Title: Sister
Time Period: March 4, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Jørn learns what he's been harbouring.

Winter's stubborn refusal to yield to spring blows a cold wind through the woodland that rattles the new leaves on the forest's trees and forms cyclones of snow with a texture like fine white sand. It rubs exposed skin raw, forms a crust on noses and mouths, and makes lungs ache, but none of these are concerns of Jorn's. For one thing, he has a thick pelt draped around his shoulders to protect him from the elements. For another, there are more pressing matters at hand.

When he returns to his cottage after his encounter with the hunter at the Albatross, the first thing he finds is evidence that someone else has beaten them both there. Laid over the wolf prints outside his front door are tracks that probably belong to the individual responsible for breaking his window with either a rock or a heavy branch dug out from under the snow.

There is no way of knowing which unless he decides to go inside. Unlike the intruder, whose blood is smeared on the window's frame where shards of glass stick out from the wood like shining teeth, he has the option of unlocking the door.

The Nord had enough drink before the hunter came to make him open to letting the man sit at the table. When he left, Jorn found himself something stronger; though it did not last long, as paranoia got the better of him. He had to go home, no matter the time of evening and no matter what was circling about his blood. He needed to find the wolf that he's already kept an eye on for months now- as much as he is a hunter himself, Jorn would rather his toil not go to waste because of some foolish man.

As Jorn approaches the clearing, he can already sense that there is something amiss. A boiling mood picks his heels up, and he trots faster through the drift and wind he cannot feel but on the ridges of his cheekbones and the bridge of his nose. While not expecting his territory to be ignored entirely, preparation for finding that someone has had the gall to break in is practically nil. Teeth grit, nostrils flare, and the large man all but rips the door clean off of its iron hinges, and it crashes hard against whatever was behind it.

The angry, wordless yelling- roaring, rather- that Jorn makes upon forcing himself inside is unmistakable as his own brand of rage.

The response Jorn receives from his visitor is the sharp click of a hammer being pulled back. Standing in her bare feet by the hearth is a woman whose hands are wrapped in stolen bandages and clutch the rifle he keeps hung above the door, the stock pressed against her shoulder. Her feet aren't the only part of her that's naked, either, because her first priority appears to have been arming herself with the weapon she has leveled with the center of Jorn's chest (if only because it provides her with a bigger target than his head).

Presumably, she would have raided his dresser drawers for one of his shirts and a coat next, but she appears not to have gotten that far. Between the warmth of the fire and the very familiar wolf pelt covering her narrow shoulders and back but nothing else, she could afford to put off clothes while bandaging her hands and then retrieving the gun with the help of a squat wooden stool that she isn't standing on now.

And maybe she should be. She isn't very tall.

"Come closer and I shoot."

The stool was indeed probably the only way she'd reach that loaded gun; still, somehow, it comes as a surprise someone has the nerve to be here, doing this. It does not stop Jorn from baring his teeth and bristling at the much smaller woman, planting his boots firm on the floor, shoulders looming. If the situation were not this one, he may be bashful enough to turn his gaze away — but given circumstance, he knits his brows and keeps his icy blue eyes between the pointed rifle and her profile. And of course, that pelt around her petite frame.

Jorn Wartooth finds that he needn't bother with words, instead letting out a stubborn snort of air, fists curling in and mouth closing into a flattened mark across his face. Displeasure is an understatement, but at least the roaring stopped. That could be considered progress of some kind.

"It's not what I'd hoped for," the woman says of the rifle, and the more she speaks, the easier it becomes for Jorn to identify the accent that does unusual things to her words and makes them sound faintly alien to someone who does not recognize their origin. He's heard her voice before. "One gun instead of the four crates I was promised.

"I should kill you where you stand."

Somewhere deep down, he knew she was something else- a familiar would have left by now, and a wolf would never have stayed. Perhaps denial gave him a certain fellowship. Still, the bundling of who and what gives him enough to chew and swallow as it is, when forced down his throat. "If wishes were horses, yes?

"Perhaps." On shooting him. "I do hope that you don't." Jorn's fists relax at his sides, and though his mouth remains in a frown, the affront at being invaded seems to segue from him, however reluctantly so. It is not, as it turns out, an invader, if you want to get technical. After a passing moment of studying her face, Jorn's eyes do turn away, just long enough to avert a gaze before he puts it back on her. "I shan't like my ribs anywhere but where they already are."

