There Is No Cure

Title: There Is No Cure
Time Period: August 6, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: — for being a cunt, right? Jørn enlightens Algernon on his own enlightenment from Hush.

Algernon Fogg blends seemlessly into the Rookery's foul streets, all grey and brown and foggy orbs of orange where oil lamps paint cramped quarters in shades of sulfer. In terms of pallet, that is.

In every other aspect he is distinctly out of place — and for all that he doesn't patrol here often, the locals make a motivated effort to keep out of his way. Here there are rumors about him that don't persist elsewhere in Dornie. Here miscreants cross the street when he approaches. No one smiles when he doffs his hat.

The number of fucks he gives amount to a clear zero in the easy pace of his stride while he walks. Taking his time around the block.

It's a rare day when someone even looks him in the eye, most like. So when there is a dull plunk a the back of his hat, it probably comes as an affront to his senses. Another small rock pings off the back of his coat, below one shoulderblade.

Looking too sharply around may get him little; a slow look will give him the figure of a man in a nearby alleyway- tall, broad, hooded in a worn, blackened fabric cloak. He blends in with the lip of the alleyway enough, for being such a big presence. The colors, as with Algernon. There's still a handful of rocks in one hand, as he sidles behind the mouth of the alley, just barely out of sight.

The first plunk is successful in stopping Fogg dead in his tracks. Sans alarm. He seems to doubt the veracity of the sensation, jaw angled up and then down. Uncertain.

The second sees him rounding slowly on his heel. Unhurried. The kind of leisurely pursuit only an uncontested apex predator can afford garnished with a hand reset to rest at his belt. There, billy club, revolver and short sword reside in the same forbidding order they always have in this stretch of town, lamplight throwing light harsh off the latter's tip.

Out of sight, his assailant will observe the dopplar approach of bootfalls formerly on the retreat.

The alleyway stinks of rot- refuse, mostly. Vomit. Piss. The usual lovely scents of the Rookery. There is a puddle of watery mud in the middle, wheels having left divets through it. Plain walls on either side, no windows, a lantern at the mouth hanging from one of the buildings.

The boots approaching around the corner put the assailant to standing still, hovering there in the middle of the alley, hood partially pulled back by a fussing palm. Enough for icy blue eyes, square chin, once-cracked straight nose. The tired color under Jorn's eyes is blessedly steeped in what shade is left there.

He waits there, thumbs in his belt, a long dagger at the small of his back, leathers tucked to the most worn boots he possibly owns.

There's a pause on the threshold. A moment for calculation and — perhaps — reconnaissance before Algernon rounds the corner proper. Muddy tracks are trodden through same as any other street, fresh impressions left to fill with foul water in his wake.

If he wasn't so familiar with Jorn's profile, the fussing alone would surely give him away.

In any case, his approach is round about and maybe even wary, absent benefit of the doubt. "Before you speak," he begins at his usual meter, "you should know," he pauses out of arm's reach, eyes narrowed, "that I have already decided you must have an impressive reason for luring me into an alley in this neighborhood and at this hour."

The smile that Algernon gets is a dry one, wolfish.

"The family won't mind me missing if this goes quickly…" Jorn lifts a hand to scratch hard at his neck. He seems more fluid, without the white pelt; a white bear looks more like a black cat, without its fur. "I didn't want to meet you, and I didn't want to draw you in, out there." The northman gestures off towards the east, a vague gesture for the rest of Dornie. "Delicate matters. Maybe not so impressive for a man like you." But impressive enough for him to draw Algernon off of a patrol like this.

"It's been brought to my attention that MacCruimein is a mage, and his familiar was the one in the loch, when the children came back on the boat. I've also been told that you've known this, but not how, precisely." The beast that pulled a few people around the harbour, including the bear. "Apparently she is as uncontrollable as he is a little troll. Gods know how many people she's killed. And he has been all but assaulting Aislinn Rowntree and her children for years. I know what happened to her kin, but he goes too far." A growl, then.

"I've been told to go to her husband, and Duncan. But I have no way to make sure that MacCruimein does not go after her, presuming she was the one to out him. I would not have come to you if I thought it unwise." He knew, and Jorn has no idea what else he may know. But it is clear from the berserker's posture that he has taken unkindly to all of this, and it weighs him down. Aislinn means a great deal, for better or worse.

The absence of Jorn's better half has not escaped Algernon's attention, but he fails to appraise the other man in earnest until his reason neatly clears the bar he'd set for it. For that matter, all that there is to be read about him is the fact that he is reading. He is impassive to the core, the lines around his face betraying no tension.

