Repetition 8am

Title: Repetition 8am
Time Period: February 2, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Maddock's shipment is late, he's not pleased with the captain or his bodyguard.

Fog over the water camouflages most of the ships coming into harbor. This early in the day there usually aren't many, but this is a special circumstance. Back straight, painfully so, Jain waits at the edge next to a few barrels. He's been trying to breath shallow for the better part of an hour, with broken ribs it's been a trial to find the perfect amount of wind to take in.

The hazy silhouette of the boat comes in, it's only just larger than a galley, all the way from France. The hull is sunk as though it's heavily burdened with cargo. The deck is piled with barrels and crates that couldn't fit into the hold, the soldier simply hopes none of them are the ones Maddock is waiting for… The less Jain is needed, the better it is for Jain.

The old wood they stand on creaks as the anchor pulls the boat to a stop, just after bumping the loose extension. Rats scatter from underfoot, scurrying toward the drier places like kitchens or woodsheds, anywhere but the dank calm of the seaside.

Not more than a few paces away, Maddock stands with his attention turned down into the ledger he has in hand, slow breath rolling sluggishly over the pages to mingle soft with the fog. He's dressed as he usually is, and looks as he usually looks: as if he's only just rolled out of bed and dragged on whatever was warmest and most convenient. How he still manages to look vaguely like someone that might appear deliberately rumpled in a muddy catalogue somewhere is likely the work of his wife.

"You should really consider seeing a healer," he tells the book offhand, interested only as far and for as long as his voice carries over a turned page. "You're not much use to me if I can't even rely on you to breathe properly."

But nearby, wood and cork bump between lazy sloshes of harbor water and he tucks his little book away, looking about as excited to see the boat as he was to see that it was still grey out when he was roused awake. "Bonjour," he practices under his breath as he works the zip of his coat back up to is collar, "se fait-il que vous soyez toujours en retard?"

"I could," Jain agrees in a low tone, then glances over to Maddock while trying to hold in another breath. It's let out slowly and another shallow one taken in with a wince. "But there's only the one and she's as much use to me as one of the girls at the Dovetail."

Which is to say… not for healing.

Leaning heavily on the crates, Jain tests a heavy hammer against the bottom of his boot. It's a good weight, lighter than the claymore he's always seen with, and likely that is the reason why it was brought instead of the usual.

A thick coil of rope lands on the dock, just before one of the sailors feet plant themselves flat against the wood. Without a word to Maddock, the man sets himself to looping it thrice around the closest bollard. Then he whistles up before a plank lowers down.

"Sounds like a personal problem," says the good and kind Mister Owens, who has some back tension of his own to work out at passing mention of the Dovetail venue. Any further critiquing of Jain's uselessness is cast aside by a flicker of distraction sideways after the clap of rope to dock. The sound is oddly dry against so much humidity. And wet.

Slitted eyes watch that lone little sailor all the way to and fro tying off. Seeing to the plank without a word. Ignoring him.

Not that sailors are well renowned for their manners.

"You're late," he winds up telling him in English, because it sounds more intimidating and important to his ears that way.

"Maddy, me boy, y'think it's easy tryin'ter steer through this soup? The bringers themselves won't venture as deep into waters as we." The hardenned voice of the captain of the vessel sounds out loudly over the pier, alerting too many to their presence. The plank bounces with each heavy step, clapping against the dock like a fanfare for the arrival of the goods. Grizzled beard and thick body, the man looks like a barrel with arms and legs. No neck.

Once near enough, he claps Maddock on the shoulder and guides him a few steps away from the boat. "We need'ter negotiate me terms, renegotiate that be. It's been much too long since we've sat and had a drink anyhow. Let the lads step to that lovely wife and daughter o'yurn while we do business, aye?" He whistles sharply and more men melt in from the fog.

Jain straightens up as two turn to ten and then twelve. Giving a quick glance to Maddock as he's led away from the boat, he then slides inconspicuously behind a barrel. If the merchant thought he was useless before. Well. A small splash in the water has him turning on his heel, the hammer swinging up over his shoulder as he prepares to travel with his current employer.

Maddock walks those few guided steps easily enough, no alarm betrayed in shoulder or tread. He simply smiles. Very slightly, beneath a furrow at his brow. Like he isn't sure he's heard properly, or otherwise suspects a miscommunication is at work. "Forgive me," he begins, "Captain," he continues, every comma with enough weight to begin the next paragraph, "but I had assumed — perhaps incorrectly — it well known that it is not my policy to negotiate or — sorry — " he is genuinely apologetic, "'re'negotiate arrangements on the date of delivery. Unless, of course," there are quite a few men around, suddenly, "you mean to make amends for your tardiness."