Munin— Ylva— whatever her real name is does not seem to mind that her wolf pelt covers less than is considered proper in Dornie society. The expression on her face lacks shame, and is pulled taut into an expression of fury that rivals Jorn's earlier guttural bellow. Scar tissue stands out milky white against the marginally less pale skin of her chest where Duncan's bullet threw her off her horse. Her survival can be attributed to whatever she was wearing under her coat during the exchange, which was enough to initially spare her life — but that she's standing here at all is because of the man across from her.

This may be why she hasn't yet pulled the trigger. "You expect me to give you the courtesy you refused Ulrik Tyrsson before you killed him?"

The rifle is all that keeps Jorn from her now. A metal projectile between him and a woman that has somehow brought blazes into his eyes. He could handle a great many things from her. Not only bringing up Ulrik Tyrsson- but blaming him for the death- crosses a line he was not expecting to have. Jorn's reaction is not remotely defensive; he has no actions to verbally defend. The hitch in his growl and the wild look of an injured beast says much more than fumbling for words ever could. They come, soon enough.

"How dare you. How dare you."

As a moment ago, all that keeps him rooted to the spot is that metal rod and its bellyful of lead. Jorn seethes, face red. The veins along his neck and temple seem keen to blush this anger over his skin. The berserker pounds one big fist onto his chest, voice booming around the cottage. "Ulrik, may his spirit be wild and free, did not die by my hands!" The insinuation looks to have given her a very plain glimpse of a teenage boy that hadn't seen the world for any a year.

Jorn makes noise. The thing that attacks him does not.

Quiet as a shadow on meaty paws, the attacker slithers from its cover when it senses its opportunity. There are a few precious seconds, then, to react to the pounding of wolf feet upon the ground, because with a throaty growl, all four of them are off it to plant two paws at the centre height of Jorn's back.`The wolf is huge, like the ones one finds in the mountains, with a distinctive pelt of grey and brown and not unfamiliar to witness. It was not so long ago that he did.

Hot wolf breath blasts passed his ear, the snapping of a jaw a bare inch as if to tear it off, but the wolf is flowing into the building, bristling aggression and flashing white-yellow teeth.

She'd been prepared to thunder back at Jorn, demand in a roar that he not lie, but the wolf is there before she can make any further accusations — and just like that the woman's priority shifts. Blood running down her arms from her bandaged hands, for she grips the rifle so tightly that the pressure forces the wounds open again, she brings the weapon up, aims it at Jorn's ceiling, and contracts a finger around the trigger.

Stone and clay rain down onto Jorn's head and bounce harmlessly off his neck and shoulders to hit the cottage's wooden floor with a sound like tumbling hail, but the woman's intent is not to hurt him more than blaming him for his mentor's death already has.

She means to distract.

Being stubbornly rooted to the spot has its advantages; for one, Jorn doesn't get shot by the young woman. Second being that it does provide resistance when the wolf buffets into him from behind. The harder they fall, however, and between gravity and a wolf pressing at his back, Jorn has little other choice than to do so. It is not a graceful fall to the worn rugs on the floor, and the Nord twists himself halfway around in the process of nearly getting his ear bitten off. He is prepared to start reaching for a canid neck, and instead finds himself shaking debris from his nose and immediately pushing himself back upright. The shooting up his house is less distracting than being coated in a fine mist of smoked roof tends to be, for someone like Jorn.

"Jeg ville aldri-" He snarls, reactively, at both of them, head rattling. Something bestial lurches for a moment just under his features, anger creating a blur in the divide before it quells itself.

The larger wolf is the picture of viciousness, four legs splayed and claws digging into the ground, every tooth on display. But it does not seem to be attacking; he simply stands his ground as if expecting Jorn to do the same - remain unmoving, with the threat of attack hovering over the scenario. His muscles are coiled tight in preparation to launch at or away, and snarls snap out of his maw almost compulsively, spittle flying in the air and yellow eyes focused.

It's someone else's move to make, now, and the twist of his ear towards the woman indicate whose.

"But you did!" the woman barks hoarsely, swinging the rifle to aim down the barrel at Jorn on the floor. Her aim is not as level as it was when he blew through the door; a raw surge of emotion has her arms trembling and her face gone bone white, lips curled back around teeth less sharp than the wolf's, but there's no mistaking her for anything except the creature he took under his care even in this shape, eyes green instead of gold, and no fur to speak of except for the pelt on her back.

