Unfriendly

Title: Unfriendly
Time Period: August 6, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Two newcomers to Dornie meet a pair of locals on the road.

A lone figure appears behind a curve headed for town, he or she does not look impressive in any kind of way, maybe even a little diminutive. By the walk of that person, they must have been travelling for quite some time, with slower than usual, relatively heavy steps, striding forward, making progress one step at a time.

Dorian has been catching sight of something in the distance all day. At the top of hills, going round bends. Now he's sure it's a person. "Oi!" he calls, breaking into a run with no regard for whether or not having some strange man in an overlong cloak screaming and running at you might be starling or not. He waves a hand over his head.

The person turns to glance behind and reaches for something. (no, nothing missing, nothing dropped, could be a highwayman..) Quickening the pace the figure advances more quickly now. There is still a considerable walk before reaching that settlement, but that person behind has quite a distance to run before catching up, for better or worse.

Dorian puts his head down and runs. Physically, he's got no problem with running, but having been low on water lately, it's not long before he flags, still some distance from the person he's been trailing behind all day. "Unfriendly!" he declares her loudly.

The figure slows down and looks back as yet another person appears behind the curve. Pulling her hood back, it is revealed to be a girl. Well, she's not going to waste her time and strength turning around and going to that stranger, even though that was not somehting she'd expect to hear from a typical highwayhman. Now standing and waiting for whomever that might be doesn't look like the smartest or safest thing to do either, so she turns away and keeps walking towards that settlement. If that person behind is so eaget to catch up with her, he'll catch his breath and run, or just walk faster.

Dorian looks annoyed at this affront. Now he's not going to run on pure principle. He returns to his previous walking pace, which means Selene will reach town a bit ahead of him.

While the girl is far too tired and road weary to be bursting with joy as the person trailing behind seems to have given up chase, she does seem rather content with her relative safety when she approaches settlement's outskirts.

It's not uncommon to hear people shouting - it's the only way to communicate across the open fields, hands cupped around wide mouths. The Highland cattle bellow, too, their hoarse voices joining the banging cowbells and insects buzzing in the tall summer grass. Two women who are not strangers to Dornie have chosen to cut through one such field on their way back to town, and the smaller, fairer of the pair stops to slant a hand across her eyes, shielding them from the sun as she looks toward the road and the figures hurrying along it.

"Does she look like she's in trouble to you?" Aislinn wonders.

Mariah pushes her dark hair out of her face as she turns to look in the direction Aislinn draws her attention to. She peers a little before straightening up with a frown. "It's hard to say. Honestly, it looks more like a lovers quarrel, with her so pointedly staying ahead." Ah, assumption. "I don't recognize either, though." She picks up the side of her skirt as well as her pace to stride more purposefully toward the newcomers.

Dorian strides on behind Selene. He's too proud to run, but he is walking quickly. Or perhaps he's just pretending to have a naturally enormous stride.

Hearing the sounds of the cattle, Selene catches sight of the women and changes course in their direction, the do seem like they're local and not travellers. Glancing back at the approaching figure, the honey haired girl hastens her step a little. She does not shout or call out anything, apparently waiting to reach a speaking distance.

Aislinn keeps pace with Mariah, a basket held under her arm, its weave filled with wildflowers collected during their journey - primrose and cowslip, bluebells and yarrow, all to be cut, arranged and given to her smallest niece in an attempt to raise her spirits, though Celia is the furthest thing from her mind at the moment.

"Oi!" Mariah is not above shouting, apparently, especially as the girl keeps speeding up. It makes it difficult to be a proper welcoming party or possibly inept rescuer. "Hang on a tick," is added, although that one seems to be meant for both the travelers, the way she looks between them.

Dorian looks up to the sky, but his pace remains constant. He even slows a little when he sees signs of life. He may not be closing much distance with Selene, but he's getting closer to the ones who are standing still, and he waves at them.

Selene casts a glance at the figure behind her as she approaches the women, saying with more of a hint of a foreign (eastern French) accent, "hello, please, what is the name of this place? Is it near D'or-nay".

"Dornie?" asks Aislinn. Selene's accent is not one that she's familiar with - the last thing she wishes to do is point the girl in the wrong direction. She looks to the north. "It's only a few miles from here - as the crow flies."

