Whatever It Is You Seek

Title: Whatever It Is You Seek
Time Period: February 9, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A mother is drawn to her son after many years apart.

It is near dusk when stars align, for better or worse. A swift twilight, the sun seems to have just begun descending when the sunset ends, and the moon is brighter than the last rays on the horizon. Specks of starlight litter the sky, obscured in part by the commonly overcast winter sky. The weather is cool along the waterfront, a breeze set in the air that travels inland and stops short of the nearest river. The outside of the inn is empty, the windows lit with firelight and the innards raucous. Jorn Wartooth has pried himself from it just in time to properly avoid it- but he has enough clout to have been able to borrow one of the mugs and take it outside to the walkway with him. He'll take it back in eventually, probably soon after he finishes with whatever strong-smelling thing is inside.

A stroll at dusk is far more calm than one at midnight, and he could possibly be the least worried soul milling about near the water. Not that there are many at all. A boat down the way has a pair of men working in shadow, and aside from Jorn's meandering, the most mobile thing is the smoke from the pipe he cradles in his fingers, and the dust of snow falling past torches and lanterns on the outside of the buildings.

He sticks out like a brushstroke of white on a calico canvas, the bear pelt in its usual place of honor, though mantled about his shoulders and back.

Head down, hands in pockets, Beisdean strolls toward the inn. He's bundled up more than usual, looking much bulkier than his lean tall frame normally does; a thick scarf encircles his neck and a cap covers his ears. A slight cough announces his approach, the silver cloud rising above into the darkening sky, drifting up and away like a tiny ghost.

When he sees Jorn upon his path, he nods politely. "Good evening," he says, politely and pleasantly enough, to the man he's just met a couple of times.

In the midst of stretching his fingers after putting the end of the pipe in his teeth, Jorn's attention towards Beisdean is punctuated- perhaps unfortunately- by the hard cracking of his knuckles as he makes a fist. He does not have far to look, even if the young man is looking down. Jorn grimaces against the mouthpiece, though it may be an attempt at a smile; his brows knit together, and he glances back towards the Albatross, and then to Beisdean again. The mug in his hand is held not at its handle, rather grasped around the mouth by his fingers, hand at his side. The investment in drinking the rest has waned over time.

"Good evening." comes the reply, once it is clear that yes- he is the one being spoken to. "Too crowded for my tastes." Blue eyes narrow at the inn this time.

There is something else in the air between Jorn, the Inn, and the rest of the waterfront; a familiar pinching of realization for Beisdean that they are very much not alone, and that Jorn will decidedly not come to the same conclusion.

"It often is. Sailors' night, aye? I won't get rest for some time I think," Beisdean says, though his brows knit as he studies the apparition that has arrived, though he does his best not to appear to be gazing at an empty spot in the road — a fleeting glance and then his gray-blue eyes return to Jorn's face.

"I can return your glass for you, if you like, if you don't wish to return," he offers, with a gesture to the glass. He doesn't speak the ghost — sometimes ignoring them actually works, and it's his usual modus operandi.

"I would not ask you to if you had not offered- but since you have." Jorn sighs through his nose, the sound rough as he reluctantly splashes what is left along the drainage line. The rain will sweep it away next it comes, if melting snow does not first. He offers Beisdean the mug with a cant of his head, looking for his expression of politeness perhaps longer than usual. "Skye, yes?"

She- for its shape is unmistakable- remains indistinct for a time. Little through personal choice, and more to the fact that there are others, and that the medium has not stared at her long enough. The others, also indistinct, seem to swarm increasingly nearer to the medium, and notably towards the man draped in the white pelt. Many of them tall, broadly-shaped, huddling in the dark, unwilling to either tempt fate — or the feminine shape shifting closer to Beisdean.

Only when she gets nearer, just past Jorn's left side, can he see her without looking away from the Nord. The woman is small- quite a bit smaller than either of them. Her features are obscured by dark, still. However, the medium can see her clothing perfectly well. A heavy skirt over slim ankles and boots, a knitted sweater underneath of a cape lined with fur. The pattern on her hems are nothing remotely from the isles, at least not distinctly. Her head is half-concealed, by cloth the cover of boiling sea pinned at the crown of her head, and by the swells of black hair piling out from under it and over her chest.

