Still Alive

Title: Still Alive
Time Period: February 8, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A young man receives some advice on his predicament.

The Wandering Albatross is a staple location not only for Dornie locals, but for of course those men and few women who are seabarers, stopping in along the coastline for deliveries and pick-ups of various kinds. From taciturn old sailors, to young men just out of boyhood. It takes all sorts, you know.

Tonight seems more inclined to the former group, somehow; those that are not Dornie fishermen or dock workers, seem to be the types of men that one might meet in rougher, more shady ports. Dornie gets its share, for the most part. Mostly small crews, of weatherbeaten, bearded creatures, with beady stares and hands calloused brown. Not, by nature, unfriendly- but rather, unapproachable. Perhaps that is one reason Jorn has been drawn to the Albatross this winter's eve; his company will be hard-pressed to bother him terribly much, though the northman has been habitually eyeballing one crew through the smoke of a long, shallow pipe now and again. As if they could shift shape at any time. That crew, seated at one of the tables near the wall, speak among themselves in a garbled mainland tongue. Jorn stays to himself at one far end of the bar itself, taking up the far corner like an earth-colored mound, one which happens to be wrapped in a thick white mantle.

It's a subdued evening, so far, and he seems to prefer it. Not quite relish-worthy.

The drinking sailors, some of them at least, recognize a new entrant to the Inn. Cas opens the door, coming in from the cold with a glance back as if he's looking at someone. The dog that's not too far away doesn't follow him in, a golden retriever who wags his tail and then moves to watch. A constant companion of the last few days.

One that he's grateful for during the long quiet walks back to the stables, and other times when he worries about something bad happening. A few steps inside and he already seems to be having trouble. His foot inpacts a chair leg and makes him stumble, soft sounds of protests and pain coming from his mouth. No doubt he just stubbed a toe.

Hopping slowly, he ends up falling into the bar, into one of the chairs and letting out a slow breath as he winces over his foot again. Only when the pain seems to have cleared does he look around and see the man at the end of the bar, only a seat apart from him. "Ser Wartooth!" he calls out in surprise. "I didn't expect to see you here."

Jorn tries not to stare after the young man, what with the stumbling and wincing he seems to be doing. It partly works, as he does have a half-empty pint in front of him, nursed rather than being drunk down. His short brows knit together when Cas falls about onto a seat, and blue eyes turn to watch carefully. Saying hello is one thing, calling him out is another; Jorn lifts one of his hands into a 'tone-it-down' gesture, all but shushing Cas.

"No need for sir. Or Wartooth. Not right now…" Jorn's voice stays passive, though, so it may not be a terrible faux pas. The bodyguard refrains from looking up to see if anyone had looked over, instead centering a level, tired gaze onto the young man. "'Didn't expect'? Do I not seem the type?"

"Oh, sorry. Mist— uh— Wartooth. Sir." Cas grimaces as he's failing to turn that around. Even his boss he has a hard time calling anything but Sir, but that's his boss. "Well, it's not exactly that you don't seem the type I just didn't see you here before and— I figured you probably have like… a— I— Uh— I didn't expect to see you at all right now?"

It's a quiet trailing off, shoulders slumping a little in obvious embarassment. "Sorry. I'm not having the best day. Still alive though! So that's a bonus." And he says it as if he fully expects that to not be the case someday. And perhaps soon.

"If I stay in the manor, I do not always want to trouble the kitchen for a drink." Is about as much explanation for Jorn's being here that Cas is likely to get at all. He looks away, taking the long pipe from between his teeth to breathe out a plume of musky, cloudy smoke. The hood of his cape, which is curled about his shoulders, is outlined toothily on one shoulder like a pauldron, paws clasped on the opposite. The empty slits of its eyes watch Cas as carefully as Jorn had a moment ago. Considering there are no actual eyes, it proves a feat.

"We all have bad days." Jorn begins again, glancing past Cas to the table he had been watching before. His voice is a shade below one's usual inside volume, tentative in any questioning. "Should I be concerned for you?"

"Only if you believe in omens," Cas says with a shrug, hand raising up to press against his shirt as if making sure that something under it is still there by pushing it up against his chest. It only stays there for a few moments, before he glances at the cape, with the hood and the creepy not-eyes.

"I guess you probably believe in omens since… you turn into a bear." At least his voice has lowered in volume for that part, but he doesn't seem to be concerned with the sailors sitting nearby.

"The two are not relative things." Jorn allows himself a slim smile before he puts the thin mouthpiece back between his left-side teeth. "But yes, I do. I am not superstitious to the degree of some, but I know signs when I see them." He nods once, before puffing out the last of his pipe and setting it aside to one of the various ashtrays along the counter boards. It does not get upended into it, however.

"So, I suppose that it depends on which omens worry you." The older man glances to Cas' hand, the same that had raised to his chest.

There's a long pause from Cas, as he looks across the bar at the various bottles that they could be offering for drink. He hasn't asked for anything yet, though, nor is he looking as if he plans to smoke. His thoughts seem enough of a preoccupation.

