wartooth had to rescue me." Her dislike of the norseman isn't a secret amongst the gossips in town but she doesn't reveal the tidbit unkindly. In fact, gratitude could be gleaned from her tone. "I tried to find the ocean but I went the wrong way."

He doesn't laugh at the fact she got lost on the way to the ocean in a town she's lived in for her entire life. "You aren't going to swim away already, are you?" he says softly, pulling off his gloves and reaching to warm his hands by the fire, wincing as the numbness fades into pain as circulation returns.

"I'll bring you, if you wish. If only to make sure you don't swim away without saying goodbye, first." He stretches his legs out and leans his head back on the back of the chair tiredly. "Thank you for the other morning, by the way. It was very kind of you." The fire reflects in his blue eyes as he stares into it.

"It'll be harder to avoid me if we're both walking the same way, Baizey." Her arm is fish belly white, by the light of the fire, as she uses it to push back some of her hair and tuck it behind her ear. Luna gives him a small but genuine smile before lowering her head to touch her chin to the mess of blankets. "Ma' came to check on you then? And you'll be fine?" Curiosity wins out over starting an argument, at least for the meantime.

"It weren't nothing that needs thanks, I think anyone would've done the same. Don't you?" The blonde turns her head toward him as much as she can, her eyes passing over his face and form before returning to somewhere near his eyes. The spot in between so hers don't flicker back and forth in the way she finds annoying. "I'm just— I'm sorry it was only me, I should've fetched someone else sooner but I fell asleep."

"I'll be fine. And not everyone would do that, and you know it," he says, with a smirk then stands and picks up her tea. "I'll get you some more. You stay there."

He strides away to get her a refill of hot tea, and in just a few moments returns, this time with two cups. Hers is placed back in her hands, and then he settles once more in his seat. "I'm sorry you had to see me like that. For the record, you're a brave lass. Most nights, it's not a problem, but…" he shrugs, frowning at his words. "Well, I keep saying that, but it seems like it's often a problem, doesn't it." It's not really a question. "It's worse here, in Dornie… I don't know why. I think just the history… maybe because I'm not a stranger to some of 'em, I don't know. I don't understand it all."

He blows across the surface of the tea in his cup before taking a sip. "What did you want to go to the shore for?"

"I'm not so brave, I tremble in fear of more than anyone else I know. I'm afraid of things that most people don't think twice about." The loose leaves at the bottom of her cup drift around in a small circle as she swirls the hot water to stir it. She lifts the porcelain to her lips and blows across the surface, not taking a sip just yet. "I think everyone else in this town is much braver than I am. I'm just…" The fingers of her other hand flitter through the air to finish her sentence.

It returns to the side of her mug and she uses both hands to tilt it closer in order to finally take a sip. The tea is good, good enough that Luna gives a long sigh at the end of her first drink. "As for the shore, I don't really want to say. You'll think it's silly and you'll laugh, and then I'll get angry and we'll fight. You were sick he other morning, I didn't think you'd remember my visit even, so I told you things I ought not to."

Beisdean smiles, and shakes his head. "Sick and exhausted, but not delirious," he says. "You don't have to tell me. And if I take you, you can go do whatever it is and I'll wait a bit off, if you'd like your privacy. We all have our silly moments, Luna, but they aren't silly to us. I read to myself, you know, aloud, often — Shakespeare is the best for it, because I can get lost in the story and drown out the voices and have my own little play in my head. Most people might call it silly, but it keeps me sane."

He takes another sip of his tea, and then rests it on the arm of the chair. "As for being brave… you are, in your way. You stayed with me because you wanted to help me, even after the last time… And you're braver than I am in that way. My mentor, the one who taught me to block them out — he welcomes them, learns from them, summons them. I would rather they just leave me alone. I'm still afraid of them, half the time. I'm not brave, not in the least, but I know it when I see it in others."

"Tomorrow is Valentine's Day," she says, looking away from him and into the fire. The tea is brought up once again so she can avoid speaking and let him absorb the statement as it is. One long gulp that takes two swallows to get down is the measure of time before she risks a peek out of the corner of her eye. To see if he's smiling or laughing yet.

"When I went to the healer last, Miss Aislinn was talking to me about coming home. For good. But I don't think I want to do that." The crackle of the fire catches her attention again and she slides one bare foot out of the blanket to warm her toes. Or rewarm them. "Here in Dornie, I'll always be a whore… Because I can't stop it. I need the herbs to forget what I am but I can't be what I am without them. What if I walk away from it all and nothing changes?"