The mug is taken and set into the satchel he carries at his side. Beisdean takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, trying to focus but finding that the two men share the road despite his best efforts. The deep breath makes him cough, turning his head and raising his arm to cough into his sleeve. It doesn't sound like a bad cough, just a cold that the winter night is making worse.

He ignores the woman, an nods to Jorn. "Skye, yes. I'll let you get on with your evening, sir," he says quickly, beginning to walk again, letting long legs stretch a bit to eat up the road between him and the inn quickly, to try to get out of public — the sooner, the better.

Jorn cannot help himself- be gives Beisdean a strangely suspicious look when the young man switches from courteous to squirrelly. "Good to see you are still around." They need more friendly faces in town, even if they happen to act like mister Skye. Jorn figures that good things come with prices, regardless. "Goodnight." He puffs smoke like a bellows for a moment, sending it out of his nose and between his teeth, until he turns back to resume his silent survey of the waterside.

The woman's form comes clearer when it is also clear that Beisdean wants nothing to do with her. Her resolve seems to push her presence towards him, even as he turns away from the Nord to continue his trek towards the inn. If spirits had hooks, hers would be snagged on the heels of his boots. If it were not for the blotch of black, purple, and red that covers half of her face, she would be quite beautiful. There is blood in her dark curls; it mats her locks to one side of her head, and weeps crimson down her neck and collar.

"Thank you, that's kind of you," Beisdean says over his shoulder, perhaps for somewhere to look other than the spirit that moves closer toward him. He grits his teeth, jaw clenching as he turns his focus back on the inn, making it just a few strides before stopping and turning to his side.

"Whatever it is, I cannot help you, Miss," he mutters, voice low in hopes it won't carry back to where Jorn watches the water.

The way she halts is almost like yanking on a horse's reins. She does stop, though at his side, and only after braking her way wholly into his sight. In between the fine features and ugly marks, her sharp, light blue eyes are suddenly giving him a maternally scornful look. One he probably has not had the pleasure of seeing in a long while. Beisdean saw these same eyes just a moment ago, though they were reddish with tiredness, and set in the face of a man twice her size.

"Dere vil hjelpe…" Body language suggests sheepishness, the way she clutches at her cloak, the downcast glance after she had fixed her ire on him. Her fingers are small, also smeared with dried red, and the musty look of dirt. "You must…" Even now, she feels demands of strangers are above her. The young woman's voice is light, though solid in tone; her words come out choked by a thick accent that is hard to place.

Beisdean has the grace to look sheepishly at his boots when she looks so scornfully at him, and then shakes his head at her words in a language he doesn't know.

"I don't understand," he says, and his voice is a little louder with exasperation. But then she utters those two syllables in English, or what seem to be, cut off as they are.

"You're far from your home, I think, miss. This," he gestures, an abashed glance backwards in case anyone is behind him, watching him — like Jorn.

"This is Scotland. Whatever it is you seek, it's probably not here, miss."

Something registers with her when he explains so rationally; small, shapely lips purse into a frown. Unbecoming, for all that she is not a Pre-Raphaelite painting. Her hands grip her skirts, and she peers down to the earth under her ethereal feet before unhanding them. "Scotland." Is said with resignation. Soon after, she shifts, turning her head to look after Jorn, where he has started walking away along the road in white-daubed silence. Her face turns back.

"No, it is." One hand lifts heavily, and she points after the man disappearing down another lane. It retracts, finding the flat of her sternum. "He has been too long."

Following her gaze to Jorn, Beisdean's brows furrow, and he shakes his head. "Do you seek Jorn Wartooth? I don't… if it's been such a long time, it is sometimes best to let things lie, ma'am. The living, they are not always open to messages from the other side, and it can re-open long closed wounds in a way that can be…"

His gloved hands open, palms up, to seek the word, before he shrugs. "It can be cruel, and it's not something I like to do." Mostly because it's hard for him, though the words seem empathetic enough to sound sincere.