A full stop is engaged there, so that Owens may turn to look his friend in the eye despite the hand on his shoulder. "In which case you needn't further delay yourself in Dornie on my account. I understand that the natural hostility of the local climate can occasionally make things," where is Jain, he refuses to look, "difficult for you."

"Well y'see, there is a problem, aye?" The Captain smiles, what brown teeth he has left are peppered with bits of chewing tobacco. He spits. The wet plop lands a few inches shy of Jain's boot, causing the highlander to stop in his tracks. Behind them, the dark shadows of the sailors in the fog seem to block their way back. "I took a peek into one'a them containers, I don't think you're payin' me quite enough."

"I believe Mister Owens had an agreement beforehand," Jain pipes up, pulling the hammer from his shoulder and letting it land on the plank underneath them with a crunch. The wood splinters under the metal head, giving a slight indication of what it would do to a skull if it met one. Then its swung back up, landing in the curve of the soldier's palm.

"Oy!" The captain barks in surprise and a few of the sailors ghost out of the thick fog. Their advance is meant to intimidate the two Dornie toward the edge of the dock but Jain stands his ground.

So does Maddock.

For the moment.

No, on second thought, he takes a step back. Just the one. His annoyance over this concession is immediate and narrowly directed at the captain who should bloody-well know better than to go around — pushing muscle on public figures. He wouldn't've even been on the dock if he hadn't assumed the piece of shit before him'd flown off with the goods and accounted for it as a loss.

"I hear your concerns and will be more than happy to discuss them in finer detail with you another time. Prior to our next arrangement." Nevermind that there won't be one.

Maddock fidgits with the cuff of his coat sleeve. Straightens the lay of coarse fabric across his shoulder. "Now kindly clear your men off of my dock before one of the local guardsmen assumes a small-scale invasion and my men have to spend the rest of the day hosing viscera into the harbor."

Jain on the edge when compared against Maddock's cool, something picked up on by the captain, whose lips quirk up at one corner as the eye on the same side narrows. "Which, y'mean that one there?" and he nods in the dishevelled blonde's direction.

In an attempt to save face against overwhelming odds, the soldier gives a broad, white toothed smile and straightens. Unfortunately he manages to look more like the village idiot than a serious threat to the captain and his men. It hurts to breathe.

Two of the sailors stride up to flank Maddock on either side, attempting to strong arm him back toward the road and the Albatross just a little ways beyond. "Let's get to those negotiations, shall we? Or perhaps I can become better acquainted with your wife… Your choice." The seal woman of Dornie has her own reputation among the sailors, much than their daughter's but men like to talk.

Jig's up. Dignity retained just long enough for Maddock to slowly, slowly slide his eyes on a horizontal plane from the captain to Jain and his hammer — as soon as the two flankers step for him, he breaks, jukes left. And does a runner, vaulting over a crate into the mix of his merchandise and the fog it's shrouded in.

He's reaching round for his gun at the small of his back as he goes, so. It's possible he intends to kill a few of them once they've burned their way through Jain.

Fog and inky water make it hard to see with two tiny eyes. Aside from wavy reflections on the surface, the thing below has a hard time adjusting to exactly who is who.

From behind the cover of the crate Maddock seems like just another lump of old netting, but with a silver top. His pursuers aren't stopped for long by Jain, who is busy with his own batch of trouble, leaving them to fan out over the docks. Barrels are turned and kicked, one rolling over a pink bit of rope that's flattened on the end. It rises up like a cobra, the barbs looking like teeth. It's the suction cups that make it alien enough for the sailor to pause with an expression of confusion that turns quickly to horror.

The last Maddock sees of that particular man, he's being slung screaming through the air.

Crouched down in a near squat with a box the size of a small pony at his back, Maddock peeks twice after his pursuiers before that lash of fleshy pink tentacle has him frozen back down into a huddle that's one part baffled and two parts terrified.

Priorities immediately realigned to put more space between himself and the water, he maintains his crouch in crab-scooting from one lump of cover to the next with gun in hand.

A sailor that nearly trips over him out of the fog is flinchingly shot in the groin, chest and neck around a corner, gun upsidedown far too awkwardly to qualify as gangsta, particularly given that the last ejected casing stings Maddock in the temple. "Christ almighty."

