Pinniped Polarized

Title: Pinniped Polarized
Time Period: February 13, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Jørn catches Luna a little too far from home, saving Algernon from yet another rescue.

Frost and haze of the morning has warmed to a nicer temperature. Not quite warm but not cold enough for a woman to wear a heavy coat or cloak. At least not while walking around town. Far from the village, it's a different story. The crumbling vestiges of road along the rocky coastline are a bit hard to follow now. It used to be a well traveled highway, now it's a road for the rare wagon or horse that come from inland. Not many do anymore.

Wind whips spray from the crashing waves up. The water at the mouth of Loch Duich is temperamental, the creatures of the sea are either having the times of their lives or are angry at something up above. The woman picking her way along the rocks is concerned for nothing but her footing. The rocks are slippery with moss and slime, her boots aren't the best things for climbing in.

When she dressed this morning, Luna was preparing for a visit, not for a hike. On her way to the farm, she changed direction for some reason or another. She could claim a pull or a force larger than her tempted her out of the patrol area but she'd be lying. Now, hours in, she's just too stubborn to give up.

Seals are not a terribly rare sight in and around the lochs as they are; across the way, she can see the slick hides as they roll out of the water and onto the opposite shore, lolling hurriedly up the sand and mud, barking back at friends yet to come up. Stragglers seem to have gotten misdirected, and a few of the doggish things come barking and slapping up against the rocks on Luna's edge of the loch. Though she is probably not looking for something like it, a black and white nose comes bobbing up noisily in the middle of the water.

Trying to use the embroiled loch as distraction for prime hunting looks to not have worked out as well as Jorn had hoped. They were uncannily prepared for him this time, and were scattering long before he got close enough to grab one off the beach. Only pride sent him in the water, after an elder, which didn't seem to go that well either. Perhaps one of them was a selkie, or perhaps he still smelled of smoke and burning wool from earlier in the day.

Instead of paddling after any more seals, Jorn silently treads water and scans the shorelines, white fur nearly matching the dull light on the loch's surface.

The sight of seals sends a rush of excitement through the blonde woman and her pace picks up a little. Barely managing to keep her balance among the large boulders, she hugs one as she maneuvers around it. The bottom of her lovely dress is getting a little soaked, her boots are already sopping, and her feet feel numb. It's like they don't belong to her at all.

The wind picks up and the shawl that was waving behind her gets lifted from her shoulders and carried out into the water. Luna gives a little whine and lets go of the boulder, turning her back on the water in favor of hugging herself for warmth. The barking seals receive a glare for their teasing, not that she can understand them but she has an imagination and it's telling her that they are laughing at her.

Though he can see the woman from the water, the figure on the shore is mostly just slender, blonde, and beskirted. And looks like she is chasing seals as well. That fact alone gives him pause, though the grey seals look interested as well. In that distant way animals are interested when humans are doing silly things. Jorn watches as the wind hoists the shawl up in the air, a blot of dark in the sky while it sails. Plop! Rather unceremoniously.

Now that it's flat on the water, the bear is free to paddle over to it; he takes it with the edges of his front teeth, nosing at it once before he starts his paddling again. This time heading for shore, his fur and bulky shape becoming more clear the closer he does get. The seals inch down the beach, the few of them gathering amidst some other crop of slimy rocks to survey the water.

As Luna inches closer the seals begin to move away. Think at first that she might be scaring them, she stops and leans against one of the large rocks, using it as shelter against the biting winds. Still they move away, worming further down the beach, also not looking at her.

She follows their gaze out onto the water, finally seeing the large bear swimming toward her. The prostitute freezes, terrified. Unlike her animal counterparts, she has no easy means of escape. Over her shoulder, the steep embankment is too slippery to make a quick getaway. She's too far from Dornie for a shriek to be effective. She does it anyway.

As he is able to get closer, the wind brings him her scent, and his water-sloshed vision is able to pick out less diluted features. His disappointment is not obvious, as he is a swimming bear. The shrieking is not helping this let-down. Coming up along the flatter stretch of rocks where the seals had first hoisted up and have now vacated, the polar bear tilts his head back and slaps his own paws up for a better feel. Only now can Luna probably tell the difference between a harmless baby seal and the thing that is actually her sodden shawl.

Jorn lets out a short groan of exertion when he pulls himself up onto the rocks. The shawl is long enough that he has to cant his head to make sure he doesn't trip on it when he picks his way a few rocks onto shore. One can only hope that Luna is of the mind to watch where Jorn is finding a path, instead of watching paws and claws and teeth. Jorn even calls her, huffing out a lungful of air over one shoulder before dropping the shawl across the top of a rock.

Surely she has not lost her hiking nerve because of him — Luna got this far already.

She's so far from Dornie now only the seals would be witness to her murder. He's such a brute that she probably won't have the dignity of a lovely corpse. The things flowing through Luna's mind as she scrambles toward the embankment, breaking a nail as she digs into the dirt for a hold to climb. The blonde yelps in pain, sliding down to her knees on the rocks, muddy and wet from her attempt at escape from the claws and teeth that already have her scent from the shawl.