He glances to where Jorn has retreated, then back again. "What would you have of me?"

"No… Ullman." Confusion litters her face this time, and she peers off into the air as if Jorn might decide to turn around and come back. "Wartooth?" She listens, it appears, to what Beisdean has to say, though it brings a sadness to her eyes. In a way, he is more right than he ought to be; it has been so long that she is uncertain of her purpose, or if it would be best. It stews there, but before long, resolve has its way.

"He is open- my boy is wise." At last it becomes known what her connection to him is. The tone she uses to lie claim to Jorn is proud, yet lonesome. She misses him, simply put. "Jorn blames himself. For me." Liv Ullman's fine-featured face creases in sorrow, and the bruises darken under shadow of hair when she lowers her chin.

Ullman gets a shake of Beisdean's head, but he listens. "Sons often do. Even if we were miles away," he says quietly, shame dropping his eyes for a moment as he glances at the snow beneath his feet. He looks back up at her. "What would you have me tell him? Do you want me to …"

He gestures, from her to his chest, to where Jorn has started to disappear down the road, "… to translate, so to speak? Or just carry a message? I can call him back." He frowns as soon as he's offered to help, wondering at himself, at his willingness to play medium for these women who have haunted him of late.

At least it wasn't the guy missing his head. That particular communication would have been awkward. This is too, in a way. Liv's English was not perfect, present as it was.

"Translate?" If she knows the word or not, it is still a way of putting it that she doesn't understand. Beisdean's pause gives her the same, and she wrings her hands together. "I- I don't-" Liv wavers, like a candle's flame. Perhaps she did not expect him to comply at all. "How do others do?"

Beisdean reaches up to rub his face with a gloved hand, looking weary. "There is no one way. I generally don't. Most of the time I can't — people want me to speak to people who are long since past, or far away, or in languages I do not understand." He nods to her — he'd assumed two of those things of her tonight.

"I can pass on the message, whatever it is. I can call him here, to speak to him while you tell me what to say." There is a third option, though he does not offer it, as it is not something he's ever offered to anyone but has instead had taken — she can possess him, to speak through his mouth, to reach with his hands.

"Whatever seems right to you, ma'am."

Liv begins to examine him, now. Slowly at first, until she comes to study him enough. She looks to have also calmed some, but it has also been too long for Beisdean to catch Jorn without it being an utmost chore. The woman folds her hands, holding them in front of her ribcage. "Not tonight."

"If I may come again?" A polite ghost is not out of the question, though it is certainly a refreshing thing, isn't it? "He is also… protecting of me." Liv tries to put it in a way that Beisdean can realize that like any mama's boy, Jorn doesn't take lightly to people talking about her; she hopes that it does not breach that, but she must choose her message carefully. That means another time. More time.

"You are kind to us."

The young man is too old to be called an "orphan" at 27, but still, motherless, being in the presence of a mother always makes him wistful, respectful, and he stands a little taller as she inspects him. He nods once when she asks permission, his head sinking almost into a bow, and he murmurs, "Yes, ma'am," politely. Even as selfish as he is at times, it's hard to say no to such a request.

The last words shame him, though; his cheeks flush and his eyes turn down. Beisdean shakes his head. "No, ma'am, that I'm not. My ability is a rare one, and so you may think so, but I've no doubt it might have been better bestowed on someone with more patience than I have," he says, apology in his tone, his brow furrowing as he stares at his boots.

He looks up, but only partway, unable to meet her eyes. "I'll try to do better by you." He makes no promise for others, however.

"Even so, you are still kind." When he does not have to be, she means. Having this connection relaxes her petite figure, and she tilts her face up as if to welcome a lightbearer. He sees her good side when she lifts her eyes to air, rather than the blotchy and bloodied side of her head. Liv looks back down, moving forward into his downward view, for she is just the right height to find his eyes with hers, sparking light blue against her face.

"Kiitos. Thank you."

Liv Ullman is gone, snowflakes on worn stone still falling at his feet.