Wolf Hunter

Title: Wolf Hunter
Time Period: July 10, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A newcomer to Dornie meets a countryman on the road and finds a reluctant answer to what he seeks — and a warning.

Summer mornings are usually humid, clammy things; it does not get terribly cold at night, at least, which leaves everything sticky with dew when the sun returns. The vale and the forest get most of this water, and that trickles into the streams, and downhill from there. Fog lifts and floats on the hillocks, and the trees stand like dark ghosts as it filters away. The sun does quick work of it, and that dawn is when most people awaken and jostle themselves into motion. Some before others, some after. The common man gets up to rove off to work, of course.

Jorn, despite his desires otherwise, is usually one of these. Especially when he has to make the trip back to town, to the manor or the plant. River Road, with its mix of trees and fields alongside, river wandering past, is an idyllic ride to work, most of the time. Kuu walks along the trodden road, over so many other tracks of wagons and horses before her. With her mane shorn for the warm season, she is even more identifiable; Jorn has her saddled with a few parcels of various sizes, his white fur gathered on the saddle behind him, as if he had shed it back while seated.

The fjord mix has an easy enough time with both her owner and his packages, though she seems perfectly keen on taking her time, regardless of the furrowed look upon Jorn's face. Perhaps impatient- or perhaps he is simply deeper in thought than he ought to be.

Coming from the Dovetail is a man unfamiliar to Jorn; his hair wet, it's clear he's just washed up before heading outside, which is perhaps more than can be said for some of the brothel's patrons. He is staring at the mountains in the distance before his eyes move down to the road itself, focusing on the tall man and that sturdy fawn-colored horse — there is recognition in his eyes as he moves toward the two strangers.

"God morgen. Hun er en skjønnhet," he says once they are close enough for easy communication, his eyes a little wary as he studies the older man's face, waiting to see if Jorn understands the few simple words.

Making a habit of checking out men coming from the direction of the Dovetail sometimes leads to confrontation- the defensive kind- and so Jorn learned a long time ago to mind his own business if he passes anyone coming from the drive, or even towards it. It is not until the young man speaks, that he looks over; half out of surprise, and half out of suspicion. Nothing personal, of course. Hands loose on the reins, Jorn reels them a handful closer, and Kuu comes to a slow, almost halt. She hesitates there, knocking one hoof on the ground, questioning.

"God morgen…" He begins to reply, though another moment passes wherein the older man studies Nikolai closely. The pale blue of Jorn's eyes is a familiar shade to him, especially here in Scotland. There are little things- a design on the saddle blanket, etching on the sheath of his sword, things such as this- that are Nordic, not Gaelic or Celtic. And, of course, Kuu is not a wholly Scottish horse. She knickers loudly, ears tilting in wait. Jorn hushes her. "Og, hun har en tanke pa hennes egen."

There is something in the younger man's eyes that speaks of hope and also caution, and he draws nearer. "You are Norse?" Nikolai says abruptly in English, a nod to the taller man as if it were any question Niko was speaking to him and not to the horse.

His eyes move to the horse and he smiles. "Shh," he hushes her in a gentle voice reaching to pat her neck slowly, so neither mare nor man think it a threat. "Hun er en kvinne, he adds to Jorn. The horse is a female, it goes without saying, no?

The suspicion on Jorn's expression seems to fade a little; he can see, somewhat, that second of something hopeful. A countryman, at least- though he has yet to figure out if it may be the good kind, the bad kind, or the ugly kind. Kuu is generally accepting of people, often coming off as having that dog-like attitude. She turns her nose to sniff at his arm,the muscles at her bristly mane shivering once.

"Yes." Jorn turns his head to scan the road, cursory movements so that he is certain that he does not have an audience. "You speak English?" He pings back, lifting his eyebrows rather than digging them further down towards his nose.

"A little of many things but not so well," Nikolai says, his accent thicker than Jorn's. He smiles at Kuu, murmuring quiet praise of her beauty, before stepping back. There's a doglike flick of wet hair out of his eyes as he turns his darker blue-green eyes on Jorn's pale ones. Studying him.

"Are there others here in this town?" He glances at Kuu; maybe Jorn will think he means other Fjeld horses, and he gestures to Jorn. "Other Norrøne." That hope returns to his his eyes; it's enough to change the rather weathered, wary features of the man to something more naive in just a second.