"And if you keep at that speed, you'll blow right through it and miss all the fun," Mariah says, her hands going to her hips as if she might be entirely serious. She turns to return the wave to Dorian, her smile bright enough to not be a worry. However, she turns back to Selene, her tone almost conspiratorial. "Now, is he trying to catch up because he's trying to rob you or because he stuck his foot in it a mile back?"

While Selene is pausing to speak with the women, Dorian gains enough ground to be within speaking distance. And what is the point of being within speaking distance of anybody if you don't immediately take advantage of it? "Whatever that girl said about me, it is a lie," he declares. "I only hailed her on the road." He has a slightly odd accent. It doesn't exactly match the local accent, but it isn't entirely dissimilar, either.

Selene lowers her voice as the man approaches, saying with that strange accent, "I do not know, it is now two days he is walking same route as me but now the view is open wide so he can see far ahead and notice me. When he sleeps, he snores to loud it scares the squirrels".

"Yes, well," says Aislinn, "squirrels scare easily, don't they?" She means to put Selene at ease, but there's something about the girl that makes the corners of her smile tight and her tone more cautious than it necessarily needs to be. Her eyes, at least, are not unkind. To Dorian: "I suppose you're looking for Dornie too."

"We're not an uncommon spot for travelers, coming here, it seems you're quite likely to collect traveling companions. Whether or not you begin with them." Mariah, too, seems to be trying to ease the woman's worry, but she can't help an amused smile when Dorian is already jumping to his own defence. "Right! Well, she has brought up a very grave accusation indeed. Which is… snoring loudly enough to wake the other travelers. For shame. I must insist that you promise to keep a quieter sleep within the town itself."

"Am I?" Dorian asks Aislinn, blinking at her for a moment. Then he bobs his head. "Oh, yes. You're right. The town. Forgive me. I've been traveling some time. Alone." He shoots Selene a look at that. "Ran out of water yesterday." Then he looks at Mariah, and he seems downright offended at this accusation of snoring. "Never in my life!" he insists.

"Is there somewhere with drinking water nearby?", Selene asks with that ever present reminder of her being a complete and utter stranger to these lands. She glances at the man again, and then at the women. She says nothing more but the wheels are certainly grinding at something in her mind.

Aislinn unloops the leather strap she wears over one shoulder and, careful not to spill any of the flowers from the basket, hoists her canteen. She imagines that Duncan might be vocally opposed to this, but Duncan isn't here, and offering a stranger a drink of water when he hasn't had any since yesterday seems like too small a thing to get back to anyone who might care. "There you are," she says as she unscrews the cap and holds out the canteen for Dorian to take. "We can walk you into town if you'd like - it has water, and more."

Mariah tries to keep up a more serious expression, but it doesn't last long before it's replaced with a smile. "Forgive me, I could hardly resist," she says to Dorian, reaching over to pat his arm a little in apology. "You're, of course, welcome to come into town for whatever you need. We have a little of everything for sale, I can say with confidence," she says to both of them as Aislinn passes her water on. She certainly doesn't disapprove. "It isn't long." The walk, that is.

"Thank you, you're very kind." He lets down his beaten sack and takes the canteen, having himself a drink. He must have some experience in difficult conditions, as he doesn't immediately start glugging it all down. He has enough to help his dried-out condition, then offers the canteen to Selene. He gives Mariah half a bow and pulls his somewhat fantastic cape into the proper alignment. "It would be very nice if you would take us to town."

Selene blinks a little, is it her or these women are all of a sudden all over him? Nobody told her this town had a severe lack of men.. And, wait, did he say us? Great, now people will think she is somehow involved with this fellow.. She glances at the canteen passing hands, figuring they might have thought she was asking about the water for his sake rather than her own. Oh well, a few more miles won't change much anyway..

Aislinn links arms with Mariah again, and rather than wait for Selene to drink and return the canteen, she turns north and starts up the road that supposedly leads into town at a relaxed pace. She can see the sky and the breeze wafting off the ocean carries the smell of wheat with it - it is not, in other words, a day to be rushing about. "What brings you this far north?" she asks, deliberately leaving the question open-ended so either Selene or Dorian can answer.

"This way, then," Mariah says, nodding her head toward the vague direction of Dornie before she steps with Aislinn in that direction. She doesn't seem bothered by the easy pace, herself, but the question has her looking over her shoulder at the pair, "Yes, I second that question. Especially as this one, at least, knows where she's headed." In theory.