She is doomed.

The huff of air sounds more like a roar to her ears, she's not as brave as Algernon. She can't simply stand in the face of danger and keep a fearless countenance. Luna is a trembling mess. "Someone will find out if I never come back! I wouldn't make a good meal at all! I'm too… too… thin and perfumey. Perfume tastes horrible, I know this!"

Picking up a rock, she makes a lame pitch in his direction, trying to drive him off.

All that Jorn can do, within current reason, is watch in bewilderment as Luna unsubtly freaks the hell out. Standing there, he glances off towards the seals, and back to Luna, watching as she weaves up onto the side of the bank. He even stands there watching when she picks up the rock and tosses it clattering at his feet. One can presume that she was trying to bean him with it, but- well- Luna being Luna, the mind's eye is stronger than her body.

The bear wrinkles his nose at her, finally, looking the part of disbelief. Insofar as bears can look it. It looks a bit better on his human face, which peels back a few moments later with the rest, cartridge crackling.

"Jaevla kvinne." Jorn curses at her, sogged in fur cloak and hide trousers, and frankly little else. "I am not going to eat you. Come here you silly girl, before you fall in." He growls it out more angrily than he ought to. Despite being barefoot, Jorn's manner of crossing bank-rocks to get to her is mostly a matter of balancing his height and weight, and of course his outstretched hand.

The seals probably have no idea what to think about this series of events, yet they remain looking on from down the beach. Simply fascinating.

Luna cringes, at first, wondering if seal tastes much different than selkie and if a selkie's descendant would taste more human this diluted. Does the bearman eat humans? One might presume, Luna does, and then shrinks back a little further. "You eat them," she accuses, assuming that her statement is fact rather than simply a guess. After all, they are afraid of him. "Have you ever eaten any of my kin?" She hugs herself to ward off a chill, refusing his aid until satisfied.

Getting to her feet, she wipes her muddy hands at the bottom of her dress. A place it's less likely to be noticed. There's a haughty lift to her chin when she glances back up at his suspiciously and when she combs her cold fingers through her hair it is a weak effort to make herself look less haggard and more presentable. She has her pride. She's also visibly afraid with whites of her eyes taking attention from the blue irises.

Jorn plants his other palm on a big rock, fixing his soles to one that is not too slick with grime. His dark brown hair is plastered to his temples and face, already curling at the ends in an effort to dry. He breathes out through his nose at her question, light blue eyes rolling about in the sockets; while he is irritated, she is still asking him a plain and simple thing- and he can tell the reason why, even if ridiculous.

"No." The Nord is very concise there. "You eat prey too." Are they really having this conversation? And here, of all places?

"I do not," Luna's horrified voice is a little louder than the waves. A glance to the side, up the embankment, as she considers her possibilities of escape. "At least I haven't knowingly." Another accusation. "Why would you eat a seal, knowing that my mother is descended from a seal woman. You drink at her inn, you are a recipient of her hospitality… and you could have very likely eaten some of her cousins."

Her arms are folded over her chest, not angrily or out of stubborness but from the cold. She's missing her shawl, he has it. It's wet anyway. "It's rude, that's what that is. Rude. My mother nor I would ever eat any of your cousins." Maybe wear them… the polar bear ones. Not the norsemen.

High above, barred grey feathering inconspicuous against the cloud cover, Forge drifts on the wind along a loose, winding path. In and out again. There isn't enough sun for him to cast much of a shadow; if waterbirds have gone quiet around the rocky shoreline, their reticience might be attributed to the bear that was here a moment ago.

Any urgency to the pummel of hooves to road beyond easy hearing stuttered and slowed around the time that Jorn the bear became Jorn the man and there is distance enough remaining that Algernon has time to catch his breath and smother irritation into the middle distance on horseback. His mount has less of a pokerface, and was doing all the running besides, bay sides heaving like a bellows to spill fog and steam from flared nostrils and off sweaty hide.

She's still chuffing and huffing a bit when man and horse draw into clear sight some ways down the coastline, where the road is forced to answer to the loch. I can't hear what she's saying, Forge answers before he can be asked. I'm sure it's not inflammatory at all.

"Deer, rabbit, fowl, fish, cow…" This comes out somewhat more tauntingly than anticipated. "Selkies are smart enough to avoid me. Have you ever seen one? An honest-to-goodness seal-maiden?" Jorn shoots back, scowling down at her for just a moment, and forcing it back. He rests his forehead on the boulder near his palm, drawing his hand down away from her. "The world understands that its children must survive somehow, through fate or otherwise. So does your mother, even if she may find my tastes …offending."

"Neither you nor your mother are mighty enough to kill any of my cousins, much less eat them." Man or bear, besides. Jorn holds his hand (gently) out to Luna again, his back to where the man on horseback trots out to the road in the distance. "You are being incredibly silly. Come off of here."

"No.." Luna admits in a rather small voice, she hasn't. "I was looking… today." She doesn't admit to silliness and casts a suspicious glance toward the bearman and his bare feet, a long look toward his bare feet. Being polite, she doesn't ask about the possibility of a pedicure in his near future. Perhaps out of fear that he might accept the offer. "I think I am lost. I wanted to walk to the ocean but I got all turned around and went the wrong way I think."