Jorn silently considers his answer, and it is hard to tell what it may be, at first. He looks the young man over again, taking notes on posture and build. The next breath is an inward one through his nose.

"Som er avhengig…" That depends. "Det er sjomenn, noen ganger." Other common Dornie presences from the north are mostly sailors, and Jorn makes that plain. There's only one other source, but he is not about to give it up freely. Not yet. "Er du ensom? Eller… soker?"

The caution of the other man is noted and reflected in Nikolai's expression and posture. "Sjomenn… kanskje." Maybe. He shakes his head at the other question, his thick brows furrowing a little as he turns to look at the mountains in the distance.

"I am looking," he says, choosing English, perhaps to make himself use it, though it's obviously a more deliberate process. "I was told by a magiker to look here. I think. She spoke riddles. She described this place, this Dornie, I think. Kanskje. 'Brothers of the glen with their heads in the clouds.' A glen is fjelldal, ja?" He nods to the mountains in the distance.

"Close enough." As Jorn speaks, it becomes clearer that he has had time for his accent to dilute, though it hangs heavy after he speaks another tongue. "In riddles? I am not shocked. Dornie attracts such things…" He shifts in the saddle, turning slightly to look out towards the distant, taller hills. "There are mountains, further north. Not these ones, but not norsk mountains, either.-"

"They are called Ben Nibheis. The 'mountains with their heads in the clouds'." Jorn looks back to the young man now, something grave in his expression. "I think I know who you are looking for, but you should not go looking."

Nikolai's eyes turn back to Jorn and he raises a brow, inviting the older Norseman to further elaborate on his warning.

"I've traveled too far on a riddle not to try to follow it to its answer," he says quietly. "Who is it you think I seek and why should I not try to find them? Are they in these cloud mountains? I thought the nearest town would hold the answer, but I suppose if my people are here, they would not be so penned in."

"There is only one Nord that I know, who lives up there. She is …difficult. To put it mildly. I know no others, though perhaps there could be some." Jorn raises an eyebrow in return, as if to test the boy's patience. It is a slight test, perhaps enough to prove Jorn equally 'difficult'. Nikolai cannot say that his country cannot produce difficult individuals.

"Hah, penned in, is it? No, they prefer to live as free men, and Dornians prefer order. I could not tell you why that is. I find myself somewhere in-between." There is a rumble in the dawn fog, and the sun that had come up is barely shining through hazy gray clouds. It begins to rain- a dribble- just above a drizzle.

Nikolai's eyes dart up to the sky, squinting as water drops into his eyes, before turning back to Jorn. "If they are my people, they are used to the open land and looking over the top of the world. Me, I'm used to town life, but some of my kin I cannot see settling into anything with walls for very long."

He shrugs one shoulder. "'Difficult' is one thing I do not shy from, friend. Do you have a name for this woman? Is she tall, small, old, young? Blond, red, gray? Difficult could be the name for any woman, I think."

"Her name is Tyrsson." Jorn can do you one better than height, weight, or color. "Small, wiry, dark hair. Green eyes." He purses his lips tightly before continuing, gauging the man opposite him. "She must have gotten her color from her mother. But I see Ulrik in her face." And, he does not say, her fortitude.

As Nikolai can tell, Jorn still does not seem to enjoy the idea of sending strangers after Eilin- the fact he is a countryman makes it somehow that much worse.

There's a twitch in a jaw that serves as tell enough for someone looking for it; otherwise, Nikolai does little to confirm or deny that the name Tyrsson was one he was searching for. That he's dark and green-eyed as well, he knows, will not have slipped Jorn's notice, and that the color combination, outside of his kin, is not common in the northern lands, has not slipped his.

"I thank you for your time. I will let you find a drier place, friend." His hood is lifted from the cloak he wears and he raises one hand in farewell.

Given that when he came, Nikolai was only told of one resident northman in Dornie. When he shoulders up his own cloak to keep the rain away, the certainty of him cements itself when he pulls the bear-faced hood over his own head, keeping Kuu in place until he offers the stranger the same raise of a hand; the mare steps forward, and she and Jorn are off again. He has some to think about, certainly- but Ylva will have more, it appears.

"Se hvor du trakker, ulv-jeger. Hun biter…" Parting words of warning.