A feral yell from another side, recognizable as Jain, is prelude to the rag doll body of another one of the sailors landing in Maddock's path. His skull has been crushed in by the hammer on one side while the eye on the other stares blankly at nothing. It looks so much like one of the faces of the many shattered dolls that he's been subjected to over the course of his lifetime. Just like those ones, the sailor doesn't talk either.

A tentacle slaps whiplike against the boards beside the body and feels the contours of the broken skull before slinking toward Maddock. Breaking wood behind him reveals more tentacles, as though the dock itself were under attack from the thing below.

Fucking — tentacles. Maddock edges backwards, putting another corner between himself and the sea monster, which can inevitably only go on for so long. There are only so many corners.

Later, if he lives, he might have the presence of mind to be grateful he didn't follow his first instinct and dive into the water.

For now, he's left to calculate the distance left inland in the few seconds before he pops the tentacle twice and runs like hell for dry land.

More screams from what Maddock can only assume are the privateers, along with the crunch of the hammer against wood and softer substances, makes the fog that obscures his vision all the more eerie. There are splashes of heavier things hitting the water and thuds of tentacles hitting the planks, allowing him to map his way back to land rather than accidentally running into either obstacle. The dim light of streetlamps overhead, that haven't been put out yet, guide him like a beacon toward the Albatross.

In the distance, whistles of patrolmen sound the alarm. At least help is on the way.

But it may be too late.

A shadow in the fog looms up a little too quickly to be avoided. As the figure melts into full view, the bloody face of Jain can be made out quite cleary, eyes bleary and looking quite confused. "Owens.. run…" he falls to his knees, then flat onto his face. A hilt portrudes from his back, an injury that he won't be walking away from.

Gun foisted stiff-armed nearly all the way up into Jain's face when he resolves out of the fog, like a magical wand of death, Maddock is only just able to keep himself from pulling the trigger when a chance lull in adrenaline affords him recognition.

Not that it makes much of a difference.

Nearly out of breath and slow on the uptake, when Jain hits his knees Owen reaches automatically to brace him at the shoulder. Too hesitant to him keep falling.

Onto his face.

Hand withdrawn in an awkwardly abortive kind of silent oh — shit — sorry, he second-guesses himself only for as long as it takes him to register the hilt. Then he hesitates again, glances over his shoulder to see if anyone has a clear enough view to report what he's about to do later, and complies, pride long since abandoned to baser rodent instinct.

A thick coil of rope lands on the dock and before Maddock has the chance to react, Jain rushes up from behind him. One thick arm swings and catches the jumping sailor by the throat, winding him and knocking him flat on his back. Wild blonde hair, badly in need of a cut, whips out as the soldier turns his head to look back at the merchant.

"Go back to your home now, there's something not right about this." Then his boot lands on the downed man's throat, crushing his wind pipe to prevent a scream to alert the captain and rest of the crew. "I'll come as soon as I have the cargo secure."

"Jesus, MacCruimein." Leave it to Maddock Owens to summon touchy annoyance in the face of a nautical visitor being abruptly stomped to death before his eyes in place of shock or horror. "Is that how you greet every client who drops in unannounced when I'm not around?" Ledger still in hand, the older man surveys the damage without stepping closer, nose wrinkled a touch before he flips the book shut. He can see well enough from here, thank you.

"Alright," he doesn't wait for an answer to a question that was rhetorical anyway — any excuse to roll back into bed for another hour or two well-received. Suspicion over the sudden insistance of a bad feeling fleets through narrowed eyes, but he doesn't dwell on it before he turns to go. "Clean that up before someone sees it."

"Not all, but some…" Jain replies with a mild annoyance, grabbing the line and tying it off just as he remembers it. There's a small splash on the other side of Maddock but it seems to be the one thing that the soldier isn't concerned about. Once the rope is secure and the body rolled into the water, he gives a sharp whistle.

A plank lowers with a clap against the dock, then rattles as the weight of a heavy set man makes its way down.

"Where's Maddy?" The familiar voice of the captain echoes through the fog that masks the merchant. "I need ter renegotiate the terms've the trade."

"He'll be along," Jain's voice seems unusually cheerful, given his earlier disposition. "He thought you might like a drink with his wife, so he went on ahead to get the best scotch for your visit." Unseen by Maddock and the Captain, tentacles rise from the water and wrap around the hull of the ship. Once the screaming begins, Jain's smile fades and he grips the captain by the throat. "But… the only negotiating we'll be doing today is how badly you want to trade your life and freedom for the cargo. Mister Owens won't be paying for this."