Roots And Loot

Title: Roots And Loot
Time Period: May 23, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The quiet of the wood is disturbed when Luna pays a visit to one of her potential attendants.

While she is normally a busy body and one to know everything about everyone in town, there are a few things that have escaped Luna's sights over the years. One of these things is something easily overlooked, especially by someone who knows next to little about the area. Two meals skipped and darkness nearly setting in, she's finally found her way down the little road leading to Jorn's hidden cabin in the woods.

Quite a few voices echo through her mind as the blonde jumps from one spot of fading sunlight to the other. Algernon warning her that the dangerous wolf hasn't been caught yet, but that was when the snow was still falling. Duncan reminding her that the dangerous wolf hasn't been caught yet, further into spring and closer to today. And there's a vampire on the loose.

There are lights in the cabin, which is a good thing. It means there's someone home and this hasn't been a waste of a trip and inside a lit house with company, no wolves or vampires will get at her tonight. At least until she needs to leave.

The lights in the cabin are warm and orange, lit from fireplace and lantern alike. There is a single lantern on a rung near the front door, though it does little to light the path that opens up into the grove. On the other side of the clearing, the horse that nibbles her way through the fresh grass lifts her head only long enough to get a sniff of the breeze. Kuu then returns to her snacking. There's the faint bleat of a goat, and the garbled reply of hens, back behind the cottage near that small barn. The rest of the outside seems relatively calm- moreso the further Luna puts herself onto the faint path.

With the birds going to sleep, and the sunlight dipping, the stars are left to twinkle in the length of sky visible from the glade. A little more picturesque than Jorn is apt to be in person, that's for certain. As it stands, there's nothing between Luna and her visit aside from her fear of encroaching dark that seems to follow her heels patiently.

The bleating goat only hurries the woman to the door and sets her knuckles rapping rapidly. "Mister Wartooth? Mister Wartooth, can I come in? Now please?" There's more than impatience in her tone, there's fear— it's well known that goats will eat anything and today the prostitute is in a very pleasant shade of pink. As far as she's concerned, pink is a very edible color.

"It's Luna Owens," she adds, a bit after, in case he's not sure who is at his door. "I've come to ask you a question, regarding your travels."

The next glance at the corner of the house gives her a look at the critter she was expressly avoiding. Worse luck, Mona is something of an attack goat. The bit of plant in her mouth falls out- spat out- and the goat stamps her way closer. She all but grinds her heels to a halt when the door opens, and begins to pretend that she was picking at the grass. What Jorn heard, however, was fear- he couldn't know what was out there, as Luna began knocking on the door so desperately. Not enough time between knocks and leaping out of the chair to have put down his pipe; her last words slow him down considerably, embarrassed at his reaction more than anything.

"Where's the fire, liten jente?" The northman's breath puffs smoke out the door above her head, and he takes a look around outside before his pale eyes find her face for the first time. His boots are still tied over the calves of his trousers, so he must not have been home for terribly long. "Questions?" Jorn is somewhat boggled, truth be told; he subconsciously adjusts the sleeves of his shirt, rolling frayed cuffs into hiding up at his elbows.

Without waiting for an invitation, which (according to books she's read) guarantees her status as non-vampire, Luna barges through the door. Away from goat, wolves, and the aforementioned spooks, she breathes a little bit easier once safely past the large man. She might be just a tad self-assured that the goat will find a much better meal in him than her own skin and bones.

"Yes," there's shuffling and clunking as a bottle of wine and some other edible gifts are arranged on the table. Finally a sturdy ceramic mug, which isn't exactly good manners for drinking a red but the norseman might look silly with a delicately stemmed crystal glass between his fingers. "I am going away, to Liverpool. I'm not sure if you've heard from any of the militia or from around the village… but…" There Luna pauses and takes a seat.

Granted, his home is more cozy than the front step- yet Jorn is somehow not prepared for Luna to come traipsing in right past him. He closes the door after it computes, mouth creasing into a small frown as she flits about for a minute. And he's had his fill of crystal- at least when it comes to shindigs with the boss. Jorn is otherwise silent as she speaks, taking the pipe from his mouth and setting it aside after letting it peter out.

"I've heard something, here and there." When she finally elicits a response it is a plodding one, hies eyes turned down to examine what is apparently her Peace Offering on the tabletop.

A partial wheel of cheese is unwrapped from its cloth before Luna wrinkles her nose and wraps it up again. "It was meant to be lunch, I was trying to be nice and civilized but I got lost." Letting loose a long sigh, she slinks further down in her chair, displaying very improper posture. "There are nuts and dried fruit, and some currant bread from my ma's inn. Don't worry, I paid for it all, you'll not have the militia knocking at your door. Not for me." The cloth containing the fruit and nuts is untied and she picks out an almond to nibble on before returning to the real reason she came. Not for wine and nuts.