That it's Valentine's Day doesn't make him laugh or question her need to go there. He simply nods once, and takes another sip while listening to her continue on. He tips his head to regard her, not speaking for some time, until it seems like he might not reply.

"What is it you want to change? Some things will change, but it depends on what you're hoping for. Walking away from the job and the herbs won't make you instantly happier, I can guarantee that. It isn't the profession itself that is making you unhappy, that much I know. You were unhappy before, and it didn't solve it. Leaving it won't solve it either," he points out. "I don't know much about finding happiness, but I do know that a change of scenery isn't enough most of the time…. I've had a few of those now."

"Then tell me the secret to happiness, I can do without the Dovetail. The scandal isn't scandalous anymore and I've grown bored with it, it would have the old hens cackling more if there was something new. Wouldn't there?" Another gulp of her tea is taken, giving him another chance to breathe between her words. "But I think I would miss Mister Fogg, I've grown quite fond of him and used to his quiet nature."

Luna glances at Beisdean with a smile on her face, her eyes crinkling at the corners. "He can touch me without the smoke or the drink, I don't need to forget. I don't want to forget." Her other foot pops out from under the blanket to join the first and she lifts both, spreading and scrunching her toes to regain a little bit of feeling in them. "But I don't believe he thinks of me the same way. That is forever my curse, isn't it?"

One brow mentions at the name Fogg, and he shrugs at the rest. "Do I look like I know it?" he says with a laugh and a shake of his head. "If I find it, I'll be happy to share it with you though, lass. As for Mister Fogg, if he likes you well enough to pay, I'm sure he'd like you well enough to pay you a visit for free no matter where you call home. If you are here at the inn, then less far for him to travel."

He takes a sip of tea, and studies the fire. "I would trade my curse for yours; you would charm my ghosts into behaving whereas I only offend them."

"I don't think anyone would wish for my curse, to forever fall in love and never find any in return. It makes for a lonely life, doesn't it?" The feet are pulled back and tucked back into the mess of blankets. Luna tilts her head to the side, resting it on her own shoulder. Her eyes half lid lazily as she stares into the fire and she takes a deep breath before letting it loose in a long sigh, or a yawn.

"I would that I could help you, Baizey, but I don't understand magic and familiars and all that comes with them." She reaches out, her fingers grazing cold against his hand before she pulls them back quickly. Too forward perhaps. "Sorry, we were having a lovely conversation."

Beisdean smiles and gives the subtlest shake of his head at her words, staring at the fire rather than turning to look at her. "You're hardly old enough to say anything's a lifelong curse. Especially in regards to finding love. I think you will, if you don't mistake every fancy is true love. It's rarer than that, which makes it harder to find, maybe, but also not so likely to wound you every other day."

He reaches for the poker to turn the log, making it crackle and spark a bit before he rests back in his chair. "Or so I believe. I'm hardly an expert, mind."

"I'm an old maid by Dornie standards, well not a maid by far but you understand…" Long bangs are brushed away from her forehead and pulled behind an ear with her pale fingers, a feeble attempt to make herself look a little younger and more put together than she actually is. "Most women in Dornie are married and have a half dozen children hanging from their apron by the time they reach my age. I dare say that they look twice what I do because of it, but it might have been nice to have one, like ma' did."

She stares toward the bar where her mother is generally working. It's possible that she's tending to a room, checking on the kitchen, or one of the other dozen things that the elder Owens woman busies herself with. "It's difficult to pinpoint where everything started to go wrong. It's neither ma' or da's fault, purely my own… Wanting everything they have but without anyone to share the burdens with, I don't think I could do it. It's easier to just find the ocean and swim."

His brow tics up again. "You'll not be taking a swim tomorrow, if we go to the ocean. It's much too cold, and without a seal skin to climb in, you'll catch your death, Luna. If that's the point…" he shakes his head, frown creasing his face as he turns to study her face, watching her with worry and concern.

He reaches for her hand to wrap it in his own, curling his long fingers around hers. He doesn't say anything else, but waits, eyes intent on hers.

"What?" Confusion paints her features and Luna shakes her head a little, letting some of her hair fall back over her forehead from behind her ear. "No, I wasn't— I was going to ask they take me with them, that's all. I've heard tell that sailors are sometimes taken and I was hoping…" Her voice dies down and she lifts her shoulders in a shrug. The whole lump of blankets rises and falls with her action.