"Heard there were people up here," Dorian says. "A great number, and fairly prosperous." All of which is music to his ears, one might guess. "And anyway, I hadn't been here before." He gives a tilted, mischievous sort of smile at that hint that he has been so many other places. He moves to follow Mariah.

Selene sips a little water, really not much, just enough to wet her mouth and throat a little before handing the canteen back. "I was told I could find work, food and bed", says the honey haired girl with foreign accent.

"Aye," says Aislinn, "more than two thousand, last count. We're the largest settlement this side of the border. As for prosperous— Dornie does well enough. I'm sorry that can't be said for everyone who lives there, but if it's work you're after, you'll find it - only be wary of who you accept it from and at what cost."

"We get along," is what Mariah adds to the talk of the town's reputation. Aislinn's advice gets a knowing mmhmm from the brunette and a firm nod. "What sort of work are you after?" That, too, seems to be open to either of them to answer. "There's always something needing done."

Dorian bobs his head. "You see? Anyone who admits to getting along does better than just that, or they'd be complaining they didn't have enough." Or anyway, that is Dorian's world view. He simply smiles when Mariah asks about occupations, and pretends the question is meant for Selene, looking her way.

"Doing dishes, cleaning, making beds, running errands, any kind of.. ummm how.. unskilled?", Selene half says half asks, as she walks along with the group, looking around herself every now and then, studying her surrounding.

Aislinn screws the cap back on her canteen and reattaches it to the strap. "You might see if Ross Manor is in need of a maid," she suggests. "They're a more forgiving family to work for than some."

Mariah looks over at Aislinn there, and even though their arms are already linked, she reaches her free hand over to rest on the other woman's arm. But her gaze goes to Dorian next, her smile crooked, "And you're here with plans to be a gentleman of leisure?"

"Yes, if possible," Dorian answers with another tilted smile. "Have you any such positions available? I think I'd be phenomenal if so. If not…" He tilts his head thoughtfully. "I shall have to offer something else. I would like to offer people their dreams back."

Selene glances at Dorian with a quirked eyebrow, that man certainly toots his own whorn… Finally unable to keep quiet, she asks the man bluntly "are you a male prostitute?"

Aislinn is silent now, her brow furrowed and eyes watching her feet stir up dust. The poignancy of Dorian's words is not lost in the wake of Selene's inquiry.

There are dreams she'd very much like back.

"Oh, hun, if that position was open, I would be taking it," Mariah says with a laugh and a shake of her head. "Unfortunately, a town like this thrives on a community working together." She might go on, but Selene gets her attention with that question. Her eyebrow lifts, her expression sobers and her tone even flattens out. "Would it be a problem if he was?"

"I daresay any man has his price," Dorian tells Selene, lowering his shoulders and lifting his chin so as to appear as haughty as possible. "And yours might be lower than you think." He glances at the other two women. "However, I have larger dreams. I want to give back to people things they have forgotten. Beautiful things. One could say I dance, but two words can hardly describe the breadth of what it is I do." Or so he claims.

Selene shrugs at Mariah's question, saying "that depends on the attitude of the town I would suppose, but he said so many things and so much flourish it made sense as much as French chef describing a simple meal". Then to Dorian she says with some hardness creeping into her tone "you know little about price or dreams, you think just because you give entertainment you can change lives?"

"And you speak with such insult, what shall we deduce of your profession?" Mariah turns back to Aislinn there, a sorry whispered in her direction. But she turns her attention to Dorian again, her expression softening. She doesn't comment on dreams or things forgotten, likely because she likes them to stay so. Forgotten. But she smiles his way all the same. "I like a little flourish. It keeps things from getting too dull."

"I know I can," Dorian answers Selene, confidence unshaken. "Why? Are you so proud about your sweeping up that you believe you have the right to judge the dreams and occupations of others?" he wonders, lifting an eyebrow. "You know nothing of me or my work," he adds coolly. "Nor do you seem capable of imagining what great things beauty does for the human spirit." He turns to look at Mariah, smiling as he looks her over anew to gather more visual details. "Exactly," he answers after a moment's observation. "I think that dullness is deadly."

"I prefer truth," Selene states softly and keeps walking quietly with or slightly behind the group.