"I saw a Black Dog," he explains after a moment. "One of the stable hands was talking about them after, too, cause of the guard that was killed recently, by what looked like a dog. This dog didn't kill me, obviously— didn't even bite me. Just… knocked me down and drooled on me… but it wasn't your average dog. And it was black and really big…"

"That is strange." Jorn muses, taking up the half-empty pint to sip at it, brows meeting as he examines Cas quietly again. "Barrow hounds are not known for physical engagements. They stalk, haunt, they are harbingers." He has never heard of a black dog actually killing anyone, much less knocking someone down and actually drooling on them. There is always a first time, though, and he has heard of not-so-malevolent tales of different fairy dogs.

"What makes you think it was cu sith? And not a farm animal?"

"It didn't act like a farm animal," Cas says with a small shrug, shoulders slumping once he's finished doing that. In fact his whole upper body seems to slump a little, as if he's discouraged.

"I've been around farm animals most my life— grew up on a farm. This one seemed… smarter. Like she understood what I was saying. And the closest farm was Mairi's and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a big black dog that hates me…"

Discouraged that he's not seeing death omens? Goodness. Jorn listens in silence, until Cas explains a bit further into it. That is when he seems to understand, but also gets stuck on how to approach it from there. As a result, Jorn finds himself sitting, paused, for longer than probably seems polite.

"It could have been a familiar. But I do not know anyone like that over there, near where she is. If it was a hound…" He frowns a little. "Have you done anything immoral? You haven't murdered anyone, have you?" A little bit facetious now, either for no reason or not even on purpose.

"Maybe, it could be that. Familiars like to become dogs around me," Cas says quietly, but seems unconvinced, and also a little embarassed. Perhaps that's the reason he's discouraged. Cause he didn't try to dismiss it earlier.

"I have a familiar watching my back now, though, so if it was a familiar he'd probably know— if she shows up again."

His voice is trying to be more hopeful, despite the embarassment of potentially jumping to the wrong conclusions. "But no, I haven't murdered anyone— I'd never even hurt someone… unless they did something really bad." And even then, he doesn't look like he thinks that would happen often.

"I— would doing something bad trigger it?" He suddenly looks like he's worried again. "The… sith thing?"

"You see, usually the dog appears to those who are about to be executed, be murdered, die eventfully, or perhaps even commit some sort of deadly sin against another. There are many reasons, I think, but never just one. I do not know much more than that. The aes sidhe are not an open book." Something that Jorn says appears to grab his focus, and he finishes off the mug in his grasp before setting it back onto the surface below.

"Which is may be what you need. A book. Mmmm. Someone who knows these lands as the back of the hand?" His use of the idiom is flighty, but hopefully Cas gets the idea.

"Do they have books about that?" Cas asks, looking genuinely looking interested in that option. "Do you think those… gypsies in town might know about the… Black Dogs? More than the other people in town, at least?" He trails off, glancing off into the air again.

"I'd been meaning to go meet them, cause— I've never met Gypsies. Kind of like I never met a Viking before either. Do you think asking them about it would be a good idea?"

Jorn reaches down to take up his pipe and tap it empty on the edge of the dish it sits on. His blue eyes alight a moment longer on Cas, taking measure of something that he does not say out loud. "It would be a place to start, if you are truly worried. They may welcome you more if you take a gift, however." Since they were essentially forced to live here, many of them needed to begin again from the meager things that they had scrounged in the first place.

"Something practical. You are a sensible young man." Jorn resigns then, to not giving him more advice on how to convince gypsies to help him.

"I'll think of something— Maybe a scarf or some socks! I have a lot of colorful scarves, and socks. I always have extra cause they're important," Cas says as if the socks make the man in some cases. And the colorful scarves too. He's actually wearing one know, dyed a pale blue.

"Thank you," he says, sliding off his seat. "I— maybe if it was just a dog I won't have to worry about what to do with all my stuff if I die. I mean I don't know many people still. You can have my…" he trails off. "I don't think you could wear any of my clothes— maybe one of my hats."

Sounds good. The first part. The secondary notion that Cas would bequeath something to Jorn- and the notion that nothing would indeed fit him- push the air out of the norseman's lungs through his nose. The deep snorting comes out with a laugh. Cas gets one of his more incredulous looks. "It is never a bad idea to keep a will, you know." Just in case.

"You are welcome. But I am not much of a-" Jorn pauses, breath short and jaw working. "- hat man." No need to leave him anything, if you kick the bucket. Really.

Tilting his head to the side, Cas seems to be trying to figure out what he could actually leave behind to the taller man. Who can turn into a bear. It doesn't seem he thinks of anything, though, and presses his lips together at the talk of a will. "I'll have to… look into that. Just in case," he says, looking perhaps more perplexed about the idea of a will than he should be.

Almost as much as hoping he doesn't die.

"I should get going. It's my free day, so if I want to go see the gyspies this week I'll have to do it now. Thank you for the advice S— uh— Wartooth."

"You take care of yourself, Blackburn." Last names are as good as any, if Cas does not wish to call him by his given name. Cas is not some sort of upstart, therefore he would not mind horribly. "And when you visit them, empty all your pockets beforehand." Self-explanatory warning, or should be. Jorn lifts his hand in a slight wag of farewell, watchful.