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Dave ST

IC: [Pilot] Hither came...

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"Me?"  Eingar stared at the pair as though they'd been touched in the head, then turned to look at Chiara as she struggled to safely pick up more than one axe at a time.  Catrin was up at the prow in the lookout spot, her self-appointed post when not busy with ship-work - largely because it was the furthest point on the vessel from anyone else, most of all Eingar.  She resembled nothing so much as a cat curled up in a tree, balefully watching the giant any time his wandering of the deck brought him near.  The giant rubbed at his sun-burned brow doubtfully as he considered both women.  "That is a terrible idea."  he rumbled, turning back to Dracian.  "If I talk to them they will jump over the side."

"Try to avoid that."  Dracian quipped in a dry tone.  "I'm starting to become fond of them, and they're prettier to look at than you."

"Then you go and talk to them."  Eingar folded his massive forearms, each thicker than Dracian's thigh, over his chest and scowled.  The pirate was unmoved.

"You're the one they're scared of."  he stated firmly, folding his own arms over his chest before realising there was no way he could match the Nordheimer for sheer physical presence.  Still, he stood his ground and stared back up at the ice-blue eyes.  For a long moment the two locked gazes, then Eingar snorted.

"Fine.  Don't blame me if it does more woe than good."  he sighed, unfolding his arms and turning to walk across the deck.  Simeon gave a dusty mirthless chuckle, glancing at Dracian.

"Care to wager that one of them panics and tries to stab him?"  His sardonic amusement was cut short by a sharp glance from Dracian.

"I'm more worried they'll try to harm themselves."  he said shortly, turning back to the tiller but keeping one eye on the deck.

Eingar frowned as he moved over to where Chiara was fumbling with a pair of axes in the crook of one dainty arm as she bent over and tried to pick up a third.  From behind, the view was pleasant as it was from the fore, he admitted to himself.  He'd not really had any nefarious intent towards the girl - winning her at a dice game was just a way for him to thumb his nose at the snobbish Messantian former captain of this vessel, who'd been overt in his sneering about 'barbarous races' in the tavern.  There had been a half-formed idea to woo her with her own freedom and perhaps receive some, ah, 'gratitude' for it, but in truth the massive Aesir was - pardon the pun - at sea with women of the warmer kingdoms, especially soft ones like Chiara.  Catrin was more like an Aesir lass - at least in spirit, as the Gundermen were stoic and hardened by life on the frontier of the Hyborian kingdoms - but the beautiful dark-haired noble girl was outside his experience. 

"Let me help." he said, coming alongside her and dropping to one knee, meaning to reach down and gather the remaining weapons.  The effect was immediate.  With a low cry of surprise, the Ophirean dropped both the axe she was trying to pick up and the two she was already holding with a clatter, leaping away and falling on her rump as she stared wide-eyed at the Nordheimer, who in turn was regarding her with bemusement.  "Help." he repeated, pointing to himself and then to the weapons, wondering if she was perhaps simple.  Scooping up one of the axes as though it were a toy, he offered it to her hilt-first.

Understanding dawned in the girl's eyes as she slowly got to her feet, keenly aware that even on one knee the Aesir's head was almost level with her own.  She reached out, taking the axe in both hands, then watched him as he began gathering up the other cleaned weapons.  Though not the blood-covered, joyfully singing engine of destruction who had hewn through the sailors, the large man was still fearsome in aspect.  His pale skin - reddened in places by the sun - was tattooed in savage patterns and glyphs, the fierce light of the northern skies in his gaze, but there were other things now that caught her eye now that the blood and worse had been washed from him.  His hair and beard were clean - she had seen him every day take time to wash, comb and re-braid them with fingers that were dexterous despite the size of them.  He was massively built, by far the largest man she had ever seen, but there was nothing apish or shambling about his appearance and motion.  Still, though, the knowledge that he considered her his prize weighed on Chiara's mind, and she was convinced that it was only due to the aegis of Captain Dracian that the giant barbarian had not ravished her already.

"Come."  Eingar handed her a neat bundle of swords lashed together, and motioned her to follow him below decks.  He'd gone several strides when he realised that Chiara was not following, and a glance back showed her watching him, pale and trembling.  He sighed, and stepped back over to her, noting that she cast her gaze down at the deck and stood still, a goat waiting for the slaughterman's axe.

"Hmmph.  Look at me."  His voice was a rumble, but not harsh, and the Ophirean girl peered up at his face through her lashes.  "You are not mine."  Eingar stated in slow Argossean.  "You understand?  You are free.  I will not hurt you, girl.  I never was going to."  Doubt tinged her expression at that.  Eingar huffed, somewhere between laughter and exasperation.  "I swear by Ymir, and the gods of my tribe.  You are safe from me forcing myself on you.  Now come - we need to stow these where they will not rust and ruin your work."

There was still a wary suspicion in her eyes, but Chiara followed him below decks.  There, they found an empty barrel which would hold the bundle of weapons, which Eingar showed her how to wrap in oilcloth before storing.  "Good." he grunted, stepping back and catching the back of his head on a low beam, which caused him to emit a string of profanity in gutter Argossean and his own tongue as he clutched the offended area.  He was in the middle of invoking various devils to take whoever had built such small cramped boats when he noticed Chiara trying to cover a smile.

"Oh?  This is funny to you?"  he asked in a plaintive tone.  The girl's smile disappeared almost immediately, and Eingar paused, then sighed, still rubbing his head.   "Aye, it is funny.  I would laugh if it happened to someone else."  he rumbled in a resigned tone, waving at her as though granting leave.  "Go on, then.  Laugh away."

"Let me see it."  Chiara said in a soft, melodic voice, surprisingly both Eingar and herself as she spoke without thinking.  "Your head."  she clarified, pointing to him to sit.  

"It is just a bump."  The Aesir's tone was dismissive, but she pointed again at the bale of sailcloth.  

"Let me see?"  she asked, sweetly pleading, her dark eyes on his, and Eingar realised that this was, in it's way, her own overture of peace.  Nodding wordlessly, he sat as indicated, aware that the girl was moving behind him, her touch light as she gently parted his thick blond mane and examined the bump.  The northman made no sound, even when her fingers grazed the bruised area, and she peered closer.  "There is no blood."  she said, apparently satisfied as she stepped back around to face him.  "You have many scars."  she commented as she studied him, noting the slightly paler marks on his skin, marks of blade, or fangs, she could not tell.  There had, too, been a nasty one on his scalp, hidden by the long blond hair.  He grinned at her.

"They are marks of victory over death." he said with a short laugh, rising - carefully - to his feet.  Chiara studied him a moment longer, then smiled very timidly, gently touching the fading line on her pale throat.  Eingar nodded.  "Aye, you have one too.  And now you are free.  That is what beating death does - it frees you."  he chuckled.  "Come, let us go back above deck.  This place is like a burrow for a very small tundra fox."  Nodding, still with a very slight smile, she followed him out of the hold.

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