She meets his stare for a while, like an animal vying for dominance before she breaks and lets her gaze fall to his knees. She's the weaker of the two. "You shouldn't care, Baizey, you shouldn't give me kind words. It's too high a cost, you said so."

His gaze grows less intense when she explains her purpose, and he relaxes a little, lifting the tea back to his lips for a sip before shaking his head.

"Whatever I've said, Luna, it doesn't mean I want anything but happiness for you, you know that, aye? I just… I'd like us to be friends, I just am never sure if it's possible. I seem to hurt you without meaning to and I don't want to make your life more unhappy than it already is," he says quietly, reaching to touch her hand lightly. "You were a good friend to me the other day… I know we can be, when we're both on our best behavior and my ghosts aren't acting up, but how long before something goes awry?"

"I am happy," she answers a little too loudly, too defensively, "sometimes. I'm happy when— " she cuts herself off and doesn't finish. Her hand twitches as she looks away but she resists the urge to pull away completely. Beisdean’s hand is so warm compared to Luna’s cold one. "There are times," the blunt finish doesn't explain much.

As for their friendship… "It wouldn't be long, I don't suppose. When I was a wee girl I fell in love with an idea, and a boy, and I didn't let it go until it was much too late. It weren't no one's fault but my own, I understand that, but it's difficult to know that I just ain't good enough."

He lets go of her hand to rub his hand across his face when she talks about loving him as a child. "An idea, and that was it, Luna. And that you're not good enough is another idea, a more foolish one, you somehow got stuck in your head and God knows from where. There's no reason to think you weren't good enough for me. I left town to find a way to live in this world… I couldn't tell it from the next one at that age, and those ghosts were going to drag me down with them if I didn't find a way to live with them without suffocating, you know?"

He turns away to stare into the fire, the flames flickering gold upon his face. "And as for now — I'm not capable of being any sort of constant in anyone's life, Luna. It has nothing to do with your being good or not. Don't weigh your worth by me of all people. That is the most foolish idea by far."

Luna simply looks at him, not speaking for a time, lips turned down slightly at the edges. Her blinks come a bit too fast, but the sheen in them is explanation enough. "I know where I got it from, I'll never forget it. But it ain't neither here nor there, is it? I suppose all that does matter is that I can be a good friend, I know I can. I like it when people smile and I know it's for me."

Her arm is pulled back into the blanket and she huddles in her chair, the tea in her other is cooler, a little more empty, and forgotten. Until she glances at it. "I've taken a shine to someone, he's more difficult than I am but he seems kindly, at least he seems so toward me. He doesn't say much, but that's alright because I say too much. An opposite, they're supposed to attract, aye?"

"More difficult than you," Beisdean says, brows lifting and lips curving into a smile of disbelief. "I don't think Mister Fogg qualifies as that, no, but I suppose degree of difficulty is all in the eye of the beholder. I personally am not overly charmed by any of the militia save for Bridget, but I wish you luck with him. As for opposites attracting, there's some truth to that; I wouldn't say true opposites have much luck with one another, but there's something to be said for balance."

He picks up his cup to take another swallow, emptying it of tea. "Did you wish me to take you to the ocean, or do you think you can find it by yourself without needing saved by Norsemen?"

"Not tomorrow, it's Saint Valentine's day and I believe I am full of appointments until well after sundown." The blonde rolls her eyes and lets out a long and pained sigh, as though her client list is too bothersome. She bends to place her half empty cup a little ways away from her feet, so she won't kick it over if she dozes off. "Some men are funny little things, I think. I would never pay someone to just look at them or talk to them as we are now, but last year I received more favor on that one day than I had the previous week."

Luna turns and the blanket falls from her head down to her shoulders. She doesn't bother to put it back up. Her neck is bare and it seems her shoulders might be as well. "Baizey, do you think I could visit one day when you are free and you could read to me? I do like books when I have the opportunity." Or when she's not trading them for fancy dresses.

"Sure. I can do that. For now I think it's time for you to rest, and me as well," Beisdean says, standing and picking up her cup along with his to carry to safety. "Have a pleasant Valentine's Day. I hope it's not too taxing."

He moves both cups to one hand in order to pat her arm lightly, avoiding where the blanket has shifted to her shoulder. "Sleep well, lass."

With that, he moves out of the common room, setting the cups down on an empty table on his way to the stairs.