"Unless Duncan is suddenly worried, I think I told someone I was going to venture out this way…" she pauses in thought and then waves it off with a shake of her head. "I must have. At any rate, I was wondering if you ever get a tickle to travel again, because I would very much like it if you'd join my adventure. Mister Hossfeld will be guiding us around the city."

Jorn puts himself back down in the chair he'd hopped out of, across from her- the impression he left wasn't even risen yet out of the cushion and quilt. On the back of his seat sits the white pelt she is so used to seeing on him. It sits there like a great grumpy-looking dog, for all its lack of flesh. The northman taps the toe of his boot for a moment, awkwardly listening to her and watching what she does.

"I see." He murmurs in reply to her notions of bringing him lunch that seem to have failed at large, and her wondering if she told anyone she was heading out here. Once Luna finally gets to the point, Jorn is scratching at his jawline, eyes half narrowed.

"Hossfeld? Does he know Liverpool?" More importantly, is he being forced to go, or was he asked the same as this? Either way, Jorn looks to have a healthy skepticism. "Of course I get a …'tickle'." Not how he'd put it- but it's Luna's term.

"I'm not sure if he knows Liverpool, no, but he seemed excited at the sight of the map. He gave me instructions on what to do before we go. Get people, he said, lots of people." Luna picks up another nut and bites into it with a click. They've been kept well, at least, by the sounds of it. "When speaking to Constance, she recommended you. Quite highly in fact, not that you didn't cross my mind before, I just wasn't certain if you'd leave the Rosses for any length of time."

Nervous babbled halted for a moment, she glances up at him and gives a meek smile. "Duncan's also pledged arms, bread, and women from the militia."

"Constance did? It would be up to Edgar if I were to be able to leave." Jorn makes it sound as if it is not his own decision- but the heart of the matter is that he likes to defer his choices if he has someone to defer them to. Duty, or something like that. The northman finally decides to reach across to the table to take up a piece of the bread that she's brought.

"Women? Because of you?" Jorn can be astute enough when he wants to be, though a few more transient thoughts pass through his head when she gets into specifics. "How are you traveling? Are you ready to make the journey?"

The idea of Luna whining in his ear for weeks on end is not an incident he likes to imagine.

"I was hoping to get the help of Mister Bassingthwaighte for transport. Ship would be much quicker than overland with horses and carts." Luna's quick to begin this part of her 'sales pitch'. Looking at the table, she quickly spills the nuts and dried fruit on the table and begins arranging them into piles. The fruit are used to build a crude map of the seaboard while an almond is placed carefully on the outside. Inside, a walnut is broken into bits and moved along at a slower pace than the almond.

"Ships can travel the distance to Liverpool in a night or two while horses would take literally weeks. We'd have the added bonus of cargo space as well, we wouldn't have to worry about animals wearing down or being attacked by bandits." A chestnut, this time, is dropped into the center of the pile of walnut bits, scattering them. "Of course between you and Mister Hossfeld and the rest of the militia women, I'm certain that any bandits would be discouraged." It's the babble of her answer that provides Jorn with the answer to his last question. Whether or not Luna is ready is irrelevant, she's so excited while speaking about it, she almost vibrates.

Jorn's mouth creases into a small frown as Luna rearranges the food on the table. Now he can't eat any of it, it's the English coast now.

"I'm well aware of how ships function. I am from Norway." He says this as if it has some bearing on being familiar with ships- and it does, as shipbuilding is something that the northern peoples latched onto at a young collective age. "You seem excited by all of this." Jorn reaches over and promptly devours the 'boat' with a crunch. There is just a mote of playfulness in it, almost indistinguishable from hunger. It doesn't help that he has never been sure how to act around her.

"What do you expect to find there? Is it inhabited? I came up the other side when I moved up from the mainland…" He takes another nut and runs it from the far corner of the table- Belgium, maybe?- up the missing eastern coast.

His bit of merriment receives a large grin from the blonde woman and a few bits of the fruit are picked up and tossed into her mouth. "I'm more than excited, Mister Wartooth, it's my chance to become something more. I can prove to my da that I ain't just a whore, I'm ambitious same as him and even more in ways. If I come back with a fortune, he might forgive me for all I've done to his name."

