Title: Taller
Time Period: November, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Happenstance creates circumstance; Algernon looks for solitude and finds only some, when his path bumps into another's.

Evening after a long night of being surrounded by people and an even longer day Algernon's stricken off into the only place he knows he's likely to find a modicum of minimally guaranteed privacy: the outlying woodland. His legs are long and so is his stride, meandering as it is, leaves turned up damp in his wake without purpose or direction. The long, tawny sweep of his duster and the darker jaunt of his hat blend well enough against dusky trunks and lengthening shadows.

Rustles through the surrounding brush accompany him at irregular intervals; occasionally a sleepy bird flushes out of tall grass or a bunny rabbit arrows across the game trail ahead for its burrow.

He pays them little mind, in no hurry to be anywhere and apparently without fear of being caught. He isn't doing anything wrong, per se, even if he is unaccounted for. It's unlikely that anyone has much of a reason to look for him.

The forest can get quite thick in places, thanks to the primeval motives of the last century or so; a lot of the forest that men find safe, are the less harrowing parts of the wood. Still, one can never quite tell where that line begins and where it ends. The burbling of a stream can be heard past the crunching of leaf litter and dried sticks, and over that, birds nestling in the chilly air of the mainly pine wood canopy. The green is fading for winter, though it seems to be a fuller jade where the ground nears the brook.

The waterway itself is not large, but it is respectable enough that to one far end of it are several red-furred does, and a singular stag with a great set of antlers.

Across the stream, is Jorn, starkly contrasted in his white cloak; he lounges on the roots of a fallen, moss-covered tree that stretches from one tall bank to the other. Only the puffing stream of smoke from a long pipe gives any true note that he is not actually asleep. He also looks to be intent upon something in his hands- on closer inspection wielding a tiny knife and a block of dark wood that he is haphazardly picking at.

Drawn to the sound of water on the move, as animals sometimes are, Algernon pauses and stills before the tree line thins. Eyes narrowed ahead, as if to verify something he's just been told, he considers light left in the sky blushing orange and violet overhead and then the path behind him with a turn of his head too slow to prick the ears of the deer browsing nearby.


But to retreat now is to potentially insinuate knowledge of wrongdoing and after a slow-drawn breath, Algernon presses on. A crackle of dead wood underfoot, boots sifting through needles and leaves, a snort from one of the does. A low, "Evening," from the opposite bank announces Fogg properly, once he's in clear sight, upright address and dress alike a different kind of analogous with the surrounding environment. He doesn't look like he doesn't belong, but he certainly belongs in a different niche than the one Jorn occupies. With his wood. And his cloak.

Even in the woodlands, one learns to be slightly more alert than otherwise. Jorn fancies himself used to its sights and sounds by now; he hears the nearing crunches of litter, and the snort of the doe with her toes in the water. Her ears are like dishes, and when she peers up, the rest do as well. While the red deer do not pick up heels and flee, they do see fortune enough to edge further down along the bank. Jorn follows the doe's look, in time to see the greeting come from its source.

"Good evening." The response comes perhaps too long afterwards, the time between having been filled with Jorn's breath eeking past his lips with the smoke from his pipe. It is not that he has to stop and think on it- just that he is in no such hurry. "I take it that you have a free evening, ser." Else there would probably be more flight involved here. Instead, it appears that Algernon has simply wandered here. Water sources have their ways. For better or worse.

"Yes." Not — officially employed. Maybe. As of yet. Hazy on the details, shall we say, Algernon fails to exude any worry otherwise, with one gloved hand tucked away into a coat pocket and the other lax about the region of his holster. He looks to the herd of deer after a delay, making conversation as one man who's tracked randomly out of the woods upon another about as awkward as is to be expected.

"And you as well," he focuses down sideways after bit of wood and knife on his way to echoing, "I take it."
"In a manner of speaking." Jorn tilts his head enough to seem more amiable, his calloused fingers brushing off splinters from the wood. "Usually such time comes to me without notice and I am at a loss as to what to do with myself." He squints his eyes and frowns at the block, before he hefts it in his hand and lobs it backwards into the brush. It plunks off of a tree trunk somewhere. Jorn's speech past the clench of the pipe come gruffly until he removes it to hold in one set of fingers.

"Gods forbid, that I become too artistic." Blue eyes take to studying Algernon from afar now, unabashed in less social observation, as was the case when he appeared with Aislinn. The end of the long pipe gets tapped against his chin. "You are quite nothing like the others. I am certain that you know this already." Jorn can smell a soldier a mile away, as it were.