Finally, she stretches her arm out and slips her freezing fingers into his warmer hand. "And I'm cold…" Tears well up on her lower lids, a dam of blonde eyelashes keeping them from spilling over. "And I might die of exposure because my shawl is all wet. And my boots. My feet are so frozen I think they've fallen clean off. I've no gloves."

Forge says something that turns Algernon's eyes blandly away, tolerant because he has to be.

The rest of him turns at the end of the same beat, horse ushered into a pivot that is sloppily reluctant until a dig of heel to flank rolls her eyes white and presses her into a more professional kind of compliance.

Jorn is not eating Luna; Luna hasn't put Jorn's eye out with a rock. They're holding hands. Best not to interfere.

There is a moment where Jorn's face finally pulls into something resembling sympathy, after she starts speaking of the ocean, and as she puts her cold fingers into his palm. His face does betray this fluctuating mood quite easily, and once Jorn is certain he has a fair grip on her hand, Jorn leads her closer; he glances over to make sure that they return the same safe way he came over, leading back to the flatter spot where he had dropped the shawl onto rock.

"Elskling, you are quite lost." The northman's voice is far more gentle now, than it was when defending his dietary habits. "Please do not cry." He is never sure what to do with weeping ladies- unless they are teenagers, perhaps. "Lovely clothes are not for hiking, but I would not let you freeze in them to prove a point."

"I didn't want to go hiking, I wanted to find the ocean. So I could cast the spell to bring the selkies. It's all their fault," she says, pointing toward the small pride watching them. "They kept swimming and I thought they were leading me there. If I could understand them I wouldn't be in this mess. I would have been to the ocean and back again before tea time." Unconsciously she wipes at her eyes with her forearm, pausing enough that is causes her to drag a little too far behind the norseman.

When Jorn makes his final step onto the rock, she trips up over her own feet and stumbles, letting out a sharp cry of surprise. Usually Luna's a little more graceful than that but she's cold and uncomfortable. Her fingernails, the ones left unbroken, press against the norseman's skin as she pulls herself up. She gives him an apologetic smile in return. "Thank you, you're kinder than I imagined." For a seal eater.

A casual glance has her looking past her rescuer where she spies the horse and rider. "I believe that's Mister Fogg, at least I believe that's his hat. What do you suppose he's doing all the way out here?" She brightens a little and lifts her arm, waving it over her head, at the same time calling out. "Mister Fogg!"

It is plausible at this distance that Mister Fogg cannot hear Luna's voice on the wind, however implausible it is that he's around for it to be an issue at all. Depends on one's belief in coincidence. And perhaps one's awareness of just how far out this stretch of road is from his usual patrol.

In any case, he's been spotted, but rather than turn to make nice, he tips hand to hat without slowing any further out of his horse's dutiful trudge back to Dornie. Places to be, business to attend to. It is easy to look like you have something important to do somewhere else when you are Algernon.

Fortunately, Jorn is big enough to catch her, and Luna is light enough to cling on and do little in the way of veering him off course. He all but plants her on one of the flatter rocks, bending in a bristle of white fur to pick up the dripping shawl.

"It would have taken you almost the whole of daylight to be there and back." Jorn educates her without too much ire in his voice this time, knowing the reasons why she was out here in the first place to be …nobler ones. "You are welcome. In the future, however, please beware of your …whimsy." He looks up when she spies the rider and waves, glancing between the two with a passing whimsy of his own; Algernon turns back to the road, and he looks back down to Luna, keeping her wet shawl slung over his wrist.

"Well, miss Owens, one could suppose he was looking for you. But do not take my word for it…"

Her fingers curl against her palm and her hand is slowly pulled back down to her side. It's rather obvious that Luna's disappointed by the rider turning back toward Dornie instead of stopping. "But he's turning 'round again, he can't be looking for me. I would guess that it is on his usual patrol, but this isn't his usual time to work." Jorn receives a small smile of gratitude and she holds her hand out for the shawl. "I suppose it's a good lesson for me, having to walk back. Next time I will know better, aye? I'll be more prepared."

Her other hand wraps around her other arm, rubbing firmly to create warmth. "When you get back to Dornie, do you think you'd be able to rush me out another shawl? I have plenty in my room." Naturally, the prostitute assumes that the bear won't guide her back. She hasn't exactly been friendly to him over the years.

Seeing as Jorn just told her that he would not let her freeze, letting her go off again would be very coarse of him- regardless of how much he does not enjoy her company. And so with a great reluctance, the man forces himself to imagine that she is a normally kinder person. He takes up her shawl, pinching out some of the water with great care not to damage it; he hands it to her then. "I can take you back. It would not be good for either of us, if I were to leave you now."

"Besides… Fogg has seen me with you. We are friends, and I would not like his ire directed to me. My horse is up the road, I let her graze when I-" Jorn makes a vague gesture towards the loch, shifting to find a path back towards ground proper, presuming Luna to follow.