The questions on their desitination and her expectations, to this she frowns a little and lifts her shoulders in a half hearted shrug. "I'll tell you now, the truth, I'm not certain what we'll find when we get there. But I've got a map of their underground and a book with a few spots that might be interesting from Before, as Duncan calls it." She reaches for the wine and struggles to uncork it for a minute or so before the cork finally pops out. It's been opened before but it's still mostly full. Apparently Luna got thirsty on her walk. Much like now. After the mug is poured, she pushes it toward Jorn before taking a swig straight from the bottle. "We might find all the riches in the world, we might find nothing at all. I'd rather the former but I'm not setting my heart on that much anymore."

Jorn would offer to help with the cork, but as Luna gets it open again, it's clearer that she had been into it before. Mmm.

"You'd have made a good raider." The tall man pauses, squints, and backtracks. "Or, rather, you have the spirit of one." Which could be a good or bad thing, honestly. It's open for debate. He runs his tongue over his teeth before at last accepting the offered cup.

"I'm certain there is something to find. There is always something. The mainland has its jewels, as much as the isles do." Jorn clears his throat, for his own benefit. "Provided that we are able to get permission for my leaving, I think I would like to accompany you. I don't expect it will be an issue, so long as I bring something back for the trouble."

"Splendid! I'll write you into my list then, I'm certain Mister Ross won't have trouble with you going. It's for a good cause, aye? Learning all about our history and exploring new places and all that." Some of Duncan's speeches have been sinking into Luna's own reasoning regarding the importance of exploring the ruins.

The bottle is lifted again, not to her lipss but the top is tilted slightly toward the norseman. "To discovering the past and dragging back more riches than we can carry." A toast.

"I know enough history to know that I don't think I would have liked it. From 'Before'." Jorn intones the quotes, rather than gesturing them. He's never had to call it something in particular. Or refer to it much at all. He'd always traveled in the moment, and his band never tended to dwell on archeology. Largely if they did, it was to loot old locations and take the treasures for trading purposes along the way. Rich families paid more for them, which meant more tools of war, and more jobs.

"To roots and loot." Jorn's toast in return is less dramatic, as always, but it sounds good enough to get the job done.

The bottle is tipped to Luna's lips and she takes a long series of gulps before letting it go. Her thirst for the alcohol seems a little larger than normal, and too impatient to pour a glass. The rosier her cheeks become, the less delicate she is; showing off more of the tendencies that her manner of speech tends to give away.

"I don't think I could have existed." Her voice turns a tad lilting after a few moments, as though everything that pours from her mouth is a song. "Duncan told me that magic is older than God and has always been here, but I don't think me or my ma would've been born. You'da never existed either, what with turnin' to a bear and everythin'."

This time when she tilts the bottle, it's to check to see how much of it is left before raising again. "To all've us who wouldn't be here if it weren't for the apocalypse."

"I have no idea how old he is. Not precisely." Jorn motions his free hand towards the pelt at the back of the chair, taking a shorter taste of what she poured for him. "But I don't think I'd have been a mercenary, wouldn't have …met Ulric." A frown forms on his wavering smile, enough to clue in on his thoughts of probably not liking the Old World. Jorn then takes Duncan's words and helpfully twists them like a thin wire. "Magic is as old as the Earth."

"So of course it's always been here. It works in its own ways. Maybe we wouldn't have existed as we are, but maybe in another way. Doesn't mean I'd like it." He laughs then, the noise almost a cough- the man seems nervous about getting too familiar.

"Apocalypse is a strong word. Collapse, maybe. Cataclysm? Isn't that flooding?" Regardless, he is keen enough about the notion to lift his cup to her again.

"Mayhaps you'd've been a fisherman," Luna says as she leans back in her chair, tipping the bottle to her lips again. This time it's drained of all but the little dredges that cling to the inside of the glass. Bits of sediment and cork that have been sitting in the dark burgundy so long that it's impossible to tell what they are anymore. "If I existed in a time before, I think I would have liked to be a sleuth, like Nancy Drew."

The bottle is placed on the table, left for Jorn to use as a candle holder or fill with water, repurpose somehow. Maybe recycle with more wine or a liquor of some other sort. "I think I would have made an excellent sleuth, touring around the countryside in my auto, with Ned Nickerson at my side."

Jorn has absolutely no idea who Nancy or Ned are. He isn't so sure that he really wants to know, either. He simply watches her and tightens his expression accordingly.

"A sleuth? What's stopping you now?" He snorts and chuckles into his drink. "I might have traveled. America, Canada. I've heard that they had massive herds of buffalo- and native tribes that I think I would have liked. Red deserts, white mountains, golden fields, open skies. Not that Norway doesn't have most of it. The fjords are beautiful in summer." Jorn is rather mundane with his own version of alternate history, in a way; perhaps he is not used to having to imagine things, or otherwise paint a picture that he has never given much concern to. It has not often come up as a social activity.