Algernon's brows lift after the arc of the carving's flight, surprise muffled low after such an easy dismissal of however many minutes of effort spent a-carving. He leaves it there, of course, declining to comment past the initial look.

Not his business.

The question of his own ~individuality~ on the other hand —

"Taller," he acknowledges (or agrees) at a theatrical delay for Jorn's observation. Better dressed. The half-smile he manages to wring out of a twitch at the corner of his mouth is lazy. Reasonably affable, though, habitual rigidity of posture and unexpected setting accounted for. "I might say the same of you."

Restlessness begets a great many things, and of those things are hobbies that Jorn has picked up only to promptly toss aside. Don't ask him about the painting supplies he gave to the school, or the rooted up patch behind the cottage that was going to be a vegetable garden, or the time he nearly kicked in the piano at the manor.

"You might." Jorn laughs a little in return, the sound dry in his throat. His own smile comes a tad more easily, but even so, it is not much more than the one he received. The northman shakes his head in a nod, lips quirked as he tucks away the small knife. "I have the feeling that it is why they keep you along.." If 'tallness' were 'ability', and 'they' were Algernon's original group of vagabonds.

"Well it wasn't my personality."

Algernon's voice carries across the brook without being bolstered or raised, enunciation effective enough that he doesn't linger long on the idea of trying to cross over. According to the look that he casts down after clear water and then mechanically back up again. His boots are dry. Probably best that they stay that way.

"Or my cooking. How long have you been a part of Dornie, if you don't mind my asking."

His boots are dry, as opposed to Jorn's- which are splattered in dried mud, along with dirt scuffed below his knees.

"Personality is subjective." He gives a small shrug of his shoulders, eyes trailing off to watch a large maple leaf bob its way downstream. "Cooking, less so…" Jorn pointedly avoids answering for a few moments, debating on whether Algernon is simply curious, or if he is purposefully fishing. "Several years." It sounds as if it could be the better answer, without extraneous details getting into it.

Whichever the case may be, Algernon is satisfied with the answer he receives, nodding to himself as if he suspected as much on his way to manuevering a flask from the shady interior of his coat. Something crosses his mind, pauses somewhere about the middle and carries on without direct reference; there's a stay in the middle of his unscrewing of the cap and then naught.

"Any advice?" is what he asks instead, half-hearted interest bland through the angles of his face.

Jorn makes enough pauses of his own to barely notice the same ones on someone else; his quietness makes it easier to stand, perhaps. The quest for advice, however, is new, and he watches Algernon a moment longer, brow slightly creased in thought.

"I would have left Dornie years ago, if I did not have to remain." Jorn's advice doesn't really end up as advice- a sort of anecdote, or something close to it. "But when I look back at what I have found, I am gladder for fate making me unable to leave. A man can find his fortune here, in an imperfect town- though it may not be what you expect." From the tone of his voice, it is personal advice as well. He pauses again, lips flattening at nothing in particular.

"If you are as sharp as you seem, you do not need me to tell you how to handle yourself, do you?" Jorn's graying mood lightens, and a sudden smile pulls his lips back into a curve.

"Ah," says Algernon. Just 'ah.'

Another nod stands in for a thank you for relation of personal experience, respectful reticense shaded in where a lack of familiarity with the subject matter makes unwitting presumption a risk. A sniff at his open flask later, he thinks twice and caps it off, idle hands turning its weight over twice before it's tucked away again.

"I have the gist of it, I think." Yes sir, no sir, how high, sir. Fogg reflects Jorn's smile in kind, forced optimism tight through the naturally cynical lines around his eyes in the beat before they divert skyward.

His next, "Well," sounds like the start of a farewell — and is. He rocks back half a step, promising retreat. "I should return to civilization, I suppose. I'll leave you to your carving."

"The Albatross has the best fresh oysters. Do not let them fool you into fish." Algernon asked for advice, and Jorn finally gives him some actual advice. As if to fortify his make as a truthful man. He stays on the roots of the fallen, mossy tree, one boot propped up, arm on knee. "Just ..do not eat a whole barrel and put it onto a tab." He subconsciously lifts a hand to his temple, fingers rubbing there. Residual pain, possibly. From something being thrown at him.

"Sol light your path." Jorn lifts that same hand in a lazy wave of goodbye, his voice low.

"Of course. Thank you, sir," granted with exaggerated respect for advice so sagely and relevantly(??) granted, Algernon tips hand to the black of his hat and turns to leave in earnest. He's even mellow enough to pin on an even, "and yours," for the sake of manners despite the apathetic stink of atheism that rides close on his coat tails.

Into the woods, with the first warm electric lights already pricking through wide spaced trunks in the direction of Dornie.