"He treated you like his son, and you murdered him for his skin." She takes a step forward, feet too numb to feel the broken pieces of glass cutting into the more vulnerable skin of her pale soles. Her calf brushes the wolf's flank in a display of unspoken support. "It should be mine. His blood is."

The red in Jorn's vision is a fine mist for him, and between the adrenaline blur and the wolf's snapping, it takes him some moments to pluck speech and put it together with reason. There is no room to exclaim any sort of disbelief, or on the other hand relief- she still has the rifle on him. Jorn's nostrils flare heavily, lungs shuddering once. His face warps tiredly, as memories start to come back to him. Though he thinks about Ulrik often- every day, in fact- they are usually fleeting minutes. Now he is forced to go back to not only the day of Tyrsson's death, but also his life after having met him.

"Then you are as much my sister as I took Ulrik as my father." The man finally spits out, frame trembling in equal parts rage and anguish. "The men got too prideful. We had to fight a battle that was not ours to fight, and we were ground into the mud."

"…They were too scared to send him off, and I was all but his cub." Jorn growls, and he has absolutely no qualms against letting wetness form in his eyes, one of his hands lifting onto the opposite shoulder, where it settles deep in the pelt there. "I gave him his rites, I took our brother, and we left." Jorn can talk if he feels that he has to; usually strangers, or enemies, would never get such a show — when the variables align, the she-wolf that Jorn had welcomed out of respect seems to have gotten more response than most ever could.

Caballero, occasionally, finds it difficult to think when he has his pelt, when his teeth are bared. The words being exchanged above his head are many, too many, remaining in a building for longer than he desires. He doesn't lean against her when she brushes close, weight even between four paws, but he doesn't shy from it either. He will wait, for now, unchanging from his bristled pending attack stance.

She could kill him now— and who knows how long she has been waiting to do it— but there's something about the quality of Jorn's words that makes the woman pause. For what feels like a very long time, she lets Caballero communicate on her behalf with the low sounds he makes at the back of his throat before they explode into snarled exclamation points.

Eventually, something happens behind her eyes, and although she's finding it hard to think as well (if for entirely different reasons), she takes another step forward, and then another, until it becomes clear that she intends to move around Jorn's fallen form, toward the open door. She must assume Caballero will follow, for she does not call out to him, gently or otherwise, but she does not stray far from him either. Whatever they are to one another, she will not leave him behind.

She adjusts her aim so that Jorn addresses the rifle's long, dark barrel rather than her face. "Prove what you say is true," she says, "or the next time we meet— I'll take your throat.

"And tell Goneril Ross that I'll be back for the daughter she surrendered with her brother's order to attack my people."

"Prove?" Jorn snarls back, angry, and only then does a tear slip down over his cheekbone and into the short shrub of beard. Some could say that he just did, but Jorn has the feeling that Ylva- whoever she is- may want something that he has no idea how to give. His words turn to something that he hopes the wolf at her side is unable to understand. "Jeg elsket ham, min soster. Mitt navn var Ullman, jeg tok navnet av Wartooth ut av aere. Han er en del av meg.

"Til slutten av tid." Hot breath comes out from between a clenched jaw, and he does his best to look towards her without getting the rest of the way up. "Akkurat som jeg, til Cordelia. Du vil ikke skade henne." The last comes not as a livid demand, but somewhere between a plead and an instruction, with the knowing of how they had already treated her.

The wolf does not understand, but this is only assumed by the way he doesn't react to the words and whatever their content is. Instead, Caballero follows, and he will probably only lose rigid tension by the time he's running free of this place. He follows her, and then moves ahead of her, slinking for the door and never losing Jorn from his sights.

"I am no sister of yours," says the woman, and that is all. She makes no promise not to harm Cordelia as Jorn asks, but neither does she reiterate her intentions. The expression on her face remains livid and hard, rifle on the man on the floor until her feet are leaving bloodied prints on the pine needle dusted snow outside.

The cold will stymie the flow, and the wind will making tracking the pair impossible by morning when there is sun to see their trail by. She hesitates in the doorway, lips thinning around something else, but whatever she means to say— she doesn't.

By the time Jorn's eyes are dry again, they're both gone.