"Nancy Drew lived in America, I don't know if she ever met a buffalo or any native tribes. I've only read five books." Luna's expression grows surly and she glances toward the dark window. "Duncan promised me one through fifty-five but I haven't gotten that many. I've had to settle for some of the books in his library, some of them aren't as clever as Nancy. Some are boring but I'm certain that some of them are Fletcher's."

She twists at the bloodstone at her wrist and gives off a long sigh. "I promised him that I would try to get them back for him, I'm in a prime position to make good on that now, aren't I?"

"Yes, you are. And promises these days are one thing that never lose value." Jorn is particular about how he words this for her, not wanting to offend or trigger a defensive mode. "They lost a lot when they came here. Nevermind how much they might have lost before they came here. I think it would be goodwill to keep your word, at least."

"The manor has more books than I could bother reading. I'm not much of a reader." Jorn finishes off the cup of wine in his hand, leaning back in his chair and stretching out his legs, boot heels on the rug. "Enough of one to read what I need to read. Duncan probably owns books like that. Military and tactics, that sort of thing. Still no better way to learn than by doing, though…"

It's not a defensive posture or position that Luna takes. If it's one thing that Jorn may have learned over their recent meetings, maybe from observing how Algernon handles her, it's how to manipulate an outcome. The prostitute's shoulders roll forward and she hunches in her chair, tucking her hands between her knees. Her heels angle out until she's forced up on her toes, bringing her legs a little closer to her chest. It makes her a bit smaller.

"I don't want to make Duncan angry," Luna says in response. "I've seen and heard what he does when he's angry and I never wish to be in that place. Do you think he'd just give me the books if I asked him? If they belong to me, then I can do with them what I wish, aye?"

"If you ask for them, the worst I think that he can do is say 'no'. But yes." But telling Duncan to give the books back to Fletcher would probably reach a boiling point. Jorn watches Luna squirm around in her seat, torn between concern and wariness. "He does certainly have temper issues, at times. You've just got to watch for his triggers." Once could suppose he has some experience in observing them. Men can be as strange creatures as women.

"Though if he ever raises his hand to you-" Jorn's attitude shifts somewhat starkly, and his features darken. "-you should leave. My mother tried to leave too late, and it killed her."

"He wouldn't raise a hand to me," Luna's defense of the militia leader is staunch and firm, at least in that respect. "I know he wouldn't, but he could cast me off and I would be nothing. I have nothing, Mister Wartooth, nothing but this adventure. It will raise me up or ruin me, so I need it to be a success."

She gives him a weak smile, her posture still hunched and back bowed down. "It's one of the reasons why I need you so badly. You're one of the fiercest men in all of Dornie, but kind. I'm certain I can trust you to help me come back with more than what I left."
[Public Chat] Lazar has disconnected.

"There's a whole new world out there, Luna." Is all that Jorn says in response to her momentary fit about this being her last chance to find a way for herself. He sighs, once and deeply, before offering her a small smile in return. "I suppose that means I must thank you for your faith. It's been some time since I was on an expedition like it, but hopefully your faith in me is not misplaced."

"If we find something of worth, of course. "

"If we don't, I don't know what I'll do," Luna's truthful reply is made with a sigh but she points a smile up in Jorn's direction. "I want a house of my own, living under Duncan's roof is all well and good, but how long will that last? How long will he allow people to believe that he's courting my father's fort— " Her cheeks redden and she looks quickly away, secret spilled. She can't blame the wine for her loose tongue, it's always been limber on its own.

"You're not much of a gossip, Mister Wartooth, I know that much." Straightening up, she smooths her hands over her skirts. Then they're on the table and she's attempting to push herself to a stand. "I should be going, it's dark and I'm due back much before now."

She's right. He's not. And regardless of if he finds her slip-up interesting or not, Jorn keeps any comments on the matter to himself. His mouth stays closed until she stands and exclaims her need to leave. In the dark, as pointed out by herself.

"Let me take you back. Or stay til morning." This is said without any guile behind it, so he obviously means exactly what he says. "Frankly, I would rather not be blamed for letting you get lost, eaten, kidnapped, or what have you. "

"Then you should take me back. I'll not have my expedition suffer after you are barred because I spent the night under your roof." Guile or not, the time indicated by the dark sky means she's already late for an appointment. "Innocent or not."

After wobbling to a stand, Luna struts to the door, trying hard to keep her swagger from a stagger. She's successful, until the door is thrown open to the sight of a goat. At which point the young woman slams the door again, however rudely and turns back to the norseman. "You'll have to turn into a bear, there are wild dress eating beasts outside. I'll need you to frighten them off."