There is a work of his jaw and a shift of his weight at a secret lost and thinly vieled questions to go with it but he's no more furtive than he is apologetic.

The cat isn't quite out of the bag.

So to speak.

"I came across an opportunity to eliminate his familiar and passed it by out of respect for her request for mercy," he explains. Evenly. And after a pause to collect his thoughts. Or — even more likely, to choose his words carefully. "The surest way would be to see that he is dead."

The northman shifts his weight from one leg to the other. Without the white, he certainly does seem to blend in more with the background; brown, black, grey, scars on his hands, patching in his clothes. More like that fisherman's son, with a big dagger at the back of his waist, putting those thinly veiled questions between them.

"Yes. That would be the surest way. And certainly would not require the interference of lords." Jorn murmurs in reply, the creases of his grimacing frown turning dark. "Though he is as valuable a sword and rifle, as much as he is a terrible creature. And there is the matter of what magic he possesses. I do no know it."

"Hush came to me." Is the only part that Jorn bequeaths, for names and causes. "His fears are too many. She does not know that he and I spoke."

Nor does Algernon, beyond the fact that he has proven to be a consummate bitch to dispatch.

Which. In the context of his position in this conversation, probably does not bear mentioning.

He sighs instead, breath tainted by impatience forced out through his sinuses into the gloom. "Evidently you've never witnissed a practical application of his gunsmanship." Condescension borne of bitter irritation creeps into the spaces between syllables before he can temper it. Or before Forge can.

"His disregard for human life is second only to his disregard for human decency and his familiar is insane," he states more rationally, once he's had a moment. "His sword arm is not worth gambling over."

If Jorn had less to concern himself over, he may just thank Algernon for the minute right there, and take off. Likely to make an attempt. This is one of the moments where Jorn wishes that he were still a warlord. It would cost him nothing to send men after MacCruimein. Or do it himself.

"I was asked to go to the Rowntree men. And I will. It seems to me that I can't risk him getting away from one man. Or two." Jorn pauses, sniffing a breath inward. "My word may no longer be word of law for soldiers, but it still carries enough weight that I think it would be trusted. If they were to move on him, I should hope you would join." Jorn cannot, as it seems, say outright he would give his sword to Duncan or Edmund- but the implication is there, and clan politics are not his strong suit. He knows enough to know that he can't be the one on the front of a charge, defending the honor of a Rowntree wife, just above the safety of other Dornians from a skeevy madman. Regardless of if she is his friend.

"By a talking fox," Algernon interjects with utmost reason on the subject of what he was asked to do, crosstalk leveled out into more of a respectful(ly tolerant) silence while Jorn weighs out the rest of his. Logic. While he listens, he takes a step forward, then another, deliberate advance allowing for quieter voices and more intimately dubious looks between them.

The latter mostly on his end.

Obviously.

"Your hope is well-founded," he decides. Still disappointed. Also unconvinced, Your funeral, written all into the flinty green and yellow of his eye when his hand comes easily away from his belt with his truncheon at the end of it. The blunt end of it digs firmly into the dip at the other man's sternum. Poke. And away, into the beginning of a withdraw. "Don't throw stones at me."

Jorn would rather not presume to get too close to Algernon on a matter such as private conversation unless he absolutely needs to; when the other man moves that short distance nearer, Jorn does the same, and they meet halfway for what seems to become the end of this.

"In my experience, talking animals are often more honest than talking men. The more hands that grab, the more likely we'll catch the fish. If they won't move on him, we'll have another chat, I think. And I'll keep my eye on him, more than usual. Bound to get something…" Jorn glances down to the blunt weapon poking him in the middle of his chest, looking back with a tilt on his mouth. "At least I didn't drag you into the Albatross broom closet." Just saying.

"After which they'll know full-well they've been subverted." As opposed to not knowing, which is really the entire point of conspiracy, isn't it? And presumably the ideal.

Algernon would know.

A dry, "Mmm," follows him off, billy club turned over through his fingers. Off to find someone he can use it on properly.

"More to the point and better off that way, if it comes to it." Jorn's response to authority failing him is always to make a point by doing something right; right, however, is all relative. "It's been a long time since I asked either of them to kiss my frozen viking ass." While he says this, he tugs his hood down further towards his brow, smiling a moment and dipping his head in farewell.

"God kveld." And he turns off, starting into the opposite direction, and the other end of the alleyway.