Dead Man Walking


Jonavan.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 11/16/10
Location: EW: Lower Bowl West
Synopsis: Max stumbles across Jonavan one morning and requests the healer's help in procuring a dead body.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jonavan

Jonavan's had his breakfast but there's always room for a second or third cup of klah even towards the end of summer, with temperatures starting to rise as morning gets underway. The man's traded indoors for out and found a quiet spot in the bowl where he can watch comings and goings as he pleases. Seated on a rock in a patch of sun, Jonavan balances a clipboard on his knees. He peruses the letter in hand for a second or third time, then picks up his pencil and begins to set down the response he's been drafting in his head.

Hands in pockets, brimmed hat pulled down over his eyes against the sun, Max is in deep conversation with a scrawny, rather ferrety looking man as he strolls along. Something said by the man causes the beast manager to halt and send out a dark curse before hurriedly adding another few words in a commanding tone before fingers flicker in dismissive gesture and Ferrety-man is scuttling away in the opposite direction. Disgruntled by whatever has just transpired, he almost walks on by where Jonavan has taken up position. Almost, but not quite for the sound of someone calling to another just behind the Healer draws his attention that way. Slowly but surely a smirk settles into place as he alters his path and arrives, right in front of the letter writing man, perhaps even blocking out his sunlight by the shadow cast. "Just the man I need to see!" announced as if a long lost brother had been found.

Dearest E — I am deeply hurt by your insinuation that I do not care for the pressures of your work. Can't a man want to see his darling baby sister? Also, that bit about 'I am not at your beck and call, you cannot expect me to drop everything etc etc' makes you sound like mum. Surely you are too young to sound so shrill. Jonavan ignores the footsteps sounding out Max's approach but looks up as the other man blocks out the sun. Max's arrival hasn't diminished the impish cast to the healer's expression; there is even a bit of a smile. "What can I do for you this time?" He sets down his pencil and reaches for his klah.

Max is quite open about trying to read the letter the Healer is currently writing, giving in sardonic comment for the one or two words he picks out, "Woman trouble, Healer?" And perhaps there's a slight edge there but that could have to do with his recent meeting with one Weyr bar owner. Pushing his hat back from his face a little an enigmatic and somewhat dark smile appears for what it is he wants from Jonavan, giving quite blithely, "Got any dead bodies lying around?" As if this were an everyday and commonly touched upon topic of conversation.

There's nothing incriminating in the letter, but Jonavan is a private man and soon tilts the letter away from Max. "No, sister," he clarifies; "Sisters are always trouble. I started it, though." He sounds cheerful, almost proud, when claiming responsibility. He kicks out his feet, no longer needing knees as a tabletop as he's paused the letter to give attention to Max. The healer's regard turns a little keener in reaction to Max's request. "Uh, no." The negative sounds inquiring; Jonavan doesn't hide his curiosity.

Max could point out that a sister would count as a being a woman, but that would be far too obvious. Instead he utters a light snort, "Wouldn't know." Jonavan's perceived cheerfulness for having started whatever trouble there appears to be between siblings, seems to amuse the beast manager however. Probably just as well he doesn't have any sisters or they might have ended up on the short end of the stick in terms of pranks and a purposefully irritating older brother. Dark eyes meet the curiosity coming off of the Healer with interest and then pull away to a couple of dragonriders in some or other heated argument behind the man. "Reckon you could find me one? Needs to be male, late twenties and preferably holdless with no family to lay claim to his corpse." Spoken through a deadpan expression as his attention slowly drops back down onto the seated man.

Jonavan is a fount of purposeful irritation and yields further information while drinking his klah, which has been thus far neglected as it cools off. "Well, they never learn. She thinks she can hold out longer than me. Should know better by now." It's some sort of sibling game of attrition as Jonavan explains it, conducted via correspondence. He glances back, following the scope of Max's attention to the arguing pair, then looks thoughtfully up at Max. "Maybe," the healer says. "That's the sort we often try to get hold of anyway to slice open -" i.e. autopsies and cadavers as teaching tools, "- since most people are rather squeamish about donating their bodies to science. What do you want it for?"

That amusement for whatever game Healer and sibling are playing via correspondence, lingers a moment or two longer and than drops off. Hands pocket and Max puts a short nod onto the other man, "Figured as much." This to Healers having access to such things as John Doe type corpses. Rocking back on his heels, he tilts his head skyward as if perhaps the answer to the question just asked him, is floating about in the atmosphere somewhere. When his chin drops again, a strangely twisted smile is in place, "Need to send someone a message." Apparently while Jonavan uses paper and pencil to correspond, the beast manager…makes use of more macabre means through which to communicate.

The playfulness communicated in letter-form finds verbal expression in mild sarcasm. "That is terribly specific." Jonavan has not said no, but neither will he assent until he's got a clearer picture of what this request actually is. "A simple threat's not good enough for you?" He drains his klah and sets the mug down on the ground beside him. "I'm afraid we don't hand out dead bodies like Cheusia hands out candies for the kids with cut knees — kind of one of those things where you want to know why."

Max's expression hardens in response to the sarcasm and he takes a step in closer, his jaw tightening as he voice lowers, "Listen to me, Healer. And listen good. This ain't a game. Threatening to knock someone's lights out ain't gonna cut it here. I don't send this message. People start disappearing, and then they start dying." Perhaps a little dramatic but he's presenting a worst case scenario there should he fail to have the northerners sit up and take notice that the Southern continent, is no longer to be considered easy pickings. Sardonic for his next, "You don't want to be a part of it. Just point me in the right direction and I'll get what I need myself." Somehow.

Jonavan rolls his eyes; what he interprets as overdone posturing has little effect on him. "Calm down. It's easy to tell that you're not getting any." He looks up at Max calmly, not seeming to be put off balance by their differences in height with him sitting and the other man standing. "I didn't say no, I said why, which is a perfectly reasonable question. And if there's a perfectly reasonable answer, then your answer will be yes — not too much to ask, is it?"

Oooh, low blow! As evidenced by the filthy look that snaps onto Jonavan. If it weren't that he needs something from the Healer right now, he'd probably take a swing at him for that one. Silent for a moment as he schools back that knee-jerk reaction, hands twitching in his pockets, Max fits a cold smile into place, "Sending a message is an answer to the why of it. Now stop playing coy with me, Healer, and I might take you seriously enough to tell you more." One day. "You don't want to help me here, I'll head down to Landing and find what I need there." Small irritation breaks through in a muttered, "Jays, you'd think I was asking you to give me your left nut rather than some dead sod that couldn't care whether he's being dropped off Between or somewhere up north." Thus providing the other man with small hint to at least the general destination of said message.

When the beast manager mentions that he might as well go dead body hunting in Landing, Jonavan seriously considers telling Max to go fuck himself and get what he needs without Jonavan's help. However, there is something to be said for gaining leverage — one never knows when it might come in handy to hold something like this over Max's head. "Fine," he decides crisply, though levity breaks through with the retorted, "I like my corpses." He stands, hands full with the things he'd brought out with him into the sun. "When do you need it? Any requests as to how fresh it is?"

What Jonavan doesn't know is that there really is no one, aside from his northern competitors, from which such information could result in dire consequences for the beast manager. Not now that he's keeping a certain junior goldrider in the loop. J'cobi perhaps, but Max would simply point him in Randi's direction. With agreement given, he takes a step back, a brow going up along with hands in a warding gesture, "Don't think I want to know what you do with corpses in your off time, Healer." Another step back as the other man stands and shoulders twitch in the semblance of a shrug, as a sardonic smirk peels out, "Whenever you're done playing with it," the corpse that is, and then adding, "Fresher is more believable."

Jonavan has a low laugh for Max's sense of humour. "They don't let you practice on the live ones. Ethics." The last is thrown out mock-dismissively. "Right. I'll see what I can do - is it believable to have him half chopped up from apprentices mucking about or would you prefer him more intact? Or," and here Jonavan is starting to enjoy his role in staging a fake murder, "anything in particular you want done for your message?"

"Not?" Max looks like he might actually be disappointed by that idea, "I'd think using live ones would let you know what hurts the most." Umm, okay. For all that he was about ready to punch Jonavan's lights out not but a few moments earlier, the beast manager's mouth pulls into a crooked grin, "Eh, have at it. Whatever looks the most torturous and believable to you. Body's gonna be flamed before it's delivered anyway." Another macabre tidbit given out there. Stick with him for long enough and the Healer might just end up piecing together the full story. And possibly being 'lucky' enough to see the man losing his lunch over step two.

"Yeah, you'd think. Some people are so narrow-minded." Jonavan responds dryly, with a grin edging through. Rather than looking impressed by phase two of the dead man's hypothetical torture and subsequent death, the healer looks disappointed. "Oh, then it hardly matters. Kiss subtlety goodbye." Which probably means that he will use the body for teaching first. "I'll let you know when he's ready for collection."

Max makes a soft tsking sound at the back of his throat in apparent agreement for the narrow-mindedness of some people. From him, the one that generally gives Healers as wide a berth as possible. Chuckling at Jonavan's disappointment, "You could lop off an ear and perhaps a finger or three first?" not explaining the reasons behind turning Joe Sweetsand into Mr Crispy. Although it's quite likely the Healer's probably already figured out the why of that for himself. A short dip of head is followed by a crooked grin, "You're alright, Healer." Given with faintly amused approval before the beast manager takes a step as readying to make departure.

"Yeah, or a good and splintered broken arm might make a nice demonstration in the difficulties that you can get in setting them," Jonavan muses on the teaching track — he who normally avoids apprentices unless it involves ordering them to do a job he doesn't want to do. "I'm sure I can think of something." The flicker of a grin is back, along with eyebrows inching upwards in slight surprise for Max's commendation; he's used to their encounters ending with the beast manager holding himself back from taking a well-deserved swing. "I'll have to work harder next time to piss you off." The implication being that he isn't seeking Max's approval. Nevertheless, he sees him off with a reasonably respectful nod.

Hands to pockets once again, Max back steps, sending a snicker in response to Jonavan's musing on broken arms, "I like the way you're thinking already." Turning on a bootheel, he pauses and sends a smirk over his shoulder to the Healer for that last quip, "And here I was going to send you a bottle of something as a show of gratitude for your help in this matter." Aw shucks, looks like that won't be happening now, huh? Then again…?

Later that night, or whenever it is Jonavan returns to his quarters, he'll find a bottle of fine Southern rum stood against the door of his room with a slip of paper tied to its neck. No words, just what appears to be a child's drawing of a stick man with an 'X' where each eye should be, and its tongue lolling out to one side. Hopefully he gets the dark humour of it and doesn't take it to be some kind of